Which DSLR to get, D90 or T1i, or something else??

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by maddagascar, Jan 4, 2010.

  1. maddagascar macrumors regular

    Oct 26, 2009
    i don't know which SLR to get..this will be my first DSLR camera, but i am a very fast learner and already have done much research on them.
    the only reason why i have a dilemma, is the pricing...

    i can get a DSLR D90 for 830 (body+lens)

    or i can get a canon T1i for 711 (body+lens)

    i just don't know which one to choose, i heard the d90 obviously better, and was told to just spend the extra hundred on a good one even if it is a first camera since its a small difference. those were the 2 i was looking to get, maybe if not the d5000 for 530...

    please help? any forums to help me specifically with slrs??

  2. compuwar macrumors 601


    Oct 5, 2006
    Northern/Central VA
    An SLR is simply a camera with interchangeable lenses and a mirror- we go to all the trouble of interchangeable lenses because they're the important bit. Until you start to spend a lot more money on the camera body, the truth of the matter is that to a skilled photographer, or if you wish to become one, the body doesn't make all that much difference- limitations are simply things to learn to overcome as you learn the tool and the craft. People shot for many decades with SLRs that aren't nearly as functional as today's lowest-end bodies- some of them even won Pulitzers doing it.

    Spend your money on good lenses, you'll see the results from that well before you'll see the results from one body over another. If you catch the bug, your body will probably go for 3-5 years max before you want a new one, but your lenses will go for 10-20 years- but with that said, go with and use the kit lens for whatever body you get for a month or so before you spend any more money- that way you'll know better what you want in a lens.

    Up until this week, when Canon USA pulled a lot of lenses off its Web site, their lenses were generally cheaper than their Nikon counterparts. We'll have to wait to see if Canon will do the same sort of price adjustments Nikon did early last year or if they'll stay cheaper. You may also want to compare the two kit lenses in terms of image quality and focal length, they may not be equivalent to one another and in that case you may want to factor that or a non-kit lens into the equation. Should you look at older used cameras, the older Rebel kit lenses were generally poor. That's not true of the current Rebel kits however.

    Try the models up and down from what you're looking at if you have a camera store or electronics retailer near you that stocks them- often the ergonomics of one brand fit better than another, but you should have an idea of what the entire line is like before you jump into a single body- as it won't likely be your last camera body. I don't like the feel of the Rebel personally, but I can live with either line absent that- and I could live with a Rebel if I had to- others are more picky about the ergonomics or viewfinders- you'll have to weigh that yourself and hopefully try them out to see what suits you personally.

    Nikon's flash systems are generally held to be superior to Canon's, especially for multiple-light setups-- however most photographers are afraid of learning to light well, and manufacturers tend to sell their flashes at higher prices than manual-only 3rd party brands. If you're not afraid to learn to use lighting to your advantage and you don't mind getting manufacturer's flashes, then I'd suggest leaning towards Nikon, though I don't believe the differences are as wide as they once were.

    You might also look to see what your friends have, as being able to swap lenses upon occasion is a definite advantage.

    The D5000 will not autofocus with "AF-D' lenses, the D90 will, so if you think you may want to purchase older used lenses, or lenses that don't have AF-D or Sigma HSM equivalents, then th D90 or Rebel will be a better choice. If you're not bent on that path, then spend less money on the body and start saving up for a killer lens unless you need more AF points or seriously prefer the D90 to the D5000 in terms of handling.

    Images from a $1500 lens on a $500 camera will look like they were shot with a $1500 lens. Images from a $200 lens on a $1500 camera will look like they were shot with a $200 lens for the most part- and for the exceptions, they won't look much better on the $1500 camera even compared side-by-side.

    I also recommend budgeting for a heavy-duty tripod and learning to shoot from it as often as possible, it'll do more for your shots than any other single piece of gear.

    Since you don't say what you intend to shoot and under what conditions, it's difficult to give more specific advice.

