Nikon D40 - Opinions, comments...

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by thouts, Sep 29, 2008.

  1. thouts macrumors regular

    thouts

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2008
    #1
    Hello all.

    I've got a Canon Powershot S3 IS currently. I'm looking into getting into the digital SLR world. Photography is really just a hobby of mine. Basically wondering about the goods/bads of the Nikon D40. Found a deal online where I could get the body, 18-55mm lens, and 55-200mm lens for $600. Is this a good deal? Anyone know a better deal or where I should be looking? I found this at bhphotovideo.com. I also saw something on these forums that said this camera does not have "live shot" or something. What exactly does this mean. Any info anyone could provide on this camera would be great. Also looking for basic knowledge of SLR's - what makes them better than my current Canon - etc. I know i'm asking for a lot so thanks in advance.
     
  2. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #2
    Overall it's a "fair" deal" not outstanding.

    Why an SLR? (1) It is faster with zero shutter lag. You can capture action. (2) the sensor is much larger which means it is much more sensitive to light so you get a higher "signal to noise ratio" or in practical terms a less noisy picture with better color and much reduced "grain". Plus the lenses, even the low-end ones are better quality than those on the smaller cameras

    Skip the 55-200m lens and save some money. Every beginnerthinks he needs on of those long, and very slow f/5.6 zooms. Wait and buy a second lens after you've shoot 1,000 frames with the 18-55 and know what you really need.

    The only disadvantage of the D40 is that it lacks an in-body focus motor so you are limited to using only lenses that contain their own focus motor. So you might want to think ahead about what lenses you'd might like. But like I said above, you really can't know now what you will need, not until you've shot a bunch and then you will know what kinds of shots you are missing and buy a lens to get those.
     
  3. spencers macrumors 68020

    spencers

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    Sep 20, 2004
    #3
    By live-shot I think you mean looking at the LCD screen while you take a picture. The D40 does not have this. You MUST look through the viewfinder.

    $600 is a bit pricey. I've seen kits go for under 500. Heck, I'm trying to sell my D40 kit.
     
  4. jsgreen macrumors 6502

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    Nov 27, 2007
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    NH
    #4
    I bought a D40 as a replacement for my canon Powershot s2IS.

    <rant>The Canon suffered a failed image sensor, just like the previous version of the Powershot - but Canon refused to issue a recall on the newer model (they did on the earlier one). I searched the 'net and it seems like many have had the same problem as I have with this particular Powershot model...I won't buy a Canon product again because of how they (refuse) to handle it.</rant>

    The D40 has been great for me. I generally use it for pics of my family (not a hobbiest or professional); I bought the kit w/ the 18-55 lens and then added a better zoom lens with an anti-shake capability (which I recommend). The additional lens was model #AF-S DX VR 55-200/4-5.6G ED IF-ED and was about $250 at Ritz.
     
  5. Phrasikleia macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

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    #5
    "Live View" enables you to compose shots on your camera's LCD monitor like you would with a PnS camera. Without it, you must put your eye to the eyepiece of the viewfinder and look through that way.

    To answer your general question about why DSLR cameras are better, here is an example of how image noise and dynamic range are different on DSLRs. The left one was taken with a PnS camera. The others are two different DSLRs. This is just an example; it's not meant to be representative of all PnS cameras, since some are of course better than others. I think you'll get the idea, though:

    (click to enlarge)
    [​IMG]

    Another thing you can get with a DSLR camera is selective focus. For example, you can't get this kind of effect on a PnS camera:

    (again, click to enlarge)
    [​IMG]

    On a PnS camera, everything in that shot would be in focus.

    Also, since you can use lenses with very wide apertures that let in a lot of light at once, you can get sharp low light shots instead of those trippy blurry trails you so often see in PnS shots.

    Hope this helps.
     
  6. Andre1980 macrumors member

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    Jul 29, 2008
    #6
    Get the D40.
    It takes really great photos. I recently entered the world of dSLR. I owned a Panasonic Lumix FZ8 (a rather good bridge cam) which takes nice pictures. However it is nothing compared to a dSLR even a cheap one like the Nikon D40. I'm so happy with the Nikon. And it's such a great price! I decided against the newer model, the D40x with more megapixels and I don't regret it. I also think the kit lens is all you need the first months/years. It's a great lens after all.
    Although "live view" would be nice, you get used to looking through the viewfinder pretty fast.

