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Old Mar 15, 2008, 5:25 AM   #1
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Hi,

I live in Shanghai and want to pick up an slr for portrait and walkaround.

I've narrowed it down to two kits:

Canon 400d (xti in the us) with a 17-85 IS lens

Nikon D60 with a 18-135 (non VR?) lens

The price here is about the same, so please disregard any eventual price difference abroad.

Thanks
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Old Mar 15, 2008, 8:02 AM   #2
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The Canon has a better, fasterautofocus system for your 'walkaround' shooting, and I think you'd be better off with image stabilization than without it, especially for 'walkaround' shooting.
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Old Mar 15, 2008, 10:53 AM   #3
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Firstly welcome to Steve's!!!

Always going to be a tricky question however I personally believe that currently Canon has the better entry level bodies with Nikon taking the lead in the semi pro range and then for Pros you pay your money and take your choice.

The downside of the D60 is that you don't have a focus motor in the body so you are more limited to the lenses that can be used with this body, so when you are building up your lens collection (trust me you will ) you will have more choices with the 400D.

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Old Mar 15, 2008, 12:59 PM   #4
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Thanks guys,

Just found out that the fixed 50mm portrait lenses I've been looking (canon and nikon)at only works for the canon camera, the nikon d60 won't autofocus with them.

If I decide to go for the canon, would the 17-85 be a decent lens to start off with, coupled with a cheap 50/1.8 for indoor shots?

Thanks
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Old Mar 15, 2008, 2:03 PM   #5
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I personally think that would be a great combo for a starting kit (body with the 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS and 50mm f/1.8 AF lenses) if I were going with an entry level Canon model.

The 17-85mm is not the brightest or sharpest zoom lens in Canon's lineup from tests and comments I've seen. But, the convenience of a lens with that much range from wide to long would outweigh any compromises from using that approach in most conditions from my perspective, and you'd have an inexpensive prime to use, too.

I shoot with a Konica Minolta Maxxum 5D and Sony DSLR-A700 now, using a Minolta 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5 AF lens as my "walk around" more often than not, and sometimes a bit wider lens can would in handy (and I do have a couple of wider lenses to fall back on, but that means carrying another lens). lol

So, I've toyed with the idea of getting the Sony/Carl Zeiss 16-80mm f/3.5-4.5 AF lens for it from time to time (or even the new Sony 16-105mm f/3.5-5.6, although it would compromise optical quality and lens brightness compared to the Zeiss 16-80mm (the Zeiss is a bit brighter at f/3.5-4.5, with better optical qualty, thanks in part to it's less ambitious focal range from wide to long).

Any choice is a compromise in one area or another (size, weight, focal range, optical quality, widest available apertures, focus speed, flare resistance, color/contrast and much more). But, for my take on a compromise between convenience (size/weight/focal range/brightness, etc.) versus different lenses with better optical quality, the Canon 17-85mm would make a decent choice as a general purpose walk around if I were going to shoot with Canon gear.

But, each user would have to decide what works best for them, for the quality they may want, in the conditions they'd use a camera in more often.

P.S.

Here's a review of the 17-85mm that can give you a better idea of it's pros and cons (distortion, sharpness and chromatic aberrations at various focal lengths and apertures, etc.).

Canon 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM Lens review at photozone.de

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Old Mar 16, 2008, 4:11 AM   #6
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The 17-85 IS is a very nice all-rounder and its price is now very reasonable - it now costs around 60% of what it did when it was first released. The only real complaint people had of it at the time was that it was too expensive.

I'd wait for a while before buying the 50 f1.8. I hated that lens. Optically it's fine, but 50*1.6=>80 is a focal length that you may find you have little use for. It's made of horrible cheap plastic and has slow and noisy AF.

If you use the 17-85 for a while you might find that another focal length is preferable when you want a faster prime lens. Don't forget that 50/1.6=31, so you might prefer something a little wider than the 50f1.8.
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Old Mar 16, 2008, 8:56 AM   #7
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Quote:
'd wait for a while before buying the 50 f1.8. I hated that lens. Optically it's fine, but 50*1.6=>80 is a focal length that you may find you have little use for
I agree, and this is the reason I wouldn't discount Nikon's entry level offerings (besides the fact I shoot Nikon). Although I don't hate Nikon's 50 f1.8 (it really is a nice lens and the price is hard to beat), and I do own it, I just never find myself using it. I use it occassionally for some specific portrait work, or shooting in a gym when i can get down on the sidelines, but for the most part it collects dust. It's too long for indoors, and not long enough for outdoors. My zooms work just fine for portrait work. I had other primes that did the same thing...just took up space, so I sold them off. I don't find the extra speed that primes provide all that necessary as Nikon's flash system is excellent and more than compensates for not having wide aperatures. In addition, zooms are just so much more convenient. So yes, nikon taking out the focus motor on the entry level cameras is a bit inconvenient, but I think for the average shooter it's not that big of a deal and wouldn't be a deal killer if you like other aspects of the camera. My biggest issue with the D60 is the limited AF points.
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Old Mar 16, 2008, 9:12 AM   #8
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kent:_kurt wrote:
Quote:
Just found out that the fixed 50mm portrait lenses I've been looking (canon and nikon)at only works for the canon camera, the nikon d60 won't autofocus with them.
peripatetic wrote:
Quote:
I'd wait for a while before buying the 50 f1.8. I hated that lens. Optically it's fine, but 50*1.6=>80 is a focal length that you may find you have little use for. It's made of horrible cheap plastic and has slow and noisy AF.
The OP referred to the 50mm lens as a portrait lens. A ~50mm large aperture lens on an APS-C dSLR is fine for portraiture, arguably better than other lenses.

And the OP is correct that Nikon's version won't autofocus on the D60.

The OP hasn't gone into any detail about what types of photography he or she wants to persue, but if portraiture is one of them, then a fast 50mm is a good choice, which would make a the Canon 400D a better choice than the Nikon D60.
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Old Mar 16, 2008, 9:48 AM   #9
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The Sigma 30mm f/1.4 works on both Canon and Nikon and is fine for indoor:
http://www.sigmaphoto.com/lenses/len...mp;navigator=6
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Old Mar 16, 2008, 10:07 AM   #10
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NHL wrote:
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The Sigma 30mm f/1.4 works on both Canon and Nikon and is fine for indoor...
... but it's too short for portraits.
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