DSLR Advice Please


TPF Noob!
Dec 27, 2007
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Ontario, Canada.
Hello there, I'm new to this forum and relatively new to photography as a whole. I'm seeking advice (in understandable newbie language, lol) from knowledgeable camera people.

As of now, I have two pocket cameras (HP Photosmart 735 & Canon Powershot A530). I'm aware that my cameras are considered far from decent, but they have served their purpose. I'm interested in getting my first digital SLR camera, and upon doing research I've narrowed it down to the Canon Rebel XTi and the Nikon D40/D40x.

Having some experience with Canon, I initially leaned toward the XTi. However, today I spoke to a man in a photography store and he told me that the D40/D40x would probably better suit my needs. He said that the Nikon D40/D40x lenses are generally cheaper and of similar quality to the Canon lenses.

I'm still a beginner, as you can see, and the general purpose of my camera will be to take pictures of my dogs, family members, and perhaps some landscape shots (I'm going to Greece in March, and I would love to have my camera by then). I really like Depth of Field, so a camera/lens that could take nice pictures with DOF would be ideal.

My budget isn't very high (I'm sixteen years old), so which DSLR camera would you recommend? Is it worth the extra price to go from the Nikon D40 to the Nikon D40x? Which lenses would you recommend (I really know nothing on lenses)? Are there any other DSLR cameras you would recommend?

Thank you very much in advance, and I look forward to your responses and advice. :)
This kind of question is all over the forums at the moment so all I will say is this, don't buy the D40....No one should....Its a restricted "SLR" .... :confused:
Oh, I apologize if you guys have been bombarded with similar questions. If you don't mind me asking, why is the D40 considered 'restricted'? Is there any thread that I should reference?

Thanks very much for the link!

If I choose to buy Canon, which camera do you recommend? The guy in that thread said something about the Nikon D50, what are your thoughts on these? I don't have a huge budget, because after all I am sixteen years old, so I'd really prefer a rather affordable dSLR that shoots nicely.

Sure, I can look at reviews and such, but I really prefer to hear from real people. ;)
If you want a new camera go for the XT or XTi

If you don't mind a "previously loved" camera then you might find a similarly priced 20D :)

I don't know about the D50 sorry, I prefer to use Canon gear. Happy hunting!
I know some people here are hard on the D40 and D40X, go to a camera shop and hold both the Canon, Nikon and any other you like and see what fells right for you.
If you are not going to add anything other than the kit lens, it does not matter which you buy, they will work the same.
Thanks for the input!

I have no problem at all purchasing a previously used camera, so perhaps if I choose to go that route I'll find a more affordable camera. I'm looking up the Canon 20D and the Nikon D50 now. :wink: Is the kit lens for the XTi and D40 at all decent?

In some of the threads on here some people said that they weren't crazy about the Canon Rebel series. Why is that? Is the quality not great?
I agree, I have the D40 and love the way it feels. The Canon, all be it a great product, didn't feel as good in my hands.
Since you have to use it you really need to be comfortable with it.
The lens issue really isn't an issue in my eyes, only because I can only see myself maybe buying one more......if that.
However if you decide that you want to expand your collection regarding lenses then you need to look at pricing and get all the information you can before you purchase.
As mentioned this forum has plenty of information regarding DSLR purchases.
From the questions I asked the D40X doesn't seem to be worth the money.
Do what feels right for you, the sales people will let you hold and fiddle with all your options before you buy........there are more then just Canon and Nikon.
Good Luck!
The nikon d40 is a great camera.
So is the canon xti.
-Its really on personal preferance. Youll really have to go to a camera store and play with both makes and models. Figure out which one feels more comfortable for you to use, all around. Buttons, ease of use, understanding whats going on, how to navigate the menues. Etc.


for someone who is in the entry level of photography shooting a nikon d40/x, canon rebel (any model) do not have to worry about any restrictions at all.

The only drawback of nikons d40 is it only allows you to use AF-S or AF-I lenses. Which to this 16 year old might not mean anything. There are at least 25 diffrent lenses of AF-S and AF-I.

