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Welcome! I'm an amateur wildlife photographer from New York State. My specialty is nature and wildlife photography. I specialize in wildlife, birds, and landscape photography. This blog is where I share some of my photos and adventures. Please comment and post questions!

1 Equipment Reviews

Canon T2i / EOS 550D   


The EOS 550D, or Rebel T2i as it's known in North America, slots between the 500D and the T1i in Canon's semi-pro range. It actually inherits a number of features from the high-end EOS 7D, including the same 18 Megapixel resolution, same metering system and same movie modes, giving it the choice of 720 or 1080p at a variety of smooth frame rates, not to mention an external microphone input. The 3-inch screen is Canon's best yet with a wider 3:2 aspect ratio to match the shape of images. The viewfinder, AF, build and general handling are essentially unchanged from the 500D and the T1i, but if high resolution and movies are your priority, it's a great choice.

Pros: 18 Megapixels; HD video with mic input; great screen.
Cons: Build quality, speed and AF same as cheaper 500D / T1i.
Overall: The best choice for high res images and movies on a budget.



Canon EOS 60D



Canon's EOS 60D may numerically be the successor to the EOS 50D, but Canon's repositioned it as a mid-range DSLR; think of it as a step-up from the EOS 550D / T2i and it makes perfect sense. It shares the same 18 Megapixel resolution and HD movie modes as that model, but features a larger, brighter penta-prism viewfinder, faster continuous shooting, a fully articulated screen, a more sensitive AF system, wireless flash control, an upper information screen, virtual horizon indicator, and much more. The body materials may be the same, but the EOS 60D feels better in your hands and much more like a semi-pro body, even without the ultimate toughness of magnesium alloy. An ideal step-up model without the cost, weight and complexity of a semi-pro DSLR.

Pros: Articulated screen; 5.3fps shooting; Full HD movies.
Cons: No continuous AF during movies; out-featured by D7000.
Overall: An ideal step-up model, especially for movies.



Canon T3i / EOS 600D



Canon's EOS 600D / Rebel T3i is the company's latest upper entry-level DSLR, which at first glance appears to be little more than the EOS 550D / T2i equipped with a flip-out screen and wireless flash control. Both cameras are roughly the same size and share the same 18 Megapixel sensor, core HD movie modes, viewfinder, 9-point AF system, 3.7fps continuous shooting, 3in 1040k screen and 63-zone metering system. There's also a great deal of overlap with the higher-end EOS 60D, such as the articulated screen, but Canon's also included scene detection in Auto along with useful Digital Zoom and Video Snapshot movie options. As such it becomes Canon's most confident and powerful video-equipped DSLR, while also delivering great still photo quality. If you're into movies and don't need fast continuous shooting, it's an ideal choice, but compare closely with the Nikon D5100.

Pros: 18 Megapixel; HD video with mic input; flip-out screen.
Cons: Build quality, speed and AF same as cheaper 500D / T1i.
Overall: Great image quality and the best Canon DSLR for movies.


Canon EOS 7D



Canon’s EOS 7D is a high-end semi-pro DSLR positioned between the EOS 50D and 5D Mark II – which directly pitches it against Nikon’s D300s. Like the EOS 50D, the sensor is a cropped frame model, but Canon’s boosted the resolution to 18 Megapixels, and included both 1080p and 720p HD video options at a choice of frame rates. Canon’s also improved almost every other aspect, with the 7D boasting a viewfinder with 100% coverage and LCD graphics, 8fps continuous shooting, a brand new 19-point AF system with zoning, built-in wireless flash control and a new metering system which takes color information into account. The body is also a little tougher than before, which all adds up to one of the most confident DSLRs on the market – but compare closely with the Nikon D300s.

