Need Your Experience with Canon and Nikon DSLRs

Val-kyrie

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I have been planning to upgrade to a dSLR for some time and an upcoming family trip to London has made me consider purchasing one to use before we go (even if I have to rely on some preset modes and only make minor manual adjustments).

I have been using a Canon P&S, and while it takes nice pictures in good lighting, I am unable to zoom out far enough for some shots, unable to grab a wide-enough picture for some shots, and am unsatisfied with its results in low light despite manual adjustments (a lot of noise) without a flash.

I am planning to take pictures of buildings (e.g., Windsor Castle, inside and out, and Legoland) and tourist sites (e.g., Stonehenge at dusk, Roman baths), possibly some landscape, and some in low light (e.g., in a pub, in the evening, etc.), preferable without too much if any flash. I will also use the dSLR to capture short video clips. Weather may be overcast or sunny. I would also like to photograph action in the future.

I have read other threads that suggest using mirrorless, but I am planning to pursue digital photography as a hobby, as well, and while the Sony NEX-6 is better than a Canon or Nikon for video, it does not handle sports/action shoots very well due to slower AF. Others have suggested starting with a lens, and working back to the brand/body, but I don't have any lenses yet and I don't know enough yet to have a preference--though I have read about Canon's STM lenses which are highly touted for AF and video.

I have primarily been considering the Nikon d5200/5300 and the Canon T5i or possibly the Canon 60D, so I would like to hear from people who can comment on the usability of these or similar models, e.g., the ease of making manual adjustments.

I really like the Canon touchscreen, but the lack of WiFi is annoying (and the 60D lacks [edit: a touch] screen). The Nikon has the opposite set of features--WiFi (D5300; add-on for D5200) but no touchscreen. biggest differences between the two brands in terms of quality appears to be:

(1) the Nikon (D5300/5200) has better resolution and less noise at lower ISOs than the Canon (T5i)
(2) the Canon T5i produces less noise at higher ISOs (acceptable to ISO 6400 vs Nikon D5300/5200's ISO 3200)
(3) the Canon T5i has a much faster AF system which functions down to EV -2 compared to the Nikon D5300/D5200 which is considerably slower and only functions down to EV -1.
(4) the Canon T5i does not slow down in burst mode when shooting RAW, unlike the Nikons
(5) the Nikon (D5300) shoots in 1080p/60 unlike the Nikon D5200 (1080i/60) and Canon T5i (1080p/30)
(6) the Nikon has more (39) focus points than the Canon (19)

I am considering the D60 only because it has a faster shutter speed (1/8000) vs the other three (1/4000) and I believe it is weather resistant. I am uncertain how much moisture these other cameras will tolerate if they encounter a light rain in England.

I would appreciate any feedback on ease of access to manual adjustments, especially on the Nikon but also the Canon, as well as RAW picture quality, especially in low light situations.

Any suggestions for lenses would also be appreciated, but I plan to start with a kit lens or two (depending) and buying one more (under $500 if possible) for the trip (maybe a 35mm/f1.8 or f2.0?).
 
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needfx

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I have been planning to upgrade to a dSLR for some time and an upcoming family trip to London has made me consider purchasing one to use before we go (even if I have to rely on some preset modes and only make minor manual adjustments).

good, but if you're going all in on dlsr, don't rely solely on auto modes. half the fun of learning about photography is in there

I have been using a Canon P&S, and while it takes nice pictures in good lighting, I am unable to zoom out far enough for some shots, unable to grab a wide-enough picture for some shots, and am unsatisfied with its results in low light despite manual adjustments (a lot of noise) without a flash.

you'll become a better photographer if you use your legs as a zoom. of course, some subject matter needs the zoom pull, ok, just a rule of thumb.

