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Old Nov 17, 2010, 5:42 AM   #1
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Default Canon T1i vs Nikon D3100

Hey guys,

I'm sure you get this a lot but I am new to the DSLR world and would like some help picking the best camera for me. I've done some research and had things narrowed down to either the Canon T1i/500d or the Nikon D5000 until the D3100 was released. Now im not sure.

Here's what I need:
- I do want video capabilities, but specs aren't that important. I am not too particular about having movie AF or the ability to attach an external mic. I just want to have the option. Photo abilities are obv. more important.
- I am just starting out so i'll develop a sense of what I generally like to take pictures of as I go along but for now its pretty much everything. Portraits, landscapes, indoor photographs, low-light and pics of hockey players etc... I understand my budget at this point probably wont allow for me to get lenses for each of these different conditions at the moment but for now, just something that would function as an all around decent lens would be good.
- I am planning on traveling. Weight isn't a huge issue. I have a P&S as well so if I need portability I will take that. But I might be looking to invest in a decent zoom lens so I don't have to pack a bunch of lenses while traveling.

I know most will say that the Nikon D3100 is a better pick because of the specs. But my budget will restrict me from being able to splurge on new lenses for quite a while so I am interested in the option of picking up some older, second-hand lenses. From what I've read, canon generally makes more affordable lenses and has more to choose from as well as the option of using lenses from other manufacturers.

At the same time I have also heard that the T1i does not perform well in low light conditions. This may be an issue down the road for me. Has anyone had any experience with this being a big issue?

As for price. I am flexible to a point. The Canon is available cheaper (probably b/c the Nikon was just recently released) but if the nikon is a much better option, I will go that route instead. In case anyone is curious I probably can't afford the T2i/550d unfortunately, unless there is a huge boxing day sale. I've also checked out other camera manufacturers and would like to stick with either Canon or Nikon.

Anyway thanks for any help, I really appreciate it!

Kristy
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Old Nov 17, 2010, 6:54 AM   #2
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D3100 is a better option for you in this case because I too use Nikon for intimate portraits, landscapes and low light. Portraits often require good flash systems and Nikon has the best flash system there is.

The price of lenses is round about the same, in fact Nikon might be cheaper at times.. it sure is with the 35mm 1.8 lens which is a great low light lens. The real good lenses from Canon are the L lenses and they cost a fortune.

Personally I would also look at picking up a D90 at a clearance sale. Seeing as how your name suggests you're from Canada, if you're from the Montreal area, Simons Cameras has the D90 on clearance sale for just a little more than a D3100 - It has higher burst rate 4.5 per second vs 3.0 on the d3100 and is hands down a much better camera.

Also I should suggest that in the long run even though lenses are more important, the great part about a dslr is, if you can start out with a good body, you can always add the fancy lenses later and don't have to have everything at the start. So D3100 is a solid choice but if you can spend a little more a D90 would be better, even if you pair it with just a 35mm prime or a 18-55mm vr lens to start with.

Even though I'm a Nikon shooter, if you really want more for your money and think hockey shots are the most important.. well you can pick up a Pentax k-x or k-r with the 18-55 and 55-300 lens. That's the closest image quality it comes to Nikon and still better than Canon.

So the choices are:

Nikon D3100 with 18-55mm and 55-200mm (cheap and effective)
Nikon D90 with 18-105mm (great camera and lens on clearance, better)
Pentax K-X with 18-55 and 55-300 (cheapest option with longest telephoto range)

But this decision is tricky since you have to consider long term. Your choice of glass will lock you into that system so even though you may not be able to afford all your lenses now, I suggest looking at the lenses now by each manufacturer and then deciding if you will want that lens for you a few months or years down the line.

Best of luck with your choice Kristy,

Sandy.

Edit: Here is a link to a photographer that uses just the cheapest Nikon 18-55 and 70-300 lens and you can be the judge of her work: http://www.kirstengallon.com/galleries
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Last edited by Lilacfire; Nov 17, 2010 at 8:17 AM.
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Old Nov 17, 2010, 9:08 AM   #3
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Both the T1i and the D3100 are fine cameras. There is a drawback to the entry level Nikon dSLRs however. Some time ago, Nikon decided to drop the autofocus motors from their entry level camera bodies (which includes the D3100 and the D5000), and while they have slowly added motors to their collection of lenses, they've started at the top instead of the bottom, which means some of the less expensive lenses won't AF on the less expensive bodies. In addition, most of the Nikon lenses on the used market won't AF on those less expensive bodies either.

I bring this up because you specifically mentioned the possibility of getting second-hand lenses. Maybe Nikon would not be a good choice for you.

