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Old Sep 14, 2007, 11:21 AM   #1
mthao00
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Canon 40d or Nikon d80?

I created a thread a couple weeks ago regarding the decision between the d40x and d80. After talking to photographers I know and weighing future features I may want, the d40x is now out of the picture.

I went to Best Buy yesterday and played with the 40d and it's awesome. It's priced at $1499 and the d80 $1299. I guess the 40d is more in the class of the d200 (price and features). As of right now, there are only a few "hands-on" reviews available for the 40d so I can't make a decision yet. I'm waiting for reviews from dcresource.com and dprevew.com.

Is the Canon 40d worth the extra $200? I'm a beginner but want to learn. The body has to be able to grow with my skill sets. The plan is to keep the body for a long long time. The professional dslr's are out of my league. Career - advertising so I want to shoot products and models (in the future). Yes, I'm considering lens.

Having a difficult time deciding. The decision may be obvious to you so be easy on me. Thanks in advance again

mT
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Old Sep 14, 2007, 12:09 PM   #2
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In this price category you have to seriously consider the Pentax K10D (which is actually more comparable to a D200).
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Old Sep 14, 2007, 01:25 PM   #3
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If you're a beginner, go for a cheaper body and an extra lens. The lenses will grow with you, whereas a body can be upgraded later on.
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Old Sep 14, 2007, 02:10 PM   #4
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Get the Canon! No wait, the Nikon! Ahh... the age old battle. Call me naive, but why are you waiting for a hands on review of the 40D if you've already toyed around with it and like it? Is there any info in particular you want to find out?

I'm sure you'll get responses for both Canon and Nikon here, as well as other manufacturers. They are both great and capable cameras and will grow with you as your skills improve.

That said, I don't know much about the 40D except what little I read on dpreview.com, but I'm sure its a good camera. I do know about the D80 as I own one and its a great camera.
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Old Sep 14, 2007, 02:49 PM   #5
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"...but why are you waiting for a hands on review of the 40D if you've already toyed around with it and like it? Is there any info in particular you want to find out?"

Simple answer. I just need more opinions about the camera. From both official reviewers and the average joe user.

Don't get me wrong, the d80 is still an awesome camera. Just debating... I want something that will last a while as far as features and lens compatibility. Obviously, as technology progresses, better prosumer bodies will be available but hopefully this purchase will last for a very long time. I'm not looking to become a professional photographer or anything. haha... I just want to build my portfolio (ads) and use it for my freelance ad work.

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Old Sep 14, 2007, 03:42 PM   #6
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The 40D has more bang for your buck

I did exactly the same thing as you did. Went to Best Buy, tried them both, was trying to convince myself to get the D80 because I'm a beginner as well and went back for a second first impression. 200$ more isn't that much for what you get. I'm sure I don't have to tell you about the specs but my impressions were that the 40D had:

a better grip for your hand
larger and MUCH BRIGHTER viewfinder, a joy to read
much more efficient menu and the controls get you around faster. I found the controls on the D80 a bit stiff
The SOUND of the shutter. Feels like a tank!

I was ready to try the D80 for 2 days and then return it but it was clear that the 40D was a much better option. I was trying to be humble but if you're going to keep it for a while, go with the one that feels the best. Go back a couple of times and see which ones is calling you!
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Old Sep 14, 2007, 03:59 PM   #7
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40D: http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/569109

GX-10 (K10D): http://www.slrclub.com/bbs/vx2.php?i...sc=asc&no=9910 (BUT DON'T TRY IT!)
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Old Sep 14, 2007, 04:15 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mthao00 View Post
Is the Canon 40d worth the extra $200? I'm a beginner but want to learn. The body has to be able to grow with my skill sets. The plan is to keep the body for a long long time. The professional dslr's are out of my league. Career - advertising so I want to shoot products and models (in the future). Yes, I'm considering lens.
As your skills grow, you'll rely less on body features rather than more, and if you're going to be shooting models and products it's under controlled lighting conditions. Therefore, your lighting and lenses are going to make a *heck* of a lot more of a difference than the camera body.

