Deciding between 2 cameras - my list of pros & cons but which matter most?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by OrangeCuse44, Oct 28, 2009.

  1. OrangeCuse44 macrumors 65816

    OrangeCuse44

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    #1
    So, I am in the market for my first dSLR and am very passionate about photography. I just want to upgrade beyond my Canon P&S (which has treated me very well). I have read a mind numbing amount of reviews recently comparing my 2 choices, the Canon Rebel T1i & Nikon D5000. Naturally, I am driving myself crazy like usual when I review products I'm interested in purchasing (due diligence to an absurd level if you will). My question isn't WHICH camera to choose, but rather what aspects of each matter the MOST to those who have been using dSLRs for a while.

    What I like about the Canon over the Nikon:
    -The LCD specs and I don't care for the swiveling screen of the Nikon
    - Depth of field control
    -14 bit RAW vs 12 bit
    -All lenses can AF & possibilities seem greater to expand into better lenses (price)
    -MUCH easier to change settings like ISO & aperture w/o going through menus
    -Lighter in weight

    What I like about the Nikon over the Canon:
    -Faster continuous shooting
    -Advanced scene modes (although I plan to shoot mostly in manual)

    From those points alone it seems like I should just go with the Canon but my big problem is looking at comparison shots between the 2 models, I think I like Nikon's more (though I'm having trouble locating side by side RAW comparisons). Also, looking through Flickr shots using each camera, I like what people have done with the Nikon more as well, Canon vs Nikon. Of course, BETTER photographers could be taking the Nikon shots as opposed to the Canon but who knows. If it helps at all, the main thing I like to shoot is landscapes, macro, & want to delve into the world of HDR. Excuse this extremely long post but I just want to lay it all out here for people who know what they are doing! Thanks in advance!
     
  2. Phrasikleia macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

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    #2
    A brighter, higher resolution screen does help for judging sharpness, but reading the histogram will help the most for judging exposure. So the better screen is a bonus, but not a huge one.

    I presume you mean the DOF preview button. I never use it. Chimping with the screen after a shot is just as easy and is more informative.

    This matters a bit if you expect to sell your work.

    Canon does have a somewhat larger selection of lenses, but Nikons can use vintage lenses more easily. So if you don't mind focusing or metering manually, then you can pick up some good deals with old Nikon lenses.

    This one is a big deal. Quick access to settings can mean getting a shot that you wouldn't otherwise, and digging through menus gets wearisome over time.

    I don't know what the weight difference is, but I doubt it's enough to be very significant. I'll let you in on a little secret: once you get into the world of DSLRs, you can kiss goodbye the notion of convenience. Your gear bag will get heavier and heavier as you invest in more lenses, more speedlights, bigger and better cameras, etc. So just forget about having a nice, light, little camera. It's best if you just accept from the beginning that you are sacrificing convenience in favor of quality and creative control.

    If you expect to shoot a lot of sports or wildlife, then this feature may matter. But you said you want to shoot mainly landscapes and macro, so whatever the slower camera offers ought to be sufficient for you.

    Forget the scene modes. I believe they require that you shoot JPEG, which is problematic on its own, and they will hold you back from really learning about photography.
     
  3. OrangeCuse44 thread starter macrumors 65816

    OrangeCuse44

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    #3
    Thank you VERY much for such a detailed response, it really is helpful. I guess my main concern now is, am I making it up in my head that the Nikon shots look better than the Canon shots sifting through those Flickr sets?
     
  4. Phrasikleia macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

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    #4
    That's a really overarching statement for so many photos, especially when the lens is the single biggest factor in determining image quality. I will say this much: the Canon kit lens is sharp but does not have nice contrast and color rendition. The Nikon kit lens is better in that regard, but it is not quite as sharp across the frame and at all focal lengths.

    Whichever camera you choose, I would get the body only and then get a good lens to go with it. The Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 VC lens is better than either of those kit lenses (assuming they haven't changed the optical formula much in the VC version). If you have more to spend, then you might consider some of the nicer Canon or Nikon lenses. People here can be very helpful in directing you towards a good lens.
     
