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  1. #1
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    Nikon D40, 60, 80 owners

    I was at my local camera shop (LCS) and was asking about the Nikon D series. When I told him i was going to take action shots of people biking he showed me the Cannon Rebel XTi and the new XSi(which i love by the way) because the Cannon autofocusing was alot quicker.
    Nikon owners do feel that your DSLR is slow focusing? I would think mtn biking is not blazingly fast and that the Nikons can take it.

  2. #2
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    Bring on the Canon v. Nikon debate # 4,583,450!
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  3. #3
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    I am a mountain and road biker as well as a photographer. I shoot biking, kayaking and adventure race events. I have several Nikon DSLR's including the D50, D80, and D200. I switched from Canon because of the ergonomics of the Nikon bodies is significantly better than Canon. The Nikon bodies hold better and it is easier to rapidly change settings, including focus points, with the Nikon bodies. In addition, the Canon flash system does not have the consistency that the Nikon does. You may not think the flash is important outdoors but the get proper exposures on high contrast sunny days and also is shadowy woods, you need to use fill flash. As far as focusing speed goes, unless you are shooting Formula 1 races, you shouldn't have any problems with either Nikon or Canon. Both systems have great lenses.

  4. #4
    skillz to pay billz
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    well they weren't formula 1 but still damn fast. Indy cars at infineon. Nikon d1x.







    focus speeds weren't really an issue though. Pretty short lens at infinity. And fast shutter speeds(1/2000+, the camera goes to 1/16,000). What you're going to want is a fast lens(low fstop) so you can open it up in low light conditions and fill flash as mentioned above.
    Last edited by nOOby; 05-28-2008 at 08:01 AM.

  5. #5
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    My D50 focuses plenty fast for me...

    The only body which I could see being "slower" is the D40...due to it's lack of AF motor.

  6. #6
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    Im a canon user, 30d, and never used a nikon, so cant say for sure, but i know, with the canon, Autofocus is very dependant on the lense. My "L" USM lense is very fast, even in almost no light. On the other hand, The kit lense that came with my old D.rebel is noisy and slow...

  7. #7
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    The short answer is: You'll be fine.

    Longer explanation: the AF modules on Nikon bodies start with the fastest in the flagship models (D3 and D300) and trickle down to the consumer models. So the AF in the current D300 is bit better than the D200. I think the D200 shares AF modules with one of the consumer cams, if memory serves me correctly. I have a D200 and have not been disappointed.

    Ask yourseld why, beyond AF capabilities, the salesperson is steering toward Canon products. Maybe there's market influences at work. I was at a big box store yesterday shopping for a pocket camera and the salesperson directed Every customer to the same two models of Sony cameras, regardless of what their request was. Bigger markup, more stock to clear....?

    And though you didn't ask this: do you really need an SLR to ride with or are you going to hike in with the camera to photograph? I've been shooting seriously for years with the full range of Nikon kit and recently concluded it's a major drag humping a DSLR on the bike. Yes, I get good pix but carrying it and worrying about taking a spill just takes the fun out of it for me and so I'm going with a good quality P&S. Just my two cents.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bobonli
    T

    And though you didn't ask this: do you really need an SLR to ride with or are you going to hike in with the camera to photograph? I've been shooting seriously for years with the full range of Nikon kit and recently concluded it's a major drag humping a DSLR on the bike. Yes, I get good pix but carrying it and worrying about taking a spill just takes the fun out of it for me and so I'm going with a good quality P&S. Just my two cents.
    A good point. I dont shoot professionaly, just seriously and passionatly. I have $2500 worth of camera gear in my backpack bag. Yes, I could ride with it. But I'd rather not crash with it! Nor do I want to carry that weight on a long ride! So I just bought a olympus P&S. I acctually bought it for my trip to hawaii, because its waterproof to 10 feet. And rated to withstand a 5 foot drop to a hard surface. For $220. Now, its not a fast, not as flexable, not the same picture quality, and I wouldent trade it for my 30D for anything...but...if its in my pocket while the 30D sits in the bag at home or in the car, its taking better pics than the 30d's not taking! If I'm going to print, or try to sell stuff, I'll work with the 30d, even if it means hiking it out. And another plus to a P&S, video! I got some pretty cool vids underwater of the reef in hawaii! Nothing to show on the big screen, but great for web posting or sending to friends!

