Camera time again...

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
There's a lot going on in the DSLR world right now, especially in the mid-range. First Canon released the 40D, which looked like a pretty decent upgrade to the 30D, Canon's second-tier DSLR. Then a few days later Nikon released the D300, which blew away everyone. Pro-specs on a mid-level body, it looks fantastic on paper. Then the samples came in from the 40D, and they were underwhelming. The D300, on the other hand, looks like a winner. It's a price level above the 40D, but it's pretty much alone in its range, which is a little more than the 40D and way less than the 5D.



And this week, we're expecting to finally see the "advanced amateur" model from Sony. My guess is that it'll give the Nikon a run for its money.



Right now I'm using a Sony α100, which is in many ways the best of the entry-level bodies (though it fails on high ISO noise). I also just bought a Fujifilm Finepix F31fd, which after a year is still considered the best low-light point and shoot camera available. Despite having "only" 6 megapixels, it suited what I wanted exactly, which was a quick bar camera that I can use underwater and in super low-light conditions, to carry around when I don't want to lug the DSLR around.



My next body will most likely be the new Sony advanced amateur, if I have the budget for it, or the successor to the α100, perhaps.



IMO except in the super pro category where you can pay US$5000 for a lens, the megapixel wars should be over. It's clear that for most affordable lenses, 12MP is about the most you can get out of a decent SLR lens. For point-and shoots, with their tiny lenses and tiny sensors, we really should have stopped at 6. I guarantee you that an A3 print of a picture taken at a gig, for instance, from my f31fd, will look better than nearly any point-and shoot, even the most expensive 12MP Leicas. Megapixels just mean larger file sizes and more expensive storage, as well as far worse high ISO noise performance. Even when technology catches up and we can get low noise with tiny photosites, the resolution of the camera will still be limited by the resolution of the lens, at which point the only way to move forward is larger lenses. Not practical for a compact P&S, so I think we've just about reached the limit of technology there.



Anyway, I think anyone who is going to buy a camera should do their homework. I feel sorry for D40/D40x purchasers, for instance, because when they bought their camera they probably didn't know that they couldn't use legacy Nikon lenses with autofocus functionality, or even some brand new Nikon lenses, like the indispensable 50mm prime. They probably would have gotten much more spending a couple hundred more for the excellent D80 instead, or by going Sony or Pentax.



My question is what do you use, what do you like about it, and what are you looking for in a camera? Did you do your homework before you bought your camera? Did you buy Nikon or Canon because "everybody does"? Did you buy something you're not happy with?



And what would you like to see in your next camera, that's a realistic expectation in the coming months?
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 29
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by tonton View Post


    There's a lot going on in the DSLR world right now, especially in the mid-range. First Canon released the 40D, which looked like a pretty decent upgrade to the 30D, Canon's second-tier DSLR. Then a few days later Nikon released the D400, which blew away everyone. Pro-specs on a mid-level body, it looks fantastic on paper. Then the samples came in from the 40D, and they were underwhelming. The D400, on the other hand, looks like a winner. It's a price level above the 40D, but it's pretty much alone in its range, which is a little more than the 40D and way less than the 5D.



    And this week, we're expecting to finally see the "advanced amateur" model from Sony. My guess is that it'll give the Nikon a run for its money.



    Right now I'm using a Sony α100, which is in many ways the best of the entry-level bodies (though it fails on high ISO noise). I also just bought a Fujifilm Finepix F31fd, which after a year is still considered the best low-light point and shoot camera available. Despite having "only" 6 megapixels, it suited what I wanted exactly, which was a quick bar camera that I can use underwater and in super low-light conditions, to carry around when I don't want to lug the DSLR around.



    My next body will most likely be the new Sony advanced amateur, if I have the budget for it, or the successor to the α100, perhaps.



    IMO except in the super pro category where you can pay US$5000 for a lens, the megapixel wars should be over. It's clear that for most affordable lenses, 12MP is about the most you can get out of a decent SLR lens. For point-and shoots, with their tiny lenses and tiny sensors, we really should have stopped at 6. I guarantee you that an A3 print of a picture taken at a gig, for instance, from my f31fd, will look better than nearly any point-and shoot, even the most expensive 12MP Leicas. Megapixels just mean larger file sizes and more expensive storage, as well as far worse high ISO noise performance. Even when technology catches up and we can get low noise with tiny photosites, the resolution of the camera will still be limited by the resolution of the lens, at which point the only way to move forward is larger lenses. Not practical for a compact P&S, so I think we've just about reached the limit of technology there.



    Anyway, I think anyone who is going to buy a camera should do their homework. I feel sorry for D40/D40x purchasers, for instance, because when they bought their camera they probably didn't know that they couldn't use legacy Nikon lenses with autofocus functionality, or even some brand new Nikon lenses, like the indispensable 50mm prime. They probably would have gotten much more spending a couple hundred more for the excellent D80 instead, or by going Sony or Pentax.



    My question is what do you use, what do you like about it, and what are you looking for in a camera? Did you do your homework before you bought your camera? Did you buy Nikon or Canon because "everybody does"? Did you buy something you're not happy with?



    And what would you like to see in your next camera, that's a realistic expectation in the coming months?



    Do NOT buy Sony. Their cameras are not as well designed and feel to light and cheap. I prefer Nikon over Canon for the midrange SLRs and Canon over Nikon for High-End Professional SLRs.



