by on May 26, 2015

in consumer

Shopping for a camera - a Canon EOS 7D

Buying A New Camera Can Be Mind Boggling

This report/experience comes from around mid-2014, and is an observational consumer experience based on my focusing on three brands of camera only: Sony, Nikon and Canon. If you’re looking for the all around review of all the cameras out there, this is not it, but my source links throughout the article do point to full table reviews of the various brands.

And cutting straight to the chase, what you buy is what you are willing to deal with or what you want to learn. You can stick with some great P&S cameras, you can take the middle road that has lots of settings but you are backed up by automatic settings, or go completely manual and “man up” about using your camera!!

As it stood at that moment, I used a Sony H90 and an Olympus E-530. Each one has it’s strengths and as you get better with your photography and start wanting more, you start to realize what you’re lacking with what’s in your inventory.

The Olympus E-530 was a great starter SLR on a budget. I bought it and 2 lenses for around $700. It’s been a fine experience, but in the end, well, you know the saying… you get what you pay for.

With a slow focusing system that can barely keep up with moving objects, a moderate performer in low light and the inability to focus on infinity, I was just starting to get what’s up or not with the camera.

I mean hey, when I’m at Comic-Con, and the guy next to me can pull out his Nikon and focus on a subject up on stage and take a pic quickly was impressive. While my digital Olympus starts flashing its strobe across the room because that’s how it helps itself focus in low light. And when you fire off a strobe in a darkened room full of fans does NOT make you very popular person. Sigh.

A while back I tried selling my E-530 to a camera store that buys cameras but got a quick education on how Olympus bailed on the full-sized SLR market or some such excuse to not buy my camera, while the store was snatching up Nikons and Cannons left and right.

So my consumer trust in Olympus was shaken and it’s hard for me to come back from that.

I’ve owned the original Pentax K-1000 and an Olympus OM-10 SLR film cameras. I have no clue where the K-1000 went and the OM-10 is collecting dust, probably destined for the trash pile. (I’m not planning on going back to film.)

As far as point and shoots go, my first one was a Sony DSC P-150, and for what it was, it was an incredible and fast little camera.

My excellent consumer experience with the P-150 led me to my next small camera purchase of the Sony H90.

The Sony H90 is an incredible picture taking point and shoot. It captures incredible detail for a JPEG camera, it seemingly does well with colors, and the zoom feature and its capabilities are breath-taking, considering that I can focus in on things over 1/2 a mile away and still get a quality image out of it.

The natural zoom is great, and the digitally enhanced zoom is absolutely amazing.

If you like family pics and scenic images, this camera is to die for.

But… the camera is slow to turn on and adjust to the scene it’s pointed at. Unlike the P-150, where I could turn it on and point it out the window and click a quick shot within a second or two (set on infinity) if need be, the H90 can’t come close to that experience. It tries to do everything and is too too slow for a quickie snapshot.

Not to mention that reading and writing to the memory card is painfully slow (especially around fast moving objects) and it’s burst rate is a blazing 1 FPS. Yea, hold your breath.

The other day, I was watching someone take pictures of my professional disc dog, and his camera’s shutter sounded like a machine gun going off. (Albeit it, a very quiet machine gun.)

That’s when I realized I needed to consider upgrading either my SLR or my point and shoot. Because these days with all the disc dog competitions I go to, I’m getting tired of pointing at a spot in the grass and snapping a single pic of a dog going by, then waiting for almost a second for the camera to record the pic then be ready to take the next shot. That is slightly unacceptable and does not cut it when your dog is close to world-record setting speeds in some events.

My primary thought up until then had been to see what I can get for a small point and shoot model. With technology these days cranking out better cameras in smaller packages, that makes considering the P&S cameras easier to do.

But as you start delving into the research, you start realizing that if you’re willing to drop $500-1200 on a small pocket camera, why not start looking back at the mid-sized digital SLR cameras?

My first thought was that since Nikon and Cannon are THE SLR camera systems on the market, that I thought I’d consider what they make for small pocket cameras. And since I love the various results I’ve had with my Sony’s, to keep that brand in my search window for Point-and-Shoots.

Plus, there’s the added bonus that according to sources Nikon uses Sony’s sensor technology in some of their cameras, so this gives a leg up for me in my quest.

The options are crazy, the number of cameras that come out each year from each brand is enough to keep you crazy, and their short comings are that which either speaks to your own needs or fears.

And therein lies my concerns.

My two best resources for looking at cameras, their features and words of review, I felt, are PC Mag camera reviews and DP Reviews.

I’ve been asking around with people whose work I’ve seen and dang it if opinion is not split down the middle on who uses what, between Nikon and Cannon. I figured that knowing about ten or fifteen people that shoot SLRs all the time, I could capture a trend between them, but nooo, it was not going to be that easy.

So there I sat, wondering. If I stay focused on budget, I’ll probably get another P&S with decent to good zoom capabilities and decent burst rates.

If I dare to bust out a buck, I might go for one of the lighter SLR’s, probably a bridge camera, that does not have a mirror system, but more of an image capturing system like my smartphone or P and S.

Though to be honest, I can’t use my Motorola (Lenovo) DROID X phone as any kind of example these days. The thing is getting slower and slower to load, fire, snap and record, in what I deem, is an amazing curiosity. Unless you don’t mind a two to ten second delay of hitting the shutter button and actually getting the pic.

Just saying.

And that’s my battle.

AT that moment, according the “Editor’s Choices” at PC Mag, I have the following compact or Point-and-shoot cameras to think about:

“The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 II compact camera offers a few worthwhile upgrades when compared with the original RX100, but comes in at a higher asking price.

