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Serious Beginner - Help picking out DSLR
I've been reading a ton on all of the following cameras that I'm torn between. But I guess I should just post my specific dilemma. I hope you all can help!.

I'm very serious about learning and growing a lot with photography, but I have little experience outside of P&S's so far. This is going to be my first DSLR..

I know that with either Canon or Nikon, I will be investing a lot in lenses so I'd like to stick with the same brand. I wanted to get the D40 but I feel like there is limited growth as a photographer with that camera (also, not too happy about it being only 6.1mp). I'm not sure if I want to get it and eventually upgrade to a D80 since I could use the same lenses for it. or just get the D80 now? (found the kit for $898).

Or, I was considering the Canon Rebel XTi..

I would totally appreciate any advice you all have:)..

Comments (16)

Hallo Jennie.

From my point of view I think you are right concerning the Nikon D40(x). You will have a very limited choice of lenses (only AF-S types). So Nikon D80 is the better cam of both to start with..

But take into account, that bodies don't last long. Every 18-24 months there will be a new one (maybe better, faster, sexyier .... whatever). Don't get nervous than. Your actual body will continue to deliver the same quality of pics than before . Good glas (lenses) will keep their value over a long time..

Which brand to choose is more difficult, because it is very personal (btw I use Nikon).Both are "good" and have their strength:.

Canon has more lenses to choose from and a little bit better high ISO processing (less noise)..

Nikon has the better lightning system (and the more handsome user interface - my finding)..

Beside all the facts the most important point is, that you are able to handle the cam.So enter a shop and try both, Canon and Nikon.Which one is more logical to use for you?How easy you can change ISO setting, aperture and exposure?Which one fits better into your hands?.

An other point could be: do you know somebody, who owns a dslr and is willing to help you over your first weeks? Which brand does he use?.

Hope that helpsRogRabb.

P.S. and my very personal suggestion: take the Nikon D80 together with the 18-135mm kit lens...

Comment #1

If you compare the Nikon D40X & the Canon XTI they are very similar in specs..

Http://www.dpreview.com/...mp;cameras=canon_eos350d%2Cnikon_d40x&show=all.

It would come down to personal choice. As a Canon guy I would have to vote for the Canon..

Steve.

Http://vette74.smugmug.com..

Comment #2

Jenniebeaninsd wrote:.

I've been reading a ton on all of the following cameras that I'm tornbetween. But I guess I should just post my specific dilemma. Ihope you all can help!.

I'm very serious about learning and growing a lot with photography,but I have little experience outside of P&S's so far. This is goingto be my first DSLR..

I know that with either Canon or Nikon, I will be investing a lot inlenses so I'd like to stick with the same brand. I wanted to get theD40 but I feel like there is limited growth as a photographer withthat camera (also, not too happy about it being only 6.1mp). I'm notsure if I want to get it and eventually upgrade to a D80 since Icould use the same lenses for it. or just get the D80 now? (foundthe kit for $898).

Or, I was considering the Canon Rebel XTi..

I would totally appreciate any advice you all have:).

I'll pitch in with a few pieces of advice.1).

Don't worry about 6MP being a limitation. You can print razor sharp enlargements up to 8x12"; beyond that depending on subject matter and viewing distance. I almost bought a D40. I picked a Pentax because their lens selection suited me better. (I shot Canon's for 30 years and knew what I wanted in lenses.).

2).

Consider a camera from a reputable optics company other than Canon or Nikon, namely Olympus, Pentax, or Sony (formerly Konika Minolta). All five make excellent cameras..

3).

Don't buy a camera that doesn't suit you. Touch them all in a store and see how they feel in your hands..

Above all enjoy photography and have fun..

Season's Best.Arrested for laughing and waving a lightmeter...

Comment #3

I wanted to photograph my son's football games. Quickly branched out to weddings, sports, forensic uses (my job), personal interests, etc..

My kit right now in the order I got them....

Nikon D-80Nikon 18-135 kit lensNikon 50 1.8Nikon 70-200 2.8 VRTamron 17-50 2.8Tokina 12-24 4SB-800 speedlight (flash)SB-400.

If I was starting over I would get a wide-angle lens first, and next a telephoto zoom and skip the mid-range. I would also add a SB-400 (a small flash). I would add the midrange and large flash later..

Also, consider your software. I use DXO optics for every shot (for almost automatic lighting, sharpness, white balance, CA and distortion correction) and Photoshop Elements for artistic editing..

