DSLR decision - Nikon D60 / Sony a300 / Canon 450D

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by mickbab, Dec 4, 2008.

  1. mickbab macrumors 65816

    mickbab

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    #1
    I posted a thread here a few weeks ago, contemplating a MacBook Pro or a digital SLR. A decision has been made.

    My budget is AU$1000ish, and I am now deciding between two (make that three) cameras - the Nikon D60 and the Sony a300 (and after comments below and some more research, the Canon 450D).

    Can anyone here recommend/not recommend any of these?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated!


    Note: Nikon D60 with Vibration Reduction 18-55 and VR 55-200, with extra battery, promo bag and double warranty for A$1099

    Sony a300 (built in VR) with 18-70 and 75-300, with promo bag for $1049

    Haven't checked local price for Canon yet.

    All include printing bonuses and (free and unlimited? not sure) training days.


    Also: parents and grandad are putting in about $400 for my Xmas present.

    I currently have a Pentax optio e30 point-and-shoot 7.2mp
     
  2. doubleohseven macrumors 6502a

    doubleohseven

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    #2
    Well firstly, the Sony a300 has live view, which can be really handy (something I wish my DSLR had), while the Nikon doesn't. Secondly, the Sony camera comes with more zoom standard. Oh, and it comes with an extra battery too, as you mentioned. Here are some reviews by technology websites and owners of the Sony a300, and here is a long yet detailed review on the Nikon D60.

    I'd personally go for the Sony a300. It's better value for money and better quality IMO.
     
  3. mickbab thread starter macrumors 65816

    mickbab

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    #3
    I'm currently planning on getting the a300 as it has live view and better zoom as you said, but I have heard that the Sony lenses aren't great.

    Can anyone here say NOT to get the Sony? Unless someone says I really shouldn't get it (if it's a valid point and people agree), or if I give them a proper test and dislike it, I think I will go Sony.

    Thanks for any help.
     
  4. mickbab thread starter macrumors 65816

    mickbab

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    #4
    Also, I found a thread in another forum, someone else with the same decision as me. Link here.
    Pretty much says Sony Sony Sony Sony. Yet something in me still screams nikon?
     
  5. bertpalmer macrumors 6502

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    #5
    Well your choice of lenses for the Nikon will be a LOT greater than the Sony - who are relatively new in to this market.
     
  6. grahamnp macrumors 6502a

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    #6
    Nikon user here btw :D

    I wouldn't say not to get the Sony, but there are reasons to get the Nikon. The D60 has a higher image quality, mainly just superior noise performance but it is undeniably better even if not by a HUGE amount. Also, the D60's kit lens is of higher quality, if you plan to keep your kit lens for a long time, this can be important.

    The D60 is beaten by the A300 in almost any other aspect, but the D60 is great entry into the Nikon camera system which at the moment is better than Sony's. If you plan to keep this camera for a long time and you feel Sony or a third party manufacturer like Sigma or Tamron has all the lenses, flashes or accessories you will need, then the A300 is a great option. If you plan to upgrade your camera to something better soon, then the D60 is a good camera to have for now.
     
  7. mickbab thread starter macrumors 65816

    mickbab

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    #7
    I think that's what's bugging me - lens choices and brand experience. My uncle has a d60 and really likes it. He also has old minolta lenses lying around which he said I can have, I believe they fit sonys?
     
  8. bertpalmer macrumors 6502

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    #8
    Or you could do yourself a favour and buy a Canon ;)
     
  9. Piarco macrumors 68030

    Piarco

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    #9
    If DSLR photography is going to be your thing, the D60 is the way to go in the long term. Like others have mentioned the lens options are fantastic on Nikons, so invest in the good glass and when it's time to upgrade you're good to go.
    I've picked up a D60 myself this weekend past as a backup body and I'm quite impressed with it, especially when considering it as a "my first steps" DSLR, the LCD is amazingly informative to the newcomer, allowing you to visualise what the different setting do.
     
