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trailboss
08-23-2009, 04:48 PM
Ok, I know this may be a Ford/Chevy thing but I thought that I would get one more round of input before I buy. I have narrowed it down to the Canon XS or the Nikon D60. These two are about the same price point. I know several on here have these models.
I have been leaning towards the Canon but I like the fact that on the Nikon I can use any Nikon lens - no matter how old.
Any other points to lean one way or another?

Thanks, Steve

Pro-Scapes
08-23-2009, 05:59 PM
Hey steve.

We have had our D60 for several months now and it has been a great camera. While we have not had the chance to use it as much as we would like we have been very pleased with the night time ability of this camera. The deciding factor for us was the price point. I think we paid around 540 for it and I picked up a few spare batteries on ebay.

Save some budget for a remote (I got mine on ebay) and a good tripod.

I really dont think you will be unhappy with either one but I made my purchase at sams club knowing I could return it if I was unhappy with any aspect of it. That being said when I upgrade from this one as my skill progress I will probably look at a high end canon. I have seen absolutly stunning shots from both cameras.

David Gretzmier
08-23-2009, 06:31 PM
I'd take a hard look at the canon rebel XSI. For a hundred bucks more, I have that one and I paid around 640 shipped on ebay and got a lens, 4 gig card, camera bag, and I love it. It has a larger screen than the xs ( 3 inch instead of 2.5 ) higher resolution ( 12 instead of 10 ). I use my photo's for banners and my truck graphics, so I actaully wish I had the xti which has a 15 meg resolution. if you get the XS or Xsi, be sure and get the canon image stabilizer lens.

The xsi has given me awesome night time shots with the cheap tri-pod I have. on AV mode, f8-f16, mirror locked up and 3 second timer, I am blown away. very little noise and pixelization. I am still learning how to do this right, but my first night I got some shots worthy of decking out one of my new boxvans.

klkanders
08-23-2009, 06:44 PM
A friend of mine recently purchased a high end Canon with over 20 something mp.
He is planning on using it professionally in his business. We went out to shoot a couple of my jobs last week. Incredible camera! I am planning on using some of these shots for a website that is in the works.
I know this is more than what you are wanting to spend but I have also heard good things about the xsi or xti David mentioned.

Keith

Lite4
08-23-2009, 09:11 PM
Steve,

You will find both DSLR cameras more than adequate for photography. The equipment is important yes (especially the lenses), but really good pictures come down the ability of the photographer to use the camera properly in the manual modes. Understanding light and ISO sensitivities, f-stop settings, and shutter speeds for varying and at night often dissipating light and high contrast conditions. Even more important is the ability of the photographer to have the vision to compose "interesting" photographs. That is really the artistic part of it.
Good luck on your new purchase, I am sure you will be happy with either selection.
Happy shooting!

JoeyD
08-24-2009, 10:31 AM
Lots of good deals on D60's right now with multiple lenses and tri pods in the $550 range. I love my D80, 3 guys at Unique have D60's and Nate has a Cannon. All good cameras!!! Its all in the settings though, you can have an awesome camera but without the settings set right your pictures wont look good.

chathamvahere
08-24-2009, 10:40 AM
I don't have either of the models listed, but I have had a Cannon for several years and it is still going strong,always great pics, so I recommend Cannon.

SoCalLandscapeMgmt
08-24-2009, 11:49 AM
Nikon all the way!

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
08-24-2009, 04:57 PM
Canon all the way! :clapping:

Seriously, Nikon vs. Canon is sort of like the age old Toyota vs. Ford debate (tongue planted firmly in cheek here :laugh:) Both are going to do a good job for you if you take the time to learn how to use them properly. I would also invest in a course on post production of digital photos for touch-ups, editing, layering, etc.

Best of luck.

JoeyD
08-24-2009, 06:52 PM
Toyota Vs. Ford.....LOL.........Thats one of your jokes I did get James! LOL

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
08-24-2009, 07:37 PM
Well it is about time Joey!

perryk777
08-24-2009, 10:21 PM
Whichever one you choose, do yourself a huge favor and buy the book "Understanding Exposure" by Bryan Peterson. It was the best investment I made after I bought my D90.

razor1
08-24-2009, 10:44 PM
Canon's can be good but I just switched to Nikon because my Canon is acting up. Plus I got the 1 + 3 = 4 yr. warranty thru Sam's Club. (if this one acts up, they get to replace it)

SoCalLandscapeMgmt
08-24-2009, 10:58 PM
Whichever one you choose, do yourself a huge favor and buy the book "Understanding Exposure" by Bryan Peterson. It was the best investment I made after I bought my D90.

I would second this opinion. This is a very well written book and explains a lot of the concepts of exposure in an easy to understand way.

Lite4
08-24-2009, 11:40 PM
I would second this opinion. This is a very well written book and explains a lot of the concepts of exposure in an easy to understand way.

I will 3rd this recomendation. It is an excellent book which has helped me a ton! Bought mine at Amazon

Pro-Scapes
08-25-2009, 07:39 AM
I just ordered that and his book on shutter speed http://www.amazon.com/Understanding-Shutter-Speed-Low-Light-Photography/dp/0817463011/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1251200319&sr=8-1

MarcSmith
08-25-2009, 08:44 AM
if I'm not mistaken, the Nikon does not do video... but some of the low end cannon's do have video capability...

I have been looking at the D-60 as well. as the cannons, and the advantage goes to the cannon for the video...

Pro-Scapes
08-25-2009, 10:07 AM
if I'm not mistaken, the Nikon does not do video... but some of the low end cannon's do have video capability...

I have been looking at the D-60 as well. as the cannons, and the advantage goes to the cannon for the video...

??My d60 will shoot videos ??? :confused:

MarcSmith
08-25-2009, 10:28 AM
the nikon from my research it does stop motion video...but not regular video... Ihave been looking athe D-40 as well. sicne its cheaper and is basically the same camera

The D60 is just a D40 with more pixels, but slower shutter speeds with flash outdoors and less basic light sensitivity due to the smaller pixels needed to jam more of them onto the same-sized sensor.

EOS Rebel T1i adds remarkable Full HD video capture at resolutions up to 1920 x 1080. An HDMI port allows for quick connections to high definition TVs and monitors for easy viewing of your stills and video. but its not cheap. around 800 bills...

pihta
08-26-2009, 02:50 AM
I'm agree with Tim and other guys. Brand dont matter - the main thing is your hands and vision. Modern cameras very close to each other in parameters. Both can use old lenses. Prices for lenses as I remember are near the same for comparable models.
For night time shots you need a good tripod and a remote(!). Remote very important because you have to avoid any shakes when doing long exposures. You have two options - delayed shot and remote. Delayed shot takes too many time, so remote is very helpful.
One thing that I read about Nikon and Canon is that Canon at high ISO levels(1600+) has more 'nicer' noise. But I use 400 ISO so this dont affect your choice.

I use M mode, set ISO to 400, set F-stop to 8-12 and adjust exposure time. Usually it in range 2-8 seconds.

PS
I have Canon 30D.

Lite4
08-26-2009, 09:40 AM
Good post Pihta,When I start shooting my f/stop settings will usually be established by what I am shooting.* If I am shooting a big area such as a full house shot and their is a lot of foreground and background detail, I will usually shoot these around 11-13 to increase the clarity throughout the depth of field in the portrait. my shutter times will vary depending on ambient light levels in the sky and the lit objects themselves.* On these shots though I usually start around 10 seconds as a benchmark on these f/stop settings and adjust as necessary.** If I am shooting an object or scene that is closer up the increased depth of field is not as much of an issue and I will open it up to about f/7 or so.* I will begin shutter speeds around 1-3 seconds and adjust as necessary.* Some times you just have a good handle on the necessary exposure lengths based on the amount of reflected light coming back at you that you can dial it in precisely within a shot or 2.* I shoot all my photography at ISO 100.* I know that this limits my shooting time somewhat but I find my photos becoming much "grainier" as I increase my ISO speeds and I just don't care for it.* I really like a nice deep saturation of blacks and greens in the photos.* I will often adjust my white balance as well as it progressively gets darker or depending on what I am shooting. This makes a big difference in getting more of the true color out of the pictures.

