Nikon D80 or Canon 40D?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Shacklebolt, Nov 29, 2007.

  1. Shacklebolt macrumors 6502a


    Sep 2, 2004
    I'm sure that I'm jumping into a well, well, well-worn argument, but as the 40D has a year of development on the D80, and I currently have an S2 IS, I'm leaning towards the 40D (as an interface that I might recognize).

    However, I don't know anything. About anything. Price is not an issue, so if people could chime in, I would appreciate it.
  2. Shacklebolt thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Sep 2, 2004
    Alright, price is not an issue up to 2000. So I suppose price is an issue. Whoops.
  3. JFreak macrumors 68040


    Jul 11, 2003
    Tampere, Finland
    Between Canon and Nikon the question is really this: which brand lenses do you like more?
  4. Kamera RAWr macrumors 65816

    Kamera RAWr

    May 15, 2007
    I'm where I need to be
    ONLY because I'm a Nikon fan... go for the D300. :D

    (Canon makes good cameras too, I hear)

    Edit: In response to JFreak's comment, I have a question to the more experienced out there that might help the OP as well... Do either Canon or Nikon really have that much of an edge on the other as far as high quality lenses go? :eek:
  5. Westside guy macrumors 603

    Westside guy

    Oct 15, 2003
    The soggy side of the Pacific NW
    I'm a bit surprised by the two you pick - if you're looking at the 40D, the more comparable Nikon is the D300 (or D200 I suppose).

    Between the D80 and the 40D, the 40D seems like the clear winner. If you throw the D200/D300 into the mix, then I'd probably pick that one - but I'm biased towards Nikon. :D Both are great cameras.
  6. TimJim macrumors 6502a

    May 15, 2007
  7. Shacklebolt thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Sep 2, 2004
    Well alright... I keep hearing Nikon over Canon. Now, believe me, I understand brand loyalty, and that Nikon might simply have the more vociferous owners. You say Nikon over Canon. I say, why? (in a nutshell)
  8. Kamera RAWr macrumors 65816

    Kamera RAWr

    May 15, 2007
    I'm where I need to be
    I chose Nikon over Canon because of the feel of the camera in my hands and the layout of the controls. The Nikon felt more natural to me.

    Lens issue wasn't too big of a deal to me, since both companies seem to produce quality products
  9. the Helix macrumors regular

    the Helix

    Sep 16, 2003
    good luck

    You'd be extremely lucky to find a Nikon D300 in stock anywhere.
    You'll need to pay way above retail to buy a D300 for the next few months.
    Just get a D80 and use it for a year or so, until the D300 becomes readily available. Then the D80 can be your beater camera and you will also have grown familiar with the Nikon feel.

  10. Westside guy macrumors 603

    Westside guy

    Oct 15, 2003
    The soggy side of the Pacific NW
    Give it a few hours, and some Canon fans will weigh in - right now the sample isn't evenly distributed. :D

    A lot of people think Nikon offers higher-quality kit lenses. I'm not sure if that's true anymore, although it certainly was back in the D70 vs. 300D days. However if you're likely to be buying additional lenses over time, I don't think the brand of camera really matters one way or the other. Just look for the lenses that work best with how/what you like to shoot.

    Speaking as a Nikon owner, I will opine that Canon offers some intermediate-quality lenses that aren't available for Nikon. I'd love to have a 24-105 f/4 available for my camera, for example. However Nikon, on the other hand, has pretty handy, pretty darn good consumer lenses (like my 18-200, or the 18-135) that don't seem to have a Canon equivalent. And both offer equally good pro glass - I'm really lusting after Nikon's new 24-70 f/2.8 for example.

    If you have friends that shoot one brand or the other, and they have multiple lenses that you might be able to borrow - I think that's an important consideration.

    I realize this all is kind of a non-answer, but really whichever way you go will work well. Both brands, as well as the smaller competitors, make very good cameras that you will end up loving.
  11. Grimace macrumors 68040


    Feb 17, 2003
    with Hamburglar.
    Canon weighing in!!

