The next camera

Since We’ve got a camera that’s more than a few minutes/days/months old, I’m thinking about what I don’t like about it and what I’d want in the next one, assuming that I’m not just going to rush out and buy the really expensive one, features be dammed. We’ve got the original Digital Rebel, 300d, a 6MP camera that’s perfectly adequate for almost anything. It doesn’t generally get in the way, and it produces really nice images when run properly. It’s 2 generations old by now, so there’s possibly some significant advances to be had. What I’d like in a new one, or rather, what annoys me and I want to change from this one are:

  •  Buffer Depth/ Time to clear a full buffer. With a 4 image buffer and quite a few seconds to clear once it gets full, I find myself waiting on it a lot. It’s quite a bit slower than the recycle time of the flashes when they’re below full power.  It doesn’t help that I shoot raw, but then again, that’s where the image quality is. 
  • Tungsten white balance. It’s awful, either on the auto or the tungsten setting. It’s fine if I shoot a custom frame, so I know that the camera can do it. It’s rare that I do that when I’m shooting around or under varying light conditions. I can fix it in LightRoom, but I’d still rather get it right in the camera.  
  • Autofocus speed. It can be really slow, or hunt badly. I know that AF has gotten better.  
  • Lower, less objectionable noise at high ISO, and an ISO 3200/ISO50 range expansion. The noise at the high end is starting to wear on me, especially since there are sensors that do so much better out there now. The pictures I’ve seen online show that the top of the line 1DM3’s 6400 performance is probably better than the Rebel’s ISO 800. 
  • Onboard flash that can be configured for non-TTL and manually turned down. Sometimes it would be nice to run optical slaves from the onboard flash. 

What I don’t necessarily need is more megapixels, a smaller camera, better battery life, or a different lens mount. (though the Pentax pancake lenses look nice)I was hoping for the Canon 5d to come down in price, or have essentially it with a 1.6 crop sensor in place of the 30d. The 30d hasn’t advanced the art as much as many reviewers would like, being more of a warmed over 20d than a scaled down 5d.I got a chance to shoot with a 30d at a wedding, when the Mother of the Bride’s camera found it’s way into my hands, after being handed to someone who looked very uncomfortable with it. (Sample question: Where’s the zoom? )  Despite not being able to find some of the controls — aperture in full manual mode, exposure compensation in Av — and starting out shooting people in white in full sun in jpg on iso 1600 — I was able to get it to a reasonable point.By that point, it felt relatively natural. Autofocus was blazingly fast, buffer depth was enough, and sun on white clothes was tamed.  It felt far better than I would have expected, given the reviews of the camera. It’s probably not everything that I want, but it’s certainly enough for what I’d want. But I’m not really in the market yet. Just thinking about. 

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