Which DSLR should I upgrade to?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by pageerror404, Jan 12, 2010.

  1. pageerror404 macrumors newbie

    Jan 8, 2010
    I am planning on selling my D40 and buying another used DSLR... a larger and more advanced one. Its kind of a tossup between a Canon 40D or a Nikon D80 because I can get them for about the same price.

    I was wondering what were some of the differences between the two... and which one you would buy in my situation. Does one have more desirable features than the other that make it worthwhile? Better reliability record? What about the lenses that come with them?

    I don't care about canon vs nikon bias... but I am used to using nikon so any special advantages to the canon would have to be worth the learning curve that might be involved.
  2. cosmos macrumors regular


    Dec 17, 2003
    Cincinnati, Ohio

    I personally prefer the Nikkor lenses on the Nikon cameras vs. the Canon models. Each camera body is very good. I started out using Canon many years ago with film and found it to be very good.

    I decided to give Nikon a try and do not regret it at all. Of the two, I would say that the Nikon lenses are better in their offerings.

    Perhaps you could rent both for a weekend and see which you prefer?

    Each has their benefits depending on your preference on menus and functions. Some love one camera platform over the other. I personally think that the Nikon transfer software is very good on the Mac.
  3. Spectrum macrumors 6502a


    Mar 23, 2005
    What is the D40 preventing you from doing that would be solved with a D80?
  4. El Cabong macrumors 6502a

    Dec 1, 2008
    From Thom Hogan's list of Nikon's 10 Worst of the Decade:

    That said, some of the noise issues have been addressed via firmware updates, and learning to use the metering can be done. Just something to consider.

    The 40D also has a CMOS sensor, which has less issues with noise than a CCD, which is in the D80.

    In the end, though, just go with the brand that you find easiest to handle. Hard to go wrong with either one. I like Nikon.

    Good question.
  5. pageerror404 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 8, 2010
    Its a good little camera, but I have big hands and it really hurts my fingers holding it for a prolonged period of time. The size and grips on bigger cameras feel much more natural to me. Also I like the top LCD screen and additional buttons on the bodies of larger DSLRs so I can tweak all my manual settings without clicking through the menu.

    EDIT: Also I was wondering about external flashes. I heard that its very fiddly and annoying to set up your external flash wireless from your D40 because it doesn't have a commander mode.
  6. Spectrum macrumors 6502a


    Mar 23, 2005
    In that case, why not consider a used D70 - these should be dirt cheap. After finally getting my D70 fixed, I've realised that it is more ergonomic than the D90 I've effectively replaced it with. In addition, the high ISO shooting of the D90 is not all it's cracked up to be - in low-intensity artificial light, the output at ISO 3200 and 6400 is terrible. The video mode is cute, but unnecessary. The D70 also has a better flash sync speed and - my biggest bugbear - the D70 shoots up to 1/8000th sec. This is extremely important when using fast lenses in bright conditions. The D90 maxes out at 1/4000th forcing you to drop down to ISO100, which is cumbersome (I cannot figure a way of getting the camera to do this automatically in Aperture priority mode). Indeed the best things about the D70/80/90 compared to the D40 are the dual command dials and top display. (In addition to their internal autofocus motor, of course.)
  7. MacCanon macrumors newbie

    Jan 15, 2010
    Canon Rebel T1i, affordable, comes with starter lens. HD video.
    bought this myself, has given me many fantastic photographs and more to come
  8. JeepGuy macrumors regular

    Sep 24, 2008
    If it were between the Canon 40D or the Nikon D80, I would go with the Canon, But if you are looking for alternatives, I would recommend a D5000, all the best of a D90/D300s features without the price.
  9. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    Buy the brand that has the lenses you want. currently I assume you have zero investment in lenses but hopefully that will not continue.

    As soon as you put a light on a stand you will be using manual flash. Don't worry abot fancy auto modes in a studio setup.

    The big thing is the lenses. if you buy used look at prices and vailabilty of used lenses. Then select a brand.
  10. Edge100 macrumors 68000

    May 14, 2002
    Where am I???

    What of these solutions for ETTL off-camera?


    While I agree that manual mode is important to learn and often a better choice than ETTL flash, there are excellent solutions that use ETTL for off-camera work (and excellent reasons to use them).
  11. Westside guy macrumors 603

    Westside guy

    Oct 15, 2003
    The soggy side of the Pacific NW
    The D70 would be the same generation sensor as the D40. I owned one, and liked it - but the high-ISO performance is rather poor compared to that of more modern sensors. Peoples' tolerance of noise varies; but for me, ISO 800 was about as I ever wanted to go (and at that point the shadows were getting noisier than I like).

    FWIW I'd argue the OP needs to make a list of the specific features he feels he needs but isn't getting from his D40. Not the "nice features I've read about on forums", but specific items that he's noticed are currently hampering his photography. That will answer the question about which camera to buy - if he needs to buy one at all.

