Beginning Advice Needed

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Amyb, Aug 1, 2008.

  1. Amyb

    Amyb TPF Noob!

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    I am just getting started in this hobby and need some advice from you pros. What do you recommend for a starter DSLR camara? I am currently looking at this one but I am worried that if I really enjoy it am I gonna want a better one right away?

    This is the one I am looking at:
    http://www.nikonusa.com/Find-Your-Nikon/Product/Digital-SLR/25420/D40.html

    Thanks for any advice you give. :D
     
  2. dEARlEADER

    dEARlEADER TPF Noob!

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    buy what you can afford.....


    if you can afford better buy it..... then you don't have to worry about upgrading right away.....

    the d40 is great.... the d80 is better... the d300 would keep you satisfied for quite some time....


    they are all good...... same with canon and other systems as well....



    EDIT: WHATEVER YOU BUY WILL BE SCHWAG IN 5 YEARS SO DON'T THINK YOU ARE BUYING SOMETHING FOR LIFE...
     
  3. RyanMillerPhoto

    RyanMillerPhoto TPF Noob!

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    Its a great starter, what if you find out photography is not your gig. You could spend much more on the camera and NOT get better photos. The D40 will nearly take just as good of a photograph as a D300 or Canon 40D, probably just a good. So why do we buy expensive stuff, well the features which allow us to change settings quickly and weather sealing.

    Oh, and here's one very important point, spend a little on the camera and have more money to spend on the lenses!!!!! The clarity and contrast of your images is largely affected by the "glass". A cheap "kit" lens will suffice for a while, however you will want to upgrade to a prosumer lens in no time.
     
  4. icassell

    icassell TPF Noob!

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    Go to your local camera store and put it in your hand -- see if it feels right. For alot of people this helps people decide. You can't go wrong with most of the entry level dSLR's (Canon, Nikon, Pentax, etc.). Spend the money on good lenses that will still work as you upgrade the body. The D40 is a good camera.
     
  5. Amyb

    Amyb TPF Noob!

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    Thank you for the information... I take lots of pictures of my family with my point and shoot digital camera and I am just not satisfied with the results. It takes to long to take a picture and I feel like I miss good photos. In reading and looking at the Nikon D40 I think I may like it...
     
  6. manaheim

    manaheim Jedi Bunnywabbit Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Here's my take on a lot of the Nikons from a previous post... hope it helps.

    I have extensively used D70S, D100, D200, D300 and have worked a reasonable amount of time with the D60 and D80. I currently own a D100 and D300 and use the D300 pretty much exclusively. So... I can probably give you some decent opinions.

    First, the sub-bodies... (D60/D80)

    In general, the sub-camera bodies are a very different breed from the main bodies (D200/D300). The cameras are significantly lighter, less rugged, and intended as more of a transitional camera. (from point and shoot to more "serious")

    They have a variety of features to make automatic shooting of certain situations easier (such as "landscape" and "portrait" automatic modes), and generally are geared towards someone trying to learn the ins and outs of working with a different type of camera than a typical point and shoot. Some of them even come with nice DVDs to explain the ins and outs of photography.

    They are also designed to be cheaper (to make them more attractive to a point and shoot owner, as well as make them more accessible to everyone to hook them into this evil habit/hobby), so they cut quite a few corners. As I mentioned they are less rugged, but they also do things like give you a smaller screen, no autofocus motor (limiting lens choices a bit... except for the D80, which does have this), fewer dials and controls (making it a bit more challenging to work the device when you go into more manual modes), lesser high-iso capabilities, less speed, less software capabilities, etc. For an example, see my thread here on my review of the D60 from some hands-on experience.

    That being said, there isn't really anything wrong with the cameras. You can get just as beautiful shots... it just may take a bit more work and you may find that someone with a "more serious" cam might be able to outdo you here and there. Honestly, very rarely, but they do have a better tool, so they're going to be a bit less limited. You have to keep this in perspective, though... I think my D100 is an amazing camera, and in almost every way, all of these newer lesser cameras kick the snot out of my D100... the only real advantage my poor D100 has is that it is more rugged and can take the vertical grip. (I don't believe most of these cameras can... not sure.)

    Now, that being said... the D80 is really exceptional in my opinion. I recommend it to people all the time. It's really just a smallish step down from the D200. It's still clearly less of a serious camera than the D200, but the differences are no where near as significant as they are on any other camera in the sub-body line. It has a bit more capability, doesn't treat you like you're clueless, but still has the capabilities and features to help ease the transition if you need or want them.

    In summary on the sub-bodies... The D80 is a great camera. The other ones, in my opinion, are all kind of frustrating. They're fine... but frustrating. I would almost sooner buy a used D70S than a D40, and possibly even a D60. The D60 really annoyed me. Unless you are scrounging for cash to make this happen, if you decide to go with a sub-body, get a D80.