    To you, I would recommend the Nikon D80 or the Canon 40D.



    I own the Nikon D80 and I love it as a mid-range dSLR. Also, be sure to invest in some nice glass for your camera: it makes absolutely no sense to plunk down a lot of money for a great camera if you have a shitty lens.
  • Reply 2 of 29
    sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 17,670member
    Any ideas on the best sub $200? I am going to be in the market. Tonton, you sound like you're very knowledgeable...way beyond my level of expertise here. Thoughts?
  • Reply 3 of 29
    tonton, what I enjoy about your posts is that there's no middle ground. Everything is either crap or excellent.



    Traditional film SLR makers have had a hard time making the transistion from film to digital. Minolta, at one time one of the big three SLR makers, is no more as is Konica. The jury is still out on Olympus and Pentax, and no one lnows how deeply Sony's commitment is to DSLRs. I think that's the reason people recommend Canon and Nikon, not only do they have full systems that dwarf their competitors, you know they'll be around in five years time.



    And sorry, IMO your comment on Canon's non L glass as crap doesn't hold water. But each to their own opinion.



    I do agree about your Nikon D40/x comment and the need to do a lot of research before you buy anything.



    Way back in your first post you asked what people are using. I had shot a lot of film in the 80s and early 90s using Nikon F3s, a Pentax 6x7 and a Plaubel Makina 6x7. Then in the late 90s I went minimalist using a film P&S the a digital P&S. Finally in May 2005 I decided to go with a DSLR and after research and trying a Nikon D70 and Canon XT went with the XT. Both cameras were nice, but I liked the smaller size of the XT and, based on my 35mm experience, felt that the Canon lens lineup met my needs better than Nikon's.



    I've been very happy with my choice. While Nikon's D300 sounds nice, I have no inclination to switch brands. I've been thinking of getting a second Canon body, not that I need it but the convenience would be nice, either a 40D of maybe even a 5D or its replacement, but who knows.



    tonton, if you're happy with Sony then go that way. Afterall, you have to please yourself.
  • Reply 4 of 29
    backtomacbacktomac Posts: 4,579member
    I have a Cannon EOS Rebel XTI.



    Problem is I'm a terrible photographer. I get better pictures on auto mode.



    I'm going to take a class and learn how to take photos properly.



    I know that didn't help with the discussion much.
  • Reply 5 of 29
    regreg Posts: 832member
    I still use a Canon 20D. It is about 3 years old and has been a very rugged camera that has gone on many hiking and canoe trips. Because of the great results I have gotten from Canon and because I have a couple of L lens (50mm and 28 -300) and several other lens I would stick with them. I would also go with the 40D over the 5D because of the pop-up flash. There have been many times I have to limit what I take on trips and only take 1 lens with me because of weight and space. Having to carry an external flash and battteries doesn't make sense.



    I also like the feel of the Canon and Nikon cameras over the Olympus and Pentax cameras. If you are going to use a camera alot it should feel good in your hands. I have not tried any of Sony cameras so no comment on them.



    For a first time DSLR person with a limited budget the Panasonic DMC-FZ50 is a very good camera for the money.
  • Reply 6 of 29
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by tonton View Post


    True for the most part. And I agree I'm a bit overcritical of the Canon lenses, but really... while they may not be "crap", meaning that (except for the kit lens) they're 95% as good as the competition, there is better consumer glass out there, and not much worse, even from the major third parties like Tamron and Sigma. The Canon lenses just aren't as good as the competition. Find me an article from any professional reviewer that states that the Canon kit lens is "underrated". You won't. It's not underrated. It's crap. I've seen the results. I've seen the soft edges and unbelievable CA. Even the center is soft, at all stops. Canon could have spent $5 more per lens and made something acceptable. They chose not to.



    But what you say about any question regarding Sony's commitment to the DSLR is taken straight from the FUD certain people like to spread. Sony reaffirmed their commitment very clearly at PMA and haven't missed a beat. The α100 has sold very, very well, and has been quite profitable for Sony. In the first six months, they had a larger market share than the Mac. Plus we'll see in the next 2 or 3 days something spectacular, and within the next few months something that will rival the 1Ds.



    The truth is, if I had to choose over again, and hadn't had any Minolta glass, I would seriously take a look at Pentax. The K10d is an amazing piece of equipment for the price, and the Pentax glass is very very good. But unless I'm in the studio with a tripod 100% of the time, there's no way I would buy any DSLR body that doesn't have in-body stabilization. It just doesn't make sense.



    But as I've said before, the α100 has received due criticism for high ISO noise, which cancels out the benefits of stabilization a bit (you can correct for the noise quite well in post-processing if you shoot RAW). But the fact remains that the α100 has received across the board reviews which state that at ISO 200, you can't get better performance until you go all the way up to the Canon 5D. A camera that costs 4 times as much.



    Sony has always (and probably will always) cater to the consumer range, and for this reason, Canon and Nikon are better because they have more complete systems as the Canon and Nikon design cameras for consumers, amateurs, and professional. So looking at the Sony SLR, you're going to get a very light body design (what most CONSUMERS want, but NOT what most amateur and professional photographers want), optimized automatic modes, and cheaper prices. And yes, I have used the α100, and I strongly prefer my D80. I also find that Canon low-end cameras (the XTi/400D specifically) lacks the robustness found in Nikon's lower-end cameras.



