Yet another SLR thread....

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Plymouthbreezer, Nov 25, 2006.

  1. Plymouthbreezer macrumors 601

    Plymouthbreezer

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    Massachusetts
    #1
    Alrighty. I'm not a super novice, but I just want some opinions about what SLR to buy... I've narrowed the field down to these three choices:

    • Sony Alpha A100
    • Canon Digital Rebel XTi
    • Nikon D80

    Personally, I like the feel of the Sony the best , and I've used Sony camera products (both digital and video) for over 6 years with great results. I'm comfortable with the product lines, and for me I've never had any serious issues. About a month ago, I was talking to a wedding photographer, who reccomended the A100, further swaying my choice towards this model.

    But then again, so many people love their Digital Rebel's, and yes, they do produce great results. Personally though, it doesn't feel, physically as nice...

    What about the D80?? I've used a D80 once, and it seemed similar to the Sony... And, the price between the A100 and D80 "starter kits" are within dollars of eacother. Anywho, thoughts, ideas, concerns from any of our pro's here at the forum??

    Thanks!
     
  2. Silentwave macrumors 68000

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    #2
    Which control style do you like best? The nikon's two horizontal command dials? switch positionings? Do you prefer to have a control panel LCD or to eat battery by using the 2.5" LCD for settings display?

    I'd recommend the Nikon from an image quality standpoint. Sony did a good job on the A100 body, for the most part, but IMHO the image quality is lacking. High ISOs especially are terrible.
     
  3. epicwelshman macrumors 6502a

    epicwelshman

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    #3
    There are people who are far more knowledgable than me on this matter, but I'll give my two cents.

    I've been very pleased with Sony's products in the past (aside from exploding batteries) and I've heard it's pretty similar to the D80, but I've also heard that it has a lot more noise in it's images.

    The XTi is nice, but fairly small and may be uncomfortable for larger hands.

    I think the D80 would be your best bet, especially seeing as by buying a DSLR you're locking yourself into a series of lenses, and Nikon sure make good lenses.

    However, take my advice with a grain of salt, and try and get an opinion from someone who knows more than me.
     
  4. Grimace macrumors 68040

    Grimace

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    #4
    The body does matter in terms of "feel" - but keep in mind that bodies may change. The lens system (family) is what you want to strongly consider. Nikon and Canon both have established lines of great lenses. Sony is emerging, but looks promising.

    In terms of noise (graininess) the order might look like this:

    XTi/D80
    D80/XTi
    A100

    The Sony definitely has more noise at mid/high range ISOs. I too have loved all of my Sony products, but in my opinion, at this time -- I wouldn't be on them. In 2-3 years, we'll see. :rolleyes:
     
  5. Jay42 macrumors 65816

    Jay42

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    #5
    You can search the other threads to find out what I think about buying DSLR's, but my short answer is a Canon XT so you can fit a descent lens into your budget rather than spending most of your money on the body and winding up with the cheap kit lens. You will be much happier ;) . You will most likely want to upgrade the body down the road anyway, but good glass never goes out of style.
     
  6. Grimace macrumors 68040

    Grimace

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    #6
    So simple, yet so true!! Two points Jay!
     
  7. bob5820 macrumors 6502a

    bob5820

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    #7
    One more consideration is that Cannon and Nikon will remain firmly committed to DSLR's, while Sony is just testing the waters. If your just going to buy a kit; the body and one lens then its not really a consideration. But if you plan on investing in a lens system it might be. After all if Sony hadn't picked up the Konica/Minolta line then those lenses would essentially be at a dead end. Nikon is purely a camera company and their not going away anytime soon. Although the majority of Canon's sales probably are outside of their camera division, their corporate image is still tied heavily to photography. Sony is a media company, if the DSLR waters prove a little too rough they may bolt. Long term - stick with either Nikon or Canon.
     
  8. iGary Guest

    iGary

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    #8
    Best point yet...
     
  9. beavo451 macrumors 6502

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    Jun 22, 2006
    #9

    I would agree with what he said except for this statement. Nikon is known for cameras, but they do make other products that are optics related. Binoculars, riflescopes, microscopes, etc. So, they are more of an optics company than anything else.
     
  10. Plymouthbreezer thread starter macrumors 601

    Plymouthbreezer

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    #10
    Thanks for all the responces!

    I suppose you have swayed me towards the D80, because it's similar to the body of the Sony, but with the advantages y'all mentioned. I personally dislike the Rebel, but placed it into consideration because it's talked of as the gold standard...

    Keep posting!
     
  11. macbookprouser macrumors member

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    Jul 30, 2006
    #11
    i wish i would have waited 2 more months to get my camera for school. i would have the xti instead of the xt. i like canon, but i am an amatuer for sure. i have small hands too so it works perfectly for me.
     
