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PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2009 8:25 am 
Hi,

(My first post... :-)

To my great surprise, I find myself wanting to take pictures again after a ten year break and I'm in the market for a "Prosumer" camera.

Ten years ago my camera was a Nikon F4 but I only have a Canon G4 "snappy" at the moment so I'm effectively starting with a clean sheet.

It looks as if I have narrowed my cameras down to a Nikon D90/D300 or a Canon 50D.

What's tripping me up is a lens!

I read on these forums that Canon is generally considered the cheaper brand and that their "L" series lenses is the best range. The "L" series does seem pretty pricey though...

What is Nikon's best range?

All this "IF-ED/VR/L/IS/USM/Gawdknowswhat is confusing me :-)

Can someone spell out Nikon/Canon's lens hierarchy in terms of designations?

If Canon's "L" series is at the top of their range, are there several tiers below that or just "Everything else"?

Thanks for your help :-)

S


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2009 8:56 am 
Canon's top glass is categorized under the "L" lenses.

Canon has two lens mounts: EF and EF-S. All you really need to know is that the EF-S lenses only work on cameras with an APS-C (cropped sensor) like the Rebel cameras and the 40D/50D.

The full frame (35mm film equivalent) cameras only accept the EF lenses.

All of Canon's "L" glass are EF lenses, so no matter what camera you end up buying from Canon, rest assured those lenses will be compatible.

The big difference between Canon and Nikon glass is really the price/versatility in the line-up. Canon offers more prime lenses, with arguably better optics than Nikon. For example, Canon offers the 85mm f/1.2L whereas Nikon's equivalent is the 85mm f/1.4. The other thing is that Canon's lenses are arguably cheaper for the most part. But, Nikon does offer excellent zooms which include the 14-24mm f/2.8, 24-70 f/2.8 (arguably much better than the Canon version), and the 70-200mm f/2.8.

However, in the end, they both offer great lenses and it really just comes down to which lenses suit your style/needs. Also, which body you decide to buy! It's near impossible to say that one is better than the other because in the end it's all subjective.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2009 9:09 am 
Sdrummer wrote:
Canon's top glass is categorized under the "L" lenses.

Canon has two lens mounts: EF and EF-S. All you really need to know is that the EF-S lenses only work on cameras with an APS-C (cropped sensor) like the Rebel cameras and the 40D/50D.

The full frame (35mm film equivalent) cameras only accept the EF lenses.

All of Canon's "L" glass are EF lenses, so no matter what camera you end up buying from Canon, rest assured those lenses will be compatible.

The big difference between Canon and Nikon glass is really the price/versatility in the line-up. Canon offers more prime lenses, with arguably better optics than Nikon. For example, Canon offers the 85mm f/1.2L whereas Nikon's equivalent is the 85mm f/1.4. The other thing is that Canon's lenses are arguably cheaper for the most part. But, Nikon does offer excellent zooms which include the 14-24mm f/2.8, 24-70 f/2.8 (arguably much better than the Canon version), and the 70-200mm f/2.8.

However, in the end, they both offer great lenses and it really just comes down to which lenses suit your style/needs. Also, which body you decide to buy! It's near impossible to say that one is better than the other because in the end it's all subjective.


Sdrummer,

Thanks for your response..

What is Nikon's equivalent to Canon's L range, do you know?

Would it be fair to say that any lens suitable for a Full Frame body is going to be of a better quality?

I think the quality/cost of the lenses will dictate my choice of body :-)

S


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2009 9:43 am 
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Hi Swede,

May I offer you a warm welcome to the CameraLabs forum

I'm 100% with you on your decision to concentrate on the lens system as I'm sure that any lenses you buy will see service on more than one body. That said, it's also a good idea to make sure that the camera you buy feels comfortable in your hands.

