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PostPosted: Tue Jul 19, 2011 6:35 pm 
hi,

I am a beginner to photography, and am confused as to which DSLRto buy.I am interested in regular stuff like landscape, twilight photography,macro and maybe a few portraits and i'm not too keen on videography.

I have had a feel of both the D5100 and the 550D, and i find them both comfortable to use. i understand that the D5100 is a better (with respect to sensor qualites and high ISO performance) and a newer camera, and hence is an ideal choice. also it has a flip out screen which is indeed an advantage for shots taken above the head or low below, plus an HDR mode too and all of this with a great battery life. these are the advantages of the D5100 that i'm certain of.
That said , i'm not certain if the flip out screen and HDR mode are really a great advantage considering my usage, maybe more experienced photgraphers here can tell me how much weightage is to be given to both.

However, i have come across frustrated friends who say the button lay out is'nt as good, esp the lack of direct access buttons to ISO etc and that the user interface is'nt as simple and direct as the cannon 550D.
However the canon 550D does have a much better direct access to various settings.

Also could someone tell me how important is it to have a live histogram in live view?

Thank You,























backgrounds, utorrent


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 19, 2011 6:53 pm 
Any entry level DSLR should fit your needs fine. You may want to consider the system decision regarding lens purchases, additional items such as a good bag, memory cards, external flash, etc. as well as part of your purchase.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 19, 2011 7:50 pm 
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You shouldn't be so keen to highlight the D5100's HDR mode as an "advantage" unless you have no interest in post processing. The 550D (or any camera capable of manual exposure control for that matter) is perfectly capable of HDR as well though it's an entirely manual affair but that isn't necessarily a bad thing as I think it taught me how to tweak my exposures and reduce the amount of post processing.

The D5100 does use the same sensor as its big brother, the D7000 but that's not to say the 550D is a slouch as it shares the same processor with its bigger brother, the 7D.

For a beginner, you'll find almost just negligible differences in image quality based on the sensor with such similar cameras - the lens is far more important if you wish for better image quality.

Though the D5100 can reach a higher ISO rating, the image is supposedly as noisy as The Who playing live (loud would probably be a more appropriate word for The Who but you get the analogy) so it's arguably only worth using when you absolutely have to.

The histogram in live view gives you an idea of how evenly tones are distributed and if detail is lost by there being too much or too little light. If you already have a camera with a histogram and manually adjustable ISO, point the camera something and see how the graph changes as you increase/decrease the light sensitivity.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 2011 8:28 am 
Thank You for your reply! :)

Do correct me if i'm wrong, from your reply, i suppose i can safely assume that the usage of high ISO will not be much. and also that you cant get things terribly wrong by choosing either of the cameras.

But what about the button layout? is it really a frustrating problem if you cant have direct access to major settings? since i have no prior experience, i'm not too sure how much of a problem it can be. However it only seems logical to have easier access to all major settings.

i'm sure experienced photographeres can guide me here, as this can be judged only with experience.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 2011 9:38 am 
Button Layout on the D5100 is not a problem since it hardly doesnt have any extra buttons. Your friend probably read a review on a D90 or D7000 or something. But still I think the extra buttons on a D90/D7000 are on a better place then on a canon. With the canon its squeezed away on top of the camera. I dont see how that is ergonomic/anatomicly. What finger do you use to operate those buttons on a canon while you still hold the camera with both hands?. Well none because its impossible.
With Nikon D90/D7000 you can operate most buttons while still holding the camera body with two hands. Just use a thumb or index finger. I am not sure if you have to use the scroll wheel to change iso seetings on a canon but that would be impossible to to do at the same time.

Also the scrollwheel that you use to change shutterspeed or iso settings is not very convenient on a canon.
Image

But thats just my opinion.

My advise is go to the store and try to hold the cameras. If you think you want to use fully manual mode a lot then the D5100 isnt to good a choice probably since it only has one scroll wheel and no extra buttons, but the Canon 550D has the same problem there.

