Nikon Questions

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by hector, Mar 30, 2008.

  1. hector macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2006
    Location:
    Cheltenham, UK
    #1
    Greetings!

    After reading what seems to be well over half of the internet, and making 2 trips to Jessops to try out all the cameras they had, I have decided to plunge headlong into the world of 'proper' photography and purchase a Nikon D40 as my first DSLR.

    (If anyone is interested, it was a close run thing between that and the Canon 400D. On my student budget I didn't feel that the extra stuff offered by the D40x and the D60 were worth my hard earned. Overall, I much preferred the feel and the 'handling' of the Nikon which was the main deciding factor. Also, I have read lots of bad things about the kit lens that Canon offers, and while plenty of people advise going 'body only', that doesn't actually work out much cheaper than with the kit lens, and seeing as the cheapest decent lens (as far as I could make out, the IS version of the kit lens) was over £100, the price difference between the 400D and the D40 was going to be about £150. Too much.)

    Before I take the plunge however, I do have a few questions which lurking through these forums has failed thus far to provide an answer for, and I would be most grateful for your help.

    1) The main advantage the Canon has over the D40 is obviously the lens compatibility. I really want to get into the whole bokeh portraits thing, and so the cheap 50mm f1.8 canon lens would have been a natural purchase. As far as I know, Nikon offers no equivalent AF-S cheap, fast, prime lens. I am therefore considering just going with the AF 50mm prime and manually focusing. Does anyone have any experience with this, and as a (relative) beginner, will I find this much of a hassle? I have had a go on my parents archaic Minolta SLR which is manual focus and it doesn't seem to be too difficult on that. The main thing it would be used for is portraits so speed isn't too much of an issue. How easy is the 50mm f1.8 Nikon lens to manual focus?

    2) If it is a nightmare to manually focus the AF prime lenses with a D40, can I expect there to be an AF-S prime lens released in the not too distant future?

    3) As a result of my digging, my rents have decided to upgrade their above mentioned museum piece and purchase a D40 as well. Does anyone know of any online retailers that would be prepared to offer some sort of deal if we bought 2 off them? Obviously buy-one-get-one-free would be nice, but realistically will anyone throw in a couple of memory cards and a case or knock some money off? Otherwise we were just going to go with Amazon.

    4) Can anyone recommend a good case for the Nikon? I am not particularly keen on lugging around one of these massive bags that most people have. I would far prefer something like this, but can't seem to find one in the UK. Alternatively a fitted hard case would be OK...

    Thanks in advance for your help!
    Hector

    PS just noticed that that is a bit of an essay, so apologies!
     
  2. macgruder macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2007
    Location:
    UK
    #2
    Take a look at the Sigma 30mm and/or 50mm F1.4 . These are prime lenses that autofocus on D40 . They may be pricey though (at least $400) for the 30mm.

    Obviously they are 45mm and 75mm equivalent to 35mm camera.
     
  3. Plymouthbreezer macrumors 601

    Plymouthbreezer

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2005
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    #3
    Lack of auto focus on a 50mm lens will be kinda a hassle... Manual focus on DSLRs aint all the best.
     
  4. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2002
    Location:
    Location Location Location
    #4
    Yes, the main advantage of the Canon is the lens compatibility, but this is far less of an issue than before. The only current lenses that I know are definitely not available for the D40 are the 50 mm f/1.4 and f/1.8 primes, 85 mm primes, and one of the big zooms (80-400 mm, possibly?). Most lenses are compatible, and even more will become compatible within the next year or so. Things only get better for Nikon D40, D40X, and D60 owners. You also have a huge selection of Sigma lenses to use.

    Yes, you can expect this. Nikon will definitely do this, and I doubt it'll be in 5 years or something. Expect sooner rather than later.

    Sigma also has a 50 mm f/1.4 coming out soon that will be compatible with your camera. Should be a real winner.

    I wouldn't buy a 50 mm now and shoot in manual, but that's just me.

