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Canon Rebel XTI -OR- Nikon D40X ???

  • SLR
  • Nikon
  • Canon
  • Cameras
Last response: in Digital Camera
August 9, 2007 6:31:02 PM


I've been contemplating buying an SLR for a while now. Been doing the research and have narrowed down my choices to 2 cameras Canon Rebel XTI -OR- Nikon D40X ??

I can't make up my mind.

I pretty much want the best quality picture with out so many complicating features that most likely I'll never use. I also would like to take portraits and landscape outdoor pictures too.

Which one do you recommend??

More about : canon rebel xti nikon d40x

August 11, 2007 5:31:14 PM

ok so by far between the XTi and the D40x, the D40x has 10X better image quality,, especially if you buy a kit lense like an 18-55mm, if you buy the XTi your gonna need to buy an expensive lense for good quality photo's,, but they still wont be as good and the D40X's. And you say that you dont want many complications,,, so the D40x will be a perfect choice becasue if you want to get good pictures from the XTi your gonna need to tweak it, meaning that you basically need press a bunch of buttons and change a lot of settings,, and with the D40x you just need to point and shoot

hope this helps
August 23, 2007 2:37:35 AM

Hi Kuanaco, see if this link is of any help :>

In a nutshell, the D40x works extremely well with Nikon's new "consumer" (read: cheap) zoom lenses which give extremely high levels of image quality. But it can't autofocus with older lenses, only Nikon AF-S and Sigma's HSM lenses.

The Canon gives you much more choice when it comes to lenses (say, if you want to shoot macros), but its cheaper lenses don't fare as well in terms of image quality.

Hope this helps!
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August 29, 2007 7:39:59 PM

It is obvious from his post above that Waser has no clue what he is talking about -- ABSURDLY laughable statements such as the Nikon D40x having "10x better image quality" demonstrate that he is totally uninformed and has not spent even 1 minute researching the cameras in question.

If you're looking for a camera, as the ill-informed Waser states above, where, "you just need to point and shoot", a DSLR is a waste of money. Purchase instead one of the many high quality pro-sumer point and shoot cameras.

However, if you're wanting to learn and enjoy photography, and not be impeded by the limitations of a non-SLR camera, as I assume is the case from your willingness and interest in researching your future camera purchase, then you're headed in the right direction.

As I am sure you are aware after having researched both cameras, the Nikon D40x is Nikon's direct competition to the Rebel Xti. The D40 was lacking several key features in comparison to the Xti and the Sony Alpha, and the D80 was a significant price jump for an already expensive entry-level DSLR category.

Prior to its release, Nikon's only real competitor to the popular Rebel Xti, based upon features (color depth, ISO settings, CCD sensitivity, price, additional features), was the (at the time) more expensive D80.

First, picture quality on both cameras are both top-notch and nearly identical, with various minor nuances varying between them. One camera may ever-so-slightly outperform the other in one specific shooting scenario, but the other will ever-so-slightly outperform the other in a different shooting scenario. It is impossible to tell them apart even when viewing extremely large print outs. The picture quality is not going to be a deciding factor between the two to be honest.

The Rebel Xti offers the anti-dust shake system, which is also offered by Pentax, and should prove invaluable over time when dust is trying to build up on your camera's "eye", which can ruin shots until cleaned. Many choose to have their cameras professionally cleaned rather than risk damaging the sensitive internals. That is going to affect the long-term cost. The less often your camera needs to be cleaned, the less chance of damage, and the less cost.

The Nikon D40x offers a special HI-1 setting to achieve ISO 3200, for very low-light scenarios. However, the trade-off is extremely high noise levels in the captured image.

The Rebel Xti offers an 11-point auto-focus system, compared to the D40x's 3-points.

The Nikon D40x offers better shutter delay options over the Rebel Xti - both 2, 5, 10 and 20 second shutter delays. The Rebel Xti offers only 10 second delay without a remote (2 second with one of the optional remotes).

