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Old Dec 30, 2010, 10:35 AM   #1
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Default Starting to get into photography, confused on brand

Hey guys,

I've read a LOT of good things from respective owners of both Canon and Nikon camera's/lenses. It's actually a bit overwhelming. Before now, I have only been a point and shoot camera user and I would like to take up photography as a hobby, not necessarily to make any money with, just to have really good photos that will last my wife and I a long time for memories.

I will be going to Europe in May as well as thinking about having a kid soon, so I have been wanting to get into an SLR for awhile and researching. I am interested in taking landscape shots, indoor photos, some night shots, portraits and really having fun and trying to learn as much as I can and improving over time. Also, I would like to be able to take short video clips as needed as well in HD, and all the cameras I'm looking at seem capable of that - I would say maybe 5% video to 95% photos.

Anyway, I think I have narrowed my choices down to Nikon d7000, Canon 60d (though everything points to Nikon being better), and Canon 7d (this one would be a stretch though as it's just slightly beyond what I want to spend at this time). The main dilemma I have right now is when you pick a camera, you are essentially marrying that company for their lenses. While the d7000 imo seems like the best bang for the buck at the image quality I would like, I have heard that Nikon lenses can tend to be more pricey? And if someday I would eventually like to get an ok telephoto lens for shooting birds or something, that could be a significant amount of money, correct?

So I'm wondering if anyone has any unbiased opinions or people that have used both Canon and Nikon, if you were an amateur and starting over, would you recommend someone go Canon or Nikon at this point? My co-workers use Nikon and love it and say it's better for low light and like their lenses better. My in-laws use entry-level Canon slr's.

So with all that said - I think I like the Nikon camera the best, but I should probably go by which lens company would be best for me to build on slowly. If I had to pick one thing I would like the most or that intrigues me the most, I would say indoor shots and good low light shots.

tl;dr - I am having a tough time choosing Canon or Nikon. I'm just starting out in photography and plan to maybe be semi-pro but not a pro that sells pictures, I just want to play as a hobby and take really good photos that will last me a long time for memories. If you were starting out right now, would you go Canon or Nikon at this point?
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Old Dec 30, 2010, 10:53 AM   #2
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For consumer grade lenses there's not much difference. For pro grade lenses, Canons are a bit cheaper. But everything's a balancing act. Nikon has slightly better flash system and for the cameras being considered slightly better focus system. I will caution you about something though - you're jumping right into semi-pro cameras which is fine, but realize a lot of the capabilities of those cameras won't be realized without the better lenses/flashes or whatever else your style of photography requires. Or put another way: A t1i with 85mm 1.2L will produce better portraits than 7d with kit lens. Or d3100 with external flash will produce better party photos than d7000 with built in. Now, I'm a big proponent of buying the best gear you can afford - a few years ago I bought a canon 1dmkIII because I could afford it even though I only earn a small amount of money from my photography. BUT, don't put all your eggs in the 'body' basket if that will hamstring you for the next 2 years from buying the pro grade lenses and flash/tripod/head or whatever to take advantage. Otherwise you might be better suited to not spend as much on the body and spend the money elsewhere.

But in the grand scheme of things: it's a Honda vs. Toyota thing with Canon and Nikon.
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Old Dec 30, 2010, 12:41 PM   #3
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Well the 60d I can get for about $200 less than the d7000 so that's something to think about too... but really there is a lot to think about, with which company I want to go with.
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Old Dec 30, 2010, 12:57 PM   #4
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Have you handled the cameras yet? You may find one appeals to you more than the other and ergonimics are important.
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Old Dec 30, 2010, 1:00 PM   #5
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People keep saying that about the ergonomics. I will be going to the store probably Friday to check them out, so to answer your question - no. I've been researching for the past 2 weeks and I want to wait until after CES, just to see if anything gets announced.

But, why is the ergonomics so important? I ask this because if you buy into a brand, you are most likely going to upgrade the body at some point and then the upgraded body could be better or worse than the original body you liked, correct?
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Old Dec 30, 2010, 1:13 PM   #6
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Ergonomics are important for a couple reasons:

First, you're using the tool constantly for a few years. I'll give you an example, last year a friend had a DSLR from a different brand and asked me to take some photos at a party with it. The grip design was VERY uncomfortable for me. Just didn't like it at all. Even within same brand another friend has a smaller DSLR - I didn't like it - the controls were too close for my hand size. So you want to find out if you just really dislike a given camera before buying it blind from the internet.

