Both cameras have very good reviews and are closely priced although the D80 has dropped a little since the release of the D90, I thought the 40D may have as well, since Canon released the 50D but it still sits a few hundred NZ dollars above the D80.
I plan to use the camera for everything but may specialise in some portrait \ kids working in classrooms, having fun etc.
Looking forward to reading your thoughts, thanks
My personal opinion is like the people who buy Ford over Chevy or visa versa. Me I'm a Nikon owner for 35yrs and hopefully will be for the next 35 years. Anyway the best reviews I found can be located here. Take your time and read a lot before you make your decision - It might be with you for 35 years ...lol
Good Luck Ron
PS: I bought a D80 w/ 18-55mm when they came out and never regreted it but I did get the 18-200mm VR lens later - I should have bought it that way at the beginning
2008 WARNING: Don't buy the D80. The new D90 completely obsoletes it. If money matters, buy the almost identical D40, and if not, the D90 is a complete generation beyond the old D80. Please treat the rest of this review as an historical artifact, written in 2007.
I thought you might find this interesting!
1. Ken Rockwell is not a greatly reliable source. If you understand photography then you can read between the lines of his comments. Many of them hit the mark, some are just wrong. Just take what he says with a grain of salt and get some backup sources. At least he talks in plain english.
2. I'm not sure why VQI thought the D80 is discontinued. You can still buy it everywhere I've looked and Nikon still lists it as active on their site. He also says it came and went fast. Well it's been out for 2 years, maybe a touch more. I have the D80 and have had mine for 20+ months. The "selling" lifetime of digital equipment isn't long and 2 years is actually quite long. They usually get replaced every year to year and 1/2.
With that out of the way, now to your question. You'll get a zillion answers but many of them will/should sound basically the same. Either choice is a good one. Here is the key thing to remember. If you go back to #2, that is always going to be true. The cameras are going to be discontinued and they will get better and better. The lens however can stick around for a long, long time. So while you're picking a camera now based on features and such, you should consider that once you make a (brand) choice, you're kind of stuck with it because the lens are not interchangeable. Nikon and Canon offer different lens choice within their brand proper and that may away you one way or the other.
Normally most people say put the camera in your hands because they do feel and act different. With all the store closings, this is almost not possible anymore. As a Nikon user, I sometimes feel like an outsider due to the Canon marketing machine. When I talked to my Canon friends and told them I would consider switching, they thought I was a bit nuts because they said Nikon's are more intuitive and have their controls better placed. I didn't CHOOSE Nikon, it was handed down to me. I haven't had a Canon in my hands since the 80's. So like Ken, take that with a grain of salt.
As a Nikon D70 owner (also looking to upgrade - but really don't have the cash to burn), I had the opportunity to shoot the D70 against a Canon 10D in 2005 alongside another photographer in Kenya using comparable lenses. We both would shoot the same landscape, animals, etc. and at the end of the day would compare images. The results were, the Nikon excelled at sharpness and clarity, the canon had more vivid color - the nikon's color was not as true to life.
In my comparisons as of late (looking at Canon 40D vs Canon 50D vs Nikon D700), I would say that the Canon 40D is a lot more camera than the Nikon D80 and probably more than the D90.
Each camera manufacturer seems to excel in certain areas and have shortcomings in others. I was just shooting at the Detroit Auto Show with another photographer friend, and his biggest issue with his Canon was the user interface. One gripe was when reviewing images, the Canon doesn't remember the last image shown, instead of preserving your place in the que, you are sent to the beginning of the list. It sometimes is the little things that make the difference for a user. Unfortunately, only you can decide which features are the most important to you.
I would recommend that no matter what camera model you get, that you get high quality lenses. The standard kit lens is fine for the average consumer; however, if you want to capture indoor images utilizing natural light, then a fast lens is necessary (you will really appreciate the difference). Unfortunately, these types of lenses cost as much or even more than the camera - thus why you see most users either solely Nikon or Canon and not both. A fast lens is usually a f/2.8 or lower over the entire focal distance range.
If I had the choice of a D80 or a 40D, I would take the 40D. If it was between the Nikon D700 and a Canon 50D, I would take the D700.
I hope this helps - I am sure either camera will serve well. Best of luck.
The point of the post is to show what kind of pictures a fast lens can take without using a flash. Of course, the D70 is an old DSLR - the newer bodies you are considering can add a lot more capability than what I have.
If I get the chance, I will make a short show exhibiting what the difference between a kit lens (slow) vs a fast lens are - taken on two nights shooting the Magic Kingdom's new fireworks show.
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