And since we're talking about the used market, both Canon and Nikon rely on optical image stabilization in some of their lenses. These are relatively new,and there aren't a lot of them on the used market. Pentax and Sony on the other hand, use sensor shift image stabilization in their camera bodies, so any lens is stabilized, including 20+ year old lenses available on the used market. So you might want to take another look at Pentax or Sony.
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Old Nov 17, 2010, 9:24 AM   #4
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The nikon also can not take a EV bracket, important for a jpeg shooter or hdr shooter. Also the AF system is not as good as the canon, as it reuses the d5000 AF which is behind the T1i. And like TCav mention it can not use all nikon lenses. Like the 110 dollar 50 1.8 and some other lenses if you want them to Auto Focus. The paper spec are misleading on what they left out.

At 1080p the nikon has the edge on the T1i, and it shoots at 24fps, while the canon shoots at 20fps.

It is misleading canon has some fine none L lenses that are really good, the ef 70-300, the ef 28-135, the ef 15-85, the ef 17-55 and a whole bunch of others. And the kit lenses 18-55 and 55-250 are very good for their price.

If you want a nikon, look at the d90 over the d3100. It is a much better camera with more room to grow.
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Old Nov 17, 2010, 9:54 AM   #5
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i am sorry, you got a very non-canon biased opinion in this post, let me debunk some of this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lilacfire View Post

D3100 is a better option for you in this case because I too use Nikon for intimate portraits, landscapes and low light.
so what, you use it, so its better than canon? and that statement is just wrong. there is little different between these 2 cameras in these situations. if anything the t1i does better at high iso

Portraits often require good flash systems and Nikon has the best flash system there is.

the only semi-true statement in this paragraph is the flash, and that no longer holds as much truth as it did 5 years ago. the flash on the canon system has improved recently, though nikon may still hold a small edge

The price of lenses is round about the same, in fact Nikon might be cheaper at times..
and canon can be cheaper at times, they are the same
it sure is with the 35mm 1.8 lens which is a great low light lens.
so is Canon's 28 1.8 and 35 f2
The real good lenses from Canon are the L lenses and they cost a fortune.
nikon's professional lenses are just as expensive

Personally I would also look at picking up a D90 at a clearance sale. Seeing as how your name suggests you're from Canada, if you're from the Montreal area, Simons Cameras has the D90 on clearance sale for just a little more than a D3100 - It has higher burst rate 4.5 per second vs 3.0 on the d3100 and is hands down a much better camera.

Also I should suggest that in the long run even though lenses are more important, the great part about a dslr is, if you can start out with a good body, you can always add the fancy lenses later and don't have to have everything at the start. So D3100 is a solid choice but if you can spend a little more a D90 would be better, even if you pair it with just a 35mm prime or a 18-55mm vr lens to start with.
if you are going nikon, this might be a good choice, because the d90 has a focus motor, not for the frames per sec

Even though I'm a Nikon shooter, if you really want more for your money and think hockey shots are the most important.. well you can pick up a Pentax k-x or k-r with the 18-55 and 55-300 lens.
the KX is a really good value and the inbody stabilization is nice, this could be a good suggestion, i would check into the Pentax as another option.

That's the closest image quality it comes to Nikon and still better than Canon.
based on what???? do you actually look at controlled tests? because there is little difference here, Pentax handles noise more aggressively but loses some detail, pick your poison. quit making these grandeous statements with out any support

So the choices are:

Nikon D3100 with 18-55mm and 55-200mm (cheap and effective)
Nikon D90 with 18-105mm (great camera and lens on clearance, better)
Pentax K-X with 18-55 and 55-300 (cheapest option with longest telephoto range)
Do not take the Canon out of your choices list, it is just as good as the nikons and better in many areas, check them all out before making a decision. if you are going to go the extra money on the D90 check out the T2i's price too, as it is the best entry level dslr made right now, but it may be more than your budget

But this decision is tricky since you have to consider long term. Your choice of glass will lock you into that system so even though you may not be able to afford all your lenses now, I suggest looking at the lenses now by each manufacturer and then deciding if you will want that lens for you a few months or years down the line.
It is a big decision for the OP. and that is why i get annonyed at posts like this that are biased. it is ok to say you like nikon because of your own experience. but you took it too far and made factual-type remarks without any real evidence, which in actuality the evidence is to the contrary.

i know you mean well. and i think when we start out, we all tend to be biased towards our own gear. but as time goes on you start to see that there is alot of good equipment out there, and it is really about finding the right tool for the job.


Best of luck with your choice Kristy,

Sandy.