A short shutter delay is invaluable when shooting delicate shots where the camera shake caused by the shutter button press can be detected in the image capture (macro, low-light, night photography). The 2 second delay is just long enough to allow the camera to stop shaking after the button press. With the Rebel Xti, the only way to get a 2 second shutter delay is with an optional remote. In my opinion, this is a flaw that Canon needs to remedy. This should be a standard feature on any DSLR, period.

The Nikon D40x does not have the lens motor built into the body -- therefore every lens you buy for it must have a built-in motor if you want it to auto-focus. This means you will only have auto-focus when using the more expensive AF-S and AF-I lens models. This drastically reduces the number of lenses available. You'll have no choice but to manually focus if you choose to use any of the AF, AF-D, AF-G, or AF-N lenses.


As you can see, when it comes down to it, for the most part, there are only minor differences between the two cameras.

My advice to you is to get your hands on both cameras. That's the advise I got when trying to decide on my DSLR. It was good advice I'm passing on.

Go to a camera shop and try them both out. How do they feel in your hand when shooting? This is very important -- you're going to spend lots of time with the camera in your hand, with heavy attachments and lenses on it.

What do you think of their menu system?

Take some test shots, get a feel for each camera.

Which do you prefer?

Do you have any friends that already own a certain brand equipment, who would be willing to loan you lenses, etc.? If so, this can save you both tons of money -- this may weigh heavily on your decision.
September 13, 2007 4:54:14 AM

skavoovie said:

First, picture quality on both cameras are both top-notch and nearly identical, with various minor nuances varying between them. One camera may ever-so-slightly outperform the other in one specific shooting scenario, but the other will ever-so-slightly outperform the other in a different shooting scenario. It is impossible to tell them apart even when viewing extremely large print outs. The picture quality is not going to be a deciding factor between the two to be honest.

Actually, at the higher ISO settings the XTi CMOS sensor holds an advantage over the D80/D40x CCD sensors --- but only if you shoot RAW. The more accurate description (for me) would be: XTi sensor is more efficient than Nikon's. However, D40x/D80 JPEG noise reduction algorithms is more efficient than Canon's. The RAW data accumulated on the XTi CMOS sensor retains a noticeably better detail-to-noise ratio. However, Nikon's in-camera JPEG processor is much more efficient than Canon's. So much so that with in-camera JPEGs, the D40x/D80 images look more pleasing than Canon's. Less detail, but also less noise.

However, for people that *don't* use in-camera JPEGs, the XTi is ahead of Nikon's cameras. Shooting RAW and processing them through a program like NeatImage or Noise Ninja, the XTi images holds up much better. I've seen ACR conversions of D80 and XTi RAW files, and the XTi @ ISO 1600 look only a little worse than D80 @ ISO 800. But this would only matter for people that shoot RAW.

skavoovie said:

The Nikon D40x offers a special HI-1 setting to achieve ISO 3200, for very low-light scenarios. However, the trade-off is extremely high noise levels in the captured image.

All the "ISO 3200 HI" and "ISO 3200 BOOST" features found in the D40x, D80, D200, 20D, 30D, and even 5D are completely useless. The sensor itself doesn't reach beyond ISO 1600. All the camera is doing is artificially pushing up the brightness of an underexposed ISO 1600 photo by one stop. You can do it yourself in RAW mode with DPP. Only the most recent cameras (D300, D3, 1Dmk3, 1Dsmk3) have "real" ISO 3200. All the other ones are just simulated ISO 3200.[/quotemsg]

skavoovie said:

A short shutter delay is invaluable when shooting delicate shots where the camera shake caused by the shutter button press can be detected in the image capture (macro, low-light, night photography).

XTi doesn't have this problem because they have a mirror lock-up feature not present in the D40x/D80 cameras.

skavoovie said:

With the Rebel Xti, the only way to get a 2 second shutter delay is with an optional remote. In my opinion, this is a flaw that Canon needs to remedy.

In the XTi, activating the Mirror Lock Up and Self Timer together will give you a 2-second delay. It's not documented, but it's an extremely useful feature.

