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  Reviews by: Paul Simon  

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Nikon 17-55mm f/2.8G AF-S DX

Review Date: Jun 26, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Optical quality, nicely build-finished, acceptable size-weight given features
None I can think of

I moved from a D70 - 18-70 combo to a D2X - 17-55 one.
Still need experiencing more but looks like the later zoom perform as per the new sensor's expectations. The larger aperture is also very welcome in low light situations (very sharp wide open).
Fits very well on D2X. A bit short focal length on the high end (missing the extra 15mm from the 18-70).

Nikon D2Xs

Review Date: Jun 26, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Responsiveness, color rendition, file size, ergonomics, viewfinder, back screen, quality/finish of th product, battery life
Noise at high ISO similar to D70, NC to process RAW files useless on my computer (need serious computer package to fully support the camera). Battery smaller than the Canon ones, but charger way bulkier

Just like many around, I have been going the whole digital way up from the first days...Fujifilm MX700, Olympus E-10, Nikon D2X.
I have for the first time the impression that this later body is going to last for years.
I was about to bite the bullet to switch over to Canon for an Eos1d2...until the D2X came out.
And to be honest, for the use I make of a camera (candids, people, nature/landscape), the only feature I still see somehow superior on the other side is the high ISO performance (ISO 1600 noisy but somehow correctable, 3200 hardly usable to my taste), although since I bought a dream Gitzo tripod I hardly shoot above 400ISO anymore (but no I am not an indoor sport shooter).
Responsiveness is such that I can now forget completely about the camera, color rendition is fantastic, file size leaves plenty of room to crop if necessary, ergonomics is splendid (large buttons, and what a pleasure to so easily set mirror lock up, ISO or WB just to name a few), viewfinder is great (I am wearing glasses and still...), back screen and zooming capability really enables to judge the quality of the picture, battery is lasting forever (if only they could have made a smaller charger...).
I am using the body with a 12-24, 17-55, 70-200, 1.7x, and so far the results have been really up to my expectations.
Last but not least, good to think that combined with a 300 2.8 (still in my dreams though) and a 1.7x, and sturdy tripod, you can get a very decent 1020 4.5 (with high crop mode). Tempting as I always move around a lot and do not want to hand up with a 50lbs back pack.

Gitzo G1348 Inter Pro Studex Mk2 Carbon Fiber

Review Date: Jun 26, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $600.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Quality, Excellent compromise stability/weight-size (fantastic stability, reasonable size-weight), leg locks easy to handle. With G1321, ideal for serious panoramic work.
Nothing comes cheap...

Talking about photo gear, it is probably the tripod that made me read the most posts/articles on the web before purchase.
I wanted one I could not blame for blurry photos due to lack of stability, while still being packageable reasonably easily as often travelling by plane...
...I have to say I could not wish for a more stable tripod, and still can pack it and carry it along.
I rarely extend the last leg part (although being 6.2 feet tall) for extra stability.
Featured with a G1321 levelling base (although not light) and a RSS BH55 ball head, this is as close to perfection as I could have even been expecting from a tripod to do panoramic work.
Now just need to last for min 10 years to swallow the price (full package cost over 1100$S).