I have been looking at the Nikon D90 DSLR camera and really like it but then stumbled upon the Sony alpha 550L or 500L.
Which is better??
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There is no definitive "better" with these things: they get obsoleted a year after introduction, and every one of them has a horrifying track record of bugs and disappointed users. The decision depends on YOU: how often do you expect to use a DSLR, what kind of pictures do you mostly take, do you have any lenses already from a specific brand, etc.
Sony makes decent DSLRs but they don't sell worth a damn in North America because idiot Sony insists on using the Sony brand name when they should have left well enough alone after buying Minolta: they just threw away all those years of Minolta brand equity. Sonys advantage lies in their top 850 and 900 models, which can give extraordinary results at a significant savings over similar Nikon and Canon models. Below the 850, Sony DSLRs are very "me too" with tiny viewfinders and nothing special. Unless you really prefer the handling feel of the Sony 500 or 550, you're probably better off with a Nikon or Canon.
The Nikon D90 hits a real swwet spot in the Nikon line, its very close in performance to the "pro" D300s but half the price. Good color, excellent in-camera jpegs, large clear viewfinder. But production quality varies considerably and some people have gotten stuck with really defective examples: if you choose a D90 (or any DSLR), buy it from a store with a liberal return policy and test it thoroughly. The D90 is also expensive overkill for the average photographer who doesn't live and breathe to make photos: most casual users would be better served by the less expensive D5000. The D5000 is pug ugly, not nearly as glamorous as the D90, but performs almost as well, is much more reliable, and hundreds of dollars cheaper. The 18-55 kit lens for the D5000 is universally acknowledged as the best kit lens sold with any DSLR, very sharp.
Canon is another option, its the most popular brand but also the most fussy to operate and not the most comfortable to hold. Try one for yourself and see if it feels better for you. The Canon budget lenses are not as good as Nikons but they aren't bad, and Canons can use tons of interesting non-Canon (even old Nikon!) lenses if you buy a cheap adapter. Canon is also ahead in video capability: if you expect to do a lot of video work, Canon might be better for you than Nikon.
And if you don't absolutely need the eye-level optical viewfinder, consider the very compact Panasonic GF-1, an excellent "off the beaten path" choice. Many "pros" love the Panasonic.
There is a better here.
Nikon is a glass company that also makes cameras. They've been making cameras for about 50-60 years now, and are known for it. Nikon takes care of its customers.
Sony is an electronics/entertainment company that makes whatever it thinks will make it money. Anything that doesn't make big bucks gets canned. They go through tech and products like babies go through diapers -- often with similar stink. I like Sony for some products, like TV sets and DVD burners. But for cameras -- specifically SLR cameras? No way. Sony bought out Minolta for its assets, as they had some interesting technologies (shutters, optics). While Sony has done some nice things with the acquisition, it's for another reason. Sony makes the excellent low-noise sensors used by Nikon. Nikon arguably makes better use of these sensors. However, because Sony already owns the sensor (one of the most expensive pieces of a DSLR), they went ahead and made them into cameras to compete in the marketplace. Dollar for dollar, you can make some excellent points pitting Sony v Canon, or Sony v Nikon. But in the long run, you're really kind of gambling that Sony doesn't lose interest as they typically do with other techs they've owned. There is also not as much third-party lens support as with Nikon (or Canon).
This conversation is usually Canon v Nikon.
I've been shooting Nikon gear for 15 years now. I highly suggest Nikon bodies and Nikkor lenses.
Forum member hech54 has a Nikon D90 and loves it. We've PM'd about it. I shoot a D200 and sometimes D3. I'm wanting a D3s by next fall, but unclear on funding. (Original plan was this fall, but finances too shaky.) I borrow a Canon 5D sometimes, too.
Low-end Rebel series Canon SLRs are plastic crap. Nikon and Sony are at least built better in that regard. Even the D40 is built better.
Sony's "comes with the camera" lenses were better than Nikon or Canon last I looked, but I would NEVER buy a camera body/system based off the $100 throw-in lens they give away. That's just stupid. I've seen a half dozen Canon came-with-camera lenses literally fall apart, complete garbage.
