First DSLR purchase

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by gamerz, Feb 7, 2008.

  1. gamerz macrumors 6502

    gamerz

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2006
    #1
    Hello,

    So exams are over, Christmas is over, and still no DSLR. The time has finally come for me to start looking at some of my options, and to start researching about DSLR's. I really love photography, and would like to improve in it also. I know an SLR won't make me automatically a good photographer, but with a standard point and shoot I didn't have enough adjustable features that I would like (dont ask me what features I need, I have no clue what they do or are).

    The camera that I am looking at purchasing is the Nikon D40, or possibly the D40x. Here are some questions.

    Why is the D40x better (features, mp, etc.) Would it be a good purchase for somebody entering SLR photography, or would the D40 be better.

    When starting off, is it better to have only 1 lens, I know a bunch of companies sell their models with a 15-55mm, but there is also the Nikkor 55-200mm, which looks pretty decent.

    Where is a good place to buy a DSLR (preferably in Canada)

    Thats all the questions for now. Thanks for the help.
     
  2. rogersmj macrumors 68020

    rogersmj

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2006
    Location:
    Indianapolis, IN
    #2
    I too just purchased my first DSLR, and it came down to the D40 or D40x for me as well. Ultimately, I chose the D40, because the only things the D40x has are more megapixels (10 vs 6) and a slightly faster shooting rate (3/sec vs 2.5/sec).

    More megapixels do not matter unless you're making very, very large prints. In this range (above 6 megapixels), you won't see a difference until you get above 18 or 20 inch prints, I think it was. So unless you'll be printing posters, ignore the megapixels. You also actually take a slight hit on image quality in low light with the D40x because it's cramming more pixels onto the same size sensor, making each one less sensitive to light. (EDIT: And the D40 has a faster flash sync than the D40x.)

    As for the shooting rate...I didn't think an extra 0.5 image every second was worth $150, because that's about the difference between the D40 and D40x kits. You can get a good deal on the D40 at a number of places right now (like Amazon), and put the rest of the money toward a new lens or something -- and yes, the Nikkor 55-200mm VR is a good hobbyist lens (just make sure you get the VR version).
     
  3. cls macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2008
    Location:
    Finland
  4. disdat macrumors regular

    disdat

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2005
    Location:
    New England USA
    #4
    I have an XTi, and I find the extra pixels very handy when cropping. My longest lens is 100mm, so cropping closer to my subject is a plus. Just my 2 cents.
    :)
     
  5. Plymouthbreezer macrumors 601

    Plymouthbreezer

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2005
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    #5
    For various reasons, the D40x and D60 are not worth the premium over the D40. Search the forms for more info on the specifics.
     
  6. Wingnut330 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2008
    Location:
    Central Ohio - USA
    #6
    I was in the same situation a week ago. I was set to buy a D40 and bought an XTi. I have been very happy with it so far although I'm a casual shooter. I selected it over the D40 for a variety of reasons most of which were poo-poo'd in this forum.

    Most folks around these parts are going to refer the Nikon brand. Go hold them, test them ask questions and pick the one you like best.

    I will say, I'm very happy with my decision if for nothing more than lens selection and a self cleaning head. I don't think you can go wrong either way.
     
  7. form macrumors regular

    form

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2003
    Location:
    in a country
    #7
    I agree that the extra megapixels are useful when cropping, and many pictures need cropping. I also think Canon did a better job with the XTi at handling high ISO noise on a 10 megapixel sensor than Nikon did with the D40x.

    Many Canon lenses are less expensive, and there are just as many or more available with an autofocus system that works on the XT/XTi/XTs bodies. The D40/x models lost autofocus on many older lenses because the bodies don't have their own drive motors.

    But, the D40 is less expensive.
     
  8. cls macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2008
    Location:
    Finland
    #8
    I would recommend that you spend some time getting familiar with the features and controls on both Nikon and Canon DSLRs. You will find that they are quite different in how they "feel" in your hand, and how you work with them.