    40D vs. D80 = 40D
    40D vs. D200 = 40D
    40D vs. D300 = Draw

    Nikon users love the feel of their cameras. The Canon Rebel XTi is the easiest kid to pick on b/c it is small. The 40D feels great in your hands so that line of reasoning might not hold.

    On the whole, I think Nikon has a more (price) accessible camera body base (and good ergonomics all the way down.) On the whole, I think Canon has a definite advantage in terms of lenses (both price and quality.)

    That said, you keep good lenses for 10 years. Bodies will come and go but the 40D is rock solid and you'd love it. And, you might also love a Nikon! Go to a store and play with both in person. You know what is best for your needs/preferences.
  12. cube macrumors G5

    May 10, 2004
    I would have to see if the 14 bits of the 40D make a real difference, otherwise the D200 seems better built.

    D300 wins over 40D. The sealing of the 40D is kind of lame.
  13. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    Feb 12, 2007
    Neander Valley, Germany; just outside Duesseldorf
    You should buy whichever system suits you. The bodies are sort of irrelevant compared to the lenses and other accessories. Quite frankly, I think Canon's been asleep at the wheel the last couple of years, but hopefully they'll get their ship righted.

    [Canon Plug]Next time you're at an NFL or MLB game, just check the camera pits to see what's the most common camera. :) [/plug]

    I've been using Canon SLRs since the late 1970s. I was really annoyed when the EOS system came out and I found out that all my FD lenses were suddenly obsolete. Hopefully, Canon is more thoughtful now...

    Edit: On paper the Canon is the better camera, but it costs more. Do you think you'll need mirror lock-up, for example?
  14. SLC Flyfishing Suspended

    SLC Flyfishing

    Nov 19, 2007
    Portland, OR
    I'd take the D80 over the 40D unless the frame rate is a necessity. The D80 will out resolve the 40D in RAW images, and I think Nikon has a lock on user friendly interface between the two.

    That being said, I'm a Pentax man and I'm most happy with their products, if it wasn't Pentax it would be Nikon for me. Expect a camera in January that will make the 40D (and the 5D for that matter) look silly, and that will probably run neck and neck with the D300, (some of the insiders say it will be a bit better but everyone has independent opinions.

    And I'm pretty sure the D80 has a mirror lockup, my K10D certainly does.

  15. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    Are you planning to buy a lens or maybe two or three lenses. The camera bodies them selves are not useful. All beginners always tend to forget they also need to buy lenses, strobes and so on. Take a look at the offerings of these from both companies. If you do look at the body. What matters in real life is not what you think. What really matters is the why the light meter works and the way the flash meter works. Unless you use a hand held meter every shot depends on the camera's metering system where as other features are used twice a year it even that.

    Are you looking at the bottom dollar lenses like the Canon 18-55 or the higher end pro quality ones? Nikon's low end i much nicer quality then canon's low end but as you move up, both make good lenses at the high end of the line.

    So if you are looking for an f/2.8 mid range zoom to put on the D80 to 40D look at what is available. Also think about what you will be buying next year
  16. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    Feb 12, 2007
    Neander Valley, Germany; just outside Duesseldorf
    Why do you say these?

    Thus the "Rumors" in MacRumors. :p

    From Pentax? I'll believe that when I see it. After all, I've tried the TokinTax (or is it PenTina?) 16-50 f/2.8. You'd think they'd put more time into developing optics for that market.

    Not according to the spec sheet I've seen. Mirror lock-up is only for sensor cleaning. Here are some other differences:

    Bit depth: 14/12
    Sensor: CMOS/CCD
    Raw formats: 2/1
    AF points: 9/11
    Auto ISO: 100-400/100-1600
    Max shutter speed: 8000/4000
    Max flash sync: 250/200
    FPS: 6.5/3
    Timer: 2, 10/2, 5, 10, 20
    Date and Time Stamp: yes/no
    LCD: 3"/2.5"
    Live view: yes/no
    Live histogram: yes/no
  17. Xfujinon macrumors 6502

    Jul 27, 2007
    Iowa City, Iowa
    It is probably best to try them both out.