The more you spend, the bigger the camera. For women, it gets to heavy (wah!). For men, it finally fits in our hands without having to make a monkey claw to operate it. (Stupid tiny SLRs made for dainty little female hands.) I'd much rather hold a D200 with grip for 3 hours than a D5000.
DO NOT BUY FROM RANDOM ONLINE STORES! Only shop from a reputable store:
* Adorama - http://www.adorama.com/?kbid=64179
* Amazon - http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2F...reative=390957
* B&H Photo and Video - http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/browse/Photography/ci/989/N/4294538916/BI/3167/KBID/4166
* OneCall - http://www.onecall.com/ProductSearch.aspx?N=17&evar5=HPSP3&BCPID=4810
There are many scam operations out there, mostly in NY and NJ, that promise low prices but give you un-warrantied, used, incomplete gear. You'll get screwed.
Adorama and B&H are long-time respected camera shops. Amazon you're surely familiar with. OneCall is an elite electronics store that has the added benefit of a 1-year financing plan on their store credit card, but with prices still not too far away from B&H/Amazon (unlike J&R and Crutchfield, who are more like Best Buy pricing).
Stores like Best Buy or Wolf Camera -- anywhere you can walk into -- tend to upcharge about 20% compared to the known online stores (which were catalog stores LONG before the Internet was used for e-commerce). That 20% can be steep on a body, especially after tax is added. So you're looking at more like 25-30% higher cost in local store, including taxes.
Anyway, buy the Nikon.
Yes I have been leaning strongly towards the D90, but have wondered if the D5000 is up to snuff. I was just casually looking at the Sony's. I hate the Cannon's. The Nikon is user friendly if you ask me. I was planning on just buying the body, then finding a 18-135 Lens and use it for everything I need. Thanks for the info on Sony.
Get the D90. Have you heard about the "My Menu" function on the D90?
I would NEVER buy a camera body/system based off the $100 throw-in lens they give away. That's just stupid.
I'd much rather hold a D200 with grip for 3 hours than a D5000.
Cameras are a very personal and subjective thing, now more than ever with digital jacking prices far beyond what we used to pay for film cameras. And don't forget depreciation: if you are a hobbyist, not using the thing every day to justify its pricetag, a DSLR can be a terrible waste of money if you buy beyond your actual needs. Most people don't "need" a D90, they want it because its the hot camera. Its very nice, and makes a great backup to a D300, but its expensive and will not hold its value at the same ratio as the D5000. Go to store like Best Buy that has both on display, where the salespeople are oblivious and won't bother you for half an hour. Examine both closely for control placement, grip feel and viewfinder. THEN check prices at the reputable dealers LordSmurf recommended, or your local dealer if theres one you trust. Keep one eye on the photo press and the other on sale notices: depending on the rumor mill and how nervous stores are about being overstocked, sometimes the D5000 is much cheaper than a D90 but other times they seem on the verge of liquidating the D90 and its price drops for a week or two. Jump on the rollercoaster when you can snag the best price at your preferred vendor.
I've been a Nikon user since my first F2 in 1979, love 'em to death, wouldn't use anything else, BUT:
Beware of boosterism for any brand. Since the digital revolution, not one of these companies can be relied on worth sh*t for quality control or reasonable repair experience. Neither Canon or Nikon was prepared to transform overnight from electromechanics to full-bore electronics. They have little control over their most important parts. If you get a "bum" camera, and you aren't a pro, it can take weeks or months to get a satisfactory warranty repair and you will not be compensated for your lost time. Its a bizarro world: the newer the camera, the harder it is to get it repaired, because the mfrs themselves don't have a clue until time passes. Nikon and Canon alternate month to month for the title of "who's more difficult to deal with", although I can tell you Nikon will give you major migraines if you're unlucky enough to buy a lemon. The cutoff with Nikon seems to be the D90: everything they make below that is bulletproof, everything D90 and up has had quality control issues that Nikon stonewalled on. The D300, D700 and D3 are finally in stable production, as they should be at their price level, but the D90 is still a mess. Odds are you'd get a good one, but if you choose a D90 its imperative you buy it from a store with an "exchange for another new camera" return policy. Trust me, you do not want to go through Nikons D90 warranty repair treadmill (rent the movie "Brazil" for a taste of what that's like). Much better if you can return it to the store for another sample.
