What camera for $400-$450? Have Nikon D5100 and Canon T3i, any others?

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Ricky Bobby
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What camera for $400-$450? Have Nikon D5100 and Canon T3i, any others?
9 months ago

We bought a Nikon D5100 ($429) and a Canon T3i ($437) with the 18-55 kit lens for Xmas. Using both, I like some things about the Nikon (flash shots still allow the background to be bright) but the Canon takes some really good "bright colored" photos that seem to make the colors pop more and are incredibly crisp. It's extremely hard to choose which one I want to keep, and wondering if I overlooked any thing in that price range as well. We're not using the Camera for a video camera so the Canon's strength there doesn't really factor in.

Which would you choose? The D5100, T3i, or X? For similar money of course.

Canon EOS 600D (EOS Rebel T3i / EOS Kiss X5) Nikon D5100
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sterretje
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Re: What camera for $400-$450? Have Nikon D5100 and Canon T3i, any others?
In reply to Ricky Bobby, 9 months ago

I'm quite sure that you can get the same images with both cameras once you have got the hang of it; there are so many settings that will affect the end result, especially when you shoot jpegs. I'm not familiar with the cameras so can't further advise. I suggest that you practice with both for a year and then decide which one to get rid off.

What you have overlooked in the same price range are Sony and Pentax and possibly tens of mirroless cameras (no idea of prices of those).

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007peter
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Canon "cure" for Lighted Background
In reply to Ricky Bobby, 9 months ago

Ricky Bobby wrote: We bought a Nikon D5100 ($429) and a Canon T3i ($437) with the 18-55 kit lens for Xmas. Using both, I like some things about the Nikon (flash shots still allow the background to be bright)

You can make Canon take (lighted backdrop) as well by using Tv set @1/30 ~ 1/40s.

Canon default to 1/60s whenever a FLASH is required.  1/60s produce very STABLE IMAGE (less blur) but the cost of illuminated backdrops.

If you want to expose the backdrop, try using the Tv (Shutter-Priority) and set it to 1/30s ~ 1/40s.  This will expose and illuminate the backdrops.

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BarnET
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Re: What camera for $400-$450? Have Nikon D5100 and Canon T3i, any others?
In reply to Ricky Bobby, 9 months ago

Ricky Bobby wrote:

We bought a Nikon D5100 ($429) and a Canon T3i ($437) with the 18-55 kit lens for Xmas. Using both, I like some things about the Nikon (flash shots still allow the background to be bright) but the Canon takes some really good "bright colored" photos that seem to make the colors pop more and are incredibly crisp. It's extremely hard to choose which one I want to keep, and wondering if I overlooked any thing in that price range as well. We're not using the Camera for a video camera so the Canon's strength there doesn't really factor in.

Which would you choose? The D5100, T3i, or X? For similar money of course.

D5100 in an heartbeat.

Especially when you need the dynamic range like in sunsets of landscapes.

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KCook
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Re: What camera for $400-$450? Have Nikon D5100 and Canon T3i, any others?
In reply to Ricky Bobby, 9 months ago

Canons do need a little more effort to set up for shooting indoors.  But their Auto JPGs are top notch in daylight.  Dunno where Nikon might be weak as an Auto shooter.  Do you notice any differences in handling?  If you are resolved on sticking with Auto mode JPG shooting, and don't need to track moving subjects, these cameras (or any other DSLR) are overkill.  There are compacts that will be easier to live with.

Kelly Cook

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Lightpath48
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You already have them.
In reply to Ricky Bobby, 9 months ago

Your current cameras are perfectly capable for most peoples' needs.  Minor differences between your D5100 and T3i jpeg output could be bridged easily through manual controls and custom presets.  With a little help you could tune either camera to shoot just as you liked it.  I don't believe the answer hardly ever lies in acquiring yet more new equipment, though I've done it too many times over the years.  The answer to your satisfaction with image-making lies in you.

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Ricky Bobby
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Re: Canon "cure" for Lighted Background
In reply to 007peter, 9 months ago

007peter wrote:

Ricky Bobby wrote: We bought a Nikon D5100 ($429) and a Canon T3i ($437) with the 18-55 kit lens for Xmas. Using both, I like some things about the Nikon (flash shots still allow the background to be bright)

You can make Canon take (lighted backdrop) as well by using Tv set @1/30 ~ 1/40s.

Canon default to 1/60s whenever a FLASH is required. 1/60s produce very STABLE IMAGE (less blur) but the cost of illuminated backdrops.

If you want to expose the backdrop, try using the Tv (Shutter-Priority) and set it to 1/30s ~ 1/40s. This will expose and illuminate the backdrops.

OK I was able to change the settings as you described and it worked! The Canon now takes photos indoors like the Nikon. Great tips.

This is our first bout with an adjustable SLR camera so I am learning the ropes as I go.

