Nikon D40 or Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Xanis, Oct 22, 2007.

  1. Xanis macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2007
    #1
    I know there have probably been a billion of these threads already, but I wanted to get some quick input. I've been shopping for a DSLR for a while now and I think I have it narrowed down to two: the Nikon D40 and the Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi. From what I've read and seen, these are the two main choices for amateur photographers. My girlfriend has a D40 (which I've used) and I like it, but the higher resolution of the XTi is kind of drawing me in. Will I notice a difference in quality between 6 and 8 megapixels, and is it even worth worrying about? The thing that I don't like about the XTi is that it uses CF cards, which I have no experience with, so I'm not sure how good they are. Battery life is important as well. I don't want to get a camera that eats batteries up really fast. So bottom line is, which one would be better? I'm going to be doing mainly urban landscapes and some people shooting, if that makes a difference. Thanks!
     
  2. Mr. B macrumors regular

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    Dec 25, 2005
    #2
    You are obviously a newcomer to the DSLR world so I'm going to assume you currently have no lenses.

    Since you have no lenses the only real choice for you is to go for the xti.

    I'll explain.

    The DSLR body is a great piece of machinery. It allows you to take faster better less noiser pictures. It decidedes how many megapixels you have in each picture you take, it does many many wonderful things.

    It does not, however, take the actual picture.

    The lens is what does this.

    Assuming you have a limited amount of money to spend on the body of the camera, if you buy the D40 you will probably have to stick with the kit lens.

    This means that you will be taking pictures that will only really be decent within much more restrained settings, and actually many of the pictures you take will be surpassed by little point and shoots much to your chagrin.

    However if you get the Rebel xti you should have a bit of money left over.

    With this money you can go and invest in a zoom lens, a macro lens, or a wide angle lens. You will have much more flexibility over what pictures you take, and will take much better pictures as well.

    ANYWAYS.

    Until you have some GOOD lenses, stick with the cheaper camera bodies. They all do their job quite well at this point, and the rebel xti will not dissapoint. Once you have a few good lenses under your belt you can upgrade to the next body three or four years down the line.

    (lenses are updated very rarely and people will often use the same lens for 15+ years. Bodies get switched every three to four years.)

    hope that helps.
     
  3. baby duck monge macrumors 68000

    baby duck monge

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    #3
    Ummm, I think you have that backwards. Unless you're talking about the D40x, which is clearly not the camera the OP was talking about. That being said, I still think the XTi is the way to go... with the caveat that the kit lens is regarded as being worse than the Nikon kit.
     
  4. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

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    #4
    Okay. First, you need to learn how to search this forum - there are dozens of very long existing threads where people have asked exactly this question.

    You're going to have people with a Canon bias say "Get the Canon", and you're going to have people with a Nikon bias (like me) say "Get the Nikon". Then you're going to get one or two "Don't forget the Pentax/Sony/Olympus/Brownie" posters.

    You are not likely to see the difference between 6, 8, and 10 megapixels for several years, because your technique probably won't be that good. And, until you learn more about photography, the kit lens is probably your best bet. Don't let anyone talk you into overspending, because without experience you probably don't really know what/how you will end up liking to shoot (even though you have mentioned some ideas).

    If your friends have one brand or the other AND have more than just the kit lens, then that's a point in that brand's favor (cuz they may be willing to lend you lenses).

    In the end, whichever camera you go with will make you rather happy.
     
  5. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

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    #5
    Um????!!! I strongly disagree with this premise. It doesn't make sense. The D40 can accept ALL lenses, it just cannot autofocus with lenses that are not AF-S (that have an internal motor within the lens). This is not as big an issue as it would seem, especially if one is young and has good eyesight! In some instances, actually, manual focus is preferred (macro shooting, for example, where DOF is very narrow from the get-go). There is no reason why someone cannot buy a D40 and use any lens he or she chooses. Yes, there will be limitations on autofocusing those lenses, but that's not insurmountable.

    The D40 also works with some third-party lenses which also have internal motors, such as Sigma's HSM lenses. Many people who have a D40 have purchased the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 lens to give them an autofocus fast lens which is a little wider than the kit lens which comes with the D40. People have used a lot of lenses with the D40, both manual focus and auto focus, and have gotten excellent results. I know of one person who actually puts his D40 on the rather massive 200mm f/2 AF-S lens and gets some phenomenal results. The D40 really shines when it comes to being able to shoot with a high ISO and in combination with the magnificent 200mm f/2 lens, it struts its stuff big-time.

