B&H is offering the Nikon D7000 with an 18-200mm DX VR II lens and a lots of accessory’s including 50mm f/1.8D for $1496.95 which is a $550 savings. If you order by 4:30PM you should receive your camera in time for Christmas. There is a similar package on Amazon, but it doesn’t come with the 50mm lens and the battery grip.
The big names in the photography business are there for a reason and that reason is because they have consistently produced some of the best cameras in the history of photography. All the same, the question I get a surprising number of times is, “What is the best camera on the market?” That’s not a question anyone can answer. Best in what terms? Best for studio work? Best in a combat zone? Best family camera? Best value for the money? Best for a professional? Best for a beginner? There are different answers for all of those questions and sometimes a different answer between one person and the next.
A quick look around at 10 camera web sites will yield 10 different rankings with a bit of overlap. With so much variation in the rankings, how do you figure out which camera is right for you?
A survey by PC World does present some broad conclusions. An aggregate of other rankings, including here at Snapsort, does outline some interesting trends.
Canon and Nikon Are The Big Kids On The Block
The data taken together supports the perhaps obvious conclusion that Canon and Nikon are the big two, though the reasons for their popularity are quite different and challengers are evolving. Canon cameras are rated as being more reliable, with Nikon coming in 5th in the reliability survey, behind Canon, GE, Panasonic and Casio. Seriously, if you’re losing to Casio in reliability, maybe you need take a hard look at your QA/QC methodology.
Nikon ranks number one when it comes to owner satisfaction with their camera features, just edging out Canon for the number one spot. Yet Casio and Panasonic both score high marks and end up in the top five in both categories.
With their domination of the video market, it’s likely Canon will stay on top. Nikon was slow to react to the DSLR video trend and Canon carved out a nearly exclusive domain in the video space. Nikon has since improved their support for features like 24p, but with so many wedded to Canon glass and shaping their work flow around Canon, making headway into the video market is going to be slow going for any of the challengers. If Nikon has an edge to elbow into the video market it’s their lenses.
One thing to keep in mind is that one of the reasons it may be so hard to pick a “best” camera is that there are so many good contenders out there these days. If you have the talent, you can take almost any camera and take fantastic photos. Truly it’s little things that will make the biggest difference.
There’s a good reason for spending time with your camera’s instruction manual, because that’s where all the interesting tidbits of camera operation hide. A good 90% of people new to digital photography never take their cameras off the auto mode. Those people are missing out on a lot of interesting features.
Professional photographers are sometimes similarly unaware of features in their own cameras. Manufacturers get requests for features from users all over the world and accommodate those requests as often as they can.
Many 7D users don’t realize their 7D has some interesting tricks buried in menu options and behind buttons.
If you push the Info button on the back three times, you’ll find a digital level with both pitch and yaw readings. You never need a spirit level with a 7D, it’s already built in.
While most people know the digital zoom button on the back zooms the LCD screen when focusing video, many don’t know the same button allows you to digitally zoom still pictures in playback mode and then use the menu control button to pan around still images in the camera.
The 5D has a Camera Settings menu option that will record all your camera’s current settings and link those to the “C” mode on the menu dial. So, if you have a detailed camera setup for a specific type of shot, you can record all those options and call them back in an instant.
The D7000 has several interesting menu options. There’s the “Q” for quiet release mode that flips to the mirror up to get the shot, but leaves the mirror up until you release the shutter button to minimize noise.
Under the remote control settings there’s an option to raise the mirror before taking the shot for use with ultra-long zoom lenses where shutter mirror vibration might be an issue. In this setting the first step allows the mirror to flip up first, gives the camera time to stabilize, then fires the shutter.
The D7000 also has a 2nd IR receiver on the back when operating with the IR remote control.
Several models of the Nex have a featured called Smile Shutter, which triggers the shutter when the face detection feature sees everyone smiling. While it sounds hokey, more often than not people have more fun aping for the camera, trying to get the smile shutter to work.
Those gems and more await in your camera’s user manual. Find it, read it, enjoy, and share the tricks that you find with us.