  5. svndmvn Guest

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    #5
    the price is really close, take into consideration the D90, while taking possibly identical pictures as the d5000, it offers a lot more, IMO. It's been out for quite some time and it shouldn't be hard to find one at a lower price. I have considered all three and a couple more, have decided for the D90, while I don't think it's the best choice for everyone, it would give you the image quality you seem to prefer and offer the functions you like in the T1i.
    The D90 seems to be of a different class as well, or almost, and the shutter life is rated a bit longer, if I'm not mistaking, compared to the T1i's. Also, the built in AF motor allows to spend a lot less on lenses, choosing an older and possibly a better one, that's also cheaper.
    The kit lens also offers a lot more, I suppose. Nonetheless, if you haven't yet tried them in your hands, hurry up and do that first, all three will take great pictures but you'll have to deal with the "feel" as much as you'll have to admire the pictures you'd have taken. If the D90 is really out of your range I'd probably take the D5000, but that's me.
     
  6. Phrasikleia macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

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    #6
    Just to clear up some questions you have:

    The T1i and the D90 are both rated for 100,000 shutter actuations.

    The D90 is indeed in a different class than either of the cameras that the OP is considering. For the extra money, you will get more features with it, and it is a superb camera for the price. However, very often a better route is to put the extra money into a good lens, where the benefits in image quality will be most noticeable.

    The D90 kit lens falls into the same category as the one for the D5000: good contrast and color, but some sharpness lacking overall--all the more so with its larger range, which is typical (the larger the range, the greater the variance in sharpness across that range).
     
  7. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #7
    Swiveling screens are useful if you need to shoot over heads or if you're doing really low macro.

    You mean preview? DSLRs really are better with looking at the LCD rather than trying to see a sub-lit image in the viewfinder.

    For stock sales, this is important for some markets, otherwise you're probably going to a 12-bit or lower output device anyway.

    This is an important point, but you have to look at the lines to see which lenses may be important to you- T/S, Canon has the edge, 200-400 Nikon...

    You should look at the entire line of each series to get an example of what your next upgrade will do there- I find the higher-end Nikons much easier to change settings on, others don't...

    Lighter weight can be a disadvantage if you're shooting in conditions where mirror slap is an issue.

    If you need to spray and pray in sports, this is an issue, otherwise the difference is likely to be negligable.

    This are marketing gimmicks, if you're going to get in to photography then both models will offer shutter and aperture priorty and manual mode- all you really need.

    Raw shots will have more differences between raw converter choices and settings than between models- if your plan is to always shoot raw, then ignore any comparisons and try to get a set of settings for your preferred converter that will give you the results you want. If you need to shoot jpeg for events, then default output makes a lot more of a difference.

    Sounds like you're leaning towards the Canon, so just get that.
     
  8. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #8
    You are looking at the wrong things. Camera body specs are the least important thing to consider when selecting a brand. After you buy a body and a couple lenses you are kind of committed to the brand. So if you like the "rebel T1" today and buy it then you are also making a decision to buy a Rebel T2 and then a T4 and so on over the next many years. Look at the whole rang on bodies not jut the entry level

    So think mow about the brand and less about any of the current line of dSLR bodies. Don't decide on a brand based on the technical feature of just one dSLR body.

    In the long run lenses cost more then bodies. Think about what you might want in four years. Look at the used markets too. you may one day want to sell and buy there.

    When you finally get around to looking at SLR bodies, other things that do not show up in specs matter more than moveable screens and DOF previews -- for example how good s the built-in flash meter as balancing ambient light? Things like this actually effect the images.

    Look at prices too. One brand or model of 70-200mm lens might be $1,000 more then the other so think ahead about the entire system of lenses and bodies.

     
  9. carlgo macrumors 68000

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    #9
    There have been years and years of these Nikon vs Canon posts. There seems to be kind of a pattern to the professional reviews of these brands over the years as well.

    1. Canon generally is ahead in the spec war, with more MPs per dollar than Nikon. Canon introduces higher MP designs earlier than Nikon.

    2. Nikon seems to be more concerned with noise and artifacts than in pure MP power. The FX spec D700 is "only" 12MP, half that of Canon, for example.

    3. Canons have more in-cameral sharpening and more saturated colors as a default. Nikons output a more subdued image, expecting post-processing.

    4. Nikons generally are more ergonomic in terms of how the controls work and the menu system is usually less imposing.

    5. Nikons usually seem to have a better build quality feeling to them. Even the entry level plastic D40s and the like are very solid feeling.