    SD cards vs CF cards: for many years CF cards were the only ones available, and then somewhere along the line manufacturers began putting SD cards into their P&S cameras. Eventually Nikon surprised everyone by putting an SD card slot into their D50, and eventually after that, into their D80 and D40/D40x cameras. Now one of the delineations between "consumer" and "semi-professional" or "professional" cameras seems to be the use of SD or CF cards. Personally, I much prefer CF cards (and that's not just because I have a huge stack of them starting way back from my first digital camera, the Nikon Coolpix 900!). For one thing, they seem sturdier and more robust, and not as easy to lose or misplace. Right now you can get much larger memory sizes in CF format than in SD, but that is rapidly changing. I suspect that serious amateurs and professionals will be continuing to use CF cards in their cameras for a very long time. One card format or the other should not be a deal-breaker, though, as both work quite well.

    Battery life: I think the D40 has a decent battery life; I don't know anything about the Digital Rebel. Regardless of what camera you decide to buy, it's prudent to also pick up a spare battery at the same time, as well as an extra memory card.

    Megapixels. One of the greatest sources of confusion for many people is the whole megapixel thing. Oh, well, if camera x has more megapixels than camera y it is a better camera, right? Not necessarily! In fact, there is a point at which camera manufacturers begin banging up against the wall -- when they start attempting to cram too many megapixels on to a small sensor. This is most noticeable in P&S cameras. The end result? Noise....lots of noise! In DSLR cameras the sensor is larger but eventually again that same issue will crop up: where does the manufacturer draw the line? When is it time to pull back on the MP and start finding a way to put a larger sensor in the camera body?

    Will you, the consumer, notice much of a difference between a 6 MP camera and an 8 MP camera? I don't think so. The 8 MP might give you a tiny bit more room for maneuvering if you need to crop extensively. What's optimal is to learn to shoot effectively, to shoot so that your subject fills the viewfinder and there is no need to crop at all, or very minimally.
    Extensive cropping can pretty much ruin an image in terms of resolution, original ratio, DOF, etc., etc.

    So which camera should you buy? Actually, I can't tell you, and neither can anyone else here. This is one of those things which needs to be a decision based on your own handling and appreciation of the ergonomics of each camera body, your own consideration of your budget, your own interest in photography and your guess at how far you might want to go with it. When buying a camera body, you're not just buying the body itself: after a certain point you are also buying into an entire system. Look ahead and see what lenses are available in Canon and Nikon. Think about what you like to shoot now and what you might want to shoot further on down the road and take a look at which lenses might fulfill your needs. OK, right now you mention urban landscapes and people shots.....so look at the Canon website and the Nikon website and run a Google search to see whiich lenses are specifically recommended for these types of shooting. The kit lens which comes with either the D40 or the Digital Rebel is only the beginning: if you become serious about photography you will definitely want to move beyond that and into higher-quality, faster, more expensive lenses....so it behooves you to do a little homework in advance of that time.

    This is not to say that one can't buy into a system and then decide to switch. People do that -- they may have a substantial investment in camera bodies and lenses from one manufacturer and decide that the other really meets their needs more, so they sell off all their gear and start afresh.... That's easier to do when one doesn't have many expensive lenses, though!

    Hope this helps in your decision-making process. Buy the camera which feels best to you and which offers the things which will make photography satisfying and fun for you.
     
  6. Mr. B macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2005
    #6
    Whups, seems that I misread the begginning statement, I thought you were comparing the canon 40D and the rebel xti, not the nikon d40.

    Argh.

    Well, the rest of what I said still holds true, and I'm sure the nikon d40 is a fine camera as well.
     
  7. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Sendai, Japan
    #7
    If you really want more megapixels, get a D40X, although I doubt you'll need it.
     
  8. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #8
    The difference between 6 and 8 MP isn't going to be noticeable outside of poster-sized enlargements (my customers can't tell the difference between 6MP interpolated to 12MP (effectively about 8MP) and a physical 12.4MP in 8x10 prints.) If your GF has a D40, you should strongly consider getting that, as you'll be able to share lenses with her. Should you find that you both really like photography that'll help immensely when choosing lenses as you can compliment each other's choices and you'll always have a matching back-up camera and lenses.
     
  9. epicwelshman macrumors 6502a

    epicwelshman

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    Apr 6, 2006
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    Nassau, Bahamas
    #9
    I know people say to use the forum search function, and usually that's true. However, the MR forum search is a piece of garbage, so you're excused from that.

    We get posts like this all the time, "Which camera should I get?". Frankly, it doesn't matter.