Last edited by orsetto; 5th Aug 2010 at 12:38.
DSLR owners need to quit treating SLRs like they're point-and-shoots on steroids. Those are the people who take pictures -- not photographs. The beauty of separate lens and body is the ability to expand lenses to create better images.
I don't know what film cameras you were using, but my Nikon F5 was $2500.
Indeed, be careful what you read out there. I see posts on various sites from people claiming to be pros, but they fail to grasp even basic concepts. Real pros know they're full of crap, but amateurs sadly don't know any better. Unless you get a steady paycheck of 3-4 digits (minimum) on a recurring basis, for photo work, you're not a pro.
I get especially irritated by people who run a discount-price service (which screws the market up), yet don't know basic concepts. I read something today where a "pro" said you have to shoot raw to use all the megapixels. (Dumbass!)
Yes, most buyers of DSLRs use them as point-and-shoots, THATS why I get annoyed with elitist comments about kit lenses. Unless the questioner specifically says they plan on buying the AFS 35 f/1.8 etc., its safe to assume they will buy a zoom, and that will end their lens explorations. If thats the case, Nikon and Sony have better glass in that arena. Most D90s are sold with the 18-105, which isn't as good as the 18-55, and neither are as good as the D90 sensor, so there you go. For average use the D5000 is less likely to blow up in your hands, and if you're just gonna use a kit zoom why bother with the D90. If you have plans to pick and choose your own glass, then the D90 becomes a great body-only option.
My comments about depreciation of film bodies vs digital hinges on their slower obsolescence, not price, and once again LS you must be a Goliath because I have yet to meet a pro who didn't loathe the humongous F5: that form factor wasn't embraced until it was forced with the D1, D2 and D3. Many a photographer used their F3, F4, or FM2 film bodies for 20 years without thinking twice, today you're a fool if you don't factor the value drop of any DSLR 18 months down the road. Its silly to buy over your head unless you'll use the hell out of the camera, for personal imagery or paid work. We do seem to be finally hitting a technology wall, the pathological upgrade cycle should be slowing over the next five years, but right now its still an issue to consider unless you have money to throw away. Lotsa people with the D90 could have been as happy with a D5000, many D300 owners are sorry they didn't opt for the D90, and tons of D3 toters would've been fine with a D700. Especially at the highest end, $500-1000 may only buy a faster buffer and marginally quicker AF performance: could be life and death to a pro, but worthless to "advanced amateur".
The best investment in digital is glass. You want to see a bunch of miserable photographers, talk to the ones who just blew 20 large on a Phase or Leaf back only to see Pentax finally drop the $9000 integrated 645D on the MF market.
Last edited by orsetto; 5th Aug 2010 at 16:54.
I really like the weight of the camera body. It acts as a counter-balance to your arms being away from your body (with elbows tucked), and helps in getting steadier shots. I'll get a bit of back pain after holding the D200+grip, F5 or D3 (plus the 80-200 AF-S) for more than 3 hours straight. By the end of a baseball game, long football game or tournament day, I'm beat and have to recover with some back exercises or a good nap in a Tempurpedic bed. You have to also remember I shoot a lot of verticals, especially in basketball, track/field events and volleyball. The biggest issue on the F5/D1/D2/D3 form factor is the rubber -- it slips off after a few years, and costs $75 to fix. You can't use superglue on it, either, because it has to be removable for servicing, cleaning and custom modding.
The D300 doesn't shoot as well as the D200 in daylight. It's hot and yellow, just like the D3. The high ISO on D300 isn't really all that much better than D200 that I've seen either. D3 is another story, of course. D300 just doesn't take good shots witgout twiddling settings and compensations. D200 is spot-on, every time. Even the LCD doesn't lie, which is unusual for an SLR.
I've read about D90 quirks, but I've not found them widespread. I didn't care for the video mode at all, but that's just me.
