First DSLR

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by mykill, Apr 16, 2007.

  1. mykill

    mykill TPF Noob!

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    Ok, I will be buying my first DSLR soon. I have it narrowed to 2 choices. Either the Nikon D40 or Pentax K100d. Both are in my price range and from the reviews I have read are rather nice. I do not know which way I want to go? I like that Nikon has plenty of lenses but I like the Pentax's Image Stabilization. SO ANY input either way would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. RMThompson

    RMThompson the TPF moderators rock my world!

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    Well I recently also had to make the decision, and while the Pentax was only a small part of the equation, I went with a Nikon D50, but they can be pretty hard to find however.

    I've heard the D50 is slightly sharper than the D50, but a LOT of people that have used the D50 love it!

    The D50 has the internal motors so It can uses a larger amount of lenses, has a 5 area TTL and better AF, the LCD on top, a larger battery life.

    The D40 on the other hand has a larger screen, a slightly newer processor, and in camera processing.

    Didn't mean to confuse you more, but I would recommend the D50, and it can be found at some Ritz Cameras or at B&H Photo Refurbished.
     
  3. Don Simon

    Don Simon TPF Noob!

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    I am going to ask the obvious question here... have you been to a shop and tried them yourself?

    That said, probably one of the most common responses you'll get is that you're not buying a camera but buying into a system. This is absolutely true. You buy into a proprietary lens mouns as well as a whole range of flashes and other accessories. But of course it certainly seems like you're buying a camera when you're handing over several hundred dollars for one, so you want a camera body that you're happy with.

    Nikon and Pentax are different systems although they are also quite similar in that both use exactly the same sensors. As you say, there are many lenses available for Nikon. There are also many lenses for Pentax but they are not produced or distributed in such great quantities, so for example you would often be able to buy a certain Nikon lens straight away but it might take a couple of weeks to get hold of a Pentax equivalent.

    Something else to consider: Nikon's lenses may be more widely available, but on the D40 your choice will be somewhat limited because older manual focus lenses will not work at all, and many autofocus lenses will not autofocus because the D40 has no AF motor. The Pentax will work with any Pentax K-mount lens going back several decades. So actually in the case of the D40 I don't think either company really has the advantage as far as available lenses go. As 'RMThompson' says the D50 is compatible with more Nikon lenses than the D40 so I would definitely consider that too.

    Nikon does have high-end 'pro' bodies while Pentax does not; they are instead hoping that professionals will be attracted by their forthcoming digital medium format system. Pentax do currently offer a more advanced model in the K10d which competes very well with the D80. One argument is that Nikon has more users so it's easier to get help or advice... but as you see, we have this thing called the 'internet'; you could probably find a forum for people who stick peanut butter in their ears, so it's really not that hard to find other Pentax users or reviews.

    The Pentax dSLRs do have Image Stabilisation, however Nikon offer Vibration Reduction lenses. The VR lenses are more effective, but obviously they cost more and only work on individual lenses whereas an in-camera system works with any lens; therefore which system is 'better' is a matter of preference and priorities.

    Both cameras use the exact same sensor, and the image processing on both is good; by now both companies seem to have got the most out of the sensor and they should perform well even at higher sensitivity (ISO).

    Basically I think you would be happy with either; either camera, and either system... so either go to a store and try each camera (and perhaps also the D80/D200/K10D) and as many lenses as you can find before they kick you out, and get a 'feel' for each system... or toss a coin :)
     
  4. mykill

    mykill TPF Noob!

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    I have held both and shot both but not extensively enough to make a real difference....both felt good in my hands neither really made a larger impact than the other....

    i have considered the D50 but thought that the D40 would be better for the future....?
    I would like to try a D80 or so but they are kinda steep on the price range... I really do not want to go over 700 and that is really a lot for me on a camera so that is why I am looking at these 2.

    please keep the comments coming they are very much appreciated
     
  5. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    You are in fact buying a system and one thing that you should consider is the flash system that each maker has. You will hear photographers say you should never use on-camera flash. Smile at them and walk away because for a huge number of daytime shots -yes Daytime- having fill flash will make a photo and you just won't be carrying around 53 pounds of reflectors, gobos, French flags and a hand operated smoke machine. Both Nikon and Canon -the 2 largest manufactures of course- have great TTL flash systems (some say Nikon is better, some don"t). You also, if you plan to get serious about your photography you will need plenty of elbow room because one thing will lead to another and you don't want to have to start over while you are happily following your nose. (I'm sorry to say that Nikon's D40 may fall in this category for it's limited use of their lenses, but at least you can use the lenses you will have on other Nikons should you go that route)

    So, look at all the other things that fit onto a camera and how well they work before you pick a body. The best idea is to fall in love with a lens and then find a camera body to fit it.

    mike
     
  6. Don Simon

    Don Simon TPF Noob!

