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Nikon D300s and D3000 Press Release Review

Today, or possibly yesterday as I don’t care enough to check, Nikon announced two cameras. Since reading a press release is all I actually need to do to write a review in 2009, here we go.

First we have the Nikon D3000, Nikon’s delayed response to the Canon 1000D. That adds another camera to the surprisingly lucrative aprox. $500 market. Honestly, I had a heavy lunch and am too lazy to study the specs, but it looks like every single cheap DSLR camera out on the market. Big LCD screen, long battery life, picture styles, small, etc. There really is only one selling point, and that it is it’s a Nikon and it’s gonna cost $500 retail. Oh, and the shutter is rated for 100k, and that’s pretty freaking sweet.

Says the battery is rated for 550 shots per charge, but that’s with a VR lens with the flash fired at full power every other shot. I could probably get 1000 shots out of it the way I shoot.

Then we have the Nikon D300s, which is a camera I remember telling people would probably not come out. This is an excellent reason why you shouldn’t read my reviews.

Now, the D300s is a lot cooler, giving you 7fps without one of those lame grips, better AF and HD video for $1500 (guessing). I wrote about HD video in DSLRs (have never used it, am a huge fan) in my 500D press review. It also has dual slots, which was previously the domain of pro cameras of lore. Looks like a solid upgrade, if this were a car we’d be calling this a facelift. Probably not a worthy upgrade if you have a D300, but if you’re looking for a crop Nikon, this is the one to get.

I would probably be all over this if I wanted a crop camera and had Nikon glass. I don’t, thank god.

Filed under: reviews

Nikon D5000 Press Release Review

Right on Canon’s heels, where they’ve been for 6 of the past 7 years anyway, Nikon released a brand spanking new DSLR last week. To be honest, I don’t really get it. Looking at ye olde list o’ functions, the tilt and swivel LCD is pretty much the biggest change over it’s life partner, the D90. And it seems to be the only change for the better.

Before I go on, I would like to give Nikon a special medal for fucking with version numbers, even more than camera makers usually do. The scale goes something like this: D3, D700, D300, D90, D5000, D60. Canon has its shit messed up, with the Rebel thing, but at least I know that a small number means a more expensive/feature packed camera. With Nikon I need a little list or a photo nerd to tell me. Good thing there’s so many of them. Photo nerds, not lists.

When this little bad boy came out, I thought Nikon was following Canon’s lead, putting video into a low end body. Surprise, surprise, they didn’t. What they did was they took a D90, made it a bit smaller and lighter, put in a darker viewfinder, removed the AF motor so all the non-AF-S or AF-I lenses wouldn’t auto-focus, added a swivel LCD display – a shittier one than in the D90 mind you – then cut the MSRP by about $100. According to dpreview, that translates to a retail price difference of nothing dollars and zero cents.

I’d like to also thank dpreview for comparing the D60 with the D5000. A comparison between a camera that retails for $470 and one that’s sold for $850 is obviously the best one to make.

So, yeah, it only took a year for tilt-swivel LCD. Otherwise, check out the D90 press release review that I’ve never written.

Filed under: reviews

Canon Rebel T1i/500D Press Release Review

Since reviewing press releases is like half of what passes for online photography journalism right now, I might as well get in on it, ya hurd?

It’s as inevitable as the tide, every time Nikon or Canon release a new camera, the trans-intertube butthurt extravaganza commences. All over blogs and forums, self-styled expert photographers dismiss the new features and functions of cameras they’re going to buy anyway. Mad that, once again, none of the 4 or 5 bodies made by either company fits their exact shooting style. “Why isn’t this dedicated studio camera made from a diamond-titanium alloy!?”, they ask before making a joke about how their wife won’t let them buy it anyway. Ha-ha, you’re so funny!

In a big ol’ fuck you to PMA, Canon released the Rebel T1i/500D a couple weeks later, and what can I say – it’s a Rebel, what the hell were you expecting? The days of revolution are over, it’s all evolution now in pseudo-35mm land. It looks like one of the previous Rebels, I think. I’m not really sure what they look like. No second dial, you set all the options on that big LCD on the back, nothing new here.

What’s new is the HD video. It’s a shame dudes crippled it the way they did, with that 20fps 1080P mode. On the other hand, if your main camera costs $600, do you really need 1080P? What you have here is a $600 (that’s how much the XSi is right now) HD movie camera. How fucking awesome is that? You get a sensor the size of a movie frame, changeable lenses and high quality 3200 ISO for $600! Goddddamn.

It has all the limitations of using a film camera: short max clip run time, it requires external audio so you’ll have to have a dude clapping to mark it, it requires a tripod, etc. You actually have to shoot video like it’s on purpose. You can’t videocam it, shoot a 3 hour take and cut it down to 15 minutes, you actually have to plan ahead. As someone who watches that stuff later, that’s not a bad thing.

My prediction on who’s going to buy this: anybody who was going to buy a Rebel anyway and film students.

And possibly Ken Rockwell.

Filed under: reviews