I'd agree about D700 being just as good as D3. I'd add a grip, of course. But what I'd like is a D700s that compacts the D3s. By the time I can buy the D3s, maybe such a beast will exist? I can only hope.
I don't consider resell costs into bodies. I keep them until broken. I still have my D1, which I'll be converting to an IR body here by end of year. I set aside $250 for it some months ago. I want to do some winter IR shooting. I buy the body I know I want for a long, long time.
If you want to get detailed info try dpreview.com - great camera site. You can compare photos taken with different cameras under constant conditions. That's the place to go for cameras as this is the place to go for video. Try: http://www.dpreview.com/previews/panasonicdmcfz100/ for camera comparisions. Though they are compared to the Panny FZ100, you can select three other cameras to compare amongest themselves.
Basically, I want a Camera that takes fast, non-blurry pictures even in low lighting. What is the basic difference between the D90 and the D5000?? Other than price??
You have to use the AF-S/G f/1.4 50mm version for G mounts.
Costs $500, though.
I want a Camera that takes fast, non-blurry pictures even in low lighting.
The d90 and the d5000 are both limited to a maximum of ISO 6400. The "18-135 Lens" you mentioned is f/3.5-5.6. Even if you zoomed all the way out, f/3.5 at 6400 won't get you to "fast, non-blurry pictures...in low lighting".
As hech54 mentioned, the standard "everybody's got one" solution would be to get an additional "Nikon Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D AF Nikkor" prime lens ($120), but since the d5000 appears to only autofocus with af-s lenses, you would lose autofocus with that lens on the d5000. The d90 would, however, work fine with that lens. The difference in lens price to get to f/1.8 (with the d5000) would more than offset the price difference between the d90 and the d5000. The result is that if an important consideration is low light performance, you're better off with the d90.
By the way, that f/1.8 lens may be cheap, but it sure isn't crap...on the contrary, it's one heck of a lens, which is why "everybody's got one".
Of course, that isn't as far as you can go...but it is a cost-effective barrier. To push the envelope requires much more than the $120 for f/1.8. For a few hundred dollars more, you can get down to f/1.4, and for a couple hundred more than the f/1.4 lens, you can get a f/1.2 lens.
A quick additional lighting-related note would be that the built-in flash on the d5000 doesn't appear to have "commander" mode available, so if you intend to make use of the Nikon "Creative Lighting System", you want the d90 (not the d5000).
Non-lighting related observations:
Both the d90 and the d5000 have programmable, aperature priority, shutter priority, and manual modes. They also have other modes, but that's all you really need.
The d90 uses en-el3e batteries, while the d5000 uses less-capacity en-el9(a) batteries.
Regarding low light, the 50mm f/1.8 demon got exorcised a year ago already. Yes, the D5000 and lower Nikons do not have the extra mechanical AF motor necessary to autofocus the older outdated lenses like the 50/1.8, and this was a big deal for a lot of potential buyers for a long time who were forced into the D90 if they wanted those lenses. BUT: Nikon did finally wake the hell up and smell the coffee, last year they brought out a high-performance 35mm f/1.8 AFS-G lens that mates perfectly with all Nikons. For general use on small-sensor cameras like the D5000 or D90, a 35mm is far preferable to a 50mm (the angle of view for the 35mm is "normal", the 50mm gives a mild telephoto/portrait angle thats a pain when you're in tight interior spaces). The 35mm f/1.8 AFS-G is probably the best price/performance lens Nikon ever sold, its very affordable (usually under $200) now that the crazed early adopters who created shortages have backed off. If you're on a tight budget, the money saved by opting for a D5000 over a D90 will more than pay for the fast 35mm lens. I would certainly agree with hech54 that for low light a fast lens aces higher ISO (at least in todays market where even the midrange D5000 has respectable ISO 800 performance).
To LS: interesting your opinion re color quality of the D200 vs D300, I've heard other people say the same. I opted for the D300 because I got a good closeout price when it got replaced by the D300s. I've always wanted to try the final Fuji S5 DSLR, which was based on the Nikon D200 but with an odd Fuji sensor design that supposedly yields incredible color. I shied away after several dealers warned me that the "amazing Fuji color" doesn't come alive until the photographer develops mad skills at learning its quirks. Maybe I'll pick up a used one someday.
