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Thread: Used 40D VS new D3100

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    Used 40D VS new D3100

    First off, thanks for considering what I'm sure is a newbie question. I want to purchase my first dslr within the next couple days. I've been shopping for a good month and after considering what seems like hundreds of factors, my choice has been reduced to two cameras that seem to be very different.

    I can get a used (but pristine) Canon 40D with the 18-55 IS, OR for the same price the new Nikon D3100. I like the idea of new equipment, I like the idea of having video... But my question is: will the D3100 take as good of pictures as the 40D? Is it even in the same class as far as photo quality?

    My sincere thanks to you gurus for helping me out. I know very little about cameras but am really excited to delve into photography and I need a setup that I can grow a bit with.

    -Dan

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    Re: Used 40D VS new D3100

    Hi Dan,

    Welcome to CiC - great to have you with us.

    Funnily enough, image quality ISN'T one of the big variables between most cameras these days; I could take the same shot with Canon's entry level camera and another shot with their top of the line model, and I doubt people could see much (if any) difference when taking "normal run-of-the-mill type photography". So in that respect, toss a coin.

    In terms of video capability - only you can tell. For many of us the term "video" + "SLR" = "Marketing Gimmick", but there are those who are using it who may disagree, and they may well be right. Personally - when I want to shoot video - I use my video camera (or iPhone), both of which seem to do a more than adequate job.

    So what does differentiate models? To be honest, not always a heck of a lot ... many folks pour over reviews and specifications, but in many cases, the real-world differences are minimal, and don't forget that there is a HUGE overlap between models.

    In terms of Nikon -v- Canon, again, both camps make models with near identical specs and features at the same price point; I'm a Canon man, so can't comment too much on Nikon, so all I'd say is "try to think of the big picture" - in the end you're going to need a LOT more than just a camera and 1 lens ... so keep in the back of your mind that you'll eventually want a selection of lenses - flashes - a computer and editing software to process the images - and don't forget to make an investment in the area that'll give you the biggest return: training on capture techniques and post-processing.

    Keep in mind also that whichever model you go with, you'll find that it's more expensive to change at a later date, as you'll have an investment in brand-specific hardware.

    Some will suggest having a feel of each model to see which one you feel more "at home" with, but honestly - in my opinion - it's a bit like driving a rental car -- they all feel slightly weird the first day, and after that they all feel perfectly normal ... it's just what you get used to.

    Out of interest, how did you narrow your choice down to these 2 cameras?

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    Re: Used 40D VS new D3100

    Thanks for taking the time to write all of that Colin. I should have been more specific in my post. I understand the overlap, but in it's day the 40D cost double what the D3100 costs now, and with sincere respect, i really doubt that all other factors equal, a rebel xs is going to take as good a picture as a 50D (for example). My real question is, does the "newer" technology in the D3100 make up for the fact that it's lower in the respective product lineup than the 40D was?

    As far as how I narrowed down my choices, I don't care whether I end up with a Canon or Nikon, both brands are fine. The 40D is what's available near me on the used market in my price range. The D3100 seems to be the newest camera on the market in my price range.

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    Re: Used 40D VS new D3100

    im no expert but ive always heard that Canon always dominated the video segment of the DSLR world
    from that, id say the canon wins since the video is nikons selling point in this case

    heres from a quick search. Nikon vs Canon Video

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    Re: Used 40D VS new D3100

    The 40D doesn't do video, forget I even mentioned that. I'm hoping someone can look at the tech specs and tell me which one should take nicer pics. I'm not technically versed enough to make sense of all the specs.

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    Re: Used 40D VS new D3100

    Well after more independent research, I found what I think is the coolest website I've ever seen for a novice camera shopper:
    www.snapsort.com

    I now know that the 40D is superior to the D3100 for my needs, and if I can get lucky enough to find a used Nikon D90 in my prce range, that would be even better. In fact I think the D90 is exactly what I'm looking for...

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    Re: Used 40D VS new D3100

    Hi Dan,
    At first, without looking at the specification of D40, was about to suggest you to go in for D40.
    Now having given a quick look, D40 has no edge over D3100. Go for the newer technology.
    D3100 More AF Points, ISO flexibility (D40 starts with ISO 200), D3100 offers more FPS, Auto Sensor cleaning beside other features...

  8. #8

    Re: Used 40D VS new D3100

    The D3100 is an entry level camera so regardless of tech spec it will feel pretty much like an entry level camera. The 40D is prosumer (horrible word) camera it will feel bigger, heavier and more solidly built....but it is older technology. As Colin has pointed out you will be very hard pressed to see any difference in image quality. So you can in fact take the image quality out of the equation. So what is left - handling - feel - access to canons excellent (and usually cheaper) lens line up. If you need or think you need video buy the D3100. If you dont try to handle both cameras. The 40D is a large heavy camera and to me it feels just right. I love the control layout and it gives me everything I need at this point in time. However if your hands are small or you do not want the added weight go for the entry level camera. I do believe however that once you have 'felt' the difference between an entry level camera and a prosumer model, regardless of make or age, you will not need to ask us which one you should buy.

