Brands, Lenses, and Bodies

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by fall3n, May 7, 2007.

  1. fall3n macrumors 6502

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    #1
    Hey all, I know this has been asked many a time before but I'm getting close to buy time and I'm trying to choose between Canon and Nikon. I'm not so concerned as to the body as I know that's easily replaceable. I'm mostly trying to decide on which brand to go with based on their lens selection and quality. I'll be getting either the Nikon D40 or the Canon Rebel XT. I'm leaning more towards the Nikon D40 at the moment though. Can anyone give me some insight? Thanks.
     
  2. wmmk macrumors 68020

    wmmk

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    #2
    Before we can give you much helpful advice, you might want to inform us on matters such as what you shot/want to shoot and how much you can spend each time you buy a lens.
     
  3. Plymouthbreezer macrumors 601

    Plymouthbreezer

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    #3
    Both make excellent products. Between the two, it's really a personal decision in my opinion.
     
  4. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

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    #4
    I agree with the previous posters. There are people like me that prefer Nikon, while others prefer Canon. Some like Pentax, Olympus, or Sony.

    Some things to consider:

    - What sorts of shots do you think you'll be taking?
    - Is it likely that you'll be sticking with just your initial lens for quite a while?
    - Do you have friends with dSLRs? If so, do they tend to have one brand or the other (may give you a wider range of lenses to use)
     
  5. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

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    #5
    I will repeat what has been said here many times, and that is: go to a store and handle both cameras. Try them with their kit lenses, ask the sales associate about other lenses that each manufacturer has in their line to get an idea of they'd have ones to fit your particular interests. Both do have a wide selection of lenses, but you may find that one has more of a certain type of lens or within a particular mm range that would suit you more. Look carefully at the kit lens each manufacturer offers, too, as there are differences between the two brands. Nikon has the 18-55mm kit lens which comes with the D40 and also offers a lightweight, compact new 55-200mm VR lens to use on that camera, too, which offers you a nice range between 18mm - 200mm.

    Think about what you want to shoot and that will help you in the decision, too. If you're thinking in terms of shooting, say, birds and wildlife, you'll want to see what Nikon and Canon offer in the way of long telephoto lenses and what the price range is. If you're into shooting closeups and macros of flowers and insects, again, you'll need to see what is offered by both manufacturers.

    Interested in an all-around, all-purpose lens? Nikon has the excellent 18-200mm VR; I'm not sure what Canon has in that category. Also consider what third-party vendors might have to offer, as often their lenses are much less expensive than Nikon or Canon.
     
  6. fall3n thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #6
    To answer your questions:

    I've read that I should basically start with a non zoom wide angle lens, like 24mm lens just to get a feel of how things are shot and how close you'd need to get and all that (i'm sure everyone has their suggestions on this). So mainly I'll be sticking with 1 lens at most 2 for quite some time until I learn the basics in compositions, perspective, etc.

    I really like macro photography, but I also want to get in to portraits/lifestyle shots and a bit of landscape/nature wouldn't hurt either.

    I want to be able to expand as I want to start as a hobby, but move in to a more professional level once I feel ready. I have a buddy who's got a Nikon D80, but he doesn't have many lenses atm and I don't imagine he'd get many more as it's a school camera (his dad is a professor).

    In response to Clix Pix about the kits, I've looked in to the Nikon kits lenses and they seem good. I saw a deal which was Nikon D40 with 18-55mm kit lens and 18-200mm for $950 CAN. The D40 with 18-55m kits lens only is around $700. Should I go for this zoomed kit lens or purchase a fixed lens of say 30mm with a wider angle and a higher aperture as I've read to do on photo.net?
     
  7. Lovesong macrumors 65816

    Lovesong

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    #7
    If you want to do macro, portraits, and nature, the one lens that you likely won't need is a 24mm. That is a 36mm equivalent (38 on the canon). It's a great lens for landscapes, but other than that it's not going to be a lens that will fulfill your needs. One lens that you might want to look at (if you decide to go canon), is the 50 short macro. It's a macro lens, which is right in your field of interest, and it's excellent for portraits/lifestyle. I'm sure that Nikon makes something very similar.
    About the kit lenses, the 18-200 is an excellent lens, which will give you just about everything that you might want out of a lens. It's great for both wideangle pictures (landscapes), and telephoto work (nature, wildlife). In your situation, I'd definitely opt for that one over the 18-55.
     
  8. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

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    #8
    OK, first off, if you buy either of the two camera bodies you mentioned in your first post, they come with a kit lens which is a zoom. Secondly, on a digital camera, because of the 1.5x or 1.6x factor, wide angle lenses do not have as wide a perspective as they do on a film 35mm SLR. Nikon does make a very nice 35mm f/2 lens which is more-or-less equivalent in its perspective to the 50mm lens on a 35mm film camera. Both Nikon and Canon have inexpensive 50mm lenses, too: f/1.4 or f/1.8. On a digital camera, though, these lenses are more like 75 mm. Keep that in mind when buying a prime lens that was originally designed for use on a 35mm film SLR.