If you just use semi automatic shutter priority or aperture priority modes (camera will figure out the rest) then a D5100 would be nice.

For ergonomic reasons I would choose a Nikon. If you want a full manual mode camera a Nikon D90 or a D7000 would be a better choice.

Here a picture of the Nikon D90 so you can compare scrollbar and button locations: (d90/D7000 have a horizontal scrollwheel near the shutter at the front as well).

Image

Just go hold both cameras and see what feels right for you. I probabaly would advise a D90 over a D5100 because of ergonomics in full manual mode. But then again if you want to use it for movies then D5100 is the better choice.

The Nikon D90 is absolute bargain in regards of (semi) professional hardware buttons and extra LCD display. So operationwise it would be far superior to both a Canon 550d and a nikon D5100.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 2011 12:33 pm 
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nikonfreak wrote:
But still I think the extra buttons on a D90/D7000 are on a better place then on a canon. With the canon its squeezed away on top of the camera. I dont see how that is ergonomic/anatomicly. What finger do you use to operate those buttons on a canon while you still hold the camera with both hands?. Well none because its impossible.

"Impossible" is an overused word by those who give up too easily or worse yet, don't try at all. I press the ISO button and adjust the scroll wheel on my 550D with my right index finger while holding the body with my thumb and three remaining fingers without any discomfort or difficulty.
It feels perfectly natural and it's far from impossible to achieve.

nikonfreak wrote:
With Nikon D90/D7000 you can operate most buttons while still holding the camera body with two hands. Just use a thumb or index finger. I am not sure if you have to use the scroll wheel to change iso seetings on a canon but that would be impossible to to do at the same time.

Also the scrollwheel that you use to change shutterspeed or iso settings is not very convenient on a canon.

Sorry to call you out, mate, but is that judgement on the 550D actually based on any practical experience using the camera or is it based just on the picture?
The ISO settings can be accessed either with the dedicated button or through the menu both in viewfinder and Live View mode; they can also be adjusted using the scroll wheel or the buttons with little effort using your thumb and index finger - it's far from impossible. I find the scroll wheel perfectly convenient to adjust either the shutter speed or the ISO sensitivity.

@ XiPh
Opinions aside, you really are best off trying both cameras' menus extensively before purchase. I personally prefer Canon's menu as I find it more convenient but that's just the opinion and preference of one among many mere mortals who can't tell you with absolute certainty that one is better than another for you.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 2011 1:17 pm 
The overall user-interface is very key. Some people have no issues diving deep into the menu to get to commonly used features. Some don't.

The camera that feels best in your hands is the one that is most likely best for you. If you experience as a photographer is limited, then I would be thinking about getting into a couple of classes using rental equipment first to figure out what your shooting style/process is. A couple of introductory classes with a local, reputable camera shop would probably fit the bill, and would be well worth the investment, imo.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2011 4:36 am 
Thank you all for your replies.

I tried out both the cameras (thanks to a few friends!), and have finally decided on the 550D as it feels much more easier to use and the menu is much easier to navigate.The button layout also felt good.

Now the next part, Lenses.I wanted to do day to day photography till i gain some experience, however i have also taken an affinity to macro photography(will the flip out screen on the 600D be necessary?).

Initially i was planning to buy the kitlens,18-135mm (which is the max my budget allows me), but now am confused whether to take a macro lens along with a general purpose lens.i have gone thru the recommended lenses section and i see that for my purpose and budget the other option i have is an 18-55mm (kit lens) plus the EF 100mm f/2.8 USM Macro.

So 18-135mm now a macro later, or, 18-55mm plus EF 100mm f/2.8 USM Macro now?


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2011 10:31 am 
Canon kitlenses are not very good. They are known for it.Nikon has better kitlenses, but that does not mean that nikon kitlenses are top of the line of course.

