Dslr Bonanza

This has turned out to be a big month for digital SLRs. First, Sony has finally broken away from the design heritage it acquired with the purchase of Konica Minolta. The new Alphas are different from any other DSLRs, including other Alphas. They look more slick, more modern, more.. .well, Sony. If you covered the badge you'd still guess the brand. Whether this is a good thing will depend on your tastes and, possibly, your age. The lack of external buttons may bother some users, but will undoubtedly attract others.

Of course, you'd expect Sony to produce DSLRs that look like consumer gadgets, but it can also go in the opposite direction. Sony's

Musings from the WDC Editor

pro flagship - the stripped-down, minimalist a900 - is a paragon of the 'less is more' school, with its emphasis on quality engineering and performance.

But the conservative pro market is a tough nut to crack. Brand loyalty and lens legacy means it's also hard to get existing enthusiasts to switch brands. Sony knows that its best chance of increasing its market share is to target DSLR newcomers, to whom the Sony brand is already familiar, and the new a230, a330 and a380 are built to do just that.

Meanwhile, Pentax has surprised everyone with what it has managed to cram into its diminutive new flagship, the K-7. Judging by the tens of thousands of views our video preview and sample image gallery of the camera has already had online, this is a camera that Pentax users have been craving for a long time. And based on my first impressions I'd say it looks like it was worth the wait. It's no secret that Pentax has struggled to keep up in the digital age. Despite producing good cameras, the company hasn't been able to produce enough models, quickly enough, and appealing enough to woo sufficient numbers of buyers. Consequently its market share has fallen.

I hope the K-7 can change that. It certainly represents a departure, both internally and externally. In some ways it reminds me of my first decent SLR, the Pentax LX, which I bought back in 1981. Let's hope the K-7 is as good, and as big a success, as that camera was.

The other week I cleared out my drawer of all things photographic: old film canisters, stray filters, instruction manuals, and -ashamed as I am to admit it - the odd unprotected negative. Only then did it occur to me that the reason I wasn't using all these things was because, in some shape or form, it was all on my computer. Manuals were now PDF files, filters were Photoshop plug-ins, and that negative was among the many Raw files hiding in my hard drive.

From an environmental point of view this is a plus, but doesn't this make our lives harder as photographers? Even just to check something in a manual requires you to boot up your computer, and the risk of losing files is always present. The letters we get from our readers, disheartened that their manuals exist only in a digital format suggest that I'm not alone in my concerns. By aiming to make our lives easier, haven't certain technological advancements just had the reverse effect?

DO YOU AGREE OR DISAGREE?

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