  12. Jay42 macrumors 65816

    Jay42

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    #12
    I definitely understand what you're saying about the Rebel bodies. I was very hesitant about buying the Rebel XT, especially after holding the D70/80 bodies, (which I quite frankly still prefer), but I knew I wanted to use Canon lenses down the line, especially for shooting sports action. I knew I would be upgrading to something like a 5D later on, which is much closer to the Nikon bodies in feel. The Rebel has definitely been livable even though it is not my favorite shape. You hold 100% of the camera's weight from the bottom with your left hand anyway, especially with a bigger lens; think about rectangular film SLR's with no grip. It still feels plasticy compared to the Nikons though.

    Another reason I went for the XT was that it is much smaller and lighter than most other DSLR bodies (save the new D40 I guess :confused: ) and I do a lot of climbing where weight is key. I think even if I upgrade from my XT, I will keep it as a lightweight alternative.

    I bought my Rebel XT after the Rebel XTi was announced. It really is not much of a difference. I actually viewed the bigger screen as a downside since it drains the battery just to check the settings compared with the XT's B/W LCD. The dust prevention deelee didn't seem critical since everyone (including myself) has been getting by without it before the XTi. And 8 to 10 MP is not really much of a jump, especially since the price difference between these cameras is $200-$300. The kit lens is only designed for casual, general shooting and is relatively low quality. Get the XT and really nice wide angle lens or a descent telephoto and add lenses over time if you plan to become serious about your photography.
     
  13. feelthefire macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 13, 2006
    #13
    also re: sony- just say no to proprietary memory format systems. SD is way cheaper and more readily available. The memorystick duo system has never worked out well for me.
     
  14. cube macrumors G4

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  15. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

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    #15
    Thank you!

    The other issue with Sony at this point in time is that IIRC all lenses are currently cam and cog driven. As compared to all of the Canon EF/EF-S lenses, and the growing number of Nikon AF-S lenses. Lenses with AF motors built-in to the lenses offer generally quicker and quieter focusing than the traditional cam and cog approach.

    That being said, Sony currently has a solid offering in the A100. Anti-dust and anti-shake built-in to the body.

    The anti-shake really does work well. We had the Sony rep in the store today, and he had the only AF 500 mirror lens I have ever seen! Did some quick shots through the windows at some cars parked across the way at auto ISO. I was surprised at just how relatively sharp the fine print on the license tags looked zoomed to the max on the LCD screen looked.

    At an effect FOV of 750mm, the image was bouncing around in the finder. But the final results on the LCD looked sharp enough. I hope to have the rep bring in that lens again when we are slower in the store, in order to do some test shots with actual prints.

    Also will try some test shots with the 200-400VR from Nikon in similar situations. Though the approx. $700 price for the Sony 500mm mirror is way more affordable than approx. $5400 for the Nikon 200-400VR.

    I know, I know - the Sony is f8, and the Nikon is f4. There is also the difference of a mirror lens vs. a pure optical lens. But not all users looking for an effective FOV of 600 to 750mm can afford or justify the almost $4500 difference in the cost!

    That is why I have said time and again, look at the lenses that you will really need or want. For myself, that is why I switched to Nikon. Nikon has the 18-200VR, the 10.5 fish-eye, and the 105VR macro. (Along with the great wireless CLS flash system built-in to the camera bodies of most of their line.) The VR aspect of the Nikon is sort of moot when looking at the Sony, but with my D200 I have the ability to use a 24/2.0 AIS MF Nikkor lens (when I find one at the right price), so I can have the near perfect single focal length kit for the D200 of effective FOV's of 30, 36, 52, 75, and 127mm with "fast" primes of the 20, 24, 35, 50, and 85mm lenses.

    Now if Nikon would only come out with the Nikkor 16mm f/2.0 DX AF-S ED IF lens to complete my dream kit.
     
  16. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    Redondo Beach, California
    #16
    Here is what's going to happen. You buy an SLR, let's just say you buy the Nikon. So lvery soon after you buy another lens. Say a 50mm f/1.4 then you decide to get into sports photography and buy an 80-200 f/2.8 and later you need so ultra wide angle shots because you deside you like that exagerate perspective look so you buy the 12-24 zoom. Later you sell one of those lenses then you think it is time to replace the D80 with the new D85.

    Now what happened? Your choice of a DSLR body determined the brand of 6 other items, several of with cost more then a DSRL body. The camera body is the "tail" and the system is the dog. Pick a good dog and don't worry so much about tails.

    The other htng about the story above. You WILL replace the DSLR body inside of five years but the good lenses you will keep for decades. The technology in the body is still very new and changes fast while the lens tech is mature and stable.