    Next, a caveat about the D40. It is a fun camera, and it is a nice step up from a P&S, however, because it does not have an internal motor drive, it only autofocuses with Nikon AF-S lenses (or some of the Sigma HSM ones). Those lenses have a motor within them. (AF-S means "Autofocus Silent Wave") All other lenses, whether they be autofocus or manual focus, will need to be manually focused on the D40. Not a big deal if you just want to use, say, the kit lens and the 55-200mm VR or maybe the 18-200mm VR, but there are not that many AF-S primes (yet). So, for instance, you mentioned a 24mm lens. Nikon has a nice 24mm lens but while it IS autofocus it is not going to autofocus on the D40 because it is not an AF-S lens. Nikon does have a 12-24mm AF-S lens, but it is fairly pricey.

    You're interested in macro.... Nikon has a dandy 60mm micro-Nikkor (macro), but again it is not going to autofocus on the D40. However, a lot of times one ends up manually focusing when shooting macro anyway, so that may be a moot point.

    The bottom line here is that if you are interested in being able to grow into photography and being able to buy various prime lenses (which sometimes can be less expensive than zooms), you should rethink that D40 idea and instead look at the D50 (if you can still find one) or the D80. Either of those two bodies will work with all autofocus lenses, whether or not they're AF-S. The possibility of purchasing older, gently-used lenses comes into play, too, when using one of those camera bodies. Some photographers who already have an extensive lens collection as well as other camera bodies have picked up the D40 for use as a fun camera in lieu of a P&S, and some people moving up from a P&S who have not had any previous experience in shooting with any sort of SLR tend to purchase the D40 and the 18-200mm VR (or use the kit lens and also add the 55-200mm VR) and never change lenses. If you are looking to learn and progress in photography, I would not recommend the D40, especially if you're interested in shooting with wide angles and primes.

    Oh -- almost forgot -- about aperture. A "fast" lens is a lens which has an aperture of f/1.4, f/1.8, f/2, f/2.5 or f/2.8. The value of such a lens is that one can shoot in low light, and one has a larger lens opening to see through when focusing prior to making the actual exposure. These lenses are usually significantly more expensive than lens with apertures that start at f/4, f/4.5, f/5, etc.... Most of the "consumer" lenses are slower, especially the zooms. However, often you can pick up some pretty fast little primes for significantly less money.

    I think you need to visit a brick-and-mortar camera shop and play around with the different cameras and lenses, explore the options, talk with the sales associate and ask a lot of questions.... Also, in the event that you're thinking of purchasing online, BEFORE you press that "submit order" button, check out the seller at http://wwww.resellerratings.com and run a Google search.... There are a lot of dishonest dealers out there offering what seem to be really good deals -- deals that are too good to be true. And they aren't true....
     
  9. fall3n thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Aug 17, 2006
    #9
    Thanks for the awesome tips guys. I'll definitely have to go in to a shop and play with things and ask questions. I don't plan on ordering online as I like to buy things like this in an actual store just in case I have to deal with anything I have a physical contact, I don't mind paying a little more for that.

    It sounds like I might have to bite the bullet and go for something a bit more expensive such as the D80 for the built in auto focus, I was aware of this with the D40 but wasn't sure how much of an issue it would be with lenses. Though, I suppose I could always upgrade in the next 2 years after I master the D40 and principles of photography and feel like I need to expand my lens selection. I don't imagine myself buying to many lenses within that time.

    What's better for my situation? NIKON D80 with DX18-135 LENS for around $1500 CAN or NIKON D40 with DX 18-55mm Lens and 18-200mm Lens for $950. Keeping in mind I really only want to spend $1200 after taxes, the D80 would push me more towards $2000, but if that were to save more money in the long run, it might be worth it. Comments?
     
  10. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    Redondo Beach, California
    #10
    If you buy the D40 you will only be able to use a limited selection of Nikon Lenses. The D40 can only use AF-S. Some of the best Nikon lenses are not AF-S. So if it is between the D40 and the XT and you care about lens selection then the XT wins hand down. But if you are willing to buy the D50 then it is more even and you have to look at specific lenses.
     
  11. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

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    #11
    Of course to be fair, it's very likely that any new lens Nikon releases will be AF-S. It's also likely that some of the existing non-AF-S lenses will be updated to AF-S versions, because of the speed benefit that provides to all cameras (not just the D40).

    B&H has a D40 kit that comes with the 18-135mm lens - that'd be a great combo (and there's a D40x kit with that lens as well). I don't know if they ship to Canada though. The price is certainly right...
     
