Considering the switch to Nikon

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by iBookG4user, Jul 23, 2008.

  1. iBookG4user macrumors 604

    iBookG4user

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    #1
    Hello,
    Currently I am a Canon user although lately I've heavily been considering the switch to Nikon. I'm a wildlife photographer who will be doing weddings on the side to finance the hobby. I have a Canon 40D right now with the following lenses:
    17-40mm ƒ/4
    50mm ƒ/1.8
    70-200mm ƒ/4
    500mm ƒ/4.5 (Gimbal head and sturdy carbon fibre tripod to go with it)
    1.4x extender

    Although I'm just not satisfied with the performance of the 40D in high ISO performance and the highlights get blown out a bit too easily for my taste and the rest of the Canon line isn't very exciting, plus the 200-400mm looks very enticing. And well, I just want to try something new, thus looking into switching to Nikon. I was looking and researching a bit and figured if I sold the above gear (sans tripod and gimbal head) and a couple other items I could get in the $6,000 range to buy Nikon gear with. With that I figure this would be a good setup although a few too many gaps in focal length for my liking:
    Nikon D300
    Nikon 200-400mm ƒ/4
    Nikon 35-70mm ƒ/2.8
    Nikon 1.4x TC
    (With renting an 85mm and 80-200mm for any weddings I photograph until I can afford them)

    I guess the premise of this thread is to convince me to go Nikon and what the best setup would be for wildlife. I would need a lens like my current 500mm ƒ/4.5 because a lot of the wildlife I photograph is skittish of humans and I like to go birding. I'm not dead set on going with any lens/camera so suggestions are very welcome! Thanks in advance :)
     
  2. brendanryder macrumors 6502a

    brendanryder

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    #2
    the Nikon 200-400 is $5100, thus leaving you $900 for a$1600 camera, $1700 for a 24-70 and a $350 TC

    how do u plan on getting $8400 worth of gear for $6000? or are you buying all used?
     
  3. iBookG4user thread starter macrumors 604

    iBookG4user

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    #3
    Yes, I would be buying it used. I've seen the 200-400 for around $4000 before, the Nikon D300 I could get for less than $1400, 35-70 for $400 or so, and the TC for $350 since I haven't seen too many on the used market. That totals around $6000.
     
  4. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem

    GoCubsGo

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    #4
    Well, I don't know if the 40D is worse than the D300 on noise, but if that is the way you want to go then go for it. Seems like such a waste.

    I think renting is going to add up super fast.
     
  5. NEiMac macrumors regular

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    THe really dry side of the Pacific NW
    #5
    First off let me say I much prefer Nikon to Canon, and Im still pretty new and kinda ignorant to all this. That being said, from what I know of Nikon lenses, some of your current Canon lens setup seems not so great, but then again I know nothing about canon lenses. Im thinking you might be better off selling some of your lenses and buying some better, faster ones, changing brands is quite the move.
     
  6. iBookG4user thread starter macrumors 604

    iBookG4user

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    #6
    It would only take one or two wedding shoots to pay for the two lenses, so it wouldn't cost too much in renting fees. And I've heard that the D300 was better than the 40D on noise :confused:.

    Well, I know that the 50mm is no good (contrary to popular opinion) but I thought my other three professional lenses (especially the 500mm) were pretty good performers. Are Nikon lenses really that much better?
     
  7. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #7
    Blown highlights are an exposure problem that switching brands is unlikely to solve (it's the reason exposure bias adjustment exists on most dSLRs.)

    I'm not sure you're going to find the D300 is significantly different than the 40D image-wise, indeed if you're looking at out of camera JPEG, it may be half a step back. With the D700 you'd at least have the high-ISO of a top-of-the-line new generation sensor to give you an advantage in dark wedding venues. The 200-400's have been fairly scarce recently, so getting one at a distinct price difference from list may be difficult.

    I shoot Nikon, I shoot wildlife. Canon's supertelephotos are cheaper (though at least for the 400/2.8 Nikon is unrivaled in terms of absolute performance, not that you'd probably notice it other than side-by-side.) If you wanted a D700 or a D3 to get shots around dawn and in a dark church, I'd say that at the moment, Nikon is the way to go- but I'm not sure the delta between the 40D and the D300 is significant enough to switch systems.

