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First ever camera - Which DSLR?!
Hi.

I'm saving to buy my first camera next year, I've desided on a digital SLR.At this stage Nikon D40X and Canon 400D are even for me..

I've been reading a lot in forums, and each website's forum seems to prefer either one or the other, with very specific views on which is better..

This is a very serious decision for me - my Dad was a professional photographer and it is one of my dreams to be a professional as well one day. He always felt that Nikon made the best cameras in the world (aside from Hasselblad which I think not many individuals can afford)..

In my area the Canon is more expensive than the Nikon, so I'm wondering if it is really worth it for me to spend extra on the Canon. What will work out the best in the long run? I am mostly interested in Macro and Nature photography, much more than Portrait but I will definitely be doing that too..

Any comments will be welcome...

Comments (40)

Christine Manley wrote:.

Hi.

I'm saving to buy my first camera next year, I've desided on adigital SLR.At this stage Nikon D40X and Canon 400D are even for me..

I've been reading a lot in forums, and each website's forum seems toprefer either one or the other, with very specific views on which isbetter..

Heh, it's not important..

What's important is what fits best in your hand. Try them!.

Then, since your dad was in the business, do you have access to lenses, flashes, accesories? That's a major point..

Third, what do your friends shoot with? It's nice to be able to borrow equipment..

Lastly, remember you are buying into a system. Look at what lenses are available for each camera. Consider which lenses will you want/need in the future. Check the prices. Same for flashes..

This is a very serious decision for me - my Dad was a professionalphotographer and it is one of my dreams to be a professional as wellone day. He always felt that Nikon made the best cameras in theworld (aside from Hasselblad which I think not many individuals canafford)..

In my area the Canon is more expensive than the Nikon, so I'mwondering if it is really worth it for me to spend extra on theCanon. What will work out the best in the long run? I am mostlyinterested in Macro and Nature photography, much more than Portraitbut I will definitely be doing that too..

Only serious difference I see between those cameras are that you'll need to be more carefull what lenses will you buy for Nikon - you'll be loosing autofocus if the lens has not an internal motor..

Any comments will be welcome...

Comment #1

Devnull wrote:.

What's important is what fits best in your hand. Try them!.

Normally, that's one of the most important aspects for me, but since the original poster expressed a major interest in macro and nature photography at the professional level, as well as portrait work, the camera will likely be shot from a tripod most of the time. So the best fit in hand may not be quite as important here..

Then, since your dad was in the business, do you have access tolenses, flashes, accesories? That's a major point..

Third, what do your friends shoot with? It's nice to be able toborrow equipment..

Lastly, remember you are buying into a system. Look at what lensesare available for each camera. Consider which lenses will youwant/need in the future. Check the prices. Same for flashes..

Only serious difference I see between those cameras are that you'llneed to be more carefull what lenses will you buy for Nikon - you'llbe loosing autofocus if the lens has not an internal motor..

All great points. Other differences of note between the bodies include the Canon's mirror lock-up facility (a highly desirable feature for maximizing sharpness, especially for those high magnification macro shots) and dust removal system...

Comment #2

Thanx for the advice..

Unfortunately I never even got to see any of my Dad's equipment, I think he sold everything at one stage. Actually he passed away about 10 years ago, otherwise I would have asked him these questions..

I have not one single friend or aquantance who owns or who is interested in photography like I am or even owns a decent camera like the type I want to buy..

I am really a newby in every sense or the word, with no one to help me out.So thank you very much for you advice on this...

Comment #3

"All great points. Other differences of note between the bodies include the Canon's mirror lock-up facility (a highly desirable feature for maximizing sharpness, especially for those high magnification macro shots) and dust removal system.".

That makes perfect sense to me, thank you very much for your help!I do need all the help I can get...

Comment #4

Christine Manley wrote:.

I have not one single friend or aquantance who owns or who isinterested in photography like I am or even owns a decent camera likethe type I want to buy..

Then it's relatively the same to you. Here, an extra advice. Take a piece of paper and write down your purchase and then the lenses and accesories you think you'll buy in the forseable future. Compare the price..

Since you are a beginner, you'll also need help selecting the lenses. Feel free to ask around in these forums; also fred miranda reviews (google for it) have a very good lens database..

Sooner or later you'll probably want:.

- a normal zoom lens (18- something);- a telephoto zoom (70-200 or 300)- a macro lens- a few fast primes- flash or flash system.

Keep in mind, it's about compromise. The bigger the zoom ratio, the lower the quality. The faster the lens, the heavier and more expensive..

