Choosing my first DSLR

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Darran, Sep 9, 2008.

  1. Darran macrumors member

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    Mar 31, 2008
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    Singapore
    #1
    I have long wanted to purchase a DSLR and that time has come now. I am starting to save up to get an entry level one. But I am unsure which to choose. Right now I am stuck between two choices:

    Nikon D60 and the Canon 450D.

    And I just read that the Nikon D80 body prices are dropping, so that could actually be an option too. Which would you recommend?

    My primary use of a DSLR would be for shots of the following nature:

    • Night/Low Light
    • Spontaneous
    • Landscapes

    I do not want something too expensive. Just something decent to introduce me into the world of DSLRs with reasonable quality.
     
  2. thomahawk macrumors 6502a

    thomahawk

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    Sep 3, 2008
    Location:
    Osaka, Japan
    #2
    nikon D40 is for beginners and its a pretty damn good camera i love it.

    however nikon D60 is a good camera as well the controls are pretty good and when you want to change a setting for a specific shot you can do it easier than a D40.

    I recommend Nikons

    however it really is a matter of preferance. since you have no problem getting either one of them i suggest going to the store and tesing out both cameras. see which one is to your liking (the feel, shape, wiehgt, response, etc) and decide from there

    Nikon and Canon are both good camera makers but what it comes down to is preferance. specs are good but not always the best choice. preferance is the keypoint in choosing a new DSLR for yourslef

    oh yea and since your using it for landscapes i recommend getting a fish eye lenses. you get a wider range of the shot and more nice picture that comes out.

    but really get a Nikon D40 is great for begginners and those are getting into the DLSR scene
     
  3. Darran thread starter macrumors member

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    #3
    You have mentioned so much about the D60 and D40. But with the D80 price dropping and possibly becoming as cheap as the D60, would you reckon I get the D80 instead? With regards to lenses, I will think about that later. Because I will want to have more than one lens.
     
  4. CrackedButter macrumors 68040

    CrackedButter

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    Location:
    51st State of America
    #4
    When people mention price I have to let beginners know about Olympus cameras as they are priced lower than other brands. For what are your suggested uses as well, it will work quite nicely.

    The Olympus also has a 30 minute bulb option for night shooting as well.
     
  5. mlemonds macrumors 6502a

    mlemonds

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    Apr 9, 2008
    Location:
    Lexington, KY
    #5
    canon v. nikon = pepsi v. coke

    i personally have had better luck with the on camera noise reduction and control with Canon.

    if you know someone that has a nikon or a canon i would go with the same brand as them (especially if you are good friends) that way you can borrow and try out different lenses.

    overall i would get the cheapest body that you can find *Nikon or Canon* and put your money into the glass (lenses). when you become more proficient, you can go to a higher level body and the lenses will still work.
     
  6. mrgreen4242 macrumors 601

    mrgreen4242

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2004
    #6
    I went through this decision process over the last few weeks and settled on the D40, and didn't hesitate when the D80 got a big price drop (I'm still putting the cash together for the camera - almost there... this week :p). Here's the reasons I did so:

    1) Why Nikon: Nikon has a large line of cameras at nearly every level. Meaning my lenses will always be useful to me if I stay with Nikon, which is highly likely. Getting non-Nikon or non-Canon SLRs means a decent chance of having to start over again with lenses as outside of these two manufacturers the lines are more limited.

    2) Why Nikon pt 2: I liked the menus better, and the Nikon seemed to have more "advanced auto" features. Seems a little counter intuitive to want better auto features, but I mean things like the auto ISO settings worked better (from the reviews I read).

    3) Why the D40: the D40 is small and light. I like that. If I don't bring the camera I can't take photos and if it's too big I won't bring it. That's just me. The D60 is often referred to as a bad buy because they didn't add many features and significantly upped the price. The D40x has the same sensor, if you just have to have 10MP (which I don't think anyone does, unless you make billboards for a living) and is priced between the 40 and 60.

    4) Why the D40 pt 2: The D80, even with price drop is still A LOT more than the D40 and loses all of the advantage of size. The extra money is better spent on lenses, from what I gather reading around here.

    I recommend www.kenrockwell.com for more info... Good luck!
     
  7. WinterMute Moderator emeritus

    WinterMute

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    Jan 19, 2003
    Location:
    London, England
    #7
    I'm a complete n00b photographer, I bought a D40x kit at the beginning of the year and added a Nikkor 70-200 zoom a bit later.

    It's a cracking camera to get to grips with taking better pictures, its light and easy to use from the hand, the lenses are cheap(ish) and to my eyes very good, and the camera affords a good balance between functionality and automation.

