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Canon EOS 20D

Review Date: Oct 15, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,500.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Rapid startup time, fast/accurate focusing, light weight in sturdy mag. alloy frame. encoding in Adobe RGB, RAW+Jpg in 2 separate files, superb resolution and very low noise even in 1600iso, continuous shooting burst rate, large memory buffer
Funky mirror lockup sequence, no ISO in viewfinder, 1.6x magnification factor for lens (wish it had been 1.3), wish it took advantage of the write acceleration found in Lexar media cf's. Why does Canon STILL breakup files into separate folders on the CF card???

Well, I made the plunge and after starting with Canon in the mid 70's and switching to Nikon in the early 80's am now finally back with Canon again. This camera replaces the Fuji S2 I've been using for the past 2 years and although the S2's are wonderful cameras (much better than the Nikon digitals that are out IMHO), I'd have to give this camera a oneup on the S2 for build quality and a few other Canon specific functions. The 8.2mp is superb but playing the megapixel game won't always yield the finest photos. Along with the mp rating, this camera is excellent in dynamic range and shadow detail. In the short time I've had this I've done several 20x30 enlargements (even using the worst way possible by doing a straight bicubic enlargement in photoshop from 8x12 292dpi to 20x30 300dpi...I usually use a multiple step method in Genuine Fractals to do this but for the sake of time and worst case scenario, went this route) and the detail holds remarkably!
I do like the B&W functionality of this too and the ability to select the type of BW filtration. I've compared this to doing a conversion using the channel mixer in PS and found the camera to be just as good in most circumstances.
All in all I cannot say enough good things about it. There are, of course, some things that would have made it even sweeter but for $1500, this camera has what's needed!
Way to go Canon!

Fuji FinePix S2 Pro

Review Date: Mar 30, 2003 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,100.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: 12mp in-camera interpolation Firewire connection Great software package Uses standard AA batteries Based (as with D100) on the Nikon N80 body Dual card storage slots (PC I II and Smartmedia) External flash synch port for studio strobes Uses all Nikkor lenses that D100 uses include AFS and VR 100-1600 ISO with minimal noise at 1600 Fuji has wonderful support
No mirror lockup Can't add a vertical grip with shutter release Some custom ballhead plates not yet available Can only assign sRGB color space if you don't use RAW Uses FAT storage format vs. Fat 32 on the D100 and Canon bodies.

I'm a Nikon user and tested this against the D100 extensively before purchasing. I didn't need the heavydutyness of the D1x series nor the high continuous shooting rates.
The in-camera 12mp interpolation is based on Fuji's "Super CCD" technology where the pixels are arrange in a honeycomb pattern vs. the standard grid format of most CCD cameras. There IS a difference in picture quality.

The same photo shot at 12mp RAW mode on the S2 vs the 6mp RAW mode on the D100, same lens, same time of day, same exposure, yielded a sharper 20x30 after enlarged with Genuine Fractals than the D100 was able to produce.

The benefits you get with this camera is worth the extra price you pay.

I highly recommend it. This weekly assignements photo was made with this camera.

Nikon 80-200mm f/2.8D ED AF

Review Date: Mar 30, 2003 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,499.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Super sharp and quiet (AFS version) Nice contrast
A bit heavy Drop in filters would have been nice and VR would have been even better

Just a wonderful lens if you have a Fuji S1/S2 or newer Nikon body.
The photo on the weekly assignments page here, was made with this lens and an S2.

Nikon 17-35mm f/2.8D ED-IF AF-S

Review Date: Mar 30, 2003 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,499.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Extremely sharp and wonderful contrast. AFS is nearly silent and 2.8 all the way through the range
A little heavy. $$$$

This has become the main lens on my Fuji S2 and has performed flawlessly and delivered tack-sharp images every time. In test done against the normal, non-ED zooms there is a definite difference in picture quality.

Even though this costs as $1500, in the end, it is worth it. One could be the most visionistic shooter in the world but without good glass such as this, that vision will always be just slightly dulled.

I'd highly recommend this lens. It works as well on my F5 as on the S2.