    So think "system" not "body". You are buying into a system and the body is just the first part. Pick a lens first then desidw which other lenses you will want later. then pick the body.

    When you think "system" you will likely narrow the selection down to Nikon and Canon. Of the two Nikon seems to be more conservative and traditional. At the high end both make great gear but Canon's build quality at the low end does not match nikon's But both are good, just lok ahead five to seven years. Look at strobes, lenses and figure you will buy another same brand body in five years.
     
  17. beavo451 macrumors 6502

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    Jun 22, 2006
    #17

    Nikon made mirror lenses at one point in time.

    If you really wnat something in that focal length, KEH has a used Sigma 500 f/7.2 lens for $362. Not a mirror lens either:

    http://www.keh.com/OnLineStore/ProductDetail.aspx
     
  18. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

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    #18
    There have been many mirror lenses made over the years. The Sony/Minolta is is the only AF one that I am aware of.

    I will mention that that IMHO that the "old" Vivitar Series 1 mirror lenses are among the best of their time.
     
  19. makismagoo99 macrumors regular

    makismagoo99

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    #19
    Absolutely stick with the Canon or Nikon. These companies are long-established in the photography field and won't let you down.

    Also, keep in mind that when you purchase a camera you are basically committing yourself to that brand as long as you stick with photography. What I mean is that Canon lenses won't fit a Nikon body, etc. So unless you want to duplicate your lenses for each camera body you buy, you're committed to that brand. Another advantage to the Canon and Nikon is, should you become more serious, the lenses you purchase now will be usable with their top-end professional cameras.

    Just to throw in my personal preference, Canon's cameras are amazingly designed and will last as long as you need it to. Hope that helps, and good luck with your decision.
     
  20. Silentwave macrumors 68000

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    #20
    Chip brought something up about the AS in the A100.

    Especially at longer focal lengths, the A100 will suffer from lack of precision due to the CCD shift. With Nikon or Canon VR/IS systems, the lens itself is stabilized, so you see your actual framing and the viewfinder image stabilizes. Can't hurt focusing either :)

    D80 advantages I haven't already mentioned:
    2 more AF points, larger range of conditions AF will function in (-1EV to +19)
    Larger Metering Range
    Selectable levels of High ISO NR (essentially no Chroma noise even without NR)
    More sophisticated Auto ISO system (actually useful)
    Best VF of the bunch
    Wireless multiple-flash control with the I-TTL flash system (the best in the world)
    Almost 3 times the number of custom settings versus the A100 and XTi
    has an LCD cover
    best battery life metering
     
  21. wmmk macrumors 68020

    wmmk

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    #21
    the D80 is a fantastic camera. IMHO, it's just about as good as the D200.
    That said, you should think about the Pentax K10D. It's the hands down best value in the price range you seem to be considering. It also has SR, which none of the cameras you meantioned do.
     
  22. Silentwave macrumors 68000

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    #22
    Forgot to mention one thing... users.

    I've got two friends who have picked up the D80 recently. One of them was a film purist, only borrowing my digitals when he needed high volume and a digital workflow.

    Recently I got him to buy the D80 with the grip.

    He's not looking back.

    Every D80 user I talk to loves it. I've only used it a few times, but it is fantastic.
     
  23. Cullen macrumors newbie

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    Nov 22, 2006
    #23
    Am i the only one here that sees the D80 as a downgrade from the D70?

    Mainly you're lack of a 1/500th flash sync as with the d70. To some that means nothing, but to photogs in my "genre" it makes all the difference in the world.

    Either way, go with Nikon or Canon (but really go with Canon:p :D ) and youll be just fine. They both have amazing lens lineups and are not leaving the DSLR game anytime soon. You wont be dissapointed.
     
  24. Silentwave macrumors 68000

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    #24
    I like the new features it offers- way ahead of the D70.

    Take into account the drop in base ISO, however, and it isn't so bad...plus you get auto FP high speed sync all the way to 1/4000 sec. Not exactly the same as the 1/500 native flash sync, but you also lose the blooming and other ill effects of the electronic shutter in the D70.

    Not to mention the greater freedom in wireless flash :D
     
  25. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #25
    There's a reason you don't see many mirror lenses, they basically suck. An F8 lens is generally only useful in bright daylight, not the best shooting conditions for most users of long lenses (wildlife tends to be mostly non-active in the bright mid day light for instance, and sports happen during overcast days...)

    Nikon made a 500/8 mirror lens, and you can occasionally find them used if you hunt. You get better optics with something like the Sigma 50-500mm zoom though, with a bit faster speed and without the donut shaped highlights of a mirror lens.
     

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