I am planning to take pictures of buildings (e.g., Windsor Castle, inside and out, and Legoland) and tourist sites (e.g., Stonehenge at dusk, Roman baths), possibly some landscape, and some in low light (e.g., in a pub, in the evening, etc.), preferable without too much if any flash. I will also use the dSLR to capture short video clips. Weather may be overcast or sunny. I would also like to photograph action in the future.

an all rounder


I have read other threads that suggest using mirrorless, but I am planning to pursue digital photography as a hobby, as well, and while the Sony NEX-6 is better than a Canon or Nikon for video, it does not handle sports/action shoots very well due to slower AF. Others have suggested starting with a lens, and working back to the brand/body, but I don't have any lenses yet and I don't know enough yet to have a preference--though I have read about Canon's STM lenses which are highly touted for AF and video.

lack of viewfinder on sony is a no-no, also, I wouldn't really invest on sony lenses either

I have primarily been considering the Nikon d5200/5300 and the Canon T5i or possibly the Canon 60D, so I would like to hear from people who can comment on the usability of these or similar models, e.g., the ease of making manual adjustments.

I'm partial to canon, so my comments would be biased. In any case, they both take pictures.

I really like the Canon touchscreen, but the lack of WiFi is annoying (and the 60D lacks [edit: a touch] screen). The Nikon has the opposite set of features--WiFi (D5300; add-on for D5200) but no touchscreen. biggest differences between the two brands in terms of quality appears to be:

wifi & touchscreen are mostly useless.


(1) the Nikon (D5300/5200) has better resolution and less noise at lower ISOs than the Canon (T5i)
(2) the Canon T5i produces less noise at higher ISOs (acceptable to ISO 6400 vs Nikon D5300/5200's ISO 3200)
(3) the Canon T5i has a much faster AF system which functions down to EV -2 compared to the Nikon D5300/D5200 which is considerably slower and only functions down to EV -1.
(4) the Canon T5i does not slow down in burst mode when shooting RAW, unlike the Nikons
(5) the Nikon (D5300) shoots in 1080p/60 unlike the Nikon D5200 (1080i/60) and Canon T5i (1080p/30)
(6) the Nikon has more (39) focus points than the Canon (19)

snapsort rates both the D5200 & D5300 much higher than the T5i, so I would definitely go for the Nikons. Apparently, there is no competitor by canon at those price ranges.

I am considering the D60 only because it has a faster shutter speed (1/8000) vs the other three (1/4000) and I believe it is weather resistant. I am uncertain how much moisture these other cameras will tolerate if they encounter a light rain in England.

D60 is considered pure entry level, whereas the other two are oftenly compared to & with pro dlsrs. food for thought.

I would appreciate any feedback on ease of access to manual adjustments, especially on the Nikon but also the Canon, as well as RAW picture quality, especially in low light situations.

best thing you could do is hold a nikon & canon in hand at a shop, operate if possible the menu a bit, and see what feels better. this has been suggested by many photographers in many forums.

Any suggestions for lenses would also be appreciated, but I plan to start with a kit lens or two (depending) and buying one more (under $500 if possible) for the trip (maybe a 35mm/f1.8 or f2.0?).

decide on the camera system first


also, don't ever expect to get definitve answers on hardware makers. there's always a forum fight taking place on such
a subject.

good luck
 

Val-kyrie

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I do plan to learn manual adjustments--it is the fun part for me. However, I am also realistic in that I will be learning while on the trip and may have to rely on auto settings a little until I get the hang of the adjustments.

For zoom, I was thinking about photographing objects which may be at a distance and to which I can only get so close (e.g., cordoned off areas).

I am curious why you prefer Canon. That is what I want to hear. Have you used their touchscreen or does your Canon (I presume that is what you use) not have the touchscreen?

Sorry--I did not mean the Nikon D60. I meant the Canon 60D. Currently, there is a sale on the the body only for $598.

The problem I face in choosing between Canon and Nikon is that there are only about two shops within a one-hour drive from where I live. Target carries some cameras but their security devices really interfere with being able to hold the camera.

