Having trouble deciding between the Nikon D80 and Canon xti- lensesdecide? (very long)

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Joseph Miller, Feb 13, 2007.

  1. That subject line will probably get a lot of peoples' juices going who
    think it's obvious which to pick. I've had a number of digital cameras
    starting with the now-antique Coolpix 950 and including both later Nikon
    and Canon models. I now use the Canon SD 700 IS for a P&S (a real beauty
    of a camera) and a Coopix 8800 for more serious shooting (an
    under-appreciated camera, in my opinion).

    I am now ready to get a DSLR and have been considering the two models
    mentioned in the subject line. (My last film SLR was a Canon EOS 10S,
    but I plan to sell it and its lenses.) There is no question that the D80
    is better built and has some very attractive features like its bright,
    big viewfinder and very fast response in a number of situations. The
    xti is more amateurish in many ways, but it has features that I really
    like. One of the most important things is that it is comfortable in my
    small hands, while I feel I could easily drop the D80; I don't feel like
    I get a good grip on it. In the end, all cameras have pluses and minus,
    and I quickly learn to work around the minuses (necessary to get the
    most out of the 8800), so features aren't really going to decide it.
    Also, I have my very first film camera from more than 40 years ago, a
    Zeiss Ikon Contessa, and it is fine working condition. I am not hard on
    my cameras, so ruggedness is not absolutely critical. Picture quality
    is critical, and I think that that these two cameras are very close. If
    I had to pick, I would say that I like the images from the xti better,
    based at looking at dozens taken with both and taken with a variety of
    lenses and playing around with Photoshop to get the most that I could
    out of the images. Because of the nice fit to my hand and excellent
    image quality, I lean toward the xti.

    So, the decision could be made on lens availability. I like a long zoom
    that can be left on the camera nearly all of the time. I'll put up with
    some loss of lens quality for the long zoom, as my experience over the
    past decades is that my best pictures from the standpoint of the
    reaction they generated rarely depended on ultimate sharpness; I rarely
    use a tripod. However, I don't like soft lenses, becase there are many
    times when sharpenss is important. But there is a long range between
    soft and super-sharp. The lens that drives me toward the D80 is the
    18-200, in spite of my preference for the handling of the xti. For the
    xti I would get the 28-135 IS. IS is absolutely essential for me. The
    Canon "L" with the shorter zoom would give fine performance, but its
    maximum of 105 mm is too short for me.

    So my questions. How does the Nikon 18-200 compare to the Canon 28-135
    in image quality? There is no question that I prefer the range of the
    Nikon, but it isn't absolutely critical. Since I want IS or VR, there
    aren't any other choices I am aware of for these long zooms. And of
    course I know I can get more than one lens, and someday I probably will.
    But I tend to move fast and light and don't even carry a camera bag,
    so I am looking for a entry single lens.

    I'm sorry I went on so long to get to the question, but I wanted to try
    to make my situation clear. Perhaps any of you that are willing to
    reply would put your reply at the top, so people don't have to scoll
    through this long-winded post to see that reply if they want to.

    Joseph Miller, Feb 13, 2007
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  2. Joseph Miller

    Freedom55 Guest

    Are you open to other camera brands? You are limiting yourself if you
    confine your choices to only N & C!


    And it really doesn't matter if
    I'm wrong I'm right
    Where I belong I'm right
    Where I belong.

    Lennon & McCartney
    Freedom55, Feb 13, 2007
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  3. Freedom55 wrote:

    Every one I've looked at had some drawbacks for me that made it
    unacceptable. A few came close, though.

    Joseph Miller, Feb 13, 2007
  4. I just got a D80, picked (partly) because it fitted my size of hands.
    Not unimportant at all.
    But does the (small) difference in picture quality show at all if you
    are not using the best glass?

    Do you need the range from 135 to 200? The Canon lens has no wide
    angle, are you willing to do without?

    I do not have experience with any of them, but you can read more here:

    Bjørn Rørslett has also reviewed the 18-200: http://
    He thinks it is ok - depending on purpose.

    Have you considered getting a D50 or D40, afair they are a bit

    Good luck with the choice!


