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Old Nov 14, 2011, 3:11 PM   #1
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Default Canon 550D or Nikon 3100: Please help!

Hi all,

I'm travelling through Heathrow next week and would like to pick up my first DSLR. It's going to be used mainly for family, scenery and occasionally wildlife shots. The rough prices for both cameras with a 18-55mm lens are 360 (Nikon) and 490 (Canon).

I've been looking at these cameras for quite a while and went into a local camera store to play with both of them today. The salesman, who seemed very good, recommended the Nikon as he said the two cameras were similar in terms of image quality but the Nikon came with an in-built user guide. Video quality doesn't bother me as I've got a separate camcorder.

I also found the Nikon to be slightly more comfortable in my hand which I know is an important factor.

So, this seems to suggest that I should go for the Nikon. However, I'm slightly concerned about the poorer LCD on the Nikon as I like to evaluate photos on the screen after they have been taken (and it's fun showing them to my son). I also want to make sure that I have 'future-proofed' as much as is possible.

Which one do you think I should go for?

Thanks in advance.
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Old Nov 15, 2011, 7:30 AM   #2
Join Date: Aug 2004
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Both are good cameras. The Nikon has a very useable LCD - just not as good as the Canon. I'm a Canon guy, but if the NIkon feels better, that's the one I would go with. Realize though, the camera and kit lens is NOT a do-it-all. For example, you say occasional wildlife. You're not going to take many wildlife photos with either camera and kit lens. WAY too short a focal length. Depending on the type of digicam you use now, the lack of focal length may or may not be a big surprise to you. These DSLRs with those kit lenses are going to give you field-of-view (framing) similar to many 3x zoom digicams.

Now - as to "future proof" - there is no such thing. The DSLR is a tool - that's it. How well that tool does in the future depends on the jobs you want to accomplish. If the complexity of the job increases you may desire a tool better designed for that job.

But, I wouldn't sweat it too much. More likely, future purchases over the next 3-4 years will need to revolve around additional lenses / external flash, etc - all of which can be added to your existing body. But there is no way of knowing right now whether in 2-3 years your photography will take you to a place that would benefit from a camera higher up the food chain.
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Old Nov 15, 2011, 2:40 PM   #3
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I expect the Guide pages in the D3100 will grow old quickly. Could be useful if this camera is going to be loaned out to family members who don't know photography.

When used as Auto shooters, the default JPG color tones are slightly different between Canon and Nikon. You can check the sample images from reviews on this site to see if the difference matters to you.

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Kelly Cook
Canon EOS 50D, Fujifilm F45fd, various film dinosaurs
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