Spend like a drunken sailor on glass, backgrounds, light modifiers and good lights. Spend as little as you can get away with on the camera body, it's just simply not the important part of the equation. If you have a particular output medium in mind, then get a camera that has enough resolution to do whatever that is, but if not go with a cheaper body unless you want a specific feature like wireless for your model shots- but seriously you'll want more than $200 in softboxes and good lights aren't cheap.

By the time you get used to lighting things, you may find yourself going in a completely different direction, good glass has good resale value, good lighting is useful no matter what, but a DSLR body is going to depreciate faster than anything else except perhaps the memory cards.

B&H sells the D40 kit for ~$500, that's $1000 that you could immediately be spending on lighting- that'd get you 3 AB-800's with stands and a couple of umbrellas. All you'd need is either a shoot-through or a couple of softboxes, one $20 AS-15 for a sync terminal and a couple of memory cards and you'd be pretty set and pretty close to what seems to be your current budget. Adding a background stand kit and background would put you right where you want to be almost immediately.
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Old Sep 14, 2007, 08:59 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by compuwar View Post
As your skills grow, you'll rely less on body features rather than more, and if you're going to be shooting models and products it's under controlled lighting conditions. Therefore, your lighting and lenses are going to make a *heck* of a lot more of a difference than the camera body.

Spend like a drunken sailor on glass, backgrounds, light modifiers and good lights. Spend as little as you can get away with on the camera body, it's just simply not the important part of the equation. If you have a particular output medium in mind, then get a camera that has enough resolution to do whatever that is, but if not go with a cheaper body unless you want a specific feature like wireless for your model shots- but seriously you'll want more than $200 in softboxes and good lights aren't cheap.

By the time you get used to lighting things, you may find yourself going in a completely different direction, good glass has good resale value, good lighting is useful no matter what, but a DSLR body is going to depreciate faster than anything else except perhaps the memory cards.

B&H sells the D40 kit for ~$500, that's $1000 that you could immediately be spending on lighting- that'd get you 3 AB-800's with stands and a couple of umbrellas. All you'd need is either a shoot-through or a couple of softboxes, one $20 AS-15 for a sync terminal and a couple of memory cards and you'd be pretty set and pretty close to what seems to be your current budget. Adding a background stand kit and background would put you right where you want to be almost immediately.
I totally agree with most of your post, but there are *some* body features that are an important part of the equation... And likewise, I wouldn't recommend the D40 to anyone who is interested in photography. (Note: I would recommend it to anyone looking to take great looking pictures and not have to worry about settings.)

Why? Because you'll spend way too much time going through the menu system on the D40 than if you had dedicated buttons like the D200 or 300. The D70/80 does a pretty good job of keeping you out of the menus and even has some of the scene modes that newcomers will use.

And finally, and this is the big one, the D40/D40x you won't be buying anything but AF-S glass or you'll be stuck using manual focus for what are in all other aspects, great AF lenses. It's much like the argument to buy FX lenses even on a DX system for more interoperability, except there's some really great (and some inexpensive and great) AF glass out there that won't autofocus on the D40. Why would you ever buy glass that should, but won't, autofocus?

But the OP has ruled out the D40 already - And I agree with the spirit of your post; Spend your bucks on good glass and apparatus. Bodies will come and go, so get the cheapest that still works for you. And don't get wrapped up in megapixels.
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Old Sep 15, 2007, 07:46 AM   #10
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While normally I'd say to get a good body and buy nice glass, the 40d has some pretty slick features that aren't in the other models. The most important of which is the 14 bit D/A converter getting you more detail in your images. This is what very nearly made me buy the 40d (and would've if I were shooting more right now). The bigger LCD is nice but not a deal breaker for me. The better quality images is where it's at...plus the software puts more detail in the highlights to better mimic film's ability to handle highlights.
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Old Sep 15, 2007, 11:57 AM   #11
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First of all, I'm not quite sure where you get the prices from: the D80 starts at $979 (all bhphoto.com prices), the (good) 18-135 mm kit costs $1.2k. The camera body of the Canon 40D is listed at $1300, the `not so useful' 28-135 kit costs $1500 (28-135 mm corresponds to roughly 50-200 mm on film).

