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Old Dec 6, 2004, 3:12 AM   #1
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I am probably going to get flamed by Rebel owners for this post. But just in case it might help anyone out there on the fence trying to decide between these two cameras I thought I would share my experience. I am a computer engineer by trade and upgrading from a Sony DSC-F717. That was a great camera, about as good as prosumer models get, but I was ready to step up to a DSLR. The Rebel's price was very attractive.

I read all the reviews on different web sites, looked at the photos and concluded the Rebel's pictures were a little better than the D70s. When Canon announced the Rebel was available in a black body that tipped the balance. I looked everywhere for a black Rebel. Ultimately only Ritz had them. Ironically at full price of $999. So I went ahead and ordered one off their web site (no sales tax).

I loved the look and feel of the Rebel. It does not feel cheap the way some imply. But I began to get wildly inconsistent pictures with the thing.:? I figured, o.k., DSLRs require more work and practice. I redoubled my efforts and read lots of forum posts. NHL, God bless him, is a wonderful resource. I then learned that the auto focus pulls the auto exposure along for the ride. So if the auto focus picks a spot that is dark the auto exposure is different than if the auto focus picks a bright spot. So you can have the thing on a tripod in a room and take two completely different exposures of the same subject seconds apart. The only ways around this are to lock the exposure manually by pushing a button for every shot or switch to manual mode. Also there is no flash exposure compensation built in. There is a freeware FECSet program you can download that works. But you must reconnect to your PC every time you want to make a change. There are also hacked versions of the firmware out there that turn on many of the features from the 10D. But I didn't want to go there. Voids the warranty too.

After a week of frustration I decided that the Rebel and I just weren't going to be friends. It is capable of taking very nice pictures. Obviously many people are very happy with theirs. But for me it just wasn't a good fit. When you continue to struggle with a tool, a relativly expensive tooland things aren't getting any better it is time to reassess.

So I went to a Ritz store and exchanged it for a D70. To their credit Ritz was extremely accomodating. I ended up buying a two Sigma lens package (28-90 & 70-300) instead of the Nikon kit lens. It was about the same price. Did I screw up on that choice? Because I paid full price for the Rebel it wasn't much of a jump to the D70 body.

I then began to take horrible pictures with the Nikon!They were very dark and underexposed. As you might imagine I was ready to jump off a tall building at that point. Back to the forums. Turns out the D70 intentionally under exposes so you don't blow out the highlights. Most people shoot in RAW mode and adjust the file in Photoshop. You can either dial in a permanent +0.3 or +0.7 or load a custom tone curve. There are lots of good ones available for free on the internet. Once I figured this out I loaded a custom tone curve and have been very happy with the results.

The two reasons I am much happier with the Nikon D70 are first its adjustability. You can fine tune just about everything (and learn a lot as you do so). The second is its speed and consistency. (o.k. that's three reasons) It is super fast. I'm very happy with theperformance of the auto focus and continuous shooting. And once you fine tune the settings it just gets out of the way and reliably does its job. I'm finally back to concentrating on trying to compose good shots again and not worrying about the camera so much.

The Rebel is a good camera too. It might be for you. But I think if you can spring the extra dough you really should seriously consider the D70.
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Old Dec 6, 2004, 8:05 AM   #2
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Nice of you to share your experience. I'm really new to photography and presently have a Canon S1 IS with allof its accessory lensesand enjoy using it. However as you learn more, one realizes that the full control that you get with Digital SLR's is the logical next step. I have been scouring the web for reviews and for my budget I'm presently eyeing three models. The Digital Rebel, The Nikon D70 and the Canon 20D. If I'm going to get the the 20D my budget will only allow me to buy 1 lens for it(most probably the kit lens that comes with it). Whereas with the Dreb and the D70 I could probably spring for a second lens with a longer focal length. After reading your experience I've narrowed down my choice to either the D70 or the 20D but am leaning more on the D70 for the reason stated above. That said, I'm also thinking that if I get the 20D, I could make do with a single lens(since Istill have my S1 IS to tinker with)and save up for a second lens....Decisions, Decisions... Thank you for sharing:-)
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