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Author Topic: Image quality... What's good enough?  (Read 12847 times)

Dale_Cotton2

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Re: Image quality... What's good enough?
« Reply #20 on: October 14, 2013, 06:45:07 pm »

Don't in any way want to put you off the X20, but just be aware the optical finder only has 85% coverage. I tried living with an 85% finder once, never got the hang of it, but had to use it in bright daylight. Given how may people are snapping up the X20, however, this is probably only an issue for me. I suppose you could work something up in post-processing to automatically crop away the extra 15% image area you'll get in the output file in order to regain the composition you were expecting. IAC: X20 owners will probably chime in to explain why it's not even a problem in the first place.

As for the GX7, here's an off-beat look at it:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=ru_zhAPC78E
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Jim Pascoe

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Re: Image quality... What's good enough?
« Reply #21 on: October 15, 2013, 06:22:23 am »

Photography is about producing photographs.  If you have crappy equipment, you'd better be as good as "the old guys"!  If you aren't that good, it might make a lot more sense to buy the best equipment available (which is exactly what every single one of "the old guys" did) because the difference isn't in how it "feels" so much as it is how easy it is or isn't to produce high quality photos with less operator skill.

Buy a "feel good" camera, and you can walk around profiling how good you feel!

Buy a camera that produces the best images for the type of photography you want to do, and you can show off your great photography.

Yes but Floyd - Slobodan's comment, and I totally agree with him, is that just about any reasonable camera these days has good enough IQ for most photographers.  Therefore the question comes down to which 'feels' best.  And here we are not talking about how it looks, just as a tool how easy it is to use.  For me, having good simple controls and being able to 'see' the image through whatever viewing system the camera has, are the most important points.

Jim
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Deardorff

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Re: Image quality... What's good enough?
« Reply #22 on: October 15, 2013, 05:31:50 pm »

After looking at the cameras you mention I opted for a Panasonic Lumix LX7. 24mm wide end at f/1.4 and 90mm long end at f/2.3. Fast lens, clean images and the zoom range of 24-90 works for me.

Having the option of manual operation, RAW images and exposures to a couple minutes makes it nice in use for night skies to kids and running dogs.
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Ken Bennett

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Re: Image quality... What's good enough?
« Reply #23 on: October 15, 2013, 06:03:15 pm »

I came to the right forum!  The decision seems clearer now.

In my mind I have two cameras competing for my attention:
The Fuji X20 and the Panasonic Gx7.  Gonna try and rent them both and do some comparisons. 


Renting is great idea. These are two very different cameras -- a small-sensor p+s with a fixed zoom, and a larger-sensor interchangeable lens camera that can take any of a very large number of zoom and prime lenses. In general, I would expect the Panasonic is going to be better at everything other than compact size over the X20. If you were to choose, say, and XE1 with the 18-55 Fuji lens, that would be a possibly more fair comparison (and it's a very nice camera.) I own both a complete Fuji system and a complete Panny micro 4/3 system, and they have different strengths and weaknesses. I have not used an X20, but people who have like it.

Good luck and happy shooting.
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Floyd Davidson

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Re: Image quality... What's good enough?
« Reply #24 on: October 15, 2013, 07:59:22 pm »

Yes but Floyd - Slobodan's comment, and I totally agree with him, is that just about any reasonable camera these days has good enough IQ for most photographers.

I don't agree with that at all, just to start with, but if someone truely believes that their knowledge of photography is so utterly limited (I'll grant that mine was... when I was ten years old) that the right camera won't make a difference, then in fact it won't.

But if you want to do architectual photography, a low end Point & Shoot isn't going to get it.  And if you are gifted a Hasselblad, but need to carry a camera in your shirt pocket, it won't get the job done either.  The first consdideration is the quality of the camera for the specific type of photography it will be used for.

Quote
  Therefore the question comes down to which 'feels' best.  And here we are not talking about how it looks, just as a tool how easy it is to use.  For me, having good simple controls and being able to 'see' the image through whatever viewing system the camera has, are the most important points.

Those are important characteristics.  But do you actually think that a newbie buying an otherwise unfamiliar camera can determine which is best by handling  cameras at the local photo strore?  What I'm saying is that is a recipe for a long term disaster, not a solution.  The one that "feels" right turns out to be what is purchased, and then further investments in lenses and accessories locks a person into that brand for years to come.  All based on "it felt good".  But studying the characteristics, the functionality, the design philosophy, etc etc and making decisions based on that plus such things as the dynamic range, the ISO coverage, lenses available, and everything else the is "IQ" is, I beieve much more important.  And it is my contention that what "feels" right to most people is "what I'm used to", not what actually works best.  If you are used to Brand X, it feels better than Brand Y... even if Brand Y is a significantly better match for the photography you want to do.