You'll need to ask also in the Nikon lens forum; I don't know which Nikon lenses have internal focus motors..

As you can probably guess, the lens cost will quite fast surpass the camera cost..

I guess a normal start could be a kit lens (normal zoom) and a fast prime - but that's according to your style..

/d/n.

I am really a newby in every sense or the word, with no one to helpme out.So thank you very much for you advice on this...

Comment #5

If trend will continue soon only Canon and Nikon will exist..

I remember being impressed by photos made by friend of my parents who used Minolta camera back then. It was key decision why I went Minolta way..

In hands of talented and skilled photographer every camera can help him do winner images..

Pentax has some exceptional glass, Minolta(Sony) too, Olympus are awesome..

Http://www.stan-pustylnik.smugmug.com..

Comment #6

To be fair, both Canon and Nikon make excellent cameras and lenses..

Over the years, there has been a tremendous shift in the factors that make a good camera body. Today, people are concerned about image sensors, processing speed, bit depth, Bayer demosaicing algorithms, and dust avoidance/removal strategies. None of these mattered when your father was a pro..

To make things even more complicated, all of these important issues, are short term issues. If you intend to be a pro photographer, you will be replacing any body you buy today within 3 years. On the other hand, if you buy a good lens today, you can use it for over 10 years..

Picking a system today is an exercise in predicting the future. Which company will invent and patent the next great technology?.

Nikon has a patent on a sensor technology that samples all 3 colors for each pixel, without the light loss inherit in current systems. Of course, it's not clear if the idea can be made to work in the real world on an affordable basis. it may never become a product, or it might become the must-have technology for the next decade..

Canon is more than a camera company, they not only build the bodies, but they design and build the chips used in the cameras. This might give them an edge in developing new technology..

On the other hand, Nikon makes the machines that build the chips..

Canon has a newer lens mount, designed for the electronic age. All EOS-EF lenses work on every Canon EOS camera (either digital or film) with full functionality. Canon has recently introduced some EF-S lenses, which only fit on crop factor cameras (most of the consumer DSLR line)..

Nikon has a much older lens mount. They have shoe-horned electronics into the system. Although any Nikon lens should fit on any Nikon camera, you won't always have full functionality (auto focus or auto-aperture may not work). Sometimes a fully manual lens is just what the job requires..

If you are a pro, you will eventually need something serviced or repaired. Are you closer to a Canon or a Nikon service center? Do you have any contacts in either Canon Professional Services (CPS) or Nikon Professional Services (NPS)? Both organizations are a great help to professional photographers..

Do you have friends or associates that you could borrow equipment from? Which system do they use?.

It's a complicated question. Nikon is better for some, and Canon is better for others..

It's hard to get a straight answer out of people. I have thousands of dollars invested in my gear. Naturally, I want to think that my gear is better, I would be depressed to think I had invested in the wrong system..

Good luck. Let us know what you chose, and which factors were important to you..

Neither system is a mistake...

Comment #7

Christine, if this is your first digital camera, consider investing in a high quality digicam and master the basics of digital photography before plunging into a more expensive and complicated DSLR system. If you like Nikon, the CP 5100 would be a good choice. It includes many manual controls with which you can experiment. Used but very full featured digicams like the Nikon 8400, 8700, or 8800 could also be a good choices. These will also allow you to work on raw files, which pros like to use to achieve the best print quality. The Nikon digicams have high quality lenses and are excellent for macro work- the 8700 in particular.



The camera is only the first of three things you need to make a good print. The other two are image editing software and a quality printer. There's a considerable learning curve in using an image editor, but in many ways the software is more important than the camera in getting your best result. Photoshop Elements is a great first software package. A high quality A3 + printer will serve you well for years. At this point, you might be better off allocating more of your budget towards these items..

Don't forget, when you're ready for a DSLR, you can still use the digicam as a travel light option, and you'll already have the software and printer that you need..

Here's some Nikon digicam samples, taken with either the 8400 or 8700. They all printed well at 12" by 16" after post-processing:.

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Christine Manley wrote:.

Hi.

I'm saving to buy my first camera next year, I've desided on adigital SLR.At this stage Nikon D40X and Canon 400D are even for me..

I've been reading a lot in forums, and each website's forum seems toprefer either one or the other, with very specific views on which isbetter..

This is a very serious decision for me - my Dad was a professionalphotographer and it is one of my dreams to be a professional as wellone day. He always felt that Nikon made the best cameras in theworld (aside from Hasselblad which I think not many individuals canafford)..