    I agree with you that kit lenses, from almost all manufacturers, are crap when compared to 90% of the cameras the kit lenses come with. This is why I spent about the same amount of money on my lens than I did on the dSLR itself. I have the D80 with the 18-200mm VR lens.



    Canon's expensive glass is excellent, as is Nikon's -- and for good reason -- if you're going to plunk down $5,000+ on a professional SLR, you sure as hell don't want a shitty lens. I must say however that of the "other" dSLR makers (Sony, Fujifilm, and Pentax), I am most impressed with what Pentax has put to market.
  • Reply 7 of 29
    addaboxaddabox Posts: 12,664member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by tonton View Post


    .... it suited what I wanted exactly, which was a quick bar camera that I can use underwater and in super low-light conditions.......



    Personally, I would stop frequenting poorly lit underwater bars.
  • Reply 8 of 29
    ebbyebby Posts: 3,110member
    If I may throw in my 2 cents...

    1) Ditch Sony. It may be personal, but far too often I get tech support calls where the end result is "I guess they don't want you to do that." And I am not talking illegal stuff here. It is frustrating and I feel they have moved from enabling technology to entrapment technology. Then again, this is all personal. Oh, and my dad's Sony point and shoot camera self-distrusted over time. A cosmetic metal ring warped and jammed the lens and no one would fix it under warrantee saying it was dropped. It was not simply because this progressed over time.



    2) I got to vote for Canon because I use Canon. Not that I don't have anything against Nikon, I just never used their products. Minolta is so-so. I have had a GREAT traditional film camera that I enjoy using to this day, but I find their point and shoot is noticeably too grainy. But back to Canon... I have 2 Tamron lenses and a *wince* expensive-as-hell Canon lens. The Tamron lenses are slower but do produce excellent pictures. The Canon lens is fast, quiet, and very crisp. (I paid for that though) Canon DSLR's depend on the lenses you use and will utilize them to their fullest.



    Another reason I lean towards Canon is their new 21 megapixel sensor. It has a killer pricetag, but Canon has a history of milking the early adopters then bringing the technology to consumer levels. I say this is a good bet when you find yourself with $2500 in lenses 5 years later like I do. 21 MP is roughly the magic number that equals high quality film; another nail in that coffin.
  • Reply 9 of 29
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by tonton View Post


    You seem to be forgetting that the a100 is Sony's entry level camera. And in direct contradiction to your post, it is both heavier, and bigger, than the entry level Nikon (D40) and the entry level Canon (XTi).



    The D80 is just a little heavier than the a100, but it's not bigger, in fact the grip is very narrow and certainly doesn't fit the hand as well. And why does Nikon use straight, unsculpted grips? My hand is not flat, thanks.



    The D80 is not a bad camera at all. Nikon had a good system. And while Minolta used to have the best flash system, Nikon has advanced while Minolta froze.



    But Nikon has fallen in a few places. Why has Canon released their 50mm 1.4 in a motorized version, while Nikon doesn't have one, even though they have a camera body without an in-body motor? It doesn't make sense that Nikon hasn't released a 50/1.8 USM for use with the D40.



    However, looking at the D300, Nikon is obviously even more tempting than before, and they appear to be advancing faster than the competition. That will definitely seep into the consumer range.



    Now what icfireball and ebby are missing is that the Alpha is not just Sony's DSLR. It is Minolta's. Minolta has been used by professionals, and produced top tier (and expensive) pro-level glass. Sony made sure that that tradition would continue by partnering with Carl Zeiss, as well as continuing the manufacture of the rebadged Minolta "G" lenses. This is not "consumer glass" by any standard.



    What fireball is also missing is that in 2 days Sony is releasing their competitor to the 40D and D300. It's not clear which side of the spectrum between those they will enter, but you can be sure it'll be a lot more robust and feature-filled body than the D80.



    Looking at the a100 and the D40, which do you think is made by a "consumer" camera company? Without having seen Sony's advanced model, how could you compare it with anything?



    Sony's DSLR division is completely separate from Sony's P&S division. Who's to say that Sony wouldn't draw from their experience in the video division when adding to Minolta? Would you say Sony's video division is "for consumers"? That shows a tremendous amount of ignorance.



    And your last remark about kit lenses missed my point.



    On a scale of 1 to 100, if you take data from all the tests and reviews (and look at the samples), you could easily assign Canon's kit lens a 60. Nikon's would be about 85 and Sony and Pentax would both be in the 90s.



    It is simply not true to say that all kit lenses are crap.



    I don't think Sony is trying to tap into the professional market. As consumers are buying SLRs more and more, Sony has decided it would be profitable to offer an SLR as an option. You're never going to see a SLR from Sony that competes with the Mark-III or Nikon D3/D2x cameras. I don't even think Sony's SLR that will be announced in a few days will compete with the Nikon D300. It is more likely to compete with the Nikon D80 and Canon 40D.
  • Reply 10 of 29
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by tonton View Post


    You've never actually held the α100, have you? At least you didn't compare the Sony to the 400D or D40.



    Fact is if you buy an inexpensive Nikon DSLR kit, you get average performance out of the kit lens. If you buy Canon you get HORRIBLE performance and I'm not kidding. But if you buy either Pentax or Sony you get fantastic images out of the kit lenses. Read up comments about kit lenses, and you'll see the difference in people's experience.



