You should play with both Nikon and canon in the store. I find the Nikon cameras have a better quality feel to them than canon. Canon is more cheaper plastic. Controls are a bit weird also on the canon, ask the sale person how to change. Settings quickly via dials and then make your choice. Nikon is better for portrait and landscape and fishes? Canon is better for fast moving shooting such as sports. You should also read up on lenses as both companies offer unique lenses in some categories the other does not. If you are not planning to shoot sports and do not need the frame rate the d800 is a fantastic camera. Some lower end cameras will not have controls for quick adjustments, and as you get better you will look for that. You should also look for a 100 percent viewfinder so what you see in the viewfinder is what you will get. Since i believe you may be shooting plants and fishes, this may be important. Full frame cameras also let on more light but the lenses are generally more expensive.
But the worse thing you can do is set a budget. Spent almost all of it on a body and then have nothing left over for good glass. There is only so much you can do with kit lenses, the lens that comes in a kit. Nice pictures are possible, but you will be hampered in low light situations, when you want to blow out a background to isolate your subject and other things you can do only with good glass. Go to the store and play, once you commit to a brand, its very expensive to switch to another.
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Nikon Pimp #82