I think I like the bulkier handle and thumb rest area on the Canon but it is hard to say until I can get them both in hand off of security devices. My only concern with the Canon is the image quality in comparison to the Nikon.
 

VirtualRain

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Aug 1, 2008
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Personally, I believe what's more important than any of the features you highlighted as differences between the Nikon and Canon bodies, is the ergonomics of them.

For example, lots of focus points are great, but how easy is it to select one? It's something you need to do on every single photo you take, and unfortunately sucks on all Canon cameras without a joystick (which I believe is every body except a 1D, 5D3, 7D, and maybe 6D). I'm not sure how it is with Nikon.

What about other common tasks... Changing aperture/shutter speed? Exposure compensation? View and zoom photos on the screen to check for focus/shake? These are things you will do several times on a photo shoot and matter a lot more than whether it shoots 1080p at 60Hz vs 30Hz.

I really recommend you try out each body and do these common things 10 times on each before you decide if you can live with the ergonomics. If you're like me, you will hate the focus point selection on low end Canon bodies so much, you'll spend the extra to move up to a 7D. If Nikon has solved this elegantly on their low-end bodies, then maybe that makes your decision easy.

The other thing worth considering is that you're buying into not just a body, but an ecosystem. I'm no expert on Nikon (having bought into the Canon ecosystem years ago) but I believe their strength is strobe/flash while Canon's might be considered unique lenses (like their exotic f/1.2 primes, TS-E, etc). Lens selection and cost of lenses was why I selected Canon years ago (although their current new lens pricing is through the roof). Over time, your investment in lenses will heavily outweigh your initial investment in a camera body, and will more or less commit you to that ecosystem.
 

Val-kyrie

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Feb 13, 2005
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Personally, I believe what's more important than any of the features you highlighted as differences between the Nikon and Canon bodies, is the ergonomics of them.

For example, lots of focus points are great, but how easy is it to select one? It's something you need to do on every single photo you take, and unfortunately sucks on all Canon cameras without a joystick (which I believe is every body except a 1D, 5D3, 7D, and maybe 6D). I'm not sure how it is with Nikon.

What about other common tasks... Changing aperture/shutter speed? Exposure compensation? View and zoom photos on the screen to check for focus/shake? These are things you will do several times on a photo shoot and matter a lot more than whether it shoots 1080p at 60Hz vs 30Hz.

I really recommend you try out each body and do these common things 10 times on each before you decide if you can live with the ergonomics. If you're like me, you will hate the focus point selection on low end Canon bodies so much, you'll spend the extra to move up to a 7D. If Nikon has solved this elegantly on their low-end bodies, then maybe that makes your decision easy.

The other thing worth considering is that you're buying into not just a body, but an ecosystem. I'm no expert on Nikon (having bought into the Canon ecosystem years ago) but I believe their strength is strobe/flash while Canon's might be considered unique lenses (like their exotic f/1.2 primes, TS-E, etc). Lens selection and cost of lenses was why I selected Canon years ago (although their current new lens pricing is through the roof). Over time, your investment in lenses will heavily outweigh your initial investment in a camera body, and will more or less commit you to that ecosystem.
Thanks for the hands-on suggestions. I will try those when I visit a shop--hopefully tomorrow.

So, if you were selecting an ecosystem all over again, which would you choose now?
 

needfx

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I do plan to learn manual adjustments--it is the fun part for me. However, I am also realistic in that I will be learning while on the trip and may have to rely on auto settings a little until I get the hang of the adjustments.

-reasonable, you were clear on this in your original post too, I misinterpreted

For zoom, I was thinking about photographing objects which may be at a distance and to which I can only get so close (e.g., cordoned off areas).

-reasonable. some candids, bird sphincters and so on (cheese & apple can interject a comment or two on this)

I am curious why you prefer Canon. That is what I want to hear. Have you used their touchscreen or does your Canon (I presume that is what you use) not have the touchscreen?

