[CALUG] Off Topic: Camera Store

Bryan J Smith b.j.smith at ieee.org
Sat Apr 3 01:18:26 EDT 2010

On Fri, 2010-04-02 at 16:59 -0400, Rajiv Gunja wrote:
> Bryan,
> Yes, I too have bought stuff from Adorama and B&H. I had not heard of
> Ace Photo Inc, but you say that they are good.

I had bought from Ace Photo via mail order before coming up to DC last
year on a longer term basis.

When I needed a fast, weather sealed tele, they had the DA* 200 f/2.8
for under $1K, which was within $100 of the cheapest, reputable mail
order price.  Not many people stock KAF lenses, so they are great, local
source for me now that I'm here.

When I was in Atlanta I'd drop by KEH, which is a Godsend for used.

>  I will need to check them out. I am looking into buying Canon 550D

The 550D is a nice unit.  Many argue it's the best, sub-$1k,
amateur/semi-pro body out there.  The only dislikes I've heard of it are
the ergonomics coming form Canon's prior offerings.  But it's based on
the 500D body, so that's to be expected.

DPReview definitely loves it:  

It does borrow a bit from the 500D in other areas, including on the
performance end.  I was a bit shocked on the overhead of Noise Reduction
(NR), as the 3.7fps drops under 3fps when enabled mid or strong:

I don't understand this when the K-x is 4.7fps with NR defaults.  The
digital KAF bodies aren't normally known for speed and NR, let alone not
at JPEG.  The K-x is no longer a Samsung sensor and logic+firmware, but
a Sony sensor and likely a new, native logic+firmware (hopefully to be
seen in the K-7's successor, probably the 645D when it hits too):   

I've had a couple of friends pick up the $699 K-x "kit" with the 18-55
and 55-300[1] lenses.  When I handled one, I definitely missed the
dual-knob/extra-control ergonomics from the expert-oriented K bodies
(like my aging K20D).  But I finally pulled the trigger myself on a K-x
for just over $400 (after selling the 18-55) as a "backup" body.
Instead of swapping my fast wide angle for my uber-wide fisheye and my
fast tele for my slower telezoom on the K20D, I now just keep them on
the K-x whenever I want it.  Neither are weather sealed like my faster
lenses anyway, so the K-x and those lenses just stay home when it's
raining out, or when snow is about and the temps are freezing.

[1] http://www.popphoto.com/Reviews/Lenses/Pentax-DA-55-300mm-f-4-5.8  

> (I understand you do not like Canon)

This is _exactly_ what I'm talking about!  I _never_ said such!
(you do realize you just made my original point, correct?!?!?! @-ppp)

I have _no_ problem with Canon at all.  I do, however, have a problem
with people assuming I don't like Canon or Nikon, because I have a KAF
system.  I might as well walked into a Ritz Camera.  ;)

[ Wait ... is Ritz Camera sponsoring this list?!?!?!  ;-p ]

Kinda like people assume I don't like Apple or Microsoft because I run
Linux or work for Red Hat.  I do laugh, however, when they find out I'm
Microsoft certified through the entire, new MCITP track (which replaces
MCSE) on Windows Server 2008.  Yes, I work for a Linux vendor and I am,
on my own dollar too.

Same concept.  I have shot with Canon and Nikon bodies (far more Nikon
than Canon), even though I don't either system.  If someone gave me a
Nikon D300 and VR 180 f/2.8, I would be quite happy with it.

> but I am unable to find a store which carries it so I can use it and
> compare it with 7D, also a support staff which is knowledgeable.

The 7D is definitely going to kick the lower-end bodies in ergonomics.
This is one of the reasons I avoid entry-level bodies myself in general
(my prior rationale for buying the cheap K-x not withstanding).  The
more modes, the more buttons, the more dials -- especially a dual
aperture-shutter priority or other mode -- is how I often shoot.  I
don't like a single priority mode myself.

What prices are you seeing between the 550D and 7D?  If it's a few
hundred bucks, I'd say go for the 7D or consider used options.  Canon
has a lot of great, mid-to-advanced bodies.  What existing glass do you

> BestBuy was of no use, the guy I spoke to had not heard of 550D or T2i
> and had to check his computer to tell me that they were out and it
> would be stocked by Tuesday.

Yep, they are like that.  I found it funny that despite their IT and
procurement run by Microsoft, they didn't know jack about the Xbox the
other week as well.  It's reasons like this I just go to the "specialty
store" instead of the "superstore," kinda like you don't go to McD's or
BK's to get even something as simple as ground sirloin.

[ E.g., I had a real itch for Forza 3 after I found out Sebring and the
C6.R GT1 were in it, and with GT5 for the PS3 being delayed, I finally
pulled the trigger on one.  Game Stop was 100x the help. ]

> I am not sure if I have been to RitzCamera, but I will visit it
> tonight and Ace over the weekend.

Ritz Camera should have both although be wary about their preference for
Nikon.  Nikon's marketing funds Ritz 3x over Canon's, so they will
clearly favor selling you a Nikon.

God only knows many sales of those uber-crippled D40/60 models are thanx
to Ritz.  While I love Nikon amateur-expert bodies, Nikon's horrendous
crippling of their entry-level bodies (until the D5000) really caught a
lot of people.  I'm not even talking about the lens compatibility, but
bracketing, AF points and a few other details.  The second those people
got a taste of an "old" D80 or D200, or other systems with those
features standard, they were upgrading -- exactly what those cheap
bodies were designed to do.  Every now and then I'd meet a Nikon
semi-pro trying to excuse the utter lack of features, and every one of
them would eventually admit they would never own them themselves when
pressed, not even as a backup body.

Bryan J Smith <b.j.smith at ieee.org>

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