    [Disclaimer: I use Nikon cameras and portable flashes.]
  3. maddagascar thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 26, 2009
    any help please? i just don't know if i should just stick with the t1i or get the D90 or maybe even the D5000..just don't know the difference between all of them, i just know the D90 is supposed to be a really good one and the t1i is like in the middle for the camera series..
  4. maddagascar thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 26, 2009
    sweeet..yeah, i'm just torn between the three..your right about the lenses, as i have read that before on this forum. the body is just the body, its the lenses that show off the picture. soo the t1i would be good then? or even the D5000? cause i just saw that the d90 was huge..

    i'm going to be taking pictures of night time, bright lights like the las vegas strip here and there, daytime shots under the bright sun, i would also like to learn the effects of taking close pictures of flowers, bugs, etc...but a wide variety of things, people at parties too.

    i know the D90 comes with the lens of 18-105mm..and the others come with 18-55mm.
  5. maddagascar thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 26, 2009
    also, what do you mean by a good tripod? not all tripods are the same, besides height?
  6. compuwar macrumors 601


    Oct 5, 2006
    Northern/Central VA
    You should really go handle them and also look at the difference in the lenses focal length. If you go Nikon, consider the 35mm DX f/1.8 lens for low-light on either body. If you go Canon, you should probably get advice from a Canon shooter on which lenses are most appropriate. Many will recommend a 50mm lens, but indoors, that's a little too narrow of a field of view for most people on a crop sensor body, which all of your choices are unless you're looking at mostly doing single-person head and shoulders shots. People recommend the 50's because they're good in low light and cheap for the Canon and cheap for the AF-D Nikon that will AF on the D90 but not the D40 or D5000- a 35mm lens will give you about teh same angle of fiew as a 50mm would on the film cameras they were usually designed for and often came with as the standard lens. I know few people not shooting H&S portraits that would choose a 50mm lens on a crop body as a matter of choice though.

    Taking shots under the bright sun is always a bad idea- you get washed out colors, harsh shadows, blown highlights and often bad flare- you should avoid it as much as possible and shoot during the mornings and evenings when the light is sweeter.

    Personally, I'm a telephoto shooter more than I am a wide-angle shooter, so the difference between the kit lenses would have me looking at a body-only and getting another starter lens- but everyone sees differently, so try to go to a stocking dealer and look at the differences with your own eyes.

    For macros, a diopter on the front of whatever you choose is a good and cheap starting pace. Other than that, consider the Tamron 90mm SP Di, which is stellar on either company's bodies or one of the Sigma all-around zooms with a slight (not 1:1) macro capability. A good tripod and head is normally necessary for good macros, as eventually are ring flashes or other lighting options. But that really depends a lot of the quality of results that will make you happy.
  7. compuwar macrumors 601


    Oct 5, 2006
    Northern/Central VA
    No, a good tripod is sturdy and doesn't move from ground vibration, wind, the camera mirror, etc. A good tripod is expensive, and either heavy if made of wood or metal, or expensive if made of carbon-fiber. You can buy a tripod at Ritz, Walmart, Target or Best Buy. You cannot buy a *good* tripod at any of those locations. Most good tripods are sold as leg sets, either with an optional head or leaving you to find a head to go on it.

    Most of the point of a tripod is stability, but most photographers don't judge them on their stability. The number of leg sections and how high they go also affect stability- more sections, or having to raise the center column at all are both negatives in terms of stability.
  8. maddagascar thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 26, 2009

    i seee, lol, i'm still trying to figure out al the slr terms, but i'm getting what your saying. but i do like taking wide angled photos, and i hear that obviously for a beginner, the 18-55mm is a good start off lens. but i've been seeing the full moons on some of the other threads, is that done with the telephoto?

    its just hard triyng to figure out which to get, i'm probably leaning between the D5000 and the t1i..i just honestly think the D90 is toooo much for me..espicially since this is my first camera, regardless of how much the price difference is.
  9. maddagascar thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 26, 2009
    i seee, i really do appreciate your help as your very informative. any place where i can see the definitoins of this stuff?..lol.

    i'm probably gonna get slr for dummies.
  10. T-Stex macrumors 6502

    Jan 15, 2006
    I was recently in the same situation as you. I was debating between the Canon Rebel T1i and the Nikon D90 (or possibly the D5000). I've taken a few classes and owned film SLRs and a DSLR before, so I'm not entirely new to photography. I chose the Nikon D90, and added the 35mm f/1.8 DX lens for low-light shots. For me, the D90 felt better in my hands, felt much more solid than the T1i's plastic body, and I liked the 18-105mm kit lens more than the T1i's 18-55mm kit lens. I do think the Rebel is smaller, lighter, and does HD video better than the D90, but these weren't big factors for me.