Edit: Here is a link to a photographer that uses just the cheapest Nikon 18-55 and 70-300 lens and you can be the judge of her work: http://www.kirstengallon.com/galleries
there are plenty of examples of great work from people of all manufacturers using kit lenses that are similar

anyways in the end. i would get some hands on experience with each camera. they are all capable cameras with their own strengths and weaknesses. the nikon 3100 lacks exposure bracketing and a focus motor which i find annoying. the d90 gives a very capable kit if you can afford it, its a nice cam with good ergonomics and good image quality. the t1i is a very capable kit, with image quality that stands up to even the newer generations. the video control is lacking however. stepping up to the t2i gives you what is probably the most capable entry-level cam right now, however i am not really sure its price tag leaves it in the entry-level market or not, it is more of a competitor to the d90. the pentax is a great value right now, and gives you inbody stabilization to stablize all lenses, and overall good image quality as well, but the drawbacks are that it doesnt shot focal points in the vf and pentax lens lineup isnt up to nikon and canon just quite.

anyways, if you get a chance to try them all out, that will be your best help i think.
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Old Nov 17, 2010, 10:13 AM   #6
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Hards80 its all in the eye of the beholder.

Now I reviewed these extensively via imaging resource. So I believe my original statement comes out 100% true. Can you honestly say the T1i is better in a controlled environment of the same exact if you look at these snaps?

If you still disagree with me, then okay, maybe I look for something different in images than you.. Like I said its all in the eye of the beholder.

D3100 ISO1600:
http://216.18.212.226/PRODS/D3100/FU...0INBI01600.JPG

D90 ISO 1600:
http://216.18.212.226/PRODS/D90/FULLRES/D90INBI1600.JPG

Pentax KX ISO 1600
http://216.18.212.226/PRODS/KX/FULLRES/KXINBI01600.JPG

Canon T1i ISO 1600:
http://216.18.212.226/PRODS/T1I/FULL...IINBI01600.JPG
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Old Nov 17, 2010, 10:45 AM   #7
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I probably should add that I am someone who is not swayed by specifications because quite often they are just numbers designed to sell something. But what does matter to me is the actual image and that is the reason I said what I said.

I humbly believe Nikon produces a more accurate portrait flesh tone. And I am the last person who expected to say that considering I owned 4 canons from 2000 although none of them being DSLR's and was sold on Canon's for life. But I just did extensive research before buying my first dslr and was surprised that Canon had met its match.

Do I hate Canon? No, I still own a few Canon cameras but at the end of the day its not the brand name that matters on the camera, its the image.

I hope the OP finds what she's looking for,

Sandy.
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Old Nov 17, 2010, 10:48 AM   #8
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i don't see how this proves the 3100 offers better image quality than the t1i. there is really very little difference at 1600, there is some white balance differences and the exposure is not quite the same. and they handle noise and sharpening a bit different.

the d90 probably does the best here, by a fraction. i think that you have proven my point that there is little difference between these 3 cams in image quality at 1 particular ISO, 1600. and this is just 1 test. i have seen countless 100% crops of this range of cams, and the same holds true, there is little difference in pure image quality. it takes pixel peeping to see it and then it can vary based on the test conditions etc etc etc.

maybe i shouldnt have stated the t1i does better than the 3100 at higher ISO, though it is still a better specced cam, in my first sentence, more that it is not different. but it was a reaction to your blanket statement the nikon has better image quality. but i think i sufficiently stated later there is little difference.
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Old Nov 17, 2010, 11:04 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lilacfire View Post
I probably should add that I am someone who is not swayed by specifications because quite often they are just numbers designed to sell something. But what does matter to me is the actual image and that is the reason I said what I said.

I humbly believe Nikon produces a more accurate portrait flesh tone. And I am the last person who expected to say that considering I owned 4 canons from 2000 although none of them being DSLR's and was sold on Canon's for life. But I just did extensive research before buying my first dslr and was surprised that Canon had met its match.

Do I hate Canon? No, I still own a few Canon cameras but at the end of the day its not the brand name that matters on the camera, its the image.

I hope the OP finds what she's looking for,

Sandy.
This I think is more useful than just dismissing one brand by saying it has worse image quality. (which I think we see now that the blanket statement of that is not true)

For you, the specs aren't important and you prefer the skin tone rendition of Nikon. From that perspective the 3100 might be a better choice than the t1i.

but someone else may prefer the higher specs of the t1i, which for some photography is imporant, and may prefer the canon color, especially in landscape/travel environment.

and our images here, an around the web show, you have to pixel peep to see a real difference, and then its really quite subjective.

the aps-c market has matured of late. all you have to do is run the 100% crop test between the higher end cams, like canon 7d, nikon d7000, pentax k5, to see how very little difference there really is. in then end it comes down to picking a system that fits your own preferences and has the lenses you need.
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Old Nov 17, 2010, 11:15 AM   #10
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I take issue with much that's been said here, but I find this the most interesting:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lilacfire View Post
I humbly believe Nikon produces a more accurate portrait flesh tone.
... and you made that determination by closely examining photographs of mannequins?
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