Sunday, September 02, 2007

Buzzards versus parrots, photographically speaking

Tigerhawk engages in a little buzzard blogging at his site. "I snapped this turkey buzzard vulture on Prospect Avenue less than one hour ago. I would have gotten a better picture, but some fool with a 'Kerry/Edwards' bumper sticker went blowing by with no consideration for my love of nature." Unfortunately, my part of the world is a little short on buzzards. But there a pretty good variety of lorikeets. These two guys are sharing a joke. Apparently, one of them didn't get the joke. They didn't mind getting photographed though. The camera is a Canon G7.


Blogger Utopia Parkway said...

Feeding Lorikeets "nectar" or some kind of banana slurry has become popular at lots of zoos and aquariums. I guess yours were snapped at some zoo or other. They are pretty, very social, and can become fairly tame.

Your quote from Tigerhawk isn't correct. It's a Turkey Vulture. Only a redneck would call it a buzzard. Tigerhawk has corrected his description.

What do you think of the Nikon D40?

9/03/2007 08:31:00 PM  
Blogger wretchardthecat said...

The D40, in common with most DSLRs has a much larger sensor than prosumer camers like the Canon G7. It has RAW support, a full suite of lenses, etc. But mostly the bigger sensor. Sensor size is one of the chief determinants of quality. In short a DSLR, even a lower end one, is much better picture taking machine than any prosumer camera, especially in low light. However ...

As a scan through any of the discussion boards will show, the chief disadvantage of a DSLR is size. That, plus it's attendant camera bag means that you will not normally be carrying the D40. In contrast, I nearly always carry the G7.

What recommended the G7 to me is that photographically speaking" it is "near-enough" DSLR quality in a cigarette pack sized form factor with a 6X zoom. With an auxiliary viewfinder and usable down to 3200 ISO this means I can shoot continuous through the viewfinder without EVF issues. The slightly sloppy framing doesn't matter in those cases. I once took three consecutive shots of a helicopter popping up from behind a nearby ridge before it passed overhead. I heard the rotor, pulled out the G7, flipped it on, framed it in the viewfinder and tracked the sucker for all in under ten seconds total. Could a DSLR have taken better pictures. Yes. Could you deploy it from a camera bag that quickly and get three shots? Maybe not.

A lot of pro photographers have two cameras. The camera they reserve for the shoots is always a DSLR. But the second, backup camera, like a copy sock gun, is typically something like a Canon G7. That's for the street shot opportunity, the fleeting subject with something "good enough". It's not known as the "poor man's Leica M8" for nothing.

There's one other thing. DSLRs cannot take video. Most prosumer cams, and the G7 certainly, take very good video and sound. Here again, for the street shot, the video capability may make the difference.

So what do I think about a Nikon D40? Go the store and give it a heft and if you like it, don't think about anything else, just buy it. I would if I had the money for two cameras. But since I can only justify one camera and want the capability to always be able to get off a shot, except in total darkness, it was the G7 or something like it. Buying today, I'd get the G9, the newer model with a larger sensor and RAW capability.

But if you know when and where you're going to make the shot, like a man covering exhibitions, parties or family gatherings, then get the D40. A DSLR is always a better piece of glass.

9/03/2007 11:41:00 PM  

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