Best Digital Cameras

If you’ve read the photography sections of my blog, you know I’m a big fan of Mark Goldstei’s PhotographyBLOG.

He points to an entry today I missed. Mark updates a sort of Buyers’ Guide for the best digital cameras on the market. That’s sort of cool.

Now it’s going to sound like I’m bashing here, but I’m not. The whole reason I linked the article is because it is awesome (and hopefully it will be kept up-to-date). What I’m about to do is nitpick, not bash.

Where I stand

Well I own the Nikon D70, the prequel to the Nikon D70s. I own the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX1.

In the other products category, I own the Spyder2PRO Studio and the Wacom Intuos3 A4 Pen Tablet. Other than the Spyder2PRO (with the release of the Pantone Huey, I think this category needs another look at), I recommend them all. Great products!

My personal differences

I have no idea about “the best digital cameras under £200” since I have never bought one. I would recommend everything by Fuji based on their sensor quality, I could totally see a Canon SD based on brand recognition and optical quality. If the Panasonic is the camera that takes the best shots and has features like image stabilization for the price, I can totally see it being there. I have a little trepidation on wondering whether there are larger cameras in this category that might do a little better performance for the price than these small ones. Preferably a 1/2″ or 2/3″ sensor instead of all these 1/3″ ones.

In the “Best Digital Compact Cameras from £200 to £300” I’d personally take the Canon PowerShot A620 off the list. I’d replace the Canon SD550 off the list and replace it with the Canon PowerShot SD700 IS (if it’s too expensive to make the list, I’d bump it to the next level up). I’d also add the Panasonic DMC-FX01 here.

I’d rename “Best Digital Compact Cameras £300 to £400” to “best digital compact cameras over £300”. I know nothing about the Nikon Coolpix 8400. The other two are good, but an explanation on why those were chosen over the Ricoh Caplio R40 is in order.

There needs to be a “best mid-size camerasâ” covering bridge cameras. I’d put the Sony R1 there as well as the latest Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ7.

There may even need to be a “unique cameras” category. I’d put cameras like the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LC1 and the Ricoh GR Digital there. Then again people in the market for cameras like these don’t need a buyers guide. I feel it would help to know the variety of the marketplace, which gets lost oftentimes when making a purchasing decision.

In the “Best Digital SLR Cameras”, I’d take the Nikon D70s off the list—those consider the Nikon D50 will consider the D70s if it meets their needs better. I’d bump the Olympus Evolt E-330 to the list instead. I’d make a note about how Konica-Minolta was purchased by Sony. I’d give a mention to the announced-but-not-released Pentax K100D.

I dislike having the Canon EOS 5D as a “Best Professional Digital SLR Cameras” since it has a shoddy construction, but it certainly deserves being somewhere! (Maybe my big problem is with the distinction being “professional” instead of price: perhaps “Best Digital SLR Cameras under $1500” and “Best Digital SLR Cameras over $1500”). I think the Canon 1DS Mk2 N deserves to be an “also worth considering.”

How to be more relevant

A number of people asked me about my Panasonic LX1. I love the shots it takes. The only problem I have with recommending it is that it is getting “long in tooth” and if sales are decent for this model, I suspect Panasonic will update this model, though I have no idea when because the LX1 is such a niche model. I suspect the update would have Venus III processing engine: hopefully with burst RAW support, better high ISO control, and maybe a compressed RAW (or at least a RAW without JPEG sidecar option).

I also hesitate to recommend the D70s, given that I think it has better than even odds on being updated in the fall of this year.

Because of this, I wish this guide would be updated based on a dead reckoning of when it could be expected to be replaced as well as other models on the horizon to compare it to: sort of like what MacRumors does. That information is invaluable and with two major photography shows a year, educated guessing can be done.

A major problem here: PhotographyBLOG is a DIWA member and has access to new cameras only if they don’t write about them until they are announced. I guess Mark can’t do this himself as there would need to be an editorial wall put up between what PhotographyBLOG knows and what someone could guess.

I think someone should at least point out the similar models both announced and released next to each recommended one. (Mark does this in the “also worth considering”, but he puts it by category. I think it should be under each camera, instead of by category since there should be a reason for any camera to make the list, even if it is “cheapest full-frame dSLR.”) If they are released, then it should be mentioned why that one wasn“t picked—it could be as simple as, “didn’t review it.”

Finally since the prices are always changing from the list as a model gets older, I would list the “street price” next to the recommendation. He could also pick a bit of referral money from PriceGrabber or whoever for that.

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