Here is a wide-angle shot I took two weeks ago. Sharpening and graphics added in Elements..

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

Mortphoto..

Comment #4

Mortphoto wrote:.

I wanted to photograph my son's football games. Quickly branched outto weddings, sports, forensic uses (my job), personal interests, etc..

My kit right now in the order I got them....

Nikon D-80Nikon 18-135 kit lensNikon 50 1.8Nikon 70-200 2.8 VRTamron 17-50 2.8Tokina 12-24 4SB-800 speedlight (flash)SB-400.

If I was starting over I would get a wide-angle lens first, and nexta telephoto zoom and skip the mid-range. I would also add a SB-400(a small flash). I would add the midrange and large flash later..

Also, consider your software. I use DXO optics for every shot (foralmost automatic lighting, sharpness, white balance, CA anddistortion correction) and Photoshop Elements for artistic editing..

Here is a wide-angle shot I took two weeks ago. Sharpening andgraphics added in Elements..

Mortphoto.

Very dramatic. Nice lighting and composition. I think your photo had more to do with your ability and less due to the camera body..

I'll argue a new photographer should buy an entry level kit. If they like photography expand. If they like photography but not their first system change brands early without much loss. If they don't like photography cut losses before spending more.Arrested for laughing and waving a lightmeter...

Comment #5

Mortphoto wrote:.

I wanted to photograph my son's football games. Quickly branched outto weddings, sports, forensic uses (my job), personal interests, etc..

My kit right now in the order I got them....

Nikon D-80Nikon 18-135 kit lensNikon 50 1.8Nikon 70-200 2.8 VRTamron 17-50 2.8Tokina 12-24 4SB-800 speedlight (flash)SB-400.

If I was starting over I would get a wide-angle lens first, and nexta telephoto zoom and skip the mid-range. I would also add a SB-400(a small flash). I would add the midrange and large flash later..

Also, consider your software. I use DXO optics for every shot (foralmost automatic lighting, sharpness, white balance, CA anddistortion correction) and Photoshop Elements for artistic editing..

Here is a wide-angle shot I took two weeks ago. Sharpening andgraphics added in Elements..

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

I picked Nikon for three reasons. First, Ken Rockwell suggested that they had better ergonomics than cannon. Second, their flash system is better. Third, I considered the fact that Fuji made bodies for Nikon lenses. I like the Nikons so much I won't be trying the Fuji products. But the first two are true..

I have friends who bought Canon and are very happy..

The best advice is to decide what you want to do with the camera, then find the best brand to meet that need..

Mortphoto.

Mortphoto..

Comment #6

Mortphoto wrote:.

The best advice is to decide what you want to do with the camera,then find the best brand to meet that need..

You summed it up perfectly there..

'Nice pen, bet you write good stories with it.'..

Comment #7

Mortphoto wrote:.

I picked Nikon for three reasons. First, Ken Rockwell suggested thatthey had better ergonomics than cannon. Second, their flash systemis better. Third, I considered the fact that Fuji made bodies forNikon lenses. I like the Nikons so much I won't be trying the Fujiproducts. But the first two are true..

I have friends who bought Canon and are very happy..

The best advice is to decide what you want to do with the camera,then find the best brand to meet that need..

Mortphoto.

Mortphoto.

No argument from me. Nikon makes fine gear and probably the best flash system on the market today. My point is a beginner may not know what they want or need. If so, dip your toe in the water by spending as little as possible and learn from there..

Arrested for laughing and waving a lightmeter...

Comment #8

Jenniebeaninsd wrote:.

I wanted to get the.

D40 but I feel like there is limited growth as a photographer withthat camera (also, not too happy about it being only 6.1mp). I'm notsure if I want to get it and eventually upgrade to a D80 since Icould use the same lenses for it. or just get the D80 now? (foundthe kit for $898).

It's great to be excited, visit websites and see what deals are out there...but maybe you need to temper it just a tad with some common sense. Just my opinion, but throwing $$ at gear won't make you a better photographer. Only spending time in the field taking photographs will do that. Since you have little experience, I have no idea why you would think that a D40 would limit your growth as a photographer. 6mp should be a non-issue for you. Many consider 6mp resolution to be just right.

A lot of what he says makes good sense, especially for beginners. Some of the experts and gearheads on the discussion boards slam the guy. Ignore them. Also visit the Nikonians forum and do some reading...ask questions. Lots of good info there if you want to go with Nikon..