Second of all, I think you have a bit of a wrong idea: you keep the lenses much longer than your bodies (this truth is independent of the company): my oldest lens (Nikon 2.8/80-200 zoom in perfect condition) is over ten years old and works like a charm. Bodies won't last as long. Period. You want to cram everything you want into your body, but that doesn't work for (d)slrs, lenses are a lot more useful. If your total budget is $1500, you buy the Canon 40D 28-135 kit and then you find out that you have no money left to buy memory cards (= you can't take advantage of 14 bit RAW files, because you run out of memory), you have a sucky camera bag, no real flash, just this one lens, etc. Even if you prefer Canon bodies, I'd advise you to get a used 20D/30D for the beginning.

So instead of asking `what is the best camera', tell us your total budget and what you want to do with it. Not having the right glass for your purpose will limit you much more than having 3 fps instead of 6 or 6 MP instead of 12, don't get wrapped up in features!
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Old Sep 15, 2007, 12:51 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeke View Post
While normally I'd say to get a good body and buy nice glass, the 40d has some pretty slick features that aren't in the other models. The most important of which is the 14 bit D/A converter getting you more detail in your images. This is what very nearly made me buy the 40d (and would've if I were shooting more right now). The bigger LCD is nice but not a deal breaker for me. The better quality images is where it's at...plus the software puts more detail in the highlights to better mimic film's ability to handle highlights.
The day you can pick prints out of several different camera models and say "that's the $foo" is the day the marketing hype will be worth-while, until then the differences are so marginal that it really doesn't make much difference until you move up to the Medium Format and Large Format backs.
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Old Sep 15, 2007, 01:57 PM   #13
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Thanks everyone for the wonderful advice. I'm now leaning (95% sure) on the Nikon D80. It's cheaper but is no slouch. I just need a good body to last a while. I do like Nikon's flash system better.

I totally agree on the lens argument. I'm not against that at all.

How about the 18-135mm kit with the D80 for starters? Budget is ~ $1300.00.

mT
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Old Sep 15, 2007, 02:29 PM   #14
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14bit in the Canon would be the deal-winner for me. I'd plot out the lenses that you think you might buy in the next few years. See which company works better for your needs in terms of lens range, quality, and price. Nikon has some good lenses that Canon doesn't -- and vice-versa.
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Old Sep 15, 2007, 02:50 PM   #15
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How about the 18-135mm kit with the D80 for starters? Budget is ~ $1300.00.
(1) Add at least $50 for a bag. I have bought a nicely-sized Loewe bag for $49.
(2) Make sure to have at least 2 GB of storage.
(3) Add a UV filter for each lens you wish to buy.

You said, you'll be shooting `products' (small? big? macro?) and `models' (for what? in what environment, indoors or outdoors?). If you are serious about photography and depending on your familiarity with slrs, I would suggest to start with that kit lens and a 1.8/50 mm lens (absolute necessity for portraits) -- which is cheap and good. Altogether, that'd add probably another $200 to your price tag.
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Old Sep 16, 2007, 12:23 AM   #16
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I was once a Canon photographer (20D) and I grew somewhat upset about Canon's pricing for their lenses, as well as the lack of something like Nikons 18-200mm VR option in the Canon lineup. So... I switched to Nikon (D80) lured by some very favorable reviews, including much touted better high ISO performance than earlier models.

After shooting with the D80 I came to the following conclusions:

1. the Nikon kit lenses are superior to the Canon equivalents (BIG PRO)

2. in general I preferred Nikon's color balance out of the box (PRO)

3. the 2 extra megapixels were noticeable, but not a significant improvement (PRO)

4. the software packaged with the Nikon was a JOKE -- I saw no reason to have to pay for decent SW to deal with their RAW (nef) files (CON)

5. the high-ISO noise was significantly reduced over their old models, but at HUGE cost to resolution. Beyond 400ISO images gained a blurry "saran-wrap" look to them (BIG CON)

6. The D80s sensor is just not useful for long exposures. Even at ISO 100, images taken at exposures as short as 100 seconds had "pink" corners. At higher ISOs the problem became much worse (BIG CON). I never had an issue with this w/ Canon, even for exposure of more than 20 minutes -- see:

http://www.pbase.com/pyanez/image/52648997

The last two issues, coupled with my complete inability (9 months ago) to get a 18-200mm at, or below MSRP, and dissatisfaction with Macro lens options (this would be a long and separate post), made me switch back to Canon. This was based on my shooting style -- low/available light, macro, etc, and your mileage may vary.

