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Old May 8, 2007, 6:29 PM   #1
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Man I'm in need of some advice! I have a D50 which I've used extensively for about 3/4 of a year. I have the 18-55 kit lens, a cheapo (but surprisingly decent at times) Tamron 70-300 tele, and the Nikon 50mm 1.8f prime. I shoot lots of mountain bike races and cyclocross events, and yearned for the silky detailed shots the better photographers were getting with D80s and 200s (I know that lenses make a significant difference here, but the D50 lacked things I wanted in the D80/200). After some extensive research, I opted for a D80 with the kit 18-135 lens from Circuit City just prior to leaving for a Florida vacation. I figured if the D80 didn't work out, I could always"trade up"for the D200 and save for some better glass. Sadly, I was extremely disappointed in the results I got from the D80. All myshots were underexposed, with way too much contrastandvery un-natural colors. I tweaked and tweaked but began to think I'd gotten a defective camera. More often than not the focus was soft too, while my little D50 was nailing the same subjects (I tried all my lenses just to be safe).While in Fla I took a lot of shots, mostly in bright conditions, and my issues with image quality and focuspersisted. I was puzzled because I kept hearing that the D80 tended to overexpose, and that -1/3 to -2/3 exposure comp was the norm. Detail was lacking too, and I had to keep checking settings to convince myself I wasn't shooting in the lowest quality, etc. 2 days into our vacation I took the D80 back to aCC, declairing it defective. CC wanted a 15% restock fee to take it back, despite it being only a week old and clearly (IMHO) defective. The manager wouldn't budge on the return policy, but he told me he'd had 2 or 3 D80 come back with focusing defects, and offered 100 bucks off on the Canon 30D with 28-135 IS kit lense. Not having a lot invested in lenses, and having had a bad experience with one D80 already, I made a boneheaded decision and went for the 30D (CC doesn't stock the D200). By all acounts, the 30D is a stellar camera, but alas, it is much heavier and bulkier, and not as user friendly as the Nikon bodies. I did not find the image stabilized lens to be nearly as much of an advantage at lower shutter speeds as I'd expected. In all, I'm justnot as impressed with the 30D as I think I should be. I no longer am thinking with a clear head, so if anyone has read this far, should I take a chance on another D80, or take the plunge for the D200? I like the feature set of the D80, and it is much lighter than the 30D, which for me is nice because I'll be lugging at least one camera around at races and when hiking. Thanks for any and all advice.


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Old May 8, 2007, 6:48 PM   #2
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Hi singlespeeder,
I'm sorry to hear of the issues you've been having. I too upgraded from the D50 to the D80 after having had the D50 for a little over a year. My reasons for changing had more to do with things like being able to change many settings on the body as opposed to the menus, depth of field preview, etc, etc. as the megapixel difference between the two is negligible at the print size I usually produce (8x10). As for your problems, it's difficult to say if the D80 was defective or not without seeing any pics from it. I can say that I have had no issues with mine at all...from focusing to this much talked about over exposure issue. If you liked the D80 aside from these issues you've had, I would say the only fair way to truly evaluate it is to try another body to make sure that the one you had was indeed defective in some way. My two cents.
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Old May 15, 2007, 9:26 AM   #3
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Thanks for the input Goomer,

I know some would view my decision as a bit of a step backwards, but I returned the Canon 30D kit and took a chance on a second D80 kit. I'm very happy to say that this one works fine -the first one Ibought was indeed defective. I hope Circuit City in Bradenton sent it back instead of putting it out on the open box table for some unsuspecting consumer who thinks he or she has found a bargain. I really liked the 30D, and while itis a handsome, solid, pro feeling piece of equipment that had a nice IS lens included in the kit, produces excellent colors and sharpness, includes RAW handling software that Nikon charges extra for, and has a very fast 5fps speed and huge buffer, I am so much happier with the D80. The little things like auto ISO option, grid overlay superimposed on the viewfinder, feel, layout, and ease of operation, and the similiarity to my D50 make me feel right at home. The list goes on. I'm not saying anything negative about the Canon. It is gorgeous camera to hold and use, and if I'd started with a digital rebel for example instead of the D50, I'd probably have stayed with the 30D. I find it much easier to change lenses on Canons, and the depth of field preview function is smooth and quiet, unlike the noisy feature on the Nikons. The CMOS sensor does do a bit better with high ISO, and the metering systems seems to deliver more consisitently exposed images. Focusing in low light is difficult however, as the assist beam requires the flash to be raised, etc., so the low light advantage over CCDs is kind of negated there. Plus, I find that the grid overlay on the D80 is something I can't live without any more since using it! I got so many wobbly shots with the 30D, which is wierd in a couple of ways, since I didn't have that problem with the D50 and it has no grid overlay. Its also wierd that my little Canon S3IS has that feature, and the 30D does not. Anyway, your advice helped me make a decision, and I'm happy that I took a chance on a second D80. I'm anxious to see what Nikon has up its sleeves next.

Any advice on an affordable but sharp long zoom, say in the 300 to 400 mm long end?

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Old May 15, 2007, 10:37 AM   #4
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Nikon AF-S ZM NIKKOR G VR 70-300 F4.5-5.6G IF ED is excellent for the price.

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Old May 17, 2007, 4:09 PM   #5
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Agreed - it is seldom off my camera
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