I tried so hard not to do it...

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by pharmakon, Oct 2, 2009.

  1. pharmakon

    pharmakon TPF Noob!

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    But alas a situation came up that has me in a mental bind. (Get ready for a camera question, or just go back now... I wouldn't blame you)

    I have been going back and forth with desires versus frugality. I have been biased toward Canon from the start based on previous p/s experiences, I have been back and fouth between a 50d (Wants) and rebel XS (Probably all I really need for at least a few years) and never really considered Nikon until...

    Today I got out of my box in the middle of the store and went to electronics on a break, where I saw the Nikon D40's on clearance for what would be $315 (with kit lense) after employee discount. *Frugal side of me almost passes out from joy*

    The thing is that when I held the D40, it actually felt better than the Rebel did in my hands, but with the XS I could intuitively find settings adjustments for the things I think I would be using most. The nikon took a little more playing around. This however may be because my last 2 p/s cameras were canons so I'm used to their menu structure. :confused:

    I know the XS is a bit newer than the D40 from a release standpoint, but from specs on dpreview the only things that I got were less megapixels, lack of DOF preview button on the D40, and lack of auto bracketing on D40, but added plus of Spot metering. I'm sure there is more but I just don't know what to do at this point.

    Does anyone know of anything I would be "missing out on" if I got the D40 instead of a Rebel XS? (other than Canon vs Nikon banter, and just wanted to add that I know numbers aren't everything). Do you think it would be worth the extra $180 for the few added features of the rebel XS? Perhaps should I just put that cash toward an extra (AF-S) lense?

    I am not trying to start a flame thread or NvsC war... i really would appreciate any feedback though. (needless to say I have pretty much ruled out dropping the cash on the 50d as a starter camera)

    Thanks!
     
  2. Plato

    Plato TPF Noob!

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    I think that any honest comparison between the two brands is "Which one feels better in your hands?" You can't go wrong with either Nikon or Canon.
     
  3. DScience

    DScience No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Dude, who cares whether it says Nikon or Canon...as long as it says one or the other.



    Beyond that, and trust me on this, make your decision based on two factors. 1.) how much you want to spend, set a limit.

    2.) MOST IMPORTANT: Go feel them, try out their menus, and see how it fits.

    Then get the one that best supports these two criteria. I can assure you that cameras from both companies in similar price ranges will do the same thing, just slightly differently. Thus your job is to go personally try out those slight differences and get the one that is personally best fitting for you.




    (Nikon cropped bodies feel way better though ;) )
     
  4. inTempus

    inTempus TPF Noob!

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    The D40 also uses a CCD sensor, so it's high ISO performance will be pretty bad. It also lacks an autofocus motor in the body, so it limits you on affordable Nikkor lenses which will actually autofocus. Many people have fallen into this trap and are shocked when they go to buy a new lens and discover they are stuck with manual focus.

    The Canon's all have CMOS sensors and they all focus with every lens currently on the market.

    With that being said, at $315 that's a great price for a good entry level camera. If money is an issue, I would seriously consider it and learn to live with the D40's shortcomings.

    Personally, I wouldn't buy anything below the D90 in the Nikon line-up. I would go with Canon's. At the D90 level and above, that's a different game all together and honestly, the Nikons are tempting to even this die-hard Canon shooter.
     
  5. musicaleCA

    musicaleCA TPF Noob!

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    The biggest differences? The D40 has fewer effective pixels (6MP as opposed to 10MP), and has a CCD sensor, not a CMOS sensor. Canon has always been using CMOS sensors, and for good reason; they're simply better. The have far, far better signal-to-noise ratios than CCDs, and thus you'll get quite a bit less noise with the camera you have currently. (Furthermore, the D40's sensor is manufactured by Sony, not Nikon; Canon is all in-house.) The 1000D has 7 AF points, while the D40 has only three (!).

    The only benefit I would see is that the D40 would have Nikon's matrix metering, which evaluates colour too. But that's a very small feature to lose-out on so much for. My advice would be to save-up, and get either a 40D, 7D if you can swing it and really want the metering, or D200 or D300 if you really want to make the switch.

    Well I hope I can convince you otherwise when I post about my experiences for the first week with the 7D. I honestly think Canon's covered all their bases with it, and have nailed the features where Nikon had clear advantages (Matrix metering and CLS).
     
  6. rizomes

    rizomes TPF Noob!