    The D300 is a great camera, but it's not a big step from the 40D in terms of sensor- I'd probably save up for a D700 before switching if it were me, especially going with an f/4 supertele (although I'd also argue for the 600/4 if going full-frame.) Being able to shoot ISO 4800 would make a difference in what you can shoot. Otherwise, I'd look seriously at going a stop faster with your current lenses instead- if your results aren't materially better, I think you'll be more disappointed long-term and we've yet to see a Canon answer to the D3/D700 sensor.

    The 1.7x TC is just at the edge of what I consider acceptable on the 400/2.8, I'm not sure how it performs on the 200-400VR, but I'd be more seriously looking at the 1.4x if your'e selling images, the 1.7x is a better compromise than a 2x, but I don't shoot with it regularly. The 35-70 is a very good classic Nikkor, it's a great value, though I'd probably be looking at the 24-70 longer-term if I were shooting groups/weddings it's my standard portrait/studio lens.

    Worst-case, go somewhere that has a D300, bring your 40D and shoot at the same ISOs and see if the quality difference is enough for you and in the right direction using your workflow.
     
  8. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #8
    Going from a Canon 40D to a Nikon D300 is like going from a 2006 Honda Civic to a 2008 Honda Civic. I don't think the difference is worth the trouble. If you can't get great images from your 40D, either play around with the picture settings in your camera, or improve your photography somehow. A D300 isn't going to help the quality of your images, although I do love my Nikon.
     
  9. iBookG4user thread starter macrumors 604

    iBookG4user

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    #9
    Well, what about the 200-400mm? That was also something that was spurring my interesting in switching. I haven't seen anything that can compare to it on the Canon side.
     
  10. ksz macrumors 68000

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    San Jose, CA
    #10
    I would recommend waiting until Photokina in September. Conventional wisdom is that Canon will introduce a successor to the full-frame 5D. Canon has a wonderful selection of lenses, and the lenses you own right now will continue to serve you well.

    I have a Nikon D200 and I'm eagerly waiting to read owners' critiques of their new D700s starting next week. While I think Nikon is capturing quite a bit of mindshare with the D3, D300, and now D700, I am intrigued by what they will announce at Photokina. The rumor mill is churning, with talk of a D90, a D3x, and a D800.

    So the best advice I would offer anyone in your situation is to wait for another 2 months. Photokina runs from September 23 to 28, but some product announcements will likely be made a week or two in advance, perhaps even earlier. Nikon, for instance, is supposedly having a press conference on Monday, September 1...
     
  11. iBookG4user thread starter macrumors 604

    iBookG4user

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    #11
    Well, truth be told I don't really want a full-frame camera because the crop sensor helps me out a lot in my wildlife photography. I hadn't planned on making a choice until September, but I always like to get opinions far in advance to making a big decision so I can weigh it over and make the most logical choice without being tempted to go out on a whim. And how long have those 5D replacement rumours been going around for? :p
     
  12. ksz macrumors 68000

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    #12
    Because you cite (a) poor high ISO performance and (b) blown highlights as reasons for your dissatisfaction with the 40D, it seems like full-frame might be an option, perhaps with a 1.7x extender instead of your 1.4x. However, you could also try a crop sensor with fewer megapixels -- but this will have to be a used body because the trend these days is to cram as many pixels as possible, so I don't see today's crop sensor bodies offering any fundamental improvement in high ISO performance and dynamic range (at least not in the short term, i.e. 6 months to a year).
     
  13. iBookG4user thread starter macrumors 604

    iBookG4user

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    #13
    You know of any of those that have a burst rate as fast or faster than the 40D though? One of my favourite features of the 40D is the fast burst rate of 6.5FPS, and I've not seen an older camera on the Canon side that has better high ISO performance than the 40D, unless I'm missing something :confused:
     
  14. ksz macrumors 68000

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    #14
    You've just added another constraint...high frame rate. It's difficult to help if you keep adding constraints... :(

    Why not wait for Photokina and see if Canon introduces a new crop sensor body with everything you're looking for?

    At least the landscape of available models will be wider and clearer then, and you'll be making a wiser decision.
     
  15. iBookG4user thread starter macrumors 604

    iBookG4user

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    #15
    I hope they do, and I also hope that they release something like the Nikon 200-400mm VR.
     
  16. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

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    #16
    If they do, and Nikon also releases something like Canon's 24-105 f/4L, we'll all be happy campers. :D

    There are always things one company does that the customers of the other company wish they could have. That's competition.
     