    Reviews I've read about the Nikon kit lenses are very favourable. I've seen examples on Fred Miranda from users of D2Xs's who really like their D40's and the quality of the images from the kit lens.



    Quote:

    To say "Canon" and "nice glass" in the same sentence... Unless you've got bucks for the "pro" stuff, Canon is the most famous brand for "crap glass" in the world.



    I think you are going far to far here. I'm a Nikon user, but Canon makes excellent cameras and lenses. You can find below par or average lenses made by Nikon, Canon, Pentax, Olympus and Sony etc. And all make some superb lenses too.



    Quote:

    Now Canon has great sensors in terms of noise (except apparently the pre-production 40D for some reason), but a lot of people hate the Canon colors. But with the D300, Nikon seems to have leapfrogged the competition.



    If I was a Canon user, I'd be most annoyed at Canon's failure to provide substantial updates top models. The 30D was a very minor upgrade to the 20D. Nikon has finally stepped up, but they've taken their time.



    Sony is an unknown at present. It's great that you enjoy the Alpha100, but for me it is okay. The biggest problem is that at present there is no upgrade path. again, Sony have been very slow coming out with other models and we just have to wait and see about the two upcoming ones.



    Essentially any camera choice is about more than a body, it's about a system. The benefit of going with Nikon or Canon is that they have complete systems in place and you know what you are buying into. Pentax have come up with some interesting gear and have some legendary lenses, but their line of lenses needs updating and their recent acquisition by Hoya raises the spectre of Minolta's sad demise. They might be fine, but it's an unknown at present. Olympus and the four thirds system doesn't convince me at all, I'm afraid. Sony, again we have to wait and see. They clearly want to be a major player and we have to take intention that seriously.



    I'm with Nikon and will stay with them. At the time I bought a D200, it was that or a 30D and in my view the D200 was a more substantial camera. Some Nikon users have been going to Canon with Canon's recent announcements, feeling Nikon had fallen behind. But that's a mugs game especially if you have and investment in lenses etc. Nikon's new offerings (D300 and D3) are impressive and I expect I'll go for a D300 sometime next year. The D300 is better than the 40D (but my photographic skills aren't ) and it costs more, but next year that might change and Canon might steal the show. Anyone looking at cameras at the level of a D3 or Canon 1D series, has no alternative but Canon or Nikon currently. We'll see if Sony makes a serious play for that end of the market in a few months. Whatever, there has never been a better time to be into photography - especially as a new entrant. The range and quality for the equipment is excellent and we are spoilt for choice.



    For me, I love a nice high tech body as much as the next guy. However, my first priority is extending my lens lineup and getting a decent tripod. These will do more than any new body to improve my images. But I know eventually, I won't be able to resist the D300.
  • Reply 11 of 29
    eugeneeugene Posts: 8,254member
    Massive reply incoming...



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by tonton View Post


    The D300, on the other hand, looks like a winner. It's a price level above the 40D, but it's pretty much alone in its range, which is a little more than the 40D and way less than the 5D.



    The 5D is in a class by itself and I think it will remain that way for some time. The only reason why Canon can justify the 5D is because their other 35mm format camera is $8000. Nikon has shrewdly come to the table with a $5500 35mm format body which doesn't skimp anywhere except for the pixel count...a conscious decision which has allowed Nikon to attain ISO 6400 without a 1 EV push...plus ISO 12800 and 25600 via push.



    Quote:

    And this week, we're expecting to finally see the "advanced amateur" model from Sony. My guess is that it'll give the Nikon a run for its money.



    Your guess is as good as mine. Who knows if it'll be 35mm format or use the recently announced Sony CMOS with line-by-line A/D converters?



    Quote:

    Right now I'm using a Sony α100, which is in many ways the best of the entry-level bodies (though it fails on high ISO noise). I also just bought a Fujifilm Finepix F31fd, which after a year is still considered the best low-light point and shoot camera available. Despite having "only" 6 megapixels, it suited what I wanted exactly, which was a quick bar camera that I can use underwater and in super low-light conditions, to carry around when I don't want to lug the DSLR around.



    Each entry-level body has pluses and minuses. The Sony's weak AA filter means it'll take sharper photos, but be susceptible to moire. No software algorithm can replace the simplicity of a physical filter.



    Stuff like in-camera image stabilization is nice to have, but it doesn't replace lens-based technology. 1) The technology is different...when built into the camera, it means the sensor itself is the floating element. Nice, but the body isn't the part that shakes the most. 2) You cannot see the effect of the stabilization through the viewfinder, so more often than not you don't even know when the stabilization is working. You need a combination of Live View + IS like in the Olympus bodies to see the stabilization at work. 3) When built into the the lens, the system is tailor made to that particular design...



    There is absolutely no reason for a P&S camera based on a 1/1.8" sensor to have more than 3-4mpresolution. APS-C frame size cameras are already hitting the upper limits of optical resolution at their focal length at a mere 10-12mp. 35mm frame cameras will tap out around 27mp. The 6mpresolution of the FinePix F31fd is already overkill.



    Quote:

    My next body will most likely be the new Sony advanced amateur, if I have the budget for it, or the successor to the α100, perhaps.



    Since you already bought into the Sony Alpha / Minolta AF mount system, there's simply no good reason to switch. The only big reason to switch is if the professional Sony body isn't based around a 35mm sensor, and if you are looking to grow into that format in the future...for the shorter DoF and wider FoV.



