30 March 2008

Living in the Future

There's a lot to be said about living in the future -- I have a canned rant about laser spectroscopy, stainless steel, and the quality of cheap knives -- but this post is really a small gloat.

I can get a camera that has sensor-based shake reduction that's good enough to let me do hand-held macro photography of very small flowers. (Said very small flowers are in the "spot the Motmot" section of the Americas pavilion at the Metro Toronto Zoo; that presumably means they're Central American in origin, but they aren't labeled and my botany isn't so much weak as missing.)

The same camera -- a Pentax K20D -- is from a manufacturer generally held to have at best OK auto-focus. If you read up on DSLRs on various web fora, you will find out that Pentax has interesting lenses and anti-shake and sound ergonomics but iffy-to-unacceptable auto-focus; Canon, especially the pro cameras, is held to be much better and Nikon best of all, particularly for fast moving subjects and low light.
Now, I am quite willing to believe this; I have certainly not been able to do any comprehensive comparison testing.
On the basis of the results I'm getting with the K20D, though, I have to assume that the Nikon auto-focus is just this side of Delphic.