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Old Dec 13, 2007, 11:14 AM   #11
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These are the important differences as I see them.

Autofocus - Canon has more areas of the frame where autofocus is possible. This is important for action.

Sensitivity (ISO) - Nikon has a higher sensitivity to light (ISO3200) - not important for art photography at all, though useful in a pinch for sports indoors, journalism, etc.

Lenses - Canon has more available that what Nikon has for the D40, but there are many great nikon lenses available, just not old lenses (they will mount, but will not autofocus on a D40. For the lenses I can afford, the better deals seem to be on the Nikon, but at the upper echelon of lenses, the better deals seem to be with Canon

Bracketing - the Canon can take three rapid shots, each one with varying degrees of exposure or color variation, and the Jikon can't do this, except for manually changing settings ansd taking another shot. Personally, I feelthat bracketing is a crutch, but it can help in poressure situations when you can't afford to be wrong about exposure.

Focust assist lighting - in very low light, cameras sometimes have a hard time focusing. So, the camera provides more light to the scene to help the focusing sensors. Canon does this by the flash, but Nikon uses the much better idea of a steady white light... repetitive flash bursts are extremely annoying.

Flash Sync speed - this is the fastest shutter speed that can be used with a flash. Nikon is faster, and for reasons that would take a long time to explain to you, this is very important for using fill flash outdoors, for stopping motion, and other things.

User friendliness - Nikon wins. Better more intuivite menus, help features, and better ergonomics.

Kit lens - point Nikon

Anti-Dust - Canon has it, Nikon doesn't, though I've heard that it doesn;t domuch for you anyway.

That's all I can think of right now. Also, do consider what I said about the D40 vs. D40x.






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Old Dec 13, 2007, 11:29 AM   #12
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JimC - she seems to be most interested in portraits, landscape and nature. Not so much action shots or low light stuff. However, I could foresee this being something she would have to do in a photo class....... She also likes to take her pictures and manipulate them on the computer. She won an art contest doing this (placed a leopard image over a portrait). Don't know if that is helpful for you to offer advice.

David French - not sure if I understand the comment RE the Nikon autofocus. The Nikon camera does not have this function but the Canon does? So the lenses for the Nikon have to do it? This seems odd to me.....

I had not even looking into either an Oly or a Pentax as the Nikon and Canon were the two names that came up first. Aaaggghhh - more to think about?
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Old Dec 13, 2007, 11:46 AM   #13
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Okay, so in briefly looking at the Oly E510 I see thatithas camera stability built in and also "live view". Are either of these features things I should be looking at? If they are good/important features, why would Nikon and Canon not have them? Wow, I think my brain is going to explode.....
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Old Dec 13, 2007, 11:57 AM   #14
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anniese44 wrote:
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... She also likes to take her pictures and manipulate them on the computer....
Then she will definitely be better off with a digital SLR, whichever one you get her.

anniese44 wrote:
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...not sure if I understand the comment RE the Nikon autofocus. The Nikon camera does not have this function but the Canon does? So the lenses for the Nikon have to do it?
Canon and Nikon dSLRs both have a large selection of lenses, both from the original equipment manufacturers and from third parties.

Two Nikon dLSRs (the D40 and the D40x)don't contain internal autofocus motors, and so can only autofocus with lenses that have their own autofocus motors. Unfortunately, most of Nikon's own lenses don't containautofocus motors, and most third party lenses for Nikon dSLRsdon't either. Sothe selection of fully functional lensesfor the D40x is more limited than for other Nikon dLSRs.

Canon lenses all haveautofocus motors, so the same problem does not affect Canon dSLRs.

anniese44 wrote:
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I had not even looking into either an Oly or a Pentax as the Nikon and Canon were the two names that came up first. Aaaggghhh - more to think about?
Since the college mentioned Canon, and since she already has Pentax lenses, I think it's safe for you to narrow the scope of your search to these two brands. Since she already has lenses and accessories for her Pentax 35mm film SLR, a Pentax dSLR will allow her to hit the ground running. A Canon dSLR may work well for her at college, however.

My company has developed a database for a local college that needed to keep track of audio/video/photographic equipment that it makes available for some students to borrow in order for them to complete assignments in certain courses. I suspect that other colleges also make similar equipment available to students, and if her college offers mostly Canon equipment, she might not be able to take advantage of that if she doesn't have a Canon dSLR.

I think she would be best served by either a Canon or a Pentax dSLR, and that you need not consider Nikon, Olympus or Sony.
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Old Dec 13, 2007, 12:07 PM   #15
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anniese44 wrote:
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JimC - she seems to be most interested in portraits, landscape and nature. Not so much action shots or low light stuff.
Sony DSLR-A100

It's got excellent build quality, resolution, AF speed, write speed to media (14MB/Second to an Extreme III), and more, and would be my recommendation for a camera for the type of shooting she likes in your price range.

