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A workman is only as good as his tools

The paintbrush doesn't make the artist

At The Source we believe owning the best equipment is vital to produce the best results. Although the skill required to use the equipment is the biggest factor to ensure success, without the right tools the job is doomed from the start.

With the ever dropping price of digital SLRs hundreds of "professional photographers" are popping up all over the place, claiming to have top of the range equipment. (I know of at least 3 photographers claiming their D70 is top of the range - news flash D70 is almost bottom of the range)

What do they know about photography when they cannot even understand half of their camera's simple features. I own more than ten cameras and I can use every feature on every one.

Although our equipment is highly reliable, we never go to a wedding with only one camera. At most weddings we will have 2 digital still cameras, 2 flash units, spare memory cards, batteries, 2 video cameras and plenty PC support.

Below are the specifications of my camera of choice, the Nikon D2X. If you would like to jump to our video camera of choice, Canon XM-2 click here.

Nikon D2X specs

My latest camera body is the Nikon D2X. In build and features it is almost identical to the D2H I was using before. The major improvement is the image sensor which is now CMOS as apposed to CCD or JFET. Pixel count is now also increased to 12 million+ although it is rare to need such high resolution.

SPECIFICATIONS (from www.dpreview.com/reviews/nikond2x/page2.asp)

Body material Magnesium alloy
Sensor

• 23.7 x 15.7 mm CMOS sensor
• DX format
• RGB Color Filter Array
• Built-in fixed low-pass filter
• 12.84 million total pixels
• 12.4 million effective pixels
• 5.49 x 5.49 µm
• 3:2 aspect ratio

Image sizes
(Full image)

• 4288 x 2848 [L]
• 3216 x 2136 [M]
• 2144 x 1424 [S]

Image sizes
(High speed
cropped)

• 3216 x 2136 [L]
• 2400 x 1600 [M]
• 1600 x 1064 [S]

File formats
• NEF (12-bit RAW)
• NEF + JPEG
• JPEG (EXIF 2.2)
• TIFF (RGB)

Color space
• sRGB (2 modes)
• Adobe RGB (2 modes)
• sYCC

Lens mount
• Nikon F mount
• Full size image: 1.5x field of view crop
• High speed cropped: 2.0x field of view crop

Usable lenses
• AF Nikkor (including AF-S, DX, VR and D-/G-type) : All functions possible
• D-type Manual-Focus Nikkor: All functions except autofocus and some
exposure modes available
• AF Nikkor other than D-/G-type: All functions except 3D Color Matrix
Metering and 3D Multi-Sensor Balanced Fill-Flash possible
• AI-P Nikkor: All functions except 3D Color Matrix Metering,
3D Multi-Sensor Balanced Fill-Flash and AF possible
• Non-CPU AI Nikkor : Usable in [A] or [M] mode with Matrix-Metering,
Center-Weighted and Spot metering available. Indication of aperture No.,
after user inputs the aperture f/No. and focal length f=mm by multi-selector
operation.
* Electronic Rangefinder usable with maximum aperture of f/5.6 or faster

Auto Focus
• 11 area TTL (9 area when in High speed cropped mode)
• Multi-CAM2000
• AF working range: -1 to 19 EV (ISO 100, normal temperature)

Lens Servo
• Single Servo AF [S]
• Continuous Servo AF [C]
• Manual focus [M]
* Focus Tracking automatically activated by subject's status in [S] or [C] AF

AF Area Mode
• Single Area AF
• Dynamic AF with Focus Tracking and Lock-on
• Closest Subject Priority Dynamic AF
• Group Dynamic AF
AF assist None (via. external flash)

AF Lock
• Locked using the AE-L/AF-L button
• Half-press shutter release button in AF mode [S]

Exposure modes
• Program Auto [P] - flexible program possible
• Shutter-Priority Auto [S]
• Aperture-Priority Auto [A]
• Manual [M] TTL full-aperture exposure metering system;
• D-/G-type Nikkor lenses support 3D Color Matrix Metering II using the 1,005-pixel CCD while other AF Nikkor lenses with built-in CPUs support Matrix Metering (Non-CPU lenses require manual input of lens data)

