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First off I'll say that I'm a Nikon shooter, but have become familiar with both Nikon and Canon systems. Both have their good and bad points. What I'm going to do here is address what I feel are some shortcomings with a wish list. The perspective for this list is the lower end of pro gear. In March after the show, I'll revisit this wish list and see how they did. I'll begin the wish list with Nikon since it's the brand I'm most familiar with.


      80-400mm f4.5-5.6 VR, AF-S

Nikon needs to update the 80-400mm VR to an AF-S, Silent Wave, internal autofocus motor big time. After playing with the Canon 100-400mm USM, IS lens, I got quite discouraged with the comparatively slow autofocus speed and noise produced while autofocusing with my current 80-400 Nikon lens. I don't think that offering the same f5.6 lens in AF-S, at close to the same price point is going to hurt sales of the 200-400 f4 lens. The 200-400 is faster at f4 and has it's own target audience. I'd say that an AF-S 80-400 f5.6 VR is sorely needed and overdue.

      D200 with antidust hardware improvement

Canon is most likely going to introduce a replacement to the EOS 30D that will be similar in pixel count to the D200, but have the added benefit of internally shaking the dust off the sensor, similar to their Digital Rebel XTi. To let another year go by and not address this major problem for dSLR users, Nikon would be making a mistake. Hopefully we'll see revisions to Nikon camera bodies with some sort of technology that addresses the dust problem, and I don't mean software dust mapping.

Dust mapping doesn't really solve the problem, and it makes your photos softer as it's a cloning function built into the camera software. Nikon, please fix the dust problem with an effective hardware solution.

      Less Noise at High ISO

While this is subjective on my part, I feel that the images taken with Nikon prosumer CCDs at high ISOs in raw file format are not quite on par with what a similar market segment Canon CMOS can do, at least as far as image noise is concerned. This is not the only image quality variable to consider, but I feel it's important enough to discuss. The film speeds in question would be ISO400 and up.

My comment comes from past experience reviewing raw files taken with Canon EOS 10D, 20D, and 30D in comparison to Nikon D100 and D200 files. I've also reviewed ISO400 files taken using the D2x CMOS, and to me they looked better than D200 CCD files at similar ISO. Of course the 2 cameras focus on different market segments, and for the money we'd expect the D2x to have superior image quality.

It appears that Nikon prosumer bodies can generate superior jpeg files, which may be due to a better image processing engine, but if you shoot for publication in anything besides newspapers, raw image quality is most important. It might make sense to switch to CMOS in the cameras below D2x? I'm not an engineer, but I do feel that Nikon can do a little bit better on high ISO raw file noise levels.

      Autofocus Extension Tubes

Using the PK-13 with a D200 is definitely not an optimal scenario. There's too much manual setup. Please offer something like Canon does, where all the electronics work. It would work great with the new 105mm macro lens!


EOS-40D, EOS-50D, or whatever number, at greater than 10 megapixel, 5 fps minimum

The EOS-20D to EOS-30D "upgrade" last year was a complete disappointment. Canon missed the mark on megapixels in 2006 which was a shame. Hopefully, whatever the replacement to the EOS-30D is will be more than slightly better. Personally I'd like to see an EOS-40D with 12 megapixels, 1.6X crop factor, 6 or 7 frames per second, and the same excellent high ISO performance we've come to expect from Canon CMOS.

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

For what it is, the EOS-5D is a pretty nifty camera. I think the area it's lacking is in frames per second. Canon, how about a 5 fps 5D, and maybe even bumping it's pixel count to 16 or 17MP range?

      Wireless Macro Flash

Canon you should follow Nikon's R1 Wireless Close-up Speedlight System lead in this department. There are advantages to going wireless in macro, and the MT-24EX wired macro flash is too expensive in comparison to the Nikon wireless unit. Lower the price on your wired MT-24EX ringlight, a lot, and introduce a wireless unit.

      100mm f/2.8 USM Macro with IS!

There are advantages to field work in macro with image stabilization. Canon, follow Nikon's lead and add IS to your macro lens.

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. Some of what they offer is getting closer. The PENTAX K10D camera body is a pretty neat idea. Too bad it's 3 fps, and they don't have an internal autofocus 100-400 lens on their roadmap.

The SONY Alpha camera body appears to be headed in a good direction. With the number of MINOLTA lens choices there are, I'm intrigued by where SONY is taking us. Hopefully SONY builds a pro DSLR in the 5 fps or greater range, 12 MP, and weather proof. That combined with their sensor-based vibration reduction would be an appealing design!

That's all for January. Be back again in March after PMA 2007!

Andy Williams /

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