-I like the camera designs more & canon glass. I have touchscreen on my second cam, a 100D, while I love that little dlsr, I hate the touchscreen. Not practical when used to manual analogue, super accessible dials on my 6D, but in reality there is no space. I also hate the light beam on the nikons and that red patch. canons are more expensive though, and nikon puts in more for more competitive prices, so I can't really argue with that. they all take pictures.

Sorry--I did not mean the Nikon D60. I meant the Canon 60D. Currently, there is a sale on the the body only for $598.

-snapsort points the D5200 as a winner against the 60D. Still, I would choose the the canon.

The problem I face in choosing between Canon and Nikon is that there are only about two shops within a one-hour drive from where I live. Target carries some cameras but their security devices really interfere with being able to hold the camera.

-at least try the menus out and some test pics (if batteries ae charged and if the camera allows shutter release without memory inside). if not, I would suggest to travel an hour more to find a shop that can help you with taking out the cams and giving them a proper go. It is crucial in my opinion. I wouldn't buy it if I wasn't 100% satisfied with my research.

I think I like the bulkier handle and thumb rest area on the Canon but it is hard to say until I can get them both in hand off of security devices. My only concern with the Canon is the image quality in comparison to the Nikon.

-check attachment and link
don't settle until you are satisfied with the choice you've made. take the extra mile, read more about the cameras, check on flickr images by camera model.
 

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VirtualRain

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Thanks for the hands-on suggestions. I will try those when I visit a shop--hopefully tomorrow.

So, if you were selecting an ecosystem all over again, which would you choose now?
If I was totally new to photography, I'd probably still choose Canon tomorrow... I like their lens selection and I'm led to believe that some are still relative bargains compared to Nikon.

If there was one thing I wish someone told me when I got back into DSLR's 5 years ago... skip the entry level crop bodies and go straight to full-frame. As it was, I started with a T1i ($1000), then upgraded to a 7D ($2000) for better focus capability and point selection, and then went to a 5D3 ($3500) for even better focus and high ISO. And of course, I wasted hundreds of dollars along the way. I wish I had just gone full frame right from the start (although the 5D3 was not available then). Some might argue, that you need to cut your teeth on entry level before you buy a sophisticated full-featured full-frame camera... that's total BS. Even a beginner can greatly benefit from better image quality and focus system. If you have any intentions of going FF in the future, just do it now (if it's financially feasible). :)
 

needfx

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If I was totally new to photography, I'd probably still choose Canon tomorrow... I like their lens selection and I'm led to believe that some are still relative bargains compared to Nikon.

If there was one thing I wish someone told me when I got back into DSLR's 5 years ago... skip the entry level crop bodies and go straight to full-frame. As it was, I started with a T1i ($1000), then upgraded to a 7D ($2000) for better focus capability and point selection, and then went to a 5D3 ($3500) for better even better focus and high ISO. And of course, I wasted hundreds of dollars along the way. I wish I had just gone full frame right from the start (although the 5D3 was not available then). Some might argue, that you need to cut your teeth on entry level before you buy a sophisticated full-featured full-frame camera... that's total BS. Even a beginner can greatly benefit from better image quality and focus system. If you have any intentions of going FF in the future, just do it now (if it's financially feasible). :)
nice long term financial advice!

I was lucky enough to take the dive with my 6D, back in Jan28, 2013. Never had a DLSR before, to date, I haven't regretted it
 

BJMRamage

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Canon v Nikon.

I came from Film Nikon and thus fell into the Nikon DLSRs (2 so far).

I don’t have many answers here...Nikon and Canon build great things-Bodies, lenses and flash. AND they both built cheap stuff.
I am used to it but when I bought my last body, I looked around and still prefer the weight and button location of Nikons. And I don’t like the cheaper Nikons as they are too light, too small and there are no easy-to-reach buttons but more in-depth on-screen commands/controls. I prefer to hit a button or two; maybe a button and dial.

