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"I'm not sure what you mean by "NEW designs specifically for digital photography". "
I meant special design for issues that influence image quality more likely with sensors compared to film i.e. flare, angle of light hitting the sensor, vignetting etc.
The N lenses have been improved in this respect. It is not just a bigger lens mount. Nikon introduced the DX system to be able to deliver higher resolution long term and to have less of a vignetting problem like with the older lenses.
I do not know how other manufacturers are dealing with it. It is for sure, if they do not do anything about it, that they will neither talk about any potential problems. They will not hurt themselves by making this an issue in the public. Canon talks only about sensors, since theay ra egood at it. But they do not say anything about what is important in the whole photography chain
Olympus obviously talks a lot about the necessity of a totally new design, since this is the main selling point of its E-System. So we are not sure, whether we can trust all these arguments. But I have read tests, in which only the second generation of 8MP Oly-DSLRS were able to show the potential of the new E-System lenses.
On the other hand, Dr. Nasse of Carl Zeiss wrote me once for our German Contax forum, that the marketing hype about telecentric design might be a little too strong, since it is not always needed THAT much even with DSLRs and the lenses of Olympus are also not THAT much telecentric
Pentax has to show us, how their older lenses will work with the new generation of 10MP sensors. I assume that all Pentax lenses of a newer design (within the last 5 years) are made to be sure to deliver satisfying quliaty even with 10MP or 20MP sensors.
I mean lets be honest. Even Leica does not want to have now fullfrmae with their lenses and even with a crop factor of 1.33 and M lenses, They want to change in the camera the vigentting habits of Leica M lenses on this sensor in jpeg images.
That just makes me think...
We all know, that the producers only want to sell, which is a fair desire. But knowing this, we have to be aware, that an apple might not be an apple, even if the industry is telling us this every year with ever model.
I remember all the famous photo magazines, who wrote with the presentation of a Canon 300D and Nikon D70: "Finally professional quality...". Unfortunately, they wrote the exact same thing 2 years earlier and 2 years later, always with different modesl. Whether it was 3MP, 6MP, 10MP or soon 15 MP. And if fullframe will be with every producers available, nobody talks about APS Sensor anymore. Or if MF will be more affordable, nobody will doubt anymore, thata ther is still a diffference between small 24x35 sensors an MF sensors - eben in small prints. Do you understand what I mean?
I think you wrote somthing similar a year ago here at Contaxinfo.com. Something with "lemmings". All users spending each year thousands of dollars and believe every year, that this is necessary.
I think I went now way off-topic. So just my 2 cents..
The attached link to a look at a brand new Pentax might be interesting to everyone and especially to you as a Pentax owner. It looks good but it is difficult to say what the lens attached to it is.
that sound interesting. o.95 magnification, 95% coverage. A pentaprism like in the "good old analogue times"
What size does the Pentax K-mount has? is it bigger than Nikon or Minolta?
Also the comments of Marc about old Pentax glass with a 6MP DSLRS sound good.
I sometimes wonder, whether I will really need the old fullframe dimension of 24x36. There are pros and cons about it. Within the last weeks, I made many photos with a Minolta 7D and 135/2.8 (Minolta). It has also a crop factor of 1.5. I like the results with this crop factor. I seem to tend at the moment more and more towards tele-lenses in my kind of snapshots. Maybe with kids it is easer not to be seen immediately.
Here are 3 of them during a Kindergarten party, standard Jpeg out of the camera, no postprocessing at all, slight cropping, in PSCS2 "save for web", 100% quality level. Camera: Maxxum 7D, 200mm (135mm FFL in analogue terms), all at @ 2.8:
ISO 125; 200mm @ F2.8; 1/300s
ISO 125; 200mm @ F2.8; 1/300s
ISO 400; 200mm @ F2.8; 1/30s. I do not remember anymore, but I guess with this last image, I had AntiShake turned on
I find it easier with many kids playing around to "pick" my shots with a tele-lens. But obviously these are only snapshots...
What I do not like with this crop factor, is the DOF. I would prefere to make sometimes other persons more "fade away" in the backgroundthan it is possible on the first image. I wanted to have the mother visible, but not that much. Distance mother/child is to close and I could not get closer to them to have a better DOF result...
Anyway, I go back and forth like everybody else nowadays. Every system has its pro and cons, none is perfect. But longterm decisions are difficult, if this means such huge investments for a DSLR system, if this is "old stuff" after 2 years...
What lovely spontaneous pictures - happy mums and kids. I'd not conciously seen pictures from the Minolta 7D before. They are very nice. I think the effect with a telephoto on that subject is good. They don't get self concious. I see what you mean about the dof with the smaller digital sensor. It looks like that is something we will have to live with without going full frame.
