Prosumer Models

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Spend $1,000 to $3,000 and you can add a couple million pixels to your resolution, a few pounds to the weight you'll be lugging around, enough optical glass to detect life on Mars, and virtually every important feature you'll find in a sub-$ 1,000 SLR film camera. Indeed, in this price range you'll find a few digital cameras that are based on popular Fuji, Canon, or Nikon 35mm SLR camera bodies, with a solid-state sensor replacing the film path. Others, like the model shown in figure 2.5, were designed from the ground up as digital models.

You'll need to spend at least this much for a prosumer model if you want interchangeable lenses and other "real" camera features such as high-speed "motor" drives that simulate the rapid shooting capabilities of professional film cameras, as well as sophisticated multiple flash capabilities.

If you do invest in a "conversion van" of the digital photography world, the downside is that some transformations of 35mm SLRs into the digital realm are clumsy. For example, because the sensors are smaller than the 24x36mm size of

2.5 Professional photographers and advanced amateurs will find every feature they need in the "prosumer" models.

the standard 35mm film frame, a given lens's field of view (the scope of the image it can encompass) may not be what you expect. Your 55mm normal lens becomes a short telephoto lens, and your 105mm portrait lens becomes a longer tele-photo. The price of a prosumer camera is a lot to spend on a device that will certainly be obsolete (from a technological viewpoint; not in practice) alarmingly soon. However, if you've got the bucks and need the features, go for it.

Professional Models

For $5,000 to $30,000 or so, you can get yourself a camera that is in virtually all respects the equal of a professional film camera. You don't need me to outline the features and advantages of these beasts. If you need and can rc afford one, you already have that information. The rest of us can only drool

^ over the interchangeable lenses, bellows close-up attachments, precise

^ through-the-lens viewing, and other features of these high-end models. I've used various examples in this category off and on since 1995. The scary part is that one $30,000 model loaned to me in the mid-1990s had less resolution Q than you'll find in an $800 consumer digital camera today.

? Fortunately, pros don't see this kind of equipment as an investment as much as an expenditure. What's a $30,000 camera when your client has a multimil-$ lion-dollar advertising budget? A full-featured professional digital camera is shown in figure 2.6.

2.6 Top-of-the-line digital cameras are the equals of their 35mm counter parts (and look like them, too).

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