Canon 400D fully decked out or Nikon D90 kit

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by dominic_jones, Jul 16, 2011.

  1. First off let me start by saying I realize that they're two completely different cameras. I've just been put in a situation where I really don't kno what to do.
    Up until recently I had a Nikon D40 which I was completely tired of. I outgrew it and really dreaded using it. It wasn't up to standards with what I want to do. So I sold it now I have some money to play with. I originally intended on buying just a D90 with the kit lens which can be had for around 850 dollars. I was ready to make this decision until my mom offered me her Canon 400D with a kit lens and some normal type zoom lens. Now if I took that body I would have a lot more money to spend on some glass and accessories. Selling the 400D is not an option.
    I'm just wondering how big of a difference is the 400D over the D40? I mainly wasn't happy with image quality over an ISO of 200 and the fact that it couldn't autofocus lenses.
    So would you guys suggest a 400D with 2-4 lenses and all the accessories I would want. Or a D90 with just the kit lens, completely bare.
  2. I would go with the 400D without a shadow of a doubt. It's a great camera but it will not have the high ISO capability of the D90. I'd rather have decent lenses than an improved body any day. A couple of years down the line you can upgrade the body and keep the lenses. Makes no sense to have Nikon gear and Canon gear in the same family.
  3. Dominic, I have not used a 400D extensively but several times, and shoot Nikon myself normally... so based on that, a few points worth considering:
    - Image quality of the D40: if that let you down over ISO200, then you are going to be disappointed by a lot of cameras. The D40 is capable of very fine images (that 6MP sensor is pretty good); so maybe you need to check for yourself what it really is that bothers you there. Maybe underexposing causing noise..... in which case, the 400D and D90 will suffer the same. Without examples, it's hard to say, but do not rule out that your own photographic technique and skill is the limiting factor, and not the camera.
    I've had a D50 (same sensor as D40), compared to the 400D, it's a wash in my view. Both are unusable at ISO 1600. ISO800 both very OK. ISO200 and 400 look the same to me. 400D has the resolution advantage.
    - Ergonomics: the main difference between Canon and Nikon is in ergonomics. Buttons are laid out different, the grip feels different. The D90 is considerably larger than both D40 and 400D. That may or may not suit you. Personally, I find using the 400D cramps my hand because it's too small, and it feels very plastic and not solid - I don't like using it at all. But that's me - in the end, you must like using a camera, as you already found out. Ergonomics play a big role there.
    - Feature sets: the D90 is a step up. The 400D is step sideways. So if you outgrew your D40, you will outgrow the 400D soon too. But here, again, check for yourself in which ways you think you outgrew your D40 - which options you felt missing, in which ways the camera held your photography back.
    - More lenses sure isn't a nasty thing for sure, and better lenses do trump a better body. But... do remember those have to be carried too... Maybe you're not bothered at all, but a heavier camera bag can become an obstacle too.
    - How important is a viewfinder for you? The 400D has a horrible little viewfinder, the D90 much larger.
    So, just some points not directly related to the cameras image quality-performance that should be part of the consideration.
    P.S. - The D40, by the way, can autofocus lenses, but not all. As Nikon continues to update lenses, this is less of an issue every day. But yes, you need to be alert when shopping for new lenses.
  4. I don't know anything about the D90 but have a 400D it takes great images, its good upto iso 400 but above that it starts getting a fair bit of noise.
    I assume you have no Nikon glass so I would go with the canon use the 2 lens you have got and see if you like the camera before you get any new glass.
  5. The issue with an ISO over 200 with the D40 I meant is that unless it's the middle of the day I got less than favorable shots. The D40 just is not good at lowlight. Image quality on the D40 isn't horrible by any means. I just noticed it wasn't the best all the time.
    I'm realize why the D40 doesn't focus certain lenses and which ones it doesn't. I had a 50mm f1.8 with my D40 and it was a good lens. Just constantly having to manual focus gets tiresome. Having the benefit of being able to autofocus is a nice feature. I'm not saying the D40 isn't a good camera. It just has many limitations and I met many of those limitations in my couple years of owning the camera. I'm ready to move onto something else.
    The menu system and button layout on the D40 didn't bother me. So the 400D being similar is not a problem.