    D40 has no edge over D3100.
    I does if you want more than an entry level unit. You are not comparing cameras that are in the same consumer band. Handle a 40D and tell me it has no edge

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    Re: Used 40D VS new D3100

    EDIT - (Steve got in just before and said most of what I wrote below (just shows that great minds think alike!!)

    I know nothing about the Nikon. The 40D is, I think, by repute, one of Canon's finest and maybe the finest in its class.

    Specs on new stuff are higher than they were when the 40D was in production. But, if I'm right, you're compairing a prosumer model with a consumer model (apologies to the Nikon if I've got that wrong). And that must mean something in terms of robustness, build quality etc.

    As Colin very correctly says, one is not going to take better photographs than the other. You're the one who makes the pictures. What you've got is a choice over what factors/features you want on the box to which you attach the lens that helps you make the pictures. And only you can make that choice.
    Last edited by Donald; 10th February 2011 at 06:20 AM.

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    Re: Used 40D VS new D3100

    Quote Originally Posted by satori View Post
    with sincere respect, i really doubt that all other factors equal, a rebel xs is going to take as good a picture as a 50D (for example).
    Let me put it this way Dan, on my gallery wall, I have 22 x 44" and 22 x 33" canvas prints that were shot with a mixture of Canon 20D, Canon 1D3, and Canon 1Ds3 ... and the average person can't tell them apart (and that's at 22 x 33 or 44" sizes).

    At the end of the day, the camera is just a box that lets in the light ... that light falls on a sensor ... and that sensor returns a 14 bit value for a red, green, or blue channel ... works the same on the XS as it does on the 50D as it does on the 1Ds3. Yes, there are small differences in dynamic range (however most capture a dynamic range that far exceeds the average reflective scene) -- and yes, there are also differences in resolution - however - resolution is an often misunderstood thing; photos are 2 dimentional therefore it takes FOUR times the number of pixels to double the resolution of a photo (which is invariable reduced to around just 3 to 5% of the original amount of information when it's displayed online) - so to double the image resolution of a 15MP camera, you'd need a 60MP camera - and Canon or Nikon don't even make one that big.

    So the things that make a difference in terms of the camera are things like shutter life - build quality / robustness / AF points / Metering zones / weather sealing / firmware options.

    What makes the difference in terms of picture quality are things like:

    Most important : Photographer composition skill - photographer technical skill (in manipulating ISO / metering / focus controls etc) - photographer's ability to post-process the shot

    Important: Lens quality - filter availability & quality

    Less important: Camera make and model (for most general shooting eg not specialised shooting where for example a Canon 1D4 AF & frame rate will eat an entry level camera alive at something like photographing boxing)

    If you're still not convinced, take a look through my gallery and see if you can tell which shots were taken with the better / worse camera.

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    Re: Used 40D VS new D3100

    It boils down to what you will be shooting.

    If you need a high frames per second for sports shooting and solid build because the camera is going to get used heavily every day then go for the Canon - also it will take a battery grip which will balance the camera better if you are planning on buying big lenses.

    The Nikon has a newer sensor which in its self won't give you a better looking print - it will however be better at high ISO's meaning low light/hand held shooting will be easier. It is lighter - not as well built - but there is a lot to be said for a light camera if you carry it all day long. The video is superb and while you might not think you want it, I'll guaranty you will use it if you have it. One other thing, if its your first D-SLR then it is much easier to use and has instructions built in.

    As to building a system then the lenses cost the same regardless of the Nikon/Canon badge - the quality is the same regardless of what Nikon/Canon users will tell - the accessories cost the same and have about as big a range - I could go on.

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    Re: Used 40D VS new D3100

    Quote Originally Posted by black pearl View Post
    As to building a system then the lenses cost the same regardless of the Nikon/Canon badge
    In this part of the world Nikon lenses are about 10 to 15% over and above the equivalent Canon glass.

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    Re: Used 40D VS new D3100

    Colin, that explanation helped me understand better, thanks! Also, I like your "blast from the past" with the canoe/boat quite a bit.

    I guess it all comes down to what I can get the best deal on then. Because I don't have a lot of experience, I also don't have a lot of preferences and hopefully won't be disappointed by any of the options we've been chatting about.

    Sometimes it takes waxing back and fourth a bit to make a new guy understand relatively simple things I look forward to sharing some photos with you all.

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    Re: Used 40D VS new D3100

    Quote Originally Posted by satori View Post
    I guess it all comes down to what I can get the best deal on then.
    Hi Dan,

    Probably not - by the time you end up buying lights / tripods / lenses / accessories / software etc the actual camera cost will be relatively minor. Also, if you "under-sell" yourself to start out, you may then have the added expense of trading up before too long. I did that when I bought a Canon 350D ... no sooner did I buy it when I played with a gripped 20D and immediately sold the 350D at a loss to buy a new 20D.

    I'm biased, but if it were me, I'd grad the 40D in a heartbeat.