Canon has recently introduced a pair of budget lenses. The 18-55 IS, which improves upon the old kit lens by adding an aspherical element and image stabilization. There's also the 55-250 IS lens, which has fairly impressive MTF numbers.

If I was advising a newbie starting from scratch, the following would be my suggestions for a great budget kit:

EF-S 18-55 IS
EF-S 55-250 IS
EF 50 f1.8

Nikkor 18-200 VR
October 20, 2007 1:07:17 AM

I would agree with many that you can't go wrong with either the Canon or Nikon. When I started out a number of month ago, I was switching from a fairly extensive Nikon film system, so I'm biased toward Nikon, but I looked hard at both. It's only between Nikon and Canon, IMO, because you're not just buying a camera, but a system and only those two brands offer a large system of equipment that's easy to find.

Like I said, I'm biased, but I went to the camera store and tried a Canon with the basic kit lens 18-55 lens and was so surprised when I couldn't get it sharp. I thought that the lens might just be a bad sample or broken because of so much use in a box store display. I went to another store and the same thing. I thought it might be the diopter settings or my tired old eyes, but the Nikon kit lens was so sharp comparibly. Finally, I went to a local camera store, and the salesman told me that I should consider that Canon 18-55 a throwaway lens. I agree. Nikon is an optics company first. They don't make copying machines or printers. They make glass, and it's good glass. Even their cheapo kit lenses are pretty sharp. I ended up with a Nikon D80 and the kit 18-135 zoom and I'm going to say that it's freaky sharp. This kit is around $1300 USD, though and possibly out of your range.

Canon's L series are excellent lenses too, from what I understand and they have more lenses with image stabalization, which is very good when you don't have a tripod. (Nikon VR = Canon IS image stabalization) I think that in-lens IS like Nikon and Canon is much better than in-camera IS like Olympus and Pentax.

My advise, if it's worth anything, would be to buy the Nikon D40 or D40x and the 18-200 VR zoom. It will do 95% of anything you wish with image stabalization and lots of zoom range. I actually like the little D40 as well or better though it is only 6 megapixels. It has cleaner low level performance and better dynamic range. Unless you blow your images up to huge sizes you won't notice the megapixel hit.

On the Canon side, I'm not as versed, but I do know I wouldn't have that kit 18-55 lens. I'd get the body and buy the lens separate. Unfortunately, Canon doesn't make a lens that compares to Nikon's do-anything 18-200 VR, but they do have some good, high-quality choices. I would advise the 17-85 IS if you can get it in a bundle with the camera. It has a fair amount of distortion at the widest settings but is pretty sharp throughout. It's a nice light-weight walk-around lens.

Just my 2 cents. Good luck.
October 24, 2007 9:32:09 AM

Gonna stick my oar in here and say go for the D40X AFTER trying them both. any shop worth it's salt will let you try both cameras before buying.

I have a D40X, and have never found a problem with it. I did try Canons it the shop, but the grips tend to be a bit squarer than Nikons, so not quite as comfortable. Nikon definitely has the cheaper lenses, but Canons can use a greater range (for the moment)

Your best option is to try both, and decide which from that.
December 9, 2007 5:21:44 AM

I own the D40x as well. I was originally going to purchase the XTi, but I am glad I didn't. I couldn't imagine going to any other entry level digital SLR. Simply amazing camera.
February 28, 2009 7:53:36 PM

i have owned one of four different camera makes and for the most part they are pretty close. i currently own an xti and i am very happy with it, although i will say that if you want accessories canon will set you back a bank roll or two. if you are looking for an inexpenesive body i feel canon has the best image sensor out there but be expected to give up some money on lenses, if you want to buy alot of lenses and accessories then nikon gives you the best bang for the buck.
April 13, 2009 7:33:25 AM

Good info from everyone.

It's apparent that journeymen is somewhat new to the the dslr world so I'm going to keep it simple. As a beginner, I personally feel that you must likely won't even notice(or even care) about the fine differences between the two models. That usually comes when you've spent some time behind the lens. Just pick the one you are leaning towards because people are always going to tell you good and bad things of both. Good luck.

