Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Camera Quandry

I'm looking for a new camera to assist in chronicaling the adventures of N466PG. The 3 megapixel Fuji digital I have now is pretty good for what it is, which is essentially an unsophisticated snapshot camera with a fairly decent lens, but it falls short in a number of areas. With the Fuji, I just figure if I take enough pictures, one or two are statistically bound to turn out fairly well. There're times, though, when a "hope for the best" approach doesn't cut it. Oshkosh was a good example of that. I got a few good pictures, but I was also very disappointed that some (many!) of the others didn't turn out because of weaknesses in, or lack of manual control over, exposure, focus, shutter lag, and depth of field.

So, I'm looking for a new camera. I want at least 6 megapixels to enable much tighter cropping, a multi-zone auto-focus, a multi-segment light meter, and the ability to manually override all of the above. I want a hot shoe for the flash so I'm not beholden to the in-camera flash, I want to be able to 'bracket' pictures with exposure/focal length settings, I want to be able to use various lenses, and I want almost instantaneous response to power-up and shutter release.

In short, I want a digital SLR. And I want it to be realtive small and light.

I have narrowed my choice to these two:

- Olympus Evolt E-500
- Nikon D-50

As usual, both have strong pluses and minuses. Prices are comparable, so that won't be the deciding factor. Right now I'm leaning towards the Olympus based on its somewhat more ergonomic design (have you ever wondered how I get in-flight pictures? Hint: one hand on the camera, the other flying the plane) and its 2.5 inch LCD screen. On the down side, it takes more that a second to power up due to the sensor shaker that removes dust from the sensor, but its shutter release is as fast as the Nikon's. Tough, tough call.

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