  10. odinsride macrumors 65816

    odinsride

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    Apr 11, 2007
    #10
    If you're serious about DSLR photography (or want to be serious at some point), I would go with the Nikon. Even better, get a Canon :) Of course I'm a Canon user, so my suggestion is a bit biased :D
     
  11. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #11
    You are not really deciding between to camera bodies. You are deciding between to BRANDS. Which ever you pick you will be locked into for years maybe decades. What happens is you will buy a lens and then another lens and then the body will need to be replaced in 3 to 5 years and you will have to buy a replacement of the same brand, so as to be able to continue to use the expensive lens collection. So just one bit of advice, think way ahead. Plan out what you'd want to buy next year and the next.

    Sony lacks a pro-quality lens line up but maybe you never plan to buy anything like that? Will you ever want to go with a full frame sensor? Sony doesn't do that. Live view seems to be popular with people who are used to point and shoots but is just not so useful as you might think.

    Base the decision on the full lineup offered by each company, not the features of a coupd entry level DSR bodies.
     
  12. grahamnp macrumors 6502a

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    #12
    Not all old Minolta lenses will fit Sonys, you may want to look up the compatibility of the different Minolta mounts. I'm not too familiar myself.

    I also have an older Minolta film camera and accessories + lenses that was given to me but I went in favour of the Nikon system when I got my first DSLR.
     
  13. jaduffy108 macrumors 6502a

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    #13
    IMO...the real issue is being overlooked. OP....try not to think of it as buying a camera, rather you're buying into a system. If I were in your shoes, it's a no-brainer... the Nikon. To view this purchase simply as one cam vs another is to be VERY shortsighted.

    If you plan to evolve as a photographer...then realize cameras come and go...especially in this digital age. Nikon is head and shoulders a better system than Sony.

    EDIT: ChrisA...beat me to it. Well said.
     
  14. Regis27 macrumors member

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    Dec 13, 2006
    #14
    People here are making some commonly heard points about buying into a SYSTEM rather that just a camera, but that's only the case if you're really planning on buying a lot of equipment in the next few years.

    From what it sounds like, you're probably better going with the a300 (which is a much better camera than the d60) and then in a few years switching over to one of the major brands (C or N) if you feel that Sony/Minolta is not living up to your needs/expectations.

    My reasons for such a recommendation:

    - I assume that you won't spend 1000's of dollars in the next few years on lenses and brand specific equipment (like flashes). If this is true, then you really are buying just a camera and not the whole SYSTEM (at least right now).

    - If your uncle's lenses will fit the a300, you might already be off to a head start -- both in trying out new equipment, but at the same time, not becoming heavily invested in one brand (at least from your own money).

    - If you aren't going to buy a lot of lenses, but do want improve your photography, one of the first lenses people will recommend is the 50mm prime. On the d60 this lens won't autofocus, and because the lens and the camera are physically small the ergonomics of manual focus are not the best. I have a friend with the 50mm on a d40, and he's thinking of getting another nikon (even an older d70) just for this reason.

    - Likewise, the d60 is good for using a dSLR as a point-and-shoot (I recommend it to a lot of my wife's friends who want something for their kids' birthdays and such) but there simply wasn't a lot of real-estate left to put many controls on the body itself. A lot of the setting changes need to be done through the menu system (another reason my friend is looking to "upgrade" after only having the d40 for about 8 months).

    - There has been more than once when I wished my dslr (Canon 20D) had an articulated LCD with live-view, for some tricker (above the head or down at floor level) shots). Also it lets you have the chance to get some nice candids by shooting from the waist.

    - the 18-70 distance is a nice walk-around lens. 55mm can seem a little short in some cases. (neither is perfect, but the 18-70 comes a little closer).

    - if you shoot RAW, there really shouldn't be any image quality difference between the two cameras. I think Sony makes the sensor for both (but don't quote me on that).

    - I would love to be able to hunt down deals on older minolta lenses that still work with the Sony (and have "become" VR).