2 cents from a 300d, D40x, and D60 owner
April 28, 2009 5:46:52 AM

I don't like the kit lens from Canon, I've seen too many of them break. The Nikon kit lens is also low-end, but not as fragile.

They're both soccer mom cameras, only a step above a good point-and-shoot. The inability to these cameras to use non-G lenses irks me a bit. If you're male, the small size of the body will aggravate you eventually. It seems to have been designed for ladies only, and the more petite the better.

Agree on the 18-200 lens, it's quite nice for the crop-body SLRs.
April 29, 2009 4:21:11 PM

My journey with DSLRs began back in 2003 with the original Digital Rebel. DSLRs changed my photography for the better like nothing else. Five years and some 25,000 shots later, it's still going strong. Along the way I upgraded to the Canon 30D, which is a fantastic camera as well. When the 40D was announced, I decided to wait until the 50D sometime in 2009, but wanted a newer backup/second body for my photography needs. So when the XSi/450D was announced, it sounded like a perfect fit for my needs.

I got it from three days ago, and have given it a pretty good workout since then, having shot about 650 shots under a variety of shooting conditions and with a number of different Canon and third-party lenses. The following are my impressions.

The build feels very good. The camera feels wonderfully light yet well built. I'm 6ft tall with average size hands, and the camera feels good in my hand. The battery grip, to me, defeats the purpose of having a small, light DSLR, so I opted for a Hakuba/Opteka grip (it's a plate that screws into the tripod socket that enables you to use the excellent Canon E1 hand strap with it) and I couldn't be happier. I'm not a fan of neck straps, so this works well for me (see the uploaded photo for the configuration).

Most of the menu buttons on the back feel different from the ones on the original Digital Rebel and the 30D; the XSi buttons feel more tactile and have a definite "click" to them when you press them. The exception are the Exposure Lock (*) and AF selector buttons, which have retained the deeper, softer feel of the older cameras. Just different, not better or worse, for me.

The LCD is now 3" with 230K pixels. The playback images look awesome, and probably because of the higher resolution of the sensor, there's a very slight delay when you zoom in to 10x while the image loads and displays properly. People coming from other cameras or brands might not even notice it--I only did so because of the difference between it and my two other Canon DSLRs (which have lower resolution sensors). The viewing angle of the LCD screen (how clearly you can see the screen from side and up and down) is excellent; you can still see the screen holding the camera almost straight up for an overhead shot (more on this later). I'd estimate the viewing angle is about 160-170 degrees both horizontally and vertically.

The Digital Rebel has a separate status screen above the main LCD screen, and the 30D had one on top of the camera, so I wasn't sure if I was going to like the big LCD acting as the status screen and no top screen. I'm happy to say that this arrangement works well. The back screen makes it really easy to take all the settings at a glance. The viewfinder is much larger and brighter than that in the Digital Rebel. A welcome feature for me is the always displayed ISO value in the viewfinder.

The camera is only half of the image quality equation, the other being the lenses being used. Coupled with my favorite lens, the Canon EF 70-200mm f/4 L telephoto lens, the XSi turns out fantastic images. The supplied kit lens is very light and compact for being an image stabilized lens, and turns out good performance. The IS is certainly very useful.

Two features that used to be missing from the Digital Rebels and found in the more expensive DSLRs are now featured in the XSi: spot-metering and flash exposure compensation (these may have been available in the previous Digital Rebel model, the XTi, as well). The inclusion of those two features make the camera a much more complete and compelling photographic tool. The timer function now has a custom mode, where it'll count down from 10 seconds then take a number of shots (specified by you) in succession. No more running back and forth to reset the timer after each shot! There's also the traditional 2-second timer.

