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  • Looking for Advice on Camera/Lens Purchase

    Hi All,


    I've been asking a lot of questions lately, sorry for all the inquiries, but I once again find myslf between a rock and a hard place, so to speak.

    I am looking at buying a DSLR in the next month or so. My budget for now is not particularly large. For several months I have been leaning towards the Nikon D3100 (although ever since the D3200 came out, and the D5100 dropped in price, I will keep an eye on the D5100 to as it was my first choice). I've been searching around a lot since I want to be sure that I make the best possible purchase. I noticed that Canon sort of seems to be the "brand of choice" among many, if I may say. I can understand somewhat, since Canon seems to offer a wider variety of lenses that are very good quality and well built.

    Here are my options right now, this is where I am stuck:

    -Nikon D3100/D5100 with 18-55 kit lens (depending on price)
    -I would choose the 70-300 VR to go with one of the cameras above.
    -I would also probably replace the 18-55 with the 16-85 from Nikon.

    or

    -Canon T1i/T2i with 18-55 kit lens (also depending on price)
    -The 70-200 F4L would be my first choice.
    -I would replace the 18-55 with the 18-135 IS.

    I know having good glass is important, which is why I am seriously considering a Canon option. I know one of the reasons Canon is so popular is because of the numerous lenses available to photographers, and also the quality of their lenses. For example, Nikon's 70-300 f/4.5-5.6 VR seems to be a very good lens, although I have no idea if it is comparable to Canon's 70-200 F/4L. The two lenses are similarly priced and both have good reviews, so I would think they are similar. But the Canon 70-200 seems to have much higher praises than the Nikon 70-300. Nikon doesn't really have any high performance, but reasonably priced semi-pro lenses like Canon's. There are cheap ones like the 55-200 and 55-300, then the 70-300 and then the $2200 70-200 f/2.8. That's a fairly big gap in Nikon's lenses, it seems like Canon has filled that gap.

    So, I'm wondering... Is Nikon's 70-300 f/4.5-5.6 VR or any of their other lenses comparable to Canon's 70-200 F4L or any others? Do Nikon have any lenses that compare to some of Canon's more affordable L lenses? Is it worth getting into Canon for their lenses?

    I know having good quality lenses is important, and I know Nikon has some very good glass, but most of it is completely out of my price range, the 70-300 VR is the best I can afford right now. Canon seems to make great lenses that are a little more affordable, and seem to be a better value.

    I would greatly appreciate any help/advice, I'd like to ensure that I'm well informed and make the best possible purchase!

    Thanks

    -WJ

  • #2
    I use nikon gear. I started with the d70 and the kit lens and soon had the 70-300 vr. I used it on the d80, d300 and now on the d90 and d700. Some while ago i also got the 16-85. Both lensen are great, i have other lensen, but these are the two i use for shooting next to the runway (70-300) and on the terrace (16-85).

    I can not tell you what suits you best, nor can i compare them since i have not used the canon sets. When i started, i just went to the store and tried both nikon and canon models. I just happened to like the nikon better. I fits better in my hands, i like the controls better etc. So the best advice i can give you is just to go to the store and handle both camera brands to find out what fits best to your desires

    Cheers, Pamela

    Comment


    • #3
      Im quite a Canon man, but I'll try to not be biased here, and I'll prove it with this next paragraph.
      Out of the T1/2i, D3100 and D5100, the Nikon D5100 has the best sensor. It has the best colour graduation, the highest usable dynamic range and the lowest noise. I havent seen any hard data from the D3200 yet, so cant comment there. Hows that for not being biased?

      Of the T2i, 3100 and 5100, the T2i has the most MP at 18, but to be honest, you dont need that many in a sensor that small. 14 or so is fine (Im still being unbiased!), this should not be a deciding factor.

      The Nikons give you 11 AF points, though im not sure if they are cross type or so, the Canon gives you 9 cross types with extra sensitivity if you use f/2.8 or faster. EDIT, the Nikons only have 1 cross type (center), So Canon wins here

      D3100 is 3 fps, T2i = 3.7, 5100 = 4, you wont really notice a 0.3 fps difference, but prolly will notice the 0.7, so if you want faster FPS, the D3100 is really out.