The high ISO resolution reduction and hot pink corners have been noted by many annoyed users and some online publications, these may or may not be issues for you, but I thought they should be mentioned since some of the larger publications somehow (?!) seem to have missed these problems.

my $0.02 worth
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Old Sep 16, 2007, 01:31 AM   #17
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The high ISO resolution reduction and hot pink corners have been noted by many annoyed users and some online publications, these may or may not be issues for you, but I thought they should be mentioned since some of the larger publications somehow (?!) seem to have missed these problems.
They "missed these problems" because almost no one takes 10-15 minute exposures. But as Thom Hogan pointed out, because of this the D80 isn't a good candidate for astronomical photography.

Apparently some of the very early D80s had this issue even with relatively short exposures, if one was shooting at very high ISO. Hopefully those owners all made Nikon replace their cameras.
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Old Sep 16, 2007, 01:58 AM   #18
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You are seriously talking about two entirely different cameras.

But it sounds like the d40 is better suited for you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by compuwar View Post
The day you can pick prints out of several different camera models and say "that's the $foo" is the day the marketing hype will be worth-while, until then the differences are so marginal that it really doesn't make much difference until you move up to the Medium Format and Large Format backs.
Swoon. hahaha

Last edited by bousozoku; Sep 16, 2007 at 04:05 PM. Reason: posts next to each other
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Old Sep 16, 2007, 03:45 AM   #19
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How about the 18-135mm kit with the D80 for starters? Budget is ~ $1300.00.
You can get that kit at Adorama for about $1,150. They're a great dealer. Leaves you money to get a good memory card. SanDisk Extreme IVs are nice
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Old Sep 16, 2007, 03:50 AM   #20
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Get a 40D
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Old Sep 16, 2007, 11:42 AM   #21
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5. the high-ISO noise was significantly reduced over their old models, but at HUGE cost to resolution. Beyond 400ISO images gained a blurry "saran-wrap" look to them (BIG CON)
I think you are `slightly' overstating the case here: there is no `huge' loss in resolution, not even a large one. The new Nikon cameras (at least the ones that have been tested) have a less chroma noise than Canons, but more luminance noise. Also, Nikon traditionally uses more conservative sharpening filters.
Quote:
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6. The D80s sensor is just not useful for long exposures. Even at ISO 100, images taken at exposures as short as 100 seconds had "pink" corners. At higher ISOs the problem became much worse (BIG CON).
99 % of the people won't do long exposures that are longer than 20, 30 seconds.
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Old Sep 16, 2007, 01:08 PM   #22
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I don't understand why you don't go for a D40 or D40x and save a whole load of money? You will need great quality lenses more than you need a slightly better body...
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Old Sep 16, 2007, 05:47 PM   #23
mthao00
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I find the DOP and auto focus from older lens a benefit. I just think the d80 is a much better camera for ME. Nothing wrong with the d40/x. I considered it at first.

Camera bodies come and go but the d80 is a body I can grow with. Thanks though.

mT
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Old Sep 16, 2007, 05:48 PM   #24
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My local BB only has the 30D (at full price...) - I was rather impressed with it compared to the D80. Canon seems to get knocked on ergonomics quite a bit, but that thinner/deeper grip feels more secure to me than the fatter/shallower Nikon grip. VFs were relatively equal (given kit lenses), and I assume the 40D will be an improvement.

One point in Canon's favor for me: a much larger selection of good prime lenses, both in high-quality consumer form (the various USM primes) or in pro glass (L primes). To get the equivalent with Nikon, you need to go back to the AI-S manual focus lenses.

I've basically ruled out the D200/D300 for myself - now I'm just torn between a 40D+Sigma 30mm or Canon 28mm, or a 5D and the 50/1.4 I already own.
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Old Sep 16, 2007, 06:54 PM   #25
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But you DON'T grow with bodies.....you grow with lenses. I really, honestly, would save your cash and spring for a new lens. You don't need the D80, especially as a beginner.
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