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PostPosted: Sun Sep 24, 2006 7:17 pm 
I've repeated this question on other manufacturer's forums, I apologize for the repeat, but I was hoping to get different POV's...
I realize you have basically discussed this before, but I am still totally unable to decide upon one of the 3 cameras. This will be my first venture into the DSLR world, and I feel I have read so many reviews I am beginning to see double. I have always been a Sony camera gal, and so I find a level of comfort there, but am perfectly willing to stray from the familiar and try my hand at something new. Here are my proposed choices:
I would buy the Sony with the lens kit, intending to purchase other lenses as I see fit over time. I would buy the Canon body with the EFS 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS lens as a general all purpose first lens, though eventually I plan on selecting macro lenses for either choice of camera, not to mention some finer zoom lenses. For the D80, I would purchase the body and the 18-200DX VR lens as a starter lens. I should also say that I do have small hands and am not a particularly large person in general, so while I like to imagine a hefty weight around my neck would be of no consequence, I inwardly fear I might suffer from neck strain should I be toting the D80 and large lens around through some thick, hilly woods or some bumpy lava field.
So, are there really huge advantages with one or the other? I can't seem to find one (or two) isolated thing that jumps out and grabs my attention and says, hey, you have no alternative but to buy this particular camera.
Perhaps you could help me finalize my decision. I feel so fickle, just when I think I've chosen one, I second guess this semi-decision and question whether maybe the other choice would be better for me. This goes on and on, and now I am quite ready to settle down and commit myself to one great camera.. but whew! What an exhausting process!
Thanks for the great forums, they are great fun to read and quite helpful.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 25, 2006 6:34 am 
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Hi Avesong, welcome to the Cameralabs forums!

I'm replying to both your postings here...

You're asked the same question many people are pondering right now. Canon, Nikon and Sony all have great new 10 mpixel DSLRs, but which is the best one to get?

Each has its pros and cons...

The Canon is the smallest and lightest, which depending on your viewpoint can be both a pro and a con. It's also working out the cheapest of the three and there's no denying its excellent image quality, especially at high sensitivities. There's additionally a wide range of lenses to choose from, and you're certainly thinking the right way, upgrading to the far superior image stabilised 17-85mm, as the 18-55mm kit lens is the 400D / XTi's weak point.

The Nikon arguably has the best design and build quality of the three, and some very powerful features especially in terms of flash control. The viewfinder is excellent, and its secondary status screen preferred by those who shoot under very bright conditions. It is pricier though, and if you won't exploit its features, I reckon it's better to buy the Canon or Sony and spend the extra on accessories - or a short trip! I should also mention while the new 18-135mm offers a great range, it does not feature Vibration Reduction. If you want an anti-shake Nikkor, you'll need to splash out on something like the 18-200mm VR.

The Sony is a great all-rounder and of course has the built-in anti-shake in its favour. By the time you add an optically stabilised lens to the Canon or Nikon, you're spending much more, so if you want anti-shake at the best price, the Sony's the way to go. The Sony kit lens is also pretty good.

While some of these characteristics will undoubtedly sway your decision, there's no substitute for actually picking up all three in a store and seeing which looks and feels best to you. Which one fits your hands best and feel most comfortable? How about the weight - and remember to try it with the lens you have in mind. And it's not shallow to also consider the sound of the shutter or the camera's looks too.

Trying to weigh up varying specs and prices can get you some or most of the way, but I genuinely believe your decision will be easy once you've personally picked-up all three in the flesh. Please let me reassure you though that whichever you (or anyone else) chooses, you'll end up with a superb camera which is capable of taking fantastic looking pictures!

Do let us know how you get on, and if anyone else has already made their decision, please tell us what swayed it for you - and of course if you're still happy with your choice.

Also check back at Cameralabs soon as we'll have more advice concerning this very subject.

Gordon


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 Post subject: Thanks for the reply!
PostPosted: Mon Sep 25, 2006 1:15 pm 
This is an amazing website, and in the few days since I first discovered Camera Labs, I have already referred many people to use this great resource.