      None of the cameras feature an internal focus motor. For the Canon this isnt a problem as all of their compatible lenses have AF motors in them. For the Nikons, only newer lenses will have AF.

      Now onto the lenses.

      While I havent used a Nikon 70-300 VR personally, everything I've seen indicates that the 70-200 f4L (non IS), is a better performer. While your milage may vary in the full frame corners, in the center the canon is sharper, even when using a 1.4x teleconverter to compare 280mm v 300mm at f/5.6. On the whole, theres not much in it though.

      As for Canon general lenses,
      You mentioned that you may replace the 18-55 with an 18-135. If you go the Canon route and assuming its the 18-55 IS we're talking about, may I ask you to NOT DO IT! Yes, the 18-55 has shoddy build, not a huge amount of contrast and saturation, but resolution wise its amazing, contrast and saturation can be brought back in post processing. Detail cant. The 18-55 IS is one of my top three bang for buck lenses. With my 7D i had a 17-55 and a 70-200 and never felt like the 55-70 gap was a hinderance and as you said, good glass is whats important.

      So comparing the 18-55s,
      Nikon wins AF (has AF-S) and build quality, Canon wins optical quality. In my opinion, the optical quality of the Canon far far outweighs the loss of AF-S and the build quality, it really is that much better.

      If I was to compare the 16/17-85s (not the Canon 18-135)
      Builds about equal, AF is equal, optical quality, maybe a slight edge to the Nikon, but barely distinguishable. It is important to note though, in the 18-55 range, the Canon 18-55, while behind in center resolution, its corner resolution is that much better so I'd still deem it better.

      I know I've given you a bit of reading without really coming to a conclusion, So ill try wrap it up here,
      The D5100 is the best camera of the D3100, t2i and D5100. (Cant compare to D3200 yet).
      Canons 18-55 is optically far superior to any of the other standard zooms you mentioned. If we drag in Sigma and Tamron, I may change my song.
      As for zoom lenses, Canon offers far more options there, and I feel the 70-200f4L (nonIS) is better than Nikons 70-300, but theres not a lot in it. (By the time you go to the f4L IS, the canon wins hands down)

      May I ask, where do you see yourself and your camera in 2-3 years time? Would you be spending more money on it or sticking with what you've got. Theres not a whole lot in it at this end of the spectrum and that may better define whats best for you.

      EDIT, and fully agree with Pam, If you can go to the store and try them both you, you can decide what you prefer,or if you can even work out the Nikon!
      Last edited by Simpleboy; 2012-06-03, 22:16.
      Sam Rudge
      A 5D3, some Canon lenses, the Sigma L and a flash

      Comment


      • #4
        A quick note about Sigma short zooms. I use a Sigma 17-70 f2.8-f4.5 with one of my Nikon D7000's. Excellent build quality, smoothness and clarity. Costs between 260-300 and might be cheaper from Asian outlets.
        On the other D7000 body I use the Nikon 70-300VR which is a superb bit of kit, again well built. I did think about the 70-200 but it didn't quite have the reach that I needed.

        Otherwise Simpleboy has summed it all up very well.
        Last edited by brianw999; 2012-06-03, 21:51.
        If it 'ain't broken........ Don't try to mend it !

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by pdeboer View Post
          I use nikon gear. I started with the d70 and the kit lens and soon had the 70-300 vr. I used it on the d80, d300 and now on the d90 and d700. Some while ago i also got the 16-85. Both lensen are great, i have other lensen, but these are the two i use for shooting next to the runway (70-300) and on the terrace (16-85).

          I can not tell you what suits you best, nor can i compare them since i have not used the canon sets. When i started, i just went to the store and tried both nikon and canon models. I just happened to like the nikon better. I fits better in my hands, i like the controls better etc. So the best advice i can give you is just to go to the store and handle both camera brands to find out what fits best to your desires

          Cheers, Pamela
          I've heard some very good thing about both the 16-85 and 70-300 VR, I think they would be a good combination. Paired up, they give a nice range of focal lengths. I have held a couple newer Nikon Cameras, and I like the feel and the design of them over Canon's, although I'm also a little concerned about which would provide me with more lens options. I've heard that Nikon patented a 70-200 f/4 lens in the past year or so, there are rumours circulating that there will be one released soon. I'm just waiting for them to release more semi-pro or mid-range lenses like those from Canon. They need to fill the gap between the cheap lenses and the big guns.

