Moving to DSLR

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by rickvanr, Apr 14, 2006.

  1. rickvanr macrumors 68040


    Apr 10, 2002

    I'm looking at getting into a DSLR. It's just a hobby for me, but I finally have a little extra coin around. I can make the jump up in the next month or so.

    I'm currently look at;

    Nikon D70
    Nikon D50
    Canon Digital Rebel XT

    Few questions, is the D70 worth the extra cash over the D50? Also, how does the Canon stack up to the two Nikon models?
  2. jared_kipe macrumors 68030


    Dec 8, 2003
    I think in terms of image quality the Canon 350D is the best on your list.
    Secondly, I would pass on the D70 and get the D50.

    So if you're gonna be really cheap, consider the older canon 300D to the D50,

    The problem with the 350D isn't the quality its the feel, its really small and the controls aren't as good as they could be. (though I found the 300D to be super easy to use and control you can check out for some 300D photography I've done)

    So basically I see two options, if you're just looking for a good camera, get the cheaper of the options.

    If you're looking to really get into photography and make it a hobby, I would really consider spending the extra coin and getting a 20D. I have a 30D now and they are very similar. Very nice cameras.

    Oh and for the gods sake don't buy a camera with a kit lens. Everybody says it- BE the one to take that advice. I didn't and spent the month after buying my 300D looking for a better lens (Canon's 28-105mm f3.5-4.5).
    If I can be of help just ask.
  3. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    There are like 50 threads on this, probably 1 or 2 on the first page of this forum, actually. ;)

    And since I'm a sucker and will repeat my thoughts anyway, I guess I'll just skip this bs and give you the low-down.

    Firstly, if you're talking about the D70s vs the D50, and you're just starting out, then get the D50. There's a few things on the D70s I'd love to have, but it's a chunkier size and I didn't want to pay the price difference.

    The Canon Rebel XT is......well..... 1) too small for adult hands 2) Quality is poor 3) Ergonomics and overall button layout isn't so hot (true for all Canons I've used, IMO) especially compared to Nikon's 4) Better (less noisy images) at high ISO settings, which is great if you use your camera at high ISOs, like at night. But then, it's not THAT bad on other cameras.

    I'd also consider an Olympus, although I really didn't like the menu system and control layout of the E-500 I used either. I used it around 1 week ago, and simply couldn't. I couldn't even set the darned thing beyond ISO 400 or 600 or something, although admittedly the setting to allow the ISO to be increased further was turned off, and the ability IS there to select a high ISO. However, why even bother having a feature that didn't allow for higher ISOs? Why not just let me choose whatever ISO I wish? I'm not a child. :rolleyes:
  4. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

    Dec 25, 2003
    Northern Virginia
    All three would be great. Since it seems that you don't have a film SLR, then you have some choices to make.

    Some would say that lens choices should drive your decision. The 18-70 from Nikon is a great lens, but the Canon 17-85IS has image stabilization. Nikon has the really hot 18-200VR with image stabilization; but Canon has IS on their new 17-55IS f2.8. In the end, if you wait long enough they each will have lenses to meet your demands. So short term needs should be the concern.

    Another aspect of choosing the right DSLR, is how that camera feels in your hands. I have both the D50 and the XT; and feel that with the lenses I have - the XT feels better in my hands.

    And then you get in to the actual spec differences between models and brands. I happen to like the ease of selecting the primary options on my XT, over the D50. Also the XT has a B&W mode, so that I have my RAW file and a B&W JPEG to decide which way I way to to take the image in printing. Another bonus to the XT is being able to select RAW+JPEG; with being able to select the JPEG compression level. With the D50/D70s the JPEG is at a basic compression. Both these features are now offered in the D200.

    Now if you are not interested in shooting RAW, the D50 is tuned to give JPEGs that are truly ready to print. The D70s gives finer control over manual WB. And the D70s has a grid line that is superimposed in the viewfinder, and the pop-up flash can control a SB-600 or SB-800 flash wirelessly.

    The XT and D70s use CF for memory, and the D50 uses SD for memory. There is a limitation with the standard SD cards; they will only address 2gb of storage. While CF cards (in general availability) can address 8gb today. This can be a concern for some to address the cost of buying memory and possibly using it on a future purchase.

    There is a new standard for SD coming, HCSD, IIRC. These first HCSD cards will have 4gb capacity, greater capacity is promised. The downside for some one like myself with a Panasonic LX-1 and a D50, is that this new standard is not backwards compatible. Though to be fair, there is no guaranty that future CF cards over the 8gb mark will work on the cameras we are talking about.

    Hope that this has helped.

  5. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

    Dec 25, 2003
    Northern Virginia
    Well I couldn't based on my previous post. :)

    I would have said the same a few months ago. But with the recent price drop on the D70s, if I had to do it all over again I would get the D70s. Body prices are $550 vs. $700. Future growth in the D70s is worth it IMHO.

    Very subjective. I have very large hands, but love how the heavier lenses that use (12-24 Tokina, 17-40L, and 28-75 Tamron) balance well on the XT body.

    How is the quality poor? If you are talking about the lighter feel of the body's construction - then yes it is not quite what some other companies offer. Does this effect real world use, no! I work in a camera shop, and the body "feel" has not equated in to increased repairs.

    If this not what you were reffering to, I would love to see links. Loved abusing my XT in SF last summer for a week of shooting.