    I'd suggest holding both cameras to see what feels best in your hands. Like compuwar said, the image quality between the two cameras and their kit lenses will be very similar, and your lens choices or other factors may dictate which camera you go with. Are there any lenses you particularly like for either model?
  11. Grasher macrumors member

    Jul 16, 2009
    Don't get too hung up on gear - there pretty much aren't any bad DSLR cameras and whatever you get will help you to learn and ultimately get better photos. Canon and Nikon are both good - just buy what feels better in your hand. Personally I'd go for the cheapest body you can find and spend your money on learning - a day's workshop with a decent pro will probably result in better images than extra spent on a camera body which you'll probably upgrade within a few years anyway.

    Books are also a great idea - I'll be the first person to recommend "Understanding Exposure" by Bryan Peterson (others will undoubtedly follow :) ). You can also get a lot of info online for free. A great resource I found were free downloadable pdfs from Photo Answers, a UK magazine. They've basically digitized the little booklets that they give away with the magazine from time to time.

    Whatever you get - enjoy!
  12. jammiefreerider macrumors regular

    Aug 23, 2006
    If your interested in the video side to them then go for the T1i. Rolling shutter with the early Canon VDSLRs are bad but on Nikons the video is pretty much unusable except in perfect conditions. If your serious about using the video then wait to save a bit more for the Canon 7D. Rolling shutter is pretty good, audio is there and its shoots 60/50fps.
  13. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
  14. Chupa Chupa macrumors G5

    Chupa Chupa

    Jul 16, 2002
    Really depends on whether you want to be a Canon guy or a Nikon guy. It's a little like Mac vs. PC. (Same zealotry on both sides too). There are pros/cons to each. Once you invest in a bunch of lenses for your body you are fairly locked in unless you are willing to take a huge loss and start over so best to figure out what you aspire too before buying anything. (I'm assuming you'll eventually upgrade the body).

    I recommend listening to a few back episodes of This Week in Photography and/or Photofocus. Both of these podcasts have Nikon and Canon guys so its an easy way to get an handle on the two. Also check out the forums at DPreview.Com

    Personally I've had a D90 since it launched and I'm still learning new things about it. The great thing about the D90 is that it has auto-focus built into the body so you can use AF and AF-S lenses. That said, I am a little jealous of the new Canon 7D, but mostly for it's video. I'm not a huge fan of Canon bodies. Nikons seem to feel better in my hand and the controls are generally where I want them.

    NikonRumors.com is reporting that the D90 replacement is due soon and won't have the built-in autofocus, i.e., you'll be limited to AF-S lenses. I hope that isn't the case, but if it is expect D90s to get scooped up quickly.
  15. Artful Dodger macrumors 68020

    Artful Dodger

    May 28, 2004
    In a false sense of reality...My Mind!
    I would also like to mention that going to a shop and holding the body in your hands will also help your decision in the end. I was all set to buy a Canon but went with Nikon because it felt better in my hands. The button layout is moot because most can or will get use to the layout of the brand they choose. I walked away in 2006 (I think) with a D50 just above cost at the time because they discontinued it which was good for me and I got the autofocus :)

    About the tripod, after spending some money on a cheap one and getting sub-par shots of the moon and other subjects I spent the money on a good tripod and head that with care and common sense, should last me a very long time. This has provided me with a nice setup and a big difference in the quality of shots not to mention I bring my tripod everywhere with me now.

    So as of now for me it's going to be the D90 or D300s but if I were in your shoes get the most you can with the money you have. Guess I'm saying if the D90 fits your hands well then go for that and the 18-105mm lens setup. I don't think you will regret it now or later.

    Good luck and enjoy!
  16. madmaxmedia macrumors 68030

    Dec 17, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    6 of one, half dozen of the other. I am familiar with Canon but Nikon (and others) have great DSLR's too.

    (Actually, the Pentax K-x seems like a pretty sweet value right now too.)

    Glass is more important than the body. But since you're just starting out, stick with the kit zoom lens for now and learn your style. You may find that you want a wider or longer zoom, or that a particular prime lens will work for you. Primes are faster and generally better IQ for the price, so if you constantly finding yourself shooting at a certain focal length on your zoom lens, then it can be a really good trade-off.

