I'm afraid I've got COB syndrome. Camera-on-the-brain. Ever get that?
It's not love, and I don't think it quite ranks as infatuation, either. Maybe it's akin to infatuation with a "star"—someone you'll never meet and who wouldn't particularly want to meet you either. It has that same feel of vague uselessness. It's just that every now and then I get enamored of a particular camera and I just...think about it. Maybe not all the time. But too much. More than is warranted. More than makes sense. Does that ever happen to you?
Right now I keep thinking of the Sony A900. I haven't seen one yet. You can't buy one yet (that's probably a good thing, considering my, er, present condition). They'll be along in November. From my reading of the reviews, it sounds like the ultimate landscapist's camera—reasonable portability, supremely high image quality, "virtual tripod" (in-the-body anti-shake—Sony now calls its version SSI, for SteadyShot Inside—I think). It supposedly doesn't have the greatest high-ISO performance, but landscapists want the best image quality, not shots-in-the-dark. (And anyway, the ISO 1600 shots online look as good as those from my now-old Konica-Minolta 7D, and I'm perfectly happy with those.) The reason I've got A900 on the brain: its high-quality, precise prism viewfinder with 100% coverage—mmm. I love good viewfinders. Viewfinders are the Achilles' heel of APS-C DSLRs: even the good ones are so-so.
Meanwhile, speaking of good viewfinders, I saw a Nikon D700 for the first time last night, at Mike Crivello's Camera in Brookfield (WI), my local camera emporium (and a very good, full-service camera store with lots of good stuff on display). It's nice, the Nikon. As in really nice. Not that big or heavy. I could live with it. It takes a different approach to "IS": very good high ISO quality. With fewer pixels and better high-ISO performance, it's more the kind of thing I should buy. I'll tell you, if the D700 had in-body IS (or a stabilized medium-wide prime, don't hold your breath), I'd have to buy it. I'd be forced to. I wouldn't have any choice. As it is, I might be able to resist. Possibly. We'll see.
Mike Crivello's, for anyone reading these words who happens to live in Southeastern Wisconsin, is now a Leica dealer. They have a whole wall of Leica products, including an M8 on display. I got to see the new D-Lux 4, which seems really nifty. I was surprised at how tiny it is. It is really quite responsive, too. I should have taken a card a card along and done a few test shots for you. Leica products need to be seen and handled to be appreciated; the dealer is an especially important link in the chain when it comes to that marque.
In other camera news, David Pogue has reviewed the Panasonic G1 in the Times this morning.
Now I have to go give the kid a ride to school. He's supposed to walk, but I indulge him sometimes. It's cold out. What can I say?
Featured Comment by Christian: "And I thought you were the doctor..."
Featured Comment by Michael Steinbach: "The photo below of my son Sean was taken with a D700 and a 105 VR macro (handheld) lit by one 4-watt night light across the room, approximately 12 feet away. The blue streaks in the background are from an LED night light. Noisy? Yes. But in a 5x7 print not really noticeable. ISO 12,800. You've got to love a camera with this kind of capability."