    Quote:

    IMO except in the super pro category where you can pay US$5000 for a lens, the megapixel wars should be over. It's clear that for most affordable lenses, 12MP is about the most you can get out of a decent SLR lens.



    It's not the lens, but the combination of the focal length + lens + light gathering ability. One of the reasons why Nikon was able to get ISO 25600 is because they stuck to 12mp, but also added gapless microlenses for better light gathering at each pixel location.



    Quote:

    For point-and shoots, with their tiny lenses and tiny sensors, we really should have stopped at 6. I guarantee you that an A3 print of a picture taken at a gig, for instance, from my f31fd, will look better than nearly any point-and shoot, even the most expensive 12MP Leicas.



    Not exactly. Because of the pixel positions in SuperCCD sensors, it suffers from poor diagonal resolution. In addition, while all digital cameras (other than Foveon based ones) use bayer interpolation to create the final image, the FinePix F31fd always creates a 12mp image first, then resizes to the "native" 6mp. Interpolating the image that many times can't be beneficial. The F31fd does have better low-light performance and color rendering than most other cameras, but in a well lit scene it would be incredibly hard to distinguish a photo taken by a F31fd and an equivalent competitor's 1/1.8" sensor based 6mp camera.



    Quote:

    Megapixels just mean larger file sizes and more expensive storage, as well as far worse high ISO noise performance. Even when technology catches up and we can get low noise with tiny photosites, the resolution of the camera will still be limited by the resolution of the lens, at which point the only way to move forward is larger lenses. Not practical for a compact P&S, so I think we've just about reached the limit of technology there.



    Sticking a bigger lens on a P&S camera is one thing. You need to put a bigger sensor behind the lens to truly get more detail as opposed to just "magnification."



    Quote:

    Anyway, I think anyone who is going to buy a camera should do their homework. I feel sorry for D40/D40x purchasers, for instance, because when they bought their camera they probably didn't know that they couldn't use legacy Nikon lenses with autofocus functionality, or even some brand new Nikon lenses, like the indispensable 50mm prime. They probably would have gotten much more spending a couple hundred more for the excellent D80 instead, or by going Sony or Pentax.



    You're starting to sound like a shill for Sony here. The D40[x] is pretty much the P&S camera of the D-SLR world. It's not meant for people with legacy lenses. Nikon probably expects the average D40[x] owner to buy one extra long zoom, and that's about it. In itself, the D40[x] is a wonderful camera. It's physically smaller than the A100 and even the Olympus E-410. The E-410 is slightly lighter, but that's because the D40[x] is a solid kit. In addition, you get the choice between a 6mp D40 with class leading high ISO performance or the D40x with slightly better resolution.



    I think it's funny that you think the 50mm f/1.8 is indispensable. It's a great lens for low-light photography, but its focal length is neither here nor there. The D40[x] buyer sticks a jack of all trades zoom on his camera and leaves it there most of the time. I consider my 18-200mm more indispensable than any of my primes.



    Quote:

    My question is what do you use, what do you like about it, and what are you looking for in a camera? Did you do your homework before you bought your camera? Did you buy Nikon or Canon because "everybody does"? Did you buy something you're not happy with?



    I use a Nikon D200 because it's the only camera in its class. It's rugged, high FPS, decent up to ISO 800 and acceptable at ISO 1600 with noise reduction *OFF*. Ergonomically, I think the Nikon bodies are a cut above everybody else... They're Giorgetto Giugiaro designed after-all. Nikon's 3D matrix metering system is also as good as it gets. When I shoot with Auto-ISO on in Manual mode, the metering is always spot on.



    Quote:

    And what would you like to see in your next camera, that's a realistic expectation in the coming months?



    The D200 is a 2 year old design, and I plan on using mine until it breaks. That's how futureproof it is. This isn't the P&S world. You don't upgrade cameras just because something incrementally better comes out.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by icfireball View Post


    Do NOT buy Sony. Their cameras are not as well designed and feel to light and cheap. I prefer Nikon over Canon for the midrange SLRs and Canon over Nikon for High-End Professional SLRs.



    Disagree. For one, even though Sony brands the cameras now, they carry a lot of their Minolta heritage. I still have a Minolta XG7/XG2 on my desk that I like to fiddle with when I'm bored. The A100 competes directly with the Canon Digital Rebel series, perhaps the cheapest feeling line of D-SLRs of them all. When I pick up an Olympus E-510, it feels solid and balanced in the hand with a prominent right-hand grip. When I pick up a Pentax, it feels the same...with the addition of weather-sealing on the K10D. The same goes for the D40/D80 and the A100. Only the Canon Digital Rebels feel cheap to me.



    Quote:

    To you, I would recommend the Nikon D80 or the Canon 40D.



    I own the Nikon D80 and I love it as a mid-range dSLR. Also, be sure to invest in some nice glass for your camera: it makes absolutely no sense to plunk down a lot of money for a great camera if you have a shitty lens.



    I don't recommend anything. As I said, D-SLRs aren't playthings. You don't upgrade for the sake of having something incrementally better. The D80 is an absolute sidegrade to the A100 and the 40D is such a minimal upgrade *unless* tonton wants to shoot at ISO 1600/3200 a lot.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SDW2001 View Post


    Any ideas on the best sub $200? I am going to be in the market. Tonton, you sound like you're very knowledgeable...way beyond my level of expertise here. Thoughts?