I like the look of that Pentax and am looking forward to being able to get hold of one to try but equally I like the look of the new Olympus and it neatly avoids the full frame question. I don't want to buy into a system and then want to change later on if a full frame model appears. I don't think the Olympus has anti shake though which is obviously useful as shown by your pictures although the new 4/3 Leica lens is anti shake I think. I'm looking forward to trying the Olympus as well and reading reviews.
I don't want to spend a fortune as I want to keep my Contax gear. They are all very expensive though in film camera terms, even related to what a Contax body used to cost new.
Yeah, Antishake is sometimes helpful. But it will be soon a feature which every brand will use. This year Pentax, Panasonic, Leica introduced it in their DSLRs. I am sure, others will follow, incl. Olympus. It is just a question of time.
I think we have to accept, that the DSLR you will buy this year, will not be your DSLR in 2-3 years. Too much of innovations are going on. Technology is not yet matured.
But if I were in your shoes, I would first think what kind of images you want to do.
Marc for ex&le is doing really great poeple shots with wideangles. I want to learn that too. But for this, you need very fast primes (F1.4) in the wideangle area and no crop factor.
Difficult to find for a good price nowadays. Minolta/Sony has nothing really good to offer here; I have no clou whether Zeiss will make something (they should IMHO) and how much a Sony fullframe will be next year, Contax N or Olympus have neither something interesting in this area. So you are left with Canon and Nikon as far as I can see it. Since Canon has fullframe already and if you have the money for a 5D, you can use it NOW.
Nikon will take some time still for fullframe, the others too. So this could be a "no go" for wideangle fans.
If you do not need wideangle that often, or at least not very fast wideangles, you have a lot more choice to select from...
I think I am leaning towards the E system for general purpose photography including street. For my landscapes I may stay with medium format and CZ 35mm and a scanner. I think that may be the best of both worlds but I shall want to see how the new Olympus does in low light and at high ISO speeds.
I don't want to buy into a system with lenses and all and then feel the need to replace the lot because the company has changed to full frame. I think the current full frame Canons will soon be updated to include anti dust and the 5D could be of more interest to me then- subject to price of course.
High ISO in the E-system will be always "worse" than high ISo with Canon fullframe or any kind of APS sensor, because of sensor size and pixel size (if you compare same MP sensors and use teh same noise reduction systems). So do not expect too much in this area from Olympus vs. the others.
On the other hand, not everybody needs the best high ISO performance for its own way of taking pictures. ISO 400 and ISO 800 is already now a lot better then in the analogue times - no matter which brand. It all depends on your images you have/want to take and under which conditions you can take them...
And as always, the "best" is the enemy of the "good" and spoils your meal, if you compare a Medium Format with Canon 1Ds II or with an E1
But there is also a price, weigth, lens choice and comfort issue as Marc wrote in another comment today. Different solutions for different needs. Same principle as in the old analogue times
There is another dimension to the equation that has to be factored in.
Redefined needs concerning post processing skill.
Like in the analog darkroom where skilled photographers got to know the limits of their films and knew how to expose for various lighting situations, then alter their processing techniques to get the maximum from the neg ... so does the digital photographer have to become familiar with the characteristics of their digital camera.
Many digital photographers using higher ISO settings don't expose correctly, fail to balance the light properly, and also fail to process the RAW file correctly. There are so many unskilled people shooting and processing these days that it can undermine what the camera maker has provided them, and the camera gets a bad rap.
Same with scanning neg film. Some horrible results from perfectly good films, and a scanner gets a bad rap.
Not that all these pieces of equipment are equal. It's just that few of them are really all that bad. Most will provide respectable results in skilled hands. So Dirk's statement that the best spoils you for the good, is quite true.
For ex&le, I am not a big fan of the Canon 5D (mostly for handling reasons) ... especially compared to my 1DsMKII. I also despise wide to short tele Canon zoom lenses, especially at the wider end where distortion is so bad it is amazing anyone buys them at all.
Yet in practical application I use a 5D and 24-105/4L for some wedding work where I need a smaller camera and the diversity of a long throw zoom. Because I know the faults of the camera and that specific lens I know how to get the most from it when shooting weddings and what to expect when post processing.
While I may hate the camera, the clients seem to love the photos I take with it and that zoom ... like this:
I find that very few clients are that bothered whether it is an AX, a 5D or and EOS, a RB67, a H2D/39 or a 124G as long as the results are great. They wouldn't remember next month anyway!
The real thing they remember is how great the photographer was, like your self.
Anyway I do think that it is time that you got some sleep this year!