    Another example of why I was ready to get rid of the D40 is that it does not support vertical battery grips. Having to switch to the infrared setting in the menu to use the vertical shutter release on my grip then switch back to use it normally was very bothersome.
    At this point it just seems like deciding if the lowlight capabilities of the D90 are worth it over having the 400D and some glass.
  6. Dominic, I did not mean to defend the D40. Never had one, and with the small body and 3 points AF, it also never really attracted me. All I was trying to say is to be sure on understanding properly what holds you back. Given what you state in your second post, well, to me it sounds like the 400D will bump into the same issues.
    To clarify one point: Menu system and button lay-out of D40 and 400D are *not* the same. That's why it's important to try before you buy, you cannot assume it won't be a problem till you used them.
  7. I used a D40 for a while, as it was intended as a backup for a trip. It's certainly capable of excellent images, and I had no problems with it. Not knowing anything about your proficiency, it comes down to features and ergonomics. Frankly, I found the Canon bodies harder to navigate than Nikon, and they have always felt plasticky to me. The D90 is an excellent DSLR, and the one I use now, and a much better camera in all respects than the D40, with one exception. The D40 could mount non-AI lenses and I shot manually with it, with good results:
  8. I use a D2X for sports and a 1Ds for landscapes/architecture, and I know quite a bit about Nikon and more about Canon. Without knowing what lenses are involved, I would take the D90. I have used a D90 enough to know that it is a very capable camera, just not as good with manual lenses as the D2X. The Canon intro bodies are all very tiny and don't have the second wheel. So now the question is: what lenses do you have and what lenses would come with the 400D?
  9. With the 400D I would have the 18-55 kit lens, 55-200mm f/4.5 given to me. If I take the 400D I would buy probably 50mm f/1.8, Tamron 17-50 f/2.8, and maybe a Rokinon 8mm Fisheye f 3.5 depending on funds. I'd be buying the Tamron to replace the kit lens.
    With the D90 I would have just the kit lens.
  10. instead of the 400D I would go with a newer Canon body - 500D or 550D and depending on your budget ($1,000 +?) you
    could get some nice glass
  11. My budget is about 900-950.
  12. FWIW, I own the 400D and 40D and there is no doubt that the 40D is a better body than the 400D, Sensor technology is about the same if I remember correctly but the 40D has a bit better high ISO performance than the 400D though not great by today's standards.
    If your budget is as you then consider a 50D or stretching to a 60D.
    But judging from your original post I would select the 400D with lenses over the D90 and a single kit lens.
  13. I like going the canon way, but remember, it's in the glass whatever way you decide to go. :)
  14. Just for the record, the OP is talking about a Canon "400D" and a Nikon "D40".
    I too, like many here on the Canon EOS forum, surprisingly, prefer the Canon. :)
    I wonder what exactly it was about the D40 that you "outgrew"? I have a suspicion that merely switching marques will not solve whatever it was that made you dislike that camera.
  15. Huh? The original question was a 400D and a Nikon D90,
    I had a Nikon D40 and now I'm replacing it.
  16. Also on page one I state why I outgrew the camera. I'm ready for something bigger. The D40 had many limitations and I got tired of being inside of those confinements.
  17. About 8 months ago while saving to buy a D90, I got frustrated not having a camera and grabbed a 500D on special. I later added a 50-250 and the 50mmf/1.8. 3 months later I sold it all and had to wait another 4 months to buy my Nikon kit. Why? The 500D took great photos. I found the control setup on the cheaper Canons to be better than the cheaper Nikons. But the camera was uncomfortable for me to hold for long periods and I preferred the way the Nikon handled 1600 and 3200 ISO as far as noise went.
    Am I saying you have to go for the Nikon? Nope. What I"m saying is don't buy what could be a compromise just because it seems better value. Spend some time with the 400D first and see if it meets your needs and expectations.
  18. I've heard lots of good things about the D90 but have no personal experience. I just sold my 1000D (Rebel XS) which was a fine camera. However for my style the frames-per-second (fps) was too slow. I would imagine that the D90 and 400D are each capable of taking fine photos, but the D90 has faster fps. That's one of the things I like about my 50D. If fps was one of the limiting factors with your D40 you might not be satisfied with the 400D.
  19. If the choice is 400D plus an older two zoom kit (non-IS for the 18-55) plus 900 in lenses (plus a moral obligation not
    to sell the 400D) and a D90 plus kitlens... I'm betting that you'll eventually will be more happy with the Nikon.

