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Jul 17

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Technology marches on

I am frequently reminded of how quick technology evolves whenever I handle any of the newer DSLRs. My Nikon D70s feels like a dinosaur in comparison. I’ve had the opportunity to work with both the D60 and D90 covering events. The difference between either camera compared to mine is huge! Back in the days of film, things didn’t change much. When a new film camera was introduced, things that improved were mainly to do with the motor-drive and the autofocus.

The D70s and the D60 are just 3 years apart in terms of release dates. Features that were considered mid-range in 2005 are suddenly in the realm of the entry level in 2008. Take a look:

Year Camera Category Sensor Resolution (megapixels) Frames per second
2001 Nikon D1X High-end (professional) CCD 5.3 3
2002 Nikon D100 High-end (prosumer) CCD 6 3
2003 Nikon D2H High-end (professional) LBCAST 4.1 8
2004 Nikon D70 Midrange CCD 6 3
2004 Nikon D2X High-end (professional) CMOS 12.2 5
2005 Nikon D70s Midrange CCD 6 3
2005 Nikon D50 Upper entry level CCD 6.1 2.5
2005 Nikon D200 High-end (prosumer) CCD 10 5
2006 Nikon D40 Entry level (consumer) CCD 6.1 2.5
2006 Nikon D80 Midrange CCD 10.2 3
2007 Nikon D40X Entry level (consumer) CCD 10.2 3
2007 Nikon D300 High-end (prosumer) CMOS 12.3 6
2008 Nikon D60 Entry level (consumer) CCD 10.2 3
2008 Nikon D90 Midrange CMOS 12.3 4.5
2009 Nikon D3000 Entry level (consumer) CCD 10.2 3
2009 Nikon D300s High-end (prosumer) CMOS 12.3 7
2009 Nikon D5000 Upper entry level CMOS 12.3 4
2010 Nikon D3100 Entry level (consumer) CMOS 14.2 3
2010 Nikon D7000 Midrange CMOS 16.2 6
2011 Nikon D5100 Upper entry level CMOS 16.2 4

* Table information compiled from Wikipedia.org.
** All cameras listed are DX format 

It’s not just a matter of the sensors and megapixels, the processing engines and the dynamic range has also improved. My D70s would totally punish me if I made a mistake, but with the D90 and D60, your mistakes would have to be huge. Most underexposed images coming out of the D90 and D60 are totally salvageable, especially when shooting in RAW.

Then there’s the debate of sensor technology and Moore’s Law. Although Thom Hogan thinks that 24 megapixels is about all we’ll need for DX format DSLRs owing to diffraction limits.

6 megapixels or not, I love my D70s because it has taught me so much, but the D90 is great too because it’s so forgiving. How about the D7000 with its superb high ISO performance? Isn’t technology great?

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.stillworx.com/2011/07/17/technology-marches-on/

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