Let's talk for a minute about sensor and the ISO values. XSi/450D has five ISO values you can choose: 100 (best image quality), 200, 400, 800, and 1600. Higher ISO increases the camera sensor's sensitivity to light, thus you can achieve faster shutter speeeds for a given lighting condition. However, the trade-off is that the sensor "noise" (think grain for film photography) increases with higher ISO, so you get a degraded image quality in return for less blurred photos from hand shakes (thanks to faster shutter speed). This may come in handy in situations where flash photography is not permitted, such as a museum or a concert or theater. HOWEVER, compared to point-and-shoot digital cameras, the larger sensors of DSLRs, including the XSi, means that even at ISO 800 and 1600 you get very usable images right out of the camera. Running the images shot at those ISO settings through any number of third-party noise reduction software will improve them even further.

This ties in to another very useful feature of the XSi/450D that makes life easier for the photographer: The Auto ISO function. By default, Auto ISO sets the ISO (the sensor sensitivity to light) between 100 and 800 (by using custom functions, this can be changed to 200-1600). If you are, for example, shooting your kid's indoor basketball game and you know that you need a shutter speed of at least 1/200 sec to "freeze" the action, then you can set the camera to Tv (shutter priority mode) and set the value to 1/200, and set the camera to Auto ISO. Then the camera will match the aperture and the ISO to achieve proper exposure at that shutter speed. With my other DSLRs, setting the camera to shutter priority only allowed the camera to adjust the aperture value; ISO setting had to be adjusted manually. With the XSi/450D, the ability for the camera to adjust the ISO value automatically makes it one less thing for you the photographer to worry about.

I've only tested the Live View function to see how it works, but I can already see how useful it's going to be in studio and macro shootings. Just a note, you can't half-press the shutter to autofocus while in Live View mode. You can either manual focus, or use one of the two autofocus methods, quick (the mirror flips up, the LCD goes dark for a short while, and flips down with focus locked) or live (the camera uses the LCD's contrast detection to achieve the focus--this method is slower than the quick method), both by pressing the exposure lock button while in the Live View mode. Using either the RS-60E3 wired remote or RC-1 wireless remote in Live View mode will ONLY trigger the shutter, and has no bearing on focusing.

Some people seem to be under the impression that the inclusion of the Live View feature will enable them to use the XSi/450D as they do point-and-shoot digital cameras, to compose their shots. That is not the case. You can't really make a functioning use of the Live View feature unless the camera's securely mounted on a tripod or on a flat surface. Both Live View focusing modes, while precise, are too slow to be used for hand-held shooting.

The Direct Print button that's been much ridiculed and maligned in most Canon cameras now double as the white balance menu button. The Set button in the middle of the four-direction arrow keys can be programmed for a number of different functions: Change image quality, flash exposure compensation, LCD monitor on/off (same as Display button, but can be triggered by the same hand holding the camera), and Menu display (again, can be triggered by the same hand holding the camera).

There is a dedicated ISO button, which is also very welcome. It can easily be accessed during shooting with the right thumb, thereby minimizing the interruption to shooting.

The battery life seems very good. I've shot about 500+ shots on a single charge and the status monitor is still showing charge at full.

I'm using Transcend 8GB Class 6 SDHC card with it. At ISO 100, the camera reports it can fit 396 RAW+JPG (highest quality) on it, but in reality it can probably fit about 420-450 (the camera's always conservative when estimating). With RAW only, it can fit 507. With highest quality JPG, it can fit 1,822. Note that as ISO increases, so do the file sizes and thus you can store less images per card. For example, on ISO 1600, the same card can only hold 323 images, compared to 396 at ISO 100.

All in all, it's a fantastic camera. Pretty amazing to see how far the entry-level DSLRs have come in just a few years in terms of features, interface, ergonomics, and quality. I'm very pleased with my purchase and intend to have lots of fun shooting pictures with it.
May 29, 2009 9:25:19 AM

Why isn't D40 an option? It may have 4 less MP than the D40x, but it's not important if you're not going to print big. Since the poster seems to be a point and shoot user, I'm guessing he's assuming that more MP = superior image quality. Considering the $200 price difference, it's a no brainer to just use the D40.