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Equipment Buying a DSLR

Discussion in 'Photography, Art & Design' started by TNash, 6 Jun 2007.

  1. TNash

    TNash What's a Dremel?

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    I'm in the process of choosing a DSLR to buy and I was wondering what people's opinions were. I had been using a Panasonic Lumix FZ-20 up until November of last year when I stupidly knocked it off my desk. Unfortunately the fall broke the lens motor :wallbash: . I really loved that camera for the manual focus and fantastic lens with image stabilization. I took 900-some pictures on a vacation to California last year (hopefully I'll have the time to post some of them) and I got used to using it.

    I would say I'm an moderately advanced amateur photographer, and I'm looking to step up to a DSLR instead of buying another point and shoot superzoom. I'm no stranger to SLR, as I've used my Dad's old Olympus OM 10 for a couple of photography classes in high school.

    OK, enough with the background, time for some questions. I'm currently trying to decide between the Nikon D80 and the Canon Digital Rebel XTi (400D). So I was wondering, for the people that own these cameras, what do you like/dislike about them? What lenses do you have and what kind of image quality are you getting? Anyone that has used both: which do you like better and why?

    So, a bit of background on what I'm looking for, to aid in responses:
    • I'd really like image stabilization like my Lumix had, I tend to have a lot of camera shake. I've looked at the Sony Alpha and have thought also about the Olympus E-510 that will be coming soon, as both have in-camera image stabilization.
    • There have to be a fair amount of good lenses available (hence why I've narrowed to the D80 and the XTi).
    • Ease of use, but not at the expense of customizability.
    • Good battery life.
    • Fast response times.

    I know that each camera has many stabilizing lenses...but they cost a lot and I'm not made of money. The prospect of stabilizing all of my lenses is tantalizing. However, it's not a deal-breaker, hence why my thoughts have strayed away from the Sony. So....all of these reasons are pointing me to the D80, but it has a slim lead. I'm waiting for a proper E-510 review before I make the leap, but I'd really like to hear people's opinions.
     
  2. TNash

    TNash What's a Dremel?

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    Also...there's an image of my old photography teacher saying "Bleh, Canon" in the back of my head that may be slightly effecting my opinions. Maybe some Canon fanboys could change my opinion?
     
  3. Fod

    Fod what is the cheesecake?

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    there's no real 'better' system when it comes to canon vs nikon - there is just what people prefer and don't.

    some say nikon's cameras are nicer to operate, have a more natural menu system and the general service is amazing. but then i love my 30D's ergonomics and the rear control wheel.

    if it's between the 400D and d80 though, i would really honestly recommend the d80. it actualy had full manual control with buttons for things rather than that silly menu the 400D has, which means you can switch settings as you take the pic. i have held one and, again, compared to the 400D, it just hugs your hands.

    then again, if you can stretch to say, either a clearance or 2nd hand 20D, the game changes.
     
  4. x06jsp

    x06jsp da ginger monkey!!!!

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    canon eos 400d Cheesecake!!!! it owns!(and its easy to use)

    you willl not be dissapointed!:thumb:
     
  5. Fod

    Fod what is the cheesecake?

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    the 400D might own compared to the d40, but when it comes to comparisons with the d80, which was designed to compete (sorta) with the 30D (there's two levels, one sightly below - d80, and one slightly above - d200), there's no contest.

    i can't honestly say i like the 400d. the menu system just slows you down - it's stripped away what makes an SLR great - immediate access to controls.
     
  6. scq

    scq What's a Dremel?

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    It all comes down to what you start(ed) out with, and what you get used to. For me, Nikons are hard to use, uncomfortable, unnecessarily clunky, and just bad to use. Of course, that is completely my own opinion, and I'm sure Nikon users would have complaints about my camera also.

    There really is no comparison. Do realize that if you get into dSLR photography, you will someday accessorize, with lenses, flashes etc, and those accessories will eventually end up costing more than the camera, and will not be cross-compatible with other brands. What I'm saying is, be prepared to be tied down to one brand over another unless you have loads of money to be rebuying expensive accessories. This may mean giving up features or deals on better cameras in the future just so you can get a brand of body that works with your stuff.

