12.24.2010

Just for the heck of it I thought I'd nominate one of my favorite Canon Bodies as CAMERA OF THE YEAR 2010.



Nobody should really care what one person in Austin, Texas says about a camera but that didn't stop me.  I looked thru all the cameras I shot with this year and all the cameras I played with and decided to name one "My Camera of The Year."  How did this conglomeration of plastic, metal and silicon get the nod?  Well, I guess it was the best combination of usable, likable, high image quality, great shutter sound and visceral/implied build quality.  It had to be a camera I could use for my jobs and never have to apologize for but it also had to be a camera I could sling over my shoulder and head out for a walk with......and not regret it.  It had to have an advanced autofocus system, play well with Zeiss ZE lenses and shoot quick.  It had to have a decipherable menu and all the controls in the right place.   And it had to be "not too precious."  It's easy to nominate something like the Leica S2 because no matter how expensive it is and how slow it is the files are so good even the least capable photographer could pull good stuff from it.  But I'm no trustfunder photographer,  I actually have to pay for everything I shoot with and there's no way I could justify dropping thirty or forty large after two devastating and one slow year in a row for our industry.

I also could have gone the easy route and nominated the perky, fun and really, really good-for-the-money, Olympus EPL-1, but I get tired of telling people that they have to buy an auxillary finder and it's really best if they start buying up old Pen lenses and all that.  Really a close call though.  For less than $500 with a decent zoom lens at Amazon I think it's one of the best values in photography.  But it's not as good as my finalist.  Not as good at 1600 ISO or at 200 ISO.  But damn good all the same.

So what camera does the trick for me in 2010?  Forgive me Nikonians but it's the Canon 7D.  Where do I start?  First of all it's built like a granite rock.  But an ergonomically designed river rock.  It fits into my hand perfectly and when I hold it it lies to me and tells me that it will work flawlessly forever.  And it's so convincing that I believe it.

As you know, I'm a careful photographer and I find that when I put the camera on a tripod and use it at less than ISO 1600 and process the files just so it is a remarkably good imaging camera.  The focus has never failed me and works at the speed of light.  I could go on and on but when I started shooting digital in the 1990's we couldn't dream of a camera this good and if we could it would have cost $30,000.   We would have sworn that this would have been the ultimate collection of specifications.  Really.

But it does exist.  It handles better than my 5D2.  And the files are wonderful.  That's all I can say.  Two of these and a couple of zooms and you're ready for your dual career as both a still photographer and a movie maker.

One last thing.  I love the 15-85mm zoom lens.  It's a perfect complement to the 7D.  Do I wish it was a 2.8?  Hell,  I wish it was a 1.4 but it's not and there aren't any and if there were they'd be soft wide open. I've used this lens for half a year and love it.

You can buy more camera but you're going to start banging your head against a nasty piece of reality called, "diminishing returns."  I have lots of other toys but when it's raining or it's 105 degrees or the action is fast or the lighting is weird.......this is the camera I pull out of the bag and get busy with.

Do  you disagree?  If so, what's your solid favorite and what's your rationale?

Oh, and, what did you get in your stocking?

Hope everyone has an incredibly fun Christmas.