Art and Photography

Sony A200 vs. Nikon D60 vs. Canon XSi

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  • Jul 6th, 2008 11:40 pm
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[OP]
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Mar 10, 2003
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Sony A200 vs. Nikon D60 vs. Canon XSi

I tried not to post another "what camera should I buy thread" and make a decision on my own, but am having issues deciding between these three cameras:

So far, I've weighed the pros and cons in this way:

Sony a200 Pros: $469.99
Clearly the best value
In body stabilization and dust reduction @ low price
Large LCD
Handles nicely
Two year warranty

Cons:
Uses CF cards
Build quality a little suspect (just by feel)
Lens selection a little limited

Nikon D60 Pros: $679.99
Size and build quality: just feels better in my hand despite the plastic body
Lens selection and price (Nikons seem to be a bit lower priced than comparable Canons), with the exception of the fact that it can't take non AF lenses
Feels a little faster than the Sony
Uses sd cards
Two year warranty

Cons:
Lens compatibility issue
Small (relatively speaking) LCD screen
Only 3 Point AF (does this matter?)

[rfdlink=38]Canon[/rfdlink] XSi Pros: $899.99
Largest LCD screen
Large lens selection
Fastest of the three I tried
Heard good things about the kit lens
SD cards

Cons:
Cost/value - most expensive of the bunch, and not particularly good value compared to the Sony
No ISO selection in Auto Mode?
One year warranty on cameras and lenses

So, I know the Sony is really the best value out there, and the [rfdlink=38]Canon[/rfdlink] is not 2x as good as the Sony (at 2x the price), but I like the apparent build quality of the Nikon and the [rfdlink=38]Canon[/rfdlink] better, and am still a little anxious about lens compatibility with the Sony (doesn't allow lens borrowing from friends who have Nikons or Canons). The many reviews I've read seem to suggest that they're all capable cameras.

If anybody can help me out here with opinions, or even better pricing than what I've got above on any of the kits above, I thank you in advance.
15 replies
Deal Expert
Mar 25, 2005
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I was in a similar situation a few weeks ago. I ended up with a Nikon D40 with the stock 18-55 kit lens. I decided against the Canon because its kinda like holding a brick without gloves. At first its do able, however it quickly becomes challenging. I choose not to get the Sony because their current lens line up is limited compared to Nikon/Canon. Finally, I chose the D40 over the D60 because the extra $200 is not worth the 10MP, and dust reduction system...plus I get to keep the 1/500 flash sync. My recommendation would be to get the D40, and use the money you save to buy a SB400 or SB800 flash. Its super handy indoors and being able to bounce improves your pictures 100%.
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Nov 5, 2005
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Seems like you did your homework quite well... I was also faced with somewhat of the same situation as yourself - Sony A200 vs Canon Rebel XTi. Lots of things came into play but eventually went with the Sony A200 because of the price. XTi offered the same but costed way more and the A200 body was bigger which fit my hands better. But don't let the Sony lineup disappoint you with their current lens lineup. Some of the older Minolta lenses will work on the current Sony bodies.
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Jul 5, 2006
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:cheesygri If I were you, I would pickup Canon. Both Nikon n' Canon are good choice but defintely not Sony...Nikon and Canon have much more lenses and accessories and Sony is pretty new in the DSLR field.

I do suggest to go for either Nikon or Canon and get sticky to it -- you can keep your lenses once you decide to upgrade to like Canon 5D, 1Ds etc. (if that's sony, you need to resell everything)
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Jan 3, 2006
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I don't know how you can compare a $469 camera to a $899 camera, that seems a tad unfair, since it's nearly double the price. I just got the A200. Yes I know there are less lenses available, but there are still quality Minolta Maxxum mount lenses out there that people love.

If price is not object, get the XSi, but in my mind the A200 would be fine for starting out...
[OP]
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Thanks for the responses. I bought a Sony A200 today, and a small CF card to try it out. I bought it from Blacks so that I would have the ability to return hassle free and upgrade if necessary.

I know the comparison between a $469 and an $899 camera isn't really fair: I didn't start looking at the XSi, but was very much attracted to the Canon/Nikon lens lineup.

The megapixel issue is a bit more important for me: I have used a Panasonic Lumix LX2 before, and really appreciated the 10MP when making large prints (11x14) from cropped sections of pictures. So I wasn't willing to go below 10MP.

