Canon 10D Discussion


Monkey Costa Rica

 Costa Rica Beach

I hope this discussion will give you some insights as to why I chose to purchase a digital SLR and in particular the 10D.  I had spent many months researching digital cameras in an attempt to make an informed decisions.  Hopefully the discussion below will aid in your decision.

I had been shooting film for many years.  My SLR broke about 4 years ago and I did not replace it because I was ready to start over and jump into the world of digital photography, but at the time I did not think any of the available cameras were acceptable.   There was my concern over the number of megapixels, the lack of functions, poor auto focus, inaccurate exposure, etc.  In the summer of 2002 the Nikon D100 and Fuji S2 Pro arrived at 6 megapixels and I was primed to finally make my purchase.  Yet, after reading numerous reviews I hesitated.  The price back then was still around $3000 for just these bodies, and in my opinion at that price these cameras should have all the functions I want.  The S2 Pro lacked 1/3 EV steps for exposure compensation (only 1/2 steps); reviews reported some moire; there was no histogram highlight indicator in play back mode to easily alert you to blown highlights, and the camera had two different sets of batteries because this camera was still a hold back from the film body it was built on.  The D100 seemed to have everything I could have ever wanted, but some reports of the noise level left me a little worried, and the price was still over $2000 at the time.   I really wanted to wait to see what Canon's answer to these two cameras was.

Well, in Dec 2002 Canon came out with the full frame 11 megapixels 1Ds.  Now this camera is a dream come true, but for $8000 it wasn't going to happen for me.  Finally, in May of 2003 the Canon 10D was released at $1500!  It had unbelievable resolution and no moire; terrific color; amazingly low noise even at 1600 ISO; a terrific and fast auto focus system that worked in well in very low light; and all metal body; and more, for only $1500.  I could wait no longer and went out and immediately purchased one.  Now that I have used the camera for about 6 months I am happy to report that the Canon 10D is one of the best purchases I have every made.

Making the decision to purchase the 10D was a big step, but actually only the first step of many.  Now I was faced with so many other choices.  What lenses to buy, flash, CF card.  The huge advantage of purchasing an SLR over a standard point and shoot camera is exactly this;  you have so many choices in terms of lenses, flashes, filters, and more.  These choices are as important as your choice in camera.  Unfortunately, in photography your equipment is only as good as your weakest link.  This means you will be quickly spending a heck of a lot more money on all the other components needed.  I hope that reading each of my equipment links will help you make an informed decision as to what particular piece of equipment you should purchase.

Now why did I buy an SLR over a point and shoot?  For me it was image quality and the immense possibilities for focal length.  Most point and shoot cameras are 5 megapixels or less.  This is fine for 4x5 prints and even 8x10 prints, but I enjoy printing my favorites at 11x14 or more.  A 6 megapixels sensor will give you better prints at 8x10 and beyond.  The more expensive  point and shoot cameras give you focal lengths from 32mm at best up to 300mm at the top end.  Canons wide selection of lenses for it's SLR cameras gives you the ability to choose lenses from 22mm up to 1920mm and with a 2x Extender that becomes 3840mm (All focal lengths are multiplied by 1.6X to give 35mm equivalents).  Now I don't have the money to lay out $10,000+ for a 1920mm lens, but a 450mm sure is nice.  In addition to the great range of focal lengths available there is a large range of lens quality available.  Canon's top L glass lenses are going to give much better photos compared to the small lenses on point and shoot cameras.  (I go into lens choices in more details in the lens specific equipment sections).  So lens selection is a great factor to consider in choosing an SLR over a point and shoot, and I didn't even discuss specialized lenses such as macro's, tilt/shift lenses, and fisheyes.

Lenses and larger sensor sizes are not the only factors.  Many point and shoots today give you lots of manual control, but the layout and ease of use of the manual control features are far inferior to intuitive layout of the 10D.  Once you break away from the more automatic settings such as portrait, landscape, etc. and move to shutter priority, aperture priority, or full manual mode; the camera layout and displays become much more critical in giving you the ability to easily adjust the cameras settings.  I don't want to go into too much detail here, but a good SLR will give you much more control over the camera compared to a point and shoot.  Finally, things such as build quality and ability to add peripherals are some additional advantages.

At the top of the page are three pictures that I took with the Canon 10D.  I chose these three images to give you an idea of the terrific image quality of the 10D, as well as to show you how the incredible number of lenses you can choose from gives you the incredible flexibility to capture virtually any shot you want.

The flower was taken with a 16-28mm (26-45mm equivalent) lens with a EF 12 Extension Tube attached.  The extension tube allows for macro capabilities, and when combined with such a wide angle lens great magnification is also possible.  The actual size of the flower was about 2" in diameter, even though it appears much larger in the photo.   You can also see the terrific color and clarity that is possible.

The monkey on the other had was taken with a 70-200mm (112-320mm equivalent), with a 1.4x extender.  This specific shot was shot taken at 448mm.  The monkey was approximately 30 yards away.  This shot would never had been possible if I did not have such a powerful lens.  If I had purchased an even more powerful lens I could have captured even more detail.

Back at the other end of the spectrum, the photo of the beach was taken with the 16-28mm lens without the Extension Tube attached this time.  It was shot at the widest angle possible with this lens, 26mm (equivalent).

The ability to take all of these types of photos with one camera is what makes an SLR so appealing.  This range of focal length, macro capability, and image quality is not possible with any point and shoot camera on the market today.

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Photos by Rob Bukar