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Old 06-23-2009, 03:59 PM
 
1,367 posts, read 3,563,161 times
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I'm in the process of researching the purchase of my first DSLR camera. I've only used point & shoots before but want to go beyond that. From reading reviews, and based on my price range, I'm considering the Nikon D40 but have a few questions about lens compatibility and other things. I'll be using it casually for both landscape and portrait shots. If you can help me out I would appreciate it, I want to make a good decision but it's a lot to learn!

1. I've read that the D60 isn't a great improvement on the D40-- would you agree that for my purposes the D40 is fine? How about the D40x?

2. The D40 seems to require lenses to have their own motorized auto focus. Does this mean I will have to focus more expensive lenses? How limiting is this? On the Nikon site some lenses say they have autofocus but do not have AF-S silent wave motor-- does this mean it is incompatible?

3. Opinions on buying refurbished? Any real reason not to from a reputable dealer?

4. Kit vs. body only-- I know I will be purchasing a telephoto lens, but for regular shots is the kit lens okay? Or, is it better to buy the camera only and get a better 18-55mm lens? (not sure what "better" means in terms of image quality)

5. (warning: stupid question ) Do I need to buy a separate flash unit, or does the camera have a basic internal flash?

A lot of questions, I know, but any help or advice is appreciated! If there are similar quality/price cameras other than the D40, feel free to recommend! THANK YOU!
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Old 06-23-2009, 04:20 PM
 
1,106 posts, read 2,881,059 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JanuaryGirl View Post
1. I've read that the D60 isn't a great improvement on the D40-- would you agree that for my purposes the D40 is fine? How about the D40x?
I like my D40 - I think it is a great 1st DSLR. One possible limitation for you on landscapes - if you are going to be shooting any HDR, be aware that the D40 does not have an auto-bracket capability (I don't recall if the D60 or D40x offer this either). What this means is that you would have to manually adjust exposure and reshoot for each of your HDR frames. Here is a good discussion of the merits of the D40: http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/d40.htm

Quote:
2. The D40 seems to require lenses to have their own motorized auto focus. Does this mean I will have to focus more expensive lenses? How limiting is this? On the Nikon site some lenses say they have autofocus but do not have AF-S silent wave motor-- does this mean it is incompatible?
The D40 requires an AF-S lens to support auto-focus. In some cases that would mean a more expensive lens, but not always. The primary example of this (to me, anyway) is in buying a "nifty-fifty" for low-light non-flash shooting. The only AF-S 50mm is the new 1.4 that runs about $450, compared to the available 1.8 non-AF-S that runs about $110. There is, however, a new 35mm f/1.8 AF-S for around $200.

Quote:
4. Kit vs. body only-- I know I will be purchasing a telephoto lens, but for regular shots is the kit lens okay? Or, is it better to buy the camera only and get a better 18-55mm lens? (not sure what "better" means in terms of image quality)
I would go ahead and get the kit - the 18-55mm kit lens is pretty good and very lightweight, and I don't think you save much without it anyway. If you are planning to get a telephoto, you might even look for a kit with the 18-55 and the 55-200VR (make sure it is the VR). That is a great telephoto lens value.

Quote:
5. (warning: stupid question ) Do I need to buy a separate flash unit, or does the camera have a basic internal flash?
The D40 has a built in flash, but since you are going to do portraiture, I would spend an extra $130 and get an SB-400 flash. This flash has a rotating bounce head, so you can avoid direct flash. Much nicer.
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Old 06-23-2009, 07:04 PM
 
Location: Moon Over Palmettos
5,971 posts, read 12,257,523 times
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Nothing to contribute but have to comment on how precise and concise the original posting was, such that it was possible for TOTS to provide an equally precise and concise response!

I love when posts are as clear as both of these! Even I who's not a D40 owner learned just from reading both Q&A.
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Old 06-23-2009, 08:59 PM
 
11,341 posts, read 6,303,552 times
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Vist this site for a very thorough review: Digital Camera Reviews and News: Digital Photography Review: Forums, Glossary, FAQ
It will also have answers to the differences between the D40 & D40X, which the only one I can remember is the resolution. The D40 is 6 mega pixels whereas the X is 10. Not a big deal if you don't plan on printing large format prints
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Old 06-23-2009, 10:57 PM
 
Location: West Cobb County, GA (Atlanta metro)
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Everyone has already gone over the basics and more regarding the D40, but as someone who had one I can tell you it's an excellent camera for the money (and I'm typically a Canon guy). I wound up selling it to a coworker's neighbor who begged for it they loved it so much.

Costco has it for only $419.00 with the kit lens (HERE) and at that price with their 90 day return policy and one year warranty, I see no reason to buy a "refurbished" model that typically only comes with a total of 90 days warranty. Be very careful about the two lens kit "deals" from places like Wolf/Ritz, because many times those deals include the older 55-100 NON VR lens (you want the VR version if you get that lens).

Pixel count isn't everything. Lens quality counts as much. The kit lens is decent. The 55-200 VR lens mentioned above is good as others have said, too. I did 11 x 14 enlargements from the D40 that looked very good.

If for some reason you need to make larger prints than that, or maybe want a basic (but not quite easy to use) movie ability on a DSLR with a swivel-type LCD screen, see the new D5000 (12 megapixel) that with the same kit lens runs $799 at Costco (HERE).
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Old 06-25-2009, 04:16 PM
 
1,367 posts, read 3,563,161 times
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Update -- I've purchased the Nikon D40 with 18-55mm and 55-20mm VR lens! After hearing what you had to say, talking to a friend that happens to own it, and doing more research I decided this was the best and went for it!

Thanks for your replies, it really helps having feedback for such a pricey purchase!

I'm very happy with it after my first day, got a LOT to learn but am getting there after reading the manual and reading at kenrockwell.com. Hopefully eventually I will have some decent pics to post here.

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Old 06-25-2009, 04:23 PM
 
1,106 posts, read 2,881,059 times
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Congrats on the new camera! Can't wait to see your pics - enjoy!
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