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Old Nov 19, 2012, 01:17 PM   #1
allisonv7
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d5100 vs. t3i

Hey folks,

I've done some research on which camera I should get and I'm really at a fork in the road.

Things that are important to me:
  • Image quality
  • Battery life
  • Speed (startup time & between shots)

I had a Rebel film camera half a dozen years ago that I used during my photography courses in college and liked. I just assumed I'd go with a Canon but when I was looking at the options decided to seriously consider the Nikon.

I'll be shooting mostly just your typical stuff, fairly general: People, nature, landscapes, sports... nothing specific.

Does anyone that has used these have any thoughts? My max spending limit is $800, and I would like this to be a camera (and lenses) that are able to grow with me.

I have read many reviews but they is a lot of talk of video in them, that's not something I'm really interested in so I thought I would post here to see what you guys thought. I'm sure I'll use it every now and then, but it's not something I want to base a decision on.

Any help is much appreciated, I know people are probably asking this all the time, so please bear with me, but after doing some research I'm really at a standstill.


Thanks, Allison
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Old Nov 19, 2012, 02:49 PM   #2
equilibrium17
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Personally, I'm a T3i owner and I'm really happy with my choice. I'll probably upgrade to a better body in a couple of years, but right now my focus is on upgrading my lenses. Image quality with a good lens mounted is very solid (IQ is much more about a good lens than the body). Battery life is excellent. I usually carry a spare, but usually don't need it if I start the photo excursion with a full charge. Startup speed is fast enough that I've never really noticed it. It doesn't have the fastest fps in continuous mode, but it's comparable to others in its price range; you need to spend more money to get a significantly better fps when continuous shooting.

But I have friends who really like the Nikons and swear by them. Both manufacturers make very good cameras and while there are some minor distinctions in the tech specs that give one or the other an advantage in certain areas, for me, at least, these differences weren't enough to be a significant impact on my purchase choice.

What did have a strong influence on my choosing the T3i was the "in the hand feel" and UI layout of the camera. I would advise you to go to a good camera shop and give each body you're considering a test drive in the store. While they are very similar technically, there are some differences in the design of the control UI between Nikons and Canons (and other brands as well, if you choose to expand your search). Personally, I find the Canon layout and UI more intuitive. But I know people who strongly prefer Nikons in this way. It's personal preference and you just have to get them in your hands and try them out.

Once you've actually tried the bodies in-hand, if it's actually STILL a dead heat in your mind, then you can start to worry about the minor details of which one has slightly better tech spec X, or is slightly cheaper, or whatever.
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Old Nov 19, 2012, 03:06 PM   #3
lixuelai
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Should look into older bodies like the Nikon D90 or Canon 60D. They are around the same price as the current generation low end models. IMO they are better choices for a camera that will "grow with you".
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Old Nov 19, 2012, 03:54 PM   #4
equilibrium17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lixuelai View Post
Should look into older bodies like the Nikon D90 or Canon 60D. They are around the same price as the current generation low end models. IMO they are better choices for a camera that will "grow with you".
Can't speak to the Nikon side, but you unless you're extremely lucky and find some amazing Black Friday doorbuster deal, you won't be able to get a 60D with a lens new for the OP's stated budget limit of $800. You could get a 60D body only for that, but even with a basic kit lens you'll be well over that.

Now, you might be able to get a used 60D + half-decent lens for $800. But buying used can be tricky for first-time DSLR purchasers. If you have a more experienced photographer friend who can help you evaluate any used equipment you're considering, though, this might be a possibility.
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Old Nov 19, 2012, 04:09 PM   #5
lixuelai
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Originally Posted by equilibrium17 View Post
Can't speak to the Nikon side, but you unless you're extremely lucky and find some amazing Black Friday doorbuster deal, you won't be able to get a 60D with a lens new for the OP's stated budget limit of $800. You could get a 60D body only for that, but even with a basic kit lens you'll be well over that.

Now, you might be able to get a used 60D + half-decent lens for $800. But buying used can be tricky for first-time DSLR purchasers. If you have a more experienced photographer friend who can help you evaluate any used equipment you're considering, though, this might be a possibility.
You can find Nikon D90 kit w/ 18-105mm for $800 quite easily. You are right the 60D costs more, mostly because it is not discontinued yet. Anyway body + a Pixma 9000 was $700 AR at Buydig a few days ago.
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Old Nov 19, 2012, 05:39 PM   #6
allisonv7
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Because of their price points I'm really interested in sticking with one of these two models, if anything I would downgrade on the body and put the extra money toward a nice prime lens. When I say $800 is my max, that's firm, with all my wiggle room built into it.


