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Old November 18th, 2007, 11:45 PM   #1
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Which package would you go for?

If you were under circumstances like this

Nikon D40x Digital SLR Camera Body ($849 Online Only or $949 In-Store)
  • * Accessories:
    o 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G ED II AF-S
    DX Zoom-NIKKOR Lens
    o 55-200mm f/4-5.6G IF-ED AF-S
    DX VR Zoom-NIKKOR Lens with optical image stabilization
    o Lithium-ion Rechargeable Battery, Quick Charger, USB
    Cable,Strap, PictureProject CD-Rom.
    * Bonus Accessories:
    o Camera Bag
    o 1GB SD Card
    o Nikon School DVD - Fast, Fun & Easy - Great Digital Pictures
    o Nikon School DVD - Understanding Digital Photography - Release
    Your Digital DSLR's Potential


OR

Canon Rebel XTi Digital SLR Camera Body ($939 In-Store only)
  • * Accessories:
    o Canon EF-S 18-55mm Lens
    o Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III USM
    o Battery Pack, Battery Charger, Video Cable, USB Interface,
    Cable, Wide Strap, Eyecup, EOS Digital Solution Disc.

    * Bonus Accessories:
    o Camera Bag
    o 1GB CF Card
    o 52mm UV Lens Filter
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Old November 19th, 2007, 09:42 AM   #2
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The Nikon 55-200 VR is a slightly better lens than the Canon 75-300 because it has VR. Although both lenses are soft, they are great beginner lenses.

I'm biased toward Canon so I would lean toward the XTi based on its newer FAST AF system and its ability to take all 500+ Canon EF lenses.

The D40x doesn't come w/ the AF motor, so you are only limited to the newer Nikon lenses. Steve can tell you the problems he's been having trying to find some nice Prime lenses for his D40 backup camera.

I would recommend going into the store and holding and playing with each one. Spec wise, the D40x is not even in the same league w/ the XTi IMHO. However, some ppl prefer the Nikon menus while some prefer the Canon menus.
Being a Canon fanboy...I say Canon.
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Old November 20th, 2007, 07:41 AM   #3
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I couldn't possibly make a recommendation about anything without knowing how or what you'll be shooting.

Sports, action, or things that move fast? Maybe the Canon.
On the fly grab shots, photojournalism type work? Maybe the Nikon.
If you love fiddling with settings and tweaking stuff, maybe the Canon.
If you don't want to have to worry about it and just want great photos, maybe the Nikon.
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Old November 20th, 2007, 08:55 AM   #4
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If you're considering the D40/D40x...do some research and try to figure out what lenses you're going to want. Then keep in mind that the D40(x) body doesn't have the internal focus motor. Make sure the lenses you want will work on the body that you get.
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Old November 20th, 2007, 09:31 AM   #5
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If you're going to want to experiment around with a lot of different lenses including fixed focal length large aperture primes (35mm f/2, 50mm f/1.8, and 85mm f/1.8 are the most common), then you definitely do not want the D40/x since yes, it lacks the in body AF drive motor to autofocus the vast majority of these lenses. You can still manually focus them, but that can be a royal pain in the ***.

I just re-discovered the AF-S 105mm f/2.8 VR Micro. I'm pondering getting one of these and selling off my 85mm f/1.8D which is my least used prime. I'd rather get a little closer with the 50mm than use the 85mm which is much tougher to hand hold. The 105 will let me get portrait shots from a more comfortable (for me) shooting distance, and it has VR to make hand holding easier. And it's a 1:1 macro also which would let me tinker with that. AND since it's AF-S it'll work on either my D80 or the D40. I need to put my 18-135 on my D40 and set it to 105mm and walk around with it and see if that's a focal length I'd enjoy shooting at.
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Old November 20th, 2007, 10:21 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dizzy View Post
The Nikon 55-200 VR is a slightly better lens than the Canon 75-300 because it has VR. Although both lenses are soft, they are great beginner lenses.
I have the non VR version of the Nikon 55-200 and I think the optics are highly underrated. It's a great little lens. These are both at 200mm and wide open at f/5.6 with Auto ISO bumping my ISO up into the 300 range for both to keep me above my minimum specified shutter speed of 1/125s.





Looks pretty sharp to me. Not only that, but the background rendering is nice and creamy and smooth which gives the lens great potential for outdoor/daylight portraits. The VR version is a different optical formula so I can only speak for my non VR version, but mine is definitely a sharp little lens.
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Old November 20th, 2007, 10:21 PM   #7
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did you shoot those in "auto" mode?
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Old November 20th, 2007, 11:21 PM   #8
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What does it look like using ISO 100? Just curious since that's normally what you use for outdoor type shots. I noticed that the 40D's Auto ISO likes to keep things between 200-800 and averages at 400 most of the time. I still need to do test shots to see the differences between 100-400 or is Canon just BS'ing me w/ the auto ISO junk.
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Old November 20th, 2007, 11:50 PM   #9
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personally i didn't like the feel of the D40...the body is too small. i'm sure a lot of girls would like it because it'd be a better fit if they had smaller hands.
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Old November 21st, 2007, 01:16 PM   #10
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Quote:
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did you shoot those in "auto" mode?
What's Auto mode? I almost never use that, lol.