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    When put into the same situation, a good photographer-friend of mine told me that "Magic is in the glass". Simply put: buy the body that will let you try lenses (borrow, rent) both cheap and expensives ones. You'll refine your needs in the process.

    For instance, I've bought a Canon 500D, put it on sale 3 months later, then bought an used 5D because of its full frame sensor. I'm now spending my money on lenses. ^^
     
  7. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Like DScience wrote, "Dude, who cares whether it says Nikon or Canon...as long as it says one or the other." I think he meant to write, "as long as it says Nikon.":lol:

    I dunno...Nikon, Canon,Nikon,Canon. I'm a bit familiar with the Nikon D40,since I bought one for my wife and I have seen hundreds of shots she's done with it,and have shot a thousand or so pictures with it myself. What would you be missing out on with the D40? First off, I think it's foolish to pay too much money for an entry-level camera,and the "new" price for a beginner's level model is wayyyy to much. In June, I bought a NOS, or new old stock Canon Rebel XS for $200, new in a box; that is about ALL a Rebel XS or a D40 is worth. Seriously--these things are a dime a dozen. Look for a used entry level model,and there are boatloads to choose from.

    As far as CCD versus CMOS, Canon's first "decent" d-slr was the EOS 1D,and it used a CCD sensor. A 4.2 MP CCD sensor, not a CMOS. CMOS Sensors are inherently noisier than CCD sensors, but CMOS sensors allow on-chip, pixel-level noise reduction, and they need that to overcome their inherently noisier levels. CCD sensors do NOT allow on-chip, pixel-level noise reduction,and they do their NR one step up in the image processing stage. CMOS images tend to produce smooth images, until higher ISO levels, where they gain up and produce lots of color noise, whereas CCD sensor produce luma noise which looks more like film grain. CMOS noise "measures" lower, but looks like crap at High ISO, while CCD noise measures worse, but looks better to human eyeballs--high ISO CCD noise looks like film grain. Look at actual samples,and forget the noise graphs when it comes to cameras--the stats do not reveal the way noise looks to the human eye. Odd, but true.

    The D40 allows flash to be shot at 1/500 second in normal modes, which makes it a great flash camera; it can also shoot flash outdoors synchronizing at up to 1/4000 second with very good evenness of illumination because it uses a CCD/hybrid mechanical shutter--great for strobist type stuff, overpowering the sun with just a small flash, skateboarding pics, high-speed action + flash.

    I agree about the ergonomics; the D40 has better ergos than the Rebel XS,and a simpler control layout and superior menus. What not many people tell you about the D40 and D60 though is that they can use 50 million Nikkor lenses---because of the design of the lensmount, D40 D40x and D60 can use manual focus lenses dating back to 1959,with absolutely NO modifications needed. Want an ultra-light 200mm f/4 Ai for $75? Want a superb 50mm f/2 for $35? Want a 55 Micro Nikkor macro lens for $69? Want a 135mm f/2.8 Ai for $69? How about a nice 80-200 f/4 AiS for $150? Any lens in F-mount, 50 years worth, will mount,and shoot, perfectly on a D40 or D60. Which makes it one of the perfect cameras for budget shooters. If you really,truly want 10MP, and a CMOS sensor, why not just buy a D40x??? You lose the ultra-high-speed flash, and are limited to 1/200 second flash, but get the better Nikon ergonomics and the Nikon lenses and the Nikon flash system.

    Bellows, slide copiers, and lens reversing rings, as well as extension tubes--those are areas where Canon has a major problem: Canon dropped lens aperture control rings with the EF mount, thus losing the ability to do simple things like reverse-mount a 50mm lens on a camera body with a BR-2 reversing ring and get macro shots. Canon macro lenses are few, and expensive. Nikon has three decades worth of macro lenses available, many very affordably because the F-mount can use lenses made from 1959-2009, and lenses with aperture rings! Among those who shoot macro seriously, Nikon is the accepted better system,both in terms of optics, but also in terms of mechanical accessories and the total number of choices. Dropping the lens aperture rings on the EF mount cost Canon dearly: the entire range of Canon manual focus lenses became useless orphans; with Nikon, there are around 30 million useable manual focus lenses out there for bargain hunters and students and macro enthusiasts, and the D40 and D60 can use EVERY MF or AF lens ever made. AF-D lenses made 1987 to 2009 will not AF on a D40, but once you get an intermediate-level camera, you're golden. Until then, ALL Nikkor lenses mount and shoot on the D40 and D60.