There is no substitute for experience, but it does need to be understood too!  I totally disagree with the idea of going to the camera shop, trying several models, and deciding based on "feel".  Renting a camera and using it for at least enough time to become familiar with how it works is a minimum.
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tom b

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Re: Image quality... What's good enough?
« Reply #25 on: October 16, 2013, 12:58:32 am »

Newbie here. I am looking to buy a camera that is fun and easy to use. Something that takes good pictures and is versatile. I only take pictures of day to day stuff, family, events at he school where I teach (including yearbook), vacation photos etc. I only view the pictures on computer or make small prints for a photo album (but would like to make some bigger prints for house decoration). Cameras that come to mind are the Fuji X20 and the Sony Rx100. My question really isn't however about what specific camera I should chose so much as will these cameras provide "good enough" image quality or do i need at least a micro 4/3s sensor? To be more specific, I understand that noise creeps in at lower iso's on the smaller sensor cameras but is that noise detectable at normal viewing or only when cropped? What size prints, given decent lighting and lower iso values, could I expect to make with those cameras before noise becomes an issue?  Many questions!  Any guidance would be appreciated!



From your description you want a camera that can take pictures of people indoors. So the type of camera that I suggest you need is one that you can put a decent off the camera flash on. So my suggestion is an entry level Nikon or Canon DSLR and and maybe one of the flashes. Something to think about…

Cheers,
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ErikKaffehr

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Re: Image quality... What's good enough?
« Reply #26 on: October 16, 2013, 02:17:02 am »

Hi,

I have an RX100.

I can make decent A2 size prints at short and medium focal lengths, I guess. Just made a few and they were OK. Long end is a bit weak.

I seldom use high ISO, so I cannot say.

This is ISO 3200 on RX100: http://echophoto.smugmug.com/Technical/RX100/i-Xf3bwPn/0/O/_DSC0050.jpg (it is a large image with black sky at Budapest airport).



Best regards
Erik


Newbie here. I am looking to buy a camera that is fun and easy to use. Something that takes good pictures and is versatile. I only take pictures of day to day stuff, family, events at he school where I teach (including yearbook), vacation photos etc. I only view the pictures on computer or make small prints for a photo album (but would like to make some bigger prints for house decoration). Cameras that come to mind are the Fuji X20 and the Sony Rx100. My question really isn't however about what specific camera I should chose so much as will these cameras provide "good enough" image quality or do i need at least a micro 4/3s sensor? To be more specific, I understand that noise creeps in at lower iso's on the smaller sensor cameras but is that noise detectable at normal viewing or only when cropped? What size prints, given decent lighting and lower iso values, could I expect to make with those cameras before noise becomes an issue?  Many questions!  Any guidance would be appreciated!


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Jim Pascoe

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Re: Image quality... What's good enough?
« Reply #27 on: October 16, 2013, 10:47:36 am »

I don't agree with that at all, just to start with, but if someone truely believes that their knowledge of photography is so utterly limited (I'll grant that mine was... when I was ten years old) that the right camera won't make a difference, then in fact it won't.

But if you want to do architectual photography, a low end Point & Shoot isn't going to get it.  And if you are gifted a Hasselblad, but need to carry a camera in your shirt pocket, it won't get the job done either.  The first consdideration is the quality of the camera for the specific type of photography it will be used for.

Those are important characteristics.  But do you actually think that a newbie buying an otherwise unfamiliar camera can determine which is best by handling  cameras at the local photo strore?  What I'm saying is that is a recipe for a long term disaster, not a solution.  The one that "feels" right turns out to be what is purchased, and then further investments in lenses and accessories locks a person into that brand for years to come.  All based on "it felt good".  But studying the characteristics, the functionality, the design philosophy, etc etc and making decisions based on that plus such things as the dynamic range, the ISO coverage, lenses available, and everything else the is "IQ" is, I beieve much more important.  And it is my contention that what "feels" right to most people is "what I'm used to", not what actually works best.  If you are used to Brand X, it feels better than Brand Y... even if Brand Y is a significantly better match for the photography you want to do.

There is no substitute for experience, but it does need to be understood too!  I totally disagree with the idea of going to the camera shop, trying several models, and deciding based on "feel".  Renting a camera and using it for at least enough time to become familiar with how it works is a minimum.