In my area the Canon is more expensive than the Nikon, so I'mwondering if it is really worth it for me to spend extra on theCanon. What will work out the best in the long run? I am mostlyinterested in Macro and Nature photography, much more than Portraitbut I will definitely be doing that too..

Any comments will be welcome..

Joe MelilloWSSA member# 86http://www.pbase.com/jmelillo/root..

Comment #8

Thanx for your advice, I will take it into serious consideration..

Actually I am currently working in New Media, which in my company means that I do a lot of design, for websites and print work. We work mostly with Adobe Photoshop so I am fairly familiar with the type of software you mentioned..

Thanx for the alternative, it will certainly work out better for me because I have a very limited budget - I would have been saving for a long time..

I will tell you what I decided!..

Comment #9

Hi,.

I wonder if I am the only one worrying about you jumping in at the deep end? If you've never owned a camera and have no friends with one then you are taking a big risk, imo..

Photography isn't about equipment it's about seeing something and then selling it with the camera a tool you use on the way but you have to know if you can "see" a good picture and then get it into the camera first..

In your shoes, I'd buy a decent P&S with manual over-rides like the Pentax A20, Panasonic LX2 or any of the similar ones by the others. Then go out and take pictures, print them and see what people say (that means friends, family and those you work with)..

I'm saying this as it's the easiest thing in the world to get carried away and order gear for a career before you have experience or customers lined up and waiting. And good gear is expensive, a "pro" macro lens, camera body, ring flash and tripod can cost thousands. And please, please, look at the cost of a "pro" lens for wildlife or two. By now my mental price list for this has hit the 10,000 point....

Sorry if this is a bit of a downer..

Regards, David..

Comment #10

Thanx.

I agree, someone else actually told me the same thing a few hours ago..

It is just difficult for me to decide wich camera suits me best and which one is worth the money..

Could anyone give me ideas? I'd prefer something from Canon and Nikon...

Comment #11

Not knowing what is best for you is really the dilemma for beginners. You probably couldn't go wrong with either a high end P&S or entry level DSLR to start with. Either product will give you the tools needed to learn photography. If your budget is tight you might want to consider a used Nikon D50/ Canon Rebet XT with kit lens or better (refurbished maybe) and a 50 1.8 prime. (I've seen macros done with the 50mm and extension tubes that were beautiful.)..

Comment #12

Christine,I was in similar situation 4 years ago..

PS camera advice is very good. You will be able to learn photo-technigue fast and after 1-2 years could enter DSLR world knowing better what pricy lenses are needed for your interests..

I would recommend ebay as new or lightly used Nikon 5700 or 8700 bridge camera (RAW ability wile having all in 1 lens features) that was top of the line some time ago. It had great lens range, full manual control, full automatic, creative modes. Detail quality was so good that many stock images made with this camera are still selling next to FF DSLR creations..

Here are 5700,8700 camera specs and test shots:.

Http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/nikoncp8700/http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/nikoncp5700/.

Http://www.stan-pustylnik.smugmug.com..

Comment #13

Here are examples of images made by farious photographers who use/used Nikon 8700 and 5700:.

Http://search.pbase.com/.../search?q=Nikon+8700&b=Search+Photos&c=sp.

Http://search.pbase.com/.../search?q=Nikon+5700&b=Search+Photos&c=sp.

Good luck in your decision. Please, post what did you decide + results you will start getting..

Http://www.stan-pustylnik.smugmug.com..

Comment #14

The problem is that you want a Canon or Nikon and I know nothing of them (I use Olympus, Leica and Panasonic mostly and can rant & rave about them: no problem)..

So all I can suggest if you've a tight budget is to look for something that's by now a couple of year's old (meaning a lot cheaper but still OK) and buy it with the aim of making it the second body or back-up camera. You might also like to consider again (OK, I know) my idea of a P&S because most of us have and use several cameras and a P&S probably gets the most use. Simply because I will have it in my pocket when shopping, walking the dog and so on. A lot of P&S's a brilliant these days. Will this sample convince you:.

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BTW, it was taken 3 or 4 years ago with a simple P&S that got very mixed reviews..

BTW 2, have you spotted the list of cameras scoring "Highly Recommended", "Recommended" and so on on this website? It's at:.

Http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/default.asp?view=rating.

Good luck with your search for the perfect camera..

Regards, David..

Comment #15

...since there's not much that only one of those system does particularly well..

If you're into really, really extreme close-ups, Canon might have an edge if Nikon doesn't have anything similar to the MP-E an up to 5x-lifesize macro, this is a rather specialized lens. If you like the idea of stabilized ultrazoom lenses like Nikon 18-200VR, I think the EF mount options are presently only third-party (there's a Sigma that might fit). You probably don't care too much about whether Nikon has an edge in multi-flash systems, if you have no interest in portraits..

