Which SLR should I buy?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by paulg1979, Feb 26, 2007.

  1. paulg1979 macrumors member

    Oct 29, 2006
    Hi all,

    Been looking at buying my first SLR. I currently have a Canon 850 iS and is a pretty good compact but now interested in either a Nikon D40, D50 or the Canon 400D. Has anyone had experiences with these or recommend the best one?

  2. Grimace macrumors 68040


    Feb 17, 2003
    with Hamburglar.
    you can search the forums and find ~83 different threads on this.... :rolleyes:
  3. compuwar macrumors 601


    Oct 5, 2006
    Northern/Central VA
    What's the best car? Whats the best motorcycle? What's the best airplane?
  4. Veritas&Equitas macrumors 68000


    Oct 31, 2005
    Twin Cities, MN
    Nikon D50. Really though, you should tell us what you are wanting to do...


    Attached Files:

  5. mrthieme macrumors regular

    Nov 29, 2006
    I would read some online reviews and advice, then disregard it and go to a reputable shop and talk with an expert in person. Nothing beats holding them in your hand and exploring the menus and getting a feel for the differences. PS I'm currently looking to upgrade myself and I feel your pain.
  6. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus


    Jul 24, 2002
    I have a 400D. I've had it since the 3rd or 4th day they were available in Japan. So far I've very happy with it. It does everything I wanted it for and then some. Beware though there is a (steep) learning curve. This is my first ever SLR and you can't use it like a P&S. Also it's a dangerous step to take. Pretty soon you'll be looking an lenses twice the price of the body and telling yourself that's cheap!
  7. paulg1979 thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 29, 2006
    Thats what i'm worried about. I've read that lenses are so important and cost a fortune. My poor wallet is going to be abused!!:(
  8. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    Here is what you do... Figure out what the total system you would like to own is. You won't buy it all at once but you will likely have a set of lenses and an external strobe. Pick out this stuff then buy whatever DSLR body fits the lenses you like and your budget. The DSLR body matters the least all the other stuff matters more. Pick it out first.
    Bodies are the cheap part of the system and have the least effect of the result. Shop for the system components that matter the most and cost the most.

    Once you buy (say) Canon, you are pretty much stuck buying more Canon possibly for many years or even decades. So when you buy that first entry level SLR you are making a commitment to buy some future Canon equipment that is likely not even on the market now. So you have to have some faith in the company.

    Between the D40 and D50, get the D50. The D40 lacks a focus motor in the body and limits the lenses you can put on the camera to only "AF-S" type. Again if you look at the set of lenses down the line you might want and THEN pick out whatever fits on them. If you wanted a 50mm f/1/4 lens it would not work on the D40.

    Canon makes good stuff but their low-end lenses are a bit "lower end" then Nikon's quality is equal at the high end but Canon is much more expensive if you are shopping for high end optics. For example, if you wanted a 80-200mm f/2.8 zoom lens. You can get one for under $1K with Nikon or even a good used one for $650 but Canon will cost much more then that for about the same quality. But if you like those Canon white lenses go with the that brand now. In short "plan ahead".
  9. paulg1979 thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 29, 2006
    I didn't realise how much stuff you need to think about. I thought it was a case of buying a body, lense and card. Done. Obviously not!! I can see this being the start of a long journey. Sounds interesting though. I'm looking forward to it. Thanks for all the advice.
  10. miloblithe macrumors 68020


    Nov 14, 2003
    Washington, DC
  11. 0007776 Suspended


    Jul 11, 2006
    I havn't used the 400D but between the D40 and D50 I would get the D50, especially if you want to get some older lenses and still use autofocus. But look at the lenses that you want to buy, and then buy the body that will fit those lenses, and also go into the store and look at them in person. Personally I thought that the D40 was too small, so if you are interested in it try holding one in a store before actually buying it.
  12. Chaszmyr macrumors 601


    Aug 9, 2002
    I think that Canon has the best lenses, but keep in mind when you buy an SLR, you should be expecting to spend a few hundred dollars or more on lenses. You don't want to bother with an SLR if you're just going to use a $50 kit lens. I'd get the 400d with Canon's 28-135mm lens.
  13. Father Jack macrumors 68020

    Father Jack

    Jan 1, 2007
    As you have been using Canon and presume no complaints, stick with Canon ... get the 400D :)

  14. bluewire macrumors member

    Aug 28, 2006
    Bay Area, California
    I have a XTi and its great. In particular, its high ISO performance is awesome.

    However, as many here will tell you (and I asked a similiar question myself a few months back), the body of the camera might end up being the least expensive part of your camera collection when you factor in flashes, lenses, etc etc.

    Also, think about why you want to upgrade to a dSLR and what you wish to accomplish...with this kind of upgrade.

    Good luck.
  15. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

    Oct 9, 2005
    8 miles from the Apple Store at Tysons (VA)
    This is not accurate. In fact, most of Nikon's lenses WILL work on the D40. The issue at hand is that not all lenses will autofocus on the D40, just the ones which are specifically AF-S. Other lenses can be used with that camera body but the user will need to manually focus. In some instances this is preferable anyway. One CAN use the Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 lens on the D40, but would need to manually focus it. One CAN use the older Nikkors, too, but again will need to manually focus, and with the older AI-S lenses the camera body will not be able to utilize its metering system.