Well, I did say for 'most photographers', and 99% are not going to be doing commercial architectural photography.  I can categorically say that for most of my photography, including a lot of my professional work, a Panasonic micro four-thirds camera with a couple of decent prime lenses is good enough.  And I'm comparing it to a 1DS mk3 with L series lenses.  As good? No.  Good enough? Yes. 

And I agree that if you can borrow a camera it is always better than just handling in the shop.  But I feel sorry for all the photographers who ask me which is the best camera to replace their two-year old model so that they can get better pictures.  They could save themselves a lot of money by realising that their vision and skill are the limiting factors, not the camera or lens.

If the OP gets into really serious work or becomes a professional then he might well need the absolute best money can buy.  But in the meantime that is my opinion.

Jim
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Ken Bennett

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Re: Image quality... What's good enough?
« Reply #28 on: October 16, 2013, 10:53:04 am »

....But I feel sorry for all the photographers who ask me which is the best camera to replace their two-year old model so that they can get better pictures.  They could save themselves a lot of money by realising that their vision and skill are the limiting factors, not the camera or lens....

Yes, totally agree. This is a conversation that I have all the time -- most people have been convinced through relentless advertising that if they just had a "real good camera, like yours" they would take much better photos.

Vision and skill can be improved through study and practice, which take time and effort. Most people don't want to put in the time and effort, they want the quick fix of a real good camera. :)

None of this applies to people who want to put in (or have put in) the time and effort, but they need to start someplace, and at that starting point, pretty much any camera will do. IMHO.
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Robert Roaldi

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Re: Image quality... What's good enough?
« Reply #29 on: October 16, 2013, 12:02:05 pm »

To the OP, some specific advice. Buy any 2-4 year old Olympus camera, Pen, PL series, E-520, doesn't matter which one. It will set you back at most $400 or so, probably less. Use it for 6 months and read all the forums you can, but ignore the brand fight threads. By then you'll have a much better idea of what you really need or really want, assuming that the combo you bought doesn't deliver (because it just might). At that point, even if you're on the verge of being a world-class architectural commercial photographer, you're still be able to sell your camera for 50%-75% of your purchase price and you'll be free to buy whatever you then need. Switching brands will not affect you in any bad way, people do it all the time, you won't be locked in. Don't spend too much searching for your ideal camera, the time will be better spent taking pictures.
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Floyd Davidson

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Re: Image quality... What's good enough?
« Reply #30 on: October 16, 2013, 01:02:16 pm »

And I agree that if you can borrow a camera it is always better than just handling in the shop.  But I feel sorry for all the photographers who ask me which is the best camera to replace their two-year old model so that they can get better pictures.  They could save themselves a lot of money by realising that their vision and skill are the limiting factors, not the camera or lens.

If the OP gets into really serious work or becomes a professional then he might well need the absolute best money can buy.  But in the meantime that is my opinion.

You're equating "best" to "most expensive".  The best camera for some specific job does not necessarily cost more money than lesser capable alternatives.  The point is to get the most appropriate camera for the type of photography intended.

Likewise it is not generally true that a photographer's "vision and skill are the limiting factors".  It's an equal match between those limits and limited equipment.  In any specific case it might be either the photographer or the equipment.

It's often said that a great photographer, given poor equipment, will absolutely be able to produce great images... which is very true; but only because that photographer will know what kind of a picture the specific equipment can do and won't waste time at something else.  When the need is for a specific type of photography, no matter how good the photographer is it still requires a camera that can do that specific type of photography.   And the better the camera, the better the results will be...

Very good photographers do tend to have very expensive cameras.  Their intent is not so much to have a camera that is "better" at some specific thing though, as opposed to being good at many different things.  When you say that "for most of my photography [...] a Panasonic micro four-thirds camera [...] is good enough [...]comparing it to a 1DS mk3" you are specifically saying that there are things you need to do that the 1DS apparently does better.  If those things are an important minority of your work, you'll buy a 1DS.

Most of my work is done with a camera that  cost about half of what the camera I do the rest of my work with.  If I could only have one, the camera I actually use the least would be chosen because it is significantly more versatile.
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Floyd Davidson

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Re: Image quality... What's good enough?
« Reply #31 on: October 16, 2013, 01:09:26 pm »

To the OP, some specific advice. Buy any 2-4 year old Olympus camera, Pen, PL series, E-520, doesn't matter which one. It will set you back at most $400 or so, probably less. Use it for 6 months and read all the forums you can, but ignore the brand fight threads. By then you'll have a much better idea of what you really need or really want, assuming that the combo you bought doesn't deliver (because it just might). At that point, even if you're on the verge of being a world-class architectural commercial photographer, you're still be able to sell your camera for 50%-75% of your purchase price and you'll be free to buy whatever you then need. Switching brands will not affect you in any bad way, people do it all the time, you won't be locked in. Don't spend too much searching for your ideal camera, the time will be better spent taking pictures.