    The Canon Rebel XTi has 10 megapixels, not 8. The Canon XT has 8.
    The Nikon D40 has 6. The Nikon D40x has 10.

    Megapixels really aren't that important. I received the D40x as a gift, so 6 vs. 10 MP didn't matter to me.

    When comparing the Canon's and the Nikon's it really doesn't matter. They're all great cameras, with comparable image quality. The Canon's kit lens isn't quite as good as the Nikon's, but in the long run it's a moot point. You're buying into a system. Whatever brand of camera you buy now you'll probably stay with forever. Bodies (and cheap lenses) come and go, it's the pro lenses and other accessories (i.e. flashes) that'll make you stick with either brand.

    My advice to you is to go into a shop and physically hold and try out each camera. I hated the feel of the Rebel series in my hands, whereas the Nikon's all fit like a glove. Ergonomics are important as the camera eventually becomes an extension of your body and you need to be comfortable with the camera to change settings on the fly.

    I'd also recommend sticking with Nikon and Canon. Nothing against the Pentax/Sony/Oly fans, but the ease of obtaining accessories and service for Nikon/Canon is far easier (in my experience) than the others.

    In the end, get whichever camera feels the best. They're both fantastic.
     
  10. bcavanau macrumors member

    bcavanau

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    Oct 25, 2006
    Location:
    Troy, MI
    #10
    Not that my opinion matters much...

    I bought a Canon Rebel XTi, and love it...

    XTi is 10.2 Megapixels, I have a 2GB CF card, and can fill the card before needing to recharge the battery...so I would recommend it.
     
  11. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

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    #11
    You do have a point... :D
     
  12. seany916 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2006
    Location:
    Southern California
    #12
    4 points

    1. decide whether you want to go Canon or Nikon (doesn't really matter)

    2. If you go with the same brand as your friends/girlfriend, you can share info/lenses/etc.

    3. Megapixels don't really matter that much.

    4. I don't know anything about Canon (I'd be fine with one); D80 is a great camera for the price, but getting a bit long in the tooth. If you can use your girlfriend's D40 for now and wait 6 months or so for the next release (D90?), you'll get the most bang for your buck. You can use the time to get acquainted with a dSLR and what kind of lenses you might use most often. Use the time to get your research done.
     
  13. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #13
    6 vs. 8 megapixels? No difference. What you care about is not the total pixel count but the number of pixels along the longest edge. This determines the maximum size print you can make. Figure you need at least 250 pixels per inch or 300 for best quality

    If someone else has a Nikon camera that is a good reason to buy one. You can share parts of the system. The lenses will be "swapable" one wide angle lens between two is enough. You can save a pile of money.

    People here seem to be saying that you will have to use the "kit" lens. First off, Why? You can buy the body with any lens you like. Buy is with 18-135 and you may not need another lens. The other thing is that Nikon's kit lens is quite good both optically and mechanically where as Canon's Kit lens not quite so good. Once you move up to mid range and pro quality lenses Nikon and Canon are comparable but at the low end Canon makes some cheap lenses

    The D40 does have one limitation. No in-body focus motor. So you can use only those Nikon lenses that have their own built-in focus motor. Some of the best lenses I like and use lack motors: The 50mm f/1.4 and the 85mm f/1.8 I think all of Nikon's primes lack motors.
     
  14. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    Redondo Beach, California
    #14
    Good idea. Buy her a nice lens or an off camera strobe setup and then she will be happy to go out let you hep her put it to good use.
     
  15. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

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    8 miles from the Apple Store at Tysons (VA)
    #15
    Chris, I wish you'd be careful when you address the issue of the D40 and autofocus. Contrary to what you're saying here, in reality someone with a D40 or D40x can use ANY Nikon lens; the difference is that they may not be able to autofocus. The AF-S lenses in Nikon's current lineup are not as plentiful as would be desirable. People CAN still use other lenses, though. They just have to manually focus. So in reality they CAN use the 50mm f/1.4 and the 85mm f/1.4 or f/1.8, etc. These lenses are autofocus on the majority of Nikon's camera bodies, just not on the D40/D40x due to the fact that they do not have the internal autofocus motor. The lenses ARE still useable, though, on a D40 and D40x -- the photographer will have to manually focus with them rather than being able to use autofocus. For some people that's a big deal, for others it's not.