    Users of the D40 can also buy other lenses, such as Sigma's HSM lenses, which will autofocus on that camera. I know of several people who have bought the well-regarded 30mm f/1.4 and put it on their D40, as it will nicely autofocus.

    Getting to the actual topic at hand: read reviews, then go to a camera shop and handle the various camera bodies, look at the different lenses, talk with the sales associate to determine what might be the best for your needs, budget and current skill set as well as what you might want to do in the future.
  16. steve_hill4 macrumors 68000


    May 15, 2005
    NG9, England
    I'm getting this as my first foray into SLRs in the next week or two. Every person I've spoken to since it was launched has said to get the 400D/XTi. Since I'll be buying it from work, I'll be getting it with the 18-55mm lens kit, (only option they sell), but most other places sell it for the same price body only once you take into account staff discount I'm getting. I think the lens will be fine to start of with, but it may start off a collection eventually.

    Looking around at second hand Canon 350Ds also seems promising. they seem to hold their value reasonably well. Could anyone confirm this? I could look to upgrade it within a couple of years and wondered what kind of resale value I would expect from one in average condition.

    Also, I am a little worried of getting a faulty one, (been reading problems of underexposure), but since I would still be finding my feet in photography, what would people suggest I do to test whether the camera is okay?
  17. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus


    Jul 24, 2002
    The kit lens is fine. It's not the best at anything but it works and lets you get used to the camera. I've not seen any underexposure issues with mine and a lot of people with a lot more experience than me over at dpreview have suggested that it's mostly people not knowing how the exposure metering on the camera works...
  18. millyweb macrumors newbie

    Feb 28, 2007
    I have a d70 and I brought a sigma lense as it was so much cheaper!! works fine so should be the same for other models?
  19. Kendall015 macrumors regular

    Sep 12, 2006
    Though I may be biased (because I own a K10D), I think you should at least look at Pentax, especially the K100D. Unlike the Nikon or Canon cameras, the Pentax has image stabalization built into the camera, so every lens you use will have IS. Plus, the kit lens is pretty decent...definitely equal to the kit lens for the Rebel XTi. I would definitely recommend checking out a camera in person before buying it though, because how the camera feels in your hand is very important. I personally found the Rebel XTi to be very uncomfortable, though I thought the Nikon D80 was very comfortable.

    If you're in the US, you can find the K100's at Ritz or Wolf Camera, but if you want additional lenses you pretty much have to shop online because it's hard to find Pentax stuff.
  20. islandman macrumors 6502

    Sep 13, 2006
    Canon 400D would be my choice. I started with the 300D a few years back, and I now own the 20D and the 30D. I chose Canon because of their extensive lineup of lenses (including 3rd-party lenses) and accessories. I also preferred the feel of the 300D.

    Even though I no longer like that camera now as much as I did when I first got it (because of the 20D/30D), I love the ergonomics/layout of the Canon cameras.

    In my opinion, go to a store and play with a Canon and a Nikon, and decide which works best for you.
  21. Westside guy macrumors 603

    Westside guy

    Oct 15, 2003
    The soggy side of the Pacific NW
    Oh man, how about not liking it because everything about it is so maddeningly slow (not slow as in a "slow lens", slow as in "you're going to wait several seconds in between steps to do most anything")? :p We bought a 300D, for my work, not long after I bought the D70 for myself. Whenever I have to use the Canon it drives me nuts. It's slow as molasses (in January) to turn on; slow to turn off; slow to wake up from power-saving mode; slow to bring up the menu...

    I realize this is specific to the 300D - the 350D and 400D are not supposed to have these lag issues (I haven't had the chance to use those newer models). But man! That 300D is - by far - the slowest SLR, film or digital, that I've ever used.
  22. islandman macrumors 6502

    Sep 13, 2006
    The 400D doesn't have that issue at all. I agree that the 300D suffers from lag issues, but Canon has fixed those issues with the 350D and 400D.
  23. Westside guy macrumors 603

    Westside guy

    Oct 15, 2003
    The soggy side of the Pacific NW
    That's what I heard. Of course the work folks bought the 300D maybe 2 months before the 350D was released... :mad:
  24. carbonmotion macrumors 6502a


    Jan 28, 2004
    San Francisco, CA
    Ahhh! Deja Vu!

    Ok that said.... there's alot of people here who're gonna poo poo the D40 over the D50. Remember that's an Opinion not a fact. I my opinion D40 is alot more forgiving of a camera to use than the D50, not to mention the small size makes it easy transport. Yes, you do loose the ability to use old lens non AF-S, but I personally don't use those. If you're part of the demographic that will probably get one more lens, then the D40 is definately a camera you should look at. Additionally, it has better JPEG quality, viewfinder, and LCD than the D50. However, it does have fewer auto focus points.

    One big advantage for me is that it has alot of software features that make a new comer's experience to the DSLR world alot easier. Pros will find those features annoying.

    I think the most important thing is how a camera feels in your hands, I love the way the D40 felt much more so than the D50 (which was clunky) and the K100D which was uncomfortable. But that's totally subjective and you need to go to a camera story to try it out for yourself.

    If you can afford a 400D, buy that or the D80! they're better cameras than the other ones I mentioned. Period.
  25. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    Feb 12, 2007
    Neander Valley, Germany; just outside Duesseldorf
    The use of in-camera stabilization is not as effective as in-lens stabilization, particularly with longer focal length lenses. This is why Canon and Nikon chose to go with IS in their lenses and not their bodies.

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