    You'd need to talk to a store about it. You can negotiate with many stores, as long as they're not big chains with the prices set by upper management on a different continent.
     
  5. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #5
    Go get your self a copy of a National Geographic magizine or Sports Illustraited from 1975. These were published before AF was available.

    Seriously now, The current Nikon AF lenses have rather poor "feel" on their focus rings and their focus rings are not wide and rubber coated as they used to be. I have several generations of the 50mm Lens. All are very good optically. The older non-AF ones have much, much better build quality but the new ones have much better optical coatings on the glass. All are f/1.4

    If you are looking for a lens to use on a tripod with a cooperative subject and you are planning to use it exclusivly in manual focus mode you may as well buy a manual focus lens. (Get an "AIS" type.) The 20 year old model costs less and works as well. It will not meter on the D40 but you can use the histogram display to analyze a test exposure. That display is better then any light meter

    The other option that I think is better is to look for a good used D50 or D70. These currently sell for just over $400. About the same as a new D40. Both the D50 and D70 have in-body focus motors and are better cameras then the D40. IMO the D40 is not for someone who is serious enough about photography to be thinking about lenses.

    The D50/D70 will give you access to the huge used lens market too. Much of what you will find for sale are non AFS lenses that need an in-body focus motor
     
  6. epicwelshman macrumors 6502a

    epicwelshman

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2006
    Location:
    Nassau, Bahamas
    #6
    As much as I respect other people's opinions, I have to disagree with you on this one.

    I think the lack of an AF motor is a problem for the D40/x/60 and maybe Nikon shouldn't have done it until almost all of their lenses are AF-S.

    That being said, I think the D40 is better than the D50 in almost every way. Better ergonomics, better quality of photos, larger and brighter viewfinder, bigger LCD screen, etc etc. The list goes on.
     
  7. hector thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2006
    Location:
    Cheltenham, UK
    #7
    Thanks for the replies guys, I have just ordered the D40 and am so excited, cant wait for that brown cardboard Amazon box to arrive...

    Chris I did think about the D50, but frankly I was really attracted by the D40's small size and big screen (neither of which will produce better images but whatever). I am thinking that I will try and find a used 50mm prime on ebay and make do with manual focus, can't be that difficult and I am taking pictures of people that will hopefully sit still so should be no probs.

    Any ideas about cases? What sort of things do you guys have?
     
  8. taylorwilsdon macrumors 68000

    taylorwilsdon

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2006
    Location:
    Bay Area
    #8
    I have been using traditional shoulder strap bags and I really regret it. If you're going to have more then just camera+1 lens always attached, I would get a backpack style bag. More useful in general, and doesn't cause stress on your shoulder after a day of shooting.
     
  9. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #9
    I have two friends who have D40's and they couldn't be happier, I've shot with both of them, and it's a great little camera.

    Shooting portraits traditionally, you don't do a lot of shallow DoF, as you're usually using studio lighting, and really shallow DoF puts too much blur on the tip of the nose. Some people like the bokeh from slow zooms- just because a lens is fast and a prime doesn't make it have good bokeh, and taking an image with a lens that has good bokeh is still going to depend on subject and background distance and lighting.

    If you're talking a seated subject, then it's no big deal to manually focus, and I think you still get the green dot and left/right triangle focus stuff, if so, then no, it's not a big deal (I know I get that in manual focus mode on my D2x- I don't have a D40 handy to check with.) Older SLRs had split-screen focusing prisms which made manually focusing easier. Katz Eye and someone else make them to fit the D40 should you find the green dot hard to follow or need an easier method.

    Nobody but Nikon knows the answer to that one, and they rarely telegraph their moves. The D60 is their third screwdrever-less body so they're committed to AF-S lenses, but there's no way to know if they plan on following up on the 60mm's release with a new 50mm.

    I doubt it, the cost on these is pretty low from online retailers, probably around the best their margins will allow.
     
