Help! Nikon D80 vs Canon EOS 400D. Pros/Cons

I think I am one of the many confused new digital SLR buyers in not knowing to go with a Nikon D80 or Canon EOS 400D..

Could someone please check that my understanding (limited) is correct and provide any extra info that will sway my choice..

I eliminated Nikon D40X because I was told that as I get better on the camera the D80 offers a few more preset options than the D40X and that it also is a bit simpler to use because of an options knob on it as compared to using straight menu functions. Also, I thought that because the autofocus on Nikon D40X can only be used on AF-S or AF-I lenses, I would be limited in lens choices in the future, whereas the Nikon D80 is not limited by this..

I have also read that if I choose to just buy a package that includes kit lenses ,than the Nikon has better kit lenses than the Canon EOS 400D..

The Canon EOS 400D appears to be a cheaper camera than the Nikon D80. The Canon EOS 400D also has a dust reduction system whereas the Nikon D80 doesn't. I have been told by one person (a friend of a friend, who owns a Nikon D80) that this is mainly a marketting gimmick of Canon and it probably doesn't work that well. A guy in a camera shop told me that because of dust getting into the system, the dust reduction system is a plus. He also said that the Canon was easier to use in terms of menu functions etc ..

One thing that I noticed is that the continuous shoot mode doesn't appear to work on the D40X or D80 when the internal flash is being used. Whereas, the Canon EOS400D continues to function in this mode with just the internal flash (However, I have read on this site, that one person found that not all pictures that were taken on the Canon using this mode had turned out due to flash not being ready or something to that effect)..

I think my choices are as follows:1. Buy Nikon D80 and lens kit 18-135mm.2. Buy Nikon D80 and lens kit of 18-55mm and 70-300mm..

3. Buy Nikon D80 body and one of the Tamron lens kits that are being offered: such as Action plus which has SP AF 17-50mm f/2.8 XR Di II LD & AF70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di LD Macro1:2 ($679 Australian).4. Buy Canon EOS 400D body and the above Tamron Kit..

5. Buy Canon EOS 400D or Nikon D80 body and some other lens as recommended by those in the know..

If I was to buy just the camera body, I think I would only want to spend up to $800 Australia on lenses..

I may decide to invest in a Nikon (or it's equivalent in Canon) 50mm f/1.8 D because I am told that they are good lenses to have for taking portraits and they are not very expensive..

My aim is to buy an SLR camera of good that I can use now but can play with so that I can use more functions, different settings as I get better. I would also like to start out with a lens range that allows you to take a wide range of photos , ...then as I get better and know what I photograph most, then if I think my lenses aren't good enough, I would invest in a better one in the focal length range that best suits my photography style..

I am going to be doing a bit of travelling in the next couple of years and I would intend on taking photos of people - portraits shots, and candid shots in their natural environment, as well as photos of my active dogs, and also scenery ...Thailand, Saudi Arabia, Dubai and maybe Western Europe..

I know I have raved on, but I am very confused and I would love to be clicking on my SLR camera as soon as possible.HELP!!!!!.


Comments (26)

You might want to take a look at the Canon EOS 30D vs. the Nikon D80..

Like the D80, the 30D has a large viewfinder, and good controls. The 30D can shoot faster (5fps); the D80 can do wireless control of an off-camera flash...

Comment #1

For your info, in the UK "Which Digital Camera" magazine (November edition) has just done a group test including the D80 & E400D plus 4 other cameras. They had their standard kit lenses - 18-70 for the Nikon and 18-55 for the Canon..

I don't want to get into copyright/reproduction issues but can say that the D80 came out top. Bear in mind though that you are paying more for it, so should expect more..

From reading other reviews it would appear that the Nikon kit lens seems a better performer than the Canon one. However, as you're considering more "do-it-all lenses", if you choose the D80, you might want to also look at the Nikon 18-200 with Vibration Reduction - a fair bit more expensive than the 18-135 etc but don't know how it equates to $800 Australian - link below gives more info:-.


If it's of any interest, my owner would have got a D80 over the E400D but couldn't make his mind up which lens to go with it! Perhaps stick with 18-70 for a while, maybe 18-135 or even Tamron 18-200 etc! In the end he realised would get in way too much on our walks so now deciding between Nixon P5100 and Canon G9!.

Good Luck with your choice.......Caster..

Comment #2

I like my Canon gears, but the Nikon 18-200mm VR is a very nice lens, that will be the reason if I go for the Nikon.YongboPhoto Gallery:

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Comment #3

Two points not covered by other posters..

