Seeking Advice - Canon vs Nikon

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by annapolitan, Mar 3, 2008.

  1. annapolitan macrumors newbie

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    Mar 3, 2008
    #1
    I was reading some posts from last month in response to a man that asked about a Nikon D300 vs a Canon 5D. I have a completely different situation but essentially the same question. Any advice would be much appreciated.

    My current camera is a simple p&s Canon SD800IS. I love it but am dissatisfied with excess noise in low light situations and I can't seem to correct it with any of the settings the camera has. So that is probably my biggest pet peeve.

    I am currently what you might call a semi-pro photographer with high aspirations. My photos are published in my company's magazine nearly every issue. But most of those photos are taken with the company's Sony H5 (which I really don't like) or my Canon p&s. It's really time to upgrade and I'm considering the Nikon D300 and the Canon 5D. I like the "weatherproofing" in the Nikon since I do mostly boating photography on or near the water, but in my experience the term "weatherproof" doesn't mean a whole lot, especially when you're talking about the boating industry. ;)

    But I also really like the full-frame sensor in the Canon 5D - and the kit lens is phenomenal. I've looked them both over at my local camera shop and the lens on that Canon would really be great for the kind of shooting I do most often.

    Other photographers in my industry use Canons all the time but there are probably a near equal amount of Nikons. While it's probably more like sports photography than anything else, it's not the kind of fast action you see in a football game or something like that. Speed doesn't seem to be a huge issue unless you're the guy on the jetski trying to get the shot of a wave crashing over the bow of a sailboat in a big match race. I probably won't ever do that. Most of my current shoots are product testing on the water with multiple boats. I grab photos of boats wherever I can and hope to do more travel writing and photography in the coming years.

    So I hope that's enough information for you photophiles to give me some much needed advice. :D

    Thanks all!

    On, one more thing - I have no lens collection that I plan to use (only some old Nikon lenses from the mid-1960's but they are only compatible with the D40x and I know I don't really like that camera). So I'm starting from scratch basically.
     
  2. Grimace macrumors 68040

    Grimace

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    #2
    The consensus for this question is usually, "go to a store and feel the two camera to figure out which you like better."

    Both brands are strong and you really can't go wrong with either one. Look at the lenses that you might buy in the future (for your type of shooting) and see if there are stronger lenses in certain categories between the two brands. Check out www.fredmiranda.com/reviews for help on different lenses too.
     
  3. SubaruNation555 macrumors 6502

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  4. annapolitan thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #4
    Thanks for the link. That's really helpful.

    I've been to my local camera store a couple of times looking at both cameras. Though they are different I can't say that I prefer the feel of either one over the other. And the salespeople at both the local camera stores are pretty clueless, at least when I visit the store. I guess since everything has migrated to the internet, they no longer have to employ 'experts'.

    I read on here somewhere that you're not just buying a camera body, you're buying a "system". Is there a general 'rule of thumb' for the Canon and Nikon lenses/system and the type of photography each is best suited for? I've seen some posts hinting at something like this but nothing that is very concrete.

    If the bottom line is that I just need to make a decision and get on with it, that may be what I need to hear. But I can''t help but feel like I'm missing something...
     
  5. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #5
    I don't know how this could be. If you have an older Nikon lens it would work with a D300 but would NOT work with a D40x. I think you have it backwards. Either way, yes you are starting over.

    How to decide between Nikon and Canon? I think you have to make a plan. Think of the lenses you might want to own. Make up a systems of body and 3 or 4 lenses and see which kit you like.

    Nikon has the price advantage in some cases. Canon makes some lenses that Nikon does not. What may tip the scale is if you like Nikon'e flash or light meter system (which is better) or if you like Canon's auto focus. Or maybe there is a particular wide angle zoom lens that you "must have". I would not pick a brand based on a DSLR body because those have a short useful life span.
     
  6. Bootsie macrumors 6502a

    Bootsie

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    #6
    I would go full frame if you can.

    I am definitely a Canon supporter, I have used both brands, and vastly prefer Canon I will probably never go back to Nikon. But that being said, they are both good brands, and you cannot go wrong with either of them. When you went to the store, which one felt better in your hands? I prefer Canon’s user interface because it was easier for me to get used to and learn. I have a 20D, and I absolutely love it.

    This is a great forum for learning about Canons, and why we think they are better. :) Very helpful and informative people, they know a lot more than I do. ;)

    http://photography-on-the.net/forum/index.php
     
  7. Hmac macrumors 68020

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    #7
    I'm a Nikon user, have never been impressed with Canon. Having said that, I acknowledge that their dSLRs are good and are capable of good images, and that their lenses are generally as good as Nikon's.