Metering

• Center-Weighted Metering (75% of the meter's sensitivity concentrated on the 8mm dia. circle)
• Spot Metering (3mm dia. circle, approx. 2% of entire frame); metering position can be linked to the focus area when using Nikkor lenses with built-in CPU

Metering modes
• 3D Color Matrix
• Center-Weighted
• Spot

Metering range
• 3D Color Matrix Metering: EV 0 to 20
• Center-Weighted Metering: EV 0 to 20
• Spot Metering: EV 2 to 20
[at normal temperature (20°C/68°F), ISO 100 equivalent, f/1.4 lens]

Meter Coupling
AE Lock
CPU and AI (Automatic maximum aperture indexing)
Locked using AE-L/AF-L button

AE Bracketing
• 2 to 9 frames
• 1/3, 2/3 or 1 EV steps

Exposure compen
• +/-5.0 EV
• 1/3, 1/2 or 1.0 EV steps
Sensitivity

• ISO 100 - 800
• 1/3, 1/2 or 1.0 EV steps

Shutter
• Electromagnetically controlled vertical-travel Focal-plane shutter
• 30 to 1/8000 sec
• Flash X-Sync: 1/250 sec
• Bulb

White balance
• Auto (hybrid: ambient sensor, 1005-pixel CCD, image sensor)
• Presets (five)
• Manual (six steps with fine tuning)
• Color temperature in Kelvin (31 steps)
• White balance bracketing (2 to 9 frames, 10,20,30 MIRED steps)

Image parameters
• Sharpening: Auto, Normal, Low, Medium Low, Medium High, High, None
• Tone: Auto, Normal, Less Contrast, More Contrast, Custom
• Color: -3,-2,-1,0,+1,+2,+3
• Hue: +/-3, +/-6, +/-9 degrees

Viewfinder
• Optical-type fixed eye-level pentaprism
• Built-in diopter adjustment (-3 to +1m-1)
• Eyepiece shutter provided
• Eyepoint: 19.9 mm (at -1.0m-1)
• Frame coverage 100%
• Viewfinder magnification approx 0.86x with 50 mm f/1.4 lens

Focusing screen
• B-type BrightView Clear Matte Screen III and V-Type Screen for High speed cropped
• Interchangeable with optional E-type finder screen with grid

Viewfinder info
• Focus indications
• Shutter speed
• Aperture
• Exposure mode
• Metering system
• Shutter speed lock
• Aperture lock
• AE lock
• Bracketing indicator
• Electronic analogue display
• Frame counter
• Ready-light
• ISO sensitivity
• White balance
• Image size / quality
• Eleven sets of focus brackets (area)
• High speed cropped area

LCD monitor
• 2.5 " TFT LCD
• Tempered glass coating
• 235,000 pixels
• Backlight / brightness adjustment

Flash control
• New Creative Lighting System: i-TTL Balanced Fill-Flash controlled by five-segment TTL Multi Sensor with Nikon Speedlight SB-800/600: Advanced Wireless Lighting, FV (Flash Value) -lock, Flash Color Information Communication for Auto White Balance, Auto FP High-Speed Flash Sync, Modeling Flash
• D-TTL Balanced Fill-Flash: When used with the Speedlight SB-80DX/50DX and in accordance with the mounted lens, five-segment TTL Multi Sensor control makes available 3D Multi-Sensor Balanced Fill-Flash, Multi-Sensor Balanced Fill-Flash, and Standard D-TTL Balanced Fill-Flash
• AA (Auto Aperture)-type Flash available when used with SB-800/80DX and lens with built-in CPU
• Non-TTL Auto Flash (A-type Flash) with a Speedlight such as SB-30/27/22s etc.
• Range-priority manual available with SB-800

Flash Sync Mode
• Front-Curtain Sync (normal sync)
• Red-Eye Reduction
• Red-Eye Reduction with Slow Sync
• Slow Sync
• Rear-Curtain Sync
Flash Ready-Light Lights up when flash fully charged with Speedlight SB-800/80DX/50DX/30/28/
27/22s; blinks for full output warning
Flash Accessory Shoe