    6. All in all, Nikon is a more conservative company, Canon more apt to dazzle people.

    Something for everyone and if you love your equipment, then it is likely you will use it better.

    One thing is missing, from what I can see, and that is reliability. Which brands are going to fall apart on you? Which companies have the best warranties and repair service?
     
  10. ArtandStructure macrumors member

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    #10
    I am running out the door but can post something more in depth later. Long story short though, I would seriously suggest considering the Nikon D90 body only and the 18-55mm lens separately. It would come to $80-90 more than the Canon T1i and is in a whole other level than either the T1i or D5000. You would get so much more for your money which I can expand on later.

    If you don't want to spend the extra $80-90 I would suggest going with the D3000 which is almost $200 cheaper than the D5000 and essentially as good, and $300 cheaper than the T1i. If you go that route you can get an extra lens and accessories with the money saved...the differences between the T1i and D5000/3000 aren't quite as you've listed out. For instance, aperture and ISO can be adjusted with buttons on the Nikons without having to go into menus.

    Again, I will write something more extensive later.


    All the best,


    Jesse Widener
    Art and Structure
     
  11. Phrasikleia macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

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    #11
    1. True

    2. True

    3. Maybe true, but only if you shoot JPEG, which I don't recommend. However, I've heard just the opposite stated (that Nikon JPEGs are punchier). Regardless, even if you want to shoot JPEG, all of these settings are user-definable, so it's a non-issue and should not play any role in deciding on which brand to choose.

    4. Only true at the entry level, but there I think it is true.

    5. Same as #4.

    6. Not really. They're each trying to "dazzle" on different fronts.

    What ChrisA said (his standard contribution to these kinds of threads) is very true and very much worth considering. The only problem with it is that it requires a lot more research and soul-searching. In order to know which lenses you want, you need to know what you will be shooting. Someone coming from a point-and-shoot camera might have only a vague idea of what that will be, and even if they do know, they're unlikely to know much about lenses and which ones are best for a given application.

    So I suggest that beginners start off with a versatile, yet high-quality combination of lenses. For either Nikon or Canon, that would be something like the Tamron I mentioned, plus the very affordable "Nifty-fifty" (50mm f/1.8). Those lenses will produce sharp, colorful, contrasty images and will get you started. Then you can figure out over time if you need some more specialized lenses to help you achieve your goals.
     
  12. mtbdudex macrumors 68000

    mtbdudex

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    #12
    FWIW, My newly bought Canon T1i shoots scene modes in RAW, I just checked the downloads.
    Quick to use in a pinch, I have no pride.....
     
  13. Ruahrc macrumors 65816

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    #13
    I am not sure I would recommend the D3000. It uses the older 10MP CCD sensor which is the same as in my D80. It will provide less image quality than the D5000/D90 (both using a newer generation 12MP CMOS sensor) and that cost savings would not be worth it IMO. The D5000/D90 sensor performs significantly better than the D3000 sensor especially in terms of noise.

    The recommendation on the D90 is solid. Especially since you say you are passionate about photography and are likely to stick with it. The D90 is a great camera which you can grow into as opposed to the lower end cameras which are designed more for automation than direct manipulation of the controls. All of the major adjustments can be made using the hardware buttons which means you practically never need to dig into menu settings. And the presence of the top LCD display is very convenient IMO as well. If you are fairly certain you will stick with photography and expand your hobby, then the D90 may be worth the extra money.

    The other thing about the D90 is that it has a substantially better viewfinder than the D5000/T1i. It is a true pentaprism rather than a pentamirror which makes it much brighter, and the view in the eyepiece is much larger as well.
     
  14. Phrasikleia macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

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    #14
    Oh OK, as I indicated, I wasn't sure. You might want to summon up some pride, though; those scene modes can be quite a crutch and will ultimately slow you down. :cool:

    Yeah, if there's one thing that really can make a big difference on a camera body, it's the viewfinder. The one in the D90 is much better. See this comparison:

    (clickable)

    [​IMG]

    Thread on the subject is here.
     
  15. akdj macrumors 65816

    akdj

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    #15
    I am a bit biased, because of what I own...but, I would say for someone purchasing a new DSLR....it doesn't matter:) Not when it comes down to the final product...your photo. Sure, a higher end body may shoot quicker, higher ISO, last longer on a single charge, have a better LCD, video, etc, etc.

