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Old Aug 29, 2005, 2:01 PM   #1
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I posted this in the "Help Me Choose a Camera" Folder but got no response, I'm hoping I will get some here, I'll be posting it in the Nikon Folder aswell.

I've been trying to get my head around the starter options for a DSLR for about three months now. Should I pass my exams, I'm in line to get a combined Christmas and birthday present(for the past two years), and it will be a DSLR. I am ok with using an SLR, I've been practising with my Dads Eos300 for the past four months, but I am of the digital age, and I can't afford the on-going development costs, and development waits.

I am really stuck between choosing a D70s and a 350D. I am tending toward the 350D, my head says the added MPs is worth it, plus the newer technology, but my heart says get the D70s purely on how it feels, and the future options based on flash sync and shutter speed.

What compounds this even more is the beginning lens choice. With a Canon I can use the Ef28-80 4-5.6 that came with the Eos300, and maybe save some money for getting slightly better lenses, although I don't think this is a very important factor. But as is the way, there is so many things I want, but I can't put my parents out to much. Especially considering they haven't thrown me out of the house while I am at Uni.

So please help me decide on Canon or Nikon, with the lens choice based on;
  • I imagine I would be taking concert shots, local gigs with about 200 people at them.So a low light lens is a neccesity.
  • Also I would be using it for sports shooting, day and night, rugby, soccer, golf, sailing and whatever else I dip into. So a long lens, with low light capability.
  • I also like taking candids, the instant when someones face turns. So a lens to suit this considering thse shots could be taken under any condition.
  • Along with the standard landscape and macro shots that I will be doing to develop my skill, and which I may get into once I start with a digital camera.[/*]
  • Finally, because I live in Ireland, there is a strong possibility the camera will get wet, so any simple covers would be a great bonus
Congratulations on getting this far. Any advice will be greatly appreciated, I know this forum is packed with knowledgeable photographers, who really know the ins and outs of the DSLR market far better than I will be able to at the moment.
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Old Aug 29, 2005, 2:53 PM   #2
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A tough problem, but made easier perhaps by considering that it'd be nice to have more problems of this sort -- they're both nice cameras and systems.

I think that the pragmatic answer is probably Canon. However, this is the time to really consider which camera line you wish to follow. Canon and others don't make this choice easy for you, and part of the reason that the low-end cameras are so good is because they want to catch you at this point, and then have you forever as a customer carrying your legacy investment with them along. And it works.

So consider that this might be your only chance to get off the Canon bandwagon and get into Nikon. Or vice versa..

Technically, I think that there's a clear case for Canon being ahead at the moment, and no indication that Nikon is about to exceed them. They did for a while in the low end, with the D70 being superior to the 300D, but at a greater price.

On Nikon's side, you can still use ancient manual focus lenses, which can be a pleasure to use, with some compatibility issues, but not as harsh as Canon's. Canon tossed a part of its customer base by fully breaking compatibility with its own manual focus line.

On both sides, you can use many fine third-party lenses. Sigma and Tamron for example. These will often be competitive with the main brand lenses, and often superior in price+performance. And the same lenses will be available in multiple mounts. So you can reduce much of the angst in this way.

So if long-term technical superiority appeals to you, then Canon is probably the clear answer at this time. If long-term superior customer relations and some ability to use old lenses appeals to you, then Nikon might be the better answer.

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Old Aug 30, 2005, 10:46 AM   #3
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Aside from the fact that MADWAND's reply is nicely written - his logic is flawless.

A personal opinion based on 40+ shooting years and a few pieces of gear.

Camera choice should be based on what will give you the best of what you NEED, the WANTS never, ever end.

Your longest lasting and overall most important decision will be what glass you choose. There is a difference. If you buy cheap - you will buy twice- I'll give you a written guarantee on that. Consider good primes first. They will make you work a bit harder, but the experience and knowledge is pricless.
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Old Aug 30, 2005, 11:18 AM   #4
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Buceph wrote:
I've been practising with my Dads Eos300 for the past four months...
All the more of a reason to stay within the same family - so you guys can share ...lenses :-)

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Old Aug 30, 2005, 11:34 AM   #5
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Well, if the only lens you have available to borrow is the 28-80mm f/4-5.6, I wouldn't place too much weight in this part.

Yea... Nikon probably has the best flash system. But, it sounds like low light use is a bigger concern (your concert gigs).

You may also want to look at the KM offerings here (Maxxum 5D, 7D), since they have antishake built into the body (so all of your lenses would benefit, including fast primes you may want to use at concerts, etc.). You mentioned long lenses with low light capability for other uses, too. They'd be stabilized via in body anti-shake with a Konica-Minolta DSLRsystem (and camera shake is magnified as more zoom is used).

Also, I've noticed that a lot of lenses in Minolta AF mount are available at bargain prices right now on the used Market. That's probably a supply and demand thing, since Minolta was a bit "late to the party" with the introduction of the 7D.