The dust reduction system in the 400D is not just a gimmick - I wish I had it on my Canon 20D. Nikon have introduced a similar system on their two latest DSLRs, the D3 and D300. Having said that, dust on the sensor is a nuisance, not a major problem..

I cannot imagine that the ability to shoot in continous mode on the Canon when using the internal flash is of any practical use. Unless you are shooting something very close, you are going to be severely limited by the capacity of the internal flash. Even when shooting with an external flash 15-20 times more powerful that the 400D's internal flash, I normally only get about 2-3 shots in continous mode.Chris R..

Comment #4

If I were in your shoes, and knowing what I know now, I would buy the following:.

Canon 30D$820 at B&H PhotoCanon 35mm f/2 lens$230Canon 17-40mm f/4L lens$650Canon 430EX Speedlite flash$235Bogan/Manfrotto 055XPROB tripod with 488RC2 head$275.

Plus a bag to put it ina remote shutter controla chargeran extra battery.

This would give you a semi-professional rig to grow into at the best cost. I would immediately begin saving up for the Canon 70-200 f/4L lens$560..

Good luck!.


Comment #5

Thanks Caster!.

What a clever dog you are! My 2 English Cocker Spaniels, Bonnie (Black & Tan) and Bentley (Golden), just lie by my feet sleeping while I do all of the typing. Do you do housework as well?.

I have been reading all of your entries and I was hoping that your owner was going to buy an SLR so I could learn from that, but I think he has been very practical and has decided on cameras that suit his purpose well, and has not been blown away with the SLR world of cameras as I have...that do some great shots though, even from amateurs such as a friend has just bought a Nikon 40X and it takes some great photos...

I would love to see some pictures of you once your owner has bought his new camera. It was only after going to this site that I realised that there were so many people like me doing research research research and were bomboozled by all of the info..

I initially was going to buy the camera on Ebay from Sydney or Melbourne Australia, just because of the much cheaper prices, but now I am thinking I will just go into a shop and ask for their best price...

A friend from work said that most of the people at their photography club own a Canon. It was suggested to me on this site that perhaps since I am looking at the Nikon D80 , then maybe I should be comparing it to the Canon 40D or 30D..

I am not sure why Nikon a priced a few hundred dollars more against every comparable Canon camera..

If I stay away from Ebay, then my shop price options are:* Canon EOS 400D with 2 kit lenses for $1000 Aust.* Nikon D80 with 18-135mm kit lens for $1500 Aust.* Nikon D80 with 18-55mm & 70-300mm (no VR)lens kit for $1500 Aust..

* Nikon D80 body for $1200 Aust + Tamron Action Plus Lens Kit for $679 = $1879 Aust..

* I was going to also purchase an external flash, but I am going to buy this on ebay..

I think it is getting a bit expensive for me to consider a Canon 40D as nice as it would be to have all of those extras that it provides...I think it retails for about $1500 or $1600 Aust. for Body only..


Comment #6

I am not a professional, just another regular Joe who has the sick hobby of reading up on all these cameras and lenses, comparing them, and dreaming of the ones I would "like to have," haha..

CameraLabs did a nice comparison (Google it, I can't post the link here) between the D80 and the 400D, as well as a few others, and between kit lenses. The D80 is regarded as a better built camera, but it is also more expensive. As noted in the comparison, Nikon and Canon tend to create cameras that are not direct competitors to each other, but placed half a notch above or below the other. So the Rebel is half a notch about the D40x, the D80 is half a notch above that, the Canon 40D is half a notch above that, etc, etc..

If you go with a Nikon, as far as kit lenses go, the 18-70 is regarding as noticeably superior quality to either the 18-55 or the 18-135. The 18-55 doesn't even come with a lens cover. As a few others have mentioned, you might want to get the 18-200 VR lens. It is an extremely popular choice right now, so you might be put on a waiting list. One caveat is that it's not that great for macro, so unless you won't be shooting little things up close, you will want a second lens for that. There is also the 70-300 VR, which gives you all the extra range you would ever want for less money than the 18-200 VR, but it isn't an "all in one" walk-around lens.

By the way, in case you didn't know, multiply whatever figure these lenses are rated at by 1.5 to get the 35mm equivalent range. So, the 18-70 is a 27-105mm: Similar to the range you'd get on a compact cam, plus wide angle. The 18-200 is 27-300mm, and the 70-300 is 105-450mm..

Happy hunting!..

