Nikon D80 70-300MM vs Canon EOS Rebel T3 12.2MP 18-55mm

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Yamcha, Mar 18, 2013.

  1. Yamcha macrumors 68000

    Mar 6, 2008
    Hi Guys,

    I need some buying advice. I've got an option to buy either a used Nikon D80 with a 70-300MM lens or a new Canon EOS Rebel T3 with a 18-55MM lens. What would be a better choice? They are both selling for $350..

    I'd like to take mostly landscape, macro & bokeh shots. My intent is to use the shots for websites. I'm very new to this and would love your guys' advice =)

  2. jablko macrumors member

    Nov 12, 2007
    Lincoln, Nebraska
    Neither of those are super great options, but if those are my only choices, I'd probably go for the T3 with 18-55mm lenses.

    The D80 is, arguably, two steps up on the product ladder from the T3, but it's also built with six year old technology, while the T3 is probably just two year old tech. Sensor technology has increased quickly, so in this case, I think the newer sensor trumps the much better feature set of the D80, particularly if you don't know what to do with those features yet.

    Also, for landscapes and some of the other uses you mentioned, you'll find 70-300mm telephoto very limiting, since you'll want a wide angle. You'll eventually want to get more lenses anyway, since lenses are long-term investments (unlike bodies), and have a greater impact on the kinds of images you can create. For good macro photography, for example, you'll need specialized lenses that allow for focusing on very close objects. For general photography, I'd recommend starting with a relatively inexpensive 50mm f/1.8 prime lens, then exploring further from there (the 70-200mm f/2.8 is a favorite for sports, and the 24-70mm f/2.8 is a favorite walking around lens).

    For a similar amount of money as you're spending, I suspect you could get a new Nikon D3100 with 18-55mm lens, which is a better camera than the T3 (the link takes you to a direct feature comparison). However, if you can possibly swing the cash, I think you'd be happier in the long term with a Nikon D3200, or even a Canon T3i (I'd rather have the Nikon for photos and the T3i for video).

    I hope that helps.
  3. DrewJM macrumors newbie

    Nov 19, 2011
    Hey Yamcha

    I came across your post and just wanted to give my two cents. I too am fairly new to the DSLR world, so I cannot compare the two cameras. However, I can share my experience with the T3 so far as I purchased it about 5 months ago as my first dSLR.

    I must say the T3 has been really fantastic so far. I knew nothing about dSLR's and had only dabbled in changing things like shutter speed and ISO on the point and shoot. Over the last few months I've been slowly getting to know my way around this camera and I have been very, very pleased with it's performance and the images I get.

    I mainly shoot landscape scenes right now. I've been happy with results shooting both JPEG and RAW (love the RAW) and developing in Lightroom. A lot of people will scoff at it because it is Canon's entry level. Of course there are a few limitations that set it back from the next level up (T3i) like no wireless shutter control, no external mix input, a few less megapixels (still absolutely high enough at 12), no 1080p video and no fancy grips or texture. None of these get in the way of getting a great picture and getting experience. Others will also compare it to Nikons entry level (D3100), but there is never any concrete explanation as to why which one is better (Nikon does offer more/better video options). People love Nikon, people love Canon.

    The lens has been great for landscape. It frames the picture nicely. At this point, I actually want to get a zoom lens only because I have been taken so many landscape shots. It zooms well, it's fast (I don't have all that much to compare it to). It's macro is great and the detail is very sharp.

    I got a really great deal on this camera and it sounds like you can too. Having saved some money, I can get a nicer lens first and still be confident this camera will do a fine job. Then in another year or two, I can graduate to a better body and can continue to use any lenses I've picked up along the way.

    I could send you a few samples if you'd like. Shoot me a message.

    Hope this was of some help.
  4. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

    Apr 14, 2001
    Sendai, Japan
    I don't think either is a very good choice, you should be a little more patient and look for a better deal. Clearly, the D80 is the better body in so many ways: a much bigger, brighter viewfinder (which is not something you see advertised as much, the Canon has a smaller pentamirror design while the D80 uses a larger pentaprism), a beefier AF system, a simpler user interface and it is much better built. Unfortunately it comes with a lens that is unsuitable for general photography, it's a mediocre tele zoom.

