Would you recommend a Nikon D40 for a beginner?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by 66217, Aug 4, 2007.

  1. 66217 Guest

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    Jan 30, 2006
    #1
    In this last month I have just discovered what I love most to do. Video & Photography. And all thanks to my Mac.:) I already have what I need for video, but now I need a good digital camera.

    I have realized that DSLR is a big plus, but how much of a big plus? I am not intending on being a very professional photographer, more like taking good photos as a hobby.


    I have seen a lot of cameras. And the Nikon D40 seems to be the best option. But I have some questions:

    1- It does not has the auto-focus motor built-in, so this means I have to buy AS-F lenses. But I wouldn't have much money left to buy a lens. Does the included lens with the D40 has autofocus?

    2- Does the included lens is good enough to last some time before buying a better one?

    3- Am I correct to suppose that it is the lens which matters the most in the camera? I mean, would the best Nikon available would take best photos, even if it has the same lens as the D40?

    Thanks a lot,

    Roco
     
  2. techlover828 macrumors 68020

    techlover828

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    #2
    Its a very nice camera and if you are planning on having it a while then its a good option. I like the DSLR's, they're really nice. Either way, good luck with your purchase!
     
  3. Kamera RAWr macrumors 65816

    Kamera RAWr

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    #3
    The D40 is a great option for a beginner, IMO. If you really enjoy photography a lot, its a reasonably priced dSLR to get you started. The kit 18-55mm lens is AF-S so autofocusing should be no problem. When you get into photography more and know what you want, you could begin to aquire really good quality lenses as they'll outlast any body you buy ;)
     
  4. Keebler macrumors 68030

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    Canada
    #4
    hey there,

    i have to say that i almost bought a D40, but bought a pentax k100d kit with 2 lenses for 2 big reasons: 1. shake reduction is built into the body therefore meaning i could find older film lenses to use thus saving me money in the future and 2. it's a metal based body therefore being theoretically 'safer' for accidents and yes, it's a bit heavier.

    oh, and one more reason, it was less $$.

    like any camera debate, there will be recommendations for any type, but i know one thing - you're headed down the right path b/c i have not regretted the dslr decision one iota.

    i am in love...

    :)

    Cheers,
    Keebler
     
  5. M@lew macrumors 68000

    M@lew

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    Melbourne, Australia
    #5
    For a beginner who has no money and won't be able to invest in lenses for a bit, the D40 is a pretty good choice. But then on the other hand, when you do have the money to upgrade, you may feel like the D40 is a bit limited, as have some people before.
     
  6. 66217 thread starter Guest

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    Jan 30, 2006
    #6
    It seems the worst part is that it does not has built-in autofocus.

    Since I don't know much about cameras, what would you say are the biggest disadvantages of the D40 in comparison with some more expensive cameras?

    Thanks for the replies:)
     
  7. mrkramer macrumors 603

    mrkramer

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    #7
    The only real disadvantage that I know of is the lack of a built in auto-focus motor, which forces you to use any old lens as manual focus, if you aren't planning on buying any older lenses though then this may not be much of an issue especially if you are not upgrading immediately since all new lenses from Nikon are AF-S, and the ones that are still being sold that are not AF-S should be updated soon to include it.

    Other possible disadvantages are mostly personal preferences, like the size, it is smaller than I would like, so definitally go and hold it in a store before you buy it.
     
  8. M@lew macrumors 68000

    M@lew

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    #8
    A big advantage is the non-AF lenses but there are some little differences that may bother you. These are:

    - RAW + Jpeg only records basic quality JPEG's and not High Resolution ones.
    - No LCD panel at the top, but the Canon 400D doesn't have this either.
    - No Exposure/White balance bracketing, which can be very useful should you feel like experimenting with HDR or White Balance.
    - ISO and White Balance options are all hidden within the contextual menus, making them harder to change when compared to other camera that have a dedicated button for them.
    - NO DOF preview button - Which is important should you want to have a look at the Depth of Field when taking a photo.

    These are little things that most other cameras have, and as you improve with your photography you'll probably be wanting these.
     
  9. stcanard macrumors 65816

    stcanard

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    Vancouver
    #9
    The D40 is an excellent starter camera, and honestly the lack of a body motor is really overblown -- there are only two situations where that is even a consideration (1) You already have some really old lenses you want to re-use (2) You want to pick up one of the primes (like the famous 50 mm F1.8)

    (1) Isn't an issue for you, and as far as (2), the manual focus works really well and frankly, if you're using a prime, you're probably not in a situation where you need to take a picture instantly.

    Aside from that the two shortcomings I can see from looking at my wife's D40 (compared to my D80) are, as M@lew said, the lack of a DOF preview button, and the lack of a true RGB histogram. Both of them you can work around when you get familiar with the camera, but they are nice to haves.

    The menu based controls are not as ideal as what I am used to, but with the soft buttons they are surprisingly convenient, more so than a digicam by far. White balance bracketing doesn't bother me, because I always shoot raw -- white balance doesn't happen until it gets into aperture.

    It depends on how beginner you are -- if you are enough of a beginner by the time you outgrow it the next generation of camera will probably be out anyway. If you're already familiar with the "triangle" of exposure, DOF and the like, you may outgrow it too fast.
     
  10. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

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    #10
    Yes, absolutely. Most of the drawbacks are irrelevant for beginners (lack of a depth of field button, etc.). The camera is very small, but sturdily built. Don't worry about shooting RAW at this stage.
     
  11. 66217 thread starter Guest

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    Jan 30, 2006
    #11
    Thanks for all the replies.:)

    Wouldn't it be better to have them in RAW, even if I don't need correct them at the moment?