          Thanks for your reply!

          Originally posted by Simpleboy View Post
          Im quite a Canon man, but I'll try to not be biased here, and I'll prove it with this next paragraph.
          Out of the T1/2i, D3100 and D5100, the Nikon D5100 has the best sensor. It has the best colour graduation, the highest usable dynamic range and the lowest noise. I havent seen any hard data from the D3200 yet, so cant comment there. Hows that for not being biased?

          Of the T2i, 3100 and 5100, the T2i has the most MP at 18, but to be honest, you dont need that many in a sensor that small. 14 or so is fine (Im still being unbiased!), this should not be a deciding factor.

          The Nikons give you 11 AF points, though im not sure if they are cross type or so, the Canon gives you 9 cross types with extra sensitivity if you use f/2.8 or faster. EDIT, the Nikons only have 1 cross type (center), So Canon wins here

          D3100 is 3 fps, T2i = 3.7, 5100 = 4, you wont really notice a 0.3 fps difference, but prolly will notice the 0.7, so if you want faster FPS, the D3100 is really out.

          None of the cameras feature an internal focus motor. For the Canon this isnt a problem as all of their compatible lenses have AF motors in them. For the Nikons, only newer lenses will have AF.

          Now onto the lenses.

          While I havent used a Nikon 70-300 VR personally, everything I've seen indicates that the 70-200 f4L (non IS), is a better performer. While your milage may vary in the full frame corners, in the center the canon is sharper, even when using a 1.4x teleconverter to compare 280mm v 300mm at f/5.6. On the whole, theres not much in it though.

          As for Canon general lenses,
          You mentioned that you may replace the 18-55 with an 18-135. If you go the Canon route and assuming its the 18-55 IS we're talking about, may I ask you to NOT DO IT! Yes, the 18-55 has shoddy build, not a huge amount of contrast and saturation, but resolution wise its amazing, contrast and saturation can be brought back in post processing. Detail cant. The 18-55 IS is one of my top three bang for buck lenses. With my 7D i had a 17-55 and a 70-200 and never felt like the 55-70 gap was a hinderance and as you said, good glass is whats important.

          So comparing the 18-55s,
          Nikon wins AF (has AF-S) and build quality, Canon wins optical quality. In my opinion, the optical quality of the Canon far far outweighs the loss of AF-S and the build quality, it really is that much better.

          If I was to compare the 16/17-85s (not the Canon 18-135)
          Builds about equal, AF is equal, optical quality, maybe a slight edge to the Nikon, but barely distinguishable. It is important to note though, in the 18-55 range, the Canon 18-55, while behind in center resolution, its corner resolution is that much better so I'd still deem it better.

          I know I've given you a bit of reading without really coming to a conclusion, So ill try wrap it up here,
          The D5100 is the best camera of the D3100, t2i and D5100. (Cant compare to D3200 yet).
          Canons 18-55 is optically far superior to any of the other standard zooms you mentioned. If we drag in Sigma and Tamron, I may change my song.
          As for zoom lenses, Canon offers far more options there, and I feel the 70-200f4L (nonIS) is better than Nikons 70-300, but theres not a lot in it. (By the time you go to the f4L IS, the canon wins hands down)

          May I ask, where do you see yourself and your camera in 2-3 years time? Would you be spending more money on it or sticking with what you've got. Theres not a whole lot in it at this end of the spectrum and that may better define whats best for you.

          EDIT, and fully agree with Pam, If you can go to the store and try them both you, you can decide what you prefer,or if you can even work out the Nikon!
          Not biased at all!
          The D5100 was my first choice of Nikon's newer cameras. The D5100 was still selling new in the stores for full price, whereas the D3100 could be found used for considerably less. I kept the T2i as another option as it seems comparable to the D3100. It seems like shooting Canon gives you a lot of possibilities lens-wise, and they have very good lenses, which is why I kept Canon as a possibility. I can settle for what Nikon has to offer in my price range. Right now I don't have a big budget for photography equipment, but hopefully in a couple years I will be able to afford something better like the 70-200 f/2.8 and later on, a new camera body. Thanks very much for your reply!

