D40 and lenses

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by job, Nov 11, 2006.

  1. job macrumors 68040

    job

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    #1
    So I posted a thread a while back and seemed to be set on getting an older, used Canon Digital Rebel (not XT) to make the jump to the digital world.

    Now with all the rumors about the Nikon D40, it seems like a great package for the price and my intent. I don't need a D80. Or even anything like a Rebel XT/XTi. Those bodies, quite frankly would be overkill.

    Sure, the rumored D40 doesn't seem to be a decent D50 replacement, but it'll serve quite well. I've read that it'll only take Nikon's AF-S lenses, since the D40 lacks an in-body autofocus mechanism.

    Does anyone out there have experience with AF-S lenses? How are the older lenses in terms of manual focusing?

    Cheers.
     
  2. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #2
    I don't know what you're asking, really.

    What the D40 means is that older Autofocus lenses won't work on this camera. Only the better AF-S lenses will work. AF-S lenses work on a completely different focusing system --- it's faster and quieter than AF because it's not nearly as mechanical. The D40 lacks something inside that makes AF lenses work, so it'll be impossible for AF lenses to work. Sometimes the difference between AF and AF-S speed is very small, as focus is already fast on some AF lenses and can't get much faster; however, AF-S will always be quieter (not a big issue in most cases, IMO).

    The negative aspect of not being able to use perfectly good AF lenses is that your lens choices are much more limited. There are lots of good lenses that are still AF only, and there aren't many 3rd party lens options from Sigma, Tamron, and Tokina that are AF-S (ie: USM or HSM).

    On the other hand, maybe Nikon is actually planning an entire transition to AF-S, and that's why the decision was made. That would be amazing! And besides, if you don't plan on owning a LOT of lenses and take photography to a serious level, you're only likely to own 1-3 lenses. If you bought something like a Nikon 18-200 mm VR and 50 mm f/1.8, maybe that's all you'd ever need. The 50 mm f/1.8 isn't AF-S right now, but maybe it will be. It would be great for low light photography. :)
     
  3. job thread starter macrumors 68040

    job

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    I was wondering if anyone had experience with AF-S lenses and Nikkor lenses in general. Prices, specs, comparisons to Canon, etc.

    I'm under the impression that the older lenses will still work; you'll just have to use manual focus.

    Cheers. That's the sort of recommendation I was looking for. Much appreciated. :)
     
  4. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

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    #4
    For the most part AF-s lenses are like the Canon USM lenses. Fast focusing and quiet.

    Because of extra contacts no the AF-s mount lenses, it is possible that any non-AF-s lens will not meter on the D40. Only time will tell if this is true.

    Also I find AF lenses to be a pain to manually focus, compared to manual focus lenses. The distance from near to far focus is short on most AF lenses, so fine tuning the focus is harder to do.

    The other issue with the D40 will be compatibility with the VR lenses from Nikon. It is my understanding that the VR technology requires at least 5 focusing points to work.
     
  5. job thread starter macrumors 68040

    job

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    interesting. Certainly something to consider.
     
  6. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

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    #6
    Perhaps you meant to say the D40, instead of the D50. The D50 will work with any Nikon AF lens - AF-s or not.

    [/quote]The D40 lacks something inside that makes AF lenses work, so it'll be impossible for AF lenses to work. Sometimes the difference between AF and AF-S speed is very small, as focus is already fast on some AF lenses and can't get much faster; however, AF-S will always be quieter (not a big issue in most cases, IMO).[/QUOTE]

    What the D40 will lack is the focusing cog that connects to the focusing cam (think these are the right terms) with the original AF and AF-D lenses. In these lenses the AF is done by pure mechanics.

    With AF-s lenses it is done by electronic contact that tells the AF motor in the lens how to behave. Like all Canon EF type of mounts have done.

    Good point. But given the market that the D40 is aimed at this might not be an issue.

    As for third party makers of lenses, the next PMA may hold some surprises there.

