Neewbie going from point and shoot to SLR?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by mojer, Mar 27, 2008.

  1. mojer

    mojer TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2008
    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    0
    I am considering going from a Canon 6mp point and shoot to a SLR. Many people that I have spoken to have recommended the Nikons to me. On my current point and shoot I have a optical zoom of 3x and a digital zoom of 3x. I am finding out that one can spend lots of money on lenses. I would like a "multi-use" lens that allows me to use the same lens for zoom and non-zoom. I have looked at the Nikon D60 and D80. What should I be looking for in my first SLR (I know that that is a very broad question)? I want to have the ability to print out 20x30 prints and larger. I would like the zoom to be at least equal to the zoom on my current point and shoot. Any suggestions are much appreciated.
     
  2. Mav

    Mav TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2008
    Messages:
    1,457
    Likes Received:
    2
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    There's a zillion different things you can photograph and there's a zillion different styles to photography so the only person that can really answer these questions is you. :) There's some links in my sig that might be worth checking out for starters. If you have some sort of idea of what you want to photograph that might be helpful to people here trying to give you advice. Even a basic 6MP Nikon D40 is fully capable of printing great looking 3 foot wide prints. I have one and have done it. And the basic 18-55 kit lenses are "3x" zoom ratios. From slightly wide (wider than any point and shoot) to "normal" (about where most point and shoots start) to short telephoto length. Most p&s cams will actually take you further into the tele range.

    My advice is to spend as little money on the body as possible, but the most you can possibly afford on the lens. Even better advice is to find a lens you want to shoot with, and then pick a camera body to shoot it with, lol. The lens makes the bigger difference as far as image quality, but the body not as much. Plus the body will be worth nothing in a few short years whereas nice lenses will hold their value a lot better, so lenses are the better investment. In fact I just sold a lens this week that I bought used for basically the same price that I got it for a year earlier. But my D80 that I bought a year and a half ago for $1000 is now worth only about $500-600 used. Half the value.

    BTW there's about a few dozen of these threads per week. :wink: Some idea of your budget range would be helpful too.
     
  3. mojer

    mojer TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2008
    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    0
    thanks for the reply. I will be using this camera mostly for pics of my kids (inside and outside). No sporting events. Family functions, ect is what the camera will also be used for.
     
  4. Tiberius47

    Tiberius47 TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2007
    Messages:
    742
    Likes Received:
    46
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Sounds like a wide angle zoom is good for you. Most SLR cameras come with a zoom lens of 18-55mm which works out to be about a three times zoom. This will get wide enough for landscapes and zooms in for portraits.
     
  5. MX962

    MX962 TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2008
    Messages:
    225
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    "IDAHO"
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    If your used to the Canon platform why move to Nikon just wondering
     
  6. mojer

    mojer TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2008
    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    0
    I was told that Nikon is superior to Canon by several (I am not trying to start a Nikon vs Canon war). Should I go to a higher lens like one that goes up to 135?
     
  7. MX962

    MX962 TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2008
    Messages:
    225
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    "IDAHO"
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    :O ah I wont get into a debate over who is better,but I bet they also use Nikons. I think either are great but I use Canon only now and havnt used any Nikons since the 80's .Going to the 135 depends on the subject and distances you shoot at,i just seen what your use is,wide angle to 135 would be a nice range for you IMO
     
  8. audiobomber

    audiobomber TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2008
    Messages:
    108
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Sudbury ON, Canada
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    In all likelihood your Canon is a 35-105mm lens (stated in 35mm equivalent). The digital 3X zoom is just a trick. All it does is take the center of the image and blow it up, losing resolution in the process. In other words it is exactly like taking the original 3X optical zoom photo on your computer and cropping it.

    The standard 18-55mm Nikon kit lens is about 27-83mm equivalent. That's still a 3x zoom, but maybe not exactly the same range. If you're happy with the point & shoot zoom, you should be fine with the standard Nikon kit lens.
     
  9. Mav

    Mav TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2008
    Messages:
    1,457
    Likes Received:
    2
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    If anybody says this then they really don't know what they're talking about, and I'm a Nikon guy. Nikon and Canon are like Toyota and Honda, or Chevy and Ford. Which is better? You could argue for ages and the debate would never end because there's no clear answer. I think it's true that Nikon is better in some areas and that Canon is better in other areas, but overall still about the same.