  9. #9
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    If someone claims the AF is slow, maybe the settings can be changed. Doesn't the D40 and others have the ability to adjust for shutter priority and focus priority? If your camera is set for shutter priority it may give you the impression that the AF isn't quick enough because the shutter won't wait for the AF to finish before the shutter is released.

  10. #10
    Aquaman
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    My wifes says get a Nikon...Just not the d40..she told me why but alll I heard was "dont get the D40 because (insert camera geek speek here).

  11. #11
    XCfosho15
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    Quote Originally Posted by trekmike
    If someone claims the AF is slow, maybe the settings can be changed. Doesn't the D40 and others have the ability to adjust for shutter priority and focus priority? If your camera is set for shutter priority it may give you the impression that the AF isn't quick enough because the shutter won't wait for the AF to finish before the shutter is released.
    Huh? As far as I know, there is no such thing as "focus priority", just "shutter priority" (marked as TV), and "aperature priority" (marked as AE). These are not giving "priority" to how the shutter or anything else operates. It just means that when in TV, you select a shutter speed and the camera will select a suitable aperature setting. When in AE, you select the aperature, and the camera selects a suitable shutter speed.

    The only "focus priority" I could think of might be in the lense, and that would just be governing what method the lense uses to autofocus. I wouldn't call that focus priority, just "autofocus control", but what do I know...

    EDIT: yeah... my camera (Canon S2 IS, not an SLR), has "AF (autofocus) Mode". Options are "continuous" or "single". Continuous is when it is always focusing on what ever the lense is pointed at, single is when it only focuses when the shutter button is depressed halfway.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by lawndart
    I was at my local camera shop (LACS) and was asking about the Nikon D series. When I told him i was going to take action shots of people biking he showed me the Cannon Rebel Ti and the new XSi(which i love by the way) because the Cannon autofocusing was alot quicker.
    Nikon owners do feel that your SLR is slow focusing? I would think MN biking is not blazingly fast and that the Nikon's can take it.
    Never believe sales guys in retail stores. He probably got a sales spiff for selling Canons last week. Next week he will be telling customers the Nikon is faster.

    There is virtually no difference between focus speeds between these two manufacturers. Focus speed is irrelevant unless your MTB is going in excess of Mach 1.
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  13. #13
    Keep pedaling...
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    Gear doesn't matter

    Don't listen to this milkshake at the camera store.

    Get the D40. Its cheap as hell, and made of plastic so it is light. Also nice and compact. It takes excellent photos, but the most important piece of equipment is about 6" behind the viewfinder.

    Auto-focus is for suckers - manual with burst-mode is the shizznit.

  14. #14
    XCfosho15
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    Quote Originally Posted by paulster2626

    Auto-focus is for suckers - manual with burst-mode is the shizznit.
    you got that right!

  15. #15
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    Thanks everyone

    Quote Originally Posted by Bobonli
    The short answer is: You'll be fine.

    Longer explanation: the AF modules on Nikon bodies start with the fastest in the flagship models (D3 and D300) and trickle down to the consumer models. So the AF in the current D300 is bit better than the D200. I think the D200 shares AF modules with one of the consumer cams, if memory serves me correctly. I have a D200 and have not been disappointed.

    Ask yourseld why, beyond AF capabilities, the salesperson is steering toward Canon products. Maybe there's market influences at work. I was at a big box store yesterday shopping for a pocket camera and the salesperson directed Every customer to the same two models of Sony cameras, regardless of what their request was. Bigger markup, more stock to clear....?