    BUT, ultimately it comes down to the final output and in my opinion, it's irrelevant which kit you decide to shoot with these days. I've been a Canon shooter my whole life. My best friend and Photographic partner in crime is a die-hard Nikon shooter to the bone. We poke fun at each other all the time, but when we get back to the studio at the end of the day, DL our shots to the computer....we BOTH have good shots and both have crappy shots. Colors, detail, more pixels....whatever. Totally irrelevant. Either you got the shot or you didn't.

    I think the ONLY thing to really take into consideration is the feel of the body in YOUR hands, with YOUR style of shooting...EG, ergonomics. Ultimately, when it comes down to Canon and Nikon...they both offer a great range of excellent bodies, lenses, and accessories. They are about equal in price as well....maybe a hundred more or less here or there for comparable product from both lines. It used to be a lot more relevant to take into consideration the lens choices, SpeedLights, etc. But not so much anymore. Both offer considerable choice for all shooters. On the flip side...if you're thinking about a different brand other than Nikon or Canon....all my advice goes in the toilet. Sony is not quite there yet for the "total package" in my opinion...Pentax is getting there...but again, the choices for peripherals in your kit are limited.

    Go with what feels good to you. I went with Canon in the beginning because I had a couple of local dealers with a lot of Canon product and limited Nikon. Now-a-days....less important with the internet and access to anything you need in short order.

    Good luck with your choice...I just don't see you making a wrong decision. Both brands will give you a LOT of growing room and any shortcomings from the opposing brand, you'll learn to shoot around:)

    J
     
  16. DNA930 macrumors member

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    #16
    Not sure if this helps your decision but Canon is offering a $400 rebate on the T1i if also buy a Pixma 9000 II printer. I see a lot of guys on craigslist selling the printer for $250-300 sans UPC since they only wanted the T1i.
     
  17. dubels macrumors 6502

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    #17
    That is a really good deal. Before I went with my D80 there were a lot of good Canon deals out there. I almost got a XSI but after going to a real camera store and checking out how it felt in my hand compared to a Nikon, I had to go with a Nikon. I don't buy into this Canon is better than Nikon or vice versa business. It really comes down to how it feels in your hand. Both are really good companies along with Pentax and Sony. But if they camera feels awkward it is something you really cant control.

    Invest in lenses rather than camera bodies. The ability of the T1i to use older lenses would make me go for that over the D5000. It was the reason I went with the D80 over the D60s. Being able to use older lenses that aren't the newer DX only ones makes a big difference. Even though I love my 35 f/1.8 DX (was only $200 anyways). Non-DX or Canon equivalent, older generation lens can be had for cheaper. But also remember both companies are investing a lot of R&D into the crop-sensor arena, so lenses will be continually coming out for them so you wont have a shortage of good lenses but just at a little higher cost.

    Just get out there and shoot, the T1i deal sounds good, especially if you can turn around and sell the printer. I actually saw a listing for a T1i with a kit lens for around $699 because the person only wanted the printer. I didn't know the deal was still going on.
     
  18. Phrasikleia macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

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    #18
    I hear this advice a lot, but I'm glad I didn't follow it. A couple of years ago I was in the market for a new DSLR and went to a few stores to see how they felt. The best ergonomic fit by far was an Olympus camera, but I didn't buy it because of other reasons. In retrospect, I would have been very unhappy with that camera system and would have had to start over again not long after I bought it.

    The one I did buy felt rather awkward and flimsy, but it was the right choice for different reasons (the lenses I wanted, mostly). And after a week or so of using it, it ceased to feel awkward. It eventually came to feel like an extension of my hands; I knew that camera as well as I knew my own skin. So I think the issue of "fit" can be an acquired feel.
     
  19. dubels macrumors 6502

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    #19
    That is fine. It is my opinion that you can not really go wrong with Canon, Nikon, Pentax or Sony. Just choose one that matches what you want, Nikon and Canon both have similar lenses so I really don't consider that an issue. I really could not handle how the Canon felt in my hand so that what I was talking about. My comment and advice about feel was in regards to the Canon vs Nikon battle.
     
  20. mtbdudex macrumors 68000

    mtbdudex

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    #20
    Yea, what I'm doing now is taking picts with scene mode, then switch to "creative modes" to sharpen/reinforce my skills.
    You have to walk before you run, baby steps, gather your knowledge base, expand upon it.