  17. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #17
    ^^Word, brotha! I think Nikon needs to release no fewer than 5 new prime lenses, if not more:

    AF-S 28 or 30 mm f/1.4 (or 1.8)
    AF-S 50 mm f/1.8
    AF-S 50 mm f/1.4 with VR
    AF-S 85 mm f/1.8
    AF-S 85 mm f/1.4 with VR



    Fair enough. :) I respect your decision, although I think the 40D is an excellent camera.

    The D300 is better than the 40D, but IMO, the difference isn't in image quality, which is what you were complaining about at the beginning. I guess your other concerns are also a factor (i.e. the 200-400 mm lens, shutter speed, weather-sealing) I may prefer the D300 because of bias, or because of experience. All I know is that my friend loved the D300 the first time he held it, and he wishes the D300 took all his Canon lenses. ;) I have never longed for a 40D. ;)


    I do agree with waiting. You never know what will be released.
     
  18. leighonigar macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 5, 2007
    #18
    People here have got it right. You'd take a big financial hit switching, and it wouldn't improve things that much. The only reason to possibly switch is the 200-400, if you really need such a zoom. If you can live with what canon offers, you should really stick with it.
     
  19. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

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    Sendai, Japan
    #19
    I think you should consider the D700 instead, if high-ISO performance is really your pet peeve. Since we don't know what Canon will release and when, I can't say how the 5D Mark II (or whatever the successor to the 5D is called) compares to the D700.

    If you really want to make the switch, do it right, otherwise you won't be as happy as you should be after investing so much money.
     
  20. Phrasikleia macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

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    #20
    I second this recommendation. Aside from getting better glass, only a larger sensor is going to make a really significant difference in IQ.
     
  21. jizwood1 macrumors member

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  22. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #22
    I can't see Nikon putting VR on a 50mm lens, you'd get subject movement blur before camera movement blur for anything but shooting from a moving platform.

    I'm also not sure with the advent of the D3's sensor that they're going to be all that interested in ultra-high-speed glass, as a usable ISO 4800 makes f/2.8 lenses very usable in low light and doesn't throw the small DoF problems up.

    I think we'll see an AF-S 50mm, 28mm and 30mm aren't likely (30mm isn't a traditional Nikon focal length,) and frankly if you're going to do wide these days, then an updated 20mm or 24mm would make more sense- and there's plenty of room for improvement in the 24mm.

    Frankly though, I'd rather see Nikon license AF-S to Zeiss cheaply for the ZF series than revamp their own entire prime line-up.
     
  23. Kebabselector macrumors 68030

    Kebabselector

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    #23

    If he bought todays 5D the iso performance will be better than both the 40D and the D300.

    It's worth considering the D700 though as the specification looks superb. You'll probably have to wait as it will be in short supply for a while. And it that waiting period Canon may actually get round to releasing the 5D MkII.

    Really there was no need for you to post it, infact you've managed to dismiss your own points in the post.

    Of the 4 lenses listed the 50mm is probably the weaker, the 500mm f/4.5 is probably the oldest - but both optically are superb lenses. Though the 50mm build is fairly cheap and nasty.
     
  24. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

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    #24
    True. But the 40D is a much faster camera than the 5D (in terms of fps and general zippiness of operation), because it is based on newer technology. So that would be a downgrade when it comes to that. Clearly, if the D700 has the performance (in terms of speed) of the D300 and about the same noise characteristics of the D3 (which is reasonable since they are based on the same sensor), then the D700 blows the 5D out of the water in available light situations (such as weddings -- which the OP is interested in). Not because the 5D is a `bad' camera, but because it's relatively old.

    I think it's fair to wait and compare the 5D Mark II to the D700 and I am convinced Canon is capable to close the gap. But the 5D does not look like a good offer at the moment.
     
  25. ksz macrumors 68000

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    #25
    The OP says he's not interested in FF because he favors longer focal lengths for wildlife and birding, and prefers to stick with crop sensors. I think the new 5D Mark II is still worth waiting for (at least until Photokina) as it just might include an APS-C crop mode. It's a longshot, but since nothing is known about the 5D Mark II, one might as well wait and see. Of course, one can always do the crop manually with almost any image editor -- best results would occur by keeping the subject in the center and using the inner sweet spot of the lens.

    In other words, DX crops can always be made from FX images. So a Canon 5D Mark II will provide better high-ISO image quality, probably faster frames per second, and higher dynamic range while allowing APS-C crops to be done in post-processing or in-camera with an APS-C crop mode.
     

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