I used Aperture Priority holding the lens wide open at f/5.6. I specificaly wanted to see how sharp the lens was at its longest focal length and wide open, which is where lenses typically perform their worst. I also wanted to see how the out of focus area rendering looked (called "bokeh") and how tight the depth of field was, and the best way to see all that is with the lens aperture wide open. At 200mm and a fairly close distance, there's almost NO depth of field. A few tenths of an inch maybe in front of and behind your focus point.

I had Auto ISO set to maintain a minimum shutter speed of 1/125s, and for these shots it chose iso320 and 250 respectively. Using the "1/focal length" rule of thumb for shutter speed needed for sharp shots at a particular focal length, I probably should have shot in Shutter Priority mode ("S" on Nikon, "Tv" on Canon) at 1/250s. It still would have kept the lens wide open, and then Auto ISO would have just chosen iso640 and 500 instead. But I was also trying to keep noise as low as possible so I just shot at the slower speed and took 2 or 3 shots in continuous mode and picked out the sharpest one. VR wouldn't have helped with any of these photos since it was breezy and the branches were moving around a bit. Had to time my shots during lulls in the wind where they were only moving just slightly.
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Old November 21st, 2007, 01:34 PM   #11
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What does it look like using ISO 100? Just curious since that's normally what you use for outdoor type shots. I noticed that the 40D's Auto ISO likes to keep things between 200-800 and averages at 400 most of the time. I still need to do test shots to see the differences between 100-400 or is Canon just BS'ing me w/ the auto ISO junk.
Wouldn't worry about it. If it helps you with your shooting then use it. Otherwise stick with manual ISO, but in full stops. It would drive me crazy chasing the ISO setting all over the place with that little wheel on the 40D in the 1/3rd stop setting, which BTW was kinda awkward for my hands. And on the XTi you still annoyingly have to dive into menus just to adjust ISO which is even worse. On these shots I was varying between having the lens wide open and then stopped down a bit trying to maximize the depth of field and keeping as much as I could in focus. But I still needed to maintain a faster shutter speed, so the ISO was all over the place from the 200 range to over 1000. Never had to worry with FULL and programmable Auto ISO!

High ISOs can look OK or like crap all depending on what you're trying to shoot. If you have plenty of light and are just trying to freeze something with a fast shutter speed, high ISO tends to look ok. If you're down in the gutter at 1/15s it tends to look a lot worse. And then it's all scene specific too.

Here's the only one from this series at iso100.

75mm, 1/200s, f/4.5, iso100


And then here's some at higher ISO.

55mm, 1/125s, f/10, iso1100


130mm, 1/125s, f/10, iso1000


If you look closely on the wider shot of the tree, you can make out which exact tree branch I was shooting on the zoomed in shot, and about the angle I was using to shoot it, heh heh.

After looking at these photos, I think I'm gonna keep this thing! Great little lens! Was gonna sell it to help finance a 70-300 VR, but just learned that that lens is only really good to 200mm at which point it gets pretty soft, which sorta defeats the purpose of getting it, especially considering it's still a slow lens. I think I'll just save my money for the pro f/2.8 80-200 instead, and then put a 1.4x teleconverter on it if I want a little more reach.
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Old November 21st, 2007, 01:41 PM   #12
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Personally I'd go for the Nikon gear. I just like the feel and usability of the Nikons over Canons. Both cameras are good. My room mate has the XTi and my friend has a D40 so I've used both. You can't really go wrong with either...



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Old November 21st, 2007, 02:46 PM   #13
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BTW, personally I usually avoid these pacakge type deals. These look ok price wise, but I laugh at some of the stuff I've seen elsewhere, and I prefer to pick out my own equipment anyways. 1GB cards are tiny these days. You might not even like the bag. And if you find yourself constantly at the 18mm stop of the 18-55 kit lens and wanting to go wider while your telephoto collects dust, you'll start smacking yourself for paying extra for the "big kit" when that money could have been put towards a wide angle lens instead.

From Adorama.com you can get a new D40/18-55 kit for like $480, or $399 for a refurbished one which are considered good as new and have a 90-day warranty from Nikon. If you want a slightly more capable body from Nikon that won't limit you on what lenses you can use like the D40 does, you can also get the older D50 refurbished for $399 body only and then I'll sell you one of my two extra 18-55 kit lenses for $75 shipped and paypalled.
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Old November 22nd, 2007, 02:59 AM   #14
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^^ i hadn't gotten to the Auto ISO feature of the camera yet...so i was taking a guess that the ISO speed was camera controlled ("auto") while shooting in "auto" mode. i've found the Auto ISO feature now...just gotta learn more about it now to better use it.

i really liked my D50...i didn't feel limited at all (it was my first DSLR) but there were little things about it that i didn't like. one of the big things was...the top LCD didn't light up so setting up for night shots was a downhill battle. i don't know about the canon...but the D40 has the settings screen displayed on the back LCD so you don't have to worry about that.