    However if you'd have asked: in what DSLR system shall I invest my $900?

    You'd have opened an entirely different can of worms!

    (to which my answer would be: try a few and take the major brand which fits you best in hand and in specifications,
    preferably one that people you know also use so you can swap experiences and lenses around.)

    Have fun! Matthijs.
  20. Since you had to ask this question, you are not sure of real differences, so perhaps borrow the camera from your mom, and test compare with your pictures taken with D40. Then you will tell us how much better it is, or is not, the 400D, and you will know then what to do.
    Or just compare pictures from your D40 with pictures taken by your mom and Canon 400D. Inspect closely the Exif data.
    D40 is capable of taking great pictures, so the need to upgrade is not realy fully explained, and you will need to point out all defeciences from the comparison of both cameras pictures, as suggested above.
    The result of such compare would greatly depend on who is a better photographer, you, or your mom. Being a good photographer is also to know equipment limitations, and to know when not to take a picture.
    Putting everything aside, your decision seems to be derived based on what you already stated:
    " my mom offered me her Canon 400D with a kit lens and some normal type zoom lens".

    Talk to your mom, why she wants to get rid of the 400D ?
  21. My mom offered me her 400D because she knew I wanted to get rid of my D40. I have used the 400D and enjoy it immensely over my D40. But I haven't really pushed it to its complete limits like I did with the D40.

    I could by a L lens and throw it on the 400D and still have some money left over. It's just undecided if that's a better upgrade rather than going for a D90 + 50mm f/1.8 or kit lens. I've also been looking at going the 40D/50D route instead which would end up being very similar to the D90 route.

    I just made this to get some input. While I know the 400D is great camera I know it's still on the lower side of Canon's line of cameras. So I was getting some input if I should make a medium jump or try to make a bigger one by going to the D90.
    I guess it's a preference of having a good body and a great lens *17-40 f/4 lens* or a great body and a good lens. Was seeing what people think is a better decision to help sway my choice.
    Also like stated before the D40 is just not capable in lowlight. I shoot a lot in lowlight. That right there is enough reason for an upgrade for me. Also the D40 only has 3 focus points, another reason I want to upgrade. No AF motor in the D40 is another downfall.
    I've used the D40 for about 3 1/2 years which has been far too long. I just feel as if my skills have outreached the D40 and time for upgrade. I'm not saying it's a bad camera. There just comes a point where it's time for change. I'm sure everyone knows that feelings.
  22. Huh? The original question was a 400D and a Nikon D90,
    I had a Nikon D40 and now I'm replacing it.​
    Dominic, it helps if you actually read the posts before responding. The post shortly before mine had wondered off to a discussion of the 40D which is a Canon camera.
    Also, my second question was precisely why you felt your Nikon D40 was inadequate.
    If the D40 didn't work for you, I'm wondering why you think a newer model would be any different? The D40 has plenty of pixels for almost anything you are likely to do, so just having more resolution is unlikely to be a game changer for you, for just one example.
  23. If you go back and read the post I post directly above yours you would see why I'm ready to switch bodies. This has nothing to do with megapixels.
    Low light capabilities
    Faster FPS
    Better body build
    Better focus points
    Gaining AF motor
    and such other things. The D40 is a beginner camera. I'm no longer a beginner. That's why I need a new body.
  24. Well Dominic, based on those criteria is the 400D a worthwhile upgrade?
  25. If you find the D40 limiting, then I think you will find the 400D limiting also.
  26. Yes Dominic,
    and that post finally giving your reasons was after my original post asking why.
    Get whatever you want. but "amateur" cameras have produced plenty of professional results in hands that are capable. The point is that modern hardware is not that limiting.

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