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  Reviews by: mark petri  

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Nikon D300

Review Date: Dec 18, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,799.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Excellent build and feel, much the same as the D200 was. However, rock solid AF, live view, improved speed, and noise performance make this 12MP body a monster. Many folks dismiss live view, but I find it one of the nest new features in quite a while-- looms large in macro work.
Coming from a 5D, the images appear a little soft, but sharpen well with USM. Besides that, Nikon should include the software for tethered shooting... Many kudos to canon for that.

Said it all in the pros/cons. Exc body and will perform...

If your in the nikon camp, you won't be disappointed one bit with this camera.

Canon EOS 5D

Review Date: May 6, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,800.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: full frame, IQ
Control Layout

I've held off writing this review until now-- around 10k shutter releases and 6 months using it or so. Also, as a former Nikon shooter and given Bob's recent review as a former d200 owner, I approach the review from that angle. Perhaps a point or will touch a nerve with someone of the fringe out there and you may not agree with, but it's my review and I'll stand by it 100%.

Background-- simple, for the most part a 20 year nikon owner, owned the d200 with a pro assortment of lenses. Enthralled with the notion of returning to FF, which along with last year's double rebate, led me to give the 5d a go. Personally, i don't give a hoot about canon or nikon per se', I care about my photography and making images.

I will also preface my opinions with the fact the my favorite SLR body was the F100, which fit my hand like a glove. The D200 is modeled after it for the most part, which imho is the perfection in terms of ergonomics.

Now the 5D. As, I mentioned, I really loved the notion of returning to full frame with digital and scooped up the 5d once the large rebates took effect.

The positives are that the IQ, detail, and noise control are all top notch-- absolutely superb! Although the D200 IQ was also darn good, I feel that the 5d edges it out when you look closely. If someone was primarily shooting for web display and lower resolution though, they would probably see very little if any difference.

The only downside to the 5d is the handling. Coming from Nikon, I find the control layout an annoyance and while I'm quite familiar with all the controls, shooting is certainly not nearly as fluid as with the D200. In terms of the common bash of being a dust magnet: I had a "dirty" body from the dealer in terms of excessive dust in the viewfinder, which I promptly exchanged. Since then, I've had no real issue of dust of excessive grime on the censor. In fact, I've only used my blower to this point. I consider this a non-factor assuming you didn't have a dust magnet to begin with. In terms of another common bash (EOS flash), I use the 580EX and it's perfectly fine-- does what I expect, no issue at all there.

Overall, it's a super camera. In terms of IQ, the camera won't be the limiting factor in terms of your photography. In terms of compare/contrast with the d200, you get a little better IQ with the 5D at the cost of ergonomics and slightly better build quality in the D200. Ergonomics is a personal thing tho, and you may or may not find this to be an issue. By no means does the 5D have bad ergonomics-- I would say it is good in this dept. However, the D200 is nearly perfect imho.

So would I recommend this body? it depends on your situation:

#1. if your a demanding/experienced photographer (new to digital or a canon user): ABSOLUTELY.
#2. if your a D200 owner now and just curious: No, unless there is some other compelling reason to switch (i.e. optics).
#3. a novice thinking it will help your photography: ABSOLUTELY NOT. FF or high end won't help you in the least except make you broke perhaps.
#4. If you like shooting long telephotos: NO. Having a cropped sensor extends your reach for free Smile Sport shooters won't be lining up for the 5d.

In terms on periphery and for those thinking of switching from nikon:

Ironically, the body (FF) got me to switch, but I'm a little quirky and prefer my 24mm, 35mm, 50mm, etc prices to be just that. For the non-quirky of you, I can safely say it's not worth switching over for FF. However, I'm quite satisfied that I switched as I ended up liking the canon glass choices more than nikon ... and my 35mm is actually 35mm Smile

Summary impressions: (i.e. canon vs. nikon):

Body: I would opt for a D200 over the 5D given the ergonomics and price differential in a vacuum (i.e. no other considerations).


Telephoto: big + for canon. Besides the nikon 200-400 VR f4, canon's long tele offering is better by at least an order of magnitude. Where both companies have the same offering, I find the quality/performance about a dead draw (e.g., 70-200 f2.8 IS vs. 70-200 f2.8 VR). Canon has many more long tele offering tho... amazing choices and reasonable prices.

Pro primes: about even

Pro zooms-- slight edge to canon

Consumer zooms-- nikon by a wide margin, but I'm not interested personally in consumer zooms.

Both companies are top notch in terms of support, responsiveness, etc. Some minor issues about canon accessory pricing (e.g, shutter release), but nothing really worth griping about.

There you have it, good luck!

Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM

Review Date: May 2, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,050.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: sharpness, size, focal length coverage.

The equal of the 24-70's IQ, but less size and weight. Equates to a superb lens, perhaps the perfect walkaround companion for your body.

I don't consider the f4 a negative when comparative shopping as you gain IS (vs. the 24-70) and weigh the pros and cons prior to buying, not afterward.

I owned and liked the 24-70 quite a bit, but sold it soon after I got to try out the 24-105 and haven't looked back once. Highly recommended for a zoom.