Last edited by VietNinjaJ30A1; November 22nd, 2007 at 03:02 AM..
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Old November 22nd, 2007, 06:43 AM   #15
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Auto ISO is active in all the shooting modes: P, A, S, and even M. On the Canon if you're shooting in aperture priority mode at iso200, 1/125s, and f/5.6 but then decide on the next shot that you want to stop the lens down to f/11 for maximum depth of field (2-stops difference), it'll dump your shutter speed all the way down to 1/30s. That'll cause blurry shots at longer focal lengths shooting breezy drifting tree branches. Then you have to manually crank the ISO back up to 800 (2-stops) to recover your shutter speed. Then on the next shot you want to shoot at a larger aperture again (f/5.6) so you open the lens back up, but you're still at iso800 that you just set, so your shutter speed shoots up to 1/500s which is overkill. You don't want to shoot at iso800 if you don't have to since it can add noise to your photo and it might not look as clean. So now you have to manually drop the iso back down to 200 again where your shutter speed will land at 1/125s again.

Auto ISO does this all for you on the Nikons and eliminates a ton of fiddling which helps you concentrate on your shooting more, and miss fewer shots. I love it and it's a huge help with natural light shooting, but for flash shooting I leave it turned off.
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Old November 22nd, 2007, 10:47 PM   #16
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Those pics are awesome. Good info on ISO... I never really messed with it unless I was using it in the dark.

Quote:
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....Was gonna sell it to help finance a 70-300 VR, but just learned that that lens is only really good to 200mm at which point it gets pretty soft, which sorta defeats the purpose of getting it, especially considering it's still a slow lens.
That's something I've learned... When I first got my SLR, I was looking for lenses that would cover certain ranges rather than looking for lenses that had good workable range that I needed. There was a 70-300mm for my Sony and pics after 200mm weren't up to snuff. Now, I'm addicted to prime lenses!
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Old November 23rd, 2007, 07:49 PM   #17
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Auto ISO is active in all the shooting modes: P, A, S, and even M. On the Canon if you're shooting in aperture priority mode at iso200, 1/125s, and f/5.6 but then decide on the next shot that you want to stop the lens down to f/11 for maximum depth of field (2-stops difference), it'll dump your shutter speed all the way down to 1/30s. That'll cause blurry shots at longer focal lengths shooting breezy drifting tree branches. Then you have to manually crank the ISO back up to 800 (2-stops) to recover your shutter speed. Then on the next shot you want to shoot at a larger aperture again (f/5.6) so you open the lens back up, but you're still at iso800 that you just set, so your shutter speed shoots up to 1/500s which is overkill. You don't want to shoot at iso800 if you don't have to since it can add noise to your photo and it might not look as clean. So now you have to manually drop the iso back down to 200 again where your shutter speed will land at 1/125s again.

Auto ISO does this all for you on the Nikons and eliminates a ton of fiddling which helps you concentrate on your shooting more, and miss fewer shots. I love it and it's a huge help with natural light shooting, but for flash shooting I leave it turned off.
awesome...thanks for that. i found the "ISO auto" menu item...but it has been turned off as i did not know about it (that's what i meant when i said i hadn't "gotten to it" yet). it's turned on now and since i've been playing with ISO speeds in my shooting lately...hopefully it'll help me out.

Last edited by VietNinjaJ30A1; November 23rd, 2007 at 07:58 PM..
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Old November 29th, 2007, 03:32 AM   #18
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if ur intent is to get a everyday here and there take to the beach, party camera and you intend to go with nikon.

dont even bother with the D40X, and get a d40. the extra 5 mega pixels is useless unless you plan on printing larger than 8.5x11, which in that case you would need a really sharp lens, which rules out prime lenses and ur left with the 17 - 55 DX F2.8 which is like $1,600.00

so get a regular D40 which is like under $500.00

and as for lens, either go with the two in the package, they all work fine for everyday things, or the nikon 18 - 200 VR or the tamron 18 - 250 which is like $500.00

so for a grand you could get a body and a wide to long focal length lens, and never need to change lens.

the D40 wasn't made to be used as a pro camera or even pro-ama camera.

it's suppose to be entry level SLR.. for pll who want a P&S but with the quality of an SLR.

I use one as a everyday non-work camera, for parties and BBQs, when i dont want to carry a huge body with 3 lenses. and something simple enough i can hand to someone else and they can use it...

but that doesn't mean its crappy quality, in its own right it's better than every P&S I've ever seen. and for its purpose its small size is a good thing.
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