    The Fuji FinePix F40fd. I would have suggested the F31fd, but you simply won't find a new one anywhere at this point...maybe a month ago... Aside from the megapixel bump, the F40fd actually loses some manual control found in the F31fd, but the image quality advantages are still present.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by tonton View Post


    You've never actually held the α100, have you? At least you didn't compare the Sony to the 400D or D40.



    I would say the D40 compares quite well to the A100 held in hand. It's a smaller camera, so the space between the grip and wider lenses might be a little tight.



    Quote:

    Fact is if you buy an inexpensive Nikon DSLR kit, you get average performance out of the kit lens. If you buy Canon you get HORRIBLE performance and I'm not kidding. But if you buy either Pentax or Sony you get fantastic images out of the kit lenses. Read up comments about kit lenses, and you'll see the difference in people's experience.



    Fact is it depends on each individual lens, not the stamp on the barrel. The 18-70mm Nikkor was a great in tandem with the D70. I use the 18-200mm Nikkor on my D200 more than any other lens. Contrast this to the 18-70mm Sony Alpha which has a rotating front element (no polarizers or lens hoods for you) and a plastic mount...



    Sony of course, does have access to some interesting Zeiss exclusives. Zeiss makes a couple of primes and maros in Nikon F-mount, but they are incredibly expensive boutique lenses.



    Quote:

    To say "Canon" and "nice glass" in the same sentence... Unless you've got bucks for the "pro" stuff, Canon is the most famous brand for "crap glass" in the world. Well you did say "plunk down a lot of money" so maybe that's what you did mean. I'm not talking about that in this thread. If you want to plunk down a lot of money better go for the D300 (or wait for the new Sony), and get whatever glass you can afford.



    Again it comes down to each individual lens. The Canon 11-22mm zoom is a fantastic wideangle lens for relatively low-cost. The 18-55mm EF-S was terrible and so is their 50mm f/1.8, but all you have to do is ... not buy those particular lenses.



    Quote:

    Now Canon has great sensors in terms of noise (except apparently the pre-production 40D for some reason), but a lot of people hate the Canon colors. But with the D300, Nikon seems to have leapfrogged the competition.



    Canon's high ISO images reproduce a lot of fine detail at the expense of chroma noise. You see this as splotches of green and red, particularly in neutral tones like whites/grays/blacks. Nikon's approach eliminates chroma noise more or less, but at the expense of detail. High ISO shots from my D200 look almost sandblasted, but at least there's no unwanted color in shadows and highlights.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Ebby View Post


    But back to Canon... I have 2 Tamron lenses and a *wince* expensive-as-hell Canon lens. The Tamron lenses are slower but do produce excellent pictures.



    Out of Tokina, Tamron and Sigma, I hold the least stock in the performance of Tamron lenses. This is a generalization of course...Each of these brands has a diamond in the rough. The Tokina 12-24mm f/4 in particular is a fantastic lens. The Sigma macros are generally OK.



    Quote:

    Another reason I lean towards Canon is their new 21 megapixel sensor. It has a killer pricetag, but Canon has a history of milking the early adopters then bringing the technology to consumer levels. I say this is a good bet when you find yourself with $2500 in lenses 5 years later like I do. 21 MP is roughly the magic number that equals high quality film; another nail in that coffin.



    High quality film was surpassed long ago, because resolution wasn't the main buggaboo. Grain was. It's just like Canon to go for the spec-whore appeal rather than address the main issues people have with their cameras. Take a look at this image and you can see what I'm talking about.







    As you can see above, the Canon EOS 1 design has gone largely unchanged since 2000 or so. Contrast this with Nikon on the bottom row who continues to tinker with the minor details. Notice how they separated the AF-On and AE-Lock buttons from the D2xs to the D3. Notice how they reversed the position of the command dial and AF-On button on the vertical grip. It's this attention to detail that I like about Nikon.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by tonton View Post


    You seem to be forgetting that the a100 is Sony's entry level camera. And in direct contradiction to your post, it is both heavier, and bigger, than the entry level Nikon (D40) and the entry level Canon (XTi).



    Well the problem here is the A100 is currently Sony's ONLY camera. Sony's upcoming cameras are going to be a big deal. Whether they go 35mm with the pro camera or stick to APS-C. Whether their advanced amateur camera achieves feature parity with the 40D or D300 remains to be seen.



    Quote:

    The D80 is just a little heavier than the a100, but it's not bigger, in fact the grip is very narrow and certainly doesn't fit the hand as well. And why does Nikon use straight, unsculpted grips? My hand is not flat, thanks.



    Another odd argument. My hand position on the grip changes constantly based on comfort/fatigue, subject position, camera orientation, etc. To me it makes perfect sense for the grip to be simple in design.



    Quote:

    The D80 is not a bad camera at all. Nikon had a good system. And while Minolta used to have the best flash system, Nikon has advanced while Minolta froze.



    Nikon really has the best metering system regardless of whether flash-based or available light only.



    Quote:

    But Nikon has fallen in a few places. Why has Canon released their 50mm 1.4 in a motorized version, while Nikon doesn't have one, even though they have a camera body without an in-body motor? It doesn't make sense that Nikon hasn't released a 50/1.8 USM for use with the D40.



    The camera wasn't built for that lens. Nikon will eventually come out with such a lens, but what's the rush? They have bigger/badder lenses to design, like the absolutely stunning new 14-24mm f/2.8 and 24-70mm f/2.8.