What I still see however is the Canon taking much more crisp images, indoors and out. I suppose that is attributed to the 18 vs 16 mega pixel rating on it.

When I put the Nikon in "vivid" mode the images are more like the Canon's in that they "pop". So that is solved as well.

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Ada8
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Re: Canon "cure" for Lighted Background
In reply to Ricky Bobby, 9 months ago

I have a canon, and I'm happy with it, so I suggest you the Canon T3i

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Ricky Bobby
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Re: Canon "cure" for Lighted Background
In reply to Ada8, 9 months ago

Ended up keeping the Nikon D5100. Just liked the camera better in terms of ergonomics and how it took pictures in "auto" mode (gasp!). Since we are new at this we wanted something you could just turn on and go to auto and click and get a nice picture, something the Nikon excelled at IMO. My brother in law is an "amateur" professional photographer and said the same thing, while he knows how to use a camera, when he's out and about 90% of the time he's on auto mode snapping pictures.

The ONLY thing I don't like with the D5100 over the T3i is the fact that it doesn't have auto focus in the camera body itself. BOOO on Nikon for doing that. However, with the price we paid ($404) we should be able to get most of that back out if we sell in the future to "upgrade".

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pavi1
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Re: What camera for $400-$450? Have Nikon D5100 and Canon T3i, any others?
In reply to KCook, 9 months ago

KCook wrote:

Canons do need a little more effort to set up for shooting indoors. But their Auto JPGs are top notch in daylight. Dunno where Nikon might be weak as an Auto shooter. Do you notice any differences in handling? If you are resolved on sticking with Auto mode JPG shooting, and don't need to track moving subjects, these cameras (or any other DSLR) are overkill. There are compacts that will be easier to live with.

Kelly Cook

Can you name one compact with the image quality of a DSLR? The closest I have is a Fuji X100 but it is very much a specialty camera.

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KCook
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Re: What camera for $400-$450? Have Nikon D5100 and Canon T3i, any others?
In reply to pavi1, 9 months ago

Depends on precisely how you define image quality of course.  The Sony RX100 II is widely recommended, and others are quite good.  Frankly advanced processing tools such as Adobe's Lightroom will result in a greater gain in IQ than any fancy camera.  But that will not be an automatic gain, takes a little learning and practice.

Kelly

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pavi1
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Re: What camera for $400-$450? Have Nikon D5100 and Canon T3i, any others?
In reply to KCook, 9 months ago

KCook wrote:

Depends on precisely how you define image quality of course. The Sony RX100 II is widely recommended, and others are quite good. Frankly advanced processing tools such as Adobe's Lightroom will result in a greater gain in IQ than any fancy camera. But that will not be an automatic gain, takes a little learning and practice.

Kelly

Sorry but the 1" sensor does not come close.

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Ontario Gone
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Re: What camera for $400-$450? Have Nikon D5100 and Canon T3i, any others?
In reply to Ricky Bobby, 9 months ago

This list does not include used deals.

  • Sony A3000+18-55mm...$348
  • Sony NEX-3n+16-50mm...$349
  • Olympus E-PM2 body...$370
  • Canon EOS-M+22mm(great lens)...$379
  • Canon EOS T-3+18-55...$449
  • Nikon D3100+18-55...$409
  • Sony NEX5-T body...$448
  • Pentax K-500+18-55...$449
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Ontario Gone
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Re: What camera for $400-$450? Have Nikon D5100 and Canon T3i, any others?
In reply to pavi1, 9 months ago

pavi1 wrote:

KCook wrote:

Depends on precisely how you define image quality of course. The Sony RX100 II is widely recommended, and others are quite good. Frankly advanced processing tools such as Adobe's Lightroom will result in a greater gain in IQ than any fancy camera. But that will not be an automatic gain, takes a little learning and practice.

Kelly

Sorry but the 1" sensor does not come close.

I completely disagree with cook here. Sensors are almost entirely the same when it comes to PP. You have two directions to go, you can reduce noise and cause smearing, or you can increase sharpening and also increase noise. There is no magic sensor that allows an improvement in PP that another sensor cannot do. It is all software manipulation of pixels, and anything that can be done to the RX100 can be done to another. Typically, if you want better IQ you either need a larger sensor, or you need faster lenses to allow lower ISO.

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KCook
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Re: What camera for $400-$450? Have Nikon D5100 and Canon T3i, any others?
In reply to Ontario Gone, 9 months ago

Ontario Gone wrote:

pavi1 wrote:

KCook wrote:

Depends on precisely how you define image quality of course. The Sony RX100 II is widely recommended, and others are quite good. Frankly advanced processing tools such as Adobe's Lightroom will result in a greater gain in IQ than any fancy camera. But that will not be an automatic gain, takes a little learning and practice.

Kelly

Sorry but the 1" sensor does not come close.

