Deciding Betweem 4 Cameras

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by MecPro, Oct 22, 2009.

  1. MecPro macrumors 6502

    Mar 6, 2009
    Hi guys, I hope I am posting this on the right forum.

    I am deciding between 4 camera, but in 2 different ranges:

    Canon 450D vs Nikon D60


    Canon 500D vs Nikon D90

    I've been told, and used the D90, so I am liking that a lot. But I am going to be buying my first DSLR, after my Canon IXUS 70 let me down on holiday. I used the PnS camera a lot and it did good shots, but for long canal shots it was really lacking in terms of detail in distance. So i showed the pics to a few photographer friends of mine, and they suggested I take the step to a DSLR. One recommended the D60, the other the D90; but I've always liked my Canons!

    I will be doing the following type of shots:

    -Holidays (Towns with amazing architecture, scenery, etc)
    -Sports (Football &cricket)
    -People (At anime conventions, work parties, weddings, etc)
    -"wildlife" so insects, gardens, fish
    -Fashion, my shoe collections etc

    That's like all the info I can give for now. The other info I need is about lenses, the ones I had been suggested are 18-55mm (standard) and 50mm f/1.8f, I've seen this lense in action and just love the effect it can give

    So if anyone can give me some suggestions, please do!
  2. toanavinai macrumors member

    Jul 10, 2008
    I'll put my two cents worth in and state that I was in the same situation as you only a few days ago. My first DSLR, I didn't know what to get for the longest while... so I researched and researched, and I took advice posted here to heart and went to Fry's Electronics, Best Buy, etc, to hold and use every model I could fathom. I even brought my own SD card so I can bring it home and analyze the photos for myself. I narrowed my choices between the Canon 500D and the Nikon D90, cutting out the only other choice I could possibly have, the Canon 7D, as I simply could NOT afford it! :p

    Now for the other side of things, choosing between two different categories of DSLR lies within the realm of what you can afford, what you feel comfortable affording/paying, and if you feel that the extra buck is worth it and will benefit you in the long run. I chose the Canon 500D and Nikon D90 category myself because each are newer, more capable, and I felt that the extra $100 or so (at least for Canon) was well worth it in terms of features, capabilities, and I wouldn't be making the mistake of limiting myself as I did with the purchase of my previous Kodak Z1012IS point and shoot.

    I finally bit the bullet and, after much personal deliberation, purchased the Canon 500D with the kit lens you mentioned as well as the 50mm f/1.8 prime lens you also mentioned as well. Ordered from Amazon on Sunday for an altogether $880 (nice price), got it Tuesday. (As an aside, the Amazon Prime Trial with free two-day shipping is quite nice! I mean, look at that turn-around time!)

    Since then I've been absolutely gushing over this gadget. I've only snapped a few pictures, as my college courses have decided to band together against me for the past few days and only beginning today will I have ample time to play with this miniature beast. I will say that the few I have snapped, especially with the 50mm f/1.8 prime, look phenomenal compared my old point and shoot - heck, they just look fantastic overall, so I am certainly pleased with my purchase.

    As far as gauging your own desires, do what I did and go to the store and handle the cameras in question. It's the only way you'll know for certain which camera you'll be happy handling. Ultimately, for me, the decision came down to personal preference; the size and weight of the Nikon D90 was a bit much for me, and I knew this may influence how often I shoot photos. The Nikon D90 also has the array of buttons on the left side of the camera for composing manual shots, and while I understand that some people like this, I felt that this would impede me, as my left hand moves naturally to supporting/adjusting the lens as I shoot. Finally, and I know I may be ridiculed for this here considering the seemingly overarching consensus on these forums regarding DSLR video, if I am going to be purchasing a camera capable of video I may as well go for the camera whose video capabilities are most pleasing. Playing with the Nikon D90 in Best Buy displayed heavy "jello wobble", and hence the quality seemed subpar compared to the video on the Canon 500D. Granted, this was only me comparing 720p on both devices - the 1080p on the Canon 500D only works at 20fps, unfortunately. But weighing this into my equation, my current television is 720p itself, so it seems superfluous to shoot at a higher resolution now with less frames per second/choppier action.

    Again, I should repeat: these are ALL personal choices on my behalf, and I encourage you to make the decision based on your firsthand experience as well. :)
  3. davegregory macrumors regular

    Jul 7, 2009
    Burlington, Ontario
    I agree with toanavinai. Go to a store, pick them up, use them, take pictures. Navigate the menus. Whichever one you find easiest to use. Get that one. Another thing you may want to consider is, do any of your friends have a dSLR? If so, what are they shooting with? You can swap lenses, they can offer help, etc. But, whichever is most intuitive for you to use is probably the one you should choose. You really can't go wrong either way. They're both good products for entry level photography.
  4. MecPro thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 6, 2009
    Thanks for the replies so far!

