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Canon 5D vs. Nikon D300 - Help!
I'm brand new to photography - pursuing the hobby that I can finally afford and have dreamed of for decades. Now I have to choose which camera I want/need. The Canon 5D FEELS GREAT in my hand, has full frame, but no pop-up flash (would I really ever use this?), no self-cleaning sensor, less ISO capability (I love the night sky). The Nikon D300 has a pop-up flash, appealing computer system, greater ISO capability, VR lens, more FPS, but not full-frame, and does not feel that great in my hand. Everyone I ask is either a "Canon person" or a "Nikon person" and can offer me no helpful advice other than their definitive loyalty to their chosen company. Can somebody help me choose a system that will allow me to take some nature pics, some sport pics (little girl softball) and possibly some wedding stuff as well...and allow me to maybe grow into baby pics someday  This will be an investment that I don't want to have to upgrade in a couple of years. Thanks for your time orienting the newest newbie...

Comments (17)

This is not an easy decision because they are very different cameras. That is why you haven't been able to get definitive advice..

The Canon 5D is a unique camera with no competitors except at 2-3 times the price. It has the largest pixel size of any camera currently available and therefore should have the best low light capability. However, it is now nearly three years old and desperately in need of an upgrade - it is very likely that a new version will be announced in August/September..

The D300 is a very modern camera with loads of features that the Canon lacks. In many ways the Canon 40D is a closer competitor to the D300..

Advantages of the 5D:.

- pixel size which enthusiasts on the 5D forum claim gives it a unique photographic quality.- full frame sensor and therefore greater range of wide angle lenses available..

- if you believe that full frame sensors will eventually become the norm, you won't be left with with a load of wide angle digital lenses that aren't usable on a full frame camera..

- one outstanding general purpose lens available for the 5D, the Canon 24-105 f4 L. AFAIK that there is no equivalent available for the Nikon..

Advantages of the D300.

- almost everything else but especially (IMHO) continuous shooting rate, sensor cleaning and live view..

- if you want to shoot softball and wildlife, the 1.5x crop factor sensor gives you an extra effective magnification. A 200mm lens on the 5D is effectively 300mm on the D300. The higher continuous shooting rate of the D300 may also be important for these types of photography..

I personally have too large an investment in Canon lenses and accessories to switch to Nikon. I have been waiting for Canon to announce the 5D Mk II to decide whether to get it or not (or to pick up a cheap 5D Mk I). However, I have recently decided to stick with 1.5x/1.6x crop factor cameras because I am going to concentrate on shooting wildlife, but I am still going to wait to see what Canon announces in August/September. And I am not going to buy any more digital lenses until I see whether or not the market is going to go more towards full frame.Chris R..

Comment #1

Chris R-UK wrote:.

However, it is now nearly three years old anddesperately in need of an upgrade..

I love statements like this as they are a marketing departments dream..

It's the only "affordable" 35mm based sensor camera, produces wonderful images with the right person behind the viewfinder and simply because if doesn't have the current "features" it's in "desperate" need of an update and keeps you from picking one up simply because you don't know what features or when the new one will show up with..

If only photography was that simple..

And it's tough to offer advice when one shows up to a forum says they are new to photography and starts talking about 5d's and d300's and at the same time is worried a 5d doesn't have a pop-up flash. little girl softball doesn't need 6fps and ISO 6400 as much as people would like to think so..

I know it's all relative, I know you are excited, the needs for what's being shot are common, the tools offered to solve the problem are sledgehammers where a hammer would do until a newb got his feet wet and started to flush out his/her particular needs after some experience shooting..

I'd argue a 40d, d80, e510 k200d with a faster lens or two would set you up well so you could grow into the hobby as opposed to simply showing up and jumping into the deep end with $3-4k worth of camera kit you now have to figure out how to use..

Define a budget, define some shooting conditions a little more than you have, review a few more cameras in terms of the budget and then you might flush out where you might be going with all of this..

