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Canon XTi vs Nikon D80
I am a photo beginner who is tired of the limits of a point-and-click. So, I have decided to buy an entry-level SLR and learn how to use it..

The specific impetus is a trip to the Amazon in about a month and a half. I have some time over the next few weekends to experiment here in Manhattan and get acquainted with my new camera before my trip..

I want to spend around $1000. I am trying to decide between:.

A. Canon Digital Rebel XTi with the Sigma 18-200mm f3.5-6.3 DC OS lens..

B. Nikon D80 with the 18-135mm kit lens..

Based on my research, I think the main difference is that the Sigma lens has more zoom and an image stabilizer / VR. What are people's opinions regarding the pros and cons of each combination, or is there something else I should consider? Specifically:.

1. The choice between Canon vs. Nikon..

2. Is it "bad" to start out with a non-Canon lens? My understanding is that the Canon kit lens is terrible. However, a photo hobbyist I know told me that I am immediately downgrading my Canon camera by starting out with a Sigma lens. On the third hand, the B&H salesman said that Canon does not make a lens with this kind of mm range. And this particular Sigma lens gets good reviews on Amazon..

3. How critical is image stabilization / VR?.

4. Will the extra 65mm on the Sigma lens make a big difference for my zoom capabilities in the rainforest, or am I kidding myself about any hopes of improving wildlife shots vs my old point-and-click at this stage of the game?.

Thanks in advance for any and all input!..

Comments (9)

AuroreDupin wrote:.

I am a photo beginner who is tired of the limits of apoint-and-click. So, I have decided to buy an entry-level SLR andlearn how to use it..

The specific impetus is a trip to the Amazon in about a month and ahalf. I have some time over the next few weekends to experiment herein Manhattan and get acquainted with my new camera before my trip..

I want to spend around $1000. I am trying to decide between:.

A. Canon Digital Rebel XTi with the Sigma 18-200mm f3.5-6.3 DC OS lens..

B. Nikon D80 with the 18-135mm kit lens..

You can also get the Sigma for the Nikon..

Based on my research, I think the main difference is that the Sigmalens has more zoom and an image stabilizer / VR. What are people'sopinions regarding the pros and cons of each combination, or is theresomething else I should consider? Specifically:.

1. The choice between Canon vs. Nikon..

Either camera will gove you vrey nice images. So will other brands..

2. Is it "bad" to start out with a non-Canon lens? My understandingis that the Canon kit lens is terrible. However, a photo hobbyist Iknow told me that I am immediately downgrading my Canon camera bystarting out with a Sigma lens. On the third hand, the B&H salesmansaid that Canon does not make a lens with this kind of mm range. Andthis particular Sigma lens gets good reviews on Amazon..

Take what this "photo hobbyist" says very lightly, IMO. Frankly, I don't think he/she knows what he/she is talking about. Sigma makes some excellent lenses. Some are not that good, but those are the lower priced kit type lenses. So, if you take the excellent Sigma 18-50mm EX DG Macro lens and put it onto a Canon rather than the cheap Canon kit lens, are you degrading the camera? No. The Sigma 18-200mm DC OS lens is quite good, IMO.

One thing to note is that any lens with that kind of range will have compromises, all super zooms do. You can't expect it top perform as well as a prime (non-zoom) lens or a similar quality zoom that has less range..

3. How critical is image stabilization / VR?.

I wish I had it on all my lenses. Of course, you can get a camera that has in-body stabilization so you don't need it on your lenses. It is a huge help to me with slow shutter speeds. Whether you think so or not, you will get camera shake at slow shutter speeds and your photos will look blurred. Image stabilzation will not help you with moving objects in a photo, that takes a faster shutter speed..

4. Will the extra 65mm on the Sigma lens make a big difference for myzoom capabilities in the rainforest, or am I kidding myself about anyhopes of improving wildlife shots vs my old point-and-click at thisstage of the game?.

Hard to say. The Sigma doesn't have a huge range but there is the crop factor that makes that lens appear as a 27-300mm lens. the 18-200mm might just not be long enough for wildlife. You might need a 300mm or longer and a good quality 300mm lens will cost you. Your greatest expense will be lenses. Get cheap lenses and you'll think your camera cannot perform when the problem is really the lenses.



Thanks in advance for any and all input!.

My humble photo gallery: http://ntotrr.smugmug.com.

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window..

Comment #1

First welcome! My comments are below (But note I shoot Nikon so inevitably I know more about the lens and camera range).

AuroreDupin wrote:.

I am a photo beginner who is tired of the limits of apoint-and-click. So, I have decided to buy an entry-level SLR andlearn how to use it..

You don't say the zoom range of your P & S?.