    I used the dSLR of my two friends, both with D90's, and I thought they were nice but indeed bulky for me. I did like the camera a lot but it is a little expensive for me, I would have saved for an extra month but I compared the 500D and D90, but I don't think the D90 extras appeal to me at the moment in time

    I will go to the shop today after work and see how they compare :D
  5. Techhie macrumors 65816


    Dec 7, 2008
    The hub of stupidity
    If you are in to that sort of thing, the body on the D90 is in a completely different class than the Canon models, and is reinforced with a metal frame compared to plastic. I think it is also much more comfortable to hold, and comes with a kit lens that shames Canon's cheap 18-55mm IS. All of the DSLRs have simliar features, but I would get the D90 because frankly it makes the consumer Canons feel like Chinese playthings.
  6. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    You are going about the backwards. The FIRST thing to look at are the lenses and then you buy whatever camera body fits. Lenses make the image, camera body can only record that image. When you show someone an image no one will know the body you used by looking at the picture but they will be able to guess the lens used.

    As an example. Lets say you like the nikon 50mm f/1.8 lens. If so you can't use the D60 body.

    But look ahead. You say "sports". That implies an expensive lens, like maybe a 80-200 f/2.8. Nikon makes one for about $900 and you can pay close to $2,000 for other models. Good used ones go for about $650. But each of these uses a different body. If you like the Canon 80-200 then you need a canon body. If you like Nikon then you need either a Nikon body with a focus motor or not depending on which 80-200 you like

    Think about the lens collection you might want to own in 5 years. Then buy a body that will work with that collection.

    Other things to help you select a brand: How does the flash metering system work? Do you like the exposures and balance with ambient light? What about the used market. Will you be able to sell your gear or buy used gear.

    Bodies typeically are replace just like computers. They last about as long and hold value about as well. Lenses on the other hand last for decades. No reason to replace a good lens as the technology is mature and moves very slowly.

    I said you were doing this backwards, but then almost EVERY beginner does the exact same thing. They see the SLR body as the main part of the system. It's not it's just one component.

    As for what lenses to look at. For your stated purposes. yes start with the "kit lens" the 18-55 is a bargain. Shoot 1,000 frames with that lens before you buy a second lens. but then I bet you will be wanting some "faster" f/2.8 to f/1.4 lenses and for you fashion and sports work longer, faster lenses. Each of these will cost more then the SLR body. Whichever body you have will limit the lenses that you can use. So plan ahead.

    The other common beginner mistake to avoid is to think you will need a "long telephoto" so they buy the lowest prict 200mm lens they can find. These are typically f/5.6 zooms. They find that there are not many subject suitable for this lens and it staeys in a closet. "sports" is the second more expensive genera to shoot in terms of equipment requirements. Wildlife is the worst. Both require some expensive lenses
  7. dmz macrumors regular


    Jan 29, 2007
    Lens first...

    Kudos to ChrisA for his advice - and like the lenses he is talking about, this advice is as old as photography. Though camera bodies are definitely the prime object of the the camera maker's marketing campaigns, great lenses are forever, cameras come and go. Digital cameras are still in their early days, technology is constantly being updated, lenses have been in constant production for four-hundred years or more. In the bad-old days of wet chemistry, you lived by your lenses, and the camera makers knew that - that's why they were not standardized in any way between brands. Once you start down the Canon/Nikon/Hasselblad road, you are stuck with that brand's selection of lenses - so ChrisA's advice is perhaps the sanest piece of advice I've seen on this or many other forums, and one I had almost forgotten,

    Thanks for the reminder!

  8. DNA930 macrumors member

    Sep 24, 2009
    I totally agree with the others about lenses.

    However, you should really spend some time playing with the wheels and buttons and other proprietary things on the cameras. Each manufacturer has their own control layout set-up which are typically similar on their entire line of cameras. I personally decided to build my lenses collection around Nikon since I preferred their camera control layout - it was easy to move from an F5 to a used D2H to a new D700.

    Another a major consideration should be where you ultimately want to go with your set-up and the evolution of technology. I started with a small sensor SLR and moved to a full SLR frame a couple of years later. Lenses designed around a crop factor won't be completely useful on a full frame camera.
  9. AlaskaMoose macrumors 65816

    Apr 26, 2008
    There are different ways to to choose a camera. For example, a camera that is comfortable to hold by one person is not necessarily the same to another. Six years ago I purchased a Canon XT, and found it very comfortable to hold. A couple of years ago I purchased a Canon 40D and find it very comfortable to hold, but both of these cameras are quite different in size, weight, etc.

    Some of my best landscapes were taken with the Rebel XT and the cheap kit lens (not the IS kit lens), and I had no idea how to properly use the camera. Side by side, both of these cameras are capable of producing similar IQ depending on who is taking the photo. I am bias to Canon, both both Canon and Nikon offer quite nice entry-level cameras, and both are Japanese products.
  10. Ruahrc macrumors 65816

    Jun 9, 2009
    Personally I think it's getting way too involved with all of this talk of lenses, metal vs. plastic bodes, etc.

    Set your budget. This will be the biggest determinant of what you get. If you don't want to or can't spend for the D90, then the deciding gets a lot easier.

