Digital imaging, especially in artistic considerations, is subject to so many personal variables that it is impossible to account for things in any "definite" way. So we can all pixel peep till the cows come home, and still come to different conclusions.
Some people keep buying Canons, some people keep buying Nikons, and some are buying Olympus cameras. Heck, a friend of mine who has some top of the line DSLRs just bought a Holga. All of those people have reasons for their choices that they consider perfectly valid. Would you suggest that most all of them are wrong, since there can theoretically be only one camera that produces the "best image quality" at any given time?
No matter what equipment I select, I never forget that most of the photos that really inspire me were made with equipment far, far inferior to what I own now. Almost all of St. Ansel's work comes to mind. All of his early work was done with terrible lenses, by current standards. When looking through my work over the years, I can identify maybe 4% or so that would have come out substantially "better" had I used "better" equipment.
I bet I will take out my 50 year old Rolleiflex's a few times and make some great photos that print better at large sizes than some other shots I get out of the 40D. I'm also willing to bet there are a whole slew of people that are going to buy E-3s and produce better photos than I will with my 40D. What of it?
You've gone way off tangent here. This has got nothing to do with one person's ability to take an artistic shot with a Holga. Nor has it got anything to do with reasons other
than absolute 'camera' image quality for making a decision to purchase a particular camera. We know there are all sorts of considerations other than absolute image quality for using or preferring one camera over another. A few weeks ago I bought a 40D myself, in Bangkok, simply because, whilst in the process of checking out the 17-55/2.8 IS lens, I discovered I could pick up a 40D body for less than US$1,000, which was much less than I had imagined the price would be. Also, I've always recognised the 40D has some useful features, in particular LiveView with manual focussing and 6.5 frames per second.
I've got no objection at all to different people using different criteria for making their choices. As you say, that is not surprising. In fact it is to be expected and it's a good thing. It's healthy and it's sensible. The concept of the best tool for the job should prevail in the decision making process.
However, when people comment on the performance of a camera they should always make a clear reference to whatever criterion they are using, otherwise their comments are not helpful and confusion reigns.
Some posters like to use words such as "quality" and "definite" rather indiscriminately.
You can say that again .
One person reads the DPreview article and thinks it says the E-3 is less sharp than the 40D, and another poster reads it to say that it's a tossup below ISO 800. Is one of you wrong? Is one of you a fool? I don't know. Why do we need to get so worked up over it?
Worked up? Why do we bother at all? I agree that everything has to be interpreted, but some interpretations can be less accurate than others. Should we adopt the policy of keeping silent about such differences of interpretation?
Ray, a couple months ago, I made some RAW shots with my 20D and my 40D. When I looked at those shots, I was convinced that the 40D versions were better. You were not. I don't agree with the logic you applied to the situation. Is one of us wrong? I don't know how we could ever come to an agreement. You will not convince me that I am wrong, and I will not convince you. There is nothing more to say. What else do you expect?
Misirlou, my preamble to this thread was not directed only at you. There are a number of people who might think the 40D produces 'definitely" better image quality than the 20D, but your tests appear to have been done as an after-thought, (after you'd passed on the 20D to your mother). The tests were not conclusive. There was some ambiguity about the focussing. There are many other comparison tests that have been conducted and any opinion that I have is not
that there is no image quality improvement whatsoever but that the image quality improvement is more marginal
than one might expect from 14 bit processing plus 25% more pixels.
These are matters that can be discussed rationally without getting worked up about it, surely.