    So, don't be easily tempted by a small detail on one brand over another. Choose one you like the feel of, and budget future lenses and stuff into your present purchase. Unlike buying a point and shoot, a dSLR is a commitment.
     
  7. BUFF

    BUFF What's a Dremel?

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    D80 is in a different league from the 400D as already mentioned.
    D40X is more Nikon's equivalent to that.

    & there are plenty of lenses available for the Sony A100 both new & s/h (remember that it uses the Minolta AF mount so all lenses meant for Minolta AF also work) & more to come - it's only the really esoteric ones used by very few people & virtually no amateurs that aren't.

    The good news is that there are really no genuinely bad DSLRs.
    Handling is very important & very subjective so get to a good shop & try them.
     
  8. scq

    scq What's a Dremel?

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    D80 would probably be Canon's 30D, if I had to warrant a guess. Each company makes small steps ahead of the other all the time. Rarely do they make huge strides (like Canon's AF technology 20 years back).

    I'm inclined to stay away from Sony. They have the advantage of in-body image stabilizer, but their lenses are VERY expensive, and I'm no expert in Minolta optics. Also, Sony's current build quality on most of their products has disappointed me time and time again. I remember my brother had a Sony camera a few years back - horrible thing.

    For security's sake, stick with the biggest players - Canon and Nikon. They have decades of experience (so does Minolta), but they also have wide industry support.

    I'm not sure what is meant by the 400D's interface. I never used it that much (only in store displays), as I've always used a 350D, and found the interface to be amazing. Perhaps Canon made some backward steps in that regard?
     
  9. x06jsp

    x06jsp da ginger monkey!!!!

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    the sony feels horrible to hold i would say stay away from it.

    @fod all the settings are to hand you just need to spend a bit of time to start with the manual finding how. and no the menu doesnt slow you down at all its very simeple and easy to use.

    i would say that your best bet would be the nikon d80 or the 400d whichever you can afford. for the money the 400d is ****ing awesome!!! and it is not hard to use at all.
     
  10. Nexxo

    Nexxo * Prefab Sprout – The King of Rock 'n' Roll

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    For what it is worth: I used a Canon 350D and played with a 400D, and although they are very capable cameras, I just fell in love with the Nikon D80, which I now own.

    The 400D is very easy to use. There are numerous shortcut buttons (if you know where to find them), has all the important features you want, has a comfortable grip and is fairly sturdy. The kit lens is a bit mediocre, however, so your next purchase needs to be some good glass.

    The D80 offers just a bit more than the 400D. Admittedly, it costs more, but it comes with a better kit lens, and has more refinement of features. In overall build quality and design it definitely goes beyond the 400D and amateur level dSLR in general edging towards professional cameras like the Nikon D200 or Canon 30D. Nikon has not skimped on the technology involved, which is normally only found in semi-pro and pro cameras. It is dreamy picture taking goodness. You only have to put up with using SD cards instead of Compact Flash, but I like being able to use the Sandisk Ultra II Plus cards which fold to reveal a USB port. Neat.

    A good quality, compact, lightweight camera can be found in the Olympus E400 (coming down in price radically now its upgraded brother, the E410 has come out). If you worry more about quality than about megapixels, try and find an example of the magnesium bodied 5Mp full-frame sensor Olympus E1 --you can still find some for a song.


    My verdict:

    Smart buy for the purist: Olympus E1
    Excellent value for money: Canon 400D
    Prepared to spend a bit more to get the best in class: Nikon D80
     
    Last edited: 6 Jun 2007
  11. Citizen_Insane

    Citizen_Insane What's a Dremel?

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    Another thing to take into consideration is the much better noise performance of Canon sensors. If you want to do a lot of night photography or stuff with high shutter speeds in limited lighting, Canon would be a better choice. That said, I agree with everyone that you should try out both Nikon and Canon cameras and get a feel for what you like better. Ethier brand is a good decision.
     