          Originally posted by brianw999 View Post
          A quick note about Sigma short zooms. I use a Sigma 17-70 f2.8-f4.5 with one of my Nikon D7000's. Excellent build quality, smoothness and clarity. Costs between 260-300 and might be cheaper from Asian outlets.
          On the other D7000 body I use the Nikon 70-300VR which is a superb bit of kit, again well built. I did think about the 70-200 but it didn't quite have the reach that I needed.

          Otherwise Simpleboy has summed it all up very well.
          I haven't really looked at Sigma's lenses. Although when the times comes when I am looking at a wide angle lens, I have heard some good things about their offerings. Although I will definitely take a look at their zoom lenses. As for the 70-300, I don't really need 300mm 95% of the time. I've read that the 70-300 performs at it's best from 70-200mm. But all the reviews say it's a very good lens.

          Thanks

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by WestjetterO View Post
            I've heard some very good thing about both the 16-85 and 70-300 VR, I think they would be a good combination. Paired up, they give a nice range of focal lengths. I have held a couple newer Nikon Cameras, and I like the feel and the design of them over Canon's, although I'm also a little concerned about which would provide me with more lens options. I've heard that Nikon patented a 70-200 f/4 lens in the past year or so, there are rumours circulating that there will be one released soon. I'm just waiting for them to release more semi-pro or mid-range lenses like those from Canon. They need to fill the gap between the cheap lenses and the big guns.

            Thanks for your reply!



            Not biased at all!
            The D5100 was my first choice of Nikon's newer cameras. The D5100 was still selling new in the stores for full price, whereas the D3100 could be found used for considerably less. I kept the T2i as another option as it seems comparable to the D3100. It seems like shooting Canon gives you a lot of possibilities lens-wise, and they have very good lenses, which is why I kept Canon as a possibility. I can settle for what Nikon has to offer in my price range. Right now I don't have a big budget for photography equipment, but hopefully in a couple years I will be able to afford something better like the 70-200 f/2.8 and later on, a new camera body. Thanks very much for your reply!



            I haven't really looked at Sigma's lenses. Although when the times comes when I am looking at a wide angle lens, I have heard some good things about their offerings. Although I will definitely take a look at their zoom lenses. As for the 70-300, I don't really need 300mm 95% of the time. I've read that the 70-300 performs at it's best from 70-200mm. But all the reviews say it's a very good lens.

            Thanks
            Since you like the feel of the Nikon, I'm gonna base this assuming you're going that way. Since you've said in a few years you would hope to spend more on your gear, may i suggest spending a little bit MORE on your BODY now. If you're considering dropping that much money into it you must be pretty keen. Buying the better body now will give you more features and opportunities to learn, and you wont feel like the camera is holding you back for longer.
            To make up this money theres a few options,
            For the long end have you considered Tamrons new 70-300 VC (Vibration Control) USD (their version of AF-S). My local camera store says they sell most of theirs to people replacing their Nikon 70-300VR and Canon 70-300 IS(non L). In comparison its cheaper, the VR is a bit better, the AF a touch slower, the optics are about the same.
            And for you wide end, theres sigmas 17-50 f/2.8, but if you want a bit more zoom theres sigmas 17-70.
            Both are cheaper than the Nikon 16-85 and both perform similarly optically. Well actually, the Sigma 17-50 is considered by a fair crowd to be the best APS-C standard zoom.

            I've suggested this (better body now, better lenses later) because in a few years when you're looking to upgrade, buying the better body now means you can focus on upgrading your lenses. All lenses I've mentioned should be cheaper than the Nikon lens you looked out but be pretty damn comparible performance wise.

            And while Canon does seem to do the long lenses better than Nikon,
            I'd kill for an equivalent of the 14-24 f/2.8 you guys have, and that AF-S 35 f/1.8 while I'm at it.
            Sam Rudge
            A 5D3, some Canon lenses, the Sigma L and a flash

            Comment

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