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This article is a follow-up to one I wrote in January before the March PMA 2007 tradeshow: Nikon, Canon, PMA 2007, Wish List

Previously I'd made note of a few things as wish list items for the major dSLR manufacturers; Nikon, Canon, Sony, Pentax and Olympus. My focus is on Nikon and Canon since they lead the pack in popularity, and I currently shoot with Nikon gear. Each subject is addressed below as they were in January.

   NIKON POST PMA 2007 in relation to my wish list

      The need for a Nikon 80-400mm f4.5-5.6 VR, "AF-S"

It appears that the Nikon "update" to the 80-400mm f4.5-5.6 VR lens really isn't one. Nikon introduced their 70-300mm f/4.5 - 5.6G ED-IF AF-S VR for a very low price in relation to the older Nikon 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6D ED VR AF. While the new lens probably focuses quickly and has good vibration reduction, it's my opinion that Nikon is not taking care of their budget minded sports and wildlife photographers. Why do I say this? The new lens is missing 100mm! Instead of building an 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6D AF-S, VR which would have been equivalent to the superior Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L "USM", they're marketing a new lens with less telephoto range. Wildlife photography requires as much magnification as possible, not less! I probably shoot 50% of my wildlife images zoomed out between 300mm and 400mm. A handholdable 80-400 or 100-400 with lens-based autofocus and VR is a mandatory tool, and it really looks like Nikon isn't going do it. I guess we're supposed to buy the $5,000 U.S. 200-400 f4 AF-S VR instead of what could have been a $1500 80-400 AF-S f/4.5-5.6D. Tamron and Tokina are you listening? My credit card awaits you!

      The need for a Nikon D200, or prosumer dSLR, with anti-dust hardware

There isn't a hint of Nikon dealing with the serious dust problem that dSLRs suffer. I'm really disappointed because my varied nature photography requires swapping between wide angle, macro, and telephoto lenses in the field. No matter how careful I am dust gets on the sensor. CCDs are dust magnets! This is especially a problem for high magnification macro work shot at f22 or higher. Tiny dust specs that don't show at f8, certainly do at f32. I've tried the high end, brush type, sensor cleaners, and they don't get every dust spec off. In fact, the sensor had more dust specs after using a fancy brush. I follow directions, so the problem didn't stem from a lack of that. Wet cleaning is the only way I've been able to get my camera's sensor 100% clean, and it takes more than one swipe.

At least Canon introduced a vibrating, anti-static filter in their consumer grade 10MP Digital Rebel XTi, and the upcoming pro EOS-1D Mark III. Ironically the underdogs, Olympus, Sony/Minolta and Pentax, took the lead on anti-dust hardware, leaving Nikon and Canon "in the dust!" For Nikon, this needs to be solved with a new prosumer camera body, D200 update or better, and for Canon something to replace the EOS30D. Hopefully this update will happen sooner than later, but I suspect neither company will offer these solutions until fall 2007.

      The need for a Nikon D200 with Less Noise at High ISO

It appears that D200 owners, myself included, are going to have to suffer through this longer. I don't feel that scrambling pixels with software is a reasonable answer to noise. It needs to be taken care of at image capture with hardware. In my opinion, Canon is still better at this on the prosumer dSLR level. Nikon needs to address it. The D2x handles ISO400 well, but how much is that camera body? With the more affordable D200 I'm literally afraid to shoot anything over ISO200 because of the associated noise. A camera in the D200 price range needs to be able to capture clean ISO400 raw files.

      Nikon Autofocus Extension Tubes

Still nothing good from Nikon. Looks like I'm going to have to go 3rd party for this. In 3rd party extension tubes, I've tried the Adorama Pro Optic brand. The electronics worked most of the time, but they're cheaply constructed and don't mount easily. Despite being very careful, I accidentally bent one of the flimsy electronic contacts. I don't recommend the product. Most likely I'll buy the Kenko autofocus extension tubes because I'm sick of the manual setup between the D200 and PK-13.

   CANON POST PMA 2007 in relation to my wish list

The need for an EOS 40D, EOS 50D, or replacement for Canon EOS 30D

The Canon EOS 20D to Canon EOS 30D "upgrade" last year was a complete disappointment, and it's apparently going to be that for a while longer. In practical terms they're virtually the same camera. I'd considered switching to Canon because of the better handheld 100-400 USM lens, and autofocus extension tubes, but their prosumer dSLR body introduction policies stopped me dead in my tracks. Whatever replaces the Canon EOS 30D at this point needs to be substantially better than the D200. It should have more than 10 megapixels, low noise at high ISO, a fast frame rate, and anti-dust hardware. Canon has had plenty of time to cook this up. At least they announced the Canon EOS 1D Mark III, which looks like a great camera body, but it'll set us back a few paychecks.

      EOS 6D, a better frame per second Canon EOS 5D

PMA 2007 announcement - nada, still doesn't exist.

      Canon Wireless Macro Flash

Apparently not

      Canon 100mm f/2.8 USM Macro with IS!

Apparently not

SONY, PENTAX, OLYMPUS PMA 2007 in relation to my wish list

"As for SONY, PENTAX, OLYMPUS and the like, I'm going to wait and see. At the moment they aren't quite what I'd consider direct competition for NIKON and CANON when it comes to technology in relation to professional wildlife photography."

In this group of manufacturers, I'm most impressed with the new Olympus EVOLT E-510 with 10 MP, built-in mechanical image stabilization, anti-dust technology, and live view LCD! I'd like to see all those features in Nikon and Canon dSLRs.

Based on what Nikon and Canon didn't do this Spring, I'm going to keep an eye on the underdogs. What I'm after is a complete prosumer, budget-minded package from any manufacturer that fits 95% of the bill from macro through handholdable telephoto. I really don't feel that any company fits this yet. There are too many compromises for each brand. The only way around it is to spend ludicrous amounts of money for the high end gear, and nature photo sales just don't support that in this day and age.

Andy Williams /

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