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Looking at the past of digital photography, we can catch a glimpse of its future. But combine the past with the present, and we can get a pretty good look at where things are going.
It was only in 1991 that Kodak introduced the 1.3 MP DCS100. At the time, it was revolutionary, and cost over $25,000. Even closer in time, February 2002 saw the introduction of Nikon's much-anticipated D100. For $1,999, you could own a 6 MP d-SLR!
Today, entry-level d-SLR's offer much more than their predecessors… for quite a bit less. Many – Like the Pentax K100D and the Nikon D50 - are still 6 MP cameras, but that's beginning to change. The Canon Digital Rebel XT and the Olympus Evolt E-330 boast 8 MP CMOS (Olympus calls theirs a Live MOS) sensors.
All four of these models can record images as JPEG and RAW files – and the Olympus offers TIFF as well. All four offer shutter speeds of at least 1/4000 sec. – 30 sec. All four have at least three exposure metering modes (some variation of multi-pattern, center-weighted and spot). And all four offer at least four exposure modes (auto, aperture priority, shutter priority and manual), as well as pre-programmed scene modes.
All four have ISO ranges of at least 200 – 1600, multi-point auto-focus and boast high speed USB 2.0 connectivity. The Pentax and Nikon record to Secure Digital (SD) cards, the Canon records to Compact Flash (CF) cards and the Olympus has dual slots, accommodating both.