However, they plan on an intial production of 50,000 units per month with the 5D (a dramatic increase over the 7D). So, the bargain prices I'm seeing on Minolta lenses may not last for long once the "lens feeding frenzy" starts (and the 5D is shipping now). It looks like KM is planning on taking the DSLR market seriously.

Also, Sony has announced that it will be releasing DSLR models next year that can use Minolta AF mount lenses. So, that will add to their popularity (and probably give 3rd party manufacturers some incentive to better support this lens mount, too).

On the downside, KM only has 2 SSM (Supersonic Motor) lenses now (and they are both very pricey). Nikon has more AF-S (Silent Wave Motor) lenses, and Canon has more USM (Ultrasonic Motor) lenses that allow fast and quiet focus. I have a gut feeling that will change next year, though (more SSM lenses from Konica-Minolta, and perhaps even HSM lenses from Sigma). That's speculation on my part.


I like taking photos at restaurants and nightclubs that have live music in my area. So, I'm leaning towards a new KM DSLR right now for this use (because it's antishake would work with all lenses including fast primes). I haven't decided on a body yet (I'm waiting to get my hands on a 5D to see how it feels before deciding between a 5D and 7D).

But, I have started buying some lenses in Minolta AF mount.I've bought the Minolta 28mm f/2, 50mm f/1.7, 100mm f/2, 135mm f/2.8; Tamron 20-40mm f/2.7-3.5 and Tamron 35-105mm f/2.8 in Minolta AF mount (so far), and they were all at bargain prices (Ebay, used departments at KEH, Adorama, and B&H) :-)

A small and light camera (like the 5D) with a bright prime and antishake is appealing to me for this use (especially since it wouldn't draw as much attention as a larger camera in these types of venues).
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Old Aug 31, 2005, 3:29 AM   #6
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Buceph . . . I believe that all of the current dSLR models offered by both Canon and Nikon will meet your needs, and both companies have lenses which will suit the variety of shooting conditions mentioned. We could debate for hours over small technical differences, but fundimentally they are all good cameras.

There is however one important difference between the D70s and the 350D, and that is physical size. The two are very different in this regard, and depending on your hand size / camera handling this can be the deal breaker. The D70s is listed as having a body volume of 75 sq.in while the 350D is 46.3 sq.in. There is also a corresponding difference in dimensions, and weight.

You should therefore ensure that you physically handle each of these cameras before making a decision. All indications are that each will "feel" very different to you, and this might make one a more obvious choice.

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Old Aug 31, 2005, 7:34 AM   #7
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"Which is better? Canon or Nikon

This is a religious question, and most people have strong feelings about it that mainly depend on whichever system they've bought into already. However, it's complicated by the fact that there are definitely strengths and weaknesses of each system.

Note that I say system here - I believe it's far more important to consider all the elements of a given camera system (lenses, flash units, etc) than a specific camera model. You often see posts online from people agonizing over whether they should buy the Canon Elan 7 or the Nikon F80 or the Minolta Maxxum 5 or whatever, but I think they're missing the point. Unless you really really love a specific camera model for some reason, or just want to buy a single camera and lens, it's wiser to consider the features available to you in the whole system.

So I think the question only becomes meaningful when you ask, "which manufacturer makes a system which best suits my particular photographic needs?"

I'm not going to get into a long discussion about the merits or drawbacks of each manufacturer. Both have the equipment for the needs you have stated. But I will mention a few other points to consider.
  • Do you want to be able to use both manual-focus and autofocus lenses on the same camera? If so, many modern Nikon cameras (though not their cheaper models) fit the bill. Canon's old manual-focus system (eg: the FD-mount series of cameras) is not compatible with its autofocus system (the EOS series of cameras). [/*]
  • Do you want to buy affordable fast and quiet lenses with ultrasonic motors or image stabilization? If so, Canon is your better choice. Nikon sell lenses containing such technology but only really expensive ones. [/*]
  • Do you have specialized requirements such as the need for interchangeable finders or fully compatible macro bellows or high-capacity film backs? If so, Nikon is probably a better choice. [/*]
  • Do you want a really lightweight camera? Canon's low-end SLR gear is some of the lightest around. [/*]
  • Do you have a good friend or relative with lots of camera equipment? If so, and they're willing to lend you it from time to time, you should probably get the same system that they use. They can also be a valuable resource when you have questions and problems. [/*]
  • Do you want to start out with cheaper products and slowly build up the system with time? If so, Canon's a good choice since they sell cheap, midrange and expensive gear that's all compatible.
Really, though, it comes down to personal choice. Make a list of the type of features you need to suit your photographic requirements and work out a basic budget. Go to a camera store. Check out the various cameras and lenses that fit that budget and decide if they feel right for you. Play with the camera controls - do they make sense to you? Does the camera grip feel comfortable? Does the maker offer the equipment you want at prices you can afford? "
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Old Aug 31, 2005, 7:40 AM   #8
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"The other pro camera maker - Nikon.

