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cameras for photography students

cameras for photography students
Nikon D40x or Canon EOS 40D?

I'm planning on buying a camera for student photography. Typically I would be taking pictures of action/ sports. Which camera do you think is a better product? In terms of friendliness? Quality? Price? Function?

Since you can't possibly be asking a question to compare such vastly different cameras, I will guess that you really meant to ask about the 400D.

You can go here to see a review. http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/nikond40x/ The last page takes you to some sample images. See: http://www.popphoto.com/cameras/3896/camera-test-nikon-d40x.html for a glowing review that even compares it with the XTi just a little bit.

Open a copy of Internet Explorer (or the browser of your choice) and go to http://www.dpreview.com/gallery/nikond40x_samples/ Open another copy and go to http://www.dpreview.com/gallery/canoneos400d_samples/ You can then scroll along the top and try to find some similar images to compare. Click on the file name below the image and you will get a new window that shows the image full-sized. Once it loads it will shrink to fit your screen, but you can click on the image to zoom to full-size. Hit [TAB]+[ALT] to toggle back and forth between the images and pick out hte differences. You can easily spend an hour doing this, but you are talkin gabout the best way to spend $1,000 for a camera and I think it is well worth your time.

These two are very similar as far as the subject, ISO, lens and other values:
Canon: http://dpreview-img.fotki.com/gallery/canoneos400d_samples/originals/img_0006.jpg
Nikon: http://dpreview-img.fotki.com/gallery/nikond40x_samples/originals/dsc_0199.jpg
I don't know what's up with the focus in the Canon sample, but try to overlook that as it's the photographer's decision where to focus.

The Canon might win in this next pair, but it's processed from a RAW image, so it's hard to compare.
Canon: http://dpreview-img.fotki.com/gallery/canoneos400d_samples/originals/img_1206-raw-acr.jpg
Nikon: http://dpreview-img.fotki.com/gallery/nikond40x_samples/originals/dsc_0229.jpg

Canon: http://dpreview-img.fotki.com/gallery/canoneos400d_samples/originals/img_1201.jpg
Nikon: http://dpreview-img.fotki.com/gallery/nikond40x_samples/originals/dsc_0279-raw-acr.jpg

You get the idea. There are not too many that actually match up for comparison.

See this page for a side-by-side comparison:

See this page for some controled side-by-side studio tests with jpeg images:
and read the comments at the end of the page.

Here are some studio tests with RAW images that you can click to enlrage, just as before:

Here are some studio ISO comparisons:

The long and short of it is that Phil Askey at dpreview.com tested both cameras and called it a draw in image quality except high ISO sensitivity, where the Canon takes the slight edge. The Nikon was termed "quicker and more comfortable to use."

I still like the idea that the Nikon has a spot meter and find it odd that the Canon doesn't. The Nikon is a bit limited in autofocus capabilities and speed compared to the Canon, though.

Here are some pertinent quotes about the D40X:

"Noise suppression was generally better than the D80's and much better than the Rebel's. As ISOs increased, the D40x's resolution exceeded that of the Rebel."

"The economy-model status of the D40x doesn't show in picture quality, either. At ISO 100, the D40x turned in an average resolution of 2075 lines, slightly behind the Nikon D80 and Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi."

Continue on down on page 2 for a direct comparison to the XTi. I'll let you read it for yourself, as it seems to lean slightly towards the Canon and it would kill me to write that. I'll leave that job for Koko.

But seriously, these cameras are EXTREMELY close in performance and value. It is true that there is a "problem" with older Nikon lenses not autofocusing on the D40, but if you do not own a bag full of older lenses, it is not going to be a problem. I hate to see people slam the camera because it can't autofocus with older Nikon lenses. It is true that there is a "slight problem" with older Nikon lenses not autofocusing on the D40, but if you do not own a bag full of older lenses, it is not going to be a problem. It is barely a problem anyhow. If you check www.nikonusa.com for "AF-S" lenses, which are ALL 100% compatible with the D40, you will find 23 lenses, including 7 "VR" (vibration Reduction) lenses and one true macro lens with "VR". There are another 25-plus lenses in the current catalog that provide all functions except autofocus as well as many (possibly dozens) "out of print" lenses that will work just as well. In addition, although these lens will not autofocus, most of them will still give focus confirmation. From the D40 manual: "If the lens has a maximum aperture of f/5.6 of faster, the viewfinder focus indicator can be used to confirm whether the portion of the subject in the selected focus area is in focus. After positioning the subject in the active focus area, press the shutter release button halfway and rotate the lens focusing ring until the in-focus indicator is displayed." (See http://www.members.aol.com/swf08302/nikonafs.txt for a list of AF-S lenses.)

You need to go to a real camera store and pick up both cameras and see how they feel to you. Some people will love the Canon and some will love the Nikon. Find out which one you are. You will be happy with either one, but you will be happiest with the one that fits your hands better.

See also:


B&H Prices, April 2007

Nikon D40x, 10.2 Megapixel, SLR, Digital Camera Kit with Nikon 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G ED II AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor Lens - $800

Nikon D40x, 10.2 Megapixel, SLR, Digital Camera Kit with Nikon 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6G ED-IF AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor Lens - $1,030

Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi (a.k.a. 400D) 10.1 Megapixel, SLR, Digital Camera Kit (Silver) with Canon 18-55mm EF-S Lens - $770

Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi (a.k.a. 400D) 10.1 Megapixel, SLR, Digital Camera Body (Black) with Canon EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM Autofocus Lens - $1,180

Digital Photography in the Hands of Our Students

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