  12. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

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    #12
    Um....for several reasons that doesn't make sense that someone would offer the D40 with the kit lens AND the 18-200mm VR for $950.00. Are you sure you have understood the offer correctly? My guess is that the offer actually is the D40 with kit lens (17-55mm) and the 55-200mm (NOT the new VR version) lens.... That two-lens set is being offered by various places and that is the right price range for it, too.

    OK, that aside, moving on here to what would be the better purchase? If you have carefully read and then re-read what I wrote above, you will know that my vote would be for the D80. There have been issues with that 18-135mm lens, though, so if you can buy just the D80 body you might be better off and then you could choose any lens you want to start out....
     
  13. mcarnes macrumors 68000

    mcarnes

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    #13
    Both Canon and Nikon are descendants of the bloodthirsty samurai, so it makes little difference. They both kick butt.
     
  14. juanm macrumors 65816

    juanm

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    #14
    The 18-200 VR alone is a powerful reason to go Nikon.
     
  15. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

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    #15
    Hmm... in Thom Hogan's review he preferred both the 18-70 and the 18-200 to the 18-135.

    If you can get the 18-200 it's great; but the wait seems to be rather ridiculous. I started out with the 18-70, and all in all it was a great lens.
     
  16. fall3n thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Aug 17, 2006
    #16
    It isn't the VR lens, that'd be crazy as the 18-200mm VR lens is 700ish alone. They are just the standard plastic AF-S ones. I check them out today and I'm leaning towards the D80 as i think even though the initial price is a bit steep, in the long run it'd end up being cheaper. That and it also feels a lot better in my hands. The D40 feels small and a bit cheap. The one I'm looking at is the D80 with the metal lens. Can't remember the exact one and it's not shown online. I'll try to find it later.
     
  17. Father Jack macrumors 68020

    Father Jack

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    #17
    As other posters have suggested, handle both before you buy.

    FJ
     
  18. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #18
    The Tamron 90mm macro is one of the best macro lenses out there, and it'll give you more working distance than the 60mm Nikkor. If you've got the distance, it'll be a nice portrait lens giving a mild telephoto look, though you may have to selectively blur some skin due to sharpness.
     
  19. TheSunmiester macrumors member

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    San Diego, Ca.
    #19
    I would say go with the D80. i just got one about a month ago with the 18-135 lense (my first DSLR). I was in the same boat with you, debating over the D40 or the D80, but once i actually got it in my hands and really started to understand the abilities i was extremely happy with the decision to bite the cost bullet. although the 18-135 may not be the best lens its not bad either and for the cost and my skill level its great as a learning lens. just my 2 cents:)
     
  20. colenbjw macrumors newbie

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    Mar 20, 2007
    #20
    ^^ I agree completely.

    My two cents: Don't worry too much about the body. Focus on the lense(s). In my Canon experience there isn't too much that differentiates between the 'entry level' bodies (other than physical size) such as the Rebel XT, Rebel XTi and 30D. For instance, you'll end up with better image quality on a Rebel XT with, say, the EF 24mm f/2.8 compared to any higher up body with the kit zoom.

    My personal recommendation is the Rebel XT with EFS 17-85mm. Why Rebel XT? Because the price is right - they're becoming less common (they've been discontinued) - but Henry's $680 sure beats the $950 for the XTi. Some may argue that the XTi is better, but in terms of features that will improve your ability to learn the art, I disagree. Personally, I went with the 30D, solely because size-wise, it fits my hands better and it feels more like my Elan 7E from days gone by. As I progress, I may consider the 'higher ups', but who knows? And the 17-85 is a big jump up in terms of quality (not just of the images, but the feel - like a Dell to a MBP!) from the kit lens, and it has quite a useful range - fairly wide to nice and close. About two weeks ago, this is exactly what my girlfriend decided to go with (XT w/ EF-s 17-85) - so far, she's extremely happy, and has no regrets about not choosing the XTi.

    Now I've diversified my lens collection quite a bit, and the body seems like a small part of my kit investment. In three years, when Canon (or Nikon) has a whole new lineup of bodies and my 30D is dead, it won't be that hard to pick a new one - and I'll still have my sweet set of lenses to choose from.

    Have a look at http://www.fredmiranda.com/reviews/ for a comprehensive review of lenses, bodies, etc!

    My final thought is this: When it comes to lenses, be aware of the designations such as EF-S. If one day you do end up becoming a pro, you may end up using a camera with a full frame sensor. The EF-S lenses (not sure, but Nikon probably does a similar thing) are not compatible AT ALL with full frame cameras. I could go on a while about why I like the crops, but just in case, I've generally stayed away from EF-S (or similar) lenses and gone with EF only.

    Good luck in your search!

    PS - I'm not suggesting you go Canon, but it's my preference!!
     
  21. fall3n thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Aug 17, 2006
    #21
    Thanks for all the advice guys. I think I'm going for the D80 with kit lens (higher quality one. I believe the 18-70. Metal structure.) and use this for learning. When it's time to get my next lens I'll be sure it's a good one. Thanks again everyone!
     

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