Say Hello to the D90

I mentioned a package showing up at my door on Friday and here it is:

My D70 has served me well for about 3.5 years, but we’re talking about 4.5 year old technology. There has been a lot of progress since the D70 was introduced, but the D80 wasn’t a big enough change to warrant an upgrade. That money was much better spent on the marvelous 18-200mm VR lens. The D90 is different though, it sports lots of features that have trickled down from the higher end Nikon cameras. The D90 uses the same sensor as the much more expensive D300 for example.

I knew I wanted to upgrade eventually, but I got a deal I just couldn’t pass up. The body normally sells for $1000, about the same as the D70 4 years ago, and discounts are generally hard to come by. You can wait a couple years for prices to drop, but then there’s something better out. I pulled the trigger on the camera once I figured out how to get it for $700.

30% discount? How’s that work? I have Microsoft to thank. They’ve launched a cashback program on their Live search engine. For some reason they are giving 20% cashback for anything bought after you click through an Ebay ad on their search results page. Auction just has to be Buy-it-now and paid through Paypal. Found a reputable photography shop in Pennsylvania selling the D90 body and in 2 months Microsoft will deposit $200 into my Paypal account. On top of that I had a 10% off coupon from Ebay that could be used on anything. Total discount = $300.

So what is my impression of the D90 so far? Wow. Talk about a huge upgrade. It should hopefully help me post more pictures because the results straight of the camera are much more solid. My D70 shots needed a good amount of processing which takes time which means most shots never got posted. Direct comparison between the D90 and D70 is coming.

Canon SD700IS – Quick Look

I bought the Canon SD700 last month for my upcoming trip to Hawaii. It is replacing our Canon S400 that has served us for several years and even survived a replacement of the rear LCD. The S400 has a new home in an underwater housing case. My experience with the camera so far has been excellent.

I was a little torn between the SD700 and SD800 (which has a wider angle 28mm lens and face recognition focusing/metering), but I’ve got my Nikon D70 for wide angle and the wider 28mm won’t be missed by most (especially if you’ve never had it on a camera).

Another thing I had to consider was high ISO performance for night shots without flash. Compact point cameras have tiny sensors with lots of pixels on them, turn up their sensitivity and it leads to noise. The Fuji F30/F40 use a CCD sensor that performs very well at higher ISOs like 800. ISO 800 on the SD700 is very noisy and barely usable except for sized down prints on the web, the Fujis would have no problem on prints.

For me it came down to what is my most common low light shooting situation and the trade offs of Image Stabilization and High ISO. IS for shooting still objects, High ISO for low light action shots. I found the IS to be more useful since I can set my D70 at ISO 1600 with a 50mm f/1.8 lens for really low light situations.

Enough of me being picky, let the pictures do the talking. I’ll post a more in depth review comparing the SD700 to the S400 and D70, should be interesting to see how the new SD700 stacks up against the older S400 which was hot stuff back in the day.