Comment #7

D80 is so much better in every single thing than the 400D, but it's a tad bigger and more expensive. So obviously I would suggest that as every other sane person in the world. But it is comparable with the 40D, whereas the Canon has more marketing features and the D80 has some real-world features. All I will say is look in a D80 viewfinder... that's it..

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Comment #8

Thanks everyone for your help!.

I am just itching to go out and buy the camera this weekend (it is saturday at 2pm here), but I want to make sure that I have made the correct choice in camera..

I don't know why exactly, but even though, I know that the Canon cameras have the dust reduction system and Nikon D80 doesn't and that the Canons seem to be a bit cheaper and that it seems that most of the people that I have asked in Australia are using Canons...for some reason..maybe because of my initial reading...I am swayed towards the Nikon D80. I hope I am making the right decision.Now it just comes down to what lens to buy with it..

I was initially thinking of investing in the 18-200 VR, however, I have read a few forum entries that say that it suffers from Lens Creep which I am only assuming that this means that once you have a shot set up it may slip out of focus. This has put me off this lens a bit..It is also quite expensive, but if it was a high quality all rounder for me to use when I am starting out, I would probably invest in it..

I would be interested in opinions from others regarding the lens creep and whether it would be worth paying the extra for this lens (and forgo some of the zoom capability) in comparison to the current Tamron Action Kit ( which has the AF70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di LD Macro 1:2 & the SP AF 17-50mm f/2.8XR Di II LD Aspherical IF) for $679 Australian or some other kit lens combination. The 18-200mm VR seems to sell for around $1100 Australian..

So it is about $400 Aus more than the Tamron Kit and about $600 or $700 more than the kit combinations of D80 with 18-135mm or 18-55 & 70-300mm kit lens..

Do you think all of it's benefits are worth the investment? I am concerned about what I have read about lens creep? Is this a big issue?Any comments would be greatly appreciated.Anita..

Comment #9

I would select D40x and Nikon 18-200 VR. This would give you a light weight, easy to use combo with widest range and great IQ, great price/performance and investment protection..

You could then add a fixed focus Nikon 50mm for low-light, in-door and portraits.And the SB-400 for bounced flash pics w/o red eyes..

I would choose Nikon brand lenses 10 times out of 10 before any Tamron, Sigma etc. If and when you want to ugrade and sell you used Nikon 18-200 VR I guess you would get 80-100% of your money back. With Tamron I guess it's more like 50% or less..

Don't worry about lens creep and that it will hinder you from taking great pictures. I think creep is that the lens might extend a bit (zoom out) when shaken and carried with lens hanging down from body. So what, this will not happen when you set up and compose for your shots unless you have a very lame zoom and shoot pictures of the sky or your feet. Non-Nikon big-zoom lenses might creep as well..


Comment #10

Anders Eriksson wrote:.

I would select D40x and Nikon 18-200 VR. This would give you a lightweight, easy to use combo with widest range and great IQ, greatprice/performance and investment protection..

I wouldn't go for the 18-200VR - as it certainly does not offer great image quality. The 18-135 is better IMHO. If you can afford it stick to the D80..

You could then add a fixed focus Nikon 50mm for low-light, in-doorand portraits..

Agreed - the 50mm f/1.8 is a no brainer..

And the SB-400 for bounced flash pics w/o red eyes..

Yep, this is a great flash for the money..

I would choose Nikon brand lenses 10 times out of 10 before anyTamron, Sigma etc..

I would tend to agree, 6 of my 7 lenses are Nikon and I'm delighted with all of them, while the Sigma 10-20 is just fine....

So I would recommend D80 + 18-135..



Comment #11

I think it would be counterproductive to buy the most expensive body you can afford, and put knock-off lenses on it. If you have to scrimp, you'd be better served to get a cheaper body, and invest the extra cash in a good lens or two. You should read the CameraLabs reviews I mentioned; they're detailed...

Comment #12


Comment #13

Thanks for your advice Anders. It was very helpful..

I visited the camera store this afternoon and while driving home I was go through the pros/cons in my head about the 40X and the D80 and reviewing why I had decided to go with the D80..

The D80 with the 18-200 mm VR lens does feel a lot heavier than the 40X for memory (I didn't get time to try the 40X with the 18-200mm and so I am not sure whether the heavier weight was mainly due to the lens or the camera)..

I think the main reasons why I was going to go with the D80 was because of a wider lense selection on autofocus and also because I believe it focuses on more points..

It does start to get a bit expensive for a beginner though, when you combine the price of a D80 with the 18-200 VR lens..

I have just been reading all of the opinions on the D80 where they say that it over exposes pictures..

