Time for my first SLR

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by les_rokr, May 19, 2007.

  1. les_rokr

    les_rokr TPF Noob!

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    I think it's finally time I get myself a nice DSLR to replace my little crapper I have in my pocket. I was thinking about the Nikon D40, but I've also heard good stuff about the D80. What's the difference? I really don't wanna exceed $400 in the purchase. I also don't wanna outgrow this camera anytime soon, so I'd like one that i'll be happy with for a while.

    Thanks,
    -Alex
     
  2. Don Simon

    Don Simon TPF Noob!

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    Hi there. I think you posted this twice. Anyway...

    If you don't want to exceed $400 you have virtually no choice in terms of getting a dSLR and lens. You can get a D40 with kit lens for just over $500. A D80 however will set you back over $800. Therefore unless you can double your budget, I would forget about the D80, D200 or anything else and concentrate on cameras that are not too far out of your budget - namely the D50, D40 or D70. They all use the same sensors and allow you access to the Nikon system of lenses. Personally I would look for a D50; it is unlikely to cost more than a D40 and offers compatibility with more lenses (the D40 won't autofocus with several lenses while the D50 or D70 will).

    It's really impossible to say if or when you'll 'outgrow' any camera. If you decide to become a professional photographer you may need various things from your camera that a D40 or in fact a D80 cannot provide... or they might still serve as a perfectly good backup. Even as an amateur you will undoubtedly start to want more from your equipment, but the camera you have will keep working; it just won't look quite so impressive compared to others. For now, it's better to have a camera you can afford than to have no camera at all.

    Oh, and don't forget the importance of lenses. The specs of the camera may be more important to the final image with digital than with film, but that doesn't lessen the importance of having good glass. Don't set aside all your budget for a camera and none for lenses (or for that matter some other fairly important things like a tripod).
     
  3. les_rokr

    les_rokr TPF Noob!

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    Well, I guess I was basing my budget off of ebay, but I guess I can extend my budget to $600.

    Does the D40 accept a speedlight?

    What's the difference between all the D's?
     
  4. Sw1tchFX

    Sw1tchFX TPF Noob!

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    The D40 is a REALLY small camera. Its the size of the Rebel, so if you have big hands like me, you might want to try and avoid it. I'm with Zaphod on this one, the D50 is a bigger body that can Autofocus with all Nikon AF lenses. The D40 only has AF with AF-S and AF-I lenses. AF-S and AF-I lenses have internal focus motors in them so they're faster and quieter, but say you find a really sweet, inexpensive AF-D f/2.8 lens like the 80-200 f/2.8? On a D40, you need to manually focus it. D70s's are a little better than the D50 in the sense that you can use speedlights wirelessly on it, and it's got more buttons and dials on it to keep you from going into the LCD menus.

    The D40 does accept speedlights, that's wha the hot shoe on the top of it is for. The D50 is pretty much a little smaller, dumbed down D70.
     
  5. les_rokr

    les_rokr TPF Noob!

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    Thanks, I think i have normal sized hands, and I'll probably go with the D40. I don't mind having to manually focus it. At least I don't think I do, will it become a problem, or get annoying after a while?
     
  6. Don Simon

    Don Simon TPF Noob!

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    Really couldn't say. On a basic level I suspect it might be slightly annoying having a lens that is capable of autofocus and not being able to use it.

    Personally I believe that manual focus on modern dSLRs is not all that easy. The lenses and the camera's viewfinder are designed for autofocus use rather than manual focus use... But then I am comparing with 35mm manual-focus SLRs which had bigger, brighter viewfinders with various focusing aids on the focusing screen - often I use the same manual-focus lens on film SLR and dSLR and I find it far less convenient with the latter. Obviously that's a personal thing based on what I'm used to, and it may not be a problem for you at all. Besides, if you do find it inconvenient you can always buy a third-party focusing screen designed for manual focus use. Apart from which, if you don't want to manual focus, just avoid lenses that don't have internal focus (which unfortunately rules out fast 50mm primes among other lenses, but still...).
     
  7. Sw1tchFX

    Sw1tchFX TPF Noob!

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    You will mind it, and if you're going to get a D40, make sure you buy AF-S lenses. That really shouldn't be a problem.
     
  8. Christobal65

    Christobal65 TPF Noob!

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    The D40 is a sweet little camera with the only real down side is the necessity of the getting AF-S lenses. I feel they are built better then the Rebels and the D40 seemed to fit in my hand better then the Rebels. I personally shoot with a D70 and I haven't out grown it in the 2 years i have had it.

    Manual focus on a lens and camera built for auto focus is a pain there isn't enough resistance in the lens and the split view finder in the older manual focus cameras isn't there and that makes it harder to get the focus spot on.
     
  9. Sw1tchFX

    Sw1tchFX TPF Noob!

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    Right, I wear eyeglasses (you might be able to see in my avatar) and my eyesight blows. I can't get the diopter on my D70s to look right for my eyes and so manual focusing is just impossible for me without a gigantic viewfinder and a split prism.
     
  10. Theflede

    Theflede TPF Noob!

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    If I were looking for a good affordable 1st DSLR I would consider a used D100 off of EBAY. I have seen packages go for $500 or so with three lenses and body. You could pick up a speedlight for another $100 and you're are essentially in the game. The camera is a little larger than a D50 or D80 but the images will be as good. I know 6MP is small by today's modern standards of 10-12 MP but for the price.....
     
  11. Don Simon

    Don Simon TPF Noob!

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    I just thought I'd point out that 6mp really isn't much smaller than 10mp. I'm sure 10mp provides some advantages in printing or cropping, but it's nothing like, for example, comparing medium format and small format film.

    Sw1tchFX, I wear glasses too (-8.0! No diopter for that!) and I completely agree about the viewfinders. It was one of the things that instantly put me off Canon when I came to look at dSLRs, and I only reluctantly settled for a camera with pentamirror instead of pentaprism. I can focus manually - just about - but I really don't enjoy staring that hard into a little viewfinder. Like I said I'm used to cameras with bright finders, split-circle and prism collar screens. Compared to that, most dSLRs are just no good. I said it was a personal thing as I know there are people who are totally happy focusing with tiny dark viewfinders. My view is, yes it's possible, but does that mean I shouldn't want something better? Completely off-topic but nevermind, I was just hoping some camera R&D people were reading ;)
     
  12. Sw1tchFX

    Sw1tchFX TPF Noob!

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    lol, yeah tell me about it. I've always fared better with AF than MF on my D70.
     

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