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    Re: Used 40D VS new D3100

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    I'm biased, but if it were me, I'd grad the 40D in a heartbeat.
    Of the original two cameras mentioned, knowing what I do now, so would I - and I'm a Nikon user
    How's that for unbiassed

    I went for a more expensive option, the not quite equivalent to a Canon 40D feature-wise, in my choice of D5000, a D90 with a tilty LCD screen would have done me better though (for lens choice).

    You will have far more affordable lens choices with the Canon 40D, or Nikon D90 over the Nikon D3100.

    Nikon D90 vs Canon 40D, tough choice.

    Cheers,

  16. #16

    Re: Used 40D VS new D3100

    And that from a Nikon user you will be having a shave, cutting your hair and kicking your flip flops off if you carry on like that. Not that I am stereotyping Nikon users or anything....not sure who will buy the combat jacket with the mildly political button badges though

    Nearest Nikon equivalent to a 40D is probably D200. some people compare it to the D300 but that may be pushing it. I think the D5000 is nearer a 500D

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    Re: Used 40D VS new D3100

    Quote Originally Posted by Wirefox View Post
    Nearest Nikon equivalent to a 40D is probably D200. some people compare it to the D300 but that may be pushing it. I think the D5000 is nearer a 500D
    If the 40D isn't comparable to the D300 then it must be to the D90, because it certainly isn't on the same level as the D200. The D200 is like my D80 - a pile of noise and old tech!

  18. #18

    Re: Used 40D VS new D3100

    What makes the difference in terms of picture quality are things like:

    Most important : Photographer composition skill - photographer technical skill (in manipulating ISO / metering / focus controls etc) - photographer's ability to post-process the shot

    Important: Lens quality - filter availability & quality

    Less important: Camera make and model (for most general shooting eg not specialised shooting where for example a Canon 1D4 AF & frame rate will eat an entry level camera alive at something like photographing boxing)
    That should be written in tablets of stone for all new photographers who are getting their knickers in a twist over whether the man in the street will fall over laughing when they see their choice of purchase. Its the sales hype that is attached to all electronic equipment. You will buy a D3100 and tomorrow they will launch a D3200 that makes the tea, walks the dog and babysits the kids. It will not make its predecessor a bad camera. Always remember the comparative tech reviews are for gear heads and people who never take the plastic wrap off their car seats. They are not aimed at photographers

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    Re: Used 40D VS new D3100

    I am no Nikon guy but there are several things about my 40D which all Nikon cameras may not possess. Whether or not these features are difference makers is up to the individual photographer.

    First is compatibility with ALL Canon autofocus lenses. With certain lower level (= lower price) Nikon cameras you are restricted as to which Nikon auto focus lenses are compatible. Nikon users please clarify.

    Second is the ability to select auto-exposure-bracketing and burst mode and then shoot three images of different exposures with the camera stopping after the third shot. This is great and I use it quite often in chancy exposure area or if I am shooting a once in a lifetime shot. I believe that the higher priced Nikon cameras have even a better system but, I am not sure if the lower priced models offer this feature. Again, Nikonians - please clarify and correct if I am wrong.

    Third is that the 40D has three user selected modes in which the user can set the camera parameters that the user wishes, register them on the menu and then select them with a simple twist of the mode dial. I really like this feature because it allows me to select several parameters (burst, ISO, focus point, etc.) and then select those parameters in a group with a twist of the mode dial. I have one mode set up for fast moving subjects, one for auto-exposure bracketing and the third for night shooting. Of course, I can and do use RAW capture in all these user selected modes. Again, I don't know if the Nikons have this feature. The Canon Rebels don't and only the 40D, 50D and 7D Canons have it. The 60D has had the control system altered and has only a single user selected mode.

    I really like the Canon control systems of the Canon 40D and 50D (the 60D has regressed unfortunately). IMO, they are night and day ahead of the Rebel (series) models. I am wondering if there is a similar difference between the Nikon low-end and upper-end crop cameras in the ease of control.

    I am just guessing about this. The 40D has already depreciated to a great extent. I am thinking that the future depreciation will not be as drastic as a new camera purchased today. I may be wrong about this but, it may be like buying a used vehicle vs. buying a new one regarding depreciation.

    Finally... IMO the quality of the image has more to do with the lens used than the body, which is really a box with a sensor and a hole for the lens.

    BTW: I probably COULD press my 40D further but, I most often shoot at lower ISO levels and don't usually exceed ISO 800 and use that only in an emergency. However, this doesn't impact my style of shooting to any great degree.
    Last edited by rpcrowe; 11th February 2011 at 12:07 AM.

  20. #20
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    Re: Used 40D VS new D3100

    My non-technical 2 cents from someone who has owned her first DSLR for 3 months. I got a D90. It exceeded the budget but I went for it anyway, (and I'm very financially responsible) and I haven't even had 1/2000 of a second of buyers remorse. Before I bought it I read reviews, compared models blah blah blah. Can't remember a word of it. You have a huge learning curve coming (or maybe not, but I did/do/am riding the wave now) and its way more about the lenses than I ever anticipated.

    (took me 3 days to stop reaching for the 'zoom' lever )

    ...but jump on in, the water is fine

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