Could someone please advise whether the D80 is worth paying the extra $500aus or whether I would get years and years of great shots with the D40X and a couple of good quality lenses as Anders suggests..

Many thanks for all of your advice.Anita..

Comment #14

Glad I could help..

I my opinion the D80 adds very little over the D40X. Another 150 grams of fat, some more AF-points, second display on top, some extra $$$. Speed (3 fps etc.), sensor and IQ are the same. The 40X is 8 months newer and maybe better. Question is which feels best in your hands, grip and operations. I would have taken the D40X over the D80 even if the price was the same..

I think the D40X, 18-200VR and SB-400 are the 3 key products where Nikon has an edge over Canon..

If you want faster frame-rate and even better IQ I would recommend moving to Canon. The 40D with it's 6.5 fps and the sharpness of the 70-200f/4L IS is world class..

My bag currenty consists of the EOS 40D, 16-35f2.8L, 70-200f4L IS, 50f1.4 and 430EX flash. I have previously owned the 30D, 400D, 17-40f4L, 85f1.8, 135f2L..


Comment #15


Thanks for the kind words and all the best to Bonnie and Bentley - that makes 3 spaniel friends I've got since posting!.

Don't know if you've seen it but the following forum thread on "lens creep" could be of interest - I've seen a picture of the rubber band method they mention somewhere but couldn't find it for you:-.


For your info the "body only" weight of the D80 is 585g compared to 495g for the D40x and the 18-200mm VR weighs 560g. D40x + lens therefore 90g less than D80 + lens, which equates to nearly 8% lighter..

As an aside, the weight of the Nikon 18-135mm is 383g, so that added to a D40x would be 878g = 267g (23%) lighter than when you were holding the D80 + 18-200!.

I don't know enough technically to advise you on what your choice should be but in my opinion I'd think all the 3 cameras should mainly do what you want - OK one may give you something the others don't & vica versa but I guess you learn to live with the limitations - I've even seen test comments on cameras over 1500 saying "no dust control", "camera fast but can't hold focus" etc! So even at that price there's a compromise to be made..

With that in mind cheapest/lightest option of a D40x with a 18-135mm could be the one for you and then, as you said earlier, buy other lenses later after gaining experience and even borrowing ones to try from your Nikon friends etc - you may even have enough of your budget left to buy a G9 or P5100 like my owner - very handy for your travelling!.

Hope that helps and good luck with your choice.......Caster..

Comment #16

400D is better than D80 on DR and noise, so if image quality is important for you, than that's an easy choice..


Comment #17

MICHAEL_61 wrote:.

400D is better than D80 on DR and noise, so if image quality isimportant for you, than that's an easy choice..

God help us..

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Comment #18

Anders Eriksson wrote:.

Glad I could help..

I my opinion the D80 adds very little over the D40X. Another 150grams of fat, some more AF-points, second display on top, some extra$$$..

Fat?? How about the bigger, brighter viewfinder, "AF" lenses that will AF,CLS wireless flash commander, 2 command dials, auto bracketing, optionalvertical grip, etc, etc.The D80 features are very close to the D200, except for frames persecond, build & metering with manual lenses.The D40x is basically a D40 with more MP, slightly faster frames per second,but slower flash sync..

PatcoA photograph is more than a bunch of pixels..

Comment #19

Anders Eriksson wrote:.

Glad I could help..

I my opinion the D80 adds very little over the D40X. Another 150grams of fat, some more AF-points, second display on top, some extra$$$. Speed (3 fps etc.), sensor and IQ are the same. The 40X is 8months newer and maybe better. Question is which feels best in yourhands, grip and operations. I would have taken the D40X over the D80even if the price was the same..

You obviously haven't even seen this cameras from 10 feet. Nice of you to say bad stuff about cameras you haven't even seen, ever..

I think the D40X, 18-200VR and SB-400 are the 3 key products whereNikon has an edge over Canon..

The P&S in the DSLR world..

If you want faster frame-rate and even better IQ I would recommendmoving to Canon. The 40D with it's 6.5 fps and the sharpness of the70-200f/4L IS is world class..

What a load of horse livers. Canon is rubbish as always and it is being pushed by owners, who made the wrong choice..

My bag currenty consists of the EOS 40D, 16-35f2.8L, 70-200f4L IS,50f1.4 and 430EX flash. I have previously owned the 30D, 400D,17-40f4L, 85f1.8, 135f2L..

It is obvious why do you say the bad stuff about Nikon and good for Canon. Because you are the biasest person in the world, by having a Canon..

