Digital SLRs

I went out to dinner with my dad, and we stopped by Staples for a few minutes. While he looked at real stuff, I wandered down the camera aisle and was pleasantly surprised to find, for the first time ever, a Canon digital SLR that didn’t have dead batteries.

It had no storage medium, but allowed you to shoot and review images. So here are my first impressions:

  • My current camera is big. This is bigger. However, it’s hard to get a good feel for it because it has an enormous metal anti-theft thing and it’s chained down on top of that.
  • It has an 18-55mm lens. Nothing extraordinary, but 18mm, even on a non-full-frame camera, is awfully wide. 55mm isn’t exactly the 370mm (equivalent) mine goes out to, but it’s still good reach.
  • You get great tactile feedback. You half-press the shutter and the AF sensors being used are illuminated. You press it down the rest of the way and hear a real click from the camera, as opposed to it playing an obnoxious ‘film advance’ sound effect.
  • Since it’s got a real lens on a real sensor, you can play with depth of field. With a nice wide aperture, I took a shot of another camera on the display, and was pleased that everything but what I focused on was blurred.
  • Zooming via lens ring is far, far more intuitive than zooming via W/T buttons.
  • It goes up to ISO 1600, which would be quite handy in low-light situations. I didn’t have time, nor good resources, to see how the images looked at that setting.
  • The flash is ‘intelligent.’ I didn’t pay it much attention at first, but I noticed that it was flipped up after a few well-illuminated shots. It was firing at very low strength for a nice fill-light. It wasn’t a blinding flash that leaves the foreground blown out and the background black as I’ve come to expect from cameras. But then again, $900 of camera had better have a decent flash…

I’m not at a point where I can justify spending $900 on a camera (not including the few grand I’d want to sink into additional, longer lenses), but I can say with certainty that if I did have $900 to sink into a camera, I would have bought it on the spot. (Actually I would have found it cheaper online. But that’s not the point.)

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