    The D80 will serve you well, as will the 40D, given the time investment to learn the tools.

    However, the deciding factor is which lens system you wish to build; after (years) of product research, I decided on Canon. Does that mean everyone should? No, but by this point in the thread this has probably been stated many, many times.

    If I may relay my personal feelings:

    I have always preferred the ergonomics of Canon SLR systems. I find that I can do things quickly and easily without changing hand positions excessively or removing my eye from the viewfinder.

    Canon's lenses tend to be slightly more affordable. Going third-party negates this advantage however. Canon has several very attractive lens options that have few competitors.

    Nikon's flash performance in professional applications is more highly lauded by pros, however I have been extremely pleased with my Canon flash experience.

    Weather sealing isn't an issue unless you like to shoot in sandstorms, pouring rain, or flying sleet. I can't think of many reasons I would want to take my $3000 system out in those, weather sealed or not. Unless your paycheck demands shooting in such conditions, it probably won't concern you. Drop a Nikon or a Canon into the lake and you're screwed in either case, irrespective of the supposed sealing.

    Make up your mind, and then tell us what you think! I felt a little sick after getting my credit card bill, but after a week of playing with the camera I have totally forgotten about it (and mostly recouped the cost by selling work).

    Good luck!
  18. seany916 macrumors 6502

    Jun 26, 2006
    Southern California
    I would suggest you get a D40 and learn more about photography.

    Get yourself on the waiting lists for the D80 and 5D replacements.

    Then get one of those and sell the D40.

    You can develop your learning curve on the D40 very nicely. You might even discover that it fulfills your needs nicely. D40, not the more expensive D40x.

    I prefer Nikon over Canon after shooting both. Either will get the job done just as well. Just personal preference. Not that different from handguns. They'll all hit the target. It's more the shooter and what the shooter prefers.

    That said, if you want cropped sensor: D80 replacement.
    If you want full-frame: 5D replacement.

    Either one will be fine for pretty much any kind of photography (please don't flame).
  19. miloblithe macrumors 68020


    Nov 14, 2003
    Washington, DC
    While cost may not be an issue, it certainly makes a difference in terms of how much you may have that you're willing to spend on lenses:

    (body only at
    Canon 30D $900
    Canon 40D $1300
    Nikon D80 $800
    Nikon D200 $1500
    Nikon D300 $1800 (back-ordered)

    The 40D can certainly do things that the D80 cannot, and is by most people's measures a better camera. It should be, it's $500 more. Likewise, the D300 is a step up from the 40D. It should be. It's $500 more. More interesting comparisons are in things like the 30D vrs the D80 or the 40D vrs the D200. I'd choose the Canon in either of those comparisons.
  20. timnosenzo macrumors 6502a


    Jun 21, 2004
    ct, us
    Honestly, the crowd in this forum is heavily weighted in Nikon folks. You could have come in saying "I bought a 40D and I love it!!1!!" and someone would probably have told you to return it and buy a Nikon.

    That being said, you will probably make the best decision by reading a lot--go to and check out their in depth reviews (but maybe stay away from the forums there). Think about the pictures you're going to want to take--landscape? sports? portrait? street? Consider each manufacturers complete system from bodies to lenses to flash, and consider your roadmap through the hobby. Sure you may have $2000 to spend today, but will you keep adding pieces as you go? What will you buy next after you get a few extra bucks?

    All told, I'm very pleased with my Canon gear and for me, I feel Canon has more lenses that suit my needs. Canon and Nikon will constantly play cat and mouse with bodies, so its not worth basing your future on what's out there now, because it 2 years, 5 years, 10 years... its going to be different. The development cycle of lenses is much slower.