    For family shooting, I think you'd be pretty well served with a D40. Combine it with an SB-400 flash that you can bounce with rather than using ugly direct flash from the pop-up and you're good to go. "Most" will find the Nikon body ergonomics better and the overall operation of their cameras a bit easier to use. And all of the automated functionality on the Nikon bodies that you don't have to worry about (Auto ISO, contrast, saturation, sharpness, etc) is a big plus too if you just want great photos and don't want to have to mess around with settings. The advantage of the Canon base end bodies is that they have full compatibility with almost all of Canon's lenses, as opposed to the Nikon D40/D40x/D60 cameras which are only compatible with Nikon "AF-S" type lenses. For the most part it's not a big deal, but if you want to use some more specialized lenses, a lot of them are still the older AF/AF-D type lenses and not AF-S. Canon's AF is noticeably quicker on their consumer level lenses which still gives it an advantage for sports in my book (pretty much the same at the pro level), and Canon does have a much more complete lineup of telephoto zooms. Nikon's lineup is more lacking. If you're not doing sports, this probably doesn't matter.

    Most important is to just go to the stores and try them out for feel and operation.
     
  10. mojer

    mojer TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2008
    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    0
    I like the D40 a lot and was giving lots of consideration to this model. However, I wanted something with more MP - hence, the D80. I like to blow up my pics to 20x30 or a tad bit larger. Will I be able to do this with a 6MP camera??? I do, however like the price of the D40. I like the looks and feel of the D60, but the three camera shops I have visited have told me to stay away from this model.
     
  11. Village Idiot

    Village Idiot No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2008
    Messages:
    7,274
    Likes Received:
    406
    Location:
    Shepherdsturd, WV / Almost, MD
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    The D40x is a 10MP version of the D40. Unfortunately, they won't AF with all the currently lenses in the Nikon lineup. They have to be AF-S lenses iirc. That may sway your decision.

    If you want better than the D40 but cheaper than the D80, there's the D70. I don't think you can get them new any more, but generally any camera you buy that originally costs $1000 is going to be well taken care of by it's owners.
     
  12. Mav

    Mav TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2008
    Messages:
    1,457
    Likes Received:
    2
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    I have 3-foot wide prints from my D40 that look great. I seriously can't tell the difference between my 3-foot wide 6MP D40 prints and my 3-foot wide 10MP D80 prints. The only concern with big prints on 6MP camera is that you don't have much leeway for cropping, like if you're trying to zoom in on your kid who's at the opposite end of the soccer field and your lens isn't long enough. The 10MP sensor will give plenty of leeway for cropping. Otherwise the 6MP sensor cameras are superior. They have lower noise levels, are a stop faster in normal operation (ISO 200 vs 100), and have superior 1/500s flash sync vs the 10MP which only do 1/200s with the flash. This is critical in my house where we have a direct wide open east/west facing and get a lot of light in the house with harsh light and deep shadowing on faces. It's a cinch to balance it out with 1/500s flash sync, but is difficult with only 1/200s. Also if your kids are running around and you need fill flash, 1/200s might not be quick enough to freeze their action whereas 1/500s would be. All of these reasons are why I specifically bought a D40 (and not the D40x which was out at the same time) as a secondary body after getting my D80. My D80 actually sits at home most of the time now because the D40 just plain works better for me in daily use. Better noise performance, faster base ISO, faster flash sync, and its more compact so I can squeeze it into my smallest camera bag with a nice big pro lens on it, lol.

    For shooting kids you'll probably need the flexibility of zooms more often than not, so the lens limitation of the D40/D40x/D60 cameras needing specifically "AF-S" shouldn't be of much concern. Nikon has a very nice lineup of AF-S zoom lenses at all price levels, and a lot of them are far better optically than the non-AFS lenses they might be replacing, so you're getting more for your money anyways. The only thing you won't be able to use (with autofocus) on the D40/40x/60 are Nikon's prime lenses, most of which are still "AF" or "AF-D" and not AF-S, and thus won't autofocus on these cameras. If you like the Nikon bodies better you can get a D50 or D70 used which don't have this limitation, or step all the way up to the D80.

    Still, lack of autofocus didn't stop me from plopping my 50mm f/1.4 AF-D lens on my D40 the other night and snapping this picture of my daughter and manually focusing. :mrgreen:.

    [​IMG]

    She never ever sleeps on that side. Normally she sleeps on her other side facing the wall so I can never get cute photos like this. :) I could have used my D80 which would have autofocus with this lens, but I used the D40 becasue it has better high ISO noise performance, it was so dim that I didn't think the AF would work well anyways, and most importantly because the D40's shutter is much much quieter than the D80's. Had I shot with the D80 it would have startled her and I probably wouldn't have gotten that shot. Took a few shots to get the camera dialed in properly before I got this one. :)

    Between the D60 and D80, get the D80. It's only $50 more and you get much better compatibility with Nikon's lens linesup even if it ends up not being very important, and overall it's a more capable body. So my recommendation is to either get a D40 or step all the way up to a D80 and skipping the D40x/D60. Or if you're ok with getting a used body, the D50 is a perfectly good camera too, as is the D70.
     

Share This Page