Super brief summary:

see digital SLRs

Brief summary:

5-6 megapixel digital SLRs moved to here.

7.5 megapixel live preview SLRs:

Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1:

8-10 megapixel SLRs:

Canon 350D Rebel XT (2005)

400D (late 2006)

Canon 20D (2004) Sony A100 (July 2006) Olympus E510 (Mar 2007)

E410 (Mar 2007)

Nikon D200 (Dec 2005)
sensor size 15.1x22.7mm 3:2 1.6x crop 8mpixel 350D and 10.1mpixel 400D 15.1x22.7mm 3:2 1.6x crop 8mpixel 15.8x23.6mm 1.5x crop 10.2mpixel 4/3 13x17.3mm 4:3 2.0x crop 8mpixel DX 15.6x23.7mm 1.5x crop 10.2mpixel
body plastic magnesium plastic magnesium, weather-sealed
RAW + jpeg mode yes yes yes yes
burst mode 2.9fps x 6 then 6 sec b4 next (3fps x 10 RAW or 27JPG in 400D) 5fps x 6 pics then 9-12sec b4 next 3fps x 6RAW; 2.5fps x 4 RAW  but unlimited jpeg 5fpsx22 RAW
AF 9 point; flash assist 9 point; flash assist 9 point 3 point; flash assist 11 point
predictive AF AI Servo AI Servo
start-up time < 0.5sec 0.3sec >1 sec >2 sec?
shutter lag / blackout 100msec 65msec / 115msec 50msec
RAW write time ~2sec (~2.8s with jpeg) ~2sec (~2.8s with jpeg)
metering 35 zone;  35 zone; 9% centre spot 40 segment; 49 zone; spot; 3D metering
white balance poor AWB incand.
LCD review max. zoom to check focus 10x 10x 12x 8x, 14x 4x?
LCD review histogram yes yes yes & RGB yes, & RGB! yes, RGB
long exposure issues v.good for astro. v.good for astro.
x-sync E-TTL II; 1/200th; 1/250th; E-TTL II; wireless flash support 1/160th / 1/125th; 1/180th; 1/4000th in SuperFP mode; 1/250th;
pros: mirror lock up; 

light; cheap;

low noise at high ISO

low noise; 20Da version for astrophotography

sensor-based anti-shake

RGB histogram

2.5" LCD

CF & Sony Memorystick Duo

USB 2.0 Highspeed

mirror is always locked up with self timer on.

good viewfinder for a cropped sensor.

some nice new CZ lenses coming incl. 135mm f/1.8, 85mm f/1.4 and 16-80mm f/3.5-4.5 see here


compared with E-300:

Live preview Mode B with 6x or 10x live magnified view;

CCD-shift IS in the E-510 but not the E-410.

new high ISO noise filter;

new 49 area metering sensor; new highlight/shadow spot metering; 

2.5" LCD screen with 14x zoom on playback!

better control system;

lighter dSLR;

unlimited burst in jpeg;

pentamirror viewfinder;

RGB histogram.

USB 2.0 Highspeed

2.5" screen; great burst mode; great Nikon lenses, metering & flash system;

1800 pics per battery charge.

closest subject priority in AF.

build quality;

optional wifi FTP

cons: plastic; 

no spot meter; 

on 350D: slower AF than 20D; Controls for ISO, metering,  AF mode and White Balance now require extra SET press; poor AWB for incandescent and indoor flash, esp. with reds.

350D LCD not bright enough in sunlight;

350D viewfinder only shows you 75% of your image making optimal composition problematic but 400D shows 95%;

MF difficult.

exp.compensation only +/- 2 stops not 5;

350D no RGB histogram but there is on 400D

dust on sensor is problematic on 350D but anti-dust measures in 400D.

poor ergonomics;

poor quality kit lens

small LCD screen on 350D but larger on 400D;

price; no spot meter?;

larger, heavier;

no RGB histogram

dust on sensor is problematic;

poor quality kit lens

dust remover doesn't work as well as Olympus see here

uses Minolta A-type lens mount

uses proprietary flash hot shoe mount - I hate this!

exp. compensation and other parameters only +/-2 steps

long exposure NR artefacts

noisy at high ISO

loud mirror/shutter

slow start up, but this is to clean the sensor

10mpixel detail is not significantly better than 8mpixel in a Canon 30D.

max. timed shutter only 30sec

no vertical grip option;

no RGB histogram

cw E-330:

no Live Preview mode A;

LCD screen not tiltable;

only 4x playback zoom? 

no sensor cleaner.

limited lenses designed for DX.

weight w batt. 490g+batt 770g 479g incl. batt.
current price:  

Canon 400D (late 2006) adds 10.1mpixels, dust removal, larger LCD screen, RGB histogram. details here

Canon 30D (2006) adds 3.5% spot meter, larger LCD screen, 5fps or 3fps and a few other improvements $US1399 body

Canon 40D (late 2007) adds Live Preview, 14bit A/D, improved dust/weatherproofing and 6.5fps up to 75jpegs or 17RAW.

very nice camera!!


see specs here and on dpreview.com

sensor may be same as in Nikon D200?