Don't lie to people, because they might believe and make a mistake. If that keeps you satisfied in your life....

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Comment #20

Thanks Caster..

Rightly or wrongly, I have ordered the Nikon D80, 18-200mm and a SB600. I really did want the 18-200 lens due to be able to just leave it on the camera for most shots and I didn't want to be constrained in future lens choices by the fact that the 40X needs to lenses with autofocus inbuilt..

I will see how I go with it...and who knows, if it is a bit heavy, I may even build up some muscles..

I have bought it new over ebay from a place in Sydney, Australia so lets hope that nothing goes wrong with this transaction and it arrives in new condition..and it works....The seller had a very good rating and the package price was very good...I also thought, I had better just buy so that I do some of the house painting, cleaning flyscreens etc that I am supposed to be doing..the fact that I am on DPreview...goes to show it hasn't worked.....

I will take some photos of Bonnie and Bentley once the camera arrives...They, as for the rest of my family will be the victims...although the dogs are none the wiser and have not learnt to run and hide when a camera comes out..

I am looking forward to seeing some photos of yourself on your walks....if even your owner hasn't perfected the use of his new camera yet....

What types of others spaniel friends have you made recently. The breeds of Labradors, Golden Retrievers, and all of the spaniels seem to be in their own "club" in some way....I was choosing between a springer spaniel, an english spaniel and a golden retriever, but got the E.cocker spaniels due to their smaller size (and taking up less space in the house) :o)Anita..

Comment #21

Great news Anita - really pleased for you + sure will be an excellent choice - especially if extra arm muscles means you can throw balls further for Bonnie & Bentley!.

I bet my owner will be a bit jealous though as I saw a box with Canon G9 on it when he came back from the shops yesterday so sadly not in the same league as you but, you never know, he might decide to upgrade in the future and it'll therefore be interesting to hear your thoughts and see pics of how you get on with your set up..

I've not had to pose yet as he seems to have spent all his time printing out a camera manual from a CD in his computer - I think there's only about another 150 pages for him to do though so maybe by end of week he'll know how to fully work it! Ill obviously put that down as a grumble when I update my thread in the near future - do you get a hard copy comprehensive user manual with the D80 like with his earlier Coolpix?.

For your info, I was a rescue dog and chose him as my owner when he came to visit the kennels because he gave me longer walks! I've not got any spaniel friends over here although I do see one called Buster (do all Spaniel's names begin with "B"?) on my morning walks but he just sprints around all the time so don't get chance to talk to him!.

Personally, I think my owner uses dog walks as an excuse to get himself stuff - new camera, rambling gear, radio/mp3 player, portable sat nav and a 2nd mountain bike (for those longer walks) to name but a few and what have I got - nothing, not even a new ball! Wonder what he'll wangle next!.

Anyway, glad you've made such a good choice + look forward to hearing how you get on with it when finished painting/cleaning etc..

All the best......Caster..

Comment #22


I have been quite slack this week...I found out that the dogsitters for my dogs during my 5 week holiday in thailand are no longer available and now I am desperately trying to find someone that will let my 2 dogs stay at their is going to cost me an arm and a leg, but I couldn't bring myself to let them stay in a kennel for 5 weeks....wish me luck...i think I will need it, because I think that there are more spoilt dogs that need minding than available dogsitters....

My D80/lens/SB600 flash arrived by registered post today...and she is a little beauty...though I can see how everything combined in a camera bag, could get a little weighty with other things such as water etc etc (not in same bag)....the battery is charging I will soon be started...I still have not progressed the work on the house (some of it due to the rainy weather we have had this week)...some of it due to my distraction regarding the dog sitting..

I am going to make myself finish "my things to do list" before I play with the camera...that can be my reward....


Comment #23


Hope you manage to sort the dogsitters for Bonnie & Bentley - 5 weeks is a long time in kennels - I've usually had enough after about a week, especially if there's no internet access!.

Look forward to hearing views on D80/18-200 VR as still don't think my owner can get the thought of that combination out of his mind..

Must go now though as got to do some research on "Trigger Voltages" for him re an old flashgun he's thinking of using..

Hope you have a great trip to Thailand & that the D80 does all you want from it..


Comment #24

Very nice choice. Very nice choice, indeed. I am sure the camera will meet all of your needs..

I would like to see some of your photos from the new camera, if it is not a problem.Have a nice trip!.

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Comment #25

MICHAEL_61 wrote:.


Why don't you tell the whole story?  Here it is: your heart out..

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Comment #26

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