D80 vs Canon XSi + lenses

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by settons, Aug 5, 2008.

  1. settons

    settons TPF Noob!

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    Hi,

    I have always been into photography; however I have just decided to take it a little more seriously. I have been using Canon P&S digital camera’s for a while now and I feel like its time to switch to DSLR.

    I have been doing my research and trying to decide between the Canon XSi and the Nikon D80. I am looking for some help from you people who are a lot more knowledgeable then I am. I understand that I need to hold and feel the camera to make the proper decision, however I would like some help from the technical side.

    Aside from the camera, I need help with lenses. There are so many out there and I am starting to get really confused. Do I get a zoom lens or a wide angle? I generally take landscape photos and portraits. My wife loves flowers and uses the macro function on our P&S right now. Is a macro lens necessary for close flower pictures or can you get away with a more general lens?

    This is not my business; it is more of a hobby that both my wife and I share. As for a budget, we haven’t really established one. I would probably say $1500 with lenses.

    Please, if someone can point me in the right direction with a body as well as any lenses, I would be greatful.

    Thanks in advance.

    Dave
     
  2. NateS

    NateS TPF Noob!

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    Well, I'll give my advice about lenses, but don't know a ton about the XSI to give help there.

    With lenses, first off.....get a 50mm f1.8 regardless. Both Canon and Nikon are around a $100 and this will be a great lens for portraits and general shooting of people. If you pick up a nice macro lens like the Sigma 105, then they often will do really nicely as a longer portrait lens as well, so you could kill 2 birds with one stone on that lens.....also some of the older Nikon lenses are really nice for portraits and fairly cheap.

    The kit lens that comes with each (18 on the wide end) will work well for landscapes and general walk around. Sure there are better options like the Sigma 10-20, but the kit lens will serve this purpose well for starting out.

    So if I were in your situation, I would get a
    D80 w/ 18-135 which is 999.99 on BHPhoto right now.

    50mm f1.8 which is $109

    Sigma 105 f2.8 Macro which is $399.99

    That puts you about 9-10 bucks over your budget which is pretty close. You'll have Macro covered with Sigma. Portraits with all 3 but even better with 50mm f1.8 and a pretty big range with the 18-135 for walk around and it's a really good quality lens too (Image Quality) for a kit lens.

    Obviously Canon makes good stuff too and maybe somebody else can help you with ideas for Canon stuff. That's just what I'd do with Nikon to cover your needs/wants.
     
  3. settons

    settons TPF Noob!

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    Newbie Question...Is it ok to go with other lenses other than Nikon or Canon? Is Sigma a brand of lens that is reputable or was it suggested because it is cheaper and fits in the budget?

    I have read that you should not cheap on lenses, is it best to stick only with Nikon or Canon or can you go with other brands?

    Thanks
     
  4. Village Idiot

    Village Idiot No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Some lenses from other brands are good, but defining good and price are what's going to matter. Then again, Canon and Nikon make some not so spectacular lenses...they're the ones you usually find floating around for under $300.
     
  5. NateS

    NateS TPF Noob!

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    I would never recommend anything only because it's inexpensive. The Sigma 105 is a great lens regarding Image Quality. The Sigma 150 f2.8 is another one for about $100 more I think. Many 3rd party lenses are really great and many are not....but the same goes with Nikon lenses. You just have to find reviews to see which lens is worth getting.
     
  6. settons

    settons TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the info....can anyone jump in regarding my questions about the body?
     
  7. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Generally brands like sigma make some very good high quality lenses -- they also make some rock bottom price lenses as well - these (like the sigma 70-300mm macro) are very cheap and offer a lot of content, but they also tend to have a lot of shortfalls as well - often being soft at the full 300mm and generally being slower lenses - essentially you get what you payfor.
    I would heartily recomend sigma prime (only one focal length not a range) macro lenses as being as good as canon brand ones.
    As for the XSi it is a camera I am unimpressed with as whilst it takes a set forward with MP size (12 megapixels now) it takes a step back with frames per second - limited to something like 1.5 - which is far too low for anything like wildlife or motion shots --- this is due to the larger filesize of a 12 MP photo and the lack of increase in bufffer in the camera.
    If you are never going to to such photography then go for the XSI - but if you are then I recomend looking at the XTi - older body, but still very good and with top end glass will perform very well - and has a much more sensible frames per second rate.

    As for lenses - well a good macro at 105mm will do both good macro shots and also good portrates as well (macro lenses work as ordinary lenses as well - unless its the Mp65 by canon which is a macro only lens). The only downside to a prime portrate lens is that you have to use your feet to zoom ;)
    Something longer like the sigma 150mm macro will also have the advantage of a longer working distance (the distance from camera sensor to subject) which is very handy with insects = which can get spooked.

    As for which brand - well I would say best thing is to hold them in a store and see which feels better - sounds really basic, but both canon and nikon have very good bodies and series of lenses available - so unless you have a really specific area of interest chances are you will do well with either series (for example a lot of wildlife photographers and amatures go for the canon line due to both the canon 100-400mm zoom and the fact that canon primes tend to be cheaper than nikon primes)
     
  8. Village Idiot

    Village Idiot No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The d80 is more on par with the XXD lineup of Canon's. 40D is the current and 30D is the predecessor. You can get new 30D's with just the body for about $700. Good deal right now.
     
  9. settons

    settons TPF Noob!

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    So I went to a specialty camera shop and the girl there said the nikon over the canon, however she was really pushing the Sony A300. She said that it was a spectacular camera and was the best value. It was priced at $699CDN with 18-70 lens, whereas the Nikon was $799 without a lens (I think).

    Does anyone have any opinions on the Sony? I am not huge into photography so I’m not too sure. When I think of photography, I think of Nikon, Canon.

    Any direction would be great. I am more confused now, than I was before.
     
  10. Village Idiot

    Village Idiot No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Sony hasn't been around for long. The beauty of Canon and Nikon having a consumer DSLR market for years now is that used stuff is very prevalent. The Sony body may have a few features that trump that of Canon or Nikon, but where can you find a nicely used full frame Sony for $1500 USD? Or a Sony 80-200 f/2.8 for $600? Most of the stuff you're going to buy is going to be new. I mean, you can get a Canon 20D for about $400. It's almost the same camera as the 30D and is an amazing bargain; $400 for the line that's a step up from entry level, that's cheap. You can even find a Canon 300D for about $250. It's still a capable camera. Give me one and a set of flashes and my photos will look 100 times better than a beginner with a D700.
     
  11. Mystwalker

    Mystwalker TPF Noob!

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    Personally, XSi feels "small" to me kind of like the D40 and D40x.

    Never touched a D80, but assume it feels more like Canon xxD line - I have a 30D.

    With a $1500 budget, I would go with 30D ($700). You have $800 left for lens. Maybe a Sigma 10-22 for "wide" and 60mm macro? Not sure about pricing of these though. I think Canon also has a 10-22 but costs more.
     

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