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Thread: Camera Choice: Nikon D3100/D5000 or Canon T1i/T2i

  1. #1

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    Camera Choice: Nikon D3100/D5000 or Canon T1i/T2i

    I'm sure you've all heard this asked numerous times so please forgive me. I'm in the market for a DSLR and have narrowed my choices down to a Nikon D3100 or D5000 or a Canon T1i or T2i and need some help with my decision. It seems like most of you have much more expensive cameras than those so if I'm in the wrong forum please let me know.
    Some background first. I was heavily into photography, (hobby stuff, not professional) back in the 70s and had a Pentax followed by a Nikon. I had my own dark room for black and white film. Over the past year I've started to get the itch again so now I need help with my choice. I've had an Olympus (don't remember the model) and now have a Canon Power Shot A510 point and shoot camera. The type of photography I'm interested in is nature photography including landscapes, macro and birding but also am interested in photographing people in outdoor settings.
    Based on that prelude, what camera would suit that type of photography the best? I'm kind of leaning towards the Canon but don't know if it's worth spending the extra money for the T2i versus the T1i. I also considered Pentax but being that I will likely want to rent lenses to try prior to purchasing, it is much harder to find lenses for rent for a Pentax. Well that's enough to bore you so let me know if you need any more information to help with my decision.

    Thanks,
    mnphotos

  2. #2
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Camera Choice

    You're very welcome as a member of CiC.

    I'm guessing that you're real name isn't 'mnphotos'. We tend to go with real names in here. You can edit your profile and add it in under 'Real Name'.

    I'm sure people will come in with ideas and suggestions. But, until then, if you click on 'View Tag Cloud' on the left hand side below and then choose Camera Purchase, you'll be shown a list of threads in which the subject of which camera to purchase has been discussed many times. You may well find the answer to your question within those threads.

    Reading the rest of this message will help you get the most out of the CiC, which I hope you will feel able to enjoy into the future.

    If you haven't already done so, please be sure to read Post #1 of this thread HERE. There are links in that post to other helpful advice and guidance. Also our Code of Conduct in the FAQ HERE

    CiC is a resource strongly focused towards learning, no matter what your current level of knowledge, skills and experience. As well as these forums, where you can engage in discussion, ask questions and seek comment and criticism on your pictures, CiC has a comprehensive range of tutorials that, by common consent, are amongst the most sensible and straightforward that you can find anywhere. Remember to have a look on the tutorials and techniques pages which you can access from the menu bar.

    And finally, the Mod team thought it might be a useful addition to CiC to have in-house access to some selected video tutorials. You can find them in the Community Lounge forum under 'Photography Video Tutorials'.

  3. #3

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    Re: Camera Choice

    Donald,

    Thanks for the info. I did go and post a message in the "Introduce Yourself" thread and also read the rules of the forum so I think I'm clear on how this works.
    I did the search as you suggested and it did clear up one item. I've removed the Nikon D5000 from my list because I do not like the swivel type LCD screens, and I'm not sure you can get that model new anymore. I'm pretty much set on a Canon model. I'm just not sure which one just yet.

    Ed

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Camera Choice

    Hi Ed,

    Welcome from me too

    Quote Originally Posted by mnphotos View Post
    I've removed the Nikon D5000 from my list because I do not like the swivel type LCD screens
    The screen was why I chose the D5000, it is very nice being able to swivel it closed ot prevent scratches when stowed in a bag and also flip it down 90 degrees when the camera is tripod mounted allowing viewing from above - far more comfortable for my old bones.

    However, you might be correct about lack of availability new; I suspect the D7000 has replaced it.

    Cheers,

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    Re: Camera Choice

    Hi Dave,

    To me the swivel LCD is just something else to break. I understand it can be more useful for video shooting but I have no intention of using my DSLR for video, at least not that much. I really wish these camera manufacturers would take the money they put into the video part of a DSLR and sink it into a better still camera without video. If I want video I'll buy a camcorder. Anyway, it would be nice to have a still camera that does just that and not have to pay for the unwanted video do dads. OK, I'm off my soap box now.

    Ed

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    Re: Camera Choice

    Quote Originally Posted by mnphotos View Post
    Hi Dave,

    To me the swivel LCD is just something else to break. I understand it can be more useful for video shooting but I have no intention of using my DSLR for video, at least not that much. I really wish these camera manufacturers would take the money they put into the video part of a DSLR and sink it into a better still camera without video. If I want video I'll buy a camcorder. Anyway, it would be nice to have a still camera that does just that and not have to pay for the unwanted video do dads. OK, I'm off my soap box now.