    It's cheap too!

    Thoroughly recommended, although the D60/D90 argument is persuasive, but only from the perspective of a D40x owner I suspect.

    If you bought one you wouldn't be worried, you be out taking pictures!
     
  8. ftaok macrumors 601

    ftaok

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    Jan 23, 2002
    Location:
    East Coast
    #8
    I had narrowed the choices down to the D40 and the XTi when I was looking to switch to a dSLR. In the end, I chose the XTi for two reasons.

    1. To me, the Nikon and the Canon both felt fine in my hands. My wife prefered the feel of the Canon.

    2. One of the lenses that I want (which I still haven't bought) is a 50mm f1.8 lens. I want to be able to take nice shots indoor where lighting is not readily available or adjustable (like shooting the kids at an indoor playground or at a birthday party, etc). Both Nikon and Canon offer this lens rather inexpensively, but the D40 (and the D60) will not auto-focus. That was the prime deal killer for me.

    These same issues are in play between the D60 and the XSi ... but they may not be significant for you.

    ft

    XTi = 400D
    XSi = 450D
     
  9. Darran thread starter macrumors member

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    Mar 31, 2008
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    Singapore
    #9
    From what I have seen, I would be better off investing in the D40, and getting a kick ass lens. At SGD $999, I can get a D40 with a starter kit as well as a tripod and a 4GB memory card, that sounds like a neat deal for a beginner into DSLRs. Perhaps over time, I could decide which lens I would buy to add on.

    Just a question, am I able to print the pictures from a D40 in an A0 size photo paper?

    To get around that problem, couldn't we use a an auto focus Nikon lens?
     
  10. ftaok macrumors 601

    ftaok

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    Jan 23, 2002
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    East Coast
    #10
    I can't answer your other questions, but regarding the AF Nikon lens ... Nikon does not currently make a 50mm lens that can AF with the D40/40x/60. That's not to say that they won't, but when I was buying, none was on the horizon.

    3rd party manufacturers are making normal prime lenses for the D40 that can AF, but they cost more. The Nikon 50mm costs around $100 and the Canon 50mm costs $80. They are considered very good buys. If I have to pay $300 for the 30mm Sigma, that kind of defeats the purpose.

    ft
     
  11. Darran thread starter macrumors member

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    Mar 31, 2008
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    Singapore
    #11
    From kenrockwell.com

    The D40 only autofocuses with the latest AF-S (and old professional AF-I) lenses. So I have to keep a look out for these AF-S and AF-I lens if I am to get one.
     
  12. mrgreen4242 macrumors 601

    mrgreen4242

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    Feb 10, 2004
    #12
    I'm no pro. I'm not even an amatuer... but, my inderstanding is that people like primes because they are fast and cheap, right? With some of the newer zoom lenses getting to be nearly as fast as the primes, and smaller, lighter, and relatively affordable I can see why Nikon might not feel getting AF-S primes out the door is a priority.

    Maybe I am missing something important, though, so someone please correct me!

    Just as an aside, I'm planning on a D40 w/ the kit lens that I will likely replace with a Nikon 18-200 AF-S VR lens in a year or 18 months (it's about $650 new and is supposed to be a fantastic single lens solution for 90% of the things people will shoot).
     
  13. ftaok macrumors 601

    ftaok

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    #13
    Consumer zoom lenses are not going to be anywhere as fast a prime lens. The fast pro (or mid-level) zoom lenses are typically around f2.8 and they are pricey. You can get some really inexpensive prime lenses at f1.8 and they'll be much much faster and they'll probably have less distortion.

    The typical consumer zoom are around f3.5 to f5.6. That's much slower than f1.8.

    For me, I anticipate using a 50mm f1.8 lens for most (if not all) of my indoor shots. I really hate using the flash since it gives a sort of unnatural look and tends to flatten faces and such. I suppose that I could get a Speedlite or something, but a nice prime lens is cheaper.

    I'm not saying that the Nikon's lack of AF motor is a deal killer for everyone, it was just a deal killer for me.

    I personally know two Nikon shooters that have the 18-200 lens and they love it. It's practically on their lens all the time. I've played with it for a little, and it's really a desirable lens.
     
  14. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

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    The soggy side of the Pacific NW
    #14
    The problem is that on a crop sensor digital SLR (which is what we're talking about here) 50mm acts like a 75mm telephoto lens. Shooting indoors, you don't always have the luxury of "zooming with your feet" out far enough for that lens. If you're only going to have one prime, IMHO a better fit for that sensor is the 35mm f/2 - but that costs $300 rather than $100. I bought one for my D70 and put it to good use (mostly for portraits).