So the choice came down to Nikon and Canon. Nikon are certainly a very attractive option. Besides the unparalleled cachet of the name and the fact that it was Nikon who spearheaded the Japanese takeover of the postwar camera business from the Germans, Nikon make excellent products. They've used the same basic lens mount for decades, so there's a huge range of lenses out there. One of the most vaunted features of the Nikon system is that you can attach a high quality old manual-focus lens onto your modern autofocus camera.

But there is a significant difference between the way Nikon and Canon roll out newly minted technologies that you should consider. Nikon tend to include their new tech in their high-end cameras and lenses first. Only later do they filter the new technology down to their cheaper products. So if you want a silent-wave or VR lens, for example, you have to buy a really expensive product.

Canon and new technology.

Canon take a very different approach to new technologies. On the whole they include their new technology first in their midrange gear.

As they refine the tech they introduce bulletproof implementations in their high-end gear, and as they simplify the manufacturing process they then include it in their low-end gear. There are exceptions to this, of course. The new diffractive (DO) lenses are insanely expensive, for example. But on the whole this is the pattern they follow.

What does this mean? Well, it means that you can probably afford a lens with a fast and silent ultrasonic motor, for example. Canon's ECF (eye control) cameras and IS (image stabilization) lenses are similarly relatively affordable. Very important for those on a budget.

Another factor comes into play. Both Canon and Nikon build expensive pro cameras, midrange cameras for advanced amateurs and consumer cameras. Canon differ in that they also sell really cheap mass-market cameras that use the same lens system as all of their other gear. This means they can spread development costs over a much larger product base.

It also means you can easily pick up dirt cheap low-end bodies to pack around for fun or as inexpensive backups and maintain compatibility with your higher-end gear. Or it means you can start out with a super-cheap inexpensive camera and build a system from there. The financial bars to entry are much lower.

Finally, Canon is a much larger and more diverse company than Nikon. This means that they can justify the research costs of a new technology by incorporating it into products across their product lineup. Image stabilization, for example, is built into their SLR cameras, binoculars and camcorders. This is probably the reason why Canon have been the first to introduce a number of significant new camera technologies over the past 15 years or so. "
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Old Aug 31, 2005, 7:46 AM   #9
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"Benefits of Canon EOS.
  • Affordable yet useful cameras.
    Canon include a lot of features in all their products. Even their low end Rebel 2000/EOS 300 /EOS350 cameras has depth of field preview, multiple focussing points and 35 metering zones, for example. Mirror prefire lockup is standard on the midrange gear, as are IR remotes. Ultrasonic lenses are available at every price point on the scale.

  • Excellent user interface.
    I really like the ergonomics of Canon's modern (post EOS 600 series) user interface. Functions are usually sensibly arranged and well thought out. Cameras feel comfortable to hold - nice handgrips and rounded designs. The rear command dial on midrange and higher cameras is a fabulous feature - being able to adjust shutter speed and aperture with the same hand that's holding the camera is brilliant. (at least, it is from the point of a view of a right-handed person - this feature is probably pretty bad if you're lefthanded then again its the same for all lefties with all brands)

  • Fully electronic lenses.
    Canon abandoned their old mechanical manual-focus FD lens mount when they introduced EOS, which is unfortunate. I do envy Nikon users with their access to manual-focus lenses. But even then it's not that simple. Low-end Nikons, for example, aren't compatible with manual focus lenses. There are all kinds of exceptions. But any Canon EF lens will work with any EOS camera. Autofocus is rapid, thanks to the positioning of the motors inside the lenses and not the bodies. Ring ultrasonic lenses give you silent operation and full-time manual override. All EOS lenses have electronic aperture control, so you can adjust the aperture without having to reach down to the lens barrel with one hand.

  • Huge range of lenses.
    Not as big a range as Nikon's if you include manual-focus lenses. But Canon make the biggest range of autofocus lenses. If you need a lens it's out there. And if you can't buy it there's a reasonable chance you can rent it. Canon do make a lot of mediocre lenses in terms of optical quality - all their bottom-end stuff. But at least those cheapies allow beginners a first step into the field. And later if you want to buy an L series lens which competes with the best any other 35mm manufacturer makes, you can do so.

Are there disadvantages with Canon? Of course - every system has its compromises. I do regret not being able to pick up inexpensive manual-focus lenses the way Nikon users can. It's frustrating to me that most cameras in the EOS lineup fog high-speed infrared film. That only high-end Canons have true spot metering. That Canon viewfinders are really lousy if you wear glasses. That EOS cameras are clearly not built for longevity and have to be thought of as devices with maybe a 15-20 year lifespan - look at the disintegrating shutter bumpers in EOS 600 series and Elan/100 cameras. That Canon do seem to put more emphasis on flashy technology (eg: ECF) rather than getting the basics right (eg: AE metering and flash metering, particularly on the digital EOS cameras).

Nikon cameras are also arguably superior when it comes to macro photography, and many people claim that Nikon still have the edge over Canon in the area of flash photography, even with E-TTL. Nikon are also more modular in some regards - their high-end cameras have interchangeable finders, for example."

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Old Aug 31, 2005, 10:00 PM   #10
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What Nikon would you have to start with to be able to use manual focus Nikon AI lenses?
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