I have had a many opportunities to handle each camera, with a variety of different lenses and in spite of the weight, I keep coming back to the Nikon D80. All reviews, including yours, seem to give it the edge over the competition, and I believe I could probably feel satisfied enough with the D80 that I likely wouldn't seek any upgrade for some time. True, I would feel compelled to use it for all its worth, and I know it would be a learning curve that would take time and a lot of experimentation, not to mention reading the manual over and over again.

Who knows, this might be my first DSLR as well as my last...if it's that good.

Thanks again for the response, it was really helpful in pushing me to the point of finalizing my decision.

I'll let you know how it goes once I get the camera (body only), which I will purchase with the Nikkor AF-S DX VR 18-200 lens as a starter. Hopefully, if I keep this lens on most of the time, dust will not be much of an issue.
Can't wait!


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 06, 2006 7:03 am 
Hi Avesong, judging by your other messages, you sound smitten with the D80! I'd say if you've picked up all three but keep going back to (or thinking about) the D80, then it's definitely the one for you.

You might be tempted by the cheaper price or greater availability of another model, but from what you've said so far, I think deep down you want the D80 and long term would be disappointed if you went for anything else.

This kind of gut feeling is invaluable! I always find if I can't make my mind up about buying something, just leave the shop. If I still really want it the next day, buy it! If I find myself panicking in the evening that it'll somehow sell out by the time I get back the next day, then even better - I KNOW I've made the right choice and would be happy to wait for restock if necessary.

So if I were you I'd buy the D80 - and you're right, the best all-round lens upgrade for it right now seems to be the Nikkor 18-200.

I've heard from other Nikon owners though that this lens is always out of stock. I wouldn't let that put you off buying the body now though and getting to know it - and you won't need 200mm for your New England fall shots!

But if you're thinking of buying the 18-200 sooner rather than later, it might be best to buy your D80 with the cheapest kit lens just to get you started - I assume that's the 18-55mm. And don't be tempted by the 18-135 kit! Hold out for the 18-200 with VR!

Anyway, I've rambled long enough! I just wanted to say go with your gut feeling - and I reckon for you that's the D80!

Ferg


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 Post subject: Thanks again, FergUK
PostPosted: Fri Oct 06, 2006 8:47 pm 
Please, no ned to apologize for the rambling, I am the queen of rambling myself! You were dead on, my gut, along with every possible review, tells me not to settle, in the long and short run for I would only regret getting a camera that is my second or third choice. I believe the Canon 400 would really be my second.
Question: Do you think that if I were to purchase the Nikon with the 18-135 kit, that lens would become less than redundant, and even perhaps completely useless once I located and purchased the 18-200? I can get that kit locally, and there are advantages to buying local, even if it's costlier than buying from one of those sleezy New York camera stores online...it's just that I really have no way of knowing when that lens will actually be able to be obtained. I can never tell who is being honest, or what dealer is trying to lure me into their online web of unavailable cameras.
I am so excited to learn how to use the Nikon D80, I even had a dream the other night that I was about to go out and photograph some migrating snow geese, but then my buzzer went off. Sigh...
See, I told you I tend to ramble. I like to think of it as exhuberance and enthusiasm. Now that's putting a positive spin on it.
Thanks again for the advice. Will let you know when I have the camera and how it goes. Or perhaps you might hear a loud whoop and holler across the sea, that might be me when it finally ends up in my hands!


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 07, 2006 9:45 pm 
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Hello Avesong, the 18-135mm will definitely become redundant if you buy the 18-200. That said, I reckon you'd be able to sell it quite easily on ebay once you managed to track down the elusive 18-200mm.

Ferg's got a point though - if you may only use this first lens for a very short period until the 18-200 arrives, it would seem sensibe to either not spend too much on it (ie go for the 18-55), or buy something which will be complimentary to the 18-200mm.

For example, you may wish to consider the DX 12-24mm which would give you ultra wide to wide angle. It's a bit of a mad lens for general purpose use, but if you're into landscapes or architecture it could actually work out quite well.