    And though you didn't ask this: do you really need an SLR to ride with or are you going to hike in with the camera to photograph? I've been shooting seriously for years with the full range of Nikon kit and recently concluded it's a major drag humping a DSLR on the bike. Yes, I get good pix but carrying it and worrying about taking a spill just takes the fun out of it for me and so I'm going with a good quality P&S. Just my two cents.

    Bobonli and everyone,
    you bring up very good points. My main goal with the DSLR is to take pics, where ever i go day hiking, into the city, vacation, etc. and hopefully print ones i like enough to put on my walls.

    I frequent the local mtb race series that my shop/store sponsors so thats where my main concern with the focusing when my friends zoom by me. When the saleman started showing me the Canon becuase I told him i was also interested in taking 'action shots' as biking I thought to my self how fast does he think bikers travel?

    Im coming from an old Minolta A5 which was in between a point n shoot and a DSLR. This will be my first DSLR. What I really dont like is the shutter lag which Im used to on my GF's PnS.

    So I should feel comfortable in saying the Nikons will do just fine tracking and shooting pics of my friends at the races. I didnt mean to make this into a Canon vs Nikon debate, just wanted to know how well Nikon's autofocus is.

  16. #16
    rjd
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    The 40/60 nikons only have 3 focus points, which will man a lot of focus & recomposing which is iffy.

    Wont autofocus with only AF lenses, which mostly limits your prime selection, theres some good f2.8 zooms.

    Also canons AF and tracking of the new cameras will be better, btu I get on fine with the old 350d stuff. Canon will shoot larger RAW sequences too, but still only 3/3.5 fps.

    IMo the D60 lacks a ton of stuff that I find important, mirror lockup, bracketing, Depth of field preview , ISO 100 etc, your milage may vary but I think the D40/60 is a limited tool.

  17. #17
    rjd
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    Quote Originally Posted by XCfosho15
    Huh? As far as I know, there is no such thing as "focus priority", .
    Canons focus priority is when it will refuse to take a picture unless it knows its in focus. Its switchable.

  18. #18
    rjd
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    Quote Originally Posted by ffwlwhite
    My wifes says get a Nikon...Just not the d40..she told me why but alll I heard was "dont get the D40 because (insert camera geek speek here).

    The dxx series is lacking a lot (as I said above), takes a great picture though.

    The D80 is old and due replacement, the D300 is a STUNNING camera and if its in your price bracket get it, its still not as good for noise as the 5D (or D3) but for everything else its great - the 40D actualy focuses faster but doesnt have the colour AF tracking stuff etc so the D300 can be better in some situations.

    D300 is though almost twice the price of the 40D and definatly isnt twice the camera. I'd be happy with either.

  19. #19
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    On one side he was right, but not about equipment you two were talking about. Canon af system is better then Nikon, but this is when you are talking about pro cameras. With low end cameras it's pretty much same thing on Canon or Nikon, so no matter which way you will go, you will do fine.
    But one thing... anyone telling any camera and their af system is good enough for "slow" things like mtb is, is plain wrong. Before someone jumps at me, let me explain few small things. First of all, I know what I'm talking about. I shoot pro sport as shooter for few of biggest European photo agencies for quite some time. I shoot everything from basketball through skiing to cycling, so I know what is fast and what is not fast Personally I use Canon 1d cameras, but this doesn't really matter here.
    So now to few basic things... One thing is to say af on low end cameras is fast enough for shooting some Indy cars from spectators stands, where car is 10% (or less) of whole photo, and even preferably when moving across the photo (basically not movement where af should work hard). Other thing is to shoot it when it's coming straight at you, and your frame is filled, for example like this. This way af of anything but pro cameras (no offense but in this case pro cameras are Canon 1d and Nikon D3, not Canon 40/30/20D and Nikon D300/200) will handle this.
    Now when considering just mtb. When you are tracking biker who is coming straight down at you at speed of 70 or 80km/h, low end cameras will fail. So no matter what you buy, Canon or Nikon, you won't see difference. If you will be shooting different way, it will go. Of course you can always prefocus and shoot, but then af has nothing to do with this. And of course, when you are shooting so, that frame is not filled, you can get away with much worse camera, but I'm too long already to start explaining why