    Ed
    feeling better now?

    I have to say, I haven't used the video feature on the D5000 yet

    I did worry about the 'another thing to break' aspect, but as we have a family use Nikon compact with a twist mounted lens - that never broke despite several years of use by kids as well, I figured Nikon knew how to do that kinda thing reliably - and - so far so good

    Cheers,

  7. #7
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    Re: Camera Choice

    Birding? Did you say birding? Go Canon. You can't get an $1100 400/5.6 prime on the Nikon side of the fence. And if you buy the AF 80-400 VR, it won't autofocus on a D3100.

    Camera Choice: Nikon D3100/D5000 or Canon T1i/T2i

    Canon 50D. EF 400mm f/5.6L USM. iso 1600. f/5.6. 1/500s. cropped.
    Northern Harrier, juvenile?. Circus cyaneus.

    For everything else you want to shoot (landscapes, portraits, macros), either make will be terrific. But for birding and sports, if you're budget-limited to an entry-level body, Nikon's focus motor issue (the D3100/D5000 can only autofocus with an AF-S lens) is a disadvantage. If you can afford a D90 or above Nikon body, though, the playing field levels out again.

  8. #8
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    Re: Camera Choice

    Hi Ed,

    Regarding the swivel mount LCD - One area where this would become extremely useful is when you're taking really low angle shots (flowers maybe?) with the camera angled slightly upwards. Using the viewfinder and/or fixed mount LCD starts to get uncomfortable once you reach a certain proximity to the ground. I had the same reservations as you, thinking that something like that is "just another thing to break", but I've since changed my mind after being in situations where I really would have liked to have had the option of getting the camera moved just a little further than I could move my head. Just some food for thought.

    Also, I have a T1i which I purchased shortly after the T2i came out. At the time I looked at some side-by-side comparisons and decided that the "major" improvements from the T1i to the T2i (video, exposure compensation, resolution and metering) didn't justify the cost difference for me. I'm not an expert by any stretch of the imagination, but I'm very happy with the T1i and, even knowing what I know now, I think I would rather use the extra money on something else, like a tripod/lens/etc. But that's just me.

    Good luck with your decision!

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    Re: Camera Choice

    Thanks everyone! My budget is about $800 - $900 and I'm thinking if I can get a better camera by just getting the body for now, in a couple of months I could get a lens for it and grow from there. The Nikon D90 is very tempting at a cost of $760 for the body only.

    Ed

  10. #10

    Re: Camera Choice

    Hi Ed,
    I bought my daughter a t1i and she likes it. I however would not pick that nor the t2i as they are small in my hands.
    I currently have a Pentax K10d and may look to buy a used K20d while I wait for Pentax to bring out some cameras to go head to head with the 2 600 pound gorrillas out there. (Their K7 and K5 recent offerings also suffer the -too small for my hands syndrome. Until they do, I am acquiring my glass. Pentax 50mm f1.4, Pentax 16 - 50mm f2.8 so far and looking to pick up soon a Pentax 50-135mm 2.8.
    However, If I was in your shoes, I would go Canon 7D and get a better lens than the 'kit'

  11. #11

    Re: Camera Choice

    Nics Shot Kathy !

  12. #12
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    Re: Camera Choice

    I have been lusting after a D90 for about a year and putting aside pennies for that. I am presently shooting D70 and D40 and am very happy with them However, the other one in this couple wants a DSLR in her kit, so I need another one to keep me with a primary and back up.

    After lusting after the D90 for a year and saving pennies for it, last week I bought the D200. Why the switch? Because the D200 will do everything the D90 will, will handle the older lenses I use on my fillm N70 and N80 and I can't afford the D300s. I will be posting a shooting report next week or so, after the thing gets here and I have a chance to trip the trigger some.


    My research shows that the D3100 is a better choice than the D5000 and that the D7000, while better, is only twice+ as much in cost.

    The subject you are shooting, landscape, portrait, bugs, flowers, kids, sports cars, traffic accidents or whatever, should not lead in your choice of camera body. The lenses are what are important for each of those subjects. There are subtle differences in bodies for each of those subjects, but they are subtle.

    The primary difference between the Canon and the Nikon mid range cameras is that one is left handed and the other right handed. Meaning: the controls are differently located, perform subtly different functions and take different muscle memory. Once you get the photograph out of the camera, there is no way to tell the difference between them without looking at the EXIF data to find out which camera was used for that particular shot.