I loved a few things about the XSi: the large screen, the build quality, and the kit lens, which had gotten good reviews. But in the end I decided it was too much to spend on a beginner's camera, and I could get some very nice glass for the $500 difference. Same thing for the Nikon: I wasn't quite as impressed with the build quality, but liked the small size, but again, felt like the smaller LCD, viewfinder, lack of in body stabilization (even though the kit lens has it), was a downer. I'm not even sure what lenses I'd be interested in, but the Nikons and Canons (even moreso) seem rather costly (especially if you want VR, which means you need newer first party lenses - with the Sony, the stabilization is in the body and while not as good, it's probably more than good enough for me).

Mostly though, my decision was based on the value of the A200: it's a heavily discounted camera that Sony is probably losing money on to capture market share. It is already more camera than I am ready for, as a beginner ;-) I can buy a good quality lenses (thinking 50mm Minolta prime, and an Minolta beercan zoom lens) on eBay for less than the cost of the difference between the A200 and the XSi). I'll probably still be able to flip it for $300-350 in a year or even two, if I make the decision to go with Nikon or Canon.

Who knows though. Maybe by Monday I'll have decided on the XSi ;-)
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Apr 26, 2001
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Its not exactly a straight across comparison as the canon is quite a bit higher end than the sony or even the nikon.

You need to fix a budget first then pick the cameras for the mix, dont forget pentax or olympus either, both have been around as long as the nikon and canon and have a substantial amount of accessories and lenses.
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Don't forget this probably won't be your last camera. All the accessories you buy now can be transferred to your next camera body. So if you plan on buying Canon in the future, stick with Canon.
Deal Expert
Mar 25, 2005
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"Upgrading" across brands is the most expensive way to enter photography. Camera bodies are a one shot, couple year deal. Chances are you will be buying another soon enough. Lenses however are more long term investment pieces as they will work in what should be your next five bodies. I would recommended buying a brand and sticking with them...unless of course you can afford two sets of lenses. This is the primary reason I bought my Nikon, there are many more Nikons than Minolta, and there quality is somewhat higher.

Also 6.1MP is more than enough for a 11x14 print. Heck, it looks perfect up to 13x19 without cropping.
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Kasakato wrote:
Jul 6th, 2008 9:55 pm
"Upgrading" across brands is the most expensive way to enter photography. Camera bodies are a one shot, couple year deal. Chances are you will be buying another soon enough. Lenses however are more long term investment pieces as they will work in what should be your next five bodies. I would recommended buying a brand and sticking with them...unless of course you can afford two sets of lenses. This is the primary reason I bought my Nikon, there are many more Nikons than Minolta, and there quality is somewhat higher.

Also 6.1MP is more than enough for a 11x14 print. Heck, it looks perfect up to 13x19 without cropping.
agreed. this is the same thing I thought about before buying my d50 a while back. And I've found no reason to upgrade yet since the d50 is still imo better than the d40/d40x/d60.

In any case, my next upgrade will most likely be the full-frame delicious D3 :D but then I need to stop buying any future DX lens...
[OP]
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Kasakato wrote:
Jul 6th, 2008 9:55 pm
"Upgrading" across brands is the most expensive way to enter photography. Camera bodies are a one shot, couple year deal. Chances are you will be buying another soon enough. Lenses however are more long term investment pieces as they will work in what should be your next five bodies. I would recommended buying a brand and sticking with them...unless of course you can afford two sets of lenses. This is the primary reason I bought my Nikon, there are many more Nikons than Minolta, and there quality is somewhat higher.

Also 6.1MP is more than enough for a 11x14 print. Heck, it looks perfect up to 13x19 without cropping.
I understand you're also a beginner to DSLR photography too and went for the D40 in a similar position, but I see it differently.

On lens choice: I thought the same thing before doing my research. If I buy a D40 and want a VR lens, I am paying big bucks for good lenses because they will have to be relatively new and first party. Remember that the D40 has a limited lens selection as well (not that you're likely to buy a lens older than 1992). To outfit the A200 with a good Minolta prime and telephoto lens will cost approx. $350 from eBay, and they will be image stabilized because it's in the body. If I ever decide to change systems, I can easily flip those lenses on eBay, or to all the people who bought Alphas here; depending on how popular Sony DSLRs get, I may even make money. A quick search of eBay shows a large enough selection of Sony mount lenses that I won't have to worry outgrowing the lens selection as an amateur photographer, and those Minolta lenses are very nice for the price.