  10. hector thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2006
    Location:
    Cheltenham, UK
    #10
    Thanks for the advice everyone. The box arrived today! I have had loads of fun trying out all the different settings when I really should have been cracking on with the 10,000 words due in for the end of next week... here are the best of today's snaps if anyone is interested!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  11. Ish macrumors 68010

    Ish

    Joined:
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    Location:
    UK
    #11
    Nice pics, thanks for sharing. And that's just day one! The night sky's a good, solid colour isn't it?
     
  12. Hello.there macrumors 6502a

    Hello.there

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    #12
    Jeez, those photos are from Day One? :confused: If I'm that good by Day 298 I'll be very happy. :)
     
  13. Hello.there macrumors 6502a

    Hello.there

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2007
    Location:
    Couch
    #13
    :rolleyes:

    As Ken Rockwell put it:

    "No one, not even me who uses his cameras all day long, needs anything better than a D40. Guys who own fancy cameras may not have the confidence to admit it and poke fun at the D40, but I love it. I can make great photos with my D40, so if anyone tells you the D40 can't make good photos, it's because they aren't good photographers themselves."

    ;)
     
  14. klymr macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    May 16, 2007
    Location:
    Utah
    #14
    It's like Peter Adams once said, "Photography is not about cameras, gadgets and gismos. Photography is about photographers. A camera didn't make a great picture any more than a typewriter wrote a great novel."

    I've taken pictures with my iPhone that are better than some of the pictures I've seen photographers take.
     
  15. SuperDaddy macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 21, 2007
    Location:
    Middle Earth
    #15
    I, too, was going to quote Rockwell when I read that remark. It was the first thing I thought when I read it.
     
  16. Joedy macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2006
    #16
    Ken Rockwell likes to talk a lot.

    But I can assure you that given a choice, he would opt to take his D300 or D3 instead of a D40. Heck, even the out-of-production D70 is a better performer.

    Any semi serious amateur photographer is going to want better ISO performance and compatibility with fast glass lenses.

    For new dSLR users, the D40 is a nice introduction to the Nikon line. Its small size and performance:price ratio is high, which makes getting into dSLR less intimidating.

    But lets face it, even the best photographer can take great photos with a pinhole camera (it's the photographer and not the equipment, right?)

    How many good photographers are using entry level gear? How many are using pinhole cameras?

    I envision many new D40 owners migrating to mid-level cameras and lenses once they experience the thrill of SLR photography.

    -joedy
     
  17. pdxflint macrumors 68020

    pdxflint

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2006
    Location:
    Oregon coast
    #17
    Sometimes when I need a hammer, I go to the hardware store and find myself lusting after the sculpted, molded, exotic-alloy, 1-piece hi-tech model which costs $30 or more. After fondling and caressing and imagining how good I'd be at pounding those pesky nails with "this baby," I shrug it off and make the right call for me at the time. Sometimes I buy what I can afford... :)

    The nails don't know the difference.

    Enjoy your D40.
    It's a marvel of modern engineering...
    ..and it's affordable.
     
  18. rogersmj macrumors 68020

    rogersmj

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2006
    Location:
    Indianapolis, IN
    #18
    ^ Yep, I agree. The D40 is a lot of fun. It's all the camera most people need; don't listen to the camera snobs who always tell you that you should have gotten something better. The D40 is a great tool to learn your technique. As far as AF-S goes, we're relatively early into Nikon's transition to that system, so it will just get better as time goes on and more AF-S lenses become available. Good choice, and fantastic photos on your first night out!
     
  19. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #19
    #1 The Minolta lens has a great "feel" on the focus ring, AF lenses lack this. Also the Minotla was a much better focus screen in the viewfinder then the D40. So yes the Minolta is easy to manually focus. (I just happen to stil have a Minolta SRT101) No one today wants to pay for that level of build quality and if you think the 70's vintage Minoltas were good, the same vintage Nikons where twice that or beter. The D40 is not easy easy as the Minolta to focus manually

    #2 "nightmare" is to strong of a word. Nikon is like Apple. Not released products are kept secret. Some day yes, all their lenses will be AF-S. Will it be next year or in 15 years? No one knows

    #3 A discount for two cameras? Maybe if youwanted 200 or 2000 but not 2.