    The D-40 also has superb TTL flash control, which is an area Canon has had mondo trouble getting right, for almost a decade; TTL flash control has been more difficult for d-slr makers to get right,and is an area where Nikon has long been ahead of all other makers. Sad, but true.

    Both systems have their advantages. I own a lot of Nikon, and a little Canon. Canon's lower end cameras are not much to write home about IMO, but the original 20D and then the 5D got me interested in Canon. The 5D, now there's a Canon that was and is a true landmark body. I love the 5D.
     
  8. fiveoboy01

    fiveoboy01 TPF Noob!

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    All of Nikon's new(and also a good number of their "older") glass is AF-S and there are plenty of affordable and optically excellent choices with a motor in the lens. I guess we can argue on what "affordable" means but the 35/1.8 is only $200, the excellent and way underrated 70-300/4.5-5.6VR is about $550, 70-200/2.8 is around the $1800 mark, 17-55/2.8 can be had for $1200, etc etc...

    Yes if you want the cheaper(and this doesn't necessarily mean optically lesser), older lenses, then you might be stuck manually focusing. But if he upgrades the body later on to something with a screw drive then of course he would regain that capability.

    Do I think that out of the two cameras you're looking at, that either is clearly better? No. BUT, there is a $180 price difference and this alone would steer me towards the D40, and coming with the 18-55VR kit lens, which though plasticy and cheap, still is a very good lens.

    As always this comes down to personal preference, buy what feels right to you, you can't lose with either(especially if you pick Nikon:lmao:).
     
  9. pharmakon

    pharmakon TPF Noob!

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    Thanks everyone for your replies, several of you made some convincing points. I think I'm going to pass on the d40, and save for something a little nicer. I don't think I have it in me to fork over the cash for a 7d or d300, but maybe if I wait for the 7d backorders to be cleared up there will be some nice used 40d or 50d's out there. Then again now derrel has me thinking about Nikon so I have to go play with a d90 as well...

    Thanks again for all the info!

    p.s. if you have any advice as to how to find these NOS deals please share.
     
  10. inTempus

    inTempus TPF Noob!

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    Don't get me wrong, I would buy a 7D before a D300s if I were to buy another crop body. If for no other reason than I already have an assortment of Canon glass.

    The metering is a nice touch, it's about time Canon caught up here. The 19 point AF system is nice too, although it still isn't quite up to the D300s/D700 standards with regards to AF points and coverage. But 19 is far better than the 9 it replaced.

    As for CLS, given the type of photography I do it's pretty much useless. Try using CLS outdoor in mid-day sun... it won't work most of the time. This is true for Nikon or the new Canon system. I require radio triggers. If Nikon and Canon want to impress me, they would build radio triggers into their bodies. Why they haven't is beyond me. But hey, Canon gave us a spiffy new $700 WiFi adapter for the 7D. :)

    Minus some of the typical Canon banding issues (7D vertical banding - a "regular fault"? - Canon Digital Photography Forums) they can't seem to get past, the 7D is an impressive step forward. If for no other reason, the amazing ISO performance despite the increase in megapixels is an amazing achievement.

    If the 1D4 weren't pending, I would seriously consider buying a 7D.
     
  11. inTempus

    inTempus TPF Noob!

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    The comment about CCD vs. CMOS that Derrel made is true. CCD does produce less noise on chip than a CMOS sensor does, but the CMOS sensor has the distinct advantage of being able to process the noise it produces out on chip.

    Why is that important? Because processing noise out on the chip is FAR more efficient than processing it out off the chip (which a CCD system has to do). You actually reach a point of diminishing returns with the CCD system as having to process off the chip reduces the effectiveness of the processing.

    In the end, for most practical applications, CMOS is a superior system with superior high ISO results. There isn't a camera in the entry level Nikon group that can come remotely close to the high ISO performance of the 7D or even a Nikon CMOS system like the D90 or D300s.

    The only reason Nikon continues to use CCD chips in its entry level cameras (and CMOS in its more expensive cameras) is because it's cheaper to do so.

    Now, at low ISO high-end CCD's produce absolutely stunning images. If you're a studio photog and buy a modern high end CCD camera like those offered by Fujifilm, the dynamic range and color reproduction is second to none. The only down side is that even the best Fujifilm body can't compete at high ISO with the current generation of CMOS systems.
     
  12. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Camera rankings

    Looks like the new Nikon D5000 has amazing image quality for a small camera. By the time the OP's ready to buy, who knows what'll be the hot new small-sensor camera.
     

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