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      11-08-2011, 05:24 PM   #1
Wingco
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dSLR question

Although trying to avoid the great Nikon / Canon debate, here we go:

Having planned to get a bit deeper into photography as a bit of a hobby for the last 3 years or so, finally about to take the plunge to buy a dSLR.
I've always been a bit of a canon fan, and the 550d is the camera body I have my eye on (yes, 600d is out, but 550d is preferred for reasons I cannot fathom!). I thought I owed it to myself to at least go and pick up the 550d and the Nikon equiv at that sort of price-level; the advice on various websites was that whilst spec between the two is much of a muchness, it will most likely come down to what feels better.
So, today I did, and I'm not much further-on, so calling on trusty forum-members to help!

I went wanting to be smitten by the Nikon, but, although I was surprised by how light both camera bodies were (my last SLR was a 35mm Canon T70 jobbie some 23 years ago!!), the Nikon was ever-so-slightly smaller in the hand, and uncomfortably so. Don't get me wrong, BOTH we smaller than I was expecting, but the Nikon felt a "couple of percent" smaller (daft, irrelevant measure I know, but just trying to convey what I felt), and as a result felt a little uncomfortable.

That then should sway the decision, when all is said and done, the camera should feel comfortable in my hands in use.
Plus, just found out 2 colleagues at work started into photography recently, both with Canons, so the opportunity to try a different lens before I buy would be there too at some point.
Mind made up then? No.

Just looking at best deals on-line, and there's a Nikon D90 with their kit-lens going for a few quid more than the D5100 with 18-55 VR lens kit, or plenty of Canon 550d + 18-55 lens kits or even twin lens kits doing for similar money.

So my cash seems to be destined for:-
Canon 550d with 18-55 IS kit-lens, plus the option of perhaps 55-250 IS lens
or
Nikon D5100 with 18-55 VR lens,
or
Nikon D90 with 18-55 VR lens.

I know the camera is merely the "dumb lump of metal and plastic" behind the glass, which is where the future investment will be made, but.

It will be hobbyist stuff initially, as I return to the interest of photography and begin to get into it a little deeper, most shots will be travel, landscape, architecture & still-life stuff etc.


Would welcome some viewpoints on this, seems to be quite a number of you interested in photography.

Then I need to start getting into the software-side of things! have a dec '09 MacBook Pro - should I head for Aperture or Elements?


David
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Last edited by Wingco; 11-08-2011 at 05:31 PM.
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      11-08-2011, 07:12 PM   #2
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I've got the 550d with a grip fitted and find it excellent you won't go wrong.

Software wise I've got aperture 3 and Lightroom 3 recently I moved from aperture to Lightroom because the noise reduction is much better in Lightroom and also it's also much easier to edit photos in photoshop cs5 from Lightroom than aperture.

Be aware this hobby will get very expensive
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      11-08-2011, 07:25 PM   #3
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I've got the Nikon D5000, great camera, been really impressed with it.

In terms of the D5100, it has the same image sensor as the D7000, which is supposed to be an awesome piece of kit.

I doubt you will go wrong with any to be fair. My Mother in law has a Canon Rebel Xti which takes excellent shots, and that's really what got me in to buying a DSLR, so I'm not really biased either way!

Don't forget that Jessops usually has cashback on Quidco...!
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      11-09-2011, 07:05 PM   #4
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Having always used Nikon (I have a D7000), I just cannot get over the fact that the zoom ring on the Canon lenses turn in the OPPOSITE direction to what I'm used to! So it is for this simple reason alone that I would recommend you stick with the Canon system if that is what you are familiar with.
According to the Camera Price Buster website, the 550D/18-55 kit can be had as low as 510, a significant saving over the D90 equivalent (600+).
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      11-10-2011, 02:36 AM   #5
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I have a friend going through same purchase

Told him to go and play and feel each one.

I have the Nikon d90, previous to this a Sony and started dslr with a used Nikon d40.
D5100 is a quality bit of kit, being newer, but I prefer my d90 in feel and the most important with the top LCD showing you the settings.

As a learner I find it easier to dial in aperture, shutter speed through looking at the top LCD. Something my previous Sony and Nikon didn't have.
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      11-10-2011, 03:58 AM   #6
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I've got a Nikon D3000 and love it but the main reason I went Nikon (didn't even try Cannon) was that I was already used to my Dads D40 that I had been borrowing. Plus it gives us the flexibility of borrow each others lenses.

If I was starting from scratch like you I would just go with whatever you feel most comfortable with. If you are a hobby photographer like most you are unlikely to notice any significant differences in performance between a Nikon or Cannon in a similar price band. You are far more likely to get a good photo out of a camera you are comfortable with that anything else.
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      11-10-2011, 04:06 AM   #7
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I bought a Canon 550d at Christmas last year (standard 18-55 lens) and think it's absolutely brilliant. It's my first 'proper' camera so was a complete novice (still am thinking about it!!). It's mega easy to use, takes belting shots that still amaze me even now I'm used to it, and I'd highly recommend it.

