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Old Mar 12, 2007, 2:35 PM   #1
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I am searching for my first DSLR and am down to the two I think would be the best, the Nikon D80 and the Canon XTi, but the two are so close in most respects that I don't have a clue which one to get. I realize that the Canon is less, but I want the best camera for me. I have been using a Kodak EasyShare DX7590 and love it. I take lots of close up and abstract shots as well assome landscapeand will be taking shots of my kids playing baseball. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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Old Mar 12, 2007, 5:02 PM   #2
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In general, you can't go wrong with either brand, or system. I suggest you start looking at lenses, and see which ones fit your needs and budget. Also, be sure you get a chance to handle both cameras. The body size are completely different, you might find the D80 too big, or the XTi too small for your hands.

The first DSLR I purchased was the Rebel XT. But after using it for a few weeks, I found that the body was too small for my hands, especially when using my friend's heavier lenses. My friend had the original Digital Rebel that has a bigger body and fit well on my hands. For some reason, Canon decided to shrink the body on the XT.

So despite having a friend I can borrow gears from, I ended up returning the XT and getting the Nikon D50. Another thing I like about Nikon is that they have an 18-200VR lens that Canon doesn't have, and their lenses come with 5 yr US warranty.

The good thing about Canon is that they have more lens choices (except for that 18-200VR), and certain range of lenses are available in different flavors. For example their 70-200 range comes with slower version, and non-IS, version, and a top of the line fast lens with IS. Nikon on the other hand only has the top of the line one.

In the end, your decision should be dictated by your lens choices today, as well as future lenses you might want someday.

I suggest going to canon and nikon websites and look at their lens lineup, and then go to legit websites, like B&H (bhphotovideo.com) to check prices, and see which ones fit your budget. Also, you can go to pbase.com for samples of others' pictures taken with lenses you're interested in.

Good Luck!
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Old Mar 12, 2007, 5:44 PM   #3
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Ergonomics are very important - unlike rey, I ruled out the Nikon D50 because it seemed bigger and clunkier than I wanted. My choices came down to the Canon Rebel and the Pentax, and ended up buying the Pentax because it worked out cheaper for me (don't regret it at all, been very happy with it). Best thing to do is go to a camera store and handle both cameras. Buy the one that feels better for your hands, where you can easily reach all the controls. You can't go wrong with either one.
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Old Mar 19, 2007, 5:25 PM   #4
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Thanks for the great info. Seems like neither would be a bad choice. Just read that the prices for DSLR's will be coming down drastically by the end of the year. Even though I was hoping to get one sooner, this will give me plenty of time to do some much needed leg work. Thanks again.
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Old Mar 19, 2007, 6:15 PM   #5
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if this is just a hobby or a camera for day to day events, and u wont be extensively travelling for the sake of photography i would suggest you to find a used Konica MInolta 5D or the 7D.

They come with IS in body, and they have decent collection of lens. And high ISO shots are pretty good compared to other models. U will get one of the best build camera with KM 7D and the controls are as good as it can get something similar to NIKON and the IS is very useful since its no longer in the lens.

Even a fast prime like 50mm f1.4 will have IS which saves you atleast two stops whicn inturn is nothing but two HIGH ISO ratings in the other two cameras.

And in electronics there is nothing wrong in getting a used good item. Sorry if i confused u more.
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Old Mar 19, 2007, 6:25 PM   #6
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There are few varibles beyond which is better, there both great cameras.

Camera's are very personal. With a lot things being preference.

Do you care about whether you can capture bothHigh quality Jpeg and Raw at the same time. While you can always convert a raw file it is nice to have the maximum quality jpeg and only rely on the raw file that needs tuning. Nikons to date only Capture Raw with Standard quality jpegs (that I am aware of).

Do you care that Canon includes the very Capable Digital Photo Professional for free, while Nikon charges $100 for their similar product. This is used for Image editing and in particular for raw images.

Do you care that the D80 costs almost $200 more. I should point out that the newly releasedNikon D40x is also great canditate. Its basically a D80 without as much manual control and canonly use DigitalSpecefic mount lenses and it is even less expensive then Rebel xti.

No matter what camera you choose you should go to a store or better yet borrow a friends and test drive.

Coming from the Digicam world you will be stunned by the quality and speed of a DSLR.

****There are also a number of other amazing Cameras like The Pentax K10d with Anti shake in the body instead of the Lens.

Many Argue that Canon's greatest strength lies in the wide variety of lenses that are available for them. However, most mere mortals there are plenty of lenses including third party ones that will meet almost everyone's needs for every brand of camera.

