Starting Out: Nikon D40

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Andrew D., Jan 27, 2008.

  1. Andrew D. macrumors 6502

    Apr 17, 2007
    Chicago, IL
    Don't flame me please for posting another starter/starting out thread based on the Nikon D40, I apologize that many of these questions might be already asked on this forum and if this thread must be closed so be it. I just want to ask a few questions regarding the Nikon D40 and photography itself, I'm pretty set on getting a Nikon D40 so yeah..

    So just a little history, I was able to take a film photography class in High School for 2 semesters and I learned about of F Stop, ISO, Shutter Speed, etc. Unfortunately that was High School and I've forgotten most if not all since then. Photography has always been one of my interests/passions.. I remember when I took the class I enjoyed it a lot, especially the digital side using Adobe Photoshop.

    So now a few years later I'm interested in picking up digital photography as a hobby. I looked at a few entry level DSLR cameras at stores and shops. After trying out a good handful the Nikon D40 really touched the right buttons; how it felt in my hands, the weight, etc. Now onto the questions portion of this post. =)

    Which would be the best place to buy the Nikon D40 kit? This really isn't a straight forward question, the best place meaning good warranty, return policy, cheapest (of course), and most reliable.

    Next, AF compatible lenses. I know about the D40 not having an AF motor inside the body, so the camera requires a lens that has its own internal motor. Will future Nikon lenses such as a 50mm get upgraded with an internal motor and will they release more Nikon AF compatible lenses in the future?

    So there are a few Nikon DVDs that help with just starting out but do they teach all the technical stuff about photography?
    I know there already have been a lot of books mentioned on this forum but what is the best and most easiest book to understand that teaches the basic fundamental and technical aspects of photography?

    Last but not least, I know this question has been butchered 5 times over but is the Nikon D40 a good choice for myself? I know most entry level DSLR cameras are all relatively the same and it is really up to the person using it themselves but I'm just throwing that question out there still regardless.

    So wow, you actually read my whole post.. I know it's really long and I apologize but I greatly appreciate you taking the time to read it all. I'm just a newbie at all this once again so please bare with me. Thanks a million to all that take their time to reply to my questions or what not. Cheers!
  2. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    Nikon is steadily changing many of their lenses to include AF-S (for your future D40), along with Vibration Reduction (VR). I'm sure the 50 mm is high on the priority list, as it's a popular lens.

    Anyway, it's a great camera that takes fantastic images, and many stores offer that camera at a great price, so it's hard to know which stores are good. I'm sure even a place like Amazon would have this camera, and you can't get a better return policy than that, can you? Otherwise, there are massive stores in the US, such as B&H ( and Adorama.
  3. alecmcmahon macrumors regular

    May 18, 2007
    Woodbridge, NJ
    If interested , i will be selling my 4 month old d40 kit in a few days or so ( just ordered a used d80 ) ... it has 2044 shutter activations..

    (d40, 18-55mm lens, all other stock accessories, all packaging )

    Asking $400
  4. carlgo macrumors 68000

    Dec 29, 2006
    Monterey CA
    At the time I bought mine, Amazon had the best price. I like to shop locally when I can, so why not see what a local store offers?

    Nikon isn't shy about introducing new lenses. You will find that the kit lens is fine. Why get an overlapping lens of no particular benefit? Instead, get a macro or telephoto zoom, maybe the 55-200 VR and get another perspective.

    The DVDs and books will fill you with more technical knowledge than you could ever retain or actually require. Nikon offers all sorts of learning tools. Check out their web site. Read the manual! It is very comprehensive. Every community college offers courses. Take another course. It will all come back to you. I like The main thing is to practice. Remember that the "film" is free, so use all the settings, make notes and go for it. Practice situations until you have the functions memorized.