So handle 'em and see...

Comment #16

Christine Manley wrote:.

....

This is a very serious decision for me - my Dad was a professionalphotographer and it is one of my dreams to be a professional as wellone day. He always felt that Nikon made the best cameras in theworld (aside from Hasselblad which I think not many individuals canafford)..

....

If your dream is to be a pro photographer, then you should look for a camera that will help you towards that goal..

The advantage of Canon or Nikon DSLR is that you will be able to keep your lenses for future use, and the body as a backup body..

If that's too much for your budget, you should look for an all-in-one camera that will help you learn the craft..

Features you should look for:.

Manual control of exposure settings. You should be able to select aperture and shutter speed to suit your creative desires..

External flash. The camera can have a built-in flash, but a hot-shoe for an external flash would be a real plus. The hot-shoe can be used for controlling external studio flash. This is something you will eventually want to learn..

RAW image format. Raw images from the camera allow you more latitude when working on the photo in Photoshop. Working with RAW files is a skill that a professional photographer should have available..

Manual focus override. The camera will not always focus on the correct spot, and it won't always focus correctly. You should have the ability to override the camera's autofocus..

Once you select a camera, compare the price to something like a Rebel XTI wilt the kit lens. ($675 from B&H, or $717 with the kit lens and 2GB compact flash)..

With a DSLR, you can grow your investment incrementally. You can buy a new lens here and there as you can afford it. Eventually, you can buy a brand new body, and continue with your existing lenses..

With an all-in-one, it's much harder to grow incrementally..

Bottom line, you can take great pictures with almost any camera. I have a point & shoot that fits in my shirt pocket. Outdoors, under ideal conditions, it can take a great photo. Under less than ideal conditions, I find it much easier to work with a good DSLR...

Comment #17

Christine Manley wrote:.

At this stage Nikon D40X and Canon 400D are even for me..

I'd recommend the Nikon D80 over the D40X, even though the D80 costs a bit more. The D80 has a better viewfinder and a built-in autofocus motor. With the D40X, you'll have to forgo most primes and many third-party zooms or use them exclusively in manual focus mode..

On the Canon side, the EOS 30D is a worthwhile upgrade from a 400D, but as far as I know, the 400D supports autofocus with all Canon autofocus lenses..

If you want to go in the other budget direction, look at the Canon EOS 350D (still available new), or the Nikon D40, or the Pentax and Olympus offerings..

Whatever you do, be sure to consider the whole lens and flash system does the system offer lenses and/or flashes that are affordable, and that will do a good job of supporting the type of photography (nature, macro) that interests you?.

E.g., although Nikon's telephoto offerings aren't bad, Canon's telephoto offerings are a bit of a draw for people wanting to take photos of sports or of birds...

Comment #18

Tom_N wrote:.

....

On the Canon side, the EOS 30D is a worthwhile upgrade from a 400D,but as far as I know, the 400D supports autofocus with all Canonautofocus lenses..

....

Yes, The Rebel XTI (also known as the 400D) supports autofocus with all Canon EOS-EF lenses..

I am not convinced the 30D is necessarily an upgrade from the 400D..

The 400D has some features not available on the 30D (more pixels, and an automatic dust removal system). The 30D has some features not available on the 400D. Depending on your needs, either is a good choice..

If you are considering the 30D, you might want to consider a used 20D. There isn't much difference between a 20D and 30D. Lot's of 20D owners are upgrading to the new 40D, and selling their 20D..

P.S. I believe that all EOS lenses are autofocus except for the 3 tilt/shift lenses, and the 65mm macro (1x to 5x)...

Comment #19

I'm not new to photography, but I only made the dive into digital this summer when my siblings offered to get me the digicam of my choice as a graduation present. (within reason, they knew I'd been shopping in the $500 range) I decided pretty quickly I wanted a dslr, and as a student I knew cost would be the primary concern for at least the next 5 years, probably eight. I ended up going with the Pentax K100d, which is pretty comparable to the D40. 6mp, solidly built. It has a couple huge advantages in the operating cost realm though..

First of all, Pentax, like Sony, has built image stabilization into the camera itself, so you get image stabilization without more expensive IS lenses. (the Canon and Nikon IS lenses are technically a better option, but not for those of us that are really price sensitive).

Second, unlike Canon, Nikon, and Minolta/Sony, Pentax has maintained backward compatibility with pre-digital lenses, which means you can pick up cheap used glass, even in great condition. I've got a great local camera shop, and even the best condition older k-mount lenses are selling for around $100..