Gordon


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 Post subject: Nikon D80 lens advice
PostPosted: Sat Oct 07, 2006 11:28 pm 
Thanks for the advice, Gordon, I will look into that lens, it seems I should definitely forego purchasing the 18-135 since I would not use it once I receive the 18-200. Could you possibly suggest a lens might that be preferable for close-ups and/or portrait-type photography, especially with natural lighting? I know there are lenses that are strictly macro, but I would like to know if there is something that would offer a slightly wider range of use than just macro-photography, yet still serve well enough to shoot small insects on a flower for example, bur not necessarilly to get a close-up of the hairs on the leg of a fly.
Again, I can't begin to tell you how great this website is, you all offer a tremendous service!


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 11, 2006 8:39 am 
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Hi Avesong, this one's for you! (and anyone else currently wondering which 10 Megapixel DSLR is right for them!)

We've just published a group test highlighting the differences between the Canon 400D / XTi, Nikon D80 and Sony A100 here:

http://www.cameralabs.com/features/10Me ... DSLR_test/

Hope you find it useful!

Gordon


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 Post subject: It's done!
PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2006 1:25 pm 
Thanks again, Gordon, well, I can stop my search, though my education and experimentation has now just begun. Two days ago I walked into a local Best Buy, and for some reason, unbeknownst to even the store computerized inventory, they had tucked into the back of a locked cabinet, behind some other rarely looked at lenses, a brand new Nikkor 18-200mm VR DX lens. The store clerk was not even familiar with this lens, but remembered having seen it there a few days before. Armed with a 12% off coupon, I immediately purchased this rare find for $790USD. Later that day, I walked into a Ritz camera store and purchased the body, and then a B+W UV filter from yet another store.

I have allowed myself a day to stop shaking (from excitement) before I attempt to handle this dream-come-true, so I can not report any results, but have charged the battery and begun reading up on the features and functions.

And last night I found that I owned a Quantaray 70-300 1:4-5.6 LDO(?) macro AF lens that I may have used once or twice years ago with a Nikon F80, along with a Tamron 28-105 1:4-5.6...stashed in a box in a closet. Will have them inspected for any mildew. Whew!

I was hoping to purchase a second El-En3e battery, but with all of the Sony recalls, there are none available for now.

I thank you all for steering me in what I know was the right direction for my needs and interests. And now my journey begins!


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2006 1:51 pm 
Bravo, Gordon, brilliant job at reporting the results of your 10 mp DSLR tests. The clarity of your explanations far exceeds any other of the reviews I've come across, and I have spent endless hours recently looking up every possible review I could find online and in magazines.

Plus the video tour was fantastic. It was like having someone in my home demonstrating the details of each camera.

It also convinced me even more that my decision to purchase the D80 was right for me.

Gracias, Merci, Danke.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2006 8:56 pm 
Avesong, excellent news on your camera/lens purchase. I'm really looking forward to hearing your feedback on the D80 and 18-200mm VR ... and possibly a photo or two of the New England fall?

Gordon, Wow! Awesome 400D / D80 / A100 group test. 8) It's so good to see side by side comparisons of the sort of cameras we're all thinking of buying and guiding us through the pros/cons and highlighting the differences. Excellent video feature too - you're obviously a natural in front of the camera.

all I need now is a feature on wildlife photography lenses ... :wink:


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 14, 2006 8:55 pm 
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Hi Avesong, that's great news you bagged yourself a D80 and 18-200mm! I hope you're having fun with them this weekend - and don't forget if you ever get bogged ploughing through the manual, just stick it on P or green Auto and you'll get some great results.

Glad you enjoyed the video tour too!

Gordon


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 14, 2006 9:01 pm 
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Hi Hikergal, I'm glad you found the group test useful and enjoyed the video!

When you're reading detailed reviews of single products, it can sometimes be hard to work out where one could be better (or worse) than another, so I hope the group test highlighted the key areas where each product outperformed the others.

Have you decided which one you're going for yet?!

Gordon


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 05, 2006 11:16 pm 
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have heard about some availability probs of the 18-200mm.
Any news on production problems/limits?
Or what is causing this?

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Thomas (beware: Nikon-fanboy and moderator!) My Lens Reviews, My Pictures, My Photography Blog
D800+assorted lenses


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 06, 2006 1:07 am 
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Hi Tombomba, yes, there appear to be shortages of the Nikkor 18-200mm all around the world, but I don't know why.

Nikon would say it's due to high demand. Whatever the reason, it's very frustrating for anyone who's decided this len is right for them.

Gordon


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