BTW - there are more than nikon and canon people out there, and with some very good reason for it..

E1 w/ grip, e510, e300 w/ grip, 8mm FE, 14-54mm, 35mm, 50mm, 40-150mm,50-200mm, fl-50, fuji - 6800..

Comment #2

How does your post help the OP make a decision between the 2 cameras?.

The fact that the 5D is likely to be upgraded in the next few months is obviously a very relevant point if you are thinking about buying one right now. The reason that it is likely to be upgraded is that the feature set is way behind the opposition (and all other current Canon bodies)..

I just hope that Canon doesn't cram in more pixels - but that is a probably a vain hope.Chris R..

Comment #3

Please re-read my edited post as I was editing while you replied....

E1 w/ grip, e510, e300 w/ grip, 8mm FE, 14-54mm, 35mm, 50mm, 40-150mm,50-200mm, fl-50, fuji - 6800..

Comment #4

I would not worry about the lack of pop-up flash on the Canon EOS 5D. If you're going to be using flash much at all, you should get an external tilt/bounce flash..

Nikon has a full-frame DSLR (the D3), but I believe it's priced way up in the "pro" price range, out of reach of normal mortals (just like the high-end Canons!)..

Can somebodyhelp me choose a system that will allow me to take some nature pics,some sport pics (little girl softball) and possibly some weddingstuff as well...and allow me to maybe grow into baby pics someday .

I'd say to pick the type of lenses you're going to need first see who has them and then choose a body to go with them. From what I've seen:.

1. Canon has an edge in "medium-priced" telephoto lenses (the ones that go for around $800 to $2000) in terms of the numbers of permutations of lenses. That is, if you have $1000 to spend, Canon might give you the choice between a lens with f/4.0 and IS, and one with f/2.8 and no IS, where Nikon would offer one of the two..

2. Nikon has an edge in "kit" lenses (and other slow, inexpensive zooms). (While this might not affect you if you buy a Canon EOS 5D, there seems to be little love for the older, non-IS version of the Canon 18-55mm kit lens. One comment I saw on a EOS 30D feedback area said that the 30D was a great camera but that the kit lens was not worthy of being mounted on it!).

3. There's at least a 90% chance that you can build a system to meet your needs with either Canon gear or Nikon gear. I think you'd need to have the budget and experience of a pro to push things so hard that one would become "unsuitable"..

4. I'm a very happy user of a Nikon D80 (and would gladly recommend it, and the SB-800 flash, and the lenses I got for it)..

That said, I think you should probably go with Canon, because.

(a) The 5D feels right for your hand; the D300 doesn't..

(b) Canon's edge in telephoto lens selection would help with the sports and nature pictures.

(c) You can take perfectly fine wedding and baby pictures with a Canon (although Nikon is supposed to have an advantage in the flash system area).

Now does it need to be the full-frame model? Or would an EOS 30D or EOS 40D do? (Those are crop-sensor models, but they have better viewfinders and faster continuous shooting modes than the Digital Rebels.)..

Comment #5

Part of your edited post now contains advice that is relevant to the OP's question..

This is a Beginners' forum. Please keep it friendly and helpful.Chris R..

Comment #6

This is a Beginners' forum. Please keep it friendly and helpful..

It was....

Cheers as they say....

E1 w/ grip, e510, e300 w/ grip, 8mm FE, 14-54mm, 35mm, 50mm, 40-150mm,50-200mm, fl-50, fuji - 6800..

Comment #7

Newbie73 wrote:.

The Canon 5D FEELS GREAT in my hand,.

The Nikon D300 and does notfeel that great in my hand..

You have answered your question..

Retired commercial photog - enjoying shooting for myself again.Hoping to see/shoot as much as I can before the eyes and legs gives way..

Comment #8

Freealfas wrote:.

I'd argue a 40d, d80, e510 k200d with a faster lens or two would setyou up well so you could grow into the hobby as opposed to simplyshowing up and jumping into the deep end with $3-4k worth of camerakit you now have to figure out how to use..

