Entry SLR option between the two SLR kings

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by archJeff, Feb 13, 2009.

  1. archJeff macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2009
    Location:
    earth
    #1
    I am new to the idea of getting a SLR camera, and currently have a canon point and shoot. I am taking photography as a class while studying in Italy and with others cameras have noticed what a difference a SLR will make. In attempt to not be over wordy in a question, it is a question between the Nikon and canon kings of the SLR world. Does anyone know if either company has a better reputation? I know both manufacturers are very good but it is hard to settle on a company knowing how much money will be sunk into the lenses. Without too much technical jargon some help would be appreciated. Also for either brand what entry level cameras I should consider and lenses. I am an architecture major so I am always taking pics of buildings or details on buildings. I have recently been having fun with night photography. I do not take action pictures very often if that makes much of a difference.
     
  2. rogersmj macrumors 68020

    rogersmj

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2006
    Location:
    Indianapolis, IN
    #2
    Please read up a little. This has been discussed many, many, many times, you may find useful information in other threads.

    Short answer: both companies have excellent reputations, both produce excellent products, and neither one of them is going away. They both have about an equal 40-something percent share of the DSLR market. You cannot go wrong with either. Go try them out, see which feels better to you.

    Beginner models:
    With Nikon, at the bargain-basement $400-$500 it's the D40/D60. The big caveat with those is they don't have an in-body focus motor, so they only work with the newer AF-S lenses. Stepping up to the D90 for about $1000 gets you a lot more camera and an in-body focus motor, opening up a wider range of lens selection.

    For Canon, the Rebel XS and XSi (those are the US designations, anyway) are both fantastic cameras for under $1000. In fact, if you're trying to stay under $500 or so, it's really hard to beat the XS in terms of bang-for-your-buck.

    Make sure you try them out though so you know which feels better to you. I personally shoot a Nikon D90.
     
  3. H2Ockey macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2008
    #3
    You will soon recieve a ton of opinions on what is better.
    You will not recieve much to tell you WHY.
    The best answer Mrogers already gave but I want to repeat it becasue IMHO it is the only piece of advice.
    Go to a camera shop (personally I would go without the ability to buy so the salesman has no ability to influence my decision) and TRY them out.

    Set a budget for a camera and lens combination. This will take research on what you think you need. Look at all the options and be realistic in the budget.

    Then go try those cameras out. The one that feels the best and the menu functions and button placement that seems more right to you should influence your decision.
     
  4. JFreak macrumors 68040

    JFreak

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2003
    Location:
    Tampere, Finland
    #4
    It's been said a million times before, but let's repeat this once again: FIRST AND FOREMOST, think about the LENSES what you're going to start with and want to use later on. You're buying into a LENS SYSTEM and the body just preserves the image your glass is producing.

    Quality can most be improved closer to the source. So if we're only talking tech stuff here, then the LENS is definetely closest to the source and threrefore contributes the most to the final image.

    Yes, the body is important too, but not that important. Given a perfect lens with imperfect body produces far superior results than perfect body with inferior lens. Then there are naturally operator choices that contribute greatly, but I'm assuming that when doing comparisons then the skill level should be the same between A and B.

    Okay, long story short: think about the lenses first.
    Suggestion: take a look at Canons.
     
  5. stcanard macrumors 65816

    stcanard

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2003
    Location:
    Vancouver
    #5
    The advice I will give anyone who listens:

    Feature, functionality, and lens-wise there is very little difference between Nikon and Canon.

    I find there is quite a difference in the way they feel in your hand.

    Walk into a store, ask to hold a D60 / D90 / Rebel, and see which one is the most comfortable, and that you could see holding onto for extended periods.

    When I did that, I switched which brand I was intending to buy, based on the feel. They can be that different.
     
  6. LittleCanonKid macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2008
    #6
    If you're advising for someone to hold a higher-up model like the D90, shouldn't you also advise for someone to hold the 40D? ;)

    Do you have any idea of what you're going to shoot, like sports or landscapes perhaps? Research your needs and what you'll need to satisfy them, lens-wise. Each manufacturer has a great lineup of lenses but one manufacturer can have a niche lens that the other might not, and it's important to know which lens library you'd utilize the most. As Mrogers said, the D40/40x/60 lack an in-body focus motor so if you start from there you could potentially be crippling your camera, depending on what you want to shoot. You may be fine with AF-S lenses only and that's great, it'll save you some money from upgrading to the D80/90. And as stcanard said, how it feels in your hand and the menu navigation is important as well. Choose what feels best and suits your shooting needs, but remember that there is no "wrong" choice. Either brand will serve you great.
     