    Now onto the monsters... (D200/D300)

    These are both exceptional cameras. They're built like tanks, take no shortcuts, and are rich in features and capabilities.

    They are larger and heavier. No question. However, if you're getting into this hobby and worrying about the size difference between a D60 and a D200... you are going to have some problems. Both cameras are ungainly huge compared to most point and shoot cameras. Accept that these are all fairly large and go with it. The one exception to this is if you really are a tiny waif of a thing and can't practically handle a device of this size. Other than that, seriously ignore the weight stuff (or maybe get the D80 which is a reasonable compromise).

    On a quick summary judgement, there's generally no reason to buy the D300 unless you have the extra cash and figure what the hell. There is no doubt that the D300 is a better camera, but the jump in price is quite significant for technically not that much of a gain. The D200 is an exceptional camera. Most D200 owners I know aren't considering an upgrade to the D300 because there just isn't that much of a difference.

    Off the top of my head, the major notworthy improvements in the D300 are...
    • 12MP instead of 10MP
    • AMAZING big and bright LCD screen
    • Faster shutter speed
    • Very good high ISO noise reduction
    • Better viewing controls on the LCD
    Ummm... there are more, but those are the ones that jump to mind. There's no question that its a better camera... but $600 better? 50% better? (assuming I have my prices right... haven't looked in a bit) Anyway... probably not. I got the D300 because I was upgrading from a D100, so I figured I might as well go for the top one since it had been a while. (plus I make money off my cameras so it was a business expense... gotta love that.) :mrgreen:

    I am extremely happy with my D300, but the D200 I was using for about six months there was absolutely spectacular. As I say... both great cameras.

    I hope this helps. :)
     
  7. Doug

    Doug TPF Noob!

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    There's just one thing to consider when looking at the Nikon D40. the focusing motor is in the lens. If you want to upgrade lenses and keep the autofocus you'll need to buy lenses specificly for the D40. Standard Nikon autofocus lenses will work on the camera but you will loose the autofocus. Standard Nikon autofucos lenses rely on the focus motor mounted in the camera. Just something to consider.
     
  8. maulrat

    maulrat TPF Noob!

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    Correct me if I am wrong but I believe that when purchasing your camera body, try to save a little dough for a pretty decent starter lens. Kit lenses tend to be on the lower end side. I believe lenses to be an investment and if you stick with photography, you'll be spending quite a bit of cash on lenses. IMO, a decent body with quality lenses are far better than a bad ass body with crap lenses.
     
  9. manaheim

    manaheim Jedi Bunnywabbit Staff Member Supporting Member

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    There are varying opinions on that. I think giving a good lens to a newbie is a horrible idea. Why?
    • It covers up mistakes (faster glass allows a variety of exposures that will "work", even if not ideal)
    • Because of above, it will take longer for them to hit the point when they say "hey, that picture didn't work... can someone tell me what I did wrong?" and thus, they learn slower.
    • As a new person they run a higher chance of doing something bad like cleaning it improperly and ruining expensive glass.
    I'm a big fan of giving someone ok equipment until they realize the equipment has limitations, learning why, and then stepping up to the next level. I've seen people have a ton of success with this.

    What's more is it's not like it's a huge investment wasted... I have three lenses that you can buy for under $150 each. (granted you can get a nifty fifty for under $150 too!) :)
     
  10. dEARlEADER

    dEARlEADER TPF Noob!

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    .

    Help me with part that more expensive glass covers up mistakes? I don't understand. An exposure is either correct or not. Faster glass gives you extra reach to obtain the correct exposure but doesn't go so far as to cover up mistakes. If anything faster glass can be more difficult to use because the newb also has to deal with shallow dof at wide apertures.

    Getting everything you want to be in focus at 1.8 is not going to cover any mistakes.. it's going to show them...
     
  11. Amyb

    Amyb TPF Noob!

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    So how important are these lenses? Would it be worth it to go up to the D80? It looks as though you get a better lens with that model upfront as well. A lot to think about.....
     
  12. manaheim

    manaheim Jedi Bunnywabbit Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Cover up isn't exactly the right term... the point I'm trying to make is that the better glass will allow them a broader range of conditions in which to get a shot, thus making the occasion where they go "damn, why didn't this work?" less common, thus making it less likely for them to understand the limits of the equipment and why good equipment is better, etc.

    This is along the lines of you never really appreciate the Porsche, until you have driven a Triumph TR7 for a while. You don't understand how amazing a Vinent Bach Silver Trumpet is until you've played for a few years on a King Student horn. Etc.
     

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