    #4 I hate thse cases. If you want to store or transport the camera they offer litle protection and if you want to use the camera that are in the way and worse then usless.
    I use a Pelican case for storage and transport. These are bomb proof and you can literally drive a car over them. But whe I'm shooting I don't want any kind of case. Some times I've used those insulated lunch sacks to keep gear in a nomal backpack these little foam padded nylon bags sell for about $5

    (PS) much better this then the more typical post that reads simply "What camera should I get?"

    It's true that you can make great photos with any camera and lens. Butgiven a different camera and lens yuo would make different great photos. Most of the times when I go out to shoot I take just one lens. I figure I'll just pass on the shots that lens will not get. If I take 1, 2 or 3 lenses I'll still get the same number of good shots just different shots. So in a way I agree.

    But what happens if you want to take picture of wildlife? Sure enough I could get some nice pictures while in Yellowstone National Part with my wide angle lens but not many close up shots of big horn sheep. For that you do need a longer, faster lens and a tripod. If you have a D40 you are going to be limited, in what will fit. In fact the lenses that fit the D40 cost so much more that buying a d80 would have saved money in the long run.

    So while I agree that you can do good work with any camera but you must work within ther limits of the equipment. If you want to work in photograpic genre that require exotic lenses the D40 is not the best choise
     
  20. BanjoBanker macrumors 6502

    BanjoBanker

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2006
    Location:
    Mt Brook, AL
    #20
    Enjoy your D40. Take thousands of pictures and when you feel the need, move up. If you don't feel the need, stick with the D40. I used a Leica IIIc for almost twenty years. I moved to a Nikon F2 after that. Yeah, the pictures were a little better, but not so much better as to justify the cost. Also, I still use the Leica, I sold the F2 several years ago. I am currently using a D70, along with some of my older glass as well as some new glass. After almost four years, I have not felt the need to move up from the D70. I may buy a D300 just because I want it. I think several posters have said it well - it is the photographer, not the equipment. As an illustration, a friend of mine shot what has become an iconic 9/11 photograph with a Nikon F1 and a 50mm 1.4 lens I KNOW he has had since we were in college, I loaned him the money to buy it! Shoot a ton of photos and work on your composition and your "eye" for light. That will help you make great photos, not whether or not you have a D40 or a D3. :cool:
     
  21. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2003
    Location:
    The soggy side of the Pacific NW
    #21
    I like the sling-style camera bags, like the Tamrac Velocity 8x (the one I have). If I have to carry more than just my camera, I prefer a backpack - Crumpler's Sinking Barge is the one I've got.

    Unfortunately there's no single perfect bag. I've got... five?.... so far (the Tamrac and Crumpler have kept me satisfied for over a year now, though). I agree with taylorwilsdon - shoulder bags are a pain, both figuratively and literally.
     
  22. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #22
    Actually, the D40 performs better at high ISO and has higher dynamic range than the D70/D70s. Also, the D40 has compatibility with lots of fast glass, just not old fast glass. My 400/2.8 fits and functions just fine on a D40- as amusing as the price difference between the D40 and the 400 prime are.

    The D70 and D70s cameras are great, but they're older than the D40 and therefore they don't share the newer sensor designs and supporting hardware.

    Heck, the D40 outperforms the D2x in terms of DR and noise at high ISO. Doesn't mean I want to trade though- so perhaps your evaluation of serious is different than mine.
     
  23. gkarris macrumors 604

    gkarris

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    Dec 31, 2004
    Location:
    "No escape from Reality..."
    #23
    I'm probably end up with a D40.

    I just spoke with a guy at a camera shop who's Mom, Dad, and GF are photographers (and of course himself too) and he uses Nikon and highly recommends it, especially at that price...
     

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