And choosing a lens from Kit chepie but pretty good to Primes, Zooms etc. is alsoa huge topic, as antishake verus fast lenses and or bodies.

We should not choose for you.Many might argue too that a few hundred saved on the body and opting out of a kit lens etc. would allow one to buy a really good lens e.g. the Tamron 17-50.You will want a fast lens owing to your subject matter your kids playing Bball and in general and you mention landscape so your going to want a lens/lenses that includes wide, e.g. 17mm. Others here can guide you better in that regard.

As withmany things Money is another varible. The good news is thatsince Canon created the sub $1000 Dslr market around 2+ years ago the market has been blown open wider. Bodies start around $500+ And there are tremendous number of choices. Good Luck.





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Old Mar 20, 2007, 5:32 PM   #7
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OK - first, the dead horse part - both are excellent cameras and both quite capable of meeting your needs.

I'll also re-iterate that handling both cameras may lead you to selecting one over the other.

But, I also wanted to point out some considerations regarding lenses you will need. Your two stated purposes really require two different lenses. For baseball you really want a 300mm lens and for landscape you really want a good quality 17-18mm lens. This is important because you need to factor in lenses to your purchasing decision. I'm a sports shooter, so I'll leave the landscape suggestions to others (beyond my statement that you want a 17-18mm lens AT LEAST if not wider - depending on the type of shots you like).

For the baseball, what level are we talking about here? tee-ball, little league, high school? Will you be allowed to shoot from the field or dugout or will you have to shoot from outside the fence? When are games played? Is there the potential to play evening games under lights or are all games during bright daylight? These are all important questions in determining which lenses are open for consideration.

For example - if you're shooting high school baseball from OUTSIDE the fence - 200mm is way too short you'll never get good shots across the infield - you'll need 300mm at a minimum, preferably 400mm. But if you're shooting coach-pitch where you pretty much set up lawn chairs 5 feet behind first base, then a 200mm lens might be acceptable. If you have the potential for games under the lights - then you need a lens capable of 2.8 aperture (which really drives up the cost). So, if you can provide some answers to my questions, I can give you an idea what lenses in each system might meet your needs. I've run into quite a few parents over the last couple years at the sporting events I shoot that have their brand-spankin' new DSLR and are doomed to get crappy shots because they don't have the right lens for the job.

On the plus side, you've chosen some very good camera bodies for sports shooting. Canon and Nikon control 99% of the pro sports shooting market and features important to sports shooters have filtered down to their consumer level DSLRs. Because of the feature sets (primarily the focus systems, high iso performance and fast-focusing lenses) Canon and Nikon are the best choices for sports shooting.

I've also read a recent article thatDSLR prices are expected to drop by the end of the year (it was in USA today last week I think - although the article did not explain WHY this was going to happen as I recall). But the question becomes - how important is this baseball season to you? Not putting pressure on you to buy - but you have to weigh thepotential to save a couple hundred $$ against missing another season. Only you cananswer what that season is worth to you.
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Old Mar 20, 2007, 8:35 PM   #8
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JohnG wrote:
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I've also read a recent article thatDSLR prices are expected to drop by the end of the year (it was in USA today last week I think - although the article did not explain WHY this was going to happen as I recall). But the question becomes - how important is this baseball season to you? Not putting pressure on you to buy - but you have to weigh thepotential to save a couple hundred $$ against missing another season. Only you cananswer what that season is worth to you.
As ever John makes good points. I would like to add to what he has said here and it relates to all technological equipment. Basically buy when you need to and not a moment sooner (if there is something specific you need it for they get it a little in advance to check it out) as prices will always drop and there is always something new just around the corner. If you keep on waiting for the next best thing you will never get your new equipment.

Happy shooting!
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Old Mar 28, 2007, 2:24 PM   #9
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I have two different situations regarding the sports shots. First I have a daughter who plays softball on a high school field which is surrounded by 4ft chainlink everywhere except the backstop. She will probably be playing second base and I should be able to go just about anywhere, except maybe the dugout, to get the picture.

The second situation is a son who plays college ball. He is strictly a pitcher and will not be batting. There is , of course, the tall backstop which extends somewhat on both sides. I will be able to get right up against the edge of that to get a clear shot.

You have been so helpful so far and I am very thankful for all your input. Thank you for taking the time to answer still more.