You'll find CameraLabs reviews of some of the more commonly used lenses here. A more comprehensive list is available over at PhotoZone but bear in mind that all these lens tests are performed with cameras as opposed to optical benches so comparing the results between manufacturers is fraught with danger. To illustrate this compare these two sets of results, both for the Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM and, obvioulsy, both from the same manufacturer:
    Image Image
Both tests were done with APS-C sensors so the only difference, apart from using two different examples of a particular lens, is that the one on the left was performed with an 8MP EOS 350D while the one on the right was performed with a 15MP EOS 50D. The shape of the graphs may be broadly similar but the vertical scale is quite different showing how badly the 350D was holding back the lens.

Bob.

_________________
Olympus OM-D E-M1 + M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8, Lumix 7-14mm f/4, Leica DG Summilux 15mm f/1.7 ASPH, M.Zuiko Digital 45mm 1:1.8, M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm 1:1.8.
Leica D Vario-Elmar 14mm-150mm f/3.5 - f/5.6 ASPH.
OM-D E-M5, H-PS14042E, Gitzo GT1541T, Arca-Swiss Z1 DP ball-head.
Astrophotography: TEC 140 'scope, FLI ML16803 camera, ASA DDM60 Pro mount.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2009 3:16 pm 
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I think others have stated the difference between canon and nikon lenses quite aptly, but here's my 2 cents:

The difference in pro-grade lenses is nearly imperceptible in real life
Nikon has the best kitlens of all time: (18-105 VR)
Overall, nikon seems to be legendary with it's metering system
Nikon's 50 point AF beats the 50D by a large margin
Canon has a higher resolution sensor and pretty much the same noise performance.

Still, think out of the box when looking at lenses. I've recently bought the Sigma 70-200 F/2.8 andit's great (see my review in the user reviews section). Various forum members have bought this lens after reading my review. The best part is that according to some tests, the sigma beats the canon in sharpness at 70 mm :lol:

Also, the D90 is a very capable camera. It's more portable than the D90, but offering the same imagequality. You'll miss out on the 50 point AF system though, and have to make due with "only" 11.

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I take pictures so quickly, my highschool was "Continuous High".


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2009 5:11 pm 
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Swede wrote:
Guys,

Thanks for your time :-)

After your comments and links I *think* I have decided...

Does a 50D with a 24-105mm "L" lens seem like a sensible option for general purpose photography/portraits?

With a view to getting a 70-200 L when the wife has her back turned?

Make sense?

S

Hi Swede,

As this question is Canon specific I've split your post out to create a new Canon thread which you can read here.

Obviously further questions where you are still "undecided on the brand" should continue in this thread.

Bob.

_________________
Olympus OM-D E-M1 + M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8, Lumix 7-14mm f/4, Leica DG Summilux 15mm f/1.7 ASPH, M.Zuiko Digital 45mm 1:1.8, M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm 1:1.8.
Leica D Vario-Elmar 14mm-150mm f/3.5 - f/5.6 ASPH.
OM-D E-M5, H-PS14042E, Gitzo GT1541T, Arca-Swiss Z1 DP ball-head.
Astrophotography: TEC 140 'scope, FLI ML16803 camera, ASA DDM60 Pro mount.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2009 6:08 pm 
Citruspers wrote:
Nikon has the best kitlens of all time: (18-105 VR)
Overall, nikon seems to be legendary with it's metering system
Nikon's 50 point AF beats the 50D by a large margin
Canon has a higher resolution sensor and pretty much the same noise performance.

Also, the D90 is a very capable camera. It's more portable than the D90, but offering the same imagequality. You'll miss out on the 50 point AF system though, and have to make due with "only" 11.


Well that was true before the 7D and the new 18-135mm IS and 15-85mm IS lenses were announced. Obviously, we've yet to see about the quality of all that but I'd think the 18-135mm will come very close to the Nikon 18-105mm.

Apart from that, you're comparing oranges to apples if you compare the D300 AF (51points) to the 50D AF (9Points). If you really have to compare, do it 50D vs. D90 and 7D vs. D300 since those cameras are roughly the same price.