You’ll be learning on the trip...a lifetime of learning is ahead. Your photos will no doubt be better than you are experiencing now. Want WiFi and internet, use a smartphone. I let my wife shoot more on the smartphone side, where I use the DSLR...and seldom the smartphone. I started using RAW last year, wow, what a difference. I also began to shoot more Manual Mode (though switching back to the S and A [Tv on Canons] modes as well).

Best of luck. My thoughts:
write out a Pros and Cons.
Look over compatible lenses
Look into memory cards (I know my D7k can use a very hi-speed card)
And Physically hold them and use them a bit to see how you can work things.
 

needfx

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is nikons light beam v.s canons pre flash to focus in low light better then the other?
my 6D does not have an on camera flash, on my 100D I have the flash on OFF, I am always on Manual mode on both cameras, so I have no need for camera evaluations, except maybe AF on lens without the light beams/flashes
 

TheDrift-

macrumors 6502a
Mar 8, 2010
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My 2$. First stop worrying canon and nikon are very similar.

Both are great brands and you won't go far wrong with either.

Some of the stuff you seem to be comparing is pretty minor, eg no wifi, it's not a prob to take a card out and put in a reader? I always take out the card and then the battery to put charge anyway? If it's that bigger deal why not just get a wifi SD card (eyefi)

Shutter speed of 4000 or 8000...sounds a lot, but it's one stop....and very few people shoot at anything like that anyway.

I'm not sure I even understand low ISO noise...noise gets worse as ISO goes up..?

I would invest more in yourself than your camera, a few evening classes to help your learn the basics from a pro, will have a far bigger effect on your photography than a few slight differences in camera bodies
 

needfx

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My 2$. First stop worrying canon and nikon are very similar.

Both are great brands and you won't go far wrong with either.

Some of the stuff you seem to be comparing is pretty minor, eg no wifi, it's not a prob to take a card out and put in a reader? I always take out the card and then the battery to put charge anyway? If it's that bigger deal why not just get a wifi SD card (eyefi)

Shutter speed of 4000 or 8000...sounds a lot, but it's one stop....and very few people shoot at anything like that anyway.

I'm not sure I even understand low ISO noise...noise gets worse as ISO goes up..?

I would invest more in yourself than your camera, a few evening classes to help your learn the basics from a pro, will have a far bigger effect on your photography than a few slight differences in camera bodies
solid advice
 

Val-kyrie

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Feb 13, 2005
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My 2$. First stop worrying canon and nikon are very similar.

Both are great brands and you won't go far wrong with either.

Some of the stuff you seem to be comparing is pretty minor, eg no wifi, it's not a prob to take a card out and put in a reader? I always take out the card and then the battery to put charge anyway? If it's that bigger deal why not just get a wifi SD card (eyefi)

Shutter speed of 4000 or 8000...sounds a lot, but it's one stop....and very few people shoot at anything like that anyway.

I'm not sure I even understand low ISO noise...noise gets worse as ISO goes up..?

I would invest more in yourself than your camera, a few evening classes to help your learn the basics from a pro, will have a far bigger effect on your photography than a few slight differences in camera bodies
Thanks. I am planning on taking a class in digital photography this summer or upcoming fall.

My primary thought in purchasing a camera now is to allow myself some room to grow. I learn fairly quickly and am tech savvy, so I guess I will have to consider FF camera bodies--I'm just not sure I have the budget for one at the moment.


nice long term financial advice!

I was lucky enough to take the dive with my 6D, back in Jan28, 2013. Never had a DLSR before, to date, I haven't regretted it
Nice pics.
 

Apple fanboy

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Feb 21, 2012
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Wow, lots of Nikon bashing in this thread!