Define a budget, define some shooting conditions a little more thanyou have, review a few more cameras in terms of the budget and thenyou might flush out where you might be going with all of this..

BTW - there are more than nikon and canon people out there, and withsome very good reason for it..

The Canon 5D or Nikon D300 may be the best camera and system for you but... You lack experience and neither of these camera's are meant for new users. The internet will not give you experience. The learning curve for a camera or system of this type will have a steep learning curve..

Given your newbiness you may also underestimate the cost of accessories necessary..

I suggest:a) define your goals and budget.

B) consider a more newbie friendly body, the minimum one that has the function and features you needc) spend more on lenses than the body.

D) budget for accessories such as tripod/monopod, bag, batteries, cards, possibly filters, post processing software, a fast computer with high storage capacity and backup capability. Don't skimp on any of these.e) look at all the brands and compare prices between sources.

If you lack experience a 5D or a D300 will not make up for it...

Comment #9

I am not either a Canon or a Nikon person, so this opinion is not biased and the result of pro photographers comments..

The 5D is serious stuff. It rocks, it is an awesome camera..

But the 5D is also a bit of a dinosaur, it has been around a long time. Don't let this put you off from it however, because a good camera is a good camera and that is that..

The D300 is a bit of a miracle - it is at a relatively low price point and is considered by some to be superior to ANY product from Canon at ANY price. I disagree. Canon goes better than the 5D, and maybe those who say the D300 beats everything from Canon are a bit off..

So it all boils down to what you want. Though both cameras are indeed similar, the overall impression you will project with the 5D will be that of a serious pro, and the impression with the D300 would be that of an aspiring pro. It's as simple as that..

If you show up with a 5D and don't know what you are doing, you really will look like an idiot..

There will be some forgiveness from serious photographers if you show up with a D300 and do the same..

So,.

The question when selecting your camera now all boils down to -.

How much do you know about photography? I am not saying digital photography, I am saying photography in general? If you are experienced you will definitely project a great image with the 5D..

It's not what you spend, it's what you buy!..

Comment #10

Jimstonefreelance wrote:.

The D300 is a bit of a miracle - it is at a relatively low pricepoint and is considered by some to be superior to ANY product fromCanon at ANY price. I disagree. Canon goes better than the 5D, andmaybe those who say the D300 beats everything from Canon are a bitoff..

To say that bodes well for the Olympus E3 then as it is a match for the d300 save beyond ISO800 I believe from reading around and it hasn't even been mentioned once around here. combine that with their exceptional lens line-up with the only effective dust reduction and in body IS to simplify things and the OP would be doing him/herself a disservice by not considering one if they go for this point of the market..

Just another twist to the tale....

E1 w/ grip, e510, e300 w/ grip, 8mm FE, 14-54mm, 35mm, 50mm, 40-150mm,50-200mm, fl-50, fuji - 6800..

Comment #11

Mrxdimension wrote:.

I suggest:a) define your goals and budgetb) consider a more newbie friendly body, the minimum one that hasthe function and features you needc) spend more on lenses than the bodyd) budget for accessories such as tripod/monopod, bag, batteries,cards, possibly filters, post processing software, a fast computerwith high storage capacity and backup capability. Don't skimp onany of these.e) look at all the brands and compare prices between sources.

This is good advice, IMHO. Especially item "c". There are two main areas where photographers upgrade...camera bodies and lenses. By a very wide margin, lenses are the more likely of the two to retain their value. In fact, if you considered lenses that are in the same category as the two cameas you are considering, chances are very good that you may NEVER have to replace those lenses regardless of how much you grow into photography...

Comment #12

I'm a Canon person and happy. But if I were going to buy camera in that price range today, I would look long and hard at the D300..

This is perhaps the most modern camera available today. It has great ISO performance, improvements like sensor cleaning (helpful if you change lenses a lot, especially :in the field), a better kit lens by far, and every imaginable feature. I'm really impressed with what Nikon has done..