    Again subjective. I personally like the control layout of the XT over my 10D. My D50 is sort of a mixed bag. Most of the buttons I need are there on the D50, but not in the nice 5 way cross layout as on the XT.

    The noise differences at least in print samples that I have done over the years with DSLR's are not as bad as the pixel peeping "tests" would indicate.

    As to the menu system, again subjective. I like it in concept. But most any menu system will be learned as one uses a camera. As to your other comments, I'll have to look at our display model. One issue we have in the stores is the ability for customers to change the way the camera works, to a point that even "basic" functions don't seem to work. In fact I learned tonight that there three resets on a D200 body, and a reset on a SB-800 flash.
  6. jared_kipe macrumors 68030


    Dec 8, 2003
    I went into the menu on my 30D the day I got it to set it up. Haven't gone back in other than to format memory cards (fastest way to erase them) and turn on and off mirror lockup. It is my opinion that menus should be relatively useless when you're comfortable with what your camera can do.

    I feel all those cameras have too many buttons on them though, the 10/20D and above having the simplified "wheel" design that I'm very happy with.
  7. Rocky3478 macrumors regular

    Mar 7, 2005
    You know, before you read into this too much, I'd go into a camera shop and hold each one of the cameras that you are considering. That alone could be the deciding factor. It was for me! I ended up with the D70, but this was before the D50 came out. I'd still recommend the D70 because it's easier for me and everyone else I've met to use, but that is entirely subjective.
  8. oblomow macrumors 68030


    Apr 14, 2005
    Size is a very personal thing. I have a 350D and I love it for its size. I take it with me on backpacking trips and don't like bulky camera's. Used to have
    a (analog) pentax me-super, and that was even smaller.
    ( I do have short finger though, I can imagine that large hands AND long
    finger might be awkward.)
    Anyhow, go to a good (brick&mortar) shop and try a few cameras.
  9. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    I'd go for the D50 over the D70s and put the extra money into the lens.
    As for Canon Vs. Nikon you are buying into a "system". If yu buy a Canon you will be buying Canon lenses for the next decade then in a few years when it's time to upgrade the body you will have Canon lenses so you will buy a Canon body. So look carfully at at the system you might ownb in five years.

    At the high end of the lines both Canon and Nikon have great build quality but Canon's low end has a "cheaper" feel to it. the Nikon low-end lens and body, I think are better build quality and optically. But at the high end it's a coin flip. You have to handle the camera, look at the menues and buttons and try to see how easy it is to do things like set the ISO or exposure compensation while your eye is on the viewfinder. and then look at wat you might buy a year from now

    Don't let "megapixels" fool you. That is a marketing term. What matters is the number of pixels across the long end of the frame. But what maters even more is the quality of the lens

    On the Nikon side I'd recomend the D50 but get the lens that is sold with the D70. I think the 18-70 is more usful than the 18-55. After that it's a matter of style if you'd want a 80-200 or a fast "prime" like a 50mm f/1.4

    I think Nikon has the best meter and certainy the best flash metering and of the low-end DSLRs I think thebest autofocus system. But you have to try ityourself

    BTW little things matter, like the fact that the filter ring on the 18-70 does not rotate and that it has a full-time manual focus override
  10. NinjaMonkey macrumors regular

    Nov 19, 2003
    Consider the Olympus E500. It is a great camera and the kit lenses are of higher quality than what you get with Nikon and Canon.

    The only area where they don't match Canon or Nikon is in high ISO. ISO 800 and above tend to be pretty noisy but that can be fixed with Noise Ninja.
  11. macrumors 6502a

    Jul 17, 2002
    Bay of Fundy
    get a Pentax. Underrated, very underrated. I'm too bitter to type more :p
  12. bousozoku Moderator emeritus

    Jun 25, 2002
    Gone but not forgotten.
    You're right about it being subjective but it is more of a mess than need be.

    Olympus messed with putting more things in menus and fewer things on buttons with the E-300, E-500, and E-330. Funny that they'd learnt their lessons and changed everything a long time ago with the E-10. The E-1 is ergonomically very good. The E-300's button layout looks as if Canon designed it and you know how I feel about that.

    Yes, yes, anything but a Canon. :D
  13. mchendricks macrumors member

    Jul 17, 2002
    Central Florida
    Camera Support

    One thing you might consider is the support from a local vendor. Canon and Nikon are popular and you should be able to get lenses and accessories easily. I know there is a Canon dealer in a nearby city to me but they don't touch Nikon. My local dealer has both so that presents no problem. Sometimes it is nice to be able to handle the camera gear before you buy. Both are good systems. I just prefer Nikon over Canon.

    I would get the D70s or a D70 before a D50.

  14. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

    Dec 25, 2003
    Northern Virginia
    Yep, very underrated.

    But try not to be too bitter.

    It is just too easy to be caught up with the likes of Nikon and Canon with all the lens lust available. Both of them offer lenses with stabilization. Even lowly Olympus has a fantastic range of lenses that even Canon and Nikon don't yet offer for the APS-C format. And if the PMA rumors that did not come true, Nikon is poised to offer many more single focal length DX lenses.

    But Pentax offers something that Nikon requires the purchase of the D200 or higher models - compatibility with manual focus lenses with metering capability (requires IIRC PK-A or better mounts).

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