    From your lips to Nikons ears. But I would not hold my breath for a complete conversion to AF-s any time soon. It may take upwards of 10 years to make the total switch to AF-s.

    By then Nikon may well kill off any 35mm film camera. Leaving the market to DX lenses for the DSLR market place. So we might just see a 33mm f2.0 and f1.4 DX lens to give us the 50mm FOV. Along with a 55mm to equal the 85mm FOV; along with the likes of a 14mm, 16mm, 19mm, and 24mm in a DX configuration.

    They already have proven that DX single focal length lenses can be smaller and lighter than their 35mm brothers, with the 10.5mm fish-eye lens.
     
  7. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #7
    I did. Corrected. ;)


    Yeah, I just wanted to keep the explanation simple.

    The AF lenses will likely still be able to meter correctly, and I don't see how this would be affected in the D40. I think Job is right when he presumed that manual focus with AF lenses would still work on the D40. They would work and likely meter correctly, but not autofocus.


    You're right, but as long as they commit themselves to releasing all new lenses as AF-S, and slowly switch over the ones that currently aren't, they might be ok.

    I hope they don't kill off their 35 mm lenses. I think I'd switch to another company if Nikon were to release DX lenses exclusively from now on. :eek:

    I'm under the impression that Nikon will eventually use a FF sensor. It really think it's a matter of time before every company has to, unless there's some miracle sensor that can somehow suppress noise entirely (not likely to happen) while increasing sensitivity. It's pretty much why I don't expect Olympus and the 4/3rds group being around for a long time......not unless this miracle noiseless, super-sensitive sensor technology is discovered within 3-5 years or so.

    Sony makes FF sensors, so it's really a matter of time before Sony uses it. I'm guessing Nikon will follow suit and purchase them.
     
  8. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

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    #8
    The jury is still out on this for now.

    The point I am making is that there are an extra 5 contacts on an AF-s (VR - the 18-200VR) lens, compared to AFD lens that I looked at. It is possible for Nikon on the D40 to limit use of any lens that has only five contact points.

    IIRC Nikon has done limitations in the past. IRC a 35mm "entry level" SLR that required the aperture to be changed "electronically" (think AF-G mount lenses), not by the aperture ring.

    Times move on as a Nikon rep once told me.

    I believe that all new Nikon lenses will be AF-s or at least AF-s compatible. Meaning that the likes of a Nikon PC lens in the future will work with AF-s only bodies.

    Only time will tell about the viability of the FF sensor. If you read some of the Canon forums; there is a great cry for digital specific wide angle zoom and single focal length lenses in order to get better corner detail and vignetting under control.

    But in the end it is the debate about format changes that I have posted about before that is at issue.

    Photographic history is full of cries of the loss of a beloved format, and what it would do to photography in general. From the early days of photographers shooting 11x14 or 8x1, and the woes they sang as 5x7 and 4x5 started to move in on their turf. That gave way to 2 1/4x3 1/4 sheet film, and soon after the move to MF film. MF users cried foul when Oscar Barnack came out with the original Leica UR using 35mm film. Or when Kodak came out with the original Brownie camera.

    Each move towards new technology was met with cries of despair from those that found comfort in their "old" technology. The difference I see today is that we seem to feel we are more "entitled" to try and keep our comfort level the same.

    Never before the 1940's or 50's, have photographers felt such an entitlement to keeping their same gear as technology has marched on. may be it is time for us to look at the camera as a tool. And pick the best tool to do the job.

    In the end it means picking a format that meets your needs. Nikon, Canon, and others never promised that you would never need to make a change in gear or formats.

    The longevity of the 35mm format has us spoiled. Making us feel as we are entitled to use our 10+year old lenses forever.
     
  9. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #9
    "AF-S" and "AI-S". Just one letter difference.

    THe new AF-S lenses are mostly well made but the low priced models are plastic body and feel light. Not sloppy mechcanically but light weight.

