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Old Mar 8, 2007, 9:42 PM   #1
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Hi folks! I've been lurking in these forums for a long time, but I'm ready to join the group!

Right now I need some advice. I've been shooting film SLRs for years, and have finally decided to move into DSLR. However, I'm now having a hard time deciding which camera to get. I've narrowed it down to 2: Canon XTI and Nikon D40. I'm set on these two because I love the size. My hands seem to fit around these just right.

I love the Nikon...the grip is marginally better than the Canon, the build quality looks good, and the image quality looks great too. I don't care about the megapixels...I'll be fine with 6. The kit lens looks decent, and finally, the price is great!

The Canon looks good too, and I haven't seen anything to suggest that image quality is lacking. But the price is higher and I don't like the build and ergonomicsas well as the Nikon. And of course, it costs more.

Now forthe dilemma. IREALLY want the Sigma 17-70 f/2.8 Macro lens. I really enjoy close-ups, and I knowI'd use the macro feature a lot, plus I think it would be a great everyday lens. However, as I'm sure you all know, the Nikon won't autofocuswithout the AF-S lens, which the Sigma is not. Also, even though I know Nikon is adding lenses to the AF-S line, it doesn't seem like I'll have the same choice that I'd have with the Canon mount.

Finally, I'm slighty concerned thatI may outgrow the D40quickly. I have the funds for either setup, so any input would really be appreciated!

Thanks,

Cheyenne
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Old Mar 9, 2007, 4:21 AM   #2
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I have shot both the D40, 350d, 400d, D50, D80, 30D, and Sony A100 @ a local Best Buy in the H-town Metro area, although here's the rogues gallery of the DSLRs that produce results:

Nikon

D40, D50, D80

Canon

EOS 350D, 400D, 30D

I field-tested the A100 (a rebadged Minolta product with the Sony logo) where the noise level was moderate. All of the above were demos with the built-in flash and kit lenses.

Ease of use - Canon. The menus are simpler to use since I have owned an S230, S110, and SD600 (both the 600 and 230 are still in my fleet). The Nikons that I have handled - the menus are more complex although have not downloaded the OEM instruction manual from Nikon USA.

Picture quality - both are equal in performance.

Continuous mode performance - Canon. When shooting the Nikons, the CM does not respond after setting the CM once.

I am currently shooting with a refurbished Minolta DiMAGE A1 although I am seeking an upgrade - on eBay, second-handed. I have no intention of becoming a Nikon convert since I once owned a TW20 back in 1992 (the camera suffered a glitch back in 1997 where a roll of 35mm was unexposed). Because of the 'Nikon curse', this is why I purchased an ELPH 2 over 7 years ago, since my dad owned a Canon FT QL which is still in the family, collecting dust. Once a Canon owner, always a Canon owner.


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Old Mar 9, 2007, 5:58 AM   #3
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cheyenne wrote:
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Now forthe dilemma. IREALLY want the Sigma 17-70 f/2.8 Macro lens.
You can still get a D50, which has a focus motor built into the body. It doesn't offer ISO 3200, and there are a few other differences. But, you could always push ISO 1600 a stop if you really had to (underexpose 1 stop and brighten it later). Of course, that gives you higher noise levels (but, so will shooting at ISO 3200 with a D40).

Nikon D50 Body at B&H for $449.95

If you search their stock for Nikon D50, they've got some kits with various lenses/accessories available, too. Since you're interested in the Sigma lens, buying a D50 body only makes more sense, too. The D40 isn't sold body only anyway (Nikon USA only offers it with a kit lens), even if it could AF with that Sigma (and it won't).

Here's the Sigma you're looking at in Nikon mount. Note that it's an f/2.8-4.5 lens, not an f/2.8 lens (it loses light as you zoom in more, and it can't maintain f/2.8 availability throughout the focal range).

Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 DC Macro Lens in Nikon mount for $389.95 at B&H

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Old Mar 9, 2007, 6:24 AM   #4
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I'm with Jim - if Nikon cameras appeal to you more than Canon then get the D50. IMO it really is a better camera than the D40. Your dilema illustrates why the D40 is pennny-wise / pound foolish for many photographers.
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Old Mar 9, 2007, 6:45 AM   #5
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Yeah, my first SLRswere a Canon AE-1 pair, and they were sweet. I think I did my best work ever with those cheap simple bodies.

I also have an Elph sd400 now that I carry around in my purse. Thought I'd hate having a P&S, but it turns out that it takes great snapshots, and because it's so small, I always have it, so I don't miss the shot. A lot to be said for that.

Yep, I really like Canon too. I'm just a little surprised how much I liked the Nikon D40. I'd been planning on the Canon for probably 3 years (since I first saw the first digital rebel). Of course, I always do my homework before a purchase...hence my current quandry.

Thanksfor your input!
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Old Mar 9, 2007, 6:49 AM   #6
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You make good points about the D50. I have given that some consideration as well. My only reservations about it are 1) body size - it's not as compact as the other two, and I really love the size and weight of the D40 and XTI; 2) if I remember correctly, the D50 has a 1.8" LCD screen. I'm not sure this is a deal killer for me, but it might be. I love the 2.5" on the others...hey, I'm not getting any younger, if you know what I mean!

Having said that, I'll consider it, but I wish I could go into a store and get my hands on it...which since it's been discontinued, I'm assuming I can't?
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Old Mar 9, 2007, 6:54 AM   #7
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You have some good points. Let me say though, that I really don't have a preference over-all toward Nikon. It's probably more accurate to say that I prefer Canon. However, I don't believe in brand loyalty, I just want something that's a good buy for my money, does what I need it to do, and makes the most sense to me.