Pros: Tough build, big viewfinder, HD video, 19-point AF.
Cons: Needs a good lens to exploit resolution. Basic 3-frame AEB.
Overall: Canon's most confident semi-pro DSLR to date.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II       


Canon’s EOS 5D Mark II is a powerful DSLR that represents a significant upgrade over the original 5D, and a tough rival in the growing ‘affordable’ full-frame market. The 5D Mark II may share essentially the same body and AF system as its predecessor, but almost everything else has changed. The sensor’s been boosted to 21.1 Megapixels, the sensitivity increased by three stops, continuous shooting accelerated to 3.9fps, and the screen greatly improved in size and detail to a 3in VGA model. There’s now also Live View, AF micro-adjustment, support for quick UDMA cards, an HDMI port, and High Definition movie recording in the 1080p format. It’s one of the best DSLRs for the money, although compare closely with the Sony A900 and Nikon D700.

Pros: High resolution and low noise; HD movies; VGA screen.
Cons: No popup flash; only 3.9fps; v/f not 100% coverage.
Overall: Highly recommended for stills or movies.



Nikon D5100
       
The D5100 is Nikon's upper entry-level DSLR, replacing the popular D5000 and offering a step-up in features and quality over the budget D3100. The D5100 inherits the excellent 16 Megapixel sensor of the D7000, upgrades the size, resolution and hinge mounting of its screen, borrows the core movie capabilities of the D3100 and D7000 including continuous AF, while also offering an external microphone input and broader selection of frame rates at 1080p, and additionally features a new EFFECTS mode which applies a choice of fun filters, some of which also work on movies. The much preferable side hinging for the screen has also eliminated the earlier D5000's disproportionately tall viewfinder head, allowing Nikon to design a shorter and curvier body for the new model. A great all-rounder, but it compares closely with the Canon EOS 600D / T3i.

Pros: Great quality; HD video with mic input; flip-out screen.
Cons: Cont AF in video can be distracting; slow UI for experts.
Overall: Great all-rounder and arguably best Nikon DSR for video.



Nikon D90



Nikon’s D90 may be getting on a little compared to the latest models, but remains a highly compelling choice for anyone looking for a good step-up from a budget DSLR. You get a 12.3 Megapixel sensor with excellent low-light performance, fairly swift 4.5fps continuous shooting, a maximum sensitivity of 6400 ISO, a large and bright penta-prism viewfinder, good build quality and a 3in VGA screen. As a feature-packed camera on first release, the D90 also sports Live View, and 720p HD video recording - indeed it was the first DSLR to record video. Completing the package is a decent 18-105mm kit lens with Vibration Reduction. A great package, but compare closely with Canon's EOS 550D / T2i, especially if you're into video.

Pros: Great ergonomics, VGA screen, 720p movies, 4.5fps.
Cons: Movie mode is manual focus and has video artifacts.
Overall: A feature-packed DSLR that remains a great buy today.



Nikon D7000



Nikon's D7000 is the successor to the best-selling D90 and applies the same strategy of packing high-end features into a mid-range body. The resolution has been increased to 16.2 Megapixels, while the movie mode now captures Full HD 1080p at 24fps with support for autofocus while filming. Continuous shooting has accelerated to 6fps and the viewfinder coverage increased to 100%. There's a new 39-point AF system, while the metering now employs a 2016 pixel RGB sensor. Nikon's also toughened-up the D7000 by using magnesium alloy on the upper and rear plates, whereas most mid-range DSLRs are all plastic, and there are now dual SD memory card slots. It's an impressive spec, which outclasses the rival EOS 60D, but you'll be paying more for it.

Pros: Tough; 6fps; 100% viewfinder; Full HD; dual SD slots.
Cons: Screen doesn't flip-out; movie AF indiscreet; pricey.
Overall: Semi-pro features for an upper mid-range price.



Nikon D300s
   
Nikon’s D300s builds upon the already highly capable D300. As such it inherits a 12.3 Megapixel sensor, large viewfinder, 3in VGA screen, powerful 51-point AF system, Live View, HDMI port and a tough body with great ergonomics. To this the D300s adds HD movies in the 720p format, a slight boost in continuous shooting speed to 7fps and dual Compact Flash / SD memory card slots, allowing you to backup images as you shoot them. The D300s also now features a Quiet shooting mode and a virtual horizon in live view. It remains one of the best semi-pro DSLRs on the market, but unlike its predecessor, faces a direct rival in the form of Canon’s EOS 7D. If you’re not already committed to a platform, compare both models closely.