    PS: Google Groups is playing up - sorry if I post several times
    =?iso-8859-1?q?Martin_S=F8rensen?=, Feb 13, 2007
  5. Joseph Miller

    gowanoh Guest

    If you have no lenses and have the good sense to shoot in RAW you should
    very, very seriously consider the Pentax with built-in image stabilization.
    I love my D80 but if I did not have a life time of Nikon lenses I think I
    would move to Pentax as their lens line up is the equal of Nikon, usually
    less costly, and the innards are the same Sony sensor. The only difference
    is in jpeg processing in camera, where the Nikon is superior. But I never
    shoot jpegs and have to pay through the nose for lenses with image
    gowanoh, Feb 13, 2007
  6. I have been unimpressed with the IS performance of the Pentax that I
    have seen in reviews. I think it is nowhere near as good as those in
    the Nikon or Canon cameras. As for RAW shooting, I am very impressed by
    the quality of the jpeg processing in the Nikon and canon cameras both.
    That is important to me, as I often shoot as many as 200-300 pictures
    on an outing and don't want to do too much fiddling later

    Thanks for your comments, though, and I should give Pentax another

    Joseph Miller, Feb 14, 2007
  7. Martin Sørensen wrote:

    I know. My brain says get the D80, my hand says no way, get the xti.
    Yes, but I should have been clearer. I was comparing jpegs taken with
    the two cameras, as I often shoot in this mode. The Canon delivers
    crisper, sharper images in this mode as long as the lens is reasonably
    good. I couldn't do anything to the Nikon images in Photoshop that
    could make the images as nice as those from the Canon (just my opinion!)
    In RAW mode they are much closer, virtually identical, and I expect
    that the quality of the glass would play a significant role.
    Such is the life of tradeoffs! In the shooting I do, I most often am
    pushing the long end of the focal range rather than wide-angle. Most of
    the photographers I know really want that short focal-length end, but I
    must be peculiar. However, that's what is so nice about the 18-200.
    You do much better at both ends, and yes, that 200 is very nice. A few
    weeks ago I was shooting some very strange, to me comical, birds for
    which the 430 mm equvalent on my 8800 was just enough. However, a
    minute after those long shots I zoomed back to about a 50 mm f.l. to get
    something close up that I only had a few seconds to get. So I really
    can make use of those long zooms.
    The reviews show that the Nikon is sharper at the center, but can be
    softer at the edges. Clearly neither is a great lens, but also neither
    is particularly bad
    Yes, these cameras just don't do it for me.

    Thanks for all your thoughtful comments.

    Joseph Miller, Feb 14, 2007

  8. If the D80 is a bit too big, try the D40, which is smaller and has
    most of the abilities of the D80. If you intend to stay with digital
    only lenses anyway, it will use the same ones and the D80. It's also a
    lot less expensive.

    I have a D80 but have recommended the D40 to many friends. I also
    briefly owned a Pentax K10D and found it not up to the D80 in many
    ways, jpeg quality being foremost. The Nikon flash systems are
    superior to the Pentax (and Canon) ones if thst' important.
    Oliver Costich, Feb 14, 2007
  9. Joseph Miller

    tomm42 Guest

    I'd stay away from the super zooms, Canon is lagging at this camera
    level in both camera and kit lens. The Nikon d80 is a very nice
    camera, have a d200, the Nikon 18-70 kit lens is very good, better in
    it's range on all counts than the 18-200, Nikon also brought out a
    70-300 VR lens f4.5-5.6 which is building a great reputation. Both of
    those lenses will cost you right around the same as an 18-200 and give
    better images. To Nikon's 18-200 credit it is probably the best lens
    ever made with its focal range, but like with any of these long zooms
    there are a lot of compromises. With Canon you would have to buy the
    17-40 f4 and 70-200 f4 IS for a lot more money to get similar
    (probably better) images to the two Nikons I mentioned. If you are
    changing systems Pentax deserves a look too.

    tomm42, Feb 14, 2007
  10. The other posters are assuming your problem with grip is that the D80
    is too big; is that correct? I own one, and find it to small for my
    hands. If you feel the same, try it with the optional MB-D80
    Multi-Power Battery Pack. Several people I know use this, not for the
    power but for the larger "grab area."
    Scott Schuckert, Feb 14, 2007
  11. I want more Mpix than the D40 has. My Canon SD700 IS, a lowly P&S, is
    very responsive and takes superb pictures. I recently shot over 100
    images with it, and I probably would have only changed the exposure
    setting on two or three if I had a fully adjustable camera. Moreover,
    the jpegs straight from the 700IS are at least as good if not better
    than those from the D40. 11x14 enlargements look superb. I want to see
    a real improvement in image quality comapred to the 700 IS when I go to
    the DSLR.

    Joseph Miller, Feb 14, 2007
  12. Thanks. Some more things to think about. I have debated moving up to
    the D200 as well, but that is bigger yet.

    Joseph Miller, Feb 14, 2007
  13. Scott Schuckert wrote:

    That is correct. I find it too thick front to back. With my fingers
    curled around the front, the pad of my palm below my thumb doesn't quite
    make it onto the back. It's on the edge, and if I walk around holding
    the camera with one hand, it could easily slip out. I prefer not to
    have to use my thumb on the back to hold the camera, but to leave it
    free to push various buttons. This of course is a matter of preference
    and shooting styles, and other people with hands my size might not find
    it a problem.