I had also read the article about the prices coming down on DSLR's and have decided to probably wait to buy, since my son is JV right now and not getting lots of play.I will be using this time to read some more and check out each camera more thouroghly.
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Old Mar 28, 2007, 3:04 PM   #10
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the5macs wrote:
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I have two different situations regarding the sports shots. First I have a daughter who plays softball on a high school field which is surrounded by 4ft chainlink everywhere except the backstop. She will probably be playing second base and I should be able to go just about anywhere, except maybe the dugout, to get the picture.
I'm going to assume she'll be playing next year as well and not graduating since it sounds like you're going to purchase after this season.

I'm also going to assume that when yousay 'I should be able to go just about anywhere' you mean OUTSIDE of the fence and not inside the fence (for example I shoot from inside the fence just off the 1st base or 3rd base line or in the dugouts).

Most of your shots of her in the field will probably come from the 3rd base line Your position will likely be somewhere between the pitcher and 3rd base. But that's going to be a lot of distance between you and your daughter. Also without seeing the layout I don't know if the roof of the dugout would cut into your field of view - probably it will. Plus there's the problem of you standing right in front of where the stands usually are which other parents tend to get upset about. So, what usually happens when shooting from outside the fence you move to one of two locations:

1. Behind the backstop. Here you need to be right up on the backstop so the chain-link doesn't show so much in the image. You can get decent shots when shooting strait through but the more you deviate from a right angle to the fence the more the fence shows up in the picture. I haven't shot that way in a while but you're going to be limited in the angles you can shoot and your probably going to have an umpire, catcher and pitcher in the way for any plays at 2nd base.

2. Down the fence past the dugout and stands - typically somewhere within a few feet left or right of the base (3rd base in this case). This is probably the best spot, but in reality it's a long way away from the 2nd fielder's position. You're going to need 300mm lens for sure to get sharp photos. So, just a 70-200 lens is not going to be good enough for quality shots, IMO because she'll be too far away.

You can slide over to the 1st base side to get some profile shots of her but that will be a small subset of the photos - if she's charging a ball her back will be to you - same if she's covering the bag for a throw from third/short. So most of the good action is better gotten from 3rd base line.

For batting - if she's right handed you'll shoot from that #2 position along the 1st base side. If she's left handed you'll shoot from the 3rd base line (same spot you shoot her in the field at).

For the pitcher - this is easier as the pitcher is closer and the action is predictable. Get some shots through the backstop during warm-up pitches where batter and ump are out of the way. Then slide down the baseline for game time shots - 3rd base line if he's a righty and 1st baseline if he's a lefty (so you can see the open side of his delivery). You could get by with a 200mm lens for him if you had to.

Now, I will also say this - at least where I live in Northeast Ohio, there are plenty of overcast games in the afternoon. Games are usually played at 4:30 pm on weekdays (and morning/afternoon on saturdays). For some of the afternoon games with overcast conditions, a lens of at least f4 would be required - the less expensive 5.6 lenses would not give you fast enough shutter speeds. So, you would have to decide - if you wanted to shoot all the softball games, you would be looking at buying a lens that was 300mm AND f4. That's about a $1000 lens there (I'm thinking of the Sigma 100-300 f4 - but either canon or nikon 300mm f4 prime lenses will be just as expensive). If you're willing to forego some games where lighting is bad, you could get by with a $560 70-300 lens from either Canon or Nikon. And, sad to say - I wouldn't count on lens prices coming down at all. Those stay fairly constant. So even if body prices drop If I were you I'd still plan on spending AT LEAST $560 for the lens - although if you can afford more, the $1000 price point starts some good options.

Finally, if you wanted to cover them in a night-time situation (I'm thinking playoffs here where typically there is a 7:00 game or so) you may find you need a 2.8 lens - which changes everything. The least expensive option there is a sigma 70-200 2.8 ($850) but remember 200mm is too short for shooting your daughter from outside the fence so you then get into buying a 1.4x TC (which turns the lens into 280mm) - which will barely give you the reach you need and then you take the TC off when you need 2.8 for the night games .

I point all this out because it's all things you need to consider - preferably BEFORE you start spending the money.

One thing I would suggest doing - talk to the coaches about being a 'team photographer' next season - see if they'll let you in the dugout if you're going to take photos of all the kids and provide them to the other parents. You may find they are very amenable to that - they won't let you out on the field to shoot but within the home team dugout they likely will. But that also depends on whether the other parents are ok with that. If you have two other hobbyist photogs as parents they may want access too - in which case the coach nixes the whole thing. But it's worth a conversation.

Just some things to ponder over the next year. The important thing I wanted to impart was to factor in what lenses you would likely need and the cost associated so you could figure that into your calculations. That should give you some more to think about while you wait for prices to drop on the bodies.
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