    I learned a lot about the camera and digital photography from two cool websites. Check em out:
    www.steves-digicams.com/2007_reviews/nikon_d40.html
    www.cameralabs.com/reviews/NikonD40/index.shtml
     
  7. amemoryoncelost macrumors 6502

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    Jun 14, 2004
    #7
    The only real issue I have with the D40 is the auto-focus motor issue. While not a issue to some, really bums me out when I see friends buying it. Look into that some more before making a purchase. :)
     
  8. soLoredd macrumors 6502a

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    California
    #8
    I just got a Rebel XSi to replace my S5iS and even after only a week I cannot imagine having to go back to a P&S. My S5 is great, the zoom is fantastic but quality of shots just isn't there for me. I find my Rebel to be so much more intuitive, if that's possible.

    One of my other reasons was we're having a baby in a couple months and I wanted something that will last but that also will give us great portrait and action pictures. I went ahead and got the Nifty Fifty (50mm 1.4) to go along with the 18-55mm kit lens and have been able to capture everything I've wanted so far. I might pick up a zoom telephoto in time but we'll see.

    If you are thinking of the D40, you like it, you have the money for it...I'd say do it.

    As far as "Live View" goes, my Rebel has it but using a true viewfinder is so much better.
     
  9. reubs macrumors 68000

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    Jun 22, 2006
    #9
    I think I'm going to pull the trigger on the D40 today (seems to get great reviews as an entry-level DSLR, and we have some friends who love theirs), but I'm worried about the lack of auto-focus.

    I know it's something I'll have to learn since this is our first foray into something other than PnS photography, but I'm wondering if there's a lens I should buy immediately to go along with the camera itself. I'll be getting the camera itself from Circuit City, and any advice on entry-level lenses will be helpful!

    Thanks much!
     
  10. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #10
    The camera does NOT lack auto focus. It's just that it lacks an in-body focus motor so you have to use only lenses that have their own motor in the lens. Nikon makes lenses both ways, just buy the right type and the camera will auto focus. But do make sure you don't really want one of those non-motor lenses.
     
  11. mrgreen4242 macrumors 601

    mrgreen4242

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2004
    #11
    I just got a D40 and here's my buying advice:

    1) Consider buying a refurb unit. $400 shipped at Adorama. Save you about $50 over the cheapest online new price. Maybe a little more than that vs. Circuit City. It's Nikon refurbed and has a Nikon warranty (only 90 days, but honestly I don't think that's a serious issue). Aside from saving some money now, it'll help you recoup more of your investment when/if you decide to upgrade (figure a used D40 sells for about $300-350, so you can come out with a pretty decent price per photo after you resell).

    2) Use the saved cash to get the D40 Field Guide. Can't remember the author off hand, but just search for that on Amazon, it'll pop up. It's a great guide to actually using the D40 as well as a general photography reference.

    3) Don't buy the two lens kit. It's a rip-off unless you pay like $500 for it. The 55-200mm lens in there isn't the VR version, so you're not really saving any money. Get the 18-55mm lens, shoot it for a few weeks and then decide what you want to get for other lenses. I almost bought the 2 lens kit, but decided against it. Glad I did. The 55-200mm VR lens is about $30-40 more than the non-VR but worth it from everything I've read, if that's the range you want. Personally, I'm going trade up my 18-55 for an 18-105 VR and add a 70-300mm (no VR, but with that lens I'll use a tripod, the 105mm with VR will do for handheld zoom, in my particular case). The upgraded kit lens, the 18-135mm, is significantly more expensive and lack VR, so again, I'd still advocate for the basic lens, and then buying more lenses after a month or so.

    4) Re: AF-S lenses. Yes, this is a limit, as pointed out. HOWEVER, there's lots to choose from now, and more being released all the time. Furthermore, if you decide there's some non-AF-S lens that you just have to have, you can still use it in MF mode and you can upgrade your body later and get AF with it - if you decide that AF is worth the sacrifice in body size and weight (it's not for me, I carry my D40 EVERYWHERE because it's small and light enough to live in my messenger bag without issue. I don't think I could do that with a D80 or 90. That said, I'll almost certainly end up with a new body in 3 or 4 years, once the HD video modes get worked out to my liking).