    What features are important to you depends very much on what kind of photography you focus on. Entry level DSLRs and cheap lenses are not particularly good, e.g. for indoor sports photography if you aren't allowed to use a flash.

    If you catch the photography bug, you will quickly find that you have way more money invested in lenses than in the body. This somewhat locks you to the brand you started to invest in.

    You cannot go wrong with either Canon or Nikon. Both have fine cameras and excellent lenses. What is important is which camera's user interface feels more natural to you. There are also working second-hand markets for both brands if you want to get rid of your equipment later.

    For in-depth information and discussion about cameras and lenses, I think there is no better place than dpreview. If you search the forums there, you will find answers to almost any question you might think of asking.

    Good luck with your purchase!
     
  9. Bootsie macrumors 6502a

    Bootsie

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2008
    Location:
    Utah
    #9
    You need to actually go to a store and touch a feel your options. I far prefer Canon cameras, they are much more user friendly, and they felt much better in my hands. I cannot even stand to shoot a Nikon anymore unless I have to. However, Nikons are good cameras as well, I just prefer Canon.

    Even though you need to go to a store to hold the camera and figure out what you need, don't be afraid to buy online, just buy from a reputable dealer like B&H.

    If you have questions and need help or, just want to learn more about Canon cameras and photography this http://photography-on-the.net/forum/ is one of the best forums I have ever seen, very friendly and knowledgeable.

    Good Luck with your decision.

    Buy Canon! :)
     
  10. scotthayes macrumors 68000

    scotthayes

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2007
    Location:
    Birmingham, England
    #10
    The best advice I've seen on here when it comes to buying a dSLR is to go to a camera shop and see how the feel to hold. Also think more about the quality of the lenses you buy more than the body.
     
  11. vic32amg macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2007
    Location:
    Gilbert
    #11
    I agree with the above post. I liked the nikon feel better even tho on paper the XTi is a much better camera. But at this level I think you are dealing with the same product. when looking at the Xt and D40. I would put the XTI a class above them and is more on par with the D60/D80.

    I ended up with a D200 as my first DSLR. it is a beast but I shoot sports and needed the FPS.
     
  12. gamerz thread starter macrumors 6502

    gamerz

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2006
    #12
    I have held a D40 and a XTi... The XTi felt bulky and big, where as the D40 felt perfect for my hand. The only thing that really worries me about the D40 is the lack of auto-focus. Correct me If I am wrong, but I have heard alot of people tell me that you need to manual focus with the D40.
     
  13. cls macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2008
    Location:
    Finland
    #13
    From http://bythom.com

    I think you would find it quite hard (impossible) to find a DSLR without autofocus. The D40 has no autofocus motor, which means that you cannot use autofocus with old lenses that don't have a built-in motor. If you don't own, or plan to buy, such lenses, you should have no problem.
     
  14. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #14
    This is the first question to resolve. What lenses might you like now and some years later. Without question buy one of the "Kit" lenses that go from 18-55 or 18-70 or which ever one you like. THese are great values and will cover 80% of what most people need. You will use the wide side of the zoom more then the long end.

    The next lens you buy is so you canget shots the first one can't. What would that be? Maybe a macro lens or a "fast" f/1.4 prime. Or some exotic big fast and expensive telephoto if you are into wildlife. Or for a lot of people the next step is not a lens but a flash. maybe an SB600. Shoot a bunch of images then after 1,000 or two yo will know what you want.