The above is really good advice.  The specific brand/camera isn't important, it's the philosophy that for a relatively low price you can buy a "throw away" educational tool.  Do not buy lenses and accessories for that tool.  Just use it for the purpose of, and until, learning what equipment will be worth investing real money in owning.
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jjj

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Re: Image quality... What's good enough?
« Reply #32 on: October 16, 2013, 01:47:08 pm »

But if you want to do architectual photography, a low end Point & Shoot isn't going to get it.  And if you are gifted a Hasselblad, but need to carry a camera in your shirt pocket, it won't get the job done either.  The first consdideration is the quality of the camera for the specific type of photography it will be used for.
Well going by the original question about a camera and it's intended use, the quality of most compact cameras will indeed be just fine. So no need to worry about fitting a Hasselblad in a shirt pocket.  :)

Quote
Those are important characteristics.  But do you actually think that a newbie buying an otherwise unfamiliar camera can determine which is best by handling  cameras at the local photo strore?  What I'm saying is that is a recipe for a long term disaster, not a solution.  The one that "feels" right turns out to be what is purchased, and then further investments in lenses and accessories locks a person into that brand for years to come.  All based on "it felt good".  
Not necessarily. When I got my first SLR [OM2n] I read lots of magazines and had a play with various models in shops and one simply stood out above all the others, because it just felt right [for me]. Sometimes it's very obvious an item is not for you. Proved to be a very good choice in the end and not just because I got used to it. I have no brand loyalty as such but even now many cameras later, it is still a very nicely designed camera and even has a bigger viewfinder than my current expensive DSLR that is twice the size - not exactly progress since the OMs were designed 40 years earlier. I did however have some camera experience as before the SLR I used a very cheap Russian rangefinder camera [with very different handling] and Robert's suggestion above may be worth considering. Get a cheap second hand decent camera to get a better sense of what one needs and then buy a more expensive new one - if you still feel you need to.

Quote
But studying the characteristics, the functionality, the design philosophy, etc etc and making decisions based on that plus such things as the dynamic range, the ISO coverage, lenses available, and everything else the is "IQ" is, I beieve much more important.
 To you, not necessarily to other people. I'd rather use a delightful handling camera than a pain in the arse camera than had say a few more MP. And in fact I use my pocket camera which is way inferior in image quality to my FF DSLR at times because a) it's better for some types of work; b) although it is inferior in quality it is in a nice way that suits street photography [it's main use]. And how you shoot/exposure/process the image is way, way more important than the camera, particularly as these days cameras are usually very good indeed in the price range being looked at. Which was Slobodan's point.

Quote
And it is my contention that what "feels" right to most people is "what I'm used to", not what actually works best.  If you are used to Brand X, it feels better than Brand Y... even if Brand Y is a significantly better match for the photography you want to do.
People certainly are very biased towards what is familiar rather than what is 'best', just look at people complaining about the difficulty of using OSX/Windows if they use the other brand and then falsely claim superiority of one based on ignorance of the other. The difference in functional ability with different brands of same type of cameras isn't that big these days, it certainly used to be, but now it's more personal preference as to which make you go for. And there is no bias here as it's a new user.

Quote
There is no substitute for experience, but it does need to be understood too!  I totally disagree with the idea of going to the camera shop, trying several models, and deciding based on "feel".  Renting a camera and using it for at least enough time to become familiar with how it works is a minimum.
That's the best way certainly. Though I have no idea where I could even rent the sort of cameras being considered. Big pro cameras no problem, but not other kinds, so until then playing with cameras in a shop is a good thing to do. Plus renting a camera for long enough to get used to it is probably a significant chunk of what it would cost to buy.
And to be able to really judge the 'best' image quality of various cameras will take far longer than judging how nice one is to use by feel.
« Last Edit: October 16, 2013, 02:20:24 pm by jjj »
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AFairley

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Re: Image quality... What's good enough?
« Reply #33 on: October 16, 2013, 02:13:34 pm »

I can categorically say that for most of my photography, including a lot of my professional work, a Panasonic micro four-thirds camera with a couple of decent prime lenses is good enough.  And I'm comparing it to a 1DS mk3 with L series lenses.  As good? No.  Good enough? Yes.