To the OP, like others have said try both bodies you are considering, and see which you prefer.
I've just upgraded to a D7100 from a D3200. One of the reasons I chose Nikon is a lot of my friends shoot Nikon, so it's easier to buy or borrow stuff.
Personally the Nikon has a good layout and works well for me.
Another option if time allows is hiring a body for a day to see if it suits you.
 

nitromac

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Jul 29, 2012
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Unless you are going to buy L lenses (not all of which are weather sealed, btw) don't bother getting the 60D just because it is weather sealed.

As for nikon vs canon, it's totally subjective because both are pretty much the same and just offer slight differences over each other, and it's your choice as to what differences you want.
 

twitch31

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Feb 12, 2013
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IMHO this camera combo for <$900beats anything from Nikon or Canon in this segment. Full weather sealing on both body and 18-135 lens. Great combo for outdoor/travel photography.
 

themumu

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My primary thought in purchasing a camera now is to allow myself some room to grow. I learn fairly quickly and am tech savvy, so I guess I will have to consider FF camera bodies--I'm just not sure I have the budget for one at the moment.
I would say that going FF is not necessarily a matter of growth. Will a full frame Nikon/Canon DSLR allow you to take more better shots (that is, a higher percentage of keepers) compared to say, something rather portable but more restrictive, like a Fuji X100/X100S? Will it make the process of taking photos more enjoyable for you? Will it allow you to stretch your imagination to the limit to see what you can create?

There is no single answer to that, there is no single "best" camera out there. Get something inexpensive, start shooting and see what you are yearning for.

Remember that in addition to the body you have an array of choices as far as lenses, strobes and other accessories are concerned. Those can affect your results in much more dramatic ways than the body alone.
 

VirtualRain

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Aug 1, 2008
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Vancouver, BC
IMHO this camera combo for <$900beats anything from Nikon or Canon in this segment. Full weather sealing on both body and 18-135 lens. Great combo for outdoor/travel photography.
Interesting recommendation... aren't you buying into a very limited eco-system with this? The lens choices are limited and generally slow. Their two primes are 50mm and 135mm which require a lot of working distance on an APS-C sensor.

In my case, buying a 35mm wide aperture prime (for my APS-C camera) fundamentally changed me and kept me interested in photography long after I would have got bored shooting with slow zooms.

----------

Remember that in addition to the body you have an array of choices as far as lenses, strobes and other accessories are concerned. Those can affect your results in much more dramatic ways than the body alone.
Yeah, photography can go in so many different directions. Lots of people love to use strobes and flash. Some lust after shooting with available light (my preference). Others love to do long exposures (another aspect I also enjoy). So, I would add a good tripod to this list. I don't need my 54 point Servo AI AF system for those long exposure outings, but I sure do like having a sturdy tripod with a good ball head and QR L-plate.
 

Porsupah

macrumors regular
A couple thoughts:

- consider a used body. That can represent a good saving off a brand new one, which can then be put toward lenses.

- if you're not firmly set on the newest bodies, you could consider a used Nikon D90. The sensor sensitivity's not too much lower than the D7100, but lower resolution. (An issue if you're going to crop heavily, but otherwise, 12MP is fine for printing even quite large) That'd be quite a cheap option, whilst still offering the benefits of Nikon's mid-range bodies, such as two control wheels (less dipping into menus for adjustments), and the ability to use older lenses without internal focus motors.

- as others have noted, bear in mind the body's just a part of the expense. If you find you really get on with DSLR photography, you'll be spending more on the lenses than the body. Be warned! :)

One wide aperture lens you might consider - again, I picked mine up used - is the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 (not the new "Art" model, but the previous one). Quite an economical choice, useful focal length, and great for either low light or simply shallow depth of field.

You might also see if you can try out an ultrawide, and see if that's something which might appeal. That can be useful in confined spaces, where you still want to capture the width of a room, or want to use those shorter focal lengths' ability to seemingly "pull" the near subject "forward". Mine's the Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6 - quite a sharp lens, and capable of some quite dramatic landscapes, particularly coupled with a circular polariser. Still, that's very much an optional thing - best to get the more "routine" focal ranges covered first!