Ok Battery charged (indicted by the red light going out) and it’s in the camera. The door to the battery chamber seems a tad loose as you open it, but it stays there and closes neatly with a positive click so I’m not worried that the battery might fall out sometime!
As with the older cameras, the on/off switch is incorporated in the function dial on the left top of the body. One click clockwise and you are on single shot, two clicks for continuous shooting etc.
It takes about ½ a second for the top panel to fully give all the info, which includes battery state, metering setting, number of shots available on the CF card (estimated) and priority setting (PASM). The aperture set also appears in aperture mode, the shutter speed in S mode or both in Manual. In the P mode, these do not appear until the shutter button is half pressed, which, in the other modes, also shows the missing parameters.
Turning the camera on with the shutter button fully depressed takes around 1 second to shoot an image.
The next thing I did was to look through the viewfinder to see an array of five focus points and the shutter speed and aperture in green LCD’s at the bottom of the frame. Gone is the ‘sports’ viewfinder of the older digital models, which was, lets face it, just a cheap way of using the even older 35mm cameras parts. This one is made to measure.
The sliding Dioptre adjustment needed a slight tweak that was easily managed (rather than the fiddly exercise on some other cameras with a tiny wheel) and everything became clear.
The next exercise was to focus on a few things around the room. This is about the time the smile started spreading. The focussing is much faster than the older models. And five points to choose from makes composition much easier too.
Ok, so lets get started. On the right of the grip is the CF card door. Rather than the spring loaded catch of the older cameras, the new one has a slide action which then springs open wide enough to allow access to big fingers. In goes a Lexar Professional 2gb Compact Flash Card rated at 133x speed. The top panel shows an estimate of 144 images.
Focus locks on a nearby object with a quiet beep and I press the shutter. Now if you have ever used the SD9/10 cameras, you, as I was, would be expecting a noisy clacking sound as the shutter operated. Instead, once I realised that the shutter had really actuated, the grin got wider. This camera has one of the quietest SLR shutters available. It is little more than a whisper.
Now I just want to get out and take some pictures! And that is what I have spent the day doing. I’ll tell you about that tomorrow, but for now there are a couple of images to whet your appetite.