To clarify a little here are the two options I am looking at:

Canon T3i w/18-55mm kit lens & 55-250mm lens = $750

Nikon d5100 w/18-55mm kit lens & 55-300mm lens = $800

Nikon d5100 w/18-55mm kit lens & 55-200mm lens = $700
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Old Nov 19, 2012, 06:09 PM   #7
crowley213
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Hello Allison

From my point of view:

Regarding image quality, battery life and and speed there will be no really serious argument either pro or contra for one of your pre-selected choices! Personally I shoot Nikon, but I am sure that regarding these points you can go with either brand without being disappointed! As "equilibrium17" already stated, maybe it finally comes all back to some soft facts like how the camera feels in your hand, how you like the ergonomics, menus etc.

Regarding your budget: Donīt forget to consider also memory card(s), a spare battery, a camera bag, and so on.

Also donīt forget one important point: camera bodies change in short intervalls while good glass is what stays for a longer time. No offense at all, but in these price categories you cannot expect glass that will stay with you for a long time, at least not regarding quality of the glass that also would be satisfying on a more sophisticated body or for more special needs.

Last but not least: Think about that deciding for a system also means normally to stick with that system, at least for some time. This includes as well the brand as the format, in this case DX.

Just let me ask a question: Have you also checked into other systems, except a DSLR? Is there a specific reason you want to go for a DSLR?

As already mentioned, I shoot a Nikon DSLR (an "old" D300) with some really good glass. But to be honestly... today I am really looking into the smaller mirrorless systems, as they also cover a lot of photography needs with much less weight and also reasonable costs. Maybe think also about that...!

Regards Herbert
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Old Nov 19, 2012, 09:14 PM   #8
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For what it's worth, Nikon has just announced the D5200. It is only available outside of the U.S. right now (why, I don't know) but it's safe to assume that it will be introduced in January at the CES show in Las Vegas.

I don't know if having the latest model is a must for you, but thought I'd give you the heads up. Personally, it would drive me nuts if I bought something and then a newer version becomes available right after.
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Old Nov 22, 2012, 08:38 PM   #9
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I'd just reiterate that they're both good and you should try them in a store if possible and buy the most comfortable one. Most of the "I just bought a ...." posts can safely be ignored, since post-ex-facto purchase justification requires us to be super pleased. I would look at the serious review sites and look through their pro/con lists to see if anything jumps out at you.
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Old Nov 25, 2012, 11:48 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by allisonv7 View Post
Hey folks,

I've done some research on which camera I should get and I'm really at a fork in the road. ...
One thing to consider,... The next lens you buy will be the same brand as the camera body. And then the speedlight will also be that brand. Some day you will replace the body and becuase of the lenses and so on you will have to buy the same brand again.

Also look at the used markets to help make up your mind. For example if you really want a 80-200 f/2.8 zoom both Canon and Nikon make one. It costs more than either body you are looking at. You can buy a used Nikon 80-200 for $1,000 less then the price of Canon's new lens. Ok maybe you don't want that lens and you like the f/4 verion of it. Only Canon has that.

My point is to think ahead about the system you would like to have in five years. Which SLR body you buy is far less importance than your think. Optics matters more than you think so plan out what yu'd buy then buy the brand of SLR body that lens the next three lens you want.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by allisonv7 View Post
Thanks everyone!

Noodile, are you happy with the 55-200?? I'm leaning toward the 300mm for the extra reach.
I bet even 200mm is rarely used. Most of those cheap zooms spend their life in a case. OK, now and then a use for a long telephoto might come up but if you have extra cash a fast prime is a good second lens. Anything f/1.8 or faster. You will get good low light performance and the ability to isolate a subject with shallow DOF.
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Old Nov 26, 2012, 11:45 PM   #11
knowledgeseeker
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Originally Posted by ChrisA View Post
Also look at the used markets to help make up your mind. For example if you really want a 80-200 f/2.8 zoom both Canon and Nikon make one. It costs more than either body you are looking at. You can buy a used Nikon 80-200 for $1,000 less then the price of Canon's new lens. Ok maybe you don't want that lens and you like the f/4 verion of it. Only Canon has that.

I bet even 200mm is rarely used. Most of those cheap zooms spend their life in a case. OK, now and then a use for a long telephoto might come up but if you have extra cash a fast prime is a good second lens. Anything f/1.8 or faster. You will get good low light performance and the ability to isolate a subject with shallow DOF.
Nikon has a new 70-200 f/4 -- it is a companion to the new D600 full-frame prosumer camera. See:
http://slrgear.com/reviews/showprodu...ct/1570/cat/13

I computed a histogram of the focal lengths I use. On my 18-200 I use mostly 18, then 200, then the in-betweens. On my 70-300 it is mostly 300, then some 70, then the in-betweens (roughly speaking). For outdoor sports and wildlife, 300 is (in my experience) quite useful. I do enjoy my 35mm f/1.8, but if one owns the stabilized kit lens it is not essential; the high-ISO performance of today's cameras allows one to shoot at (e.g.) f/5.6 indoors.

The OP wants a general-purpose setup, and inevitably will have to make educated guesses as to priorities. I might say, start with the 18-55 and then add, based on perceived needs --- but the 55-xxx lenses are usually heavily discounted when purchased in the original bundle with the camera.
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