    5) Shoot lots. Have fun. Don't worry if most of your pics are crap. I have like a 10% crap to decent ratio, and a 1% crap to gold ratio (1 in 10 pics are 'good', 1 in 100 are, for me, 'great'). It'll get better as you practice more, but the only way it will is to practice. :)

    oh and 6) Check out kenrockwell.com. He has some really good articles, one of which gives a compelling reason to ignore the RAW mode in your camera. I've decided to follow it, except in cases where I specifically want the RAW shot for something (HDR, for example). Good luck!!
     
  12. thouts thread starter macrumors regular

    thouts

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    Jul 2, 2008
    #12
    Thanks for the advice

    But I went with the D60!
     
  13. e12a macrumors 68000

    e12a

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2006
    #13
    good.

    one friend i know had his lens AF motor die on him (kit lens), another has one with a sticky shutter or mirror assembly.. Both D40s.

    i'm personally a Canon guy, and now so is one of the above friends.

    the D40 doesnt even have AEB, which is very useful in some situations.
     
  14. reubs macrumors 68000

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    Jun 22, 2006
    #14
    We picked up the D40 yesterday. As an absolute amateur, I'm sure that there are some things I won't even know that the D40 won't do. I thought it was a good value (since we had a GC) for an entry level DSLR.
     
  15. luminosity macrumors 65816

    luminosity

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    Arizona
    #15
    After buying and using a D300, the D40 feels more like a toy than a real camera.
     
  16. alansmallen macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 25, 2007
    #16
    Your pictures aren't showing up. I'm very interested in seeing the dslr to point and shoot comparison.
     
  17. Phrasikleia macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

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    #17
    Sorry about that. Server was down for a few hours. They should be working now.
     
  18. mrgreen4242 macrumors 601

    mrgreen4242

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    #18
    I think that's a ridiculous thing to say.
     
  19. luminosity macrumors 65816

    luminosity

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    #19
    It could be. I'm just telling you how vast the difference is in terms of feel to me. I own both, and the D40 is just a lot lighter overall. The hidden weapon in the D40 arsenal is that it can use virtually every Nikkor lens ever made (save for the two F3AF ones).
     
  20. nvjusme macrumors member

    nvjusme

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    San Leandro
    #20
    Nikon D40 is awesome

    The Nikon D40 is awesome and smaller than most SLR's and it has more than enough megapixels for you unless you are going to be making gigantic posters. You have to get the Nikon D40 without a shadow of a doubt.
     
  21. NintendoChick macrumors regular

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    Jun 30, 2008
    #21
    My D40 Arrived today, with a kit lens and the 55-200mm VR lens. I've got to say, I'm loving it! Seriously, I think I'm in love (or sensing an addiction to more lenses...) :D
     
  22. tonie macrumors 6502

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    Mar 29, 2008
    #22
    Wow... I didn't know the D40 is that cheap. I was about to recommend at least a 40D from canon.
     
  23. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #23
    And I know someone whose Canon 350D have electronic issues with his DSLR (his mirror acted funny), and since a DSLR is an electronic device, guess how useful the camera was after the malfunction?

    From your logic, low-end Canons must be bad. I should have converted him into a Nikon guy. My Nikons never acted up on their own.


    And not a single low end Canon had spot metering until not too long ago, and we're talking about a basic, decades old, and on many occasions, the BEST form of metering.

    And lets not get started on full Auto ISO. That's reserved for the $3000 cameras.



    Don't buy lenses yet! They'd all be impulse purchases.
     
  24. NintendoChick macrumors regular

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    Jun 30, 2008
    #24
    Yeah, I plan on taking a few thousand photos first. :p

    I'm already thinking the 50mm 1.8f lens would be a good addition though...
     
  25. gkarris macrumors 604

    gkarris

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    #25
    Interesting. The Panasonic is what I have now. Great pics, but leaves me wanting an even better digicam, as I miss shooting with an SLR (I sold most of my SLR film equipment while it was still worth something).

    I actually was going to post the same question as this thread.

    Looks like a D40 for me in the future...
     

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