ISO 518 standard-type hot shoe contact; Safety lock mechanism provided
Flash Sync Terminal ISO 519 standard terminal, lock screw provided

DOF Preview
• Stop-down lens aperture by pressing button
• Activates modelling flash

Shooting modes
• Single
• Continuous High [CH] Full image - 5 fps
• Continuous High [CH] High speed cropped image - 8 fps
• Continuous Low [CL] Full image - 1 to 4 fps (custom)
• Continuous Low [CL] High speed cropped image - 1 to 7 fps (custom)
• Buffer size: Full image 15 NEF, High speed cropped image 26 NEF
• Self-Timer (programmable)
• Interval timer (Timelapse)

Self-timer
• 2, 5, 10 or 20 sec programmable
Voice recording • Voice memo (up to 60 sec)
• Optional auto record
Orientation sensor Tags images with camera orientation

Playback mode
• Full frame
• Thumbnail (4 or 9 images)
• One-touch zoom
• Slideshow
• Histogram
• Highlight point

Connectivity
• USB 2.0 (Hi-Speed) Mini-B connector
• Video out
• Remote control 10-pin
• PC Sync flash terminal
GPS NMEA 0183 Interface standard supported with GPS Cable MC-35 (optional)
Communications FTP file transfer with optional Wireless Transmitter WT-1 (IEEE 802.11b) or WT-2 (IEEE 802.11b/g)

Video out
• NTSC
• PAL

Storage
• Compact Flash Type I or II
• Microdrive supported
• FAT 12/16 and FAT 32 support
• 30 characters of text can be input and stored in EXIF header
• No CF card supplied

Power
• Lithium-Ion EN-EL4 (11.1 V DC)
• Included battery charger MH-21 (100 min full charge)
• Optional AC adapter EH-6
Battery monitoring The LCD monitor on the camera back displays the following information
about the EN-EL4 battery:
• Remaining charge (%)
• No. of shots taken since last charge
• Calibration status (Recommended/Not required)
• Battery life (5 stages)

Dimensions 158 x 150 x 86 mm (6.2 x 5.9 x 3.4 in)
Weight (no batt) 1070 g (2.4 lb)
Weight (inc. batt) 1252 g (2.8 lb)
Box contents Li-ion Battery EN-EL4, Quick Charger MH-21, Body Cap, Camera Strap AN-D2X, AV Cable EG-D2, USB Cable UC-E4, LCD Monitor Cover BM-3, PictureProject Software CD-ROM
Optional accessories Wireless Transmitter WT-1, Wireless Transmitter WT-2, Extension Antenna WA-E1, AC Adaptor EH-6, E-type Finder Screen, Anti-fog Finder Eyepiece DK-16A, Eyepiece Correction Lens DK-16C series, Speedlight SB-800/80DX/50DX, Nikon Capture 4 software, CompactFlash™ card

 

Canon XM-2 specs

 

         

Category Camcorder Brand Canon
Viewfinder technology LCD Monitor Optical zoom 20x
Digital zoom 100x Media type Mini DV
Video input type Digital Video Camera Sensor resolution 0.44 Megapixel
Weight 1120g Viewfinder Colour Viewfinder
Screen size 2.5'' Display form factor Rotating
Optical sensor 3CCD Optical sensor size 1/4"
Connectivity A/V , FireWire , S-Video , USB Image stabiliser Digital
Minimum illumination rating 0.37 lux Lens aperture F/1.6-2.9
Min focal length 4.2mm Max focal length 84mm
Still image format JPEG Maximum stills resolution 1488 x 1128
Supported flash memory MultiMedia Card , Secure Digital Card Supplied flash capacity 8MB
Shooting modes Auto , Beach & Snow , Digital Photo , Frame Movie , Manual , Spotlight Special effects Art , Auto Fade , Black & White , Mirror , Mosaic , Sepia , Slim , Stretch , Strobe , Tracer
Faders Black , Overlap , Window Wipe Remote control With Remote Control
Battery type Lithium Ion Service & support 1 year guarantee
Width 11.8cm Depth 30.6cm
Height 13.6cm