    Having said that:

    - the Nikon is a good camera: nice and compact; especially with a 50mm prime lens. If you left your camera home because of the bulk, you won't get any pictures.

    - there is some evidence that in-lens VR might give about 1-stop better shake reduction than in camera; but you'll have to pay for it every time you get a new lens.

    - In terms of quality, the Nikon kit is good for a kit lens. f/3.5-5.6 is slow but that's standard for this type of lens.

    - Third-party lenses (tamron, sigma) will probably be released for the nikon before sony. The Tamron 17-50 2.8 is a great replacement to the kit.

    - If my assumptions are wrong, and you are planning on accumulating a good deal of kit in the next few years, definitely consider the "whole package" and even map out a plan on how you'll grow your collection (i.e. making sure that you have the important distances covered without too much overlap, etc)

    Either way, they're both great cameras, and the best thing to do is simple get started shooting (and a book or two like "Understand Exposure" will probably be the best bang for your buck, over any equipment.)
     
  15. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #15
    The Sony Alpha 900 is indeed full-frame, and shows as "In Stock" at B&H.

    While I find it difficult to swallow the impression that a single lens (especially one that's not a great focal length for the angle of view) will improve one's photography, it's worth noting that Nikon's AF-S 50mm will arrive in January and Sigma makes a 50mm HSM which will AF with the D40/40x/60 today. Sigma's 30mm HSM is much more of a "Normal field of view" on a 1.5x crop body, though I'd say that something like the Tamron 90mm SP would go further into improving someone's photography given the macro and ~135mm AOV portrait options. Given that a lens is good for at least ten years, the annual price difference isn't horrendous, and given the sensor generation advantages, I can't imagine I'd recommend someone spend the extra money on a D70s versus getting a lens that'd work on the D40/D60. The lens investment will pay off for longer and more quickly.
     
  16. Regis27 macrumors member

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    Dec 13, 2006
    #16
    Well, I didn't mean to imply that it will "magically" make photos better, but for a pretty small investment (<$100), it will give one a chance to explore low-light photography, and experiment with what it means to work with a truly shallow depth-of-field. Plus a little practice with "foot zoom" and experience with edge-to-edge sharpness never hurts either.

    If nikon's coming out with a 50mm that will autofocus on the d40/d60, that would definitely be something to watch for (I wasn't aware of that). But the other lenses you mention all cost at least 4x as much. You might not agree with the recommendation to get a 50mm prime as the next lens after the kit, but you must admit that it represents one of the most common suggestions on any photography board regardless of brand. "Common wisdom" doesn't make it right, but personally I love the pictures I've gotten over the last two years using 50mm 90% of the time. (of course if I could have afforded $400-$800 for other lenses, I probably would have loved those photos too :) Cheers.
     
  17. theBB macrumors 68020

    theBB

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    #17
    I don't have one, but in live view mode Canon SLRs are reportedly very slow to focus, so it limits its usefulness. How about the speed on Sony? If it is not any better and if live view is the only major difference, Nikon sounds better to me.
     
  18. toxic macrumors 68000

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    Nov 9, 2008
    #18
    if you're remotely serious about photography, get Nikon. If you just want something that gets you better quality and more control compared to a point-and-shoot, then Sony.

    regarding Sony vs Canon Live View, Sony's is designed to be more like a p&s camera, Canon's is designed to supplement the viewfinder. It's two different philosophies, just because Canon's is slow doesn't make it less useful.
     
  19. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #19
    The small investment is about the only thing going for it- but I've never been a fan of "Buy this because it's cheap" when the alternative is "Buy this because it's right." On 35mm I never cosindered a 50mm prime to be all that right, on APS-C it's almost never a good focal length.

    The new 50mm AF-S will cost in the same ballpark as the other lenses. But again, 50mm on a crop factor body isn't an angle of view that anyone produces normally as a prime, and that's for a good reason.