Sony A700: 12mp, 5fps, 11pt AF, CCD-shift IS, 3" VGA LCD, weathersealed, 24-160mm kit lens


Olympus E410 (2007) 10mpixels, smallest & lightest DSLR to date and has live preview.

Olympus E510 (2007)

10mp, Live preview AND sensor-based image stabiliser.

very NICE camera!!



see reviews: Rorslett

also, the cheaper Nikon D80 released late 2006 see dpreview which is 10.2mpixels, has 25x playback zoom, 11AF points

and the cheaper, light Nikon D40X 10mpixel announced in March 2007.

also, the Fuji S5 Pro based on the D200 but with Fuji's sensor due 2007

Pentax have released an impressive, weatherproof 10mpixel SLR in late 2006, the K10D with CCD anti-shake, 22bit A-D, dust reduction, 11pt AF, 1.5x crop, 3fps; DNG, spot meter, auto-ISO exposure mode, SDHC card support; Pentax KA mount; 95% frame coverage viewfinder, 20x zoom playback; $US899 body only; BUT only 16 segment metering, some moire and ? no RGB histogram.

Leica have released a 10mpixel high end rangefinder, the Leica M8 which is compatible with Leica M lenses but with a 1.33x crop factor.

see high end digital for the SLRs with more pixels

Some lens comparisons:

Lens 35mm equiv. f.l f/ratio retail price approx. UK pounds (2005) retail price $A weight
Olympus 11-22mm 22-44mm f/2.8-3.5 569 485g 72mm filter
Olympus 14-45mm 28-90mm f/3.5-4.5 169
Olympus 14-54mm 28-108mm f/2.8-3.5 449 435g 67mm filter
Olympus 40-150 80-300mm f/3.5-4.5 199
Olympus 50 macro 100mm f/2.0 macro 359
Olympus 150 300mm f/2.0 1949 1610g
Olympus 300 600mm f/2.8 4799 $A11,000 3290g
Canon 10-22 EFS 16-35mm f/3.5-4.5 549 385g
Canon 17-85 EFS IS 27-136mm f/4-5.6 IS 454 475g
Canon 60 EFS macro 96mm f/2.8 macro 319 335g
Canon 200 L 320mm f/1.8 2999 3000g
Canon 300 L IS 480mm f/2.8 IS 3249 2550g
Canon 400 L IS 640mm f/2.8 IS 5449 5300g
Canon 24-70 L 38-112mm f/2.8 929 $A2575 950g
Canon 70-200L IS 112-320mm f/2.8 $A3395 (cw $A2620 without IS and $A1375 for f/4 w/o IS)
Nikon 28-70 AF-s 42-105mm f/2.8 $A3380 935g
Nikon 17-35 AF-s 26-53mm f/2.8 $A2995 745g 77mm filter
Nikon 12-24 AF-s DX 18-36mm f/4 $A2110 485g 77mm filter
Nikon 17-55 AF-s DX 26-83mm f/2.8 755g 77mm filter
Nikon 18-70 AF-s DX 27-105mm f/3.5-4.5 420g 67mm filter
Nikon 10.5 AF DX fish-eye 16mm f/2.8 305g
Nikon 70-200 VR 105-300mm f/2.8 $A3380 1470g 77mm filter


Thus, to get a 24-140 range zoom as with most prosumers, you are going to be hit with significant cost for adequate resolution to match the digital SLR's - it seems your best cost-effectiveness would be the Olympus ZD 12-60mm with its fast f/2.8-3.5 lens which is ~1.5 stops faster than the equivalent Canon EF-S lens and half the price and weight of the Canon 24-70 EF L which lacks wide angle being only 38mm at the 1.6x crop factor.. Having said this, given the Canon's lower noise at high ISO, and the built-in image stabiliser in the lens, a good choice may well be the Canon 17-85 EFS lens despite its slow aperture of only f/5.6 at the portrait/telephoto end - but remember - if you upgrade to a full frame sensor body your investment on this lens cannot be leveraged as it will not fit a Canon 5D.

Let's look at a quick DOF comparison assuming portrait at 2m from camera using a 100mm focal length (35mm equiv.):

For an effective 300mm f/2 prime, the Olympus 150 is a 1/3rd cheaper and almost half the weight of the Canon 200mm EF L lens.

The Olympus 11-22mm f/2.8-3.5 is said to be easily better than either Canon's 17-40L/F4 or Nikon's 18-35/3.5-4.5 AFD, while the Olympus 7-14 f/4 is a unique ultra-wide zoom.

At this stage until the 4/3rds standard gets adopted by more manufacturers, the available range of lenses for the Olympus is much more limited and less available on Ebay than the Canon or Nikon lenses  but they do have the widest range of lenses especially designed for digital sensors. Their lenses have no zoom lock or focus lock, no image stabilisation (except for the new Leica). 

New Olympus lenses in 2005 - world 1st constant f/2.0 SLR zoom lenses, in addition, these lenses have dust/splash protection & a circular diaphragm for improved bokeh:

So what combinations would I consider buying?

More info on lenses: