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PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2011 9:43 am 
Hey there, I'm having an incredibly hard time in choosing between the Nikon D5100 and Canon 600D. I pretty much read every review I could find (the Videos on this site were very helpful too), most boil down to the following: Both are good starter DSLRs, doesn't really matter which one to pick up as long as you dont plan on shooting movies.

I don't care about videos a bit but I'm still entirely torn. I hate the plastic feeling of the Canon, it feels like a cheap toy. Also the grip feels very bad in my hands. On the other hand, the display & button layout is much better on Canon. I also don't care about the various editing options the Nikon offers. But the again, the Nikon seems to have way higher production quality, it's faster to boot and got better battery. From what I've read the Canon seems to have the better live view which I'm planing to use a lot. The Nikons overall image quality seems to be better to a degree that wouldnt bother me too much. Based on those facts alone I couldnt really decide, I probably had to flip a coin (the nikon costs a 100 euros more though!).

However, I'm pretty attracted by HDR photography and I'll probably do it alot. Now I read that the Nikon has a higher dynamic range (2 full stops at low ISO) due to its over-class and larger sensor. I learned that dynamic range is important for HDR, since higher range will yield more details and less noise in highlights and shadows.

Now I'm having a problem of estimating the effect his higher dynamic range will have on my shots. When I dial my camera up or down two full steps, the effect is huge, but I probably cannot compare this in any way to the differences in image quality between the two brands. Yet I feel like that a 2 steps higher DR on Iso 100 is a brutal factor on image quality, especially when composing for HDR with strong over- and underexposion. I found no review that adressed this issues and I'm also having a difficult time of finding comparable pictures. As it stands though I feel like I could never pick up the Canon due to that factor, even though the Nikon also got its fair share of disadvantages.

Please, could anyone help me to clarify this? Would I even be able to notice DR-difference? And what is its impact on HDR photography? Please note though that albeit I'm a novice I do post process my images in PS and I'm very sensible to noise. I would like to hear that the effect is minimal at best, but I assume its big- just not very important the average guy picking up an entry level DSRL.

Any insight would be greatly appreciated!

Regards,

Chris


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2011 12:51 pm 
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If you will be doing multi-shot HDR, then the individual shot dynamic range would not be important since the multiple shots are what give you the extended range anyway.

You need to check the model, the Nikon *might* have a small advantage if it does more than 3 shot bracketing. Canon will only bracket 3 shots: zero, plus or minus something (can be offset). I know the higher end Nikon models can do much longer bracketing sequences, but don't know if they trickled it into the lower ones too.

If you're going to do single shot HDR, the increased range of the more modern Nikon sensors might help there. In Canon-land we're waiting for them to do their next generation as current models are based on a sensor from a while back now. Nikon refreshed relatively recently.

As for how much difference the dynamic range makes... that depends entirely on the shot. Most cases which don't require extreme ranges, you wouldn't know the difference. Pushing right to the limit, it might make that difference sometimes.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2011 2:18 pm 
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Quote:
You need to check the model, the Nikon *might* have a small advantage if it does more than 3 shot bracketing. Canon will only bracket 3 shots: zero, plus or minus something (can be offset). I know the higher end Nikon models can do much longer bracketing sequences, but don't know if they trickled it into the lower ones too.


Magic Lantern opens up for 9 shot bracketing, and works on the 600d i believe.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2011 2:41 pm 
Thank you Popo (you dont happen to be german by any chance?), that was pretty much the missing information I was looking for.

As far as auto bracketing goes I think the Nikon got a slight edge, though it should be sort of useless for HDR on both cameras since the overall distance is something like 2 steps. Both are limited to 3 shots.

Isn't auto bracketing a newbie / convenience function anway? I might as well take like 6 shots and move the exposure each time or simply bracket by changing shutter speed in steps. Of course auto-bracketing is faster, but moving objects will still ghost and I don't expect to get decent shots without a tripod anyway.

Again, just to let me get this straight because my technical understanding leaves me here: When I underexpose (overexpose) while shooting, I will not generate the noise and artifacts in the same manner as if I would by changing curves in post processing. The dark areas would be solid dark and the bright areas solid bright, thus making the extended dynamic range useless.

On the other hand, If I would take a single RAW shot of, say a scene with movement, I could then use the extended dynamic range of the Nikon to create copies of that picture on different exposures with less noise, resp. noise-free in between the extra 2 exposure steps the Nikon offers. This is probably over-simplified, but am I getting it somewhat right?

Thanks again, the patience is appreciated.
[/i]


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2011 5:35 pm 
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Not German, although I was recently over there for work recently...

For multi-shots I'd definitely prefer a tripod, as alignment is never fun to do. So you could manually bracket, or as Mr Moose suggests try the Magic Lantern firmware add-on to get more features.

As for the possible dynamic range advantage of the Nikon over Canon, in theory it could help. In practice... I don't know how much difference it would really make. I don't know if anyone has done a side by side comparison of real like for like results, as that's what you'd really need. Also note the extra dynamic range is only present at lowest ISO settings. Up even a couple notches and the advantage is gone.

_________________
Canon DSLRs: 7D, 5D2, 1D, 600D, 450D full spectrum, 300D IR mod
Lenses: EF 35/2, 50/1.8, 85/1.8, 135/2+SF, 28-80 V, 70-300L, 100-400L, TS-E 24/3.5L, MP-E 65, EF-S 15-85 IS
3rd party: Zeiss 2/50 makro, Samyang 8mm fisheye, Sigma 150 macro, 120-300 f/2.8 OS, Celestron 1325/13
Tinies: Sony HX9V.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2011 6:10 pm 
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UTknown wrote:
(you dont happen to be german by any chance?),
Grüße aus dem schönen Speyer in der Pfalz! :lol:


UTknown wrote:
Isn't auto bracketing a newbie / convenience function anway? I might as well take like 6 shots and move the exposure each time or simply bracket by changing shutter speed in steps.

But you still have to touch the camera and it *might* move a bit. Also depends on your tripod's quality.


But as it was said: Yes, the Nikon might have the edge. A slightly bigger sensor and a newer generation.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2011 6:44 pm 
Grüße zurück aus dem wunderschönen Aachen ^_^

Thanks everyone for the help, I could finally settle with the Nikon. Allthough I do expect something out of the superior DR, the main reason is the build quality. Today I managed to get my mitts on another 600D. Although I do like layout a lot it just looks and feels so cheap! A store clerk told me that they had 4 show models, and on each of them the plastic facings covering the screws where coming down, simply due to people touching the case. I consider 600+ Euros a little too much for this kind of quality but I may be spoiled.

Anyway, thanks again.


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