New 35mm SLR Cameras
As the economy improved in
1998, the market was ready for new and improved SLR cameras in 1999.
And the manufacturers delivered, with emphasis on two categories: "Pro"
models packed with every capability imaginable and entry-level cameras
that are simpler to operate than previous versions.
As well, the central focus
detection point maintains its cross-type operation, ensuring quick focus
on patterns of any type, with lenses that have a maximum aperture of f/4
or larger. (The EOS-1N maintained cross-type detection only with lenses
of f/2.8 or faster.) Autofocus operation--employing the central sensor
with horizontal-line AF--is maintained even with a maximum aperture of
f/8 so that autofocus is maintained with many EF telephoto lenses even
when a tele-converter is used.
Rebel With A Cause.
The EOS-3 garnered all the headlines for Canon this year, but
the new EOS Rebel 2000 is every bit as impressive considering its modest
price. A handsome camera, the new model is competitive with the more expensive
EOS Elan II.
Affordable Maxxum Trio.
This year, Minolta released several models, starting with the STsi and
HTsi Plus with the new style controls and the budget-priced QTsi that
offers a combination of new and old controls.
One of the smallest/lightest
SLR cameras in the world, the STsi omits advanced features that some find
complicated; consequently, it handles more like a compact lens/shutter
camera than most SLRs.
System. In some countries, many professional photographers shoot
with a Minolta system. This trend deserves to reach North America, too,
especially since the advent of the Maxxum 9: the ultimate pro camera from
This is the only current pro
camera with built-in flash, sure to be appreciated in close-up work. Naturally,
Minolta has included the very best of the features from its other cameras,
too. These include: three CCD autofocus sensors (one cross-hatched for
greatest reliability); eye-start automation; four segment flash metering,
14 zone ambient light metering, plus center-weighted and spot; all the
usual operating modes and overrides; diopter correction eyepiece; the
ability to use various battery types; full information data panels; remote
control terminal; depth of field preview plus screw-in PC cord terminal
for studio flash systems.
During my tests of the Nikon
F100, I was impressed with all facets of this camera, particularly its
highly effective, accurate, and versatile autofocus system. Especially
with the new Silent Wave (AF-S) lenses, AF performance was almost on par
with the F5, one of the top-rated models. The exposure metering system
of the F100 (even without the RBG Color Evaluation system) proved to be
almost infallible except with very difficult lighting situations. Then,
I switched to more personalized control or AE bracketing. Since the F100
uses the same--superb and incredibly versatile--flash metering system
as the F5, it offers accurate, predictable, beautiful, and highly controllable
exposures with flash.
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