    I certainly don't agree with it- in fact, I'd recommend a beginner spend the extra $200-300 on a good lens that fits what they shoot over a body that'll allow them to go cheap if cheap is a 50mm instead of say a 35-70 or 80-200. But then some of the worst photos I've seen are due to "I can shoot this with a fast, cheap 50mm rather than learn to deal with lighting correctly and produce an image that sings." I also find most 50mm AOV shots to be pretty pedestrian- and for a beginner learning to shoot to a vision is IMO way more important than learning to document what you see- and having to change your perspective well, changes your perspective.

    I'm glad you're happy with yours though, and I wish you continued success with it.

    I bought my first 35mm ~27 years ago, and while I may have owned an 80mm in 645 or a 210mm in 4x5 I can't say I've shot all that much at 50mm or that AOV and I don't feel I've missed out. I've owned at least one 35mm body with a 35-70mm lens all that time up until I went fully digital where I'll shoot on APS-C with a 35-70mm.

    I shoot some products at 50mm for catalogs to give the consumer a normal view, but outside of that it's not an AOV I find all that useful or compelling. But on APS-C, that's coming in at around 35mm.

    I had a half-day shoot today, and lots of large products so I ended up with almost half the products shot at the 35mm equivalent of 52mm, but that's about the only time I approach that AOV. I had a whopping two shots that came in around what a 50mm would have given me.

    If I can be successful for 27 years without a 50mm prime, I figure I'm allowed to think they're way overrated.
     
  20. Phrasikleia macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

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    #20
    I don't find the AF speed of Live View to be at all a factor, since I only ever use it for tripod work and whenever the angle I want makes the viewfinder impossible to use (which usually means I've already had time to try it). However, I'm always very happy to have Live View in those situations and wouldn't want a camera that didn't give me that option. So I'd recommend the OP pit the a300 against a Canon XSi/450D and rule out the Nikon D60.
     
  21. mickbab thread starter macrumors 65816

    mickbab

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    #21
    Thanks everyone for your comments and suggestions.

    I'm going in to CameraHouse tomorrow, and will give the Nikon D60, Sony Alpha a300 and Canon EOS 450D a proper go, just to see how they feel and, obviously, to see whether I like them.

    Anything in particular I should try/ask?

    Thanks!
     
  22. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #22
    Try to get prints from each, labeled with the camera- preferably one in bright light and one in darker light (or underexpose one by a stop.) That'll give you the best idea of performance. Even if you have to pay for the prints, side-by-side print evaluation is a very good way to see how cameras/lenses perform.
     
  23. mickbab thread starter macrumors 65816

    mickbab

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    #23
    Yay!!!

    Well I finally have my camera. Except, I can't use it til Christmas because its a present (well part of it). Oh well.

    I decided to stop thinking about it and get the Sony a300. The thinking was stressing me out, and the research and stressing was only going to make it harder.

    I had read lots of reviews, and talked a lot to the guys at CameraHouse, and from what I could see, the only disadvantage to the Sony was the brand (ie not well known for cameras, havent got many lenses yet etc). So I stopped the researching and thinking and got the Sony. Yay!

    For A$1171 i got the Sony a300 body, an 18-70mm and 75-300mm lens, a 4GB Sandisk Ultra II CompactFlash Card, and a Lowepro camera bag (Rezo 170 AW). As I said earlier, between the parents, grandad, grandma (and possibly uncle?) putting in $450ish, I "only" have to pay about A$720 (which is a lot for me).

    In about a week, I will have the $700 to happily stick in the parents bank account :( and then I have to wait until Christmas, even though I'm paying for two-thirds of it :confused:

    Just thought I would let MacRumors know!

    Cheers, mickbab :D
     
  24. doubleohseven macrumors 6502a

    doubleohseven

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    #24
    I had a good feeling that you'd get the Sony model! Great choice! That's a really good offer that you got for your camera. Pity that you have to wait 'till Christmas...I had the same feeling 3 years a go when I knew I was getting a Nintendo DS. Only 17 days to go. :D
     
  25. alphaod macrumors Core

    alphaod

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    #25
    Congrats then!

    Now why are you moving money to your parents?
     

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