    Also purchasers and users of the D40 and D40x have the option of using other third-party vendors' lenses which have internal focusing motors. A good example is Sigma's 30mm f/1.4 lens, which is an HSM lens (internal motor in the lens). Those who have used this say that it's quite effective on the D40/D40x. Sigma has other HSM lenses and I think that the other major manufacturers also offer their own version of lenses which have internal motors so that they can be used on the D40/D40x.

    For those who like AI-S lenses the D40/D40x are a real deal because those lenses work quite nicely on those camera bodies. Somewhere I read where one can even use AI lenses without the need for expensive rechipping alterations, they mount and work on the D40/D40x bodies without any hassle.
     
  16. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    Northern/Central VA
    #16
    Bzzzt!

    AF-S VR Micro-NIKKOR 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED
    AF-S VR NIKKOR 200mm f/2G IF-ED
    AF-S VR NIKKOR 300mm f/2.8G IF-ED
    AF-S NIKKOR 300mm f/4D IF-ED
    AF-S NIKKOR 400mm f/2.8D IF-ED II
    AF-S NIKKOR 400mm f/2.8G ED VR - NEW!
    AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/4G ED VR - NEW!
    AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/4D IF-ED II
    AF-S NIKKOR 600mmf/4G ED VR - NEW!
    AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4D IF-ED II
     
  17. icec0ld macrumors member

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    Mar 1, 2006
    #17
    i was in a similar position to you a few months back. i ended up with a rebel xt (not xti cuz i couldn't afford it) for a few reasons...

    the d40 is more of a point and shoot dslr camera. it has plenty of manual options but predominantly is considered more of a transition between high end point and shoots to dSLR.

    the rebel xti has basic point and shoot settings and what not, but the accessibility to manual settings for true dSLR style photography is considerably better.

    if you're looking to get into a photography, i'd suggest staying away from the d40. great camera, but a bit cumbersome to grow in photography imo.
     
  18. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

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    #18
    I've heard Nikon fanboys making the exact opposite argument - calling the Digital Rebel "mainly a glorified point and shoot camera".

    I don't think such a statement from either camp can be taken seriously. It just plain isn't true about the D40/x, nor is it true about the XT/i. Any modern SLR can be used as a glorified point and shoot, if that's all you want to do with it. But they all give you pretty much exactly the same level of access to the more advanced levels of SLR functionality - including the D40/x and the XT/i.
     
  19. tersono macrumors 68000

    tersono

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    UK
    #19
    To be perfectly frank, (and this is coming from a former Canon fanboy who now owns a Nikon D50 ;) ) you won't go wrong with either camera - they're both excellent low-end DSLRs.

    The difference in resolution isn't that significant IMHO, but I guess it depends on what you're doing with your photos. Personally, I'd suggest going for whichever model feels most comfortable in your hands...
     
  20. KenAllen07 macrumors member

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    Oct 7, 2007
    #20
    Yeah they've had AF-S for quite some time now, latest releases were the VR on the 400,500, & 600

    IMO: Both cameras are disappointing compared to say a D50 or 350D. I'd recommend a used D50.
     
  21. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

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    #21
    I imagine that as time goes on Nikon will be converting more of their older lenses to AF-S, both zooms and primes. Rumor has it that the 85 f/1.4 is due to be updated to AF-S, for instance. With the release of the D3 and the D300 Nikon is also bringing out the 14-24mm AF-S and the 24-70mm AF-S zoom lenses and I expect that we will see more AF-S zooms in the future, as many people prefer zooms to primes.

    Now to be honest, looking at the list of current AF-S prime lenses, the only prime lens that a person moving from a P&S to his/her first DSLR and choosing the D40 or D40x is likely to consider buying is the excellent 105mm VR, which is a macro lens. Most people who use the "big guns" also are using semi-pro or pro bodies such as the D200, D2X/s, D2H/s, etc. That said, though, I have seen photos where someone has used the D40 and the 200mm f/2 VR lens.
     
  22. Butthead macrumors 6502

    Butthead

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2006
    #22
    I wouldn't necessarily say that. For about the same money, you could buy a used copy of the Micro-NIKKOR 85mm F/2.8 PC, which gives you something no other lens in the Nikon line (Canon has 3, 24mm f3.5 TS-E, 45mm F2.8 & 90mm F2.8) can do, Tilt & Shift, and it's a macro lens reputed to be the sharpest lens Nikon makes. full manual w00t!

    You could also buy an adapter to mount this lens on a Canon body, if you wanted the T/S & macro in one lens. A specialty lens which requires more tweaking of exposure and knowledge in use as compared to full auto mode, but for the adventurous dSLR n00b it has no peers as far as what it can do.
     

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