    The Canon body is newer, but it is entry-level. And it comes with the cheapest »throw-away lens« you can think of. (Compared to compact cameras, it's going to be a big step up, but essentially, it's the bottom of the barrel when it comes to dslr lenses.)

    Personally, I'd forgo both offers due to the choice of lens these cameras come with and wait for better deals. Just to be clear, both bodies are very good for a beginner and allow you to learn the ropes of photography if that's your thing. But I think you'll be better off looking either at used or new alternatives. I'd also have a look at micro-4/3 cameras and other mirrorless systems (such as Sony's NEX series). Alternatively, you can look for deals on cameras like Nikon's D3100 or whatever Canon's entry-level model is called in your market (in Europe, they use triple or quadruple digits, in Japan, they use Kiss with various suffixes and in the US some cryptic combination of letters).
  5. ChrisA, Mar 18, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2013

    ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    The D80 is a nicer body. Neither camera comes with a lens that is really what you need. Well the 18-55 is OK for landscape work, not good at all for the shallow depth of field you want or for macro work. Expect to spend at least another $350 on used lenses before you have the kit you are looking for.

    This brings up the an important point. If you buy the Canon body then EVERY lens you buy will be Canon. Same for Nikon. And if youadd up the $$ you will see that you spend more money on the lenses especially if you want to do some specialized work. So don't let the choice of a cheap used SLR body pick a brand. Step back and think where you want to be in five years. You WILL replace that SLR body and you will be force to go with the same brand.

    BTW, there is no need to move fast on that deal. You cn buy a D80 for $250 any day of the week and the prices are NOT going upward. In fact you can buy a D200 (the semi-pro version of the D80) for $250 if you hunt around. Then you buy the lens you WANT to fit the body. Don't waste you money on a 70-300mm zoom. You will never use it. Buy a nikon 18-55gVR (the "VR" is important) for $90 and have a better system.

    The Nikon deal is only "fair" not greet, the Canon is a bit worse, I think.

    This web site is one of the better places to buy and sell camera gear but they tend to deal in the higher end stuff more.

    One more thing. If you can find another $100 you can buy a NEW Nikon with a lens for $450
    The D3100 is a bit nicer and can do video too. But the D80 has an in-body focus motor so it can use older Niokn lenses that lack their own motors. So if you really wanted a 80-200 f/2.8 llens for sports work you could use a $900 version on the D80 but the D3100 would require a $1,650 version of that lens. You'd save $750. This is what I meant about "plan ahead" the were you want to be in five years. The lenses get really expensive if you get into sports or wildlife photos. Don't save $50 now to have it cost your $500 next year.
  6. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California

    I just wrote the same thing. But I can one something. Yes that Canon 18-55 is the bottom of the line for Canon but Nikons 18-55G-VR is a very good lens eel "very good within it's specifications of 18-55 /5.6" If you can live within those numbers nothing beats it.and they only cost just under $100 on the used market.

    Be sure and research the used lens market and know what is good and what's junk and the prices. Nikon lens compatibility between the body and the lens is complex because Nikon never changed the f-mount and some 60's vintage lenses work well with some bodies. Canon made a clean break with EOS and all EOS stuff "just works" Some of the Canon stuff is great, some is not. Nikon is more consistent and conservative.

    Point is that you can't just say "Oh it is a 18-55 kits lens, must be junk" No. You have to look at the exact make and model and version
  7. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

    Apr 14, 2001
    Sendai, Japan
    You're right, I should have been more nuanced, but I wanted to clearly bring my point across (»these are not good deals«). In terms of image quality, some of the kit lenses can be good, given the constraints which you've mentioned already (focal length range and aperture).
  8. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    I just found the Adorama has a Nikon D3100 with the "good" VR lens for $299. So the OP could buy a new camera and pocket $50. Well not quite new. It is a re-furb by Nikon (t comes with a USA warranty for 1 year. ) but still a MUCH better deal then a used camera for $350.

    I find that a lot of people selling used gear are charging to much. For example B&H has some used gear for the same price as Amazon has it new. You really have to know what stuff is worth

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