Digital SLR Selection Criteria, web site move to:

Discussion in 'Digital SLR' started by Steven M. Scharf, Feb 14, 2005.

  1. Because of the large number of hits on,
    and the bandwidth consumed by the graphics on that site, I have had to move
    the Digital Camera Selection Criteria to a separate page..

    The new page is:

    Thanks for all the comments. If anyone has any corrections, they can e-mail
    them to me, just switch "linkearth" to "earthlink" in the e-mail address.

    Steven M. Scharf, Feb 14, 2005
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  2. Excellent reading...thanks. You presented a very fair, and detailed
    summary for prospective first-time dSLR owners. I happen to be in that
    category, so your article couldn't have come at a better time.
    Woodchuck Bill, Feb 14, 2005
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  3. Steven M. Scharf

    John Francis Guest

    I disagree. It's a summary that doesn't really seem to know just
    what segment of the market it is written for (not everybody needs
    a 12mm focal length lens, or even a vertical grip), regards the
    use of AA batteries as a negative feature, doesn't even mention
    the existence of the Nikon D1 or D2, and dismisses the Pentax
    cameras for unacceptable image quality (although, apparently, the
    Nikon cameras using the same sensor are perfectly acceptable).
    John Francis, Feb 14, 2005
  4. Steven M. Scharf

    Scharf-DCA Guest

    Thank you.

    I was getting scared to look at responses, after apparently offending a
    couple of people by presenting negative attributes of something that
    they had purchased.

    It is not the intent of this page to disparage anyone's choice of
    equipment. I understand that not everyone uses the same criteria when
    choosing equipment, and that the reasons why I state that a camera is
    unacceptable may not be of concern to everyone.

    Scharf-DCA, Feb 14, 2005
  5. Steven M. Scharf

    Scharf-DCA Guest

    I mentioned the vertical grip issue because it's something that caught
    a lot of D70 buyers by surprise. The manufacturers are using accessory
    availablity, or lack thereof, to distinguish between their amateur and
    semi-professional lines. You're absolutely correct that not everybody
    wants a vertical grip, and that not everyone wants a wide angle lens,
    but both of these are things to consider when deciding what to buy.
    It's not that AA batteries are a negative feature, as much as Li-Ion
    batteries are a positive feature. AA batteries, while cheaper and
    widely available, aren't as good as Li-Ion batteries for reasons of
    which I'm certain that you are well aware. You've got all these people
    out trying to use RCRV-3 batteries in place of AAs because the energy
    density of AAs leaves a lot to be desired.
    I could have included these, but let's be realistic. No one is going to
    be buying a 4.1 megapixel D-SLR for $2000 (D2), and I believe that the
    2.74 megapixel D1 has been discontinued. The D1x is 5.47 megapixels and
    is going for $3900, and no one will buy this when the D2x is soon going
    to be available for not much more. The D2x looks like it will be a good
    competitor to the Canon EOS 1D Mark II, and when this is available I
    will include it.
    It is often the case that cameras using the same sensor have totally
    different image quality. We've seen this in the Canon Pro 1 versus Sony
    F818, versus Olympus C-8080, as well.

    Everything is relative. The image quality of the Pentax cameras is
    okay, but not up to the standard of what is available from similarly
    priced competitors.
    Scharf-DCA, Feb 14, 2005
  6. Steven M. Scharf

    John Francis Guest

    Again, it depends on what class of consumer you are writing for.
    If you're going to be shooting several thousand frames per session,
    you need the highest energy density you can manage. But on those
    cameras that take AA batteries a single set of rechargeable NiMH
    cells work for several hundred exposures, which covers a lot of
    casual (and even semi-pro) users. And even conventional AA cells,
    while only good for a hundred or so exposures, can be used in an
    emergency - probably a strong selling point for the casual user.
    There are suggestions that even Canon are considering moving away
    from proprietary battery formats to a camera that uses AA batteries.
    That's not an opinion shared by several of the online reviewers.
    The major complaint about image quality on is that
    Pentax appear to have decided to apply less in-camera sharpening.
    Steve's Digicams appear to come to a very similar conclusion.
    (Ken Rockwell doesn't like anything from Pentax, of course)

    And, again, it depends on the class of consumer you are considering.
    If you want a camera where you can print an in-camera JPEG directly
    to your inkjet printer, without doing any intermediate processing,
    that's one thing. But if you're talking to the semi-pro (or even
    just the advanced amateur), who is the guy who really cares about
    some of the features you stress as essentials, he's shooting RAW
    anyway, and doing all the work (including sharpening) in photoshop.
    [He also uses several CF cards per session, and hardly ever plugs
    his camera directly into the USB port on his computer, so USB speed
    is not an issue. And I know more people who've bent or broken pins
    in those fiddly little camera cable connections than have had any
    similar problem caused by removing CF cards from their cameras]
    John Francis, Feb 14, 2005
  7. Steven M. Scharf

    Charlie Self Guest

    "It's not that AA batteries are a negative feature, as much as Li-Ion
    batteries are a positive feature. AA batteries, while cheaper and
    widely available, aren't as good as Li-Ion batteries for reasons of
    which I'm certain that you are well aware. You've got all these people
    out trying to use RCRV-3 batteries in place of AAs because the energy
    density of AAs leaves a lot to be desired."