    If you are really on a budget, then buy a 2-3 year old used DSLR instead. A Canon XT or XTi will still take amazing photos (especially compared to any compact camera), and cost less as well.

    I have only ever 'upgraded' to year-old models, and currently have a Xsi. It doesn't shoot video but is otherwise wonderful, and cost me under $400.
  17. maddagascar thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 26, 2009
    i'm actually set, and probably going to pick up the t1i..

    i just like the way it feels, and just some short movie clips will be great when filming short things..

    anything else i should know about or to get when i pick up this bad boy this friday?

    and would the kit lens be alright if i had to take pictures out in the day i mean i think i just have to get the camera and mess with the settings..but i know they'll be like portrait shots out and about sometimes during the day though.
  18. mtbdudex macrumors 68000


    Aug 28, 2007
    SE Michigan
    Just a few picts with my 3 month old T1i & 18-55 kit lens, I'm still new to DSLR.
    You'll be happy with your choice, have fun, shoot lots.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

  19. maddagascar thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 26, 2009
    sicckkk..soo what were your settings? like did you just use the auto feature? i still gotta read up on how to do things manually and all that depth of focus stuff as well as taking pictures in low light will probably half of my photos.
  20. mtbdudex macrumors 68000


    Aug 28, 2007
    SE Michigan
    Get a exif plug-in so you can RH click on images and see the settings, I do that all the time to learn from others images.

    I'm new but will share my experience w/you.
    Simple advice for T1i if you want to be creative:
    Shoot in Av (Aperture priority). I shoot 90%+ from that, this way I select the DOF.
    Heck, learn DOF by taking lots of shots in Av so you get a gut feel for what works at what f stop/zoom. What is in/out of focus. Digital is "free", capturing the shot you desire will come after lots/lots of trial/error. Which I'm still so much doing, I delete 90% of images shot....

    If I'm shooting sports I'll switch to Tv (shutter speed) and play with different shutter speeds and see/learn the effect desired (stop action, blur action, etc) during the practice session, this way for "real" shots I have a decent chance of some keepers.

    For the family/group gatherings/"non creative" I have shot in full auto just to capture images, but then I also went to Jpeg not RAW because I knew these were "just lots of picts" that I did not want to PP later.
    PP takes time, and for the family gatherings, except for the "group shot" which I do shoot in RAW for PP afterward, way too many. Must have shot 200+ at recent xmas gathering.

    It's always nice to see "first camera picts", once you get yours take some and post here.
  21. maddagascar thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 26, 2009
    defintly!!! i just picked it up today..its sooo coool. i'm just letting the battery charge and will post some pictures tonight..soo i'm gonna try some night shots tonight at a pretty cool sign..stay updated!! and i hope i get a good shot..

    and i'm still reading all these terminology things and abbreviations such as ae, shutter speed and long time exposure and all the things. feels like i'm back in school and a lot to learn. but it seems well worth it.
  22. modular macrumors regular

    Apr 10, 2009
    there's a lot of good advice that people have given you, so i dont have much to add. Invest in good lenses, get good with photo editing software.

    Here is a recent shot I took with a T1i. I really like the t1i, but i havent tried the d90.


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  23. maddagascar thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 26, 2009
    wish i could see the picture you posted, yeaah, i just gotta get photoshop for my mac and i'm good to go.. i'm soo siked!!
  24. Designer Dale macrumors 68040

    Designer Dale

    Mar 25, 2009
    Folding space
    Slow down, friend. You will need to learn how to shoot good pics with your camera before thinking about PhotoShop for editing. iPhoto and PhotoShop Elements will do you fine for more than a while. If I had $600USD, I would put it into a good lens.

    For about everything you need to know about digital photography, look over DP Review. The Learn/Glossary is excellent. The link is in my sig.

  25. maddagascar thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 26, 2009
    your right really appreciate it. I should take things one by one. But here are some sample pictures!! some of my first shots, today i already took 200 photos and still learning..trial and error!!

    i wanted to upload more, but i don't know how to resize them or make the image size smaller... any software to do that? and how do i get EXIF?

    PS, i don't know what setting i used to do that..lol..i just thought it looked good.

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