So as not to sound preachy, there are reasons to not go with Pentax:.

There are less lenses available out there. If you want REALLY long range, or the most extreme wide angle, you'll have better luck finding it with Nikon or Canon..

Autofocus is slower, especially compared to the XTi. (If I remember right that is).

Its harder to find fast lenses, though you can get them in the older primes. You'll definitely have trouble finding lenses under 2..

Speed and buffer space of the K100/110 are inferior to all competitors to my knowledge. This is only really significant if you want to shoot sporting events. I got slightly frustrated shooting a volleyball game the other day, but thats also because I had the wrong lens for the job. Canon's are almost invariably better for sports photography..

Thats the end of my little Pentax informational brochure, really you've got to feel the cameras. Personally, I think the low end Canon's feel like toys. Pentax, Nikon, Sony, and Olympus all do a better job on materials and construction..

P.S. If you're planning on slowly climbing up the ranks of cameras and carrying the lenses over, Pentax is actually a poor choice, because they don't make any of the high end cameras. (as in over a grand; the K10d is considerably more pro than it's little brothers) But Pentax is typically the realm of amateurs and hobbiests, those that make a living taking pictures tend to migrate to the brands that offer more expansion..

~Mark..

Comment #20

Are there really any bad dSLRs on the market anymore? ~Mark..

Comment #21

I'm going to have to respectfully disagree with the advice of getting a compact, all in one, digicam. Ergonomics and responsiveness are very different between a compact and a dslr. This affects how you relate to the scene you're trying to capture and the results you will achieve..

For instance in a DSLR you will be composing with a view finder. Most compacts don't have a view finder (if they have a viewfinder read the reviews of it carefully, they pretty much stink), you use the lcd on the back to compose the image. It's a completely different feel. Another example is that DSLR's have many more dedicated buttons and knobs. I prefer dedicated buttons to having to hunt through menu options and possibly miss the shot..

If funds are tight I would suggest looking at a used DSLR. If you find you don't like that particular model you can probably sell it for almost what you paid..

Good hunting and enjoy whatever you decide to buy,..

Comment #22

M88k wrote:.

....

Second, unlike Canon, Nikon, and Minolta/Sony, Pentax has maintainedbackward compatibility with pre-digital lenses, which means you canpick up cheap used glass, even in great condition. I've got a greatlocal camera shop, and even the best condition older k-mount lensesare selling for around $100..

....

This above is incorrect..

Canon HAS maintained backward compatibility with pre-digital lenses..

Every EOS-EF lens ever made (and they've been making them for over 20 years) works with full functionality in every EOS DSLR..

There are some good deals on used lenses (including high quality Canon "L" glass) which you can use on your Digital Rebel (400D)..

You might have been confused becuase Canon has recently introduced a few EF-S (S if short throw mirror). These few EF-S lenses can ONLY be used in the new crop factor cameras (20D, 30D, 40D, 350D, 400D)..

Traditional EOS-EF lenses can be used in both full frame, and crop factor cameras...

Comment #23

Apologies for replying to myself..

I don't know the Nikon or Canon product lines. One very nice feature to have in a DSLR is an lcd readout on top of the camera that can tell the most vital information such as shutter speed, aperture value, and exposure compensation..

Regards,..

Comment #24

Michael Fryd wrote:.

M88k wrote:.

....

Second, unlike Canon, Nikon, and Minolta/Sony, Pentax has maintainedbackward compatibility with pre-digital lenses, which means you canpick up cheap used glass, even in great condition. I've got a greatlocal camera shop, and even the best condition older k-mount lensesare selling for around $100..

....

This above is incorrect..

Canon HAS maintained backward compatibility with pre-digital lenses..

Every EOS-EF lens ever made (and they've been making them for over 20years) works with full functionality in every EOS DSLR..

There are some good deals on used lenses (including high qualityCanon "L" glass) which you can use on your Digital Rebel (400D)..

You might have been confused becuase Canon has recently introduced afew EF-S (S if short throw mirror). These few EF-S lenses can ONLYbe used in the new crop factor cameras (20D, 30D, 40D, 350D, 400D)..

Traditional EOS-EF lenses can be used in both full frame, and cropfactor cameras..

I'm still not over the incompatibility with the old FD mount lenses. I enjoyed those lenses a lot. Perhaps that's what m88k was referring to...

Comment #25

Mrxdimension wrote:.

...I'm still not over the incompatibility with the old FD mount lenses.I enjoyed those lenses a lot. Perhaps that's what m88k was referringto..