    Decide for yourself how serious you are likely to get with photography. If you see yourself being fairly serious about the hobby, then a D90 class camera might be a good buy because it is a great camera you can grow into. If you are unsure, stick with a lower end body to start with. Even if you find later on that you are really interested in photography after all, it will still take you a few years to really learn and maximize output from a body anyways. At which point said body will begin to become outdated and you might be able to move up to a better grade of body on the second round. If you think you will only remain fairly casual about photography, (this is not a bad thing nor is it wrong) then getting the lower end body will save you money.

    Stick with the kit lens at the outset. Don't overbuy too much gear in the beginning. Use what you have (kit lens most likely) to start with and later on acquire new gear as you require it to fulfill your photography. The standard kit lens(es) are quite versatile and will allow you to explore a wide range of photography in order to focus in on what you trend towards. A new lens will only make your pictures better if you know what you're doing. Seen a lot of cases of people buying too much gear too quickly and becoming overwhelmed, only to end up having to sell it off used at a loss a little while later. On a photography forum I frequent I see constant advertisements of for-sale used lenses, many of them very high end and often very lightly used, being sold "because I don't use it enough to justify keeping it around". Try to avoid this if you can.
  11. toxic macrumors 68000

    Nov 9, 2008
    first, figure out where you want to go. is this just a casual thing? are you sure a more advanced point-&-shoot isn't the answer? how much money do you have?

    if you're sure you want an SLR kit, start with the lenses. assuming you don't need the pinnacle of current SLR technology, an 18-xxx and 70-300 might be all you need. then again, maybe cover all of those subjects in high quality, you will need a macro, a supertelephoto, a bunch of lenses covering wide to telephoto, lights, and the hardware and software to process it.

    either way, the body is the last consideration. choosing which interface you like better (buttons, menus, feel, etc) will choose the manufacturer for you. then just get the best you can afford after you budget for lenses.
  12. svndmvn Guest

    Nov 6, 2007
    I used to be undecided between a Canon T1i, a D90 and a D5000. I believe what's worth for the D5000 is also worth for the D60, they don't have a focusing motor so they'll need an AF-S lens to focus. In my case AF wasn't a big issue, I would have probably gotten an AF 50 1.8 that I would focus manually. A bit of a pain, but still. Choosing a Canon wouldn't have been a problem either, but for me the D90 is of better value, even though it's up to the user. Yes, lenses are fundamental, but especially for a beginner there would be no problems even if you decided to go Pentax/Sony/whatever.
    There are normal lenses, teles and wide angles for everyone, even though some have more choices and a better "used market". I personally prefer the features on the D90 and its pictures, low light capabilities and its body. I've shot Canon, Nikon, Sony and Pentax, I just prefer Nikon and also love the 18 105 VR and the cheap 50 1.8. For a good sports lens I'd recommend a used fast Nikkor or a Tamron/Sigma. In this case, you're better off with a D90 and not a D60.
  13. pdxflint macrumors 68020


    Aug 25, 2006
    Oregon coast
    Or... you could get a nice mint D50 for about $250 and look for some very nice older Nikon AF prime lenses, since you already appreciate how the 50mm 1.8 lens looks on crop frame DSLRs. Get a 35mm f/2 ($200) for a normal lens, the 50mm 1.8 ($120) for nice depth of field and mild telephoto, perhaps a 10-20 zoom or 12-24 zoom (Sigma/Tokina - $350-375,) the classic 85mm 1.8 ($400-ish) and perhaps a 100mm macro or 135mm lens. Also, as you search for vintage lenses with the F mount, you can also get manual focus lenses that will still work on auto-exposure. Once you take the time to learn how much control you have when focusing manually, it will help your creative vision and framing the image because you're not worrying about making the camera focus on a "point" but instead focusing naturally on the subject with your eyes. No need to re-frame after focusing, or missing the shot because the autofocus hit the background instead of the subject... those kinds of things that happen more often than not with autofocus. Sometimes it's just easier to twist the focus ring than try to out think a 'computer.'

    The nice thing about this approach (other than the wide-angle zoom) is that most of these lenses will be smaller and lighter, faster and sharper optically... and transfer to full frame if you ever go there in the future. Also, they'll hold their value if you ever change directions or just want to sell them. Almost a "no-risk" gamble.

    Also, the D50 is an excellent camera with great image quality, slightly bigger than the D40-60 series, but lighter than the D80-90 series. It's just my opinion (but probably shared by more than a few others) that the D50 had a much better 'build' quality than the comparable Canon Rebel models it competed with. And it has the screw-drive lens focus motor opening up that world of really interesting older Nikon lenses, which can be bargains.

    I'm sure someone could make a similar case for getting a used Canon, Pentax, or what not... but I'm just recommending based on my own experiences, and I have nothing but good things to say about the D50 as a first DSLR. I still use mine a lot.

    The whole idea here is not to get into brand wars, but to suggest an alternative to buying a brand new 'Cakon' which would really give you some interesting choices besides the usual "kit" zooms most first timers wind up with - and for about the same, or less money. Better... more unique images/within your budget/holds value/more outside the box thinking - all benefits of this approach, if you give it some thought.

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