    The 5D is a good camera, but it is two years old. If you're on the fence, I would get the D300 based on that alone, unless you want to wait for the 6D (or 5D Mk II, or whatever they're going to call its replacement), whenever that happens.

    Full frame - I don't think that's any big deal at all. I currently use a full-frame Nikon D3, but never had ANY issues or disappointment with the 1.5x crop on all my previous cameras. I didn't buy the D3 for its full-frame, I bought it for its performance, ruggedness, excellent metering, really low noise, and really exceptional autofocus. I note that the D300 uses that same CAM3500 AF sensor as the D3.

    Realistically, I think you would likely learn to be satisfied with either system. They are both very capable.
     
  8. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

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    #8
    If you say weather proofing is important, have a look at Olympus' E-3 or Canon's 40D in addition to the Nikon D300. Unlike its more expensive sibling, the 40D has weather proofing while the 5D has not. If you say you're boating, this strongly disfavors the 40D.

    Olympus has an excellent reputation when it comes to weather sealing, they have a competitive lens line-up that covers the usual viewing angles.

    Also, you've said that your pictures from a P&S and a pseudo-dslr are used for publication. Any of these choices will deliver far, far better image quality. The differences in image quality are mostly negligible in this class. If I were you, I'd base my decision on (i) handling and (ii) weather sealing. Note that only pro lenses have weather seals, so buying a Nikon D300 or a Canon 40D with an el-cheapo lens won't give you any weather sealing where it matters most (the mirror box).

    As for point (i), there is no other way than trying. People won't be able to help you on this. I don't like Canon's UI, never have. I get along very well with (seemingly) any other brand of dslrs, I've owned Nikon and Olympus dslrs. But for some (twisted ;)) people it's the other way around. Try them.

    Number (ii) means that you should give us a budget and we might suggest a few lenses to go with your camera. AFAIK only manufacturer lenses are weather sealed with a few (very expensive) exceptions.
     
  9. Hmac macrumors 68020

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    #9
    For any of these dSLRs, including the D300, the name weatherproofing is a significant overstatement of the camera's ability to withstand the elements. It's probably more accurate to say that these weatherproof camera are weather resistant to some degree. Note that a lot will depend on whether or not the particular lens being used is weather-sealed too. I have three professional-level Nikkors that I use 90% of the time, and of those three very expensive f/2.8 lenses, only one of them has the rubber gasket on the mount that constitutes "weather-sealing".

    Having said that, I have had Nikon dSLRs out in some truly awful weather, from rainstorms to blizzards, to 5-foot seas in a Zodiac and I've never had a problem, but IMHO, I do feel like I've pushed my luck pretty far.
     
  10. nutmac macrumors 68040

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    #11
    My only reservation for getting 5D now would be upcoming "5D Mark II" update. Although the rumor has been going on for awhile, some fake, two things are for certain. (1) Canon has updated every single cameras with many new features and refinements (e.g., DIGIC III, 14-bit RAW, sRAW, improved viewfinder, integrated sensor cleaner, faster continuous shooting, improved live preview LCD), except 5D. (2) It's been 2.5 years since 5D was introduced, which is an eternity for DSLR lifecycle.
     
  11. Ryan1524 macrumors 65816

    Ryan1524

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    #12
    Can't really go wrong with either. They both have decently matched products at various levels. It comes down to in-hand feel, your preference towards their menu systems, and looks.

    I own a Nikon D70s and can't be happier. (except maybe with a D300). ;)
     
  12. Grimace macrumors 68040

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    #13
    The 5D update will be out in the fall - in October. 3 years is the life cycle of the 1D(s) and 5D series.

    That said, the 5D mkII (or whatever) update will be $3299 or more, the original price of the 5D. The current 5D can be found for just under $2000. What a frickin' amazing deal that is. It will always take phenomenal photos. You can wait for a screen that is .5" larger and a few other bells and whistles if you like. At $2k, the 5D is an AWESOME buy.

    That said, the D300 is a good camera too. Nothing you buy right now won't take good pictures. The lenses matter more in the end.
     
  13. termina3 macrumors 65816

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    #14
    Forget the term "weather-proofing" right now. If you think the camera's going to get wet often, then you'll want to spend big bucks on a submersible case... they're expensive, but when I hear "boating" I think "water".
     
