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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Would Ansel Adams Use A DSLR?

If Ansel Adams were shooting digital, would a DSLR be his tool of choice? We look at the requirements of a serious landscape shooter and see if today’s best cameras are up to the challenge.

Labels: Gear

This Article Features Photo Zoom

16 Megapixels

At the 16-megapixel base level of our high-megapixel lineup, we find the greatest variety, from an all-out pro camera capable of shooting at 10 fps, through the two models with the best “Landscape” ratings in DxOMark’s testing, to an entry-level model with the lowest list price of the cameras cited here.

Canon EOS-1D Mark IV. Aimed at action shooters (a favorite of bird photographers), the Mark IV can shoot its 16.1-megapixel images at 10 fps, with an AF system that can keep up. But it also offers a lot to the landscape specialist, including excellent image quality and super-rugged weatherproof construction. The sensor’s 1.3x “crop” factor means the Mark IV provides a wider angle of view with any given focal length than the APS-C cameras do (although not as wide as a full-frame camera). Images are saved on CompactFlash (UDMA 6-compatible) or SD/SDHC cards. The viewfinder shows 100% of the actual image—great for precise compositions—and you also can compose via the 3.0-inch, 920,000-dot LCD monitor. Video features are the same as for the EOS 7D. The Mark IV can use all Canon EF and TS-E lenses, but not EF-S lenses, which were designed specifically for the smaller APS-C sensors. Estimated Street Price: $4,999.

Nikon D7000. Nikon’s newest DSLR (as of this writing), the 16.2-megapixel D7000 is an attractively priced APS-C DSLR with excellent still image quality (thanks in part to EXPEED 2 14-bit processing) and full HD video capability. The compact body is rugged and dust- and weather-resistant, with a glass pentaprism viewfinder that shows approximately 100% of the actual image area, and a 3.0-inch, 921,000-dot live-view LCD monitor. A Virtual Horizon Graphic Indicator helps you keep the camera level during live-view operation. All live-view operation is mirror-up, but the D7000 also includes a mirror prelock to reduce vibrations during optical-viewfinder shooting. Dual slots for SD/SDHC/SDXC cards provide plenty of storage capacity for large RAW files. The D7000 can use all current AF Nikkor lenses, plus the manual-focus PC-E tilt-shift lenses and many other Nikon lenses. Estimated Street Price: $1,199.

Pentax K-5. Pentax’s highest-pixel-count “35mm” DSLR, the 16.3-megapixel K-5 also scored highest in the “Landscape” segment of DxOMark’s sensor ratings despite its APS-C sensor. This weather-, dust- and cold-resistant model features a rugged, compact and full-featured body with buttons and dials that allow more direct-setting of features than most current DSLRs for quick and simple operation. The K-5 can record RAW images in Pentax’s proprietary PEF format or Adobe’s “universal” DNG format. Sensor-shift shake reduction that works with all lenses and an improved in-camera HDR feature make it possible to shoot HDR landscapes handheld when necessary. The eye-level pentaprism viewfinder shows 100% of the actual image area, as does the 3.0-inch, 921,000-dot LCD monitor in Live View mode. A built-in electronic level helps you keep the horizon level. The K-5 can shoot 1080p full HD video at 25 fps (plus 720p HD at 25 or 30 fps and 640x480 SD at 25 or 30 fps), with mono sound via a built-in microphone or stereo sound via an optional external mic. Like all Pentax DSLRs, the K-5 can use virtually any Pentax-mount lens, even (via adapters) medium-format ones. Estimated Street Price: $1,599.


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