Best buys advanced DSLR camera 2009

by Enche Tjin on October 16, 2009

canon-eos-7dAdvanced camera is category of high-end digital SLR camera. Some characteristics include: robust body with metal construction, weather sealing, high performance (speed), great image quality, and got the latest and most sophisticated features up to date.

This year, there are three DSLR cameras that belong to this category. And here is the best buys / value DSLR cameras of 2009

1. Canon EOS 7D – Best buys of the year 2009

Canon 7D is Canon new product line which is designed for sports photographers and photojournalists. Maybe some people think that this is a continuation from popular Canon 40D and 50D series, but this is not. 7D has completely new body design.

It has a new designed camera body that has better buttons placements, better weather seal. It has top class AF system and very high continuous shooting speed (8 frames per second).

Continuing the trend of movie recording feature, 7D also has Full High Definition movie mode with manual exposure control. Great for capturing short clips, creative video or commercials.

Many fans concerns about high image resolution 7D has to offer (18 megapixel), because the belief that high image resolution will increase noise in high ISO. Based on the test result and sample images, Canon 7D copes very well with noise in high ISO. In fact, it might be better than Canon 50D or 40D.

This is a great achievement from Canon. It is well deserved to earn not only best value camera title, but it is also the best camera in this class.

Subjective quality rating relative to advanced DSLR camera 2009
Image quality 4/5
Performance 5/5
Body & handling 5/5
Features 5/5
Value 4/5

Pentax K7 – Runner Up

Pentax K7 is flagship / the best Pentax DSLR camera at the moment. It is built entirely from scratch based on their research. Pentax has listened to its customers well. Compare other advanced cameras, including Pentax k20d, K7 is noticeable smaller but a lot more intuitive to use. Pentax has revamped menu system and buttons to make sure every photographer can change their buttons and setting intuitively.

K7’s camera body is one of the toughest and weather resistant in the class right now, because of that, it is great companion for travel photographers especially whose who travel to extreme places.

Pentax has also improved their auto focus system along with continuous shooting speed. K7 can shoots 5.2 frames per second. However, AF system is still not the best in the class. It is partly because of the slow speed of lenses with built in auto focus. So, in practice, you might not get 5.2 frames per second when you shoot moving objects.

Another very useful and money saving features is built in image stabilization. While other big companies charges you a lot more for lens that has image stabilization, Pentax K7 already has built-in camera stabilization, so you can get this advantage on any lenses mount on it.

The biggest drawback compared to other cameras in this class is Pentax K7 is the image quality in high ISO (800 and up). It might be due because of wrong selection of image sensor for current market. However, if you shoot in RAW and in low ISO  setting, (400 and below) you will get the most from it.

Selling at about $500 cheaper than its competitor, Pentax is real money saver if you can work around its weaknesses.

Subjective quality rating relative to advanced DSLR camera 2009
Image quality 3/5
Performance 3/5
Body & handling 5/5
Features 5/5
Value 5/5

Nikon D300s – 2nd Runner Up

Unlike above cameras, Nikon D300s is not built from scratch. It has almost identical body as the popular Nikon D300. Nikon D300s adds several new features but none of it is class leading or significant enough. It has movie mode now but only 720p, slightly improve the continuous shooting speed but not as fast as Canon 7D, plus quiet shutter mode and dual memory cards.

Even I rated it at the third place / bottom, don’t get me wrong, this camera is and excellent camera. It has top of the class body handling, AF speed and performance. But unfortunately, competition is very tough this year.

Subjective quality rating relative to advanced DSLR camera 2009
Image quality 4/5
Performance 5/5
Body & handling 5/5
Features 4/5
Value 3/5

Before the end of this year, Olympus or Sony might introduces their advanced DSLR cameras. If that happen, I will need to readjust the positions. Stay tuned!

There are plenty other factors you need to consider when choosing advanced SLR camera, but with the rating and explanation, you might have an idea on what camera is the best for your need and desire.

Quick comparison table

Usable ISO means best ISO to use before the noise really creeps in and destroy image acuity and degrade color.

Name MP fps Movie Price Usable ISO Notes
Canon 7D 18 8 Full HD $1700 1600 Canon has best lens selection
Pentax K7 14 5.2 720p $1200 800 Built-in IS, extreme weather proof
Nikon D300s 12 7 720p $1800 1600 get 8 fps with battery grip, dual cards slot

You might interested to check:

Related Post:

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

kwanonku December 8, 2009 at 10:40 pm

vote for K-7.
Amazing features with small & cheapest of the league !

Leave a Comment

{ 5 trackbacks }

Previous post: Panasonic GF1 got glowing review from two major review sites

Next post: Best buys advanced compact cameras 2009