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Old Apr 22, 2010, 6:29 AM   #1
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Default Fair comparisson of EOS 550D vs D90

Hello all,

First off, I am frustrated by my current point-and-shoot because it is neaver ready when I am. Twiddling through menus to change white-balance, trying to remember where the Flash-strength setting is, having to first turn off some setting before I am allowed to turn on RAW, etc, all just frustrates me to the point of not taking any photos any more.

I want a camera that will be quick on the draw. I'm still learning how best to change more subtle manual settings and get it wrong most of the time, but I'm getting there.

Now I am considering the the 550D and D90. I don't have any existing accessories so it is "green fields", but in time and as budget allows I'll want to add a lens or two, flash and a few filers to my kit.

The higher pixel-count of the 550D seems to me to be a bit of a waste - I generally frame close enough to what I want in the final shot that I don't crop much, but I suppose it allows for blowing up more if I want it ... at the cost of transfer speed (Buffer to card, card to PC) ...

Also a number of websites claims that the higher pixel count introduce more noise (more sensitivity due to smaller sensor elements, sensitivity to defects in the lens, color aberrations showing up, etc), especially when compared to the larger, lower-pixel-count sensor of the D90.

What I would like to know is, if I were to scale the resulting image's resolution down to be the same as that of the D90 ... would the effects disappear? Photos which are shown in the reviews comparing noise at high ISO are always in favour of the D90, but seem to always be at native resolution. After a resolution scale down you will automatically smoothe out some of the grainyness, possibly hide slightly softer focus, and probably hide minute lens defects too.

Another aspect which I don't know how to interpret is the reports that the D90 focuses more accurately, faster, more often. Much of my photos are candid shots of the children. I want the camera to take the photo as quickly as possible ... but will I be able to tell the difference between the D90 and the 550D without actually doing a "scientific" test? Does it really actually matter?

I do think that I will still try to hire both cameras for a weekend each and see how I like them. Grip and feel wise I prefer the EOS 550D. The higher frame-rate of the D90 draws me in that direction. The more abundant availability of lenses makes me consider the EOS. back-and-forward I go...

Thanx for your advise!
_J
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Old Apr 22, 2010, 7:21 AM   #2
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Hartz,

I wouldn't worry about noise between the two. Your assumption is correct - the 550 has more per-pixel noise but not really overall more noise. It will be a wash when you print. You are also correct that the extra pixels don't mean much - in other words I wouldn't choose the Canon just because it has more pixels.

Focus speed and accuracy should also be pretty close - although a limiting factor will be the LENS. Either camera with kit lens will focus faster than a point and shoot. BUT, 'fast' is relative. Especially in low light. That's where an upgrade in lens will definitely help down the road.

One very important thing though is ergonomics. You stated part of your frustration is making changes to certain features. You may want to handle both cameras. You may very well find the ergonomics of one are preferable. Changing settings is not the same on both these cameras.

The good news is: you have pretty basic DSLR needs. Either camera is going to do a great job for you. And the lens' in both systems are fairly comparable. Handle them both and whichever handles best is your choice.
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Old Apr 22, 2010, 8:10 AM   #3
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As JohnG said, for what you want to do, either the D90 or the 550D will run rings around what you're using now. All your major complaints will be resolved with either one. It seems to me that what you're struggling with is which would be better, and given the amount of improvement you'll enjoy over your current P&S, the difference is relatively minor.

The Canon is capable of taking better video, but that shouldn't be a reason to select one dSLR over another, as neither is as easy to use as an average camcorder. And, yes, in general, more pixels means more noise, but the greater the nmber of pixels, the less obvious any one errant pixel will be. But with that said, you should take a look at the objective tests on the D90 and 550D performed by DXOMark.com.

But, also as JohnG has said, an important factor in selecting a camera (espcially an expensive camera that requires a long term commitment from you) is how the camera feels. If you can't comfortably hold it, if you can't find the controls and commands when you need them, you'll miss shots and be dissatisfied with it. So I suggest you go to a good camera store and try them out before you buy one.
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Old Apr 23, 2010, 8:27 AM   #4
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JohnG and TCav - thank you for your advice. You're not really making my life easier though. As I suspected, I think there are technical differences but none that I will notice for my needs.

I am sure that either of these cameras will even give me ample room to play at creative photography too. So I will do just that - rent both and get a good idea about the feel and just decide which one I like better.

Cheers,
_hartz
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Old Apr 23, 2010, 12:53 PM   #5
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Good luck with your decision. And come back and let us know what you ended up doing.
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