I'd bet you that you'll be at the same level of skill a year from now, whether you use a good quality digicam, a D40 or a D300...and we're not even discussing the skills required in regard to post-processing your images. Your investment in time will dwarf any financial investment you make in gear. Are you prepared for that?.

If it was my $$, I'd get a D40 and a 18-135mm lens. Then I'd get out there and start learning how to see things and capture them with that nice camera. That lens will cover a lot of ground and keep you busy. If you found you wanted more reach, buy the Nikon 70-300mm (Everything I have read about that lens says it's awesome). That would be a very nice rig..

Just my $.02.

GeoffHam-fisted button-pusher..

Comment #9

I guess I should add that I've taken some photos with one of my friend's cameras. and it's probably why I'm actually considering investing more money than a typical entry level photographer for the d80..

The toss up is still if I go with either nikon d40 or d80...would it make more sense to just get the d80 now or upgrade later?..

Comment #10

Did you ever hold a D40 in your hands? It's small and lightweight (like a toy).Or a D80 (for me: better handholdable)?.

If you are willing to start seriously taking pic's with a dslr, the reduced functionality of the D40(x) will soon make you whishing to have startet with or switch to the D80. Search the D40/D50/D70/D80 forum and you will find postings of fellows, who upgraded to D80 after some months..

One major point is, that nearly everything, you want to adjust, is possible only by menus (D40), not directly (D80). That's time consuming and will make missing you the "right" moments for taking pictures..

But everyone has to make this experience by him/herself..

RegardsRogRabb..

Comment #11

For my two cents worth...its sounds to me like you really want the D80 and if your friend has one then you can share equipment and their knowledge on use. If you are serious about the hobby then the D80 will probably be money well spent, get it with the 18-135 kit lens and you will have a great range to keep you busy and learning for some time. Its a beautiful camera, nice to hold, etc..

Do not be sucked into the more megapixels is better syndrome. I use a D70s the forerunner of the D80 and I am very happy with even larger prints. Perfect up to 11x14 if the shot is good and even larger as stated before, depending on the subject..

6 megapixels is a good size, more is nice if you do a considerable amount of cropping, or are selling to a specific stock agency that demands more, but keep in mind that more megapixes does require more photo skills to get the photo right. Also as it has been pointed out, todays darling camera will be dust in less than 12 months, we want more more more..

Eventually I will upgrade my D70s, maybe at the end of 2008 when the D300's will be going out, but it is still serving me well..

I just bought the SB800 flash, wow! A little more than I needed but will be nice when I eventually upgrade..

There are some great bargains out there now. The D80 is considerably less than what it cost new at this time last year, as others have said, go out hold them, see how they feel, etc. and then decide and also know they type of photography you are most interested in, that will definitely help with lens selections. Me, I like landscapes mainly, so I like the wider angle lens as opposed the the mega zooms, so I spent more on good wide angle glass and less on my one zoom lens as I seldom use it. If you like portrait work, or wildlife, than your money would be better served on good glass for that catagory. My D70s came with the 18-70 kit lens, a great lens! The 18-135 is great as well, and will get you started with a lot of flexability.Good luck and have fun whatever your decision!!.

Just make sure to hold them, etc. as changing out brands can be expensive, especially if you have made an investment in lens, flash, etc...I think this is more than 2 cents..... sorry!A picture is the expression of an impression.If the beautiful were not in us, how would we ever recognize it?Ernst Haas..

Comment #12

Http://forums.dpreview.com/...ums/readflat.asp?forum=1031&thread=26130922.

You should decide only on camera body comfort - for your hands, and lens menus...All Nikon, Canon and Pentax cameras are too good for you propably.Why does he do it?..

Comment #13

Thanks for all the input, everyone! I decided to stick with nikon d40 and I got the kit as well as an additional lens (couldn't pass up the rebate deal) 55-200mm VR.

I love it so far and I have a lot to learn with this dslr...hopefully i'll upgrade someday to ask you all questions about the D3:P..

Comment #14

Congratulations....

I have the 55-200vr, for the price it's an amazing lens..actually it's an amazing lens at an incredilble price..  .

Have fun!!A picture is the expression of an impression.If the beautiful were not in us, how would we ever recognize it?Ernst Haas..

Comment #15

Jenniebeaninsd,.

Congrats on making your decision. Enjoy your photographic endeavors. Learn about light, composition, and how your equipment works. You'll be pleased with yourself and your accomplishments. Wishing you many happy years of photography and Season's Greetings...

Comment #16

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