I didn't try any of the others though so can't compare it against anything but the research I did sold it to me. A good mate has the model above (50d or 60d?) and said in hindsight he'd have bought the 550d and my brother-in-law, who's amazing at photography, highly recommended the 550d so I bought it without trying the others. Not disappointed with my rather blinkered decision.

I think they're all pretty decent though and, as a novice, I'm unsure you'd actually notice the technical differences (as long as your choice 'feels' OK in your hands you'll be right).

My only comment would be that I find the zoom on the standard 18-55 lens a little restrictive so am probably going to upgrade to a 18-200 one soon. I bought a 55-300 (I think) zoom lens but haven't used it once so will probably sell it to fund the new one.
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      11-10-2011, 05:41 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wingco View Post
That then should sway the decision, when all is said and done, the camera should feel comfortable in my hands in use.
Plus, just found out 2 colleagues at work started into photography recently, both with Canons, so the opportunity to try a different lens before I buy would be there too at some point.
Mind made up then? No.

I know the camera is merely the "dumb lump of metal and plastic" behind the glass, which is where the future investment will be made, but.

It will be hobbyist stuff initially, as I return to the interest of photography and begin to get into it a little deeper, most shots will be travel, landscape,
Yes, comfort is more important than features and comfort depends on the perspective of the user.

In the film era, the camera was irrelevant and it was the lenses and the user that made the difference: that is not the case now.

Unlike film, the camera does ALL the image processing. The autofocus speed and accuracy depends on the camera and this can mean the difference between getting a sharp photo or getting trash you could take with a point-and-shoot.

Personally, of the 3 cameras you mention I like the Nikon D90 - why: because it is a mid-range camera which has now been superseeded and now costs the same as an entry-level camera, which is what the cheaper Nikon and the Canon are.

The things which the mid-range Nikon D90 will do which the others will not do as well are likely to be autofocus speed. A faster AF system means you can track subjects that are moving in low light and get a sharp photo.

The D90 is the only camera in that group that also offers the function to remote fire a flash from off-camera, using the popup onboard flash as the trigger. This is a major feature, if you like that sort of stuff and once you try it, you will like it. Read up on off-camera lighting here:

http://strobist.blogspot.com/2006/03/lighting-101.html
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      11-10-2011, 08:04 AM   #9
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Don't rule out the 600D (I know you've said you prefer the 550D). The hinged screen and remote firing ability make it worthwhile for the extra cash above the 550D. It's a little more than an entry level DSLR, but with the entry level ease of use.
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      11-11-2011, 08:11 AM   #10
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Thanks for all the feedback, comments and advice everyone, really appreciated.

Went back to a store last night just to pick the various cameras up again: have decided to go with the Nikon D90 and 18-105mm VR ED lens - not the latest or most up-to-date between all three I was looking at, but just feels better in the hand (hopefully won't regret the extra weight and bulk next time on holiday, but that's what my point & shoot is for).

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      11-11-2011, 08:54 AM   #11
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Nice choice, hope you take some good pictures!

I noticed you asked about software: Nikon do Capture NX.

It is NOT as powerful as Photoshop but it is sure as hell a lot faster to do anything and a lot easier to learn. Even though I have Photoshop CS, I hardly ever use it, mostly I use Capture NX. It's not that computer resource friendly though (and I don't know if it works on a Mac)... when I installed it, I had to buy more RAM. But first, try to get the picture right in-camera. It's easier, it's faster than postprocessing it to save it later.

Here's some tips, since I'm familiar with the D90

- The default sharpening is quite low; if your pics seem to be not as sharp as you like, adjust the sharpening

- Get to know single point AF, continuous AF and multi-point auto AF

- Get to know your picture controls

Here's a user guide for the D90
http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/d90...uide/index.htm
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      11-11-2011, 12:07 PM   #12
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Sell the stock lens and buy the Nikon 18-200 VR lens. Perfect for every occasion guaranteed!!
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      11-11-2011, 12:59 PM   #13
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I also have the D90 with 18-105 lens, and couldn't be happier. It just felt right in the hands, compared to the smaller cameras.
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      11-11-2011, 01:31 PM   #14
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Having a D90 the only one worth going for instead is d7000

Nice choice I'm still learning each time I pick it up
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      11-11-2011, 03:51 PM   #15
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I changed the 18-105mm lens on my D90 for the tamron 17-50mm f2.8. Cracking lens, and even though its shorter than the kit, I have a 70-300vr that just hasn't been out of the bag ...
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