I completely disagree with cook here. Sensors are almost entirely the same when it comes to PP. You have two directions to go, you can reduce noise and cause smearing, or you can increase sharpening and also increase noise. There is no magic sensor that allows an improvement in PP that another sensor cannot do. It is all software manipulation of pixels, and anything that can be done to the RX100 can be done to another. Typically, if you want better IQ you either need a larger sensor, or you need faster lenses to allow lower ISO.

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Which is why I posted that this depends on precisely how you define IQ.  If IQ is defined as the lowest possible noise vs intrinsic sharpness, then yes, the big sensor wins (oh duh).  But that is a pixel peeper game.  Many casual shooters are happy with nice color, contrast, and apparent sharpness.  Which are largely independent of sensor size.  So far, from the flavor of the posts by the OP, I'm not persuaded that he is a pixel peeper.

Kelly

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Ontario Gone
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Re: What camera for $400-$450? Have Nikon D5100 and Canon T3i, any others?
In reply to KCook, 9 months ago

KCook wrote:

Which is why I posted that this depends on precisely how you define IQ. If IQ is defined as the lowest possible noise vs intrinsic sharpness, then yes, the big sensor wins (oh duh). But that is a pixel peeper game. Many casual shooters are happy with nice color, contrast, and apparent sharpness. Which are largely independent of sensor size. So far, from the flavor of the posts by the OP, I'm not persuaded that he is a pixel peeper.

Kelly

This still makes no sense, because color, contrast, and local contrast (sharpness) can all be manipulated in PP. This is like people who claim a certain camera has "better" color than another. Color is completely controllable in post, and even low contrast lenses can be corrected in post. Im not picking on you, but im saying IQ is IQ, and there's only two sources: The lens, and the sensor. The lens is the weak link because you can't actually make a photo sharper in post, you can only increase contrast. Most people define IQ by one criteria. The more light you get, the better the signal will be, assuming all other factors are equal.

The RX100 is a nice camera, but it will never match the IQ of a camera with the same F stop and a larger sensor, no matter how much PP you do.

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KCook
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Re: What camera for $400-$450? Have Nikon D5100 and Canon T3i, any others?
In reply to Ontario Gone, 9 months ago

Im not picking on you, but im saying IQ is IQ

This is our real disagreement.  I'm saying that the IQ question can be broken down into various components.  Some, actually several, of these components do not depend on sensor size.  And the components that are important to the OP may not be the same as you see them.

Kelly

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Re: What camera for $400-$450? Have Nikon D5100 and Canon T3i, any others?
In reply to Ricky Bobby, 9 months ago

That's an amazing price for either of those cameras - I haven't seen them that low.

The dSLR in that general price range that I've been jonesing after recently is the Nikon D3200 - same excellent 24MP sensor as the D5200. A used body paired with a used 18-135 for around $550 would be my choice.

Colin.

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In reply to Ontario Gone, 9 months ago

Ontario Gone wrote:

KCook wrote:

Which is why I posted that this depends on precisely how you define IQ. If IQ is defined as the lowest possible noise vs intrinsic sharpness, then yes, the big sensor wins (oh duh). But that is a pixel peeper game. Many casual shooters are happy with nice color, contrast, and apparent sharpness. Which are largely independent of sensor size. So far, from the flavor of the posts by the OP, I'm not persuaded that he is a pixel peeper.

Kelly

This still makes no sense, because color, contrast, and local contrast (sharpness) can all be manipulated in PP. This is like people who claim a certain camera has "better" color than another. Color is completely controllable in post, and even low contrast lenses can be corrected in post. Im not picking on you, but im saying IQ is IQ, and there's only two sources: The lens, and the sensor. The lens is the weak link because you can't actually make a photo sharper in post, you can only increase contrast. Most people define IQ by one criteria. The more light you get, the better the signal will be, assuming all other factors are equal.

The RX100 is a nice camera, but it will never match the IQ of a camera with the same F stop and a larger sensor, no matter how much PP you do.

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What is going on in here? OntarioGone being the voice of reason? Good thing I'm sitting down!

OG is correct, the bigger the sensor, the better the S/N ratio in general. There are slight differences between same sized sensors, but the bigger you go, the more you get in performance. OG is also correct about the noise: you can crush it and crush detail with it, you can sharpen the image which generally introduces more noise, or (these are the smart options OG didn't mention): you can remove chroma noise while keeping or only slightly reducing luminance noise, giving you a grainy but clean image. Chroma noise looks bad, luminance noise is perfectly fine up to a certain point. The smart thing to do when sharpening is to only apply edge sharpening, that way the sharpening doesn't add noise (luminance noise=grain) throughout the image.

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57LowRider
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Re: What camera for $400-$450? Have Nikon D5100 and Canon T3i, any others?
In reply to Ricky Bobby, 9 months ago

Used X-E1 with the latest firmware updates.

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