Perhaps. But the FD incompatibility has nothing to do with digital. FD lenses haven't worked on any EOS camera (film or digital) for over 20 years..

Depending on your point of view, both Canon and Nikon have changed their lens mount. Both have moved from manual focus lenses with aperture rings on the lens, to a fully automatic focus system, with aperture set by the camera..

Canon was up front about it. 20 years ago Canon announced they were replacing the FD system with the EOS system. FD lenses are not supposed to work on EOS cameras..

Nikon announced they would keep their mount, and then proceeded to slowly change it over time. At first they put focusing motors into the bodies, then they put focusing motors in the lenses. They have also replaced the aperture ring with a camera controlled system..

Old Nikon lenses/cameras may physically mate with new lenses/cameras, but don't expect them to work as intended. Put a 20 year old Nikon lens on a new camera, and you may not get full functionality. Put a new lens on a 20 year old camera, and you have problems..

Put a 20 year old EOS lens on a new Canon digital camera, and you have full functionality. Put a new Canon IS lens on a 20 year old EOS camera, and you get full functionality (including the IS)...

Comment #26

Michael Fryd wrote:.

Mrxdimension wrote:.

...I'm still not over the incompatibility with the old FD mount lenses.I enjoyed those lenses a lot. Perhaps that's what m88k was referringto..

Perhaps. But the FD incompatibility has nothing to do with digital.FD lenses haven't worked on any EOS camera (film or digital) for over20 years..

Dang, I'm old! .

Depending on your point of view, both Canon and Nikon have changedtheir lens mount. Both have moved from manual focus lenses withaperture rings on the lens, to a fully automatic focus system, withaperture set by the camera..

Canon was up front about it. 20 years ago Canon announced they werereplacing the FD system with the EOS system. FD lenses are notsupposed to work on EOS cameras..

Nikon announced they would keep their mount, and then proceeded toslowly change it over time. At first they put focusing motors intothe bodies, then they put focusing motors in the lenses. They havealso replaced the aperture ring with a camera controlled system..

Old Nikon lenses/cameras may physically mate with new lenses/cameras,but don't expect them to work as intended. Put a 20 year old Nikonlens on a new camera, and you may not get full functionality. Put anew lens on a 20 year old camera, and you have problems..

Put a 20 year old EOS lens on a new Canon digital camera, and youhave full functionality. Put a new Canon IS lens on a 20 year oldEOS camera, and you get full functionality (including the IS)..

You make some good points...

Comment #27

Hmm, It all depends on.....

What your subject is. Your mainline fix..

So far nobody has got COLOUR (also known as COLOR!) right. Reds are usually at least 20% oversaturated and reducing the saturation in software reduces the ENTIRE red content of the scene. Except in Capture NX, which handles ALL tiffs and ALL jpegs, and so is not Nikon exclusive..

The recent available samples show that the two cameras you mention are as good as others from the same brand costing much more..

Except for one thing. Image noise. Canon is always 1-3 stops better than Nikon, and I have both ..

I would NOT use a Nikon in bad light. BUT I prefer a Nikon CCD in daylight. The results are more real to me..

Now there are APS-C cameras with tilting screens. The Sony R1 and the new Lumix. Such a screen is infinitely preferably to not having one, and infinitely better than a live view option without one, because Live view for close-ups in awkward normal places- like on the ground for flowers, is USELESS if you have to lie on the ground to be able to see the back of a D300 or 40D..

The Lumix is 4:3. Do you want a more static shape, easier to compose in.Do you want 3:2, much more dynamic for action pictures..

Do you want 16:9 as an option ? Even more dynamic a shape and made for widescreen TVs and monitors..

Do you want a better option- a full-frame 36x24mm sensor, because I am certain that come a year from now Sony and Pentax will both have one on the market at the price a D80 costs now..

Nikon are more expensive in the sense that because of the noise they demand faster lenses, though the D40x is great for low noise up to 800ISO..

You can mount excellent Fast fixed focus lenses , but the focussing and the metering do not work with older A1 and A1s lenses..

Metering works with AF-S and AF-D but the autofocus does NOT work at all..

That said manual focus with zoom lenses is often the best option, because these zooms need to be focussed at a desired distance to work well, and it is even better if the lens also has a depth of field scale where you can set the aperture you are working at against the infinity mark (as with a slide rule).

This then gives you sharp focus from infinity to the nearest point the aperture allows, or from, say 15m to as close as it allows, and so on..

On the street for example you can work much faster using this method, especially with a fast wideangle-say a 35mm f2. And when you go indoors you have got the speed..