Canon’s PowerShot A1400 is a capable, easy-to-use point-and-shoot camera that can capture sharp images in good light. And it’ll only set you back about $100.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1 is the smallest full-frame camera you can find right now, and while it pumps out gorgeous images, its price is likely to induce sticker shock. ($2800)

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 packs a relatively huge 1-inch image sensor into a point-and-shoot body, delivering close-to-SLR-quality images from a camera you can fit in your back pocket. It’s expensive, but worth it. ($550)

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX150 is a svelte point-and-shoot with a long 10x zoom lens. It produces sharp photos and does well at high ISOs, but more serious shooters may be turned off by the lack of physical control buttons. ($350)

The Nikon Coolpix AW100 is a rugged point-and-shoot camera that, while a bit on the pricey side, captures sharp images and can take quite a beating without a hiccup. ($300)”


As far as SLR’s go, here’s their latest takes:

“If you’re in the market for a serious D-SLR, but don’t want to go full-frame, the Nikon D7100 is the way to go; it’s our Editors’ Choice camera in its category. ($1200)

The Canon EOS 6D is a top-notch full-frame camera in a compact body. With a relatively affordable price, enthusiast-friendly features, and spectacular image quality, it’s an easy Editors’ Choice. ($1900)

The Nikon D4 is a pro shooter’s dream, with controls galore, and a big, bright optical viewfinder. This fully loaded full-frame D-SLR rattles off shots at a quick 10 frames per second, but all of this comes with a rather high sticker price and a steep learning curve. ($4500)

The Nikon D5100 offers a fantastic mix of still-image and video-recording quality, along with plenty of features including top-notch in-camera effects. This well-rounded shooter is an easy Editors’ Choice for under-$1,000 D-SLRs. ($700)

The Canon EOS Rebel T2i pumps out beautiful pictures and boasts full-featured 1080p video recording options that were previously only available with D-SLRs twice its price. ($700)”


– – –

Over on DPreview.com, I took a look at these three brands and how they’ve sorted out their perspectives on them.


Nikon D610 (Mar 12, 2014)
Nikon D600 (Nov 13, 2012)
Nikon D7100 (Apr 25, 2013)
Sony SLT-A99 (Dec 12, 2012)
Nikon D800E (Jun 11, 2012)
Canon EOS 70D (Oct 31, 2013)
Canon EOS 6D (Feb 12, 2013)
Sony Alpha 7R (Feb 13, 2014)
Nikon D800 (Jun 11, 2012)
Canon EOS 5D Mark III (May 22, 2012)
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 (Mar 20, 2014)
Sony Alpha 7 (Jan 22, 2014)
Nikon D7000 Review (Nov 30, 2010)


and compacts:

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 (Mar 20, 2014)
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1 (Feb 19, 2013)
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 II (Sep 23, 2013)
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 (Aug 28, 2012)
Canon PowerShot G15 (Nov 21, 2012)
Canon PowerShot G1 X (Mar 29, 2012)
Nikon Coolpix A (Jun 6, 2013)
Nikon Coolpix P7700 (May 29, 2013)
Nikon Coolpix P510 (Jul 5, 2012)
Canon PowerShot S90 Review (Apr 8, 2010)
Nikon Coolpix AW110 (Jul 5, 2013)
Canon PowerShot S100 (Dec 22, 2011)


– – –

If I were a pragmatic man, then I’d look at the common models between the two sites. With that idea in mind, you would think, removing my emotions, that I have the following models to consider:


Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 II (Sep 23, 2013)
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1 (Feb 19, 2013)
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 (Aug 28, 2012)


Nikon D7100 (Apr 25, 2013
Canon EOS 6D (Feb 12, 2013)


Then, if I were to look at Amazon, and judge these brands via user ratings (Score and how many contributed to the score), it gets a little more confusing, but gives me a slightly better read on the human experience.

I also have to consider some wise words from a photographer I respect, in which he uses a Canon 60D but wanted a Canon 7D. But his choice was forced by better button access. So to add to my above list, I’m adding a Canon 7D to my crazy pursuit. His reference to the 7D was with regard to auto focus and tracking fast objects. (Number of focus points and balancing out neighboring focus points.)

On Amazon:

  • Sony DSC-RX100M II Cyber-shot Digital Still Camera 20.2MP 4.3/5, 132 reviews, $700
  • Sony DSC-RX1/B Cyber-shot Full-frame Digital Camera, 4.4/5, 86 reviews, HOLY MOTHER OF… $2800.
  • Sony DSC-RX100/B 20.2 MP, 4.5/5, 450 reviews, $550.

  • Nikon D7100 24.1 MP DX-Format CMOS Digital SLR with 18-105mm; 4.6/5, 374 reviews, $1500.
  • Canon EOS 6D 20.2 MP CMOS Digital SLR Camera with 3.0-Inch LCD and EF24-105mm IS Lens; 4.7/5, 381 reviews, $2500.
  • Canon EOS 7D 18 MP CMOS Digital SLR Camera with 3-Inch LCD and 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS UD Standard Zoom Lens ; 4.5/5, 508 reviews, $1600.

So now all that there was left for me to do was look at specs, maybe visit a camera store, see what calls me, and pull the trigger, or snap the shutter as a photographer would say!

And what did I end up with?

I snagged a Canon EOS 7D and I’ve been very happy with it. Graduating from a P&S user to a “photographer” is a challenging but rewarding task. Sure, there is a bit of a learning curve but I feel like it is worth having the control over your own photos. And at times, when you wanna say, eff it, let’s just snap it, the P&S will always be ready for use, or carry around town or back and forth to work, rather than the bulkier DSL.

NOW the downside is that unlike Nikon, I picked a camera that has no “running man” symbol on it. In fact, it has no shortcut symbols. YOU WILL BE LEARNING to use a camera when you snag yourself an EOS 7D.

And I’m a (slightly) better photographer for it.

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