    I'm not very familiar on what RAW implicates, but I have the impressions it means a better quality. And that you can manipulate the white balance, etc. easier than a JPEG.

    Does it have any inconvenience for beginners?
     
  12. poopyhead macrumors 6502a

    poopyhead

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    #12
    I am a beginner
    I bought a d40 a couple of weeks ago and love it
    also just bought a 55-200 vr lens
    and
    I shoot in raw because it looks better (color seems much more accurate)
    and when I edit pictures I still have the origional
     
  13. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

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    #13
    It adds a significant amount of complexity and takes more time than ready-made jpgs. As a beginner, you should focus on taking good pictures and learn as you go.
    No, you can do that just as easily with jpgs as with RAWs, the difference in quality is negligible (for what you do) if the picture is almost correctly exposed. If people claim their picture `looks different' when they use RAW (it's very subtle), the reason is that they simply use different color settings. You may change the color settings in your camera, too, so that the resulting jpgs may look similar once a suitable setting has been chosen. Note that the same goes for RAW files: if you use Nikon's own software to convert RAWs into jpgs (which you have to do at the end anyway), it will use the same color settings as default and the rendering on the computer will look almost identically to the camera's conversion.
     
  14. epicwelshman macrumors 6502a

    epicwelshman

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    #14
    I have the D40x and it's a wonderful camera. As others have stated the only major disadvantage is the lack of a focus motor which is, as has been said, pretty overrated for a beginner, or someone who has no older lenses.

    I wouldn't called myself a beginner. I think I'd be happy with, and able to take advantage of even the D200. However, the camera was a graduation gift and I had little say in the matter. For the most part it's fabulous. The build quality is incredible for a lower-end dSLR, as is the IQ. Ther ergonomics are also, in my opinion, far better than the XT/XTi or any of the Olympus/Pentax cameras (again, my opinion).

    The only things I'd like would be CLS control for my SB-600 straight from camera and a battery grip option. Otherwise, it's great. You won't regret it.
     
  15. pdxflint macrumors 68020

    pdxflint

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    #15
    Just take the plunge with the D40 kit, you can't go wrong. It takes great pictures, the kit lens is far better than most people give it credit for, and most likely when you want to add lenses, there will be something in the AS-F series that will give you what you want, as all new lenses coming out will most likely incorporate this feature, whether from Nikon or third parties. Note: I said all "new" lenses coming out, and that's a reasonable assumption since Nikon will most likely be making the total move away from mechanical linkage for AF in future models once the lenses get updated.
     
  16. pdxflint macrumors 68020

    pdxflint

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    #16
    I didn't know that. Are you sure RAWs can't be saved into tiffs or some other kind of non-compressed format also, which we used to use in print? Just curious.. :)
     
  17. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

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    #17
    Obviously, you can save the product in any image format that's supported, but jpg is the most common choice. In any case, the point is that you need to `develop' each RAW file before using it (e. g. you cannot send RAW files to have them printed).
     
  18. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #18
    Oddly enough, I tend to shoot normal JPEGs with my D2X if I'm also shooting raw. If you've got the raw files, then a batch conversion isn't a big deal.

    If you're just experimenting, then it shouldn't be a big deal, if you shoot that way a lot, it's an inconvenience, but then you're probably into "not just a beginner" territory.

    Likely that's not a big deal if you're shooting casually, or using the automatic modes. Most folks fall away from full auto if they've got any kind of vision though.

    DoF can be difficult to evaluate on the LCD, but frankly the places where it's most useful are places where a hyperfocal distance calculator is more useful as far as my experiences go.

    IMO, by the time you want any of the above, you'll be wanting whatever the next new body is. By then the OP will know what bugs them and will be ready to "move up."

    Just my .02
     
  19. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #19
    In mixed lighting, you lose enough bits to the JPEG engine that it's a lot more difficult to correctly white balance. For most people it's probably not that much of an issue, but if you're picky it can be pretty important.

    You can also convert to TIFF for output, you don't have to go to JPEG, or if you're going to the Web- PNG or GIF.

    You don't have to use Nikon's converter and depending on which software it's only the default to render it similar to how the camera's engine would (and it's close, but I'd bet that the camera engines change per-sensor more than the software engines.) Also, with control of the converter, you can make the resultant JPEG look better than the camera engine's settings will.
     
  20. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

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    #20
    I don't have any practical experience with the D40, but with the D70 and the D80 (my current camera). In most situations, the white balance is (almost) dead-on, requiring very little tinkering if any.
    Also, you don't lose the bits to the jpg engine, but the mere fact that jpgs have a color depth of 8 bit, the same as practically all screens you can buy these days.
    That wasn't the point. RAWs are overkill for beginners who have to learn how (d)slrs work. Later on, when they know how to use the camera, they can still switch to RAW.
     
  21. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #21
    A camera can't white balance mixed lighting correctly. That's the point, you get different temperature lights with local intensity and then the overlap- that's why mixed lighting sucks.

    But raw files are much more forgiving- you get better latitude- more ability to color balance, more tonal graduations... I don't know why folks insist raw files are "advanced" when really they're more forgiving than JPEGs out of the camera.
     
  22. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

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    #22
    Ever since switching from my Olympus E-20 to a Nikon D70 and then a D80, the intended white balance deviated very, very little from color temperature and tone the camera has chosen for me. In fact, I didn't have to color-correct one of the 1.5k+ pictures I've taken with the D80.
    Yeah, they are much more forgiving with grossly misexposed pictures. However, the first point someone should learn is how to expose pictures properly -- which is a no-brainer with today's cameras dslrs.
     

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