Pro-Scapes
08-26-2009, 05:58 PM
thats why this winter when its all snowy tim is coming to do some fishing with us and teach us how to use our nikon :)

Lite4
08-26-2009, 10:02 PM
thats why this winter when its all snowy tim is coming to do some fishing with us and teach us how to use our nikon :)

Wahoo! Sign me up! :clapping:

Pro-Scapes
08-27-2009, 09:24 AM
actually wahoo is on the plan as is redfish and yellowfin tuna.

http://www.relentlesssportfishing.net/

Kiril
08-28-2009, 11:45 AM
Canon sets the standard, everyone else just follows.

Alan B
08-28-2009, 01:04 PM
Good thread as night pics are hard. To back up for those who can't read up on any of the recommended books, or understand DSLR's here are some photography basics that may help for a general understanding:

1. A camera takes the average of all the light entering camera and tries to make a photograph that has the normal amount of exposure (the average part of the overall photo will be half way between pitch black and bright white). For a landscape lighting night shots it will think the average light is too dark and will try and compensate by either adding a flash or leaving the shutter open too long. Accordingly an automatic camera won't give the results you need.

2. DSLR enables you to manually adjust these exposure settings and enable the overall photograph to be dark.

3. The exposure settings are controlled by 2 things-- Shutter Speed (how fast the shutter opens and closes) and Aperture (an adjustable opening that determins how much light comes into the camera). Shutter speeds go from fast (1/2500th of a second) to as long as you want if you use a manual setting. Apertures numbers (f-stops) are inverse to how wide open they are. A small f-stop like 1.8 is actually a wide open apeture. A large f-stop # like f22 is a closed down opening.

4.These two items work together but are inversely related. In other words you can let the same amount of light in with a fast shutter speed and wide open aperture or you could use a slow shutter speed but have a very closed aperture.

5 What's the difference and how do they relate to the photograph? Apertures control depth of field (what is in focus). A small F stop (like 1.5) means there is a short depth of field (good for taking a portrait of a person where their face is in focus but background is blurry --creates attention to the subject-- the persons face). For our application of night time landscape lighting we need a large depth of field so the entire properly is in focus so use a large F stop number like F22. This means the aperture is actually closed down so you'll need a long exposure time (very slow slow shutter speed). This is why as several mention you must use a tripod and a remote control device.

6. You want it exposed long enough that you can make out the overall property with out over exposing (creating hot spots) where the lights are shinning. This is obviously tough because the camera can't help you-- it doesn't fit with the cameras settings of having a neutral exposure balance (where the average part of the photo is 50% between jet black and bright white). Landscape lighting photos will have the average be quite dark where 50% of the photo is close to black and only some/none is bright white.

7. How do you do this? You can set the aperture to f22, put on a tripod, use a remote and try several long manual shutter speeds (shutter speed bracketing) like 1 second, 2 seconds, 4 seconds, 8 seconds). Another way is to set the camera on automatic (with flash disabled). Come closer to a lighted area (like 15' from a facade that has been wallwashed), aim at the lit wall, push the shutter button half way down and see what settings the automatic mode was going to shoot at. Write those down. Now move back to the street and put it on manual but use the shutter speed and aperture the automatic mode was suggesting earlier. This can be your start point fro bracketing.

8. One note. For each aperture setting you move up (from 11 to 22 for example) you need to move down in shutter speed (from 1/60 th of a second to 1/30th of a second) to keep the same overall exposure. One movement of an f-stop is equal to one movement of a shutter speed. So if you move up 2 settings in aperture, move down 2 settings of shutter speed (if you want to keep the same exposure). So in the previous case if the automatic mode recommended a small f-stop but you want to move 6 f-stops bigger (to get more depth of field) you need to take the shutter speed they recommended and go down 6 shutter speed increments.