  7. stcanard macrumors 65816

    stcanard

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2003
    Location:
    Vancouver
    #7
    Sorry! I thought the "Rebel" models encompassed up to the D90 level of camera.

    I guess that shows which way I went ;)
     
  8. MacJenn macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2008
    #8
    Don't be sorry. You are entitled to give whatever opinion you want. Don't let the Canon fanbois make you feel bad. They usually talk trash about Nikons on here anyways. Your post was nothing, but classy unlike many of theirs.
     
  9. LittleCanonKid macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2008
    #9
    Whoa, whoa, whoa. I happen to have Canon in my screenname but I'm not a blind fanboy. My post had little to do with "X camera owns Y camera because X camera is this brand." We both thought it was a better comparison to compare the same tiers, not an entry-level to a semi-pro level. I don't see any conflict or any reason to indirectly insinuate something... :confused:
     
  10. MacJenn macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2008
    #10
    My bad. Sorry.

    BTW the D90 is a consumer camera not a semi-pro one. I do agree with comparing close to equal spec cameras to be fair.
     
  11. FX120 macrumors 65816

    FX120

    Joined:
    May 18, 2007
    #11
    Canon and Nikons lines don't quite mesh up, and their models don't directly compare to each other all that well.

    IMO between the two here is how I would rate their cameras in terms of price and features in the "consumer" level:

    Nikon D40 is the bottom of the barrel, outdated, lacking many features, but still a great camera that can produce awsome pictures

    The Rebel XS is Canons lowest price model, and is very close in price to the D40, but it is not only newer and has a higher resolution sensor, but it also has more on-body features and dedicated buttons.

    D60 is essentially just a higher resolution D40, the bodys are very similar in terms of features, both still lack the focus motor.

    The Rebel XSi is the step up from the XS obviously, this means a bigger and more robust-feeling body, more AF points, better viewfinder, and more dedicated buttons for changing settings.

    The next step up is the Nikon D80, it has more "pro" style features like a dedicated LCD display for settings on the top of the body, a real prism viewfinder, dedicated buttons for settings, and most importantly the AF motor for use with older and cheap Nikon lenses.

    The Canon 50D or even the 40D are above the D80 because of the increased image quality, but offer very similar levels of "pro-ish" features, more robust metal build, dedicated LCD on top, more dials and buttons, and the much improved viewfinder. They shoot quick too, the 40D at 6.5FPS and the 50D at 6.3 FPS.

    The Nikon D90 I feel is currently the top of the line "consumer" DSLR, it has all the pro features of the D80, but with a much improved CMOS sensor that gives it the ability to capture really low noise, high dynamic range images with awesome color rendition.

    Nikons "prosumer" DSLR is the D300, more expensive than the D90, but you get dedicated dials for more and more functions of the camera, a better viewfinder, and a much better AF system. It shoots quick too, up to 8FPS with the optional grip. Combine this with the superb AF system, and awesome low-light performance, and you've got an awesome setup for fast-action sports.

    And so on and so forth. Above this, the cameras get much more task-specific, with each body having their weaknesses and strenghts.
     
  12. fiercetiger224 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2004
    #12
    For an ENTRY level SLR camera, it's a no-brainer to get the ENTRY line model cameras. This includes the Nikon D40/D60, or Canon XTi/XS/XSi. Since these don't directly compare to each other, go to the store and mess around with them, "get to know" the camera, and then decide on what feels better to you.

    The reason I said "get to know" the camera before you buy is, because it's YOUR baby. It's what you'll be accustomed to, and what you'll be "used" to for hopefully the rest of your life. :eek: It might be a good thing, or a bad thing. Once you're used to the camera, you'll most likely be using the "same" brand for an upgrade (possibly your "pro" camera), because of their similar features and body style. Not only that, because you "invest" in that brand's lenses, you'll only be using lenses compatible for that brand.

    Once you've decided on your starter SLR, and you've practiced shooting with your crappy lens, you'll be ready to upgrade (or if you do decide to get a good piece of glass, you'll have an easier time learning how to shoot). Crappy starter lenses usually force you to learn how to get a good composition with each picture you take. Good luck on choosing. ;)

    On a side note, I believe Canon's starter cameras are much better than Nikon's. I shoot with both an XTi, and a D40, and I'll tell you that the XTi's quality is better (typically in noise and color reproduction). So if you decide to get an XS or XSi, I've heard those are even better than the XTi in those fields. And yes, good pieces of glass will definitely help minimize the noise and help color reproduction and detail.

    Personally, I LOVE both brands. They both have their ups and downs. Both great companies with great products. You can't go wrong with either of them.
     
