Starting a system -- Nikon D300 vs. Canon 5D

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by cigrainger, May 14, 2010.

  1. cigrainger

    cigrainger TPF Noob!

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    Okay so, I'm back after a long hiatus, and ready to delve completely into the world of the digital (I went down the road of film too long for a poor student who couldn't afford development costs...). I have around $1600-1700 to spend to start off, and will probably add another lens or two over the summer (not expensive stuff, perhaps a cheap/fast wide-normal prime).

    I usually shoot street and travel photography, cityscapes, landscape, etc. but with friends and family thrown in. Most of what I do is wide to normal -- telephoto is fun for me, but not something I'd like to throw a lot of money at right now. I shoot pretty much exclusively available light stuff, and love fast primes around 28-35.

    I'm also a sucker for build quality. I bang around my stuff, and my Pentax ME-F has been a strong companion for a while now. I was put off by the poor build quality in the K100D, and in my brief use of the K10D was much happier. I like a rugged, hefty camera that will last a long time (because I'm going to law school, I will not have money to upgrade for a few years yet).

    So which do you think? I would buy either used on KEH or Adorama. It's between starting with:

    Nikon D300 and Nikkor 12-24/4 or
    Canon 5D and Canon 17-40/4L

    I'm leaning towards the 5D because of the full frame. The crop factor annoys me and I like wides/ultrawides. I also like the idea of being able to buy built for film primes relatively cheap, and have them show the right focal length! 50s, to me, should be normal, not telephoto!

    On the other hand, I know the D300 is the newer design and perhaps with better autofocus and 14 vs 12 bit raw encoding. I also do think the Nikon has better ergonomics, but I don't perceive as dramatic a difference there as many people do.

    For the Nikon, I would probably add the Sigma 30/1.4 (I hate the look of photos produced with the Nikkor 35/1.8) and Nikkor 55-200 VR. For the Canon, I'd probably add the Canon 50/1.4, but if I wanted a zoom telephoto w/ IS I'd probably have to shell out for the 70-300/4-5.6.

    So which, do you guys think, is the better system for me to start in, with the given information and the probable short-term expansion? I know Canon v Nikon is the perennial question, and you can't go wrong, etc. but give it to me straight. Is the 5D outdated now?
     
  2. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    I do not think the 5D is outdated from a picture-making point of view. According to the former editor of Darkroom techniques magazine and web master at The Online photographer, Mike Johnston, "the best digital B&W I see consistently comes from Canon 5D's, old and new." He wrote that on May 8, so that's been about a week ago.The Online Photographer: The Most Desirable Cameras on the Planet

    I still shoot the 5D, along with Nikon cameras. The 5D has a really weak anti-aliasing filter, which makes its out of camera captures quite sharp on a per-pixel level, and it has 12.8 million pixels, so it has a lot of big pixels, and an almost ideal pixel density for good performance across a huge range of ISO levels. The idea of 12.2 million pixels on FF is where Nikon is at right now with the D3 and D3s series and D700 bodies, and the 5D has excellent image characteristics very similar to the original Nikon D3.

    If you love fast primes of around the 28-35mm length, then a FF body is an excellent choice. The 5D adapts very well to many lenses in Nikon F and M42 thread mount. The 5D's sensor is a very nearly ideal compromise of MP count, pixel density, and high-acutance AA-filtering. It has lovely color. It is all the camera many people will need, as long as you do not want absolutely killer autofocus under the most demanding conditions...the AF system is the weakest area of the 5D. However, it is a very good camera, and the need for more than 12MP on FF is very minimal for most people. I'd much rather own a 5D than a D300.
     
  3. Pure

    Pure TPF Noob!

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    Isn't the Canon 5D MKII, $2500?
     
  4. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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  5. IgsEMT

    IgsEMT No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I'm not even going to try to add to technical data here :) but will add to with experience. I had/have a pleasure of working with 20d, 30d, 50d, 5d, 5dm2, 1dm3. Out of all of those, I think 5d is the better in terms of IQ and consistency. Since I'm a Nikon guy, I'm obviously more inclined towards Nikon :) , rather then Canon.
    For me, I judge the body by few factors, first and foremost IQ on print from non-processed jpg and processed jpg. If they are nearly similar, then I'm happy. Next is the feel: if it feels right, I stick with it. Nikon feels much more comfortably in my hand then any other brand.

    I can't honestly give you specific answer "go with this or that" but I think your first step is to put the technical aside and just hold the two,
     
  6. Sw1tchFX

    Sw1tchFX TPF Noob!

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    Agreed, i'd really go with the 5D. The D300's IQ is good for APS-C, but the 5D at ISO 50 and 100 is just in another league.

    In fact, because of the weaker AA filter, at low ISO's the original 5D has better IQ than my D700. It's smoother and crisper. Everything else though is really alot better on the 700 though.

    The D300 is a great camera, but if i were in your shoes, it doesn't sound like you shoot much action, i'd go with the 5D.

    Canon also has an awesome set of fast primes 14L, 24 1.4L, 28 1.8, 35 1.4L, 50 1.2L, 85 1.2L.. Nikon is starting to redo their old primes, but canon's got more flexibility in that dept.
     
  7. gsgary

    gsgary Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Here's a shot from yesterday from my 5D
    [​IMG]
     
  8. cigrainger

    cigrainger TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the responses guys! I went to the camera shop and felt them both, and while I prefer the feel of the Nikon, the Canon is adequate and the full frame sensor and more affordable f/4 range of L lenses seems worthwhile.

    HOWEVER, and this is huge -- one of the reasons I got absolutely fed up with the Pentax K100D was dust on the sensor. It's annoying as all getout. So now I'm reading that the 5D doesn't have a dust removal system and has problems collecting dust on the sensor. What do you guys think about this? The D300 is looking more appealing because of its antidust feature.

    I also felt the D90 and was thoroughly impressed. It feels great, and even though I know it's not as well-built as the D300, it doesn't feel plasticky like the lower end Canons. I'm not sure I need the hardcore ruggedness or 51 AF points of the D300 -- I may go with the D90 and spend a bit more on glass...

    If only I had loads and loads of money for a D700 and a range of wonderful high end glass...
     
  9. Montana

    Montana TPF Noob!

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    Is it hard to just clean the sensor once a year?
     
  10. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    I don't think that the 5D has much of a problem collecting dust on the sensor compared with any other d-slr I've owned. It does however seem to have an issue with allowing more dust onto the top of the viewfinder screen to a greater extent than other cameras I've owned. But as far as sensor blobs, the 5D does not seem to have a problem with that.

    The difference between a DX body Nikon and the 5D classic with its FF sensor is a big,big difference. They really are two very different animals. DX and FF make a huge impact on how lenses perform, and what your lens options are.
     
  11. Dao

    Dao No longer a newbie, moving up!

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  12. cigrainger

    cigrainger TPF Noob!

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    It was more like every day with the Pentax, and even then I'd get blobs in my pictures. Editing them out was a huge pain, and one of the reasons I switched to film -- digital wasn't convenient, which was its main selling point to me at that point.

    Luminous Landscape said dust had to be cleaned every day off their 5D's sensor, and even then they'd find it in the images. So this doesn't happen? If you Google 5D and dust, it seems to be a quite common problem. And it seems that Nikon's system works well enough.

    I want to go with the 5D, because it's the only FF in my price range. But I don't want to be healing out dust spots on all my pictures and cleaning my camera's sensor every day. You guys who have owned the 5D: how often do you have to clean or blow off your sensor, and how often do you have to heal out dust on your photos?
     

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