But you can only spend money once so I suggest to take a look at the lens galley at this forum so you can see what photos looks like with that particular lens.

http://www.cameralabs.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=7148

If the Canon feels better in your hands then Canon is the right camera for you (But the Nikon D5100 is a better camera in terms of colorbit depth, dynamic range, high iso performance, lightmetering, bigger sensor with less megapixels etc...).


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2011 12:24 pm 
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Canon kit lenses may not be outstanding but the're not hopeless. There are times in photography where only a bad workman blames his tools so you should ignore any final defiant comments from fanboys in light of their "defeat" of you not joining their camp.

With good lighting conditions and knowledge of their limitations, you can take pretty good images using Canon's kit lenses, even with minimal to no post processing.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2011 1:50 pm 
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Hi XiPh,

Congratulations on your choice of a 550D. As you can see from Gordon's own results the kit lens works just fine. Yes, if you hadn't expressed an interest in macro photography then, with your budget, it might have been an option to upgrade that lens but if you want to do macro and you can also afford the EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM together with the kit lens then I'd say that's the way to go.

Unlike some lenses, particularly third party ones, which include the word "macro" in their name the EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM can actually reach 1:1 magnification - look at some of those third party zoom "macros" and you'll see the magnification can be two to three times worse. As to whether the flip out screen of the 600D is necessary I guess that depends on you but somehow folks managed to struggle along taking fantastic macro shots before flip out screens ever made an appearance. :wink:

Bob.

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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: Wed Aug 03, 2011 1:52 pm 
Even the poorest quality kit lens is vastly superior to most P&S - which is where I suspect the OP is coming from.

Nevertheless -- one big advantage of Canon or Nikon is the availability of used lenses at reasonable cost points. With the Canon any of their af lenses should work, for the Nikon, you'll need to stick to the new lenses which don't rely on the screw motor for af as the D5100 doesn't have that capability.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2011 5:07 pm 
Its just that the newer sensors on the bodies with lots of megapixels require better lenses. My experience is that the pictures will be a bit soft with a lens not capable enough to satisfy a demanding sensor.

I have a Nikon D7000. It has this insane sensor that only likes very good lenses, because only those lenses can satisfy him.

Just consider buying a second hand better lens. The lenses are more important then the body in my opinion. Future camera sensors will only ask for better quality lenses because they can capture better details.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2011 5:58 pm 
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Hi nikonfreak,

There's a bit of a trap here in the assumption that just because a sensor has xyz megapixels that the lens has to outresolve the sensor. Nice if it does but for many situations you just don't need that much resolution provided the picture was originally well framed. Only XiPh can tell us if he expects to view parts of his images at 100% or intends to produce large prints on a regular basis. If print size may be an issue then there's a chart at CambridgeInColour. As can be seen the number of megapixels actually needed to make quite large prints is quite modest, particularly as the largest prints tend to be viewed from a greater distance. :idea:

I'd also suggest that in some respects the Canon kit lens actually outperforms the Nikon equivalent. I'm looking particularly at the resolution away from the center of the image (sources here and here). I don't think those tests bear out your contention that the Nikkor is conclusively better. And anyway XiPh has already indicated he prefers the Canon so maybe we should all continue that conversation in another thread so he can get good advice on finding a macro lens.

Bob.

P.S. I'll 'fess up the fact that I hadn't spotted that my link to Gordon's 550D test was to a review of that camera with the 18-135 option. :oops: But I think the PhotoZone tests I've just linked to make the point just as well. Sorry for the confusion.

_________________
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: Thu Aug 04, 2011 7:23 pm 
Thank you for your suggestions!

@ Bob : Thank you for your reply ..no, i dont intend to print any of my photos as of now, and even if i do it would be max say the size of an A4 sheet, i.e say, 12" X 8" , though wallpapers are on my mind.. And yes i would be viewing my snaps @ 100%.


also i see that the EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro Usm also has an L model. Is the IS very much a necessity? and is there any optical difference between the two lenses? (i do know that the L series lenses are better built and weather sealed).


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