D-SLR camera body reviews

It’s important to think of the D-SLR kit as a system. The photos are only going to be as good as the lens and body permit. If you go buy a Canon Rebel, I personally do not recommend the kit lens. It is a $100 lens and you get what you pay for. Just budget for the camera and lens/es when choosing your system. For purposes of this review, I will be reviewing the camera body primarily. You’ll need to decide what lens will suit your own shooting style. I recommend glass that is f/2.8 or better. Yes, it’s expensive. But, there are deals to be found and a good, fast lens is key.

Do not buy into the megapixel race. It is far from the most important factor when buying a camera. Retailers would have you believe it is. Generally, the more pixels you cram into a small sensor the more noise you get. So an 8 or 10 megapixel sensor on a compact camera is overkill.

The Lumix, Sony and Pentax have shake-reduction technology built into the bodies. This is very useful, but those lenses for those camera are not as fast as I like. Canon and Nikon make lenses with stabilization.

Model: Canon EOS 5D (body only)
Price: $2100
Megapixels: 12.8
Lens: n/a
Lens mount: Canon EF
Crop factor: none
Notes: This is the camera I use and love. It uses a full-frame sensor which is the same size as a 35mm film negative. There is no crop factor, but you need to use high-quality lenses since the edge of the frame can get soft [focus] or darkened (vignetting). The wide ISO range goes from 50-3200. I have shot images at 3200 ISO that have been published and have an acceptable amount of noise. I’m sure the successor to this will be coming out soon and should be considered.

Model: Nikon D80
Price: around $720 (body only)
Megapixels: 10.2
Lens: n/a
Lens mount: Nikkor
Crop factor: 1.5x
Notes: This is a very nice camera body. Nikon also makes excellent glass so you’ll have a wide-array of lenses to choose from. The kit lens Nikon includes with the package is pretty good from what I hear.

Model: Canon Rebel XTi (EOS 400D)
Price: around $500 (body only)
Megapixels: 10.1
Lens: n/a
Mount: Canon EF
Crop factor: 1.6x
Notes: 10 megapixels is more than most people probably need. It takes a fast computer to work on the files in Photoshop. Nevertheless, it’s a great bargain and there are a ton of great Canon lenses to chose from. The kit lens is not worthy in my opinion. Go for either a high-quality zoom or a few fast prime (fixed focal-length) lenses. It’s old school, but that’s how I like to shoot whenever possible. The Canon 50mm lenses work fantastic (particularly on the 1.6x bodies for portraits).

Model: Pentax K20D
Price: around $1100 body only
Megapixels: 14.6
Lens mount: Pentax K-mount
Crop factor: 1.5x
Notes: shake reduction (built into the body), weather resistant body, dust removal system.

Model: Leica M8 (body only)
Price: $5500
Megapixels: 10.3
Lens mount: Leica M
Crop factor: 1.33x
Notes: This is a beautiful, compact machine. It’s not a D-SLR at all, but is actually a digital rangefinder. This style camera is much more difficult to use than a D-SLR and is for specialized usage, by photographers with discriminating taste. I have a technolust for this camera. High ISO not as good as some of its competitors. A fast 50mm lens is going to set you back at least $3200 and a 35mm f/1.4 $3900 but trust me, you’ll want both.

Model: Nikon D300 DX
Price: $1300 (body only)
Megapixels: 12.3
Lens: n/a
Lens mount: Nikkor
Crop factor: 1.5
Notes: Magnesium alloy body, professional feature set. Very solid construction for the price. Self-cleaning sensor.

Model: Pentax K10D
Price: $775 body only
Megapixels: 10
Kit Lens: 18-55mm
Lens mount: Pentax K-mount
Crop factor: 1.5x
Notes: shake reduction, weather resistant body.

Model: Sony Alpha DSLR-A100 (body only)
Price: $570
Megapixels: 10
Lens mount: Sony Alpha, Minolta A-type
Crop factor: 1.5x
Notes: shake reduction, availability of Zeiss 24-120mm zoom