Now that's not to say I wouldn't recommend a Nikon camera.. I think both manufacturers will offer great image quality and a good lens lineup. I agree that Nikons pro lenses have currently the edge (14-24mm, 24-70mm, 70-200mm II), but ALL of them are much more expensive than the canon equivalents (which are very good too). For me it's a case of being able to afford pro-grade lenses in the first place - and with Canon, I can. With Nikon, I probably couldn't.

And it's a very similar case with the high quality APS-C lenses: the Canon 17-55mm f/2.8 IS is expensive but unmatched in quality. Nikon's equivalent is the 17-55mm f/2.8, which costs even more and doesn't have IS. Same story with the wide angle stuff: Canon's 10-22mm is better where it matters (at 10mm) and, again, cheaper.

So in my opinion, Nikon will have the edge if money is no object and you want to go for pro grade lenses. On the other hand, I think Canon offers better bang for the buck in their highend APS-C lenses. We'll have to see how the new midrange stuff from canon stacks up to the Nikon 18-105mm. If they match, it's gonna be a draw in that segment as far as I can work out.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2009 9:17 pm 
Swede ....

You mentioned you shot with a Nikon F4 some years back. Do you have older Nikkor lenses which you might possibly want to use? This may or may not sway your decision process.

You can mount Nikkor AI lenses (strictly manual focus / no metering on a Nikon D90) with no problems. I'm currently using a 20+ year old Nikkor 105mm F/4 macro lens for some macro photography on my Nikon D80. If you had a large number of older Nikkor lenses which you wanted to employ, you may want to consider (at significantly higher cost) the Nikon D300. This camera will allow you to meter with older Nikkor AI lenses.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2009 9:25 pm 
Swede wrote:
Sdrummer wrote:
Canon's top glass is categorized under the "L" lenses.

Canon has two lens mounts: EF and EF-S. All you really need to know is that the EF-S lenses only work on cameras with an APS-C (cropped sensor) like the Rebel cameras and the 40D/50D.

The full frame (35mm film equivalent) cameras only accept the EF lenses.

All of Canon's "L" glass are EF lenses, so no matter what camera you end up buying from Canon, rest assured those lenses will be compatible.

The big difference between Canon and Nikon glass is really the price/versatility in the line-up. Canon offers more prime lenses, with arguably better optics than Nikon. For example, Canon offers the 85mm f/1.2L whereas Nikon's equivalent is the 85mm f/1.4. The other thing is that Canon's lenses are arguably cheaper for the most part. But, Nikon does offer excellent zooms which include the 14-24mm f/2.8, 24-70 f/2.8 (arguably much better than the Canon version), and the 70-200mm f/2.8.

However, in the end, they both offer great lenses and it really just comes down to which lenses suit your style/needs. Also, which body you decide to buy! It's near impossible to say that one is better than the other because in the end it's all subjective.


Sdrummer,

Thanks for your response..

What is Nikon's equivalent to Canon's L range, do you know?

Would it be fair to say that any lens suitable for a Full Frame body is going to be of a better quality?

I think the quality/cost of the lenses will dictate my choice of body :-)

S


How do you read these graphs?


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2009 11:08 pm 
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Joined: Sat Sep 30, 2006 4:30 pm
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Scott Xavier wrote:
How do you read these graphs?

Despite all those nested quotes :P I wasn't sure what you were referring to. I assume it's MTF charts so, providing you can put aside a little time for study, you can do a lot worse than check out
The articles are introduced on the Carl Zeiss pages here and here. For another exposition you might like to follow the Leica link in my post here. Hope that helps.

Bob.

_________________
Olympus OM-D E-M1 + M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8, Lumix 7-14mm f/4, Leica DG Summilux 15mm f/1.7 ASPH, M.Zuiko Digital 45mm 1:1.8, M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm 1:1.8.
Leica D Vario-Elmar 14mm-150mm f/3.5 - f/5.6 ASPH.
OM-D E-M5, H-PS14042E, Gitzo GT1541T, Arca-Swiss Z1 DP ball-head.
Astrophotography: TEC 140 'scope, FLI ML16803 camera, ASA DDM60 Pro mount.


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