Last edited by orsetto; 7th Aug 2010 at 12:34.
Hi jbitakis, welcome to the world of never ending camera trade-in. What I mean is with digital the camera is the medium, you want to improve your pictures you need to buy a new camera; with film you just get a different emulsion. I know you can do a lot with post processing and that's not what I'm talking about. A good example; some companies have recently put out cameras that do a great job addressing digitals greatest flaw, dynamic range. Like the Pentax K7 that takes 3 shots with different exposure and merges them in the camera. This is new and pretty limited(ing too), but I'm sure eventually someone will come out with a way to do the same in one exposure, or something. And there you go, I'd be looking to replace my camera twice.
When it comes to choosing a brand/model, it's as much a question of taste and economics. But as was mentionned above, If you already own a lense system, your choice is set. The money is in the lenses, but only if they're quality lenses; the kit lenses that came with a previous consumer camera probably aren't any better than the one you'd get today (What's with all those 4-5.6 lenses, ok they're tiny and light, but so slow). This is the reason some companies like Canon went and changed their lense mount, it forced buying a new lense kit. This was a good move on their parts, at the time many were on the verge of bankruptcy. Canon rebounded nicely and is now the #1 according to their financials and just looking at what's being carried around people' necks. Pentax kept the same mount all along and ended up getting bought by Hoya and they're still shacky.
I for one absolutely HATED my 50mm 1.8 - it was useless to me. My 85mm f2 AIS is soon to be replaced with the 85mm 1.8 AF...and the new 35mm AF-S if I can afford it.
While it seems that everyone around here is in the Nikon camp, I am quite fond of my, as lordsmurf hilariously puts it, 'Low-end plastic crap Rebel' which is named EOS450D around here.
Must have a few fans as it was voted DSLR of the year in several journals. And with a £500 price tag for the body plus 18-55 lens it is not that cheap either.
But it does what I want it to do. And coupled with 50 mm + 75-300 lenses from an earlier Canon I am quite happy.
The 35mm F/1.8 AFS-G. Does it autofocus with the D5000??
I did take a look at the 35mm lens you mentioned, as reviewed by Ken Rockwell (here), which includes a demo picture of his daughter taken with the lens. I also google-imaged the lens, and it does seem like an excellent lens.
It's still not a lens I would advise buying at this point in time, though. While it does provides an alternate option to the 50mm lens on dx cameras (like the d90 and d5000), if the user later upgrades to an fx camera, or at the point (in the future) where dx sensors are replaced by fx sensors in lower cost cameras, that dx lens isn't going to be of much use. It may "mate perfectly with all Nikons" in a physical sense, but probably doesn't mate very well at all with a fx camera in a practical usage sense.
As an example, when I first got a d700, I tried using the "AF-S Nikkor 18-200mm 1:3.5-5.6 G ED" I was very fond of using on a d200 onto the new camera. Yes, it connected fine, did function, and the d700 even recognized (and adusted for) the dx lens, but the resulting photos were not acceptable (at least by my standards). It seems (to me, anyway) that coupling dx lenses with fx sensors is another example of "Just because you can do something doesn't mean you should do it". In contrast, the 50mm f/1.8 lens I recommended earlier to jbitakis works extremely well with either the d200 or the d700.
On the other hand...
Originally Posted by hech54
As far as the focal length of prime lenses goes, I would guess it depends on the photographer. For my taste, the 50mm (75mm equivalent on dx camera) would be slightly better than the 35mm (52mm equivalent on dx camera). People (and living creatures, in general) seem more skittish the closer the camera (and photographer) is to them, and more natural the farther the camera is from them, even in a portrait situation where they're fully aware their picture is being taken. Again...it's just personal preference, but I would rather use a little longer lens than "talk them down" into a more relaxed state (so I can do my job more effectively).