    One thing about both the D40 and D40x is that that both lack an in-body focus motor and can only use the subset of Nikon lenses that have in-lens motors. Presently this means a real limitation it what you can use. Two of the lenses I like the most would not work on the D40, to 50mm f/1.4 and the 85mm f/1.8. Make sure you don't want any of these before you buy the D40
     
  15. juanster macrumors 68020

    juanster

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2007
    Location:
    toronto
    #15
    from what i understand, the Canon had the auto-focusing motor in the body, so any lens that has Af will autofocus, in the nikon the motor is not in the body, it's in the lens so you ll have to buy motorized lenses each time, but since it is your first camera i don't think it makes a big difference because you don't have a bunch of lenses you can t use anymore. Unless there is a big difference on prices between AF and AF-S, but that i don't know
     
  16. rogersmj macrumors 68020

    rogersmj

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2006
    Location:
    Indianapolis, IN
    #16
    Just to be clear, you *can* still use all those lenses with the D40/x, but you would have to focus them manually. We should be clear about that so people aren't misled into thinking those lenses physically won't work on the D40, similar to how gamerz was misled into thinking the D40 didn't have autofocus.

    In my case, since I wasn't coming from another SLR (and thus had no existing lens investment), the lack of an autofocus motor in the D40 body didn't bother me. Nikon seems to be transitioning their consumer-level SLRs to this model, and more and more AF-S lenses will be released.

    I love the D40, I love the way it feels in my hands, and I like the user interface a lot, whereas others have said they prefer the XTi's feel. If you don't own any existing lenses, I don't think the lack of an AF motor should be much of a factor. Just see which one feels best to you, and what you think is a good buy, because they're both going to take great pictures.
     
  17. miloblithe macrumors 68020

    miloblithe

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2003
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #17
    There's some misunderstandings here about the autofocus issue on Nikons vrs Canons. The Nikon D40 does not have a built in focus motor in the body and relies on the focus motor in the lens. The Canon operates in the exact same way. The difference is in the lenses that are available for each camera.

    Canon made the switch to in-lens AF back in the 1980s, so any lens made since the 1980s (EF lenses / EOS system) will autofocus on the XTi. However, the new EF mount is completely different from the old Canon mount from before the mid 1980s, so lenses from the 70s and before will not work at all on current Canon EOS cameras.

    Nikon is making the transition to in-lens AF now and has been for the past few years. It's likely that all or almost all newly designed lenses will be AF-S. All AF-S lenses will autofocus on the D40/D40x/D60. Earlier lenses, like AF lenses, will also work, but will be limited to manual focus. Lenses earlier than that, going back even to the 40s and 50s I think, will also work, but have further limitations with regard to accurate metering. But they will fit on the camera and function in manual mode.

    So, which is better and which is worse? Depends on your point of view. One advantage of the Nikon system is being able to pick up some old lens that's OK to use manually, like a macro lens or a fisheye lens, for much cheaper. One serious disadvantage is Nikon doesn't currently make any prime lenses (non-zoom) shorter than 300mm with in-lens AF. This means you can't get a great, cheap "portrait lens" like the 50mm f/1.8 and use it as AF on the D40.

    But if you only plan to get inexpensive zoom lenses, there's no problem with the Nikon mount.

    Look at the lenses available and see which limitation sounds worse to you.

    http://www.photozone.de/reviews
     
  18. gamerz thread starter macrumors 6502

    gamerz

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2006
    #18
    I think I have decided on the D40 ;)

    Anyways, found this sort of "deal" I guess you could call it. I would like some feedback on wether it is a good price, or could get something for better, and where.

    http://www.adorama.com/INKD40K2A.html?searchinfo=D40&item_no=14

    Basically, to sum it up:

    D40
    standard 18-55mm lens
    55-200mm AF-VR

    And, I would get the Accessory kit with it:

    1gb SD memory
    replacement battery (not sure if I would need this)
    some bag, would come in handy.
    lens cleaning kit.

    There you have it.
     
  19. rogersmj macrumors 68020

    rogersmj

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2006
    Location:
    Indianapolis, IN
    #19
    Yeah that deal looks good. To get the D40 kit and 55-200 VR separately you're going to spend at least $480 + $200 = $680, so that in itself makes it worth it if you're pretty sure you want that lens.
     

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