Choosing the right DSLR camera26. Feb. 2007. Choosing the right DSLR camera is not that easy, if you go to a photo shop. Here are som advice, based on my knowledge and experience on the subject.
You should read the test in the latest issue of Pop Photo Magazine. They tested five popular DSLR models from Canon, Nikon, Sony, Pentax and Samsung (the last two ones identical cameras, a bit strange choice).
Nikon D80 was the winner. It is the best camera in this segment (sub $1000). This confirms my opinion. Nikon D80 is complete - everything works perfectly, and it is a great camera from any point of view. You are sorry not to find the sensorcleaning shake and the image stabilizing CCD-shift functions found in other models. But in the test D80 scores very well in all categories, and this makes it a winner.
Nikon D80 is more expensive than other models, but Pop Photo concludes that the $200 are well spent. The price tag is a little higher, but the camera is a lot better.
I personally think that Nikon D80 is a great camera. There are other great cameras, but D80 is very "whole" - no functions has been cut off, it has two command dials, as any camera should have. It is neither too small or too light; a DSLR is not a pocket camera, and you get a better ergonomics with a classical sized camera like D80. My own three years old D70 is even slightly bigger than D80, and I love it.
Nikon's problem is not technology - they have the best engineers and they know all about producing the best cameras and lenses. What they lack is marketing power. Companies like Canon and Sony sell mass comsumption products with high marketing power. Nikon sell professional photographic products.
You do not find L-rated optics with red bands in the Nikon lens program. They neither have a Digic 5XL+ processor. They just perform without all the hype and branding.
It is going be interesting to follow if Nikon is able to survive against Canon and Sony. I certainly hope so.