    So asking a group of strangers definitely is not a good way to spend $2000. But check out forums like, and see what people who are shooting stuff you're interested in are using and why.

    BTW, I just added a 40D to my bag today, and it really is a nice camera! :)
  21. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    Feb 12, 2007
    Neander Valley, Germany; just outside Duesseldorf
    Me, too; except for the two annoying buttons by my right thumb that I inadvertently hit on occasion.

    As a crop user (30D and XT), I've been disappointed by Canon's selection. This is why I own 7 Sigma lenses and only 4 Canon lenses. I had the 17-40L and it was really soft wide open, so I sold it for the Sigma 18-50 macro, which is a much nicer lens. Not built as well, not quite the saturation and doesn't have USM, but optically a better lens until f/5.6.

    Not to mention that the lenses need to be sealed as well.
  22. SLC Flyfishing Suspended

    SLC Flyfishing

    Nov 19, 2007
    Portland, OR
    Yes you lock up the mirror for sensor cleaning (when you don't want to use the auto sensor cleaning feature), but when you put the camera on timer mode and press the shutter, the mirror immediately locks up and gives you either a 2 second or 10 second delay before recording the image.

    And the Pentax also records in 2 RAW formats .PEF and .DNG

  23. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    Image quality and features: Canon 40D

    What I'd choose: Nikon D80.

    I'm sorry, but how a camera feels in my hand is important. I don't think people realize how little difference in photo quality there is between a Pentax K100D, Nikon D40x, Canon 40D, Sony A700, or a Nikon D300. Very little. Very very little.

    Why do you take photos? To capture the moment, or to document something, right? All of these cameras can do this, and the images are almost all of equal quality. OK, so image quality is around equal, and therefore, a non-issue. Assuming you're a casual user and just want some casual,arty, or photojournalist style shots, the MOST important thing is how the cameras feel ergonomically.

    If your photographic needs are greater than the above, the lenses, autofocus (AF) system, and flash system ARE a real issue. What do you want to shoot?

    If you want to do "birding" and take photos of birds in flight, I've heard that Canon has slightly better lenses for the job (and more options) while Nikon has the camera because of the AF on their mid to high end cameras. Nikon still has the good lenses, though. The variety isn't quite as great as Nikon's, and some of them need updates to add VR and AFS.

    Sports? It's between Nikon and Canon. You can add Sony as the 3rd option. In the past, Canon had the benefit of better high ISO noise control, which allows professional sports shooters to use a higher ISO and a faster shutter speed. Very important for pro sports, but not to me. Currently, it's either a tie, or Nikon has the lead. I don't think anyone can say Nikon is behind right now.
    I have also seen some excellent Sony shots. Sony have the lenses to do the job as well, and the A700 has the AF speed to keep up with Canon and Nikon. I wouldn't get a Pentax or Olympus for this type of job.

    Portraiture? I'd say Nikon. Better flash system than the rest.

    Macro? Probably a tie between numerous brands. If you want to get a macro lens at around 100 mm, then everyone has that option.

    You want image stabilization in every lens because you have shaky hands. Pentax K10D and Sony A700. The A700 is suppose to be a fantastic, fantastic camera that's equal to the 40D and D300 in image quality.

    You want ruggedness....the toughest camera out there. Probably the Olympus E-3. Their lenses are also the most prepared for bad weather. Heavy rain, buildings tumbling around you, I'd probably put my trust in an E-3.

    Ergonomics? In my opinion, Nikon feels right. Sony is also very nice and feels natural. The Pentax body is supposed to be good, but from my limited experience (around 5 minutes in Japan), the K10D took me a few seconds to figure out. Maybe it's because I'm used to Nikon.
    I found it much harder to get used to the Canon 40D. Sorry, I just can't use it. Same with the 5D that I've held (only twice). I thought the Canon 400D/Rebel XTi was hard to get used to....until I had to use the 40D.

    When you're shooting on a beach, on a boat, or even on warm, damp, humid days.

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