  13. archJeff thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2009
    Location:
    earth
    #13
    Going by what I have seen the main thing is the comfort of the camera while using it. I figure the entry level will be replaced eventually as technology increases. I understand the glass for the lenses is the piece that won't need replacement in the same sense. Do people who upgrade keep their old DSLR cameras for any particular reasons when they upgrade besides maybe a spare? Also if I were to order one online since I am currently in Italy, is there any prefered website or company to ensure the warranty is good. I know not to buy in Italy because the warranty is only for the country of purchase.
     
  14. jaduffy108 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2005
    #14
    Others have given you good general advice. My specific suggestions would be:

    Buying new, I would strongly suggest B&H in NYC.
    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/
    Buying in euros is painful!

    As usual, *I* would buy used. For Nikon, go to the "I want to sell" forum at nikonians.org. You can usually use a credit card via PayPal.

    For Canon, fredmiranda.com.

    Nikon D80 cams, in excellent condition, are going for $400. Get a Tamron 17-50 f2.8 (older non-motorized is slightly better, but either version is fine), $320. Get a sb 600 flash ($150) and you have a VERY solid kit for $870.
    If the 17-50 is too much money at this point, find a 18-70 for $160.

    Or...buy a new D90 for the same price ($900), body only. Awesome cam.

    Or...pick up a D300 for around $1200, body only. If you shoot a lot of action / sports...this is the way to go. Since you don't...the D90 is an excellent choice.

    For architecture work, it's HIGHLY likely you will want some wide (-ish) angle lens. Some good choices, Sigma 10-20 or Tokina 12-24. The Tokina would be my choice for a start up kit. The Tamron 17-50 is an awesome value and great general range. These lenses are available in Canon mount as well.

    If you prefer Canon's ergonomics, I would suggest looking for a used 40D at fredmiranda's site....very nice cam. Better than the newer 50D imo.

    Bag: Kata 3N1-20 (or 3N1-30).

    Last bit of advice...get a tripod, BUT...don't buy cheap tripods. They are an utter waste of money. If necessary, save up...then "do it right". It will save you money in the long run.

    OK...one more bit of advice....seek information from better photography forums than macrumors.com, where you'll find more pro shooters. DPreview.com can be unpleasant in some ways, but I think you'll find the information far more dependable.

    For Nikon shooters:
    nikongear.com
    nikonians.org
    nikoncafe.com

    I'll let the Canon shooters supply the latest and greatest alternatives.

    Good luck!

    PS: Study Light! strobist.com
     
  15. H2Ockey macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2008
    #15
    This is a very personal choice and depending on the circles you travel in you will see a lot of both. Many people sell their old body to help pay for a new one, and many people just accumulate either for back up or just because they can't let their old babies go. Either way yes there is generally some kind of market for used gear, but just be aware you will be selling likely because new technology is out there so the used body is worth only a small percentage of the new price.
    The lenses however tend to hold their value much better... the better the glass the more true this is.
    B&H usually has the best prices across the board. If you find better prices on a "new" camera body than you find listed at either Adorama or B&H beware it is probably a scam.
     
  16. archJeff thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2009
    Location:
    earth
    #16
    I entand go the Nikon D90 based on the fact my older brother has a Nikon as well and lenses wll be shareable. The camera felt like a camera to me, holding it with the lens it was obviously heavie than the feel of my point and shoot. I change I can get used to as I use it more. I hope my pictures of pompeii come out very nice, I did buy a manfrotto 190xPROb tripod so I can actually take extended exposure pctures at night and get cleaner and better composed pictures.
     
  17. rogersmj macrumors 68020

    rogersmj

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2006
    Location:
    Indianapolis, IN
    #17
    Nice, I think you'll be very happy. I recently upgraded to the D90 and I just love the feel of the camera.

    What glass will you be using?
     
  18. stcanard macrumors 65816

    stcanard

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2003
    Location:
    Vancouver
    #18
    Nice choice, and very similar to my setup (D80 + 190xPROb).

    Its always useful to have someone you can share lenses and accessories with - and sometimes buy slightly used when the other is upgrading :)
     
  19. archJeff thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2009
    Location:
    earth
    #19
    I currently have the stock lens which is an:

    AG-S Nikkor 18-105mm 1:3.5 - 5.6G

    I know I know now I need UV filters, a case, spare battery, and evntually a wide angle lens. I know this is a very elaborate setup for a starter but I figure it will last awhile. I will also have a long learning experience with this.
     
  20. jimothyGator macrumors regular

    jimothyGator

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2008
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    #20
    [Removed my snarky comment; it's doesn't add anything to the discussion. Sorry!]
     
  21. H2Ockey macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2008
    #21
    Another point of opinion that is very much debated... but my side of the argument anyway... you don't need UV filters.
     

Share This Page