    The AI-S lenses on the other hand are all solid brass and glass and have a very solid feel to them. No one makes lens like these any more (OK Nikon still makes a few of these)
    They handle so much better then even the best of the current autofocus lenses. But of course yu have to rotate a ring to focus the lens - kind of a lost art.
     
  10. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

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    To be blunt, the AI-S lenses were made at at time that quality had a different value than it seems to have today. I love nothing more than to have a customer come in with an "old" Vivitar Series 1 lens.

    These were lenses that were designed optically and physically, to meet the likes of Nikon or Canon - with the best of their lenses.

    Today,everything is about the price point. Never mind that an SLR that cost $300 in 1976 would cost $1000. We don't want to hear that.
     
  11. Silentwave macrumors 68000

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    #11
    Remember, Chip, even command-dial-only cameras still let the lens work :)

    There are, if memory serves, more pins than there are contacts on the bodies. the D200 and D2 series have the most, the D70 (possibly the D80) has one less. I can't remember if its another ground or power contact.

    The additional pins beyond the 5 metering pins are involved with AF (and other feature) power and grounding.
     
  12. Forced Perfect macrumors 6502

    Forced Perfect

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    #12
    Doesn't VR/IS use gyroscopes to detect motion instead of using the AF system? I'm quite sure the IS on my wife's lens works in the dark considering it's a first gen system and you KNOW its on (it's loud as hell and you can feel it even if you have a black viewfinder). hehe
     
  13. Silentwave macrumors 68000

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    #13
    It's not gyros, but it is independent of the focus system IIRC. Otherwise it wouldn't work when I throw it completely out of focus :)

    the 5-point or higher thing simply means that only the cameras produced after the point they moved them to 5-point have been programmed and wired for VR operation.
     
  14. Forced Perfect macrumors 6502

    Forced Perfect

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    #14
    Granted Wiki isn't always right, but:

    An Optical Image Stabilizer, often abbreviated as OIS, is a mechanism used in a digital still camera or video camera that stabilizes the recorded image by varying the optical path to the sensor. In Canon's implementation, it works by using a floating lens element that is moved orthogonally to the optical axis of the lens, using electromagnets. The vibration signal which is compensated for by the stabilizing lens element is typically aquired using two piezoelectric angular velocity sensors (often also called gyroscopic sensors).

    Is Nikon's VR different?
     
  15. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #15
    Canon's VERY old system did use a gyroscope. They used to use a spinning lens element. The lens was in effect the cor of an electric motor. The current system does not work like this. They use accelerometers in the camera bo detect motion and there is a lens element that is moved. Video camera tend to use a "liquid prism" two glas plates with some kind of liquid between them
     
  16. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #17
    That's what we forget. Do you remember how expensive a Nikon SLR was back in the 1970's or 80's? I remember you could buy a really nice car for $3,500 in 1972. I owned a Datson 240Z. There was a waiting list for this car then. You could buy a Nikon SLR for about 1/3rd the price of the car. A middle class income that could support a family was about $12K per year Needless to say, they did not sell as many camera back then as they do today and certainly casual snapshooters did not by a Nikon F2. There were cheaper SLRs back then, few people could afford Nikon.

    Today all the precision, hand assembled clockwork inside the cameras is replaced by electronics and with a DSLR, the film transport system is gone. Manufacturing of the low-end components has moved from Japan to China. They are much cheaper to make and the retail prices are much less. And so of course we see many more people buying these
     
  17. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #18
    Manual focus is manual focus. AFS and AFS-II lenses are very nice, but there are *lots* of great used AFD lenses out there, and I'd really urge you to reconsider not getting a body that'll AF with those lenses. One of the major advantages of Nikon is that the lens mount hasn't changed in about 50 years, but the last 15 years or so of lenses contain some real gems and prices are good for lenses in excellent condition- a sure way to get pro glass on a budget.
     

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