How limiting really is the D40?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by gamerz, May 3, 2008.

  1. gamerz

    gamerz TPF Noob!

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    Hello,

    So, I'm still undecided on what DSLR to purchase... Its between the Nikon D40, the Canon XTi, and the Nikon D80. What I really want to know is how limiting is the D40 really?

    1.I know it doesn't have an in body auto focus motor, but is that really a problem? I know alot of companies now are making the bulk of their lenses so that they are AF-S, or so I have heard.

    2. How limiting is the D40 in terms of features and technology? If I were to buy it, how long would it be before I would want to replace it because it lacks some features and settings that I would otherwise need? (I dont actually know what I do need, I am still a noob)

    3. How is the picture quality coming from the D40? What I'm really looking for is a camera to take DSLR type pictures, not pictures like a high end point and shoot.

    Thanks.
     
  2. dylj

    dylj TPF Noob!

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    I'm a new D40 owner, and I'm very happy with it!

    However, I will comment on the lens limitations.

    As of right now, it IS a serious limitation. The first lens people recommend you to buy is the 50mm prime because it is very fast, very cheap, and very good! However, there is NO 50mm prime that will autofocus on the D40. That made me sad.

    Sigma recently anounced (March 18) that is has a new 50mm lens coming out, and it WILL autofocus on the D40. However, they haven't released price info. It might be $250 or more, compared to the $100 excellent Nikon prime.

    So ... take that how you will. Maybe the lens limitations will force you to wait, and not splurge immediately. That way you'll still be able to put food on the table ..
     
  3. ScottS

    ScottS TPF Noob!

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    If you are even thinking about the D80, get it. :)
     
  4. Aggressor

    Aggressor TPF Noob!

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    With regards to #1: If you look at it as an opportunity to be less dependent on automatic systems, the lack of AF is not a limitation; it is a learning tool. Not being facetious, but what better way to become more familiar with your camera?
     
  5. DWS

    DWS TPF Noob!

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    buy as much camera as you can realistically afford; otherwise, you will be looking to purchase again very soon
     
  6. Mav

    Mav TPF Noob!

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    I don't find my D40 to be limiting at all, and I have a D80 too. I actually prefer it to my D80 because it's smaller, lighter, cheaper, more portable, easier to make adjustments on, has faster flash sync, has better high ISO performance, is a bit sharper overall, and for the most part I never need 10MP on my D80 anyways. 6MP is plenty for up to 3-foot wide prints which is as big as I'd ever want to print. I like the smaller files sizes too since I tend to shoot a lot.

    There's more and more AF-S equivalent lenses coming out all the time, so the fact that it doesn't have the in-body focusing motor will slowly but surely become a non-issue. And just because you don't have AF support on some lenses doesn't mean you can't use them. I routinely use my fisheye lens and manually focus and have no problems. AF isn't critical for wide angle photography. And even if you just want to play around with a 50mm f/1.8 for $100, you can still use it just fine for static subjects, and with a little practice on moving ones. The D40 gives you a focus confirmation dot to let you know you're in focus so it's not like you're purely guessing. I use my 50mm f/1.4 AF-D on my D40 from time to time too.

    I don't mind spending a bit more money for nicer AF-S lenses though. You're not just getting AF-S on them. They focus a lot faster, give you instant manual focus override, and usually have superior optical designs vs the old non AF-S versions. A good example is the $500 70-300VR lens vs the old $125 70-300G. Optically the 70-300VR is superior and gives great results even at 300mm wide open at f/5.6. The old G version you needed to stop down to f/8 or f/11, and then you don't have VR to stabilize the lens either. You get what you pay for with lenses.

    I would sell my D80 and maybe get another D40, but its depreciated enough now with newer cameras out that it's not really worth it to sell anymore so I guess I'll just stick with it. Everything from the D40 all the way up to the D80 and everything in between (40x, 50, 60, 70/s) are all about the same in terms of overall capability. These are all consumer levels cameras. The next real step up IMHO are the D200 and 300 which are more serious entry-professional level cameras.

    I'm thinking of getting either an 80-200 f/2.8 AF-D, or a 135mm f/2-DC, both of which are screw drive lenses. AF would be critical with those, so that's the only real reason I'm holding onto the D80. But Sigma has a good alternative to the 80-200 with HSM for less money, and Nikon will probably update a lot of their primes like the 135/2 with AF-S before long, so I'm holding off to see what they come out with.
     
  7. passerby

    passerby TPF Noob!

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    Well it depends on your need and how intense is your involvement in photography. I am a simple man (a hobbyist) - therefore - a simple thing I have in my hand is considered as a chock a block.

    Nikon is a professional camera maker as always was. Whenever they do anything their effort is always with the pros in their minds, they don't want to lose their professional customers. Therefore nikon todays cameras are designed to accomodate those existing professional customers in their slow transition to digital. Those people have lenses with them from the film era, lots and lots of them. The D40 is not designed to work fully like glove with those lenses. It works but not really hand in hand, just like mine 50mm f1.8, I have to manually focus it.

    Beside that, from my point of view it is very advance camera to a degree, with features that only the very keen hobbyist like to venture. It only cost less than half your weekly wage, so if you not happy with it just slam it to the wall, no drama. But I have not done it so far, so it must be something. Also it is small camera, very light in comparison with others. The ISO 1600 is still very good even for A4 size paper.

    If you are only new with camera at this moment than it is not advisable to jump with the high end. Stick with this cheapie and spend the rest for good zoom lens, or a macro, or a telephoto, or a wide angle, or whatever. One day when you are ready to step up - those lenses will always be there for you, and use this cheap camera for your back up. The pro always carry back up.

    Have fun.
     
  8. someguy5

    someguy5 TPF Noob!

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    IMO, its always best to learn the basics of anything before letting machines automate things for you.
     
  9. djacobox372

    djacobox372 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I'd recommend a used d70 over a d40. The street price for a mint used one is cheaper then a new d40, and you'll have all the features of the d80 that you're worried about missing in the d40.

    The D70 is basically a D80 with a d40 sensor, and a smaller lcd screen.
     
  10. djacobox372

    djacobox372 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    If you're thinking about a D80, buy a D200. ;)
     
  11. Antithesis

    Antithesis No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I second the D70 purchase, you can get them from keh.com for like $350 in EX condition, which means hardly used.

    I had a D40 for a little while, and it was a nice little camera. If you don't really know any better, the controls are pretty intuitive and it's very small and light. Most of the high end Nikon zooms (nearly as sharp as the primes that won't focus on a D40) are AF-S. If you want to shoot mostly with primes (cheaper and better light gathering), than look at a D70 or D80, but if you want to stick with zooms, go with a D40.
     
  12. ANDS!

    ANDS! No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Seconded getting a used D70, D70s (although people gouge on this one) or a D50. The D40 has a higher pixel count, but the difference in functionality and use of lens with no internal focusing motor is huge and worth the pixel tradeoff.
     

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