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Friday, August 1, 2008

D-SLRs For The Landscape

Choose the best camera for your landscape photography

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Canon EOS 40D
Sometimes, it’s the simplest things. The EOS 40D has lots of great features, and one of our favorites is the ability to set exposure compensation merely by rotating the Quick Control Dial on the camera back—no need to hunt for and press an EC button first (although sometimes it would be helpful to have more than the ±2 stops of EC provided). The multi-controller above the QC dial makes selecting menu items and AF points quick and easy.

Beyond that, the 40D turns out excellent image quality, thanks in part to its 10.1-megapixel Canon CMOS sensor, DIGIC III image processor and 14-bit A/D conversion. There’s a Landscape PIC mode, which sets the camera for typical landscape shots, but most landscape photographers will use the Picture Styles instead. Picture Styles let you start with a preset (Standard, Portrait, Landscape, Neutral, Faithful or Monochrome); then you adjust contrast, sharpness, color saturation, color tone, filter and toning to your taste. A handy Picture Styles button accesses the PS menu at a touch. (If you shoot RAW format, you can change the Picture Style later in the computer using the supplied Digital Photo Professional software.)

Sensor: 10.1-megapixel CMOS, 1.6x
LCD: 3.0 inches/Live View Anti-Dust: High-frequency vibrations
Stabilization: Via IS lenses ISO Range: 100-1600, plus 3200
Spot Metering: 3.8%
Estimated Street Price: $1,150
Other features of interest to landscape shooters include Highlight Tone Priority (which maintains detail in high-contrast situations), a 3.0-inch LCD monitor with Live-View capability and handy grid lines (you even can route the live image to a laptop monitor and operate the camera from the computer using Canon EOS Utility software), a self-cleaning image-sensor assembly that keeps dust spots out of your images (especially important when shooting stopped down and including large sky areas in shots), a mirror lockup custom function to eliminate blur due to mirror slap and a 3.8% spot-metering mode.

The exposure lock and AF selector buttons on the EOS 40D double as magnification in playback—great for checking critical focus The control dial makes it easy to set exposure compensation
The accessory power booster doubles shooting capacity
The 3-inch LCD is bright and vivid and features Live-View
The mode dial offers instant access to all of the shooting modes. On the other side of the camera, the LCD panel illuminates for
edge-of-day landscape shooting
Canon offers more than 50 lenses for EOS cameras, and the 40D can use all of them. Focal lengths range from a 10-22mm superwide zoom (equivalent to 16-35mm on a 35mm camera) and 15mm fish-eye (24mm equivalent) to an 800mm supertelephoto (equivalent to 1280mm on a 35mm camera), including three true macro lenses and three manual-focus TS-E tilt/shift lenses that add some of the perspective-control capabilities of a view camera.

Alternative Landscape D-SLR
Camera: Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III
Sensor: 21.1 MP/FF
LCD: 3 inches/Live View
Anti-Dust: Vibration
Stabilization: With IS lenses
ISO: 50-3200
Spot Metering: 2.4%
Estimated Street Price: $8,000
Lineage: The EOS 40D is Canon’s latest mid-line model, improving on its excellent EOS 30D predecessor in many ways, including 10.1 megapixels (vs. 8.2), a 3.0-inch Live-View LCD monitor (vs. a 2.5-inch LCD without Live View), a maximum shooting rate of 6.5 fps (vs. 5 fps), a self-cleaning image sensor, a DIGIC III image processor and 14-bit A/D conversion (vs. a DIGIC II and 12-bit conversion), and all nine AF points are now cross-types (only the central point was in the 30D).

Cool Factor: The top Canon model that can use all EF and EF-S lenses, the EOS 40D can handle everything from wide-angle vistas to distant details.


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