With that stated... just because the lense DOES NOT SAY AF-S or AF-I... maybe it says AF.. IT DOES NOT MEAN YOU CAN NOT USE IT ON THE D40/X. Simply it means, youll be shooting in MANUAL mode.

As far as im concerned and strictly in my opinion. The d40 has no restrictions when it comes to someone learning photography. Period.

If you plan on buying a lense with good DOF, i recomend an aperature (f/#) of f/2.8. Thats a good speed lense that allows nice shallow DOF, but also allows you to get a crisp good DOF. A plus side to a f/2.8 lense or faster is itll be much more ideal for the average person who wants to shoot around, inside and out, for its good in lower lighting situations.

If i were you (16 year old) i would buy a D40. I have one, works flawlessly. I love it. (not putting the canon down, my best friend has that and i borrowed it one time to get pictures for him. works great also)

I would probably buy it as the kit.

Nikon D40 with 18-55mm f/3.5 - 5.6. thats about $500 i beleive.

I would then buy a faster lense. Now, a f/3.5 to f/2.8 can mean big mucho bucks. but not always. get a MANUAL lense, better to learn on, usually greater DOF, and in some cases crisper images.

My recomendations are as follows (depends on the distance youd like to be from your subject.)

Nikkor 35mm f/2.0 =$320
>>Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 =$120<< (id pick this up)
Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 =$1,024

With all that said, in plain text, this is what i recomend for you to buy.

Nikon D40 w/ 18-55 f/3.5 - 5.6 kit
Nikkor 50mm f/1.8

All together cost you about maybe $600, 650 with tax and shipping.
I dont think you need to spend the extra money on the D40x for the larger Mega-Pixles. 6 take great pictures and the files are smaller, able to take more on a card. Also, since you most likely wont be blowing the images up bigger then a 8x11 paper, you dont have to worry about pixilation.

Thanks again for the input, everyone. You people are very, very helpful and your patience with me is much appreciated.

Keith, your post was extremely informative (having the general price included was very insightful). Yes, I'm a sixteen year old with ambitions of very basic photography and perhaps a photo blog. Nothing really serious, I'm merely a beginner. Twenty-five lenses is waaay more than I can ever fathom owning. I can't foresee myself owning more than two or three at the very most. If I get more serious about photography, I'm open to upgrading my camera down the road. If I buy lenses for the D40/D40X, could I use them on a later Nikon model?

If I ask someone in a camera store which lenses I can use with the D40- is that sufficient?

To be honest, I'm still not completely sure what AF-S and AF-I lenses are exactly.
Of course you can. Lenses are very forwards compatible. The higher end nikon you buy the more backwards compatible they get, like the Nikon D80 can take AF-S and AF D type lenses. The Nikon D200 can take AF-S AF D Ai-S and Ai lenses.

Normally I'm one to recommend staying away from the D40 as someone who wants to get into the art of photography and experimentation seems to find it restricting that only a few lenses can be used. At first I would recommend the D40 to you because of your intentions. They appear to be to have a better camera for normal shooting situations rather than the start exploring the art as a hobby. However the Depth of field issue is a problem because Nikon does not produce a cheap AF-S lens with a wide aperture. The 50mm f/1.8 would be the first recommendation here except for the aforementioned restriction.

Canon doesn't have this restriction on their low-end models.

Ultimately though both are quite capable, and the D40 is small, feels much better than the Canon in my opinion, and is perfect for the sake of owning a better camera which you can control more with.

But if you intend to start this as a hobby or get fancy I suggest you go Canon or squeeze a Nikon D80 into the budget.
I guess if I went with Canon I could always splurge on lenses if I wanted to get serious about it or felt the need. Although I am a beginner and my intentions are simple, I don't like the idea of limiting myself. Would a fancy lens on a higher end Canon model look much better than a fancy lens on an XTi? The Nikon D80 does seem reallllly nice, I may be able to squeeze it into the budget if I find any deals.

I'm so back and forth on the Canon vs. Nikon thing. :confused:
I got a Nikon D40x and I love it. As of now I have the kit lens but soon to have the Nikkor 55-200mm VR lens. I've scanned adorama and b&h and found plenty of lenses that are AF-S & I, and I'm sure Nikon will make some more in the future. But feel them both, one may feel better than the other.

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