    BTW I don't believe Canon has the equivalent of "flash commander mode" if that's important to you.
  12. Phrasikleia macrumors 601


    Feb 24, 2008
    Over there------->
    One could make a very strong argument for just the opposite, especially if you exclude discontinued lenses. It really comes down to specialty lenses, where each manufacturer has offerings that the other does not. And then of course there are all the third party lenses that are available in either mount.

    Heck, if you really want lens selection, it's pretty hard to beat Pentax (every Pentax lens ever made will meter on any of their DSLRs--including M42 lenses from as early as 1938!!). If I were the OP, I'd be giving the Pentax K-7 or the Pentax K20D a good hard look too.
  13. flosseR macrumors 6502a


    Jan 1, 2009
    the cold dark north
    Wow you learn something new every day.. that i didn't know...does Pentax make a full frame ? :)
  14. gnd macrumors 6502a


    Jun 2, 2008
    At my cat's house
    Unfortunately not yet :(
    But there are rumors (as always and everywhere) that there will be a FF camera introduced in 2010.
    What is not a rumor is that Pentax will come out with a MF camera priced lower than the most expensive Canon and Nikon cameras.
  15. iTiki macrumors 6502

    Feb 9, 2007
    Maui, Hawaii
    Why not a D90? Prices have come down and it is regarded by most as a great body for the cost.
  16. T-Stex macrumors 6502

    Jan 15, 2006
    I'd strongly disagree with that. The D5000 doesn't have an AF motor, doesn't have a top-mounted LCD, has a smaller, less solid body, comes with an inferior kit lens, has an inferior rear LCD screen, and doesn't have a secondary scroll wheel for easily changing settings. I'm sure I'm missing a few things here, but I wouldn't recommend the D5000 over the D90 to someone looking to upgrade from a D40 for more features.
  17. AlaskaMoose macrumors 65816

    Apr 26, 2008
    The canon 40D feels just right in my hands. What I like about the 40D compared to the Rebel series is the controls layout. It just feels right and easy to learn, since the buttons are not that many, and everything is at my fingertips. Now, if you wait another year until the 8D arrives to the market, a new 7D should make you quite happy. The 40D is two to three years old now. I do plan to keep mine for a few more years, even if I decided to upgrade in the future. I really enjoy using this camera.
  18. JeepGuy macrumors regular

    Sep 24, 2008
    yes those are some short comings, but I have a D300s and my wife has a D5000 and never has the no motor issue been an issue, now the original poster was contemplating a D80 or a 40D, and the D5000 is in that price range of those 2 cameras, and is an excellent camera, A D90 would be better but it's more, If I was buying used I would pick up a D200 over a D80 or a 40D.

    P.S. I had a Canon 40D for almost a year, and traded it in on a D300s, just like the feel better.
  19. vrillusions macrumors regular


    Jul 8, 2007
    Cleveland, Ohio, US
    Here's my input on this. I have a Canon 40D. I bought it last April (the 50D was already out) and saved some money since it's a couple years old but did everything I wanted. My purchase was pretty much based on being a fan of their point and shoot cameras. Been really happy with it.

    A co-worker is constantly going through stuff. He'll buy something then sell it a few weeks later and gets something else. The first camera he had was a Canon Rebel (unsure of the series, maybe the 400D version). Immediately I didn't like the form factor. It was too small for my hands. He then dumped that and got a Nikon D80 because the deal he saw on craigslist included a few good lenses. I liked the built in lcd screen protector (I appreciate the little things) and the screen looked better than the 40D. That was really it. Maybe I was just used to the dial layout on 40D (rotary on back and an edge rotary below shutter button). The Nikons use two of those edge rotary wheels, one in front and one in back. It also didn't have as "solid" of a feel as the 40D. Picture quality was close enough between the two. Rest of the critiques are subjective. He keeps saying he wishes he went with Canon though, not sure why but he likes my 40D better. My boss has a D90 I believe, liked it a little better than D80 but haven't played with it too much.

    Since the OP mentioned specifically 40D vs D80, see http://snapsort.com/compare/Canon_EOS_40D-vs-Nikon_D80 which gives an overview of the two. Also dpreview gives very detailed reviews. It was how I decided 40D over 50D. They have reviews on both Canon 40D and Nikon D80.

    As others have said, main decision is going to be lens commitment (canon and nikon lenses are not interchangeable), cosmetic differences, and overall feel of the camera. Both are very capable cameras. But remember that once you pick one and start buying lenses it's going to be more expensive if you change your mind later.

    Upgrading camera bodies with the same manufacturer are pretty painless since most of the lenses will still work. On the canon side of things there are two formats: EF and EF-S. EF will work on any dSLR (and I think film slr too). EF-S are meant for dSLR's with a smaller sensor. The 40D and even the new 7D fall into this category. The 5D is a full frame dSLR and EF-S lenses won't work and even if you got an adapter a large portion of the image would be black because it's designed for smaller sensors. Personally I think the full frame cameras are too big so I'm not too worried about which format to get. Regardless, the lenses if well maintained will last FOREVER. So you'll upgrade camera bodies every 5 or so years but keep the lenses. This will make future upgrades not as painful.

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