Once they are framed and on the wall, I can't see any difference between 17x22 prints from my E-M5 and my D800E with primo Nikon glass, until I get within about a foot.  I want to say the the tonality of the D800E prints might be a little smoother, but I haven't done a direct comparison and it might just be the halo effect from using kit that's 3 times as expensive as the Oly.

And I will add the the difference between the Sony RX100 at mid-wide focal lengths and the Oly is about the same as the difference between the Oly and the Nikon.  You can get 17x22s that are perfectly fine at normal viewing distances out of the RX100 -- I know because I've had them on the wall next to the Nikon prints.
« Last Edit: October 17, 2013, 07:45:42 pm by AFairley »
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enthill

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Re: Image quality... What's good enough?
« Reply #34 on: October 17, 2013, 07:20:33 pm »

The conversation has definitely developed since last time checking in.  I appreciate all the advice.  I can't add anything of value but will consider many of the points made.  My instinct tells me to spend less money on the gear and more time on learning the craft.
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Slobodan Blagojevic

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Re: Image quality... What's good enough?
« Reply #35 on: October 17, 2013, 08:07:11 pm »

...My instinct tells me to spend less money on the gear and more time on learning the craft.

Amen, brother! :)

ErikKaffehr

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Re: Image quality... What's good enough?
« Reply #36 on: October 17, 2013, 10:30:57 pm »

Hi,

I have 70x100 cm print on my wall shot by a Sony Alpha (10 MP). I normally print A2 size and I feel that that size prints are OK from 12 MP. My best pictures may have been taken with the Sony Alpha 700 (12 MP), being a freak I did update to full frame bodies (24MP). A2-s from 24MP are a bit better quality, mostly.

A couple of months ago I added a used Hasselblad with a P45+ back, that comes in at 39 MP. I have some crops that would print around A1 in full size and there is an advantage but much less than you would believe. I asked a friend who was working at a professional lab for his opinion. He first looked at the crops and found that one print was slightly darker. After a while he felt one of the images was "warmer", more yellowish. Fixing on small detail he found the Hasselblad image to be sharper. Once you have "learned" the image you can see the difference, but if you flip the images a number of times, don't look for known clues I cannot guess which is which.

Shooting high res is fun and my have some benefits. But the difference is smaller than you would believe.

Best regards
Erik


Once they are framed and on the wall, I can't see any difference between 17x22 prints from my E-M5 and my D800E with primo Nikon glass, until I get within about a foot.  I want to say the the tonality of the D800E prints might be a little smoother, but I haven't done a direct comparison and it might just be the halo effect from using kit that's 3 times as expensive as the Oly.

And I will add the the difference between the Sony RX100 at mid-wide focal lengths and the Oly is about the same as the difference between the Oly and the Nikon.  You can get 17x22s that are perfectly fine at normal viewing distances out of the RX100 -- I know because I've had them on the wall next to the Nikon prints.
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tom b

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Re: Image quality... What's good enough?
« Reply #37 on: October 17, 2013, 11:16:26 pm »

The conversation has definitely developed since last time checking in.  I appreciate all the advice.  I can't add anything of value but will consider many of the points made.  My instinct tells me to spend less money on the gear and more time on learning the craft.

One of the skills that I think you should investigate before you buy any camera is bounce flash photography.

I'm not a big fan of using a flash but the type of photography that you want to do I'd be heading that way. A Nikon D3200 and a Bolt VS-510N Wireless TTL Shoe Mount Flash for Nikon Cameras which is on the same page would be a good starting point to get you thinking.

I just bought a Lumix GX7 so I have nothing against compact cameras. However if I'm asked to take photos indoors I'll reach for my 5D mark II and speedlite every tiime.

Anyway, something to think about…

Cheers,
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Glenn NK

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Re: Image quality... What's good enough?
« Reply #38 on: October 18, 2013, 12:55:56 am »

The conversation has definitely developed since last time checking in.  I appreciate all the advice.  I can't add anything of value but will consider many of the points made.  My instinct tells me to spend less money on the gear and more time on learning the craft.

I certainly agree with the approach to developing one's craft rather than one's collection of (fine) gear.

With the bodies made in the last few years, I think I would have to look pretty hard to find a bad one.  :D

Spend a little while at DPR - they delve into the features quite thoroughly.  And their image comparisons can be useful for PP'ers.


Glenn
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