On a D80 and D200 an AF lens also gives you auto-focus in poor light, but, theres no guarantee that your eyes, if good wont do better using manual focus. The problem is the eyesight correction and the prism or porro, or whatever..

Canon do not give you these headaches and the noise is still a lot less. They are also quieter mechanically. A 5D is a lot quieter compared to a D200, which clatters and rattles..

The quietest option for low noise and high quality is a 6MP sensor if you dont need huge elargements. The 300D Canon is a good machine. So is the D70. Both will do you 16"x20" prints at low ISO and you wont see any noise..

Next up really is only the 5D..

20D,30D and now 40D are noisy in the midtone range which matters most- see the British Journal of Photography's last two issues on the 40D which confirm this still applies with two different reviewers..

Any sharpening, especially on a 20D raw file makes the noise much worse. I know, I bought one new, and was so revolted by the noise and the fringing (also on 350D) that I took it back after three days..

I then bought a 300D. I still have it. Its lovely, but the 10D is even better!! Solid pro body, options etc. Same sensor..

If you dont want a machine gun, are creative, take your time and enjoy RAW manipulation, an R1 has noise comparable to a D200 up to 400ISO- I have both, and use the same software for both..

You can buy an R1 new for 400 pounds with a superb 24-120mm Zeiss f2.8-f4.8 lens. They are not tough machines though, and if you bash the lens or someone else does, or already has it is a nightmare..

Me, if I was starting again, I'd get a d40x. With a 3 year warranty, and pay by credit card.In 6 months time. Or An R1 the same way. That way you have got a while to check it is not damaged in transit and works properly.Just think what lens you get! Its as good as a 24-105mm Canon L! Almost no vignetting and not much distortion..

Silent too. great for candid snaps. Wont scare the insects or animals......no DSLR can do what the R1 can..

Narayana..

Comment #28

Not an easy choice. A lot depends on your trajectory through photo space. I see a lot of digicam advisors. Nothing wrong with that. Get a feel for photography. See if you're really that interested in it..

I am in the dslr camp. It's what I use and enjoy. The bodies are bigger. The biggest differences are the sensors, the responsiveness and the flexibility. The downsides are size, cost..

The bigger sensor (the digital film) means that I am always carrying around digital film that can be very sensitive to low light. This doesn't mean much to you know. But it means that later you'll be able to take candids in low light without a mood-destroying flash..

The bigger sensor, when coupled with a lens with a wide aperture gives you depth of field control. That means you can take a portrait and have the background be blurred. (conversely it means that with macro-photography it's harder to have a large depth of field). This control is vital for some, and I'm one of them..

The DSLRs are very nice for candids-I can take pictures with a moments notices (quck startup), very fast focus, and and a rapid rate..

I think you could learn a lot by getting an inexpensive dslr and a very fast (f2 or wider) fixed lens. You'd learn a lot. Don't worry about the focal lenth of 20-200. Worry about the basics-shutter speed, aperture, ISO and composition. A fast fixed lens will help you learn about Depth of Field and you can move around a bit with your legs. Then later you'll know what is important to you.

I know the Canon world and the 50 1.8 lens is cheap and you'd learn a lot. An alternative would be the 35 f2, but it's more. Anyhow, that's getting into details, and I'm sure that all the DSLR lines have a similar lens..

You said you're familar with Photoshop and that's great because that is the digital darkroom. A simple camera, photoshop, and the patience to take a lat of pictures and learn from them will get you far..

-Bruce..

Comment #29

Good advice all round....

Just don't confine yourself to Nikon and Canon. Consider others like Sony, Pentax, and Olympus. All have their strengths and all produce excellent cameras. For example, Oly have what is widely regarded as the best anti-dust technology....

Bottom line is, try them all out in your hands, try the menus, take some shots. Buy the best camera for YOU, not necessarily the best known brand..

Also look at Pbase and Flickr and use the camera finder to look at what all these brands can do. You may also see slight variations and find a favourite this way..

You can't go far wrong with any of these brands, providing it feels comfortable in your hands and intuitive to use for you..

Whatever your decision, good luck and let us know how you get on....

Jayturnipheadhttp://www.flickr.com/photos/7896015@N08/..

Comment #30

Pentax 10D. Loads of secondhand lenses to immediately become anti-shake in an anti-dust weather-sealed 10MP body that is all you will ever need. It takes the latest combination of 16-50mm and 50-150mm f2.8 zooms that are Pentax/Tokina designs too and won the award for this years best machine..

It does not weigh much, does not cost too much (500 pounds with a good 18-55zoom ..