  14. annapolitan thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #15
    While the weather-sealing is an issue, it's not huge. The boats I'm usually on are large enough that I don't get much spray, if any, at all. The biggest potential for water is immersion (and I'm very careful) and no amount of weather sealing would protect a camera from that. There's no way I would go out in 5-ft seas in a Zodiac. A 40ft sloop fine, but a dignhy? That's just terrifying. Impressive though!

    My budget initially is about $3000. I can invest another $1500-2000 in the summer. Right now I can get the Canon 5D with the 24-105mm f/4L IS USM AF Lens for about $2750 or the Nikon D300 for $1800 plus the cost of a lens comparable to the Canon (whatever that would be).

    I really like the Canon lens and it seems to have received great reviews. Can anyone tell me what would be the comparable lens for the Nikon?

    I have to admit that the D300is technically superior in nearly every aspect. But the 5D's full-frame is really appealing. I wish I could say that I like the feel of one more than the other. But it's a total toss-up!
     
  15. Hmac macrumors 68020

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    #16
    Yeah, well..it wasn't exactly on purpose. We had been poking around La Amiga island off the north coast of Haiti when the seas came up, and we got a little behind the curve. It was cool at first, I got some good shots...but the third drenching wave caused me to put the camera away (D2H). The camera didn't leak, but what was REALLY impressive was the Computrekker AW I carried it in. By the time we got back, everything in the boat was drenched, but the camera inside the bag was completely dry.
     
  16. cube macrumors G5

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  17. Grimace macrumors 68040

    Grimace

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    #18
    I have the bag too, LOVE it. Expensive (for a backpack) but solid, safe, and keeps stuff dry!
     
  18. jpsalvesen macrumors newbie

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    #19
    Are you sure you don't want that Olympus E-3?

    It's got excellent auto focus. Supposedly best-in-class when you're using the SWD lenses. The E-3 is also weatherproof and splashproof. That means you can take photographs in dramatic weather. It also has a built-in image stabilizing system. That will probably also help you a bit getting sharp shots, especially at tele.

    At 5fps its faster than the 5D, but I suspect timing is just as important as fps :)

    The smaller sensor means that ISO 3200 is not very usable, but it also means that the optics is a bit more compact and lightweight compared to equivalent Canikon equipment.

    You'll get an E-3 with 50-200mm f/2.8-3.5 SWD for 1700 + 1200 = 2900 USD. That gives you 100-400mm EFL. There's also a very versatile 12-60mm f/2.8-4 SWD for 900 USD. That is 24-120mm EFL. Depending on whether you prioritize tele or wide/normal, you can pick either one to stay within your 3000 USD budget.
     
  19. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #20
    It all depends on the period. I was out in 5+ feet a while back with no boat, just floating in a wetsuit. With a 17 second period it is just an elevator ride, 5 or 6 feet up and down. Except near shore where they break you have some seven footers to go under.

    Back to weather proofing. A housing for an SLR will make either camera work well even scuba diving. But housings are not cheap. The low-end housing from (say) Ikilite will set you back something like $2K. You can buy a housing for a point and shoot for under $200. These are also suitable for diving and are 100% waterproof. You can do good work with a good P&S.

    A big problem is salt drying on the lens or other places to prevent this I keep my housed cameras when not in use in a big tub of saltwater kept on the boat just for storing cameras. Some boats have bait tanks and if there s no bait they make good places to store housed camera gear.

    It also depends on your budget. I knew one person who just accepted that his canon DSLRs would get wrecked. He used them remotely mounted on a long pole so get some sailing pictures and dunked a few. But he said it was OK because the memory cards survive a quick dunk. When you think about the cost of loosing 3 or 4 DSLRs it is not that much compared to the cost of flying to New Zealand and taking some boats out for a shoot and the boat crews hiring models, putting everyone up in hotel rooms and so on. I think they were shooting a line of sailing clothing, water proof jackets and the like for a catalog.
     
  20. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

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    #21
    At this budget, the 5D is definitely a no no.
     
  21. cube macrumors G5

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    #22
    Those Olympus combos look great. Thanks for pointing them out.

    [Nikon/Kodak user]
     
  22. annapolitan thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #23
    Why do you say that?
     
  23. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #24
    The D300 is way more backwards-compatible for older F-mount lenses than the D40x. You should check Nikon's lens compatibility charts to see if yours are on there if they're decent lenses.
     
  24. SpookTheHamster macrumors 65816

    SpookTheHamster

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    #25
    There isn't really such a thing as a bad camera these days. The best way to decide is to hold both of them. Whichever feels nicer is the one to go for.

    With regards to old lenses, I use some really old lenses on my D70. They're perfectly usable but obviously you can't use the camera's meter and they have to be used in manual.
     

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