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Old Apr 22, 2007, 12:32 AM   #1
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Hello,

I am looking to purchase my first digital SLR and I am kind of torn as to which camera to buy. I have done a lot of research on the internet and I have gone to a few camera stores to try them out. In short I am really interested in the 3 cameras below:
  1. Nikon D40 - initially to learn dSLR's. I would look to purchase the 18-200 mm VR lens in addition to the kit 18-55mm. Once I got accustomed to this I would look to purchase a semi-pro dSLR (D200) and use this as a 2nd camera. Alternatively, if I don't like it I could move to another system (Canon, Pentax, Olympus, etc)[/*]
  2. Nikon D80 - I think I would try to get the 18-200 and skip the 18-135 kit lens (only because the 18-200 would make the other one obsolete).[/*]
  3. Canon 30D - Here I will need a little more help on lenses, but probably the 17-85 IS.
[/*]
As I mentioned earlier I have played around with most of the sub $2000 SLR's on the market. The D200 just seems a little too expensive, I did not really like the K10D. The K100 was nice, but the slower AF took it off my list (although this could be because the display model had definitely been badly abused). Olympus was good, but I like the increased choices with Nikon and Canon. I generally don't have good luck with Sony products although from everything I've heard the Minolta/Sony is a good camera.

Sorry for the long introduction, but I would like to get some candid discussion on these cameras. As far as budget - probably $2000 max (because of 18-200 lens) and I will probably try to shoot a bit everything. Most of my shots now are scenery and cities (I got some great shots of Quebec City and Montreal) which often include people and buildings.

Thanks,

James
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Old Apr 22, 2007, 2:05 AM   #2
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Firstly remove the D40 from your list. The two cameras that remain are both very good.

We could give you a long story about buying into a system, here's the short version.

Even though you have only $2,000 to spend now, over the years you will spend more.

Think about the kind of photography you want to do and imagine what you would buy with $5,000 or $10,000. Which manufacturer looks better now? Choose that one.


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Old Apr 22, 2007, 2:33 AM   #3
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From your introduction, you probably know enough about available lenses on the D40 to keep it on your list. I followed your first strategy and bought the D40 to learn with, having decided which lenses I might need, and leaving the option to buy a bigger more expensive camera later. Even with a Sigma 10 - 20mm + kit lens , it was still cheaper than a D80 with kit lens.

I too handled the D80 and 30D (they both felt better than the 400D), but were bigger than I wanted.

You will get more posts defending the D40 and it is a lovely camera to use.
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Old Apr 23, 2007, 12:16 AM   #4
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One thing I am curious about is how different is the D40 from the D80? I know it has less MP, limited lens selection, no bracketing, no gridlines, smaller. Can anyone comment on this?

When I was at the store it seemed like the D80 was slightly faster at focusing and in between shots, but that could just be me.

Also, does anyone have any experience/comments about Canon's 17-85 mm IS lens, or Nikons 55-200 mm VR? I hear nothing but great things about Nikon's 18-200 VR, but have not seen too much on the other lenses.
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Old Apr 23, 2007, 1:48 AM   #5
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The 17-85 is a very nice walkaround for the 30D. Pretty sharp, good IS, a bit of distortion (easily correctible where it matters) some have complained about CA (but I have never been able to induce any in my copy), fast and silent AF.

If you want to take it up a notch though to the very sharpest lenses (do you really care that much? I personally don't think sharpness matters all that much beyond a certain level.) you could look at the Canon 17-55 f2.8 or the Nikkor 17-55 f2.8 - both are exceptional lenses.

I use DXO Optics anyway - gives all your lenses a serious software upgrade.
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Old Apr 23, 2007, 2:02 AM   #6
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One limitation of the D-40 there is a fairly small set of lenses that will work with them, due to no internal AF drive.

After discarding the D40 you might want to consider adding the Pentax K10D into the list.

Having had one for 4 months now, I can say they are very capable cameras and I have absolutely no regrets ditching Canon (had a 300D) and selling off those lenses.


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Old Apr 23, 2007, 6:32 AM   #7
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The Birdman wrote:
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One thing I am curious about is how different is the D40 from the D80?
Build and ergonomics will be a bit different. The other difference besides the ones you mentioned is the reduced AF system in the D40 - down to 3 focus points. Not sure if that's a problem for you or not.

If you're aware of it's limitations, the D40 is still a very good camera capable of producing great images. The bracketing and focus will have the more immediate impact if you are interested in those features. The lens selection has a more far reaching impact. But if you think you can get by with the AF-s lenses and sigma's HSM lenses this restriction won't impact you.
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