It also saves proprietry RAW or universal DNG RAW files and has an instant RAW button..

If only one DSLR was legally allowed to be sold in a totalitarian state this is as near to what would make us ALL happy as now exists..

Takes every Pentax fitting lens ever made too..........but all the PK ones work fine anyway..

And no, they do not sponsor me, I do not work for them, I have a single 1960s SP500 and all my DSLR gear is the other brands!!!!.

Narayana..

Comment #31

Narayana wrote:.

Pentax 10D. Loads of secondhand lenses to immediately becomeanti-shake in an anti-dust weather-sealed 10MP body that is all youwill ever need. It takes the latest combination of 16-50mm and50-150mm f2.8 zooms that are Pentax/Tokina designs too and won theaward for this years best machine..

...Takes every Pentax fitting lens ever made too..........but all the PKones work fine anyway..

....

I have a bunch of old M42 screw mount Pentax lenses. Will these work on the 10D? I know I won't get autofocus, but will metering work?..

Comment #32

You can't go wrong with either the Canon 400D or the Nikon D40x. My recommendation is to go with the one that feels most comfortable. That way you will take more photos, learn more features, and become more skilled..

I included my personal file for each of the cameras you are looking at. That way you will have all the documentation and customer service links in one place..

Http://personafile.com/...l-Rebel-Xti-10.1-Megapixel-18-55mm-013803066104.htm.

Http://personafile.com/....2-Megapixel-Digital-Camera-D40X-P0182080000114.htmA Few Of My Favorite:http://personafile.com/kcair/public..

Comment #33

Thank you all for your help!.

I've decided on Nikon, but which one I will probably only decide when I've saved enough. Untill then I will be gathering all the information I can find on the best Nikons in my price range...

Comment #34

Well, sorry about that, I thought it was more recently that Canon backward compatibility stopped. It may well have been confusion with the FD series; I came to digital from using my dad's old AE-1, as he stopped taking pictures years ago.~Mark..

Comment #35

I have chosen Pentax. It is not as popular as Nikon or Canon. But I am very happy with my purchase. You can visit my photo blog for reference to the list of inexpensive gear that I have with Pentax over the 7 months of owning it..

My inexpensive Pentax Gearhttp://techtheman.blogspot.com/.../2007/10/inexpensive-gear-with-pentax.html.

And I put in all of my thoughts on various lens that I chose from Pentax including many old compatible lens that Pentax has made in all of their dSLR bodies to be backward compatible..

I hope to share an alternative choice for your thoughts. And you are more than welcome to visit my other photo blog that is a journal documenting my special memories using both my p&s and dSLR.

Http://hintheman.blogspot.com/http://techtheman.blogspot.com/.

Thanks,Hinhttp://www.flickr.com/photos/hin_man/sets/http://hintheman.blogspot.com/..

Comment #36

Of course, D3 will be ultimate winner that will be competing with digital medium format..

D300 and previous generation D200 are very powerful cameras used by many professional and advanced amateur photographers..

D80 and D70 are also used by amateur photographers and as backup bodies by many pros - creating great images with proper use..

All these cameras will produce best images if used in combination with top quality lenses, filters..

D40 is very capable camera, but designed mainly as entry DSLR (AF works with limited amount of lenses)..

Http://www.stan-pustylnik.smugmug.com..

Comment #37

It offers the best for the money of any of the current DSLR's. It has in body image stabilization. Its kit lens is probably the best of all of them. I have a full Canon and Pentax system and the K100D is my most used camera.Dave Lewis..

Comment #38

Canon, because according to numerous tests as well as my personal experience it's better on DR,WB and noise - see this link for example:.

Http://forums.dpreview.com/...forums/read.asp?forum=1031&message=21580673.

Cheers,http://lordofthelens.smugmug.com/..

Comment #39

This is done with hand-held on my 1st day with K100D along with it's kit's lens roughly at $60 cost.

0.5 sec, f/4.5, 38mm, iso 200, -1/2ev (hand-held).

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

Given that it is hand held and done with the cheapest lens in Pentax, it does reasonable, I hope. Hope this gives alternative for thought and I find Pentax very capable for myself as a amateur with a lot of passions into photography moving up the path from p&s to dSLR. Of course, my other brands that I would consider highly are Nikon and Canon but I won't ignore what are capable in Olympus and Sony. Many wonderful choices if you ask me but a choice needs to made, and I choose Pentax..

Thanks,Hin.

Http://www.flickr.com/photos/hin_man/sets/http://hintheman.blogspot.com/..

Comment #40

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