    Quote:

    Looking at the a100 and the D40, which do you think is made by a "consumer" camera company? Without having seen Sony's advanced model, how could you compare it with anything?



    If you took the D200 out of my hand and gave me a D40, I wouldn't really change the way I shoot. Same goes for the A100. Besides, at the moment Nikon has a line-up of 8 D-SLRs. Pentax has 4, Canon has 7, Olympus has 5... Sony has 1. We'll have to wait and see... If Sony flubs their next product release cycle, then we'll just have to wait another 2 years for something better.



    Quote:

    On a scale of 1 to 100, if you take data from all the tests and reviews (and look at the samples), you could easily assign Canon's kit lens a 60. Nikon's would be about 85 and Sony and Pentax would both be in the 90s.



    These references are largely meaningless. Almost none of the respected review sites spend any amount of time talking about kit lenses. They typically test cameras with the 50mm f/1.4 or f/1.8



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by houseley View Post


    Reviews I've read about the Nikon kit lenses are very favourable. I've seen examples on Fred Miranda from users of D2Xs's who really like their D40's and the quality of the images from the kit lens.



    The D40 is simply an incredible camera. It's the least expensive, yet trumps everything in its class in noise and color accuracy.



    Quote:

    I think you are going far to far here. I'm a Nikon user, but Canon makes excellent cameras and lenses. You can find below par or average lenses made by Nikon, Canon, Pentax, Olympus and Sony etc. And all make some superb lenses too.



    Yep, yep, yep.



    Quote:

    If I was a Canon user, I'd be most annoyed at Canon's failure to provide substantial updates top models. The 30D was a very minor upgrade to the 20D. Nikon has finally stepped up, but they've taken their time.



    See my design comparison above. Canon is playing the traditional role of the 800 pound gorilla. They don't want to break step with a winning formula, so they won't take any risks.



    Quote:

    Sony is an unknown at present. It's great that you enjoy the Alpha100, but for me it is okay. The biggest problem is that at present there is no upgrade path. again, Sony have been very slow coming out with other models and we just have to wait and see about the two upcoming ones.



    Exactly. Sony has yet to prove itself, but tonton has already bought into the system. Just wait for the announcement and see if Sony will have any kind of a roadmap for future directions. If the Sony "pro" camera doesn't end up being based on a 35mm frame, I would suggest looking at Canon or Nikon.



    I mean, Nikon switching to the 35mm format is sort of like Apple switching to Intel. For so long they tried to spin the APS-C "DX" format as plenty for digital. It's obvious now that Canon was right all along and that 35mm is the future. Ironic isn't it...?



    Quote:

    Olympus and the four thirds system doesn't convince me at all, I'm afraid. Sony, again we have to wait and see. They clearly want to be a major player and we have to take intention that seriously.



    The 4/3rds system was more convincing 2 weeks ago before Nikon announced they were moving to 35mm. Now it just cements the fact that APS-C wasn't enough, and 4/3rds definitely isn't enough. Perhaps Olympus will announce the 8/3rds format soon, with yet another new lens mount.



    Quote:

    Nikon's new offerings (D300 and D3) are impressive and I expect I'll go for a D300 sometime next year. The D300 is better than the 40D (but my photographic skills aren't ) and it costs more, but next year that might change and Canon might steal the show. Anyone looking at cameras at the level of a D3 or Canon 1D series, has no alternative but Canon or Nikon currently. We'll see if Sony makes a serious play for that end of the market in a few months. Whatever, there has never been a better time to be into photography - especially as a new entrant. The range and quality for the equipment is excellent and we are spoilt for choice.



    My D200 is fairly new, but even if I had bought it back in 2005, I would not be inclined to buy a D300 in November. It's simply not a big leap, and the D200 more than suits my shooting ability/needs. If it were to break out of warranty, then yes I might go for a D300. My current plan is to shoot the D200 for another 3+ years at the very least, then see what's out there. Most likely I am done with DX lenses and the format as a whole...my next camera will be the 35mm equivalent to the D200/D300 of 3-5 years from now.



    Quote:

    For me, I love a nice high tech body as much as the next guy. However, my first priority is extending my lens lineup and getting a decent tripod. These will do more than any new body to improve my images. But I know eventually, I won't be able to resist the D300.



    Honestly, hold off on the D300.
  • Reply 12 of 29
    ebbyebby Posts: 3,110member
    Uh, I call that outright multiquote abuse.

  • Reply 13 of 29
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Eugene View Post


    Massive reply incoming...







    My D200 is fairly new, but even if I had bought it back in 2005, I would not be inclined to buy a D300 in November. It's simply not a big leap, and the D200 more than suits my shooting ability/needs. If it were to break out of warranty, then yes I might go for a D300. My current plan is to shoot the D200 for another 3+ years at the very least, then see what's out there. Most likely I am done with DX lenses and the format as a whole...my next camera will be the 35mm equivalent to the D200/D300 of 3-5 years from now.





    Honestly, hold off on the D300.



    The D300's Af system is worth the price of admission alone (after prices drop a bit). That's the D200's main weakness.
  • Reply 14 of 29
    eugeneeugene Posts: 8,254member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by houseley View Post


    The D300's Af system is worth the price of admission alone (after prices drop a bit). That's the D200's main weakness.