    Get real. Most people using AAs, and non-rechargeable CRV-3s, don't
    even know what "energy density" is. I use both, just about
    interchangeably, depending on what's in my bag when my camera needs
    them. The fact is, it doesn't need them all that often, with 1000-1400
    shots per set of CRV-3s or about 700 for NiMH AAs.

    Tell me exactly how energy density is going to improve on that and I
    might be interested.
    Charlie Self, Feb 15, 2005
  8. Because of the large number of hits on,
    Some good info there, but no matter how you slice it, it nearly always
    appears that "the" camera, the killer app as it were, is the Canon 20D.
    Seems like many sites could just shortcut much of the discussion and say
    "Here, buy this, you'll be happy."

    the Canon 20D has been put on such a tall pedestal that it might be
    relevant, at this point, to use it as the comparison for virtually
    everything, and have reviews focus on "Here are the reasons why somebody
    might buy this camera instead of a 20D."

    I wonder how long before somebody comes out with an alternative that
    features a similar price/performance ratio? Seems likely that, at some
    point, Canon might stall for a bit and allow somebody to catch up...

    --Mike Jacoubowsky
    Chain Reaction Bicycles
    IMBA, BikesBelong, NBDA member
    Mike Jacoubowsky/Chain Reaction Bicycles, Feb 15, 2005
  9. Steven M. Scharf

    Scharf-DCA Guest

    Canon is behind in the amateur class (sub-$1K) for now. The D70 is
    superior to the EOS-300D in several aspects. But it's widely expected
    that Canon will announce the successor to the EOS-300D this week, and
    it should be at least as good as the D70.

    It's going to get harder and harder to compete against Canon unless a
    third party comes up with some low-noise 8Mpixel sensors, be they CCD
    or CMOS. I don't think Canon is interested in selling sensors to anyone

    I think that the Fuji S3 Pro may be a worthy competitor to the 20D in
    the 6-8 megapixel semi-pro segment, once Fuji gets real about the
    price. The S3 Pro would be fairly priced at a street price of around
    $1600, not $2350. Once the early adopters finish buying their S3 Pros,
    I would expect Fuji to drop the price, but who knows? I'm reminded of
    another D-SLR company that announced at $3K, but was selling at under
    $2K by the introduction, and is still trying to clear out remaining
    inventory at around $1K.

    Canon reminds me of Toyota. They want market share, and they want high
    volumes. It's critical for Canon to lock up the D-SLR market early,
    since lens sales, and future body sales, are what are going to keep the
    money flowing.

    Now it's up to you to figure out how Trek can lock buyers into their
    brand for their whole life.
    Scharf-DCA, Feb 15, 2005
  10. Steven M. Scharf

    Jack Zeal Guest

    What's wrong with devising a camera which can handle it all? Make your
    fancy $25 propriatery Li-Ion, however also permit standard NiMH cells.
    Better yet: sell the camera without a small carrier frame which accepts
    the AA NiMHs and fits their special slot. Then even people who like
    NiMH cells still are somewhat locked in to getting something
    battery-related from you.
    Jack Zeal, Feb 15, 2005
  11. Most of the vertical control grips can take AA or Li-Ion. The reason why
    camera makers went to Li-Ion wasn't to sell more batteries, since they knew
    that most people would buy after-market batteries. They went to Li-Ion for
    the energy density, and for batteries in the body this makes sense, but with
    a grip, you have a lot of extra space.
    Steven M. Scharf, Feb 15, 2005
  12. Canon reminds me of Toyota. They want market share, and they want high
    If I could figure that one out, I'd be very well off. But the bike industry
    is probably a much smaller market (than photographic equipment), so even if
    one company had a commanding lead, enforcing proprietary solutions probably
    couldn't achieve the sales needed to ensure long-term success. Cannondale
    already tried (and failed badly).