9. Lastly most DSLR's like my D60 have a setting like D-lighting. This is to tell the camera, "yes I am taking a night shot and I want the overall average to be dark (not average grey like a reg photo)", Mr. camera please put the settings on something that will underexpose this photo." This works well as a starting point , but doesn't always go underexposed enough for landscape lighting.

This may be too basic, or most probably already know, but maybe it will help with a general understanding for someone starting. (BTW many of you take phenomenal nigh time shots already).

Good luck!

Alan

BZACK
08-28-2009, 03:07 PM
Nice points, Alan.

I would add that while an aperture of f22 provides the greatest depth of field, this aperture may not provide the sharpest image. This depends on the formula of the lens, focal length, the manufacturer, etc., but most of the time slightly larger aperatures, i.e., f8-f11, etc. will provide better center-to-edge sharpness. Of course, for better DOF try shorter focal lengths as well.

Best regards,
Bill

Alan B
08-28-2009, 03:58 PM
Nice points, Alan.

I would add that while an aperture of f22 provides the greatest depth of field, this aperture may not provide the sharpest image. This depends on the formula of the lens, focal length, the manufacturer, etc., but most of the time slightly larger aperatures, i.e., f8-f11, etc. will provide better center-to-edge sharpness. Of course, for better DOF try shorter focal lengths as well.

Best regards,
Bill

Bill, good point and advice.

Another note, a lot will have to do with how you frame the shot and when you take the photo. Reduce the extreme contrast by shooting just after twilight rather than full darkness, and frame it remove over contrast areas.

Lite4
08-29-2009, 08:01 AM
very good stuff! We should all be taking good photos and posting them up here with all this good info.

David Gretzmier
08-31-2009, 04:53 PM
Alan- thanks for the basic stuff, I got my canon Xsi recently and I am still experimenting with it to get great shots.

I think James said it best in his project number 8 thread, he took about 250 pictures and 11-15 of them look good. I find myself tring many different ISO's and F-stops, along with several different tripod locations and different zoom spots on my lens just to try and get those "good" shots.

Alan B
08-31-2009, 07:33 PM
NP.

ISO refers the "film" speed setting -- i.e. how much light is required to properly expose the "film". Low ISO's need more light but produce more vibrant colors and smoother pictures. High ISO (like 1000) don't need as much light (i.e. you can use faster shutter speeds) but are grainier and less vibrant.

For nice shots you'll probably get the best results around 100-200 ISO. Up at 500-1000 ISO the shutter won't have to be open as long but the pic will be grainier.

High ISO are typically used when you need to have a fast shutter speed (like taking an action shot) to prevent blur but still need the "film" to get exposed. Since we are using tripods, taking a still image (no movement in the photo), and have the time, a lower ISO (100-200) will give a beeter quality looking shot.

In short if you take 2 pictures with the same aperture but different ISO's, the higher ISO will have a faster shutter speed to achieve the same exposure (but be grainier) than the lower ISO.

pihta
09-01-2009, 01:58 AM
I also found that picture you see on the screen after shot is darker than when you see it on the computer monitor. May be it just my camera model issue, dont know.

trailboss
09-01-2009, 09:40 AM
Wow! What a wealth of information. I'm sure that I will have to refer back to this post a few times to soak up some of this info.

I thought that I had my mind made up on the D60 but now I'm thinking that I might check out the new D3000. I think that they are about the same camera - but I want to check them out side by side.

Thanks again for all of the information.

Steve

cgaengineer
09-01-2009, 03:44 PM
I am a Nikon guy so I would steer you towards that. This being said both Canon and Nikon make great cameras.

Take a look at a D200, its a couple years old but if you can find a used one with little use you would have a great camera...10mp is a ton of pixels too.

I have the D200 and D80 and I love both of them...I also have several lenses from wide all the way up to 500mm.

If you buy new I would suggest getting a full frame and buying full frame lenses instead of a DX camera and DX only lenses. Full frame will still use most DX lenses, but your image will be cropped...not a problem if your camera is 24mp though.