Note that I am biased. I shoot with a Konica Minolta Maxxum 5D and a Sony DSLR-A700 right now. So, you may see some disagreement. ;-)

Both will use any Minolta Autofocus Lens (and they'd all be stabilized, thanks to the in body stablization system). The Sony DSLR-A100 (a.k.a., Alpha 100) was based mostly on the Konica Minolta Maxxum 5D (only the newer model has a higher resolution sensor). Sony acquired all of Konica Minolta's camera assets and is now shipping two DSLR models.

The only "niggle" with this model is that noise is a little higher at it's highest ISO speed settings (i.e., ISO 800, 1600) compared to other models in it's market niche (but, it's more sensitive than rated, and retains more detail, too). It's better in most other areas and would be great for the type of shooting your daughter wants to do.

Link to Steve's review of the Sony DSLR-A100

Link to listing for the Sony DSLR-A100 with a Sony 18-70mm f/3.5-5.6 DT Autofocus Lens for $649 with free Shipping at bhphotovideo.com

I'd also get her a Sony 50mm f/1.4 Autofocus lens if budget permits (if not, get her a used Minolta 50mm f/1.7 Autofocus Lens from the used department at http://www.bhphotovideo.com or http://www.keh.com for around $100). The Sony DSLR models can use any Minolta Autofocus Lens. A bright 50mm lens like this will be fantastic for portraits (and also low light if she needs it). If she's into photography, she'll appreciate the images this one can produce.

Sony 50mm f/1.4 Autofocus Lens for $324.95 at bhphotovideo.com

That would bring you up to $973.95

Then, buy her this CompactFlash card (approx. $21 bucks delivered) with what's left of the $1000 budget so she'll have a memory card that works with it to save photos to. This will be a good one (and just the right speed to take advantage of this camera's write speed to media):

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820208338


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Old Dec 13, 2007, 12:10 PM   #16
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Let me explain autofocus. A digital SLR camera can only focus at certain points within the boundaries of the frame. These are called autofocus points. The Nikon D40 has 3 points, arrangen in a line from left to right across the frame. The Canon XTi has a grid of nine points. Having more autofocus points is useful for tracking a subect that is moving left-right-up-down and at the same time moving closer or farther away. Having a bunch of autofocus points is not important for static subjects.

Built-In Stabilization. That's where the camera can compensate for the shakiness of your hand when using slow shutter speeds. This allows you to get away with hand-holding slower shutter speed shots before having to use the tripod. It is a handy feature, especially when using long lenses which are more prone to shake. Olympus and Pentax both have it built into the body. Canon and NIkon build this technology into the lenses themselves. The lens-based systems seem to be more effective, but the lenses cost more than their non-stabilized counterparts.

Live View - This allows you to see what the lens sees on the screen in real time, just like a point and shoot camera, instead of having to look through the viewfinder. This can be useful, depending on how she likes to work. Say you want to get a shot from an extremely low angle, aiming up. You would have to be on the ground to get this shot without a flip-and-twist live view LCD like the Olympus has. FWIW, you can add this feature to any camera with an add on device called a Zigview.

Olympus E510. This uses a smaller sensor that the others. Therefore noise is a little higher. Also, the pictures that come out of this thing are more square that the images that come out of the other cameras. Some people like this... some don't I like the 3:2 ratio better than the 4:3. Also, I personally don't like the images that come out of the Olympus camera, but that's just me. Tehor lens selection leaves something to be desired, too, although the lenses they do have are all excellent, if not pricey.




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Old Dec 13, 2007, 1:37 PM   #17
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Okay - so, it sounds like the Olympus E510 would not be the best thing for her. It also seems like the Nikon may not be the best idea either (based on limitations). This narrows my original choices down to the Canon. However, the Sony has now been thrown into the mix and this is not a camera that I have done any reading on at all......what would be the pro/con items on the Sony vs. Canon?

Regarding the "live view" issue - I know that all of the cameras mentioned have LCD screens on the back. Does the lack of live view mean that you take the picture using the eyepiece and then the picture shows up after on the LCD?

Again, I cannot thank you all enough for the assistance you are providing me. I am really glad I stumbled across this forum.
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Old Dec 13, 2007, 2:30 PM   #18
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The main advantage of the Canon would be better performance at the highest ISO speed settings, which would be helpful for low light sports. It's AF system is also a little faster (Canon upgraded the AF system between the XT and XTi). Canon also has more lens choices.

The Sony would give you stablization with every lens, thanks to it's body based stablization system, and I personally think it's got better ergonomics compared to the XTi. The Sony will also use any Minolta Autofocus Lens, and any of them would be stabilized.

These models require that you use the viewfinder. The LCD is only used for menus or for displaying a photo that you've already taken. IOW, they do not have live view.



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