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    I suspect when most people advise against ever using on-camera flash they are talking about the pop-up flash, rather than a hotshoe-mounted dedicated flash. IMO this is good advice and pop-up flashes are indeed terrible. Dedicated flashes mounted on the camera however are good as you can bounce and diffuse.

    Canon and Nikon do indeed have good flash systems... but then so do the other companies. As for elbow room, frankly no system is perfect and none is entirely future-proof forever. There are people heavily invested in Nikon who think about switching to Canon, but does this mean they made the wrong decision to go with Nikon and we should all just buy into the Canon system? Canon users need not answer that one ;)
     
  7. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    No, I was talking about those who say never use flash of any sort. (I don't normally suggest you run from anyone) Flash guns, as opposed to pop-up flashes, were what I was referring to the most and the brand does make a bit of difference. If anyone cares about this I strongly suggest they do their own research because let's face it, you don't know me. ;)

    Zaphod, you are right for most of the time but some shots only need a small bit of boost, say that little blue flower growing in the crook of that tree, for instance, you could shoot it at f2.8 but then you don't get the place where it lives in focus so you loose the meaning of the shot. A small bit of fill and you are up to f4 and there you are. And if you are shooting Nikon at least the TTL handles the bounce from the tree trunk, ambient light and you still get a good dynamic range from the flower to the bit of sky to the side.

    It's the money spent on engineering for just these types of circumstances that make people want to stick with Nikon and Canon. I don't know how a Pentax handles these situations, I do know what a Nikon would do.

    It really depends on how you will be using the camera, Mykill. Don't worry about the glitz and glamer just find one that will do what you need it to do when you push the shutter button, where you push it.

    mike
     
  8. Don Simon

    Don Simon TPF Noob!

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    Oh ok, I hadn't really heard anyone say never use any flash.

    As for the brand thing, the other companies put money into their flash systems just like they put money into top quality lenses. Nikon's flash system is often regarded as the best... but just like you're buying a system rather than a camera, you're buying a system rather than a flash. Also that isn't the only thing that makes people want to stick with the big two, frankly in a not small number of cases I genuinely believe it's complacency and buying into marketing and myths, but that's another story. Minolta had a really great flash system, in addition to their fantastic lenses and bodies... it didn't do them much good in terms of sales. In the end as you say the 'glitz and glamour' don't really matter, you just need something that does what you want and does it well. Personally I think this applies to different systems just as it applies to different bodies.
     
  9. DSLR noob

    DSLR noob TPF Noob!

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    I would take the Pentax, which I almost took over my Canon. Only reason I went with Canon, I had a friend who used to shoot with a Digital Rebel and I loved his camera. He said "I don't know how well a Pentax 6MP sensor is, but I can guarantee with experience, the quality of a canon sensor). Turns out, they are both great cameras, The Canon/Nikons got better scores in color repoduction and what not, but like I've said before on another thread. People don't look at a photo saying "Wow, that photo is beautiful, even thoug hI wasn't there, I imagine that red is just a taaaaaaad bit oversaturated if I held up a color chart, and that blue was probably a weensy bit darker." No they say "Wow, what a beautiful photo!" or "It needs some work." Which is up to the photographer, not the camera. and if you're used to a slightly "off" sensor (like you'd be able to tell with the naked eye) you'll know how to use it and compensate for any weaknesses, which all cameras have.
     
  10. mykill

    mykill TPF Noob!

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    I would like to inform you guys that I went with the Nikon D40. I went back to the store today and felt them again and the D40 made me pull the trigger. I appreciate your advice it did help me a lot. It is always good to get another opinion so thank you for taking the time out to give me advice....and well I have messed around for awhile now and LOVE IT hehe
     

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