The specific impetus is a trip to the Amazon in about a month and ahalf. I have some time over the next few weekends to experiment herein Manhattan and get acquainted with my new camera before my trip..

You may need to work hard to get the best out of your DSLR before you go..

I want to spend around $1000. I am trying to decide between:.

I am in the UK so my knowledge of US prices may not be as keen as others..

A. Canon Digital Rebel XTi with the Sigma 18-200mm f3.5-6.3 DC OS lens..

B. Nikon D80 with the 18-135mm kit lens..

Based on my research, I think the main difference is that the Sigmalens has more zoom and an image stabilizer / VR. What are people'sopinions regarding the pros and cons of each combination, or is theresomething else I should consider? Specifically:.

1. The choice between Canon vs. Nikon..

Both will do a good job.

2. Is it "bad" to start out with a non-Canon lens? My understandingis that the Canon kit lens is terrible. However, a photo hobbyist Iknow told me that I am immediately downgrading my Canon camera bystarting out with a Sigma lens. On the third hand, the B&H salesmansaid that Canon does not make a lens with this kind of mm range. Andthis particular Sigma lens gets good reviews on Amazon..

Nikon does a 18-200mm VR but the price is quite high. It is however an excellent example of the lens type. (Can't find it listed at B&H). Canon do nothing similar. I have no personal experience of the Sigma lens to comment but I can say that f/6.3 at 200mm in dark rainforest might give you quite a few problems photographing wildlife. Your shutter speed will be low and/or your ISO will have to be high.

There is a review which is not very flattering at:.

Http://www.photozone.de/...af-18-200mm-f35-63-dc-os-canon-test-reportreview.

And a slightly more positive one at:.

Http://www.slrgear.com/reviews/showproduct.php/product/175/cat/31.

(The latter links to other reviews of similar lenses).

The Canon kit lens on the XTI is indeed substandard. The new 18-55 kit lens with VR is much, much better but is not sold with the xti. Nikon also has anew 18-55 VR kit lensBoth the old and the new Nikon kit lenses are good..

3. How critical is image stabilization / VR?.

It is more useful on telephoto lenses. So at 200mm it would be useful. On an 18-55mm kit zoom it gives very little advantage. VR/IS will not stop action (wildlife /people etc) only camera shake.**.

4. Will the extra 65mm on the Sigma lens make a big difference for myzoom capabilities in the rainforest, or am I kidding myself about anyhopes of improving wildlife shots vs my old point-and-click at thisstage of the game?.

I have no idea what distance away wildlife might be (or how realistic your expectation of seeing it may be!). My standard advice for safaris etc would be to get a 70-300 VR. I am sure Canon will do something similar but I found this at B&H:.

Http://www.bhphotovideo.com/.../534333-REG/Nikon__D80_SLR_Digital_Camera.html.

And if that is bit rich for you:.

Http://www.bhphotovideo.com/.../532255-REG/Nikon__D40_SLR_Digital_Camera.html.

The ideal combination would be the 18-135mm (Canon make nothing similar) and the 70-300 VR. I like an overlap of lenses so you are not swaping them all the time) You might find someone selling a Nikon D40x or D60 with that combination..

An 18-55 would be OK but 18-70 is much better and 18-135 even more versatile still as a walk around general purpose lens. None of them will really work with wildlife but you might get by with the 18-135 if the wildlife is close..

Thanks in advance for any and all input!.

You are welcome.

** As a rule of thumb (people vary wildly) you can hand hold a shot at the reciprocal of the EFFECTIVE focal length. Thus for a Canon that is:200mm 200 x 1.6/1 = 1/320th100mm 100 x 1.6/1 = 1/160th50mm 50 x 1.6/1 = 1/80th.

For a Nikon it is :200mm 200 x 1.5/1 = 1/300thetetc.

Chris Elliott.

*Nikon* D Eighty + Fifty - Other equipment in Profile.

Http://PlacidoD.Zenfolio.com/..

Comment #2

Nothing's easy..

First of all, neither of those cameras is "entry level" The Nikon is fourth from the bottom at Nikon (D40, D40X, D60) and over at Canon, well, Canon just starts making cameras pretty far up the quality / feature scale..

As someone said, you can buy the Sigma lens for the Nikon..

No harm in buying a non-Nikon or non-Canon lens, as long as you buy a good one from someone else, and that Sigma is an excellent lens..

How serious do you want to be about photography?.

I got a call yesterday from a friend who had just bought a Canon S5 IS one-piece camera with image stabilization and a nice long zoom lens, plus really good closeup ability. I went to the store and looked at it, and it sure seems like a great camera to me..

Costs less, is stabilized, bigger zoom range, light weight and easy to carry, .....

BAK..

Comment #3

Now I am thinking about switching to Nikon, either:.