And yes, 6.1MP is plenty for 11x14 - uncropped. (In fact, I have a 70% crop of a 6.1mp that was rejected by several photo printing services for being too low res for an 11x14 print, but it turned out fine). But as an amateur, I'm not always sure I'll get the perfect composition every time, and I'd rather not risk it if I can avoid it. I'm happy with 10 megapixels; that size seems to be the sweet spot at the moment (no need for the 12mp of to XSi or the 14.4 of the A350).
[OP]
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radeonboy wrote:
Jul 6th, 2008 10:00 pm
In any case, my next upgrade will most likely be the full-frame delicious D3 :D but then I need to stop buying any future DX lens...
Can you not use the DX lenses in the D3?
Member
May 27, 2007
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I think you made a good decision.
The problem with the XSi is that it is so much more expensive than the sony that you can almost buy a lens like the Tamron 17-50 with the Sony for the same price.
It also depends on how much IS is important to you.
Buying third party lenses from Sigma or Tamron will not allow you any form of IS with either the canon or nikon. Even cheap minolta lenses such as the beercan and the 50mm 1.7 prime can benefit from IS.
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milhaus wrote:
Jul 6th, 2008 10:50 pm
I understand you're also a beginner to DSLR photography too and went for the D40 in a similar position, but I see it differently.

On lens choice: I thought the same thing before doing my research. If I buy a D40 and want a VR lens, I am paying big bucks for good lenses because they will have to be relatively new and first party. Remember that the D40 has a limited lens selection as well (not that you're likely to buy a lens older than 1992). To outfit the A200 with a good Minolta prime and telephoto lens will cost approx. $350 from eBay, and they will be image stabilized because it's in the body. If I ever decide to change systems, I can easily flip those lenses on eBay, or to all the people who bought Alphas here; depending on how popular Sony DSLRs get, I may even make money. A quick search of eBay shows a large enough selection of Sony mount lenses that I won't have to worry outgrowing the lens selection as an amateur photographer, and those Minolta lenses are very nice for the price.

And yes, 6.1MP is plenty for 11x14 - uncropped. (In fact, I have a 70% crop of a 6.1mp that was rejected by several photo printing services for being too low res for an 11x14 print, but it turned out fine). But as an amateur, I'm not always sure I'll get the perfect composition every time, and I'd rather not risk it if I can avoid it. I'm happy with 10 megapixels; that size seems to be the sweet spot at the moment (no need for the 12mp of to XSi or the 14.4 of the A350).
I would say Im an intermediate to beginner in terms of photography. Iv shot with an old Nikon EM and Pentax K1000 before, developing and printing by hand. However in terms of digital, I am more or less a complete beginner.

Not having the in body focusing motor on the D40 is indeed a disadvantage, however its really not all that big of deal. Chances are your going to want a VR tele lens, which are all Dx AF-S enabled.
I personally have not tested the Sony's in body image stabilization before, please let us know how it turns out. I do know for sure that the VR feature on the long end of a 18-200 Nikon works great.
[OP]
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Kasakato wrote:
Jul 6th, 2008 11:02 pm
Not having the in body focusing motor on the D40 is indeed a disadvantage, however its really not all that big of deal. Chances are your going to want a VR tele lens, which are all Dx AF-S enabled.
I personally have not tested the Sony's in body image stabilization before, please let us know how it turns out. I do know for sure that the VR feature on the long end of a 18-200 Nikon works great.
Everyone I talk to says it's not a big deal at all, especially if you're not already invested in the lenses.

But the problem for me with Nikon lies in that particular lens. It gets decent, but not stellar, reviews, but it's also a $800 retail lens (almost 2x the price of my kit!)!! If I want a VR versatile one lens solution, I have to buy this baby. On the A200, I can buy a Sigma, Tamron, or Sony (which is $500) 18 - 200, or 18-250 and make use of the body IS (for significantly cheaper).

I am still auditioning the Sony, but it appears I'm beginning to convince myself. Off to eBay for accessories . . .

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