    I find myself rarely using the 11-point dynamic AF in favor of the single point AF options. Like I said, I wouldn't really feel hindered by the D40's 3-point AF, let alone the D200's. Maybe I'm just old fashioned.



    I guess I can see why it would be useful in stuff like sports or "street" photography, but really this seems like the one case of trying to beat Canon on paper with the new releases.
  • Reply 15 of 29
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by reg View Post


    I still use a Canon 20D. It is about 3 years old and has been a very rugged camera that has gone on many hiking and canoe trips. Because of the great results I have gotten from Canon and because I have a couple of L lens (50mm and 28 -300) and several other lens I would stick with them. I would also go with the 40D over the 5D because of the pop-up flash. There have been many times I have to limit what I take on trips and only take 1 lens with me because of weight and space. Having to carry an external flash and battteries doesn't make sense.



    I also like the feel of the Canon and Nikon cameras over the Olympus and Pentax cameras. If you are going to use a camera alot it should feel good in your hands. I have not tried any of Sony cameras so no comment on them.



    For a first time DSLR person with a limited budget the Panasonic DMC-FZ50 is a very good camera for the money.



    i wouldn't choose the 40d specifically for the pop-up flash if you're using any lenses other than the kit lens or your 50mm prime. the pop-up flash on my 30d is easily obstructed by my 17-55/2.8 lens such that it leaves a huge shadow at the bottom. i love my 30d on many levels, but the pop-up flash is not one of the reasons why. i need to get a good speedlite flash to go with it.
  • Reply 16 of 29
    eugeneeugene Posts: 8,254member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by tonton View Post


    The other thing is that i find it funny that you mentioned Nikon's ISO 25600. Have you seen the samples? I have no idea why they didn't just leave that one out... I mean what's the point? If it's unusable, why include it? Bragging rights?



    It just bodes well for the ISO 1600 and 3200 performance of the camera (D3). I'd like to see better shot samples from both the D3 and D300 before I judge them further. The various sample photos I've seen from random Asian websites are poorly metered, have focus issues and motion blur.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by admactanium View Post


    i wouldn't choose the 40d specifically for the pop-up flash if you're using any lenses other than the kit lens or your 50mm prime. the pop-up flash on my 30d is easily obstructed by my 17-55/2.8 lens such that it leaves a huge shadow at the bottom. i love my 30d on many levels, but the pop-up flash is not one of the reasons why. i need to get a good speedlite flash to go with it.



    To this day, I have never used the pop-up flash in my D200.
  • Reply 17 of 29
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by admactanium View Post


    i wouldn't choose the 40d specifically for the pop-up flash if you're using any lenses other than the kit lens or your 50mm prime. the pop-up flash on my 30d is easily obstructed by my 17-55/2.8 lens such that it leaves a huge shadow at the bottom. i love my 30d on many levels, but the pop-up flash is not one of the reasons why. i need to get a good speedlite flash to go with it.



    The Canon 430EX works really well. It's relatively small and powerful.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Eugene View Post


    ...



    To this day, I have never used the pop-up flash in my D200.



    About the only time anymore that I use the pop-up flash on my XT is when I want some fill flash in brightly lit outdoor situations and don't have the 430EX along.
  • Reply 18 of 29
    Dear Eugene:



    That post was absolutely outrageous (although I agree with most of the things you said).
  • Reply 19 of 29
    eugeneeugene Posts: 8,254member
    Sony A700

    12.4mp CMOS

    3" 921kp LCD

    ISO 3200 (6400 via push)

    11-point AF

    separate MemoryStick slot (meh, why?)



    http://www.engadget.com/2007/09/05/s...pha-a700-dslr/

    http://a700.ic.cz/
  • Reply 20 of 29
    eugeneeugene Posts: 8,254member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by tonton View Post


    So Eug, what do you think about it? I'm pretty pleased, personally, though we'll have to wait to see more image samples before we can make a final judgment call.



    I think it looks good. The only complaint is the over-reliance on the main 3" display. The A700 lacks the monochrome display of the 40D and D300, and it also lacks detailed information in the viewfinder as well...



    Quote:

    Looks across the board better than the Canon, really competing with the D300.



    The 40D is a shooter's camera. The improvements made aren't glamorous. It's also $200 cheaper. As for comparing it to the D300. The D300 is still a baby pro camera. 51 AF points with 15 cross-types in a sub-$4K body? 100% frame coverage? Full weather-sealing...and a myriad of other custom functions.



    Quote:

    I can't wait to hold one of these babies in my hand.



    The accessory grip is the best I've seen.



    Quote:

    And wait until we see the A900!



    My guess is it'll actually be called the Sony Alpha DSLR-A1 or A10.



    Quote:

    I also notice one of the huge advantages of in-camera stabilization that is rarely discussed. It can be improved. There's no reason to think that a 5 f-stop performance is unattainable in the near future. But with in-lens stabilization, once you've bought your lenses, you're stuck with the same performace until you buy all new lenses.



    I'd still rather have lens-based image stabilization for the reasons I posted in my mega-reply. Tailored systems just work better. A floating glass element seems better than a floating sensor. You won't see the effect of in-body stabilization through a viewfinder...ever. The farther away from the fulcrum (the body), the easier shake is to detect.



    Quote:

    I think Canon and Nikon are going to have to get in-body stabilization eventually, if they want to compete seriously in the handheld market.



    They obviously will, but I will always be on the lookout for lenses that have it built-in. It just works better.
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