    --Mike-- Chain Reaction Bicycles
    Mike Jacoubowsky, Feb 15, 2005
  13. Steven M. Scharf

    andrew29 Guest

    Uh, if you're a prospective first-time dSLR owner, how can you
    possibly know that the summary is fair? I'm sure it isn't fair: the
    author, for some reason best known to himself, presented a bogus
    reason for downgrading all Nikon DSLRs.

    andrew29, Feb 15, 2005
  14. Steven M. Scharf

    Ken Tough Guest

    You might be right, but if so they blundered in a big way. If they
    wanted to tie in the new SLR wave, they should have met the D70
    head-to-head, and offered a 20D with lens package at a comparable
    price. When you include lens, it sets you back (world prices)
    about twice as much as the D70, and I can't be convinced it costs
    that much more to produce. They ought to have pegged it around 30%
    more (with a good lens kit), to maintain "premium product" status
    but cast the net wider. In my estimation of price/performance,
    it wasn't worth my spending 100% more for what I needed.

    Canon does have a nice lens line-up that caters for a wide range
    from pro to consumer, so it would have made sense to put all the
    eggs on the 20D basket and make sure everyone has one.
    Ken Tough, Feb 15, 2005
  15. They were not willling to sell the 20D for a price that low. They bracketed
    the D70 with something slightly worse and something slightly bettter. But
    it's true that they missed the boat by not having the EOS-300D replacement
    available soon enough. Or perhaps they didn't want to affect 20D sales by
    having something almost as good as the 20D for $300 less.
    Not in the U.S..

    I paid $1266 (net) for the EOS-20D with 18-55 lens, while the Nikon with the
    18-70 lens would have cost me $889 or $933 after the $200 rebate (and
    actually the D70 rebate went from $100-200 after I bought the 20D). These
    are the lowest prices from reputable on-line dealers, with all rebates,
    incentives, affiliate discounts, etc., factored in for both, but they are
    not both from the same dealer. The 20D was from Amazon, the D70 from Buydig
    or Adorama. So the D70 was 30% less, or the 20D was 42% more, however you
    want to slice it. Still significant, but nowhere close to 100%. Since then,
    the 20D price is higher, but it periodicaly goes on sale with some sort of
    deal from Dell or Amazon.

    In any case, I would have been happy with either, but an existing Canon
    flash and lenses made the decision easy. Ken Rockwell has an excellent
    comparison of the two cameras at: .

    The upcoming Nikon D2x looks awesome, with its built in vertical grip and 12
    megapixel sensor, but it's still handicapped by the crop factor, meaning new
    wide-wide angle lenses are a necessity. Still, it's the closest to the
    professional level that Nikon has gotten so far.
    Steven M. Scharf, Feb 15, 2005
  16. Steven M. Scharf

    bob Guest

    In a buying guide, you might be well off to make it clear that the above
    is specific to your needs, but for many photographers, AA batteries are
    a positive, and L-ion are a deal breaker. It just depends on your
    preferences. For me, I wouldn't consider a camera that didnt' have an AA
    bob, Feb 15, 2005
  17. Steven M. Scharf

    Alan Browne Guest

    Mike Jacoubowsky/Chain Reaction Bicycles wrote:

    Assuming one had the lenses to go with it, that's an accurate statement for the
    generally affordable cameras. You'd be happy with its predecessor too (10D).
    It's the lead dog of the middle pack, so it's the standard du jour.
    PMA begins shortly, so a used 20D might be in the market near you soon.

    Alan Browne, Feb 15, 2005
  18. Steven M. Scharf

    jfitz Guest

    You would think so, but their marketing track record in the thirty odd years
    since the introduction of the AE-1 and then the A-1 indicates that the odds
    are against it happening.
    Canon still enjoys a 10% - 20% advantage in the aspect that matters most in
    this class - price. The D70 is an excellent camera but it hasn't been able
    to overcome its $100 - $200 price disadvantage.
    Canon currently dominates the D-SLR market with a 62% share and is number
    two in total digital camera sales. Maybe not a "lock, but a formidable

    Your web site is great. Thanks for making the info available.
    jfitz, Feb 15, 2005
  19. Steven M. Scharf

    Scharf-DCA Guest

    It reminds me of the Robert Klein quote about the oil companies, "we've
    got all the supply, so we can demand whatever the f&^% we want."
    Hopefully this will change before Canon gets too cocky. The Fuji S3 Pro
    with the Nikon mount looks good, as does the Nikon D2x, but both are
    overpriced. The D2x needs to sell for around $3K, since the Canon EOS
    1D Mark II has the big advantage of the smaller crop factor, and the
    Fuji S3 Pro should be priced closer to the EOS-20D.
    Thanks for the compliment.
    Scharf-DCA, Feb 15, 2005
  20. Steven M. Scharf

    Scharf-DCA Guest

    Okay, I changed that section, let me know what you think.

    Note that even the Li-Ion based D-SLRs, except for the couple that
    don't have a vertical grip option, can take AA batteries in the
    optional vertical grip. Unfortunately, the after-market vertical grip
    for the Nikon D70 doesn't take AA batteries.
    Scharf-DCA, Feb 15, 2005
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