Second, controls and menu layouts are somewhat consistent within brand - sure a 1dIV is different than a T1i but you'll find within a level of brand the layout and menus and such are similar. One may appeal to you over another. Or you may not care. If you hold a Canon 50d and a Canon 20d (3 generations apart) the feel and layout and operations are pretty close - the bigest difference being the larger LCD screen - but general ergonomics haven't changed much. Now, on the flip side is - every now and then a hiccup can occur - the 60d is NOT the same mag-alloy construction - it's plastic on the outside. So while controls are somewhat consistent and grip style is as well, the "feel" is different.

Again, you're looking at the two top camera systems available - largest selections of new lenses, largest upgrade path and largest likelihood of staying in the DSLR business.
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Old Dec 30, 2010, 2:03 PM   #7
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To be honest lenses are more important than the camera itself since they can last you a lifetime where as a dslr sooner or later you'll have to repair/ replace.

If you do decide on Nikon, consider 4 options with lenses:

1. 17-55 2.8 (expensive but top of the line midrange zoom)
2. 18-200mm VR (expensive but very versatile telephoto zoom)
3. 16-85mm (expensive more of a wideangle zoom)
4. or you can go with the 18-105mm kit lens (which is great for outdoors and very sharp), add a 35mm 1.8 for indoors and get a bounce flash which will suffice for just about everything.

I went with option 4 where as a friend went with option 2. Sometimes I'm envious of her outdoor nature pictures, while she's envious of my low light ones. To get the best of both worlds 18-200mm and 35mm 1.8 prime along with a flash makes a lot of sense except to pixel watchers who claim the 18-200mm isn't sharp enough but looking at my friend's pictures.. I beg to differ.

Anyways best of luck to you. I think someone else can present the Canon side of the argument.
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Old Dec 31, 2010, 4:03 PM   #8
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lots of people i know stick with their original camera. with the 60d, it's not like you'd need to upgrade - it's a very good camera. i haven't tried the nikon, but the same is probably true. heck, i know people who use rebels with L glass because they find the 30, 40, 50 or 60d too heavy and don't need the other features. so choose your camera based on what is comfortable for you to use and carry - a camera that's annoying or uncomfortable can make the photography experience a lot less enjoyable.

besides, for some of us the next step up is too heavy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by whitekoda View Post
But, why is the ergonomics so important? I ask this because if you buy into a brand, you are most likely going to upgrade the body at some point and then the upgraded body could be better or worse than the original body you liked, correct?
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Old Jan 1, 2011, 8:27 AM   #9
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I would add to your list of looking at the T2i/550d and the d5000 both are a lot cheaper and will enable you to get an extra lens or lenses. Both these 2 cameras are ideal to start with
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Old Jan 1, 2011, 11:22 AM   #10
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whitekoda... beyond and as an aside to the advice you've gotten so far... I would strongly suggest that you don't take too long to decide which camera you want. That's because you need time to work with the camera and get used to it before your trip in May.

I guarantee you that if you buy a camera a few weeks before the trip - especially considering that you don't have a lot of experience with DSLRs - you will be disappointed by the results you will get in Europe. If you buy a DSLR and then leave the settings on auto most of the time, you won't get the best out of the camera.

If you want to wait until CES to see what's announced, fine. But the likelihood is what's announced at CES won't actually be in stores for a couple of months. There is nothing inherently wrong with a Canon 60D (or T2i) and Nikon D7000 (or D5000 or even D3100). Don't get caught up up in the incremental advances in specifications with each passing year. One can usually skip at least two generations of cameras before upgrading truly makes sense.

What others have told you is true: Canon vs. Nikon is a Honda vs. Toyota kind of thing. They both make great cameras and lenses. Just make sure the camera isn't too big and heavy for you (or theoretically too small and light) and that the controls are intuitive for your particular mind and body. If a 60D or D7000 works for you after handling it, fantastic. But if they are a bit much for you at this stage, don't be afraid to step down a notch.
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