Pros: Superb build and handling. Dual card slots. 720p movies.
Cons: No histogram in Live View or 1080p video.
Overall: A superb DSLR, but compare closely with Canon 7D.



Nikon D700



The D700 boasts many of the flagship D3's features, but squeezes them into a smaller and lighter D300-sized body. So the D700 sports the D3's 12.1 Megapixel full-frame sensor, 3in VGA monitor, 51-point AF system and Live View, but additionally features a popup flash and anti-dust features. The viewfinder may not deliver 100% coverage, but as a full-frame model it's still large, and continuous shooting remains a respectable 5fps - even with 14-bit RAW files. There's also AF micro-adjust and in-camera correction of vignette and chromatic aberrations. The D700 faces tough rivals in Canon's EOS 5D Mark II and Sony's Alpha A900, but handles admirably while delivering great quality output. It's also steadily becoming the most affordable of the new full-frame models.

Pros: Superb build. Quick handling. Full-frame. VGA screen. HDMI.
Cons: 'Only' 12.1 Megapixel. No histogram in Live View.
Overall: A superb DSLR, but compare closely with its full-frame rivals.



Sony SLT A33
   
Sony's Alpha SLT-A33 looks like a DSLR, and takes normal Alpha lenses, but is in fact a new type of camera employing a fixed translucent mirror; hence the acronym SLT for Single Lens Translucent rather than Single Lens Reflex. The translucent mirror allows most of the light to pass through to the sensor for full-time live view composition on the screen and electronic viewfinder, but reflects the remainder to the phase change AF system, allowing quick and continuous auto focusing in Live View and movie modes. In terms of normal specs, the SLT-A33 has 14 Megapixels, 1080i video, 7fps continuous shooting and an articulated screen. A truly unique camera, which delivers the ultimate Live View and 'DSLR' movie experience.

Pros: Quick AF in Live View and movies; articulated screen.
Cons: DSLR traditionalists will miss the optical viewfinder.
Overall: A unique camera with the best movie AF here.



Sony NEX 5N
       
Sony's NEX-5N is the company's mid-range ILC, which packs a DSLR-sized sensor into a much more portable body. Like all NEX bodies, the 5N features nothing less than an APS-C sensor, which matches the size of those in most budgets to mid-range DSLRs. The 5N's sensor sports 16 Megapixels and can also record 1080p movies. Sony's also squeezed-in a detailed 3in touch-screen which can tilt vertically for easier composition at unusual angles. Like most Sony cameras, the NEX-5N also boasts a wide array of innovative shooting modes, which can stack multiple images to reduce noise, shake or generate spectacular panoramas. The neat focus-peaking guide greatly aids manual focusing in movies and there's also 10fps burst shooting. A great alternative to a budget DSLR, but if you can live with 5.5fps, a non-touch-screen and 720p video, the NEX-C3 comes in cheaper.

Pros: Large APS-C sensor; tilting touch-screen; 1080p movies.
Cons: Not good for third-party accessories.
Overall: One of the most feature-packed and best value ILCs.



Sony Alpha DSLR-A900
       
The Sony A900 is the flagship DSLR in the Alpha range, and the company’s first to feature a full-frame sensor. Impressively it’s also the first full-frame DSLR to boast built-in image stabilization, which works with any lens you attach – a key advantage over its Canon and Nikon rivals. The Alpha A900 also overtakes the Canon 5D Mark II and Nikon D700 to boast 24.6 Megapixel resolution, tying with Nikon’s much pricier D3x. Continuing the professional specification are 5fps continuous shooting and a viewfinder with 100% coverage. It may not sport Live View or movie recording, but there’s no denying Sony’s arrived in the semi-pro market.

Pros: Very high resolution; built-in IS; 5fps; 100% v/f.
Cons: No Live View or movie recording; basic upper screen.
Overall: An impressive spec, but tough rivals from Canon and Nikon.
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