four models im interested in buying


TPF Noob!
Feb 10, 2009
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Im mostly a newbie and this will be my first real DSLR. I have no equipment or lenes yet. No plans of being pro or any work related use. Main use will be family shots and mostly outdoor landscape and wildlife.
Looking for input on these four models. Dont want this to be a Nikon Canon thing either. Does anyone have any input good or bad....looking for things i might not pick up on while playing with each in stores.

Nikon D60
Nikon D80
Canon EOS Rebel XS
Canon EOS Rebel XSi
Go to a store and hold/access the menu's/and use them - all of them. Decide which one seems most pleasant to hold/access the menu's/and use and write down which one and why you like it.

After that, as Jerry said, go to dpreview or other review site and explore what reviewers say about your most preferred camera.

Any of the cameras you listed will, given an excellent lens, deliver excellent results.

My use of "excellent" is intentionally redundant b/c the lens has the first and arguably most significant impact on image quality.

As far as the Nikons go. I would go with the D80 over the D60 simply because with the D80 you can use any of the Nikkor lenses and, have AF. It makes life easier when upgrading glass.
For the canon, I'd go XSI over the XS. Or maybe the XS over the XSI and with the savings (if any) invest in a better lens.
All 4 of them would do the job well but I would probably go for the D80 over the rest even though it's the oldest. I would go to a camera store and try them out and see which feels and works the best for you. The D60 can't AF non AF-S lenses and you have to use the menus to change settings that should have dedicated buttons on the outside of the camera (most of which the D80 has). The XS is probably the best value for a newer camera since it has dropped in price while the XSi has stayed higher in price. The controls on both seem to be better than on older Canons, with some newer features, but I think the D80 has better access to settings and feels more solid.
I'd agree with potownrob - I'd prefer the D80. But then, the easiest way to decide is try holding them and seeing which one feels the best (while paying attention to features and price too of course). Get whatever you want and get shooting :)

P.S. I suggest reading DPReview (as JerryPH mentioned).
Is the D90 totally out of the range? It is a spectacular camera.
Is the D90 totally out of the range? It is a spectacular camera.
If the current prices of the 4 cameras the OP's considering are any indication, then the D90 would probably be at least 300 USD above the going prices of any of the cameras he's looking at. From what I've read it'd make a great first dSLR for many reasons but, if I were new to the dSLR market knowing what I know and on a budget (and weren't upgrading from a D40), I'd probably go with the D80 body only and try to find a good lens or 2 to put on it.
I'm a Nikon user, can't speak for Canon.

Having handled a D40 (my parents') and a D80, here's the difference between the D40/D60 (the D60 is essentially the same, a few more features here and there and more megapixels but otherwise pretty much the same) and the D80:

If you plan to use the camera purely for snapshots, memories, etc. kind of pictures, i.e. a more powerful kind of point-and-shoot, go with the D40 or D60. This kind of user will usually buy the camera, attach the lens included onto the camera, and leave it there for the forseeable future. Such a user rarely even looks into other lenses let alone be bothered by acronyms like APS-C, AF, DX, and AIS since a camera like the D40 represents a large amount of money invested and any kind of after-market lens costs about half of what your camera cost you, and usually more - if anything, such a user will buy a cheap telephoto at his local camera store, as advised by the salesman, that will work on this user's D40 just fine. Such a user does not require fine-control over his photos since he leaves the camera on automatic all the time.

If you think you might expand into photography as a hobby, get the D80. The D80 allows for much easier access to manual settings in order to get special effects that you can only get with a SLR, as well as allowing the user to use a large number of lenses from Nikon's lens backcatalog, greatly increasing the number of photographic options and looks that the user will be able to achieve. If you are in this category, you will want to make sure that you have a few hundred dollars left over to buy an after-market lens or two, if you barely have enough money to cover just the D80 and a kit-lens, then go with the D40 or wait until you have more money saved.

Hope this helps. As others have suggested, hold the cameras in a retail store to see which system you like better, and read camera reviews and user opinions at sites like
Thanks for the input everyone...i do plan to (have been with some) play with them all in the store...and dont get me wrong im not asking anyone to tell me which to buy. I have a lot more reading to do.
The D90 would be nice but i feel its a bit above what i need at this point. For now would like to stay around a grand. That brings me to the lens. Are the kit lens considered middle of the road for the most part ?? Im not sure to go with kit setup then add a lens or two ....or buy body only and other lens. Where do kit lens fall in quality
Kit lenses have made a lot of strides in optical quality since the film-only days of photography and there are at least some cases where the kit lenses of today will produce better quality photos than some primes 50 years ago - put it as middle-of-the-road quality. For a light user, the kit lens is perfect. If you're someone who wants to look into photography as a hobby, you're going to want to expand your lens library pretty quickly after your initial purpose - trying telephoto lenses, macro, fisheyes, perspective-control, etc.
Having handled a D40 (my parents') and a D80, here's the difference between the D40/D60 (the D60 is essentially the same, a few more features here and there and more megapixels but otherwise pretty much the same) and the D80...
You inadvertantly put me over the edge on getting a D80 as an upgrade to my D40. Even if it's not much better than the D40, now I will be able to make believe I'm a pro photog, walking around with different lenses on each camera :lol:.

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