I'm going to give more thought to the D50. However, I think everyone's input is pushing me more toward the Canon. It has compact size, good features, lenses, and room to grow. On the other hand, I have the money right now to get the XTI and the Sigma lens, along with a couple nice CF cards as well.

I like the D40 a lot...but you folks may be right....penny wise...pound foolish
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Old Mar 9, 2007, 8:04 AM   #8
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There's no right or wrong choice. Both Systems have a pretty decent lens lineup with good third party lens availability, too. My concern with the D40 would lack of a focus motor in the body (which really restricts your lens choices, especially if you want to go used or with brighter primes).

More affordable lenses with focus motors in the body will likely come in time from the third party manufacturers like Sigma, Tamron, Tokina, etc. Right now, only Sigma's more expensive lenses with HSM will Autofocus with a D40 if you don't want to go with one of Nikon's AF-S lenses.

Canon is the market leader right now for both DSLR and non-DSLR digital camera sales. But, Nikon is currently number 2 in DSLR market share (although they're further down the list in overall digital camera sales, since Sony is number 2 and Kodak is number 3 right now for overall digital camera sales).

The latest January DSLR sales figures I saw published by popphoto showed the XTi as the best selling DSLR in the U.S. right now, too. So, it's a very popular choice. The D40 was in third place for January sales (right behind the XTi and XT), so it's a very popular choice now, too.

I don't normally like to post links to other sites. But, I'll make an exception since this is the only place I've seen the data published:

http://www.popphoto.com/cameras/3904...r-january.html

Of course, sales figures don't mean one camera is better than another (and the camera that's best for one user, may not be the camera that's best for another user).

Steve also has both the XTi and D40 on the Best Cameras List (which are models deemed to be a good value within their market niche). The only reason the D50 is not on the list any longer is because the D40 came out and the D50 is no longer being manufactured. That doesn't mean it still can't take great pics though.

I'd make sure to try any cameras you consider with the lenses you may want to use on them later, too. Some users don't like the grip on this Canon. Mounting a larger and heavier f/2.8 zoom on a tiny camera can have it's drawbacks (you may appreciate a larger model with more weight so that it's not as "front heavy", along with a larger grip surface if you ever decide to get a larger and heavier lens for it). The Canon model does have an optional battery grip available that some users think helps out a little bit.

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Old Mar 9, 2007, 2:20 PM   #9
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\
Quote:
. . . IREALLY want the Sigma 17-70 f/2.8 Macro lens. I really enjoy close-ups, and I knowI'd use the macro feature a lot, plus I think it would be a great everyday lens. However, as I'm sure you all know, the Nikon won't autofocuswithout the AF-S lens, which the Sigma is not. Also, even though I know Nikon is adding lenses to the AF-S line, it doesn't seem like I'll have the same choice that I'd have with the Canon mount.

Finally, I'm slighty concerned thatI may outgrow the D40quickly. I have the funds for either setup, so any input would really be appreciated!

Thanks,

Cheyenne
.

Welcome.

I feel your pain. You know which camera you prefer, but it's lens compatability isunforgivingly limited.

As much as I like Nikon (long time user/ evanglist), the lens limitations issues with the D40 & D40x have really handicap the Nikon "system" for the enthusiastshooter. Nikon has left us with the choice of a more expensive/ larger body - D80/D200 . . .or another system.

It's misteps like this that have cost Nikon, for many yearsthe Pros 35mm Systemof choice - most of thePro market - which they used to OWN.

Too Bad . . .

ps. FYI - I have no personal experience, but I've been hearing some good things about Pentax lately . . .

imo
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Old Mar 9, 2007, 2:41 PM   #10
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"I like the D40 a lot...but you folks may be right....penny wise...pound foolish "

It might depend on whether there are lens alternatives that cover what you really want to do. If you really want to get into macro photography, you might likely eventually want one of those primes that won't autofocus on the Nikon D40/D40x.

It might depend on how close you really want those close ups to be.

The sensor on the D40 is 23.7x15.6mm. So it's longest dimension, 23.7mm, is just under an inch (25.4mm). So a "true macro" lens, with a 1:1 reproduction ratio, would be able to fill the frame in portrait orientation with an object as small as an inch in height.

The Sigma 17-70 f2.8-4.5 macro has a 1:2.3 ratio.

Your closest alternatives for the D40:
The D40 kit lens, 18-55 f3.5-5.6 has a 1:3.2 ratio.
The Sigma 17-35 f2.8-4.0 EX DG HSM ($395) has a 1:4.5 ratio.
The Nikon 18-70 f3.5-4.5 AF-S DX ($300) has a 1:6.2 ratio
The Nikon 18-135 f3.5-5.6 AF-S DX ($340) has a 1:4.1 ratio

The only macro prime I see from Nikon with AF-S is the 105mm f2.8 AF-S VR ($770), with a 1:1 ratio. (On edit... I see two HSM macros from Sigma, the 150 f2.8 ($540) and the 180 f3.5 ($660), both also 1:1.

While I would guess that Nikon would eventually move to produce new lenses to fill some of these gaps, it could be quite awile before they have what you want if it's not covered by what is currently available. On the other hand, if you are not interested in closeups of objects smaller than 3-4 inches, you might find there is an acceptable alternative.

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