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-   -   Nikon D40 or Panasonic DMC-FZ18 (

Derby08 May 2, 2008 1:19 PM

I have read too much. And I'm not an expert at all. I currently do not have a digital camera. But loved my film 35mm.

I also looked at a Fujifilm. But I'm open minded and open to your suggestions.

~drum roll please~

Which one will it be:

Nikon 40

Panasonic FZ18?

Thank you all. Happy Snappin'

I will betaking pics of my child playing soccer, ballet. And anything else that stands still. :-)

JimC May 2, 2008 1:27 PM

Why these two models?

What type of photos (and in what conditions) do you think you'll use a camera in more often?

What type of 35mm SLR did you use, and do you still have any lenses for it?

What's your budget?

These are very different camera models, and you'd need to consider what lenses you need with a D40 solution (if you want the zoom range you'd have with the Panansonic).

Of course, nothing says you have to buy everything at once, and you could always start with a kit lens, using it for a while before deciding if you need something more (and you'd be able to make a better informed decision after understanding the strengths and weaknesses of a single kit lens).

TCav May 2, 2008 1:30 PM

The Nikon D40 and the Panasonic FZ18 are very different cameras with very different capabilities and very different costs. It might help if you could tell us what you want from a digital camera, and how you narrowed your selection down to just those two.

Derby08 May 2, 2008 1:48 PM

Don't laugh. Canon AE-1

And a zoom lens that I really didn't use that much. I don't have it with me right now.

And I would like to spend no more than $600.00. Like I said I would be taking pics of my 5 year old playing soccer/ballet. And I love to photo archietectual designs of buildings, enjoy Black & White. I would like to do evening photos of the town.

So of course I will be starting with the basics and adding on later. (after purchase: This will be my next post...."What all do I really need":-))

Why these 2 cameras? I played with a Nikon D40 when they first came out and it was just amazing to me.

And I like the reviews of the Panasonic F18.

I am very amateur obviously, but I enjoyed playing with my 35mm film. But wasn't very adventerous because of film developing. So I would like to try to have try different settings and not on auto. I am an electronic junkie, so I feel like I could just erase what I didn't like.

Thanks again!

JimC May 2, 2008 2:40 PM

Ballet, huh?

Indoor photos without a flash are something else entirely. You'll need a bright lens and higher available ISO speeds to get more keepers without unacceptable noise or motion blur. That means a dSLR solution. Indoor lighting is going to be much dimmer to a camera, than it appears to the human eye.

The problem with the D40 is that doesn't have a focus motor built in. As a result, you'll be restricted to lenses that do have focus motors built in (for example, Nikkor AF-S lenses or Sigma HSM lenses) if you want Autofocus. The entry level Nikon bodies (D40, D40x, D60) have lens restrictions you don't have with other NIkon models.

Unfortunately, the brighter prime (fixed focal length versus zoom) lenses that are a better fit for existing light shooting (since you can get brighter primes versus zooms) won't Autofocus on a D40.

Plus, unless you're willing to get close enough to use a 50mm f/1.8 (which is going to be approximately 10 times as bright as a Nikon 18-55mm f/3.5.-5.6 lens if you zoom in much), your lens costs would be outside of your budget, even with a different Nikon dSLR model that could actually Autofocus with a lens like that (the D40 won't).

How important is the ballet to you? Are you willing to go used on lenses? Do you mind using manual focus? Is that $600 budget firm?

mtngal May 2, 2008 2:42 PM

With these two camera choices, it sounds like you are debating whether you want to get adSLR or not. That is really the first decision you need to make - there are advantages and disadvantages both ways. What's one person's heaven might be another person's prison, so it depends on your personal preference. My first ever post here asked for advice about fixed lens cameras because there was no way I wanted to go back to SLR photography. I found out that I wasn't willing to make the image quality sacrifices I made by getting an FZ30 and now happily drag around pounds of dSLR stuff. But it's not for everyone.

Derby08 May 2, 2008 3:32 PM

You all are wonderful! Glad I found this site.

Ballet is not important to me at all. Glad she can't read yet. But hey, she doesn