  12. x06jsp

    x06jsp da ginger monkey!!!!

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    nexxo you got it spot on!!!
     
  13. TNash

    TNash What's a Dremel?

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    Thanks for all the opinions guys, it's really helpful. I'm going to wait until a proper review of the Olympus E-510 though. If the image quality is on par with the Nikon and Canon then it would certainly enter into the running. I saw a couple previews that compared the 410/510 to a "digital OM" which would be nice considering my use of an OM in the past.

    With regards to price, I can afford up to the D80 but am not willing to spend enough to stretch to the 30D. The 510 is coming in at $1000 with two lenses, I believe. The prospect of using my Dad's old OM lenses was tempting as well, but I've heard that although an OM mount will be available, that it will not support many of the functions of the camera. Don't know if that's true or not, but hence why I'm waiting. I've used two Olympus cameras in the past (the OM 10 and a 765 point and shoot digital) and have always liked there stuff.

    So, thanks everyone for your opinions. I really just wanted to hear what people thought of the cameras. Seems like I can't really go wrong either way. I'm going to have to spend some time with the cameras at my local shop and decide.
     
  14. BUFF

    BUFF What's a Dremel?

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    Their lenses aren't really any dearer than comparable CaNikon plus of course there are Sigmas, Tamrons etc. to fit.
    However, for the last year or so it's been Sony's lens production facilities that were their bottleneck in production (they sold over 2x their planned A100 production) which kept discounting down (supply & demand) but now that they have more capacity the street prices have started to drop.

    & Minolta made lenses that could compete with anybody (& in certain cases were unmatched).

    I've used 1 a couple of times & not had any problems.
    On the other hand I dislike the handling of the 350D & 400D ...
    Now, there is no doubt that a lot of the different views on this come from what you are used to - if you are used to 1 menu system & try another then no matter how good & logical it may be it is fighting with habit.
     
  15. Kobalt

    Kobalt What's a Dremel?

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    I have had the D-80 with the 18/135 lens that came with it since last september and no need to say i'm in love. This thing is amazing to work with,all the buttond are well placed, the top LCD is very helpful and displays everything.The battery in it lasts for ever between recharge which makes me wonder why they're selling that battery pack with room for two of them in it,(looks i guess, it does look cool with it lol) the menus are real easy to work with as someone mentionned up here somewhere.
    There's no bad points that i can see so far (except maybe the price tag).Oh! maybe the fact that if you use it with the onbord flash and the zoom extended (18/135 lens) you create a shadow in your photo loll. I really recommend it, it's a gem :thumb:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  16. scq

    scq What's a Dremel?

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    People may disagree with this comment, but really, stick with Canon or Nikon. The 4/3 system has been gaining ground, but for accessories (which is what really makes a dSLR a great camera - accessory availability/support), Nikon and Canon offer tested and true stuff. With Nikon or Canon, you can rest assured that there's plenty of professional-grade stuff, with loads of reviews for either.
     
  17. coorz

    coorz Miffed

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    Agreed. Nikon / Canon have the best overall platform. IS comes at a price though.
     
  18. Fod

    Fod what is the cheesecake?

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    you might not think it slows you down, but i can do pretty much everything on my 30D without having to take it away from my face. try doing that with a 400D.

    plus, goddamn it's uncomfortable to hold (sony a100 is a million times better ergonomically tbh, although, i honestly think nikon have ergonomics down pat)
     
  19. scq

    scq What's a Dremel?

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    Is 400D really that bad? With my 350D, the only time I really need to take the camera away from my face to change a setting is swap ISO or file formats.
     
  20. Fod

    Fod what is the cheesecake?

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    blah, i just hate that they took away the secondary screen. i went from a 300D to a 30D and love the extra dials and buttons. you really can operate it blind. and i reaaaally don't like the ergonomics. it feels like a toy :(
     
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