But one real consideration is your desire for wide angle. The 5D can give you effortless wide angle, since as a full frame camera it adds more viewing angle to any lens. For scenics, this is a real help. The extreme wide angle lenses (10mm or so) that you would have to buy for a Nikon to get the same FOV are more problematic..

Finally, spend a bit more time with each camera, especially with longer lenses, as this changes the balance and general feel of the camera..

Either way, you will do just fine. But as much as I like my 5D, I still find the D300 a very attractive camera..

Wick..

Comment #13

Freealfas wrote:.

Chris R-UK wrote:.

However, it is now nearly three years old anddesperately in need of an upgrade..

I love statements like this as they are a marketing departments dream..

It's the only "affordable" 35mm based sensor camera, produceswonderful images with the right person behind the viewfinder andsimply because if doesn't have the current "features" it's in"desperate" need of an update and keeps you from picking one upsimply because you don't know what features or when the new one willshow up with..

Amen..

The Canon 5D suits me perfectly. It's sensor is whisper quiet to 800 and perfectly usable to 3200, has a large frame buffer, doesn't make near as much shutter noise as my 20D, and is FF. The list goes on..

For my needs, the 5D is very nearly the prefect camera. Mated with the 24-105 F4 L IS, it's a killer combo. I don't care if it is three years old. When it's replacement comes out, I'll buy a second 5D on the cheap and retire my 20D..

Http://www.pbase.com/digirob..

Comment #14

I may be repeating some of what the others have said....

The "feel" in your hand is important. The camera has to form an extension of your hand and arm. If it doesn't feel right and handle well for YOU, then yer off to a bad start. Let me say this: If you think the 5D feels good in your hand now, just try one with the battery/vertical grip attached. Entirely different experience. I believe you'll be hooked..

With regard to ISO, that doesn't really matter. Unlike film, the sensitivity of a digital camera sensor is fixed. Increasing the ISO setting really just adds amplification to the digital signal. You can accomplish the same thing in software on your computer..

You are at the dreaded (and exciting) major decision point here deciding which brand to buy..

The 5D's full frame sensor is a big advantage, IMO. Otherwise, both are fine cameras..

Http://www.pbase.com/digirob..

Comment #15

Certainly, these two bodies are valuable and capable tools in the hands of the experienced pro..

But they also are quite forgiving in their more automatic modes. My 5D has a completely automatic "green box" mode, for heavens sake. In that mode, it's nothing more than a high quality, albeit big & heavy P&S!!.

I submit that if the OP (1) has the available funds to purchase and (2) has the desire to go beyond P&S basics, he is well-advised to buy a really good camera and lens system. One that has the forgiveness for a newbie yet can easily accommodate the inevitable increase in user skill..

Back in the day, before automatics, I would agree that a high dollar SLR might not be indicated. But today's DSLRs are designed for a wider gamut of skill. The 5D or D300 (and others) will work fine in the hands of a beginner and allows vast room for growth unlike lesser digicams..

JMO.....

Mrxdimension wrote:.

The Canon 5D or Nikon D300 may be the best camera and system for youbut... You lack experience and neither of these camera's are meantfor new users. The internet will not give you experience. Thelearning curve for a camera or system of this type will have a steeplearning curve..

Http://www.pbase.com/digirob..

Comment #16

I would like to thank you and everyone else for your responses to my question (I don't know exactly who has access to this reply). You have all been very helpful. Sorry for the delayed thank you - I don't get online often and when I do it's at work where I get a glimpse for a couple of minutes at a time. I'm very very interested in the 5D II - maybe I'm just hopeful, but it seems to have all that I will ever need and will be able to grow into over the years. I'm going to hold off as long as I can and see what happens. I do seem to be heavily leaning towards Canon..

Thanks again,Susan from BATH, NC, USA..

Comment #17

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This question was taken from a support group/message board and re-posted here so others can learn from it.

 

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