    I like my D40 a lot and have no regrets at all. The lenses, the accessories like flashes, all are good and of very high quality. Like you said, the actual photo quality of the competing cameras is the same. The differences are in the details of factory support, reliability, resale value, ergonomics and all that.
  5. Kamera RAWr macrumors 65816

    Kamera RAWr

    May 15, 2007
    I'm where I need to be
    For DVDs, you might want to check out the Magic Lantern series, they're pretty good. As for books, Bryan Peterson's "Understanding Exposure" is great and next month it seems he's coming out with another book all about shutter speeds.

    The D40 is a great entry level dSLR. You'll learn and improve your chops just fine with it :). Look forward to seeing some of your photos posted here
  6. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    Where to buy a Camera? Any of the top tier on-line resellers unless yo have some extra cash and want the service you can only get at a small local camera shop. Buy it there and they can offer advice, answer questions and so on. Do NOT buy from a local "big box" or one of those bottom feeder New York scammers. Amazon and B&H Photo are my to picks but there are other good ones

    Will Nikon ever sell an AFs prime? maybe someday. Maybe Apple will make a G5 notebook too, Someday. My guess is that there is not the demand for high-end lenses on the D40. Nikon moves very slowly.

    Is the Nikon d40 a good choice? I'd much rather have a used D50 than a new D40. More lens options. Also USED lenses will fit the D50. Not many older lenses work with the D40. A used D70s or even an old D100 (if you could find one) would be about as good. The D80 is great but cost a bunch more. If you were just going to be a snapshooter I'd say go with the D40 but if you care about lens options move up.

    Books? You will get many suggestions but in addition go the library can get some big coffee table art books. Painting from the "masters" and also some photo books. Not "how to" books but picture books. Find the images you like then try and make some like those. Look at how Rembrandt used light from windows. How other composed landscapes. This is more important them how to turn knobs. Modern camera work well enough on "auto" 85% of the time. That said, the Nikon user manual is not bad.
  7. Westside guy macrumors 603

    Westside guy

    Oct 15, 2003
    The soggy side of the Pacific NW
    According to Thom Hogan, Nikon is set to announce three new lenses this upcoming week - just prior to PMA.

    They may or may not end up being of interest to you, but this close to a photo trade show I think it's always worth waiting to see what new products might be coming out.

    Anyway, like others have said there are lots of options when it comes to making your purchase. B&H sells the D40 with an 18-55mm lens for $470. I would point out that it's the previous version of the lens; so it might be worth buying the D40 body separately and then buying the new VR-enabled 18-55mm lens on its own. However given that VR is more useful at longer focal lengths, you're not going to lose too much just going with the kit.

    As far as AF-S lenses go... everything new/updated lens Nikon has released in the past several years has included AF-S- the last non AF-S lens looks to be the 10.5mm AF fisheye, released in July 2003 (and AF-S was being put into the majority of lenses earlier than that). I don't know what their timeframe for refreshing lenses is; but when they do update the primes they'll certainly be AF-S. The thing is, a lot of people seem to look at this a bit backwards. AF-S's main advantage isn't just that it'll allow autofocus on the D40. The real reason Nikon is moving all their lenses to AF-S is it focuses significantly faster (and quieter, to boot) than relying on a camera's in-body motor.
  8. Westside guy macrumors 603

    Westside guy

    Oct 15, 2003
    The soggy side of the Pacific NW
  9. compuwar macrumors 601


    Oct 5, 2006
    Northern/Central VA
    There's a links for buyers post sticked to this forum.

    Every new lens release for the last few years has been AF-S that I can recall. Nikon doesn't tend to telegraph its lens moves, so we won't know for sure what's going to happen to the primes until it does. Manual focus isn't a death-knell either, especially with a hyperfocal distance calculator.

    Thom Hogan's eBooks are great for camera operation. Ron Reznick's DVDs are great for most of the other stuff. Otherwise, you're probably best served by looking in a book store and seeing what's out there- writing styles vary a lot, and some people learn best from some styles.

    I think it's a great beginning camera choice- overspending on the first body isn't a good monetary investment, there's not much you can't learn with an entry level body and a half-decent kit lens.

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