1. D60 + 18-55mm VR + 70-300mm VR = $1099.

2. D80 + 18-55mm VR + 55-200mm VR = $1029.

3. D80 + Sigma 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3OS lens = $1229.

The D60 is not sold (at B&H, anyway) as body only, so I'd be stuck with the 18-55mm kit lens..

I currently have the Canon 400D + 18-200mm VR = $1049 on order but am well within the exchange window..

I think the tradeoff is one versatile lens versus 2 higher quality lenses. On one hand, I think it'd be easier to learn the camera without worrying about changing lenses. On the other hand, I would probably better appreciate the quality in the long run...

Comment #4

Take what this "photo hobbyist" says very lightly, IMO. Frankly, Idon't think he/she knows what he/she is talking about. Sigma makessome excellent lenses..

This seems to be the consensus from others I've spoken to. The person in question has a lot of experience with analog photography but only switched to digital 2 years ago. I think he is grappling with a technology learning curve and is also a bit of a photo (and Nikon!) "purist". I do not have such misconceptions about the stability of my hand!.

3. How critical is image stabilization / VR?.

I wish I had it on all my lenses. Of course, you can get a camerathat has in-body stabilization so you don't need it on your lenses..

I didn't know that you could get in-body stabilization. I will look into that too, but I'm guessing that one pays a premium for it!.

The18-200mm might just not be long enough for wildlife..

I might be ok with this as long as I know what to expect for whatever I'm spending. Since I'm new at this, I don't want to go completely overboard. I want to play with the camera for awhile and decide which features are important to me. So, I think it's best to start out with something versatile..

Thank you for the input!..

Comment #5

You may need to work hard to get the best out of your DSLR before yougo..

I know it's not an ideal amount of time. However, I have 1 long weekend, 3 regular weekends, and a week of local vacation before my actual trip. I hope that if I make this a priority I will get past the real beginner basics and get comfortable with the camera. As long as I can take photos that are at least as proficient as a point-and-click, then I am not losing anything in terms of photo quality on my trip. Everything else is gravy for now..

The ideal combination would be the 18-135mm (Canon make nothingsimilar) and the 70-300 VR. I like an overlap of lenses so you arenot swaping them all the time) You might find someone selling a NikonD40x or D60 with that combination..

I have no personal experience of the Sigmalens to comment but I can say that f/6.3 at 200mm in dark rainforestmight give you quite a few problems photographing wildlife. Yourshutter speed will be low and/or your ISO will have to be high. Thatis a very slow lens at 200mm..

Thanks for pointing out the lens overlap and the f stops. That gives me a few more things to research and consider..

I really appreciate your help!..

Comment #6

How serious do you want to be about photography?.

Well, I would like to invest some time in learning it. I could see myself becoming a somewhat serious hobbyist but until I have more experience it's hard to tell how I will feel aboout it. I think it will fit well into my lifestyle and complement my interests (especially travel)..

That being said, I'm not sure that I want to use a one-piece because if I do get into photography it won't provide me with as much versatility...

Comment #7

Not sure what your location is, but I just purchased a Nikon D80 with 2 lenses (Nikkor 55-200 F4-5.6 and a Nikkor 18-55 F3.5-5.6) for less than $1000 at Ritz Cameras.Just in case you have oine near. FWIW...

Comment #8

AuroreDupin wrote:.

Take what this "photo hobbyist" says very lightly, IMO. Frankly, Idon't think he/she knows what he/she is talking about. Sigma makessome excellent lenses..

This seems to be the consensus from others I've spoken to. Theperson in question has a lot of experience with analog photographybut only switched to digital 2 years ago. I think he is grapplingwith a technology learning curve and is also a bit of a photo (andNikon!) "purist". I do not have such misconceptions about thestability of my hand!.

3. How critical is image stabilization / VR?.

I wish I had it on all my lenses. Of course, you can get a camerathat has in-body stabilization so you don't need it on your lenses..

I didn't know that you could get in-body stabilization. I will lookinto that too, but I'm guessing that one pays a premium for it!.

There's really no premium for it in-body. You do pay a premium for it in a lens. Pentax (and the Samsung clones), Sony, and Olympus all offer it in their camera bodies. You can buy an Olympus E-510 with two kit lenses (which are very, very good lenses - better than other brand's kit lenses) for around $600.00..

The18-200mm might just not be long enough for wildlife..

I might be ok with this as long as I know what to expect for whateverI'm spending. Since I'm new at this, I don't want to go completelyoverboard. I want to play with the camera for awhile and decidewhich features are important to me. So, I think it's best to startout with something versatile..

Thank you for the input!.

My humble photo gallery: http://ntotrr.smugmug.com.

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window..

Comment #9

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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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