    Joseph Miller, Feb 14, 2007

  14. I have a D70 and a D80. The difference in results due to pixels are
    minimal. I get excellent 12x18s from both. I was surprised in how
    little difference there is. Most of the time you can't tell which
    camera produced the image except by checking the EXIF.

    I passed on the D200 not because it isn't a great camera but because
    it's big and weigh 50% more than the D80. It uses the same sensor as
    the D80 so I wouldn't expect big differences in output.

    All in all, I recommend Nikon. I have played with my neighbor's Canon
    XTi and actually bought (and returned) a Pentax K10D.
    Oliver Costich, Feb 16, 2007
  15. Joseph Miller

    Amamba Guest

    As a disclaimer, I am not an experienced DSLR photographer.

    However. there were several things that made me chose XTi over Nikon:

    1) Size. My hands aren't small, rather average, but I felt much more
    comfortable holding Canon.
    2) Weight. Canon felt lighter. If you spend a day or a week on
    vacation carrying your camera around, (1) and (2) are going to matter.
    3) Canon body was made in Japan. Nikon body was made elsewhere (Taiwan
    or Thailand ?) I am a manufacturing engineer and in my experience,
    origin does make a difference no matter how good the quality control
    company has.
    4) I wouldn't say that Canon was "flimsy" as some people complained
    here. It's lighter and it uses more plastic and less metal (or so it
    seems). There's nothing wrong with plastic, it will last very long if
    designed right.

    Also, I picked silver body. I was using silver Rebel G long time ago
    on a beach, and a guy with a black ("professional" :) ) SLR came up to
    me and asked if my camera was getting hot. It wasnt - but his felt
    like it was about to melt. Can't be good for internal mechanism and
    Amamba, Feb 16, 2007
  16. You'll only see a jump in resolution if you down sample the D80 file to
    the dimensions of the D70 file. Then it looks sharper, and maybe extreme
    enlargements- but the D80 file is decidedly less noisy.

    From what I hear the sensor maybe the same but the firm wear is newer on
    the D80.
    Little Green Eyed Dragon, Feb 16, 2007
  17. Joseph Miller

    acl Guest

    Hi. You won't see that much difference between 6 and 10mp (basically,
    something that in eg the D40 is 10 pixels long will, in the D80 or
    Canon, be 13 pixels long). Also, the main difference in image quality
    between a DSLR and a compact is due to the sensor size, not increased
    resolution (look at jpegs from a DSLR at ISO eg 800 and compare to
    jpegs at ISO 100 from the compact; but you have to take into account
    noise reduction and the like). At ISO 100/200, the DSLRs have no
    noise, while the compacts have a lot (or use heavy noise reduction,
    which to some people is uglier).

    Basically, my advice would be to spend the extra money for the D80 for
    features if anything, as the image quality won't be that much better
    than the D40. The extra pixels do make a difference, but only for
    large enlargements and/or cropping. And if you find 11x14inch from the
    compact OK, your eyes will bug out when you see a 11x14 from any 6mp
    DSLR (OK, maybe you can't see noise reduction, sharpening etc
    artifacts, but use a DSLR for a while and you'll notice them
    immediately in images from compacts, at least in large prints).
    acl, Feb 16, 2007
  18. Joseph Miller

    Amamba Guest

    BTW, in Costco an hour ago they had a D80 ($1,399 with a kit lens) and
    XTi ($799 with kit lens). The difference in cost alone would buy a
    rather nice lens. I doubt there's that much difference in performance.
    Of course, online it's going to be cheaper.

    I also was able to confirm my first impression - for me at least, XTi
    is much more comfortable to hold than D80.
    Amamba, Feb 18, 2007
  19. Joseph Miller

    Bill Funk Guest

    That's why I recommend that prospective buyers actually try the
    cameras before buying.
    For me, the XTi is just too small. With the kit lens (18-55mm), it
    seems balanced, but still too small. With my 28-135 IS lens on it, the
    balance seems way too far off.

    Al Gore attended Grammy Awards
    parties in Beverly Hills on Sunday.
    Everybody assured the former vice
    president that he will take home
    the Academy Award for Best Documentary.
    This time they're just going to keep
    counting the ballots until he wins.
    Bill Funk, Feb 19, 2007
  20. Joseph Miller

    Amamba Guest

    Exactly my point. I think it's a very personal preference - I'd say my
    hands are medium sized, so I'd imagine someone with same size hands
    might actually prefer Nikon.

    The bottom line is - after all reviews and side by side comparisons
    I've read, I think you just can't go wrong with either of them,
    quality wise - so it all comes down to one's personal likes and
    dislikes. Trying the camera, then, is a must.
    Amamba, Feb 19, 2007
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