First of all I want to thank the crew behind Camera Labs for an excellent website and forum.
Even though I’m new to the world of DSLRS I’m a frequent user of tech forums, and as such I know that if you want input you better make a detailed and thorough initial post. So pour yourself a cup of tea ( or coffee if you prefer ) and prepare for a long read.
I've spent the last months reading reviews and forum posts on this site and other sites on the net, and I feel that I've ran into the dilemma. The more I dig down in specs of different camera models the more uncertain I am of which will be the perfect fit for me. When ever I've found a camera I'm happy with it is only a matter of days before a different model seems to be more interesting.
What I'm looking for is basically a camera that doesn't exist. A list of the specs I'm looking for.
- A camera with a comfortable grip
- Has a slightly smaller form factor since I will bring it with me on hiking in the outdoors. The D90 is an example of a camera that is too bulky.
- A good optical view finder.
- Has a kit lens that is OK or better than the average kit lens.
- Good battery life
- Preferably don't cost more than $800
- In house mechanism to counter camera shake.
- Live view is a plus, but is not crucial.
- Some what up to date with for example anti dust facilities.
- Some form of protection against the elements. I live in northern Sweden, so I'd like to be able to use the camera in serious sub zero temperatures.
Models I've been interested in so far are Nikon D40/D60, Sony A350, the Canon 450D and the Pentax K200D. Most tick of some of the points on my list but fail on others. I've been to camera stores in town and have had the opportunity to hold all the cameras except the K200D.
The Nikon D40/D60 has the right size, outstanding grip, but lacks live view and feels a bit out of date. The D60 does however has an anti dust system, which is a plus.
The Sony A350 also has an outstanding grip. It also offers a fast live view system. But it seems like the 18-70 mm kit lens is a serious bottle neck and the small optical view finder is another dilemma.
The Canon 450D ticks of several of the specs on my list. But there is one big problem. I really don’t like the grip or the general feel of the camera.
The Pentax K200D is the only camera of those I've been looking into that offers some form of weather sealing. But I don't like what I’ve seen of the menu system and it's harder to find Pentax lenses on the second hand market, at least here in Sweden.
The ideal camera would be a Canon 450D, with the grip of a Nikon D60 and the built mechanism to prevent camera shake and protection of the elements of the Pentax K200D. But since that camera doesn't exist I suppose it's a matter of compromising. My gut feeling at the moment says the D60 or the 450D, but I simply can not make up my mind.
The kind of photography I would use the camera for is mostly landscape, architecture and portraits.
All form of input is welcomed, but I’m particularly interested in the experiences of those of you who have similar needs and found a camera that works great for you.
Thank you in advance.