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PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2011 10:27 pm 
I recently had the choice between a Nikon D5100 and a Canon Rebel T2i/EOS 550D. I know Nikon versus Canon is many time unanswerable, but I chose the Canon this time. (The T2i was slightly cheaper locally than the T3i, and I didn't see much evidence that the T3i was much improved over its predecessor.)

I know from researching the cameras, that DxOMark rates the D5100's sensor as significantly larger (and, I assume, better) than the T2i's. However, for the life of me, I can't seem to find this difference in the online photo comparisons. If anything, T2i's photos look sharper and richer than the D5100's.

For example, if you use dpreview's "compared to" feature on the D5100 page, the T2i handily beats the Nikon camera on the head-to-head tests, to me, especially in the 100-1600 ISO range. (Was the D5100 having issues during test day at dpreview?)

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/nikond5100/page19.asp

Similar results (again, to my eyes) are at Imaging-Resource.com, if you choose the T2i and D5100 -- the the former appears crisper and more colorful:

http://www.imaging-resource.com/IMCOMP/COMPS01.HTM

I'm pleased with my T2i, and honestly I bet I'd be pleased with a D5100 if I had bought that one instead. It seems like most appraisals of these two cameras (or their close cousins) conclude they are essentially evenly matched in terms of quality.

If I had based my purchase on the spec sheet, I would have chosen the Nikon. However, multiple online photo comparisons showed me that the Canon was the "winner" in my eyes. Better image quality trumps all other factors in my mind.

If these cameras are so similar, or if indeed the Canon T2i can be perceived (by some) to take better pictures than its rival D5100, what then is all the hullabaloo about Nikon's larger/newer sensor? I don't understand...

Am I missing something, or is this just an Arms Race with each side showing off larger missile types, while all along any bomb in the arsenal will pretty much get the job done?

Thanks!


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2011 10:52 pm 
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Aye Gwynn wrote:
Am I missing something, or is this just an Arms Race with each side showing off larger missile types, while all along any bomb in the arsenal will pretty much get the job done?

Can I use that quote? I think that's a great way to describe it! :mrgreen:

Some of the benefits of a larger sensor are the potential for shallower depths of field as well as higher light sensitivity or better noise performance from having larger pixels.

Personally, I think a dry list of specs doesn't tell the whole tale with the two cameras being so closely matched and fanboys will use the trumps to say their brand is better than the other. There are other factors to consider such as the lens and most importantly, whoever is using the camera - even with the most expensive, fancy camera, a ham-fisted photographer with little knowledge of how to use it will probably still get worse results than a skilled photographer using modest gear.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2011 11:15 pm 
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Rorschach wrote:
whoever is using the camera

Uhhh... yes. I gave someone the camera in order to shoot a photo of an "online friend" and me but even after 10 (!) shots he didn't even seem to notice (even after telling him how to do it right) we were out of focus.

Image

OK - that's a very extreme example...


But yes, it doesn't really matter what camera you use as long as they are of the same generation and if you use it the right way.
There might be some slight differences but nothing you could see without a direct comparison.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2011 12:23 am 
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Wow Jiko! I don't know what your complaining about? That picture looks great except for those to guys standing in front of the camera person :lol:

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Canon 550D | Canon EF 35mm 1:2 | Canon 50 f/1.8 II | Sigma 18-125mm DC OS | Tamron SP 70-300mm Di VC USD | Canon 430EX II
Military Issued Canon 40D | Canon 55-250mm IS


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2011 5:40 am 
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You'd probably be happy with either camera.

I'd personally go with the D5100 for a few reasons. a) The Nikon sensor is slightly larger (as mentioned before, some of the advantages are better noise performance as you get larger pixels and fewer of them on the D5100, essentially resulting in a fair difference, you get a larger viewfinder with the larger sensor and you get the shallower DoF as Jiko clearly demonstrated :lol:) I prefer the ergonomics of the Nikon over the Canon by far, it just feels more comfortable in my hands. However, that's a personal thing and you should try out both cameras in your hands before deciding. c) You'll also get the articulated display of the Nikon, which is only available on the T3i/600D with the Canon spectrum. Of course, I'm also a hardcore Nikon user, so I'm probably a little too bias :wink:, but that's just my opinion.

Also, remember that although buying expensive gear can allow more control and versatility over your image, it's the photographer that presses the shutter, so you can't blame a crappy picture on anybody but yourself! You could hand a complete amateur a Nikon D3s or Canon 1D Mk. IV with a 70-200 f/2.8 and you'd get pretty mediocre photos, but if you gave a seasoned pro a simple $100 compact camera, the final photos would be much better. It's always a good idea to invest in some photo classes to gain some experience.

@Jiko
I had a similar experience while in Toronto, I wanted my picture taken in front of the Stanley cup, but apparently the person taking my picture thought that my 35mm f/1.8 was a manual focus lens. Oh well...

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Gear: 7 Nikon Nikkor AI-S and AF-S lenses, SB-700 flash, Nikon D7000, Nikon FM, variety of accessories

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