    The 18-200 is a very nice lens for walking around and being ready for whatever you see. It's not perfect; but I really enjoyed shooting with it.
     
  15. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #15
    The D80 is now selling at the D60 price. Get that.

    When you buy that first SLR you are deciding on a brand. You next SLR, lenses and so on for many years will have to be from the same brand. Choose Nikon or Canon bases on what you want to buy in the future. The cost of the SLR body is nothing compared the the price of the system you will buy over the next 10 or so years. Plan ahead.

    The D80 has an in-body focus motor which greatly expands the number oflenses that will work with the camera. The D80 can in the long run actually save you some money. For example it can work well with a pervious generation 80-200 lens that is available used for $1,000 less then the current generation. The D80 can also work with all of Nikons "Primes". Just think ahead a few years but when you buy go slow. get just the body and a low priced "kit" lens and shoot 1,000 or two frames before you buy the next part of the system.
     
  16. ftaok macrumors 601

    ftaok

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    Jan 23, 2002
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    East Coast
    #16
    Agreed. I worried about this a lot, but what I did was set my zoom to 50 and see if I would have enough room to foot-zoom in my house. For the most part, the 50mm range was more usable than at 35mm for me. YMMV.

    Even so, the D40/40x/60 the Nikon 35mm f/2 doesn't do AF. You'd have to get the Sigma 30mm f/2 at about $350 or so.

    Personally, the Canon was a better fit for me with the lenses that I want.
     
  17. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

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    #17
    That's kind of funny because it's exactly what I did ~ 4 years ago - but I came to the conclusion that, for me, the 35mm was the way to go. :p

    I'm thinking about picking up the 50mm now that I'm shooting full frame. Thing is, though, the D700 has such great low-light performance that I haven't (yet) run into any shooting situations where f/4 - where my current lens falls at 50mm - doesn't do the job. But I still may get the 50mm, since it's inexpensive and would let me shoot in ridiculously low light. I've even debated spending $450 on the new Sigma 50mm f/1.4, which is getting darn good reviews.
     
  18. cube macrumors G4

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    #18
    D80 is $700 from Adorama with the 18-55 VR. Check for price drops in your country.
     
  19. Darran thread starter macrumors member

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    #19
    I am just waiting for the D80 price to drop. On the whole, with that price drop, it may actually be more worth it to get it instead of a D40, which has that restriction on what kind of lenses I need to get just to have it auto focus.
     
  20. luminosity macrumors 65816

    luminosity

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    #20
    The $D80 was briefly less than $600. It's now back up to $700.
     
  21. cube macrumors G4

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    #21
    It was $570 BODY-ONLY. Now it's $700 with the 18-55 VR. It's $650 body-only.
     
  22. nutmac macrumors 68040

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    Mar 30, 2004
    #22
    For low light photography, I would go with either Nikon D80 or D90 (which is probably out of your price range) or Canon XSi (450D) or XS (1000D).

    D40 and D60 can't auto focus against most of Nikon's prime lenses (fixed focal length). Yes, there's newly minted (pricey and only f/2.8 max) 60mm lens, but you are generally limited to extremely limited selection of prime lenses. Prime lenses have generally much wider maximum aperture, a critical component of low light photography.

    If you go with Canon, you can choose from huge selection of high performance and affordable prime lenses, such as $75 50mm f/1.8II.

    If prime lenses are not your thing, and you have a budget for fast zoom lenses, then I suppose D40/D60 are fine. But I simply love prime lenses.
     
  23. Darran thread starter macrumors member

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    #23
    The D90 is definitely out of my budget range, I am most probably dead set on the Nikon D80 now. $700 doesn't sound all that unreasonable, provided of course that the price actually drops in my country. Right now it is priced at SGD $1888 which is $1300.
     
  24. taylorwilsdon macrumors 68000

    taylorwilsdon

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    Bay Area
    #24
    Should have gotten the D80 when it was at $550 new... now I'd wait for it to drop somewhere else. That's the best out of the bunch - has AF with non AF-s lenses, better build (kinda), just an overall better camera.
     
  25. ftaok macrumors 601

    ftaok

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    East Coast
    #25
    I'm not trying to poo-poo the D80, because it's a great unit. But many amateur shutterbugs may be a bit put off at the D80's size. I think one of the reasons that the Rebels and D40/40x/60 sells so well is that they are much more compact. Many entry-level buyers are coming up from small P&S cameras and a jump right to the D80 is a huge thing.

    Darran hasn't mentioned whether he/she prefers the smaller dSLRs are not, but it's something to consider.
     

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