    Pops

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    Re: Camera Choice

    Quote Originally Posted by mnphotos View Post
    Thanks everyone! My budget is about $800 - $900 and I'm thinking if I can get a better camera by just getting the body for now, in a couple of months I could get a lens for it and grow from there. The Nikon D90 is very tempting at a cost of $760 for the body only.

    Ed
    Hold on, I'm confused; are you going to get a camera body without getting a lens (even temporarily) ? A couple months is all it takes for (old) camera bodies to drop in price.

    Aside from the money issue, if you get a camera now, without the lens, it will limit your options in the future esp. should you change your mind. Only choose the body when you are sure you know what lens to get, then get them both .
    Last edited by pwnage101; 8th January 2011 at 09:19 AM.

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    Re: Camera Choice

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Spillane View Post
    Hi Ed,
    I however would not pick that nor the t2i as they are small in my hands.
    Brian,

    I have small hands so those might be perfect for me. I'm going today to handle the Canons and hopefully some Nikons to get a feel for the size that fits my hands the best.

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Spillane View Post
    However, If I was in your shoes, I would go Canon 7D and get a better lens than the 'kit'
    Unfortunately the Canon 7D is way outside my budget at $1500 for just the body.

    Thanks for the comments. I appreciate them all.

    Ed

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    Re: Camera Choice

    Well, I ended up purchasing the Canon T2i with the 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS lens. I fondled the Nikon and Canon models and the Canon felt better in my hands. The Nikon felt too big in my small hands. Time to sit down and devour the manual and play with the camera. It's a good day for that since it's very cold outside in Minnesota this time of the year.

    Thanks for all of the suggestions and comments, I truly do appreciate them.
    I'm sure you'll hear more from me once I start playing with the camera and need some guidance.

    Ed

  16. #16
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    Re: Camera Choice

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Spillane View Post
    Nics Shot Kathy !
    Thanks, Brian! I got really lucky that day. I've never had a harrier let me get that close before. And there were four white-tailed kites around at the same time. All juveniles, all not yet old enough to be super-wary of humans. Photography technique is easier to learn than the birding technique, I find.

    Ed, happy new camera!!!

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    Re: Camera Choice

    Quote Originally Posted by inkista View Post
    Ed, happy new camera!!!
    Thanks Kathy!

    I'm just now opening the box and getting ready to read through the manual. I assume the battery will need to be charged so I'll get that going while I read the manual

    Ed

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    Re: Camera Choice

    Quote Originally Posted by mnphotos View Post
    I assume the battery will need to be charged so I'll get that going while I read the manual
    The battery will usually be about 1/2 charged, so feel free to "jump in with both feet" if you're the impatient sort like me!

  19. #19
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    Re: Camera Choice

    Quote Originally Posted by mnphotos View Post
    Hi Dave,

    To me the swivel LCD is just something else to break. I understand it can be more useful for video shooting but I have no intention of using my DSLR for video, at least not that much. I really wish these camera manufacturers would take the money they put into the video part of a DSLR and sink it into a better still camera without video. If I want video I'll buy a camcorder. Anyway, it would be nice to have a still camera that does just that and not have to pay for the unwanted video do dads. OK, I'm off my soap box now.

    Ed
    Amen to that!

  20. #20

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    Re: Camera Choice

    My camera had to go back for an exchange.

    It wouldn't consistently store the photo in the memory card. It kept getting worse as I experimented with it so back it went. I got the new one on my way to work and will give it a work out this evening to be sure it's functioning as expected.

    I played around with the new camera and it's acting the same as the first one I got. I'm embarrassed to admit this, but I believe there was nothing wrong with the first one. I made an assumption about the how the "Possible Shots" number works (the manual does not explain it at all). I would take a picture and it would not decrement the number showing there is one less possible shot remaining so I assumed the camera was malfunctioning. I also assumed you view the pictures stored in the memory card by pressing a certain button but that button only displays the last picture taken. You have to press a different button to view the other pictures. Real dumb mistake here.

    I believe the "Possible Shots" number is recalculated every time you take a picture and depending on how large the file ends up for that picture, the number may or may not get decremented. If the file size is smaller than expected then the "Possible Shots" may not get decremented. Anyway, that's my theory. I think I'll contact Canon tech support and have them clarify that.

    Thanks for listening.

    Ed
    Last edited by mnphotos; 11th January 2011 at 05:12 PM.

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