    What I did Sunday is shoot 90% in Aperature mode, just to learn the different f-stops effect on depth of field, so I'm getting that gut/feel by trial and error the "free" digital way.


    I'd like to say these forums are a good collaboration of peoples information, my "problem" when I purchased my DSLR is at times Too Much Information overload. Head swirls at times, being 47 sucks.
    Everyone is sharing their experiences to help others.....

    You hate to spend $$$ and have buyers remorse afterward.
    Good luck to OP on the decision.
     
  21. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

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    #21
    My impression is that you get stuck on features and that you haven't really tried both cameras. Or cameras of other manufacturers. Much more important than specs is how each camera feels in your hand. That has a much more significant impact on the quality of your photos than anything else.

    Another thing you haven't mentioned at all is the viewfinder: although the two cameras don't differ much in viewfinder size, to me it was enough to upgrade cameras (D70 --> D80). The D80 (and its newer brother, the D90) has a much, much better viewfinder than Canon's tiple-digit models or Nikon's cheaper models (pentaprism instead of pentamirror which means it's brighter and also larger). This has a much bigger impact on your photography than two additional bits in the camera electronics :) (I'm not trying to make you consider different models here, I'm just saying that this is a criterion which IMHO is more important than any of the others which you've listed.)

    Regarding the rest, the two cameras are more or less equivalent.
    True.
    I have had this feature since 2003 and I don't use it.
    Won't matter to you in my opinion.
    That's an advantage.
    On the other hand, Nikon has very good used MF lenses if you're into that.
    Not true. Both manufacturers have a complete line-up and often, the more interesting lenses are available from third-party manufacturers -- which offer the same lens for both manufacturers.

    Unless you are interested in very, very special things (such as you find out you need a loupe macro lens or a defocus control portrait lens), you can go either way.
    You don't have to go through menus to change the aperture on the Nikon, I'm not sure where you got that from. That's what you have the command dial for. If you're on full manual, though, you have to push an extra button in conjunction with the command dial to set the aperture. If you turn the command dial without it, you change the shutter speed. No menus required.

    Regarding the ISO button: the D5000 has a custom button which you can configure to act as an ISO button. Pressing the button and turning the command dial will change ISO for you. Nikon also has an auto-ISO setting which is appealing to beginners.
    If there is a difference in weight, it won't make any difference whatsoever. (Personally, I prefer heftier cameras anyway.) Add a quality lens and you'll have 1+ kg around your neck anyway.
    Also won't make much of a difference. (You've mentioned you shoot macro, landscapes and such.)
    Won't make a difference. I wouldn't use anything but A, S, M (or Av, Tv and M, if you're on Canon ;)).
     
  22. -hh macrumors 68020

    -hh

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    #22
    A lot of good comments already...just a couple of personal comments:

    Similarly, having an articulating LCD screen can be quite convenient...I really miss it on my newest P&S...although its trade-off is that it generally means a slightly smaller screen and one more thing that could break.

    True, although I'd consider this to be a "mixed blessing" feature. I've looked into the "Chinese Menu sized tables of Nikon Body-Lens Compatibility" charts and I feel like I've dodged a bullet (an additional level of complexity) for having picked Canon instead (for other reasons, back in the 1990s). Of course, one way to sidestep this hassle is by only buying brand new lenses from Nikon, and no used lenses.


    Not only that, but having a subject for which one desires many frames/second also generally means that you need a fast & accurate autofocus system in order to also have the fast-moving-fleeting subject in focus. As such, one should couple this factor with not only what you expect to shoot, but also if the camera's AF system is up to that task.


    -hh
     
  23. OrangeCuse44 thread starter macrumors 65816

    OrangeCuse44

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    #23
    To everyone who has replied - thank you so much, it has been extremely helpful. These are things I can't get out of reading online reviews.

    Just because it was mentioned, I did some research on a D90 body only and found this insane deal. This seems too good to be true, is it? I mean, I know its a new D90 with free shipping, a free case, tripod, & lens cleaning kit with free shipping for only $729, but my worry is purchasing something from an unknown company. Do the manufacturers themselves cover you for any problems not caused by the user or do you normally have to go through your reseller?

    Also, if I like the feel of the D90, this would be a no brainer, right?
     
  24. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #24
  25. svndmvn Guest

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