    So my advise to you is to get camera which you like better. There's not much difference between same class cameras from one or another manufacturer.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by lawndart
    This will be my first DSLR. What I really dont like is the shutter lag which Im used to on my GF's PnS.

    .
    Take a look at this, about coping with shutter delay:
    http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/shutter-lag.htm

    Just to reiterate, at the price point you are investigating, both brands are going to perform about the same. It will come down to ergonomics and what you prefer to work with. Also consider which system has accessories (lenses and flash) that better meet your needs.

    And I forgot, in my previous post, my standard answer to these questions: RENT. Find a place that rents gear and take each out for an afternoon and see how they perform. Most larger cities have an outlet that rents gear to pros; better camera shops may also loan you a demo model. You'll likely find that renting a body and lens for $45 is cheaper than shelling out $800 and making a mistake.

    Good luck
    Bob

  21. #21
    XCfosho15
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    ahhh, i know what you are talking about. thanks for cluing me in.

  22. #22
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    I shoot with a D80 and I like it. Faster lenses will make a huge difference with focus speed (a 70-300 f/4.5-5.6 will like to hunt if you lose you're focus point causing you to lose your shot -- on the other hand a nice 70-200 or 80-200 f/2.8 lens will focus very fast (even if you loose your focus point)).

    Either way you'll learn to adapt to your camera. Pre-focusing in difficult lighting situations will allow you to get the shots you want. I shot at a night cyclo-cross and a night crit last year and was getting as good of shots as any I saw published anywhere. I just had to learn what would work with riders flying by in the dark (prefocus and flash). My shots were good enough that Velonews bought a few.

    I'm already planning on buying a D300 this fall when sports season picks up again. A D3 would be my dream camera (but I'd have to sell $3000 more images to get that past my wife).

    mbb

  23. #23
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    you got it!

    Yeah, that is what I was thinking...

    Quote Originally Posted by XCfosho15
    Huh? As far as I know, there is no such thing as "focus priority", just "shutter priority" (marked as TV), and "aperature priority" (marked as AE). These are not giving "priority" to how the shutter or anything else operates. It just means that when in TV, you select a shutter speed and the camera will select a suitable aperature setting. When in AE, you select the aperature, and the camera selects a suitable shutter speed.

    The only "focus priority" I could think of might be in the lense, and that would just be governing what method the lense uses to autofocus. I wouldn't call that focus priority, just "autofocus control", but what do I know...

    EDIT: yeah... my camera (Canon S2 IS, not an SLR), has "AF (autofocus) Mode". Options are "continuous" or "single". Continuous is when it is always focusing on what ever the lense is pointed at, single is when it only focuses when the shutter button is depressed halfway.

  24. #24
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    Ask her

    Can you ask her why not the d-40?

    Quote Originally Posted by ffwlwhite
    My wifes says get a Nikon...Just not the d40..she told me why but alll I heard was "dont get the D40 because (insert camera geek speek here).

  25. #25
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    I work with both professionally. Both are good. It's like the bike brand fights, Ford vs. Chevy etc.... I can think of one lens I own I own that is a reason for Canon but that lens alone is more money than most will pay for a kit. I also think of flash systems and most who engage in the arguments are not spending sereious $ on multiple flash units etc.... Thus, get what you like. It's completely non-technical, but I have had better dealings with Canon customer service but both major players are fine.

    The ergonomics argument does not get me because I still use gear decades old where that was not an issue and even with new stuff some product revisions are better than others.

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