Canon announced the EOS Rebel T1i (500D/Kiss Digital X3) earlier (March 25) than Nikon D5000 (April 14), but somehow Nikon beat Canon in getting their camera out to consumers just a few days earlier. With both cameras targeting consumers, the ensuing battle between the digital imaging giants Canon and Nikon is going to be interesting to watch.

For consumers, making decision may be difficult since there is no such thing as perfect camera. Manufacturers carefully balance features and marketing needs to maximize profitability.  They also study competitors to make sure their product is competitive in the market. Knowing your exact needs will help you make a good decision. Knowing the exact differences between the cameras will help you to evaluate your needs against the cameras’ features.

To get it started, you can look at the very detailed DPReview previews for both camera: Canon EOS 500D (Digital Rebel T1i / Kiss X3 Digital) and Nikon D5000. There is also a side-by-side comparison of the specifications. The gadget blog Engadget has a post about the two cameras as well. The following is a quick summary of each camera’s advantages.

Canon 500D wins

  • More pixels – 15.1 vs. 12.3 megapixels on Nikon D5000
  • Better videos – 1080P vs. 720P on Nikon D5000
  • Better RAW file – 14 bit vs. 12 bit
  • Larger and denser LCD screen: 3.0″ vs. 2.7″, 920K vs. 230K dots
  • Wider ISO range: 100-12800 vs. 100-6400
  • Depth of focus preview button: yes vs. no
  • Viewfinder magnification: 0.87x vs. 0.78x

Nikon D5000 wins

  • Tilt/Swirl LCD screen
  • Faster continuous shooting speed: 4 frames per second (fps) vs. 3.4fps.
  • Advanced scene modes
  • Built-in filter effects and in-camera editing
  • Better AF sensor: 11 vs. 9 point, with AF assist illuminator vs. none (uses built-in flash), slightly better AF sensitivity, 3D tracking
  • Wider exposure compensation range; +/- 5EV vs. +/-2EV
  • Better flash range: 17m vs. 13m
  • Cost: ~$50 cheaper
Posted in Digital SLR Cameras on April 30th, 2009. No Comments.

It is interesting to see that my second most popular post on this blog is about how to find out the total shutter actuations. There could be some curiosity elements from regular DSLR owners but I am wondering if lots of people are selling or buying second hand gears.

It also seems that the old cameras, such as D70/D70s, D200, are still being actively used. The following is the Camera Finder stats for Nikon I found on Flickr sorted by the number of members. First of all, no point & shoot cameras are in top ten (I guess the reason is that there are so many P&S models). Secondly, high end models are significantly less popular than mid or low end models, factoring in the release times of the products.

nikon_flickr

Overall, the most popular (DSLR) camera chart is dominated by Canon, leading by its 10.1 MP Canon Digital Rebel XTi (400D) that was introduced in 2004. Only the Nikon D80 is in the top 5.

In the point & shoot category, Canon completely dominates, with the 8MP Canon PowerShot SD1100IS showing a impressive surging popularity curve.

Can you guess the most popular camera phone? I guess it is too easy: the Apple iPhone. However the chart seems to show that the popularity has leveled off, after beating the Nokia N95 a while ago. I guess it is difficult for people to sustain interest in posting crappy low resolution photos even from a great phone.

Posted in Miscellaneous on April 29th, 2009. No Comments.

Amazon is now selling the Nikon D5000 and Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR Lens kit fulfilled by OneCall. The same thing is also available directly from OneCall. B&H has it in-stock as well.

If you’d like to get your hands on one to get a feel of it but cannot, Engadget has a dozen of photos from all possible angles for your to check it out.

If you are getting serious about photography, you may want to consider the D200. The $600 Bestbuy deal we mentioned a while ago appears to have come back again. The D200 has none of the ~20 scene modes that D5000 has. So you are forced to learn the real elements of the photography: ISO, aperture, shutter speed, etc.

Posted in Digital SLR Cameras, Photography Deals on April 27th, 2009. 2 Comments.

Nikon’s Senior Product and Software Manager, Michael Rubin, has been touring US cities to show people how to use Nikon Capture NX and how to establish a RAW workflow using Nikon Transfer and Nikon ViewNX. Now one of the places he gave classes, B&H, puts a complete set of the class videos online. The total length of the video is approximately 2 hours. So make yourself comfortable and enjoy!

Posted in Digital photography, Online Resources on April 23rd, 2009. 3 Comments.

Today, April 22, is the Earth Day! Digital photographers can certainly do something with their cameras to  show appreciation of the planet’s environment. This New York Times article reported some photography projects to promote environmental awareness.

In addition, check out the Earth Science Picture of the Day and Earth Day news around the globe.

Posted in Miscellaneous, News on April 22nd, 2009. No Comments.

The Best Imaging Products of 2009 awards of Technical Image Press Association (TIPA) were announced after votes by the editors of the 25 member photo magazines from 10 European countries.

Nikon won the best Advanced Digital SLR category with the HD video capable D90 and the best Professional Digital SLR category with the D3X. This is the second time in two years Nikon has had a double-win. Last year, Nikon’s D3 and D300 won the awards. The best entry level DSLR award went to Olympus Evolt E620. In the Digital SLR categories, Canon grabbed the Expert category winner with the EOS 5D Mark II.

The best Expert compact digital camera winner is Canon Powershot G10. The best digital compact award went to Fujifilm FinePix F200EXR. The best superzoom is won by the Sony Cybershot DSC-HX1. Looking for a tough camera? Olympus Stylus Tough-8000 won the tough compact category with its waterproof, shockproof, freezeproof, crushproof and shakeproof abilities.

The best entry level lens is the Sigma 18-250mm F3.5-6.3 DC OS HSM. Best expert lens is the Sony 70-400mm F4-5.6 G SSM. The best professional lens winner is the Canon TS-E 24mm f/3.5L.

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2 won the best Photo Software award.

The complete results can be found here on TIPA website.

Posted in News, Photography Gadgets on April 22nd, 2009. No Comments.

The built-in flash on your DSLR camera has many limitations such as short effective flash range, fixed coverage, etc. It may also be limited by the lens you use and the type of photography you want to do. One problem is that the light coming out of the flash may be blocked by the lens (or lens hood) when shooting subject at close range. That’s exactly what happened to a flickr user:

I’m having this problem of having shadows on my pictures whenever I take shots which is close-up and having less light. So I go with my built-in flash on my Nikon D90. I always use my hood lens for protection but I’m having these shadows bellow my pictures. What should I do? Should I change my hood lens or just remove it when there is less light? I’m using a 18-200mm lens and the hood lens that comes with it is pretty big. Please help. I need some tips.

Many others responded with suggestions to take off the lens hood (will help to a certain extend) or get an external flash. Indeed, an external flash such as Nikon SpeedLight SB-400, SB-600, SB-800, SB-900, and the macro photography centric R1C1, are great light sources for creative photography especially when used off-camera. It would be very easy to avoid the lens or lens hood shadow. Read More…

Posted in Photography DIY on April 21st, 2009. 1 Comment.

Gadget blog Gizmodo reported based on an anonymous insider tip that Bestbuy will have the Nikon D5000 on the shelves after this Friday, ahead of the official release date of May 1st. If you cannot wait to get your hands on it, you should start to check stores around your location.

In case you are looking for some pro grade gear, it might be too late for a great deal: the $600 Nikon D200 sale seems to have been over, the price just went back to $799.99. It might still come back though, since the sale has been on and off for a couple months.

Posted in Digital SLR Cameras on April 20th, 2009. No Comments.
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