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Old Mar 18, 2009, 10:34 PM   #1
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Hi everybody!

This is my first post, so please be gentle

I am looking to upgrade my trusty Canon IXUSand buy my firstDSLR, since I love photography, but my IXUS has its limitations (especially in low light).

After researching, it seems both the Nikon D90 and Canon EOS 450D are two great choices for a first-timer like me. I was leaning toward to the D90, but I just read the EOS 500Dmay be announced next week, and it sounds very good.

I just wanted to get your opinions on which you would choose. Image quality and low-light performance are very important to me. I mostly shoot portraits, and some occassional landscapes and nature shots.

I'm also curious about which lens are suitable. I have read that standard lens kits tend to be poor, but it seems choosing the right lens is about as important as choosing the camera itself!

Any advise would be very welcome.Thank you in advance!

Superangel

P.S. My budget isn't unlimited, so please don't suggest full-frame DSLRs or the like. I can maybe stretch to $1000 for the camera and a lens or two, but obviously saving money is always welcome
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Old Mar 19, 2009, 12:04 PM   #2
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First, I would say you're not going to get an intelligent recommendation about a camera that does not yet exist on the open market. So comparing a mythical 500D to anything out there is an exercise in futility. So, for now I'll stick to the 2 cameras in your list that DO exist: Canon450D and Nikon D90.

Both are good cameras. The D90 I would rate as a better camera than the 450D. One thing I'm curious about though is this statement:

Quote:
Image quality and low-light performance are very important to me. I mostly shoot portraits, and some occassional landscapes and nature shots
From a camera sensor standpoint the IQ from both cameras will be excellent - subject to the lens you're using and the other factors (i.e. if your exposure is good, contrast is good, etc...). But you said low-light performance is very important but you shoot mostly portraits. What type of low-light portrait work are you doing? Or for that matter, what type of low-light work of any kind are you doing? The type of work you're really doing will drive what equipment will best help you. Wide apertures (low f-stops), high ISO, image stabilization, tripod, flash are all tools that help with low light shooting. Each of these tools is better at certain types of low light shooting than others

Examples:

Kids birthday party / Christmas Eve party - External flash would be my suggested tool

Available light portrait shots of a stationary subject where you expressly do NOT want to use flash - Wide Aperture, High ISO and IS can all be used here

Interior shot at a museum or church: Wide aperture, high ISO and IS all beneficial

Nighttime citiscapes or low light landscape work: Tripod

Active kids indoors: Flash (tripod and IS aren't useful because they don't stop motion blur, wide apertures and high ISOs probably still wont give fast enough shutter speeds to stop motion blur)

Low light sports: Wide aperture, high ISO

Now, the D90 has a distinct ISO advantage as it has ISO 6400 while the Canon only has ISO 1600. But the question remains - does what you want to photograph require those high ISOs?

If you had just stated

Quote:
I mostly shoot portraits, and some occassional landscapes and nature shots
I would not have considered low-light performance as an important feature. So, please elaborate on how the low light performance ties in to what you shoot.

Thanks,

John
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Old Mar 19, 2009, 11:01 PM   #3
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Thanks John, that's really helpful.

As for low-light shots, sorry not being clear. It's a mix of indoor individual portraits where the natural lighting is very dim; external night portraits and group shots with minimal natural light; and sometimes candle lit scenes too. They all suffer if I use the flash, because the details are blown out, and sometimes they're spontaneous, so using a tripod isn't practical either.

Your tips above are helpful, though. I'll check out the D90 again, and just wait and see what (if anything) Canon release next week.
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Old Mar 20, 2009, 3:36 AM   #4
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A decent SLR flashgun and a bit of knowledge will stop the details from being blown out.

An IXUS (even though I love them) cannot compare with its tiny and terrible flash.

At any rate, even a low-end DSLR has around 3-4 stops better high ISO performance than the IXUS.

For your stated purpose a flashgun is what you need.
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Old Mar 20, 2009, 6:14 AM   #5
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peripatetic wrote:
Quote:
For your stated purpose a flashgun is what you need.
Agreed. Although adding an inexpensive fast prime like the Canon or Nikon 50mm 1.8 (around $85) will get you some nice shots too.

style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"With flash:













style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"The problem is - when you want a photo at night in a house there usually isn't enough natural light for a quality shot. People just don't hold still for 1/15 exposures.

style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"But during the day time you can get some excellent shots with wide apertures:




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Old Dec 10, 2009, 9:55 AM   #6
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Dear JohnG!

There are super shoots! Pls, give me the details...

D90? Raw/jpg? With built-in flash?

What were the settings of D90? Which mode? Picture settings?

Thank you!

Steve
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Old Dec 10, 2009, 10:20 AM   #7
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Steve,

The shots I posted were not taken with a D90. They were taken with a Canon camera and external flash. The point was to illustrate what a bounce flash can do for photos - and in certain instances, what wide aperture lenses (with or without bounce flash) can do.

Internal flash on any DSLR is still quite poor.

When I shoot flash I shoot Raw plus JPEG. I use the RAW files as a safety net. I still maintain that for 90% of photos RAW provides no tangible benefit over JPEG. But, because of the intricacies in Flash Exposure and my inability to master them I find it is MUCH, MUCH easier to correct an image containing too much flash with a RAW file. So, I start with JPEGs and if I have a particular image where the flash output was too strong or the white balance was off I'll go to the RAW file and correct it there.

Fortunately, Nikon has a tremendous flash system and a great selection of external flash guns.
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