You're undeniably right, though, that tight interior spaces require dropping back towards the wider angle end of the spectrum...the tighter the space, and the wider the view you're trying to capture, the more wide angle it needs to be.
Finally, I absolutely agree with both hech54 and you that high ISO is something to be avoided if possible. The problem is glass can only get you so far. When dealing with available light in the real world, there are many circumstances where the choice is only between upping the ISO, and not getting the picture. I've used the ISO 25600 available on the d700 more than once, not because I wanted to, but because I had to (even with f/1.4).
Originally Posted by jbitakis
The addition of 6400-12800 is relatively new for 35mm-style format, thanks to DSLRs. But in most cases, you don't need that ISO. While it's nice to shoot indoor basketball or nighttime football at ISO6400, f/2.8, while at shutter of 500-1000, it's not necessary. That also assumes it's a poorly lit amateur/school facility, too. You can get away with shooting images at 200-320 shutter just fine. Players don't move that fast. I would never say you "need" 6400 to shoot.
Working pros don't usually have the time or inclination to post reviews.
And with a £500 price tag for the body plus 18-55 lens it is not that cheap either.
I've always wanted to try the final Fuji S5 DSLR, which was based on the Nikon D200 but with an odd Fuji sensor design that supposedly yields incredible color. I shied away after several dealers warned me that the "amazing Fuji color" doesn't come alive until the photographer develops mad skills at learning its quirks. Maybe I'll pick up a used one someday.
The d90 uses en-el3e batteries
coupling dx lenses with fx sensors is another example of "Just because you can do something doesn't mean you should do it"
I don't mind the anti-Canon issue. Canon v Nikon has been around almost as long as Moses. Of course £500 is cheap when compared to a 5D or even a 50D. Equally, I would not dream of putting a £2000 lens on my kit even if I could afford it. Yet equally, some people, I am not suggesting anyone here, would buy 'the biz' simply because it looks good even if they do not have a clue how to use it properly.
But what I fail to understand is the comment about the reviews and 'working pros'. The reviews are made in respected magazines and I would expect them to be written by people who do know what they are talking about.
I AM VERY SORRY... I AM NEW TO THIS FORUM AND KNOW NEXT TO NOTHING...CAN ANY MEMBERS GUIDE ME ASK TO WHERE I CAN START A NEW THREAD? I DON'T SEEM TO BE ABLE TO LOCATE IT..
THANK YOU VERY MUCH.
The people writing those reviews are not the same ones shooting for the pubs. That's rare, if anything.
What you often get are "reviewers" that review all kinds of things.
In many cases, being regarded as an "expert" takes nothing more than convincing an editor that you know more than he/she does, even if that's not the case. Resumes and real experience not needed. That's my complaint about sites like About.com or CNET. In many cases, the pubs have rules about reviews, which is a classic breach of ethics, but more accepted thanks to corporate ownership of media. They're more interested in ads/affiliate sales than opinions that may be brutally honest, and come down negative on the item.
Many reviews are also based on 5 minutes of use, not actual time spent on assignments with it.
Here's an exception: http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/cameras/xt-350d.shtml
The guys at LL are usually good to read. He took that camera out for an assignment, and has a whole list of flaws. While still calling it a bargain for casual shooter, he did refer to it as a throw-away body for pros. I agree. He didn't give it stars, or rate it with numbers, or any other such meaningless bullshit. I have almost the exact same complaints. But he didn't use it very long. I've been forced to put up with several Canon Rebel bodies, and they always break. I'd bet a lens that he'd have the same issue after 6-12 months of regular use.
I don't want to read a review written by a soccer mom that leaves it in "P" mode.
I don't mind the anti-Canon issue.
In fact, I plan to borrow a 5D + 70-200 2.8 in two weeks, for a day shoot.
Those "reviewers" LS mentioned are commonly referred to as "content writers". They write about cameras, diapers, strollers, cribs, bicycles, toilet paper, peanut butter, and just about everything else. But as mentioned, they only spend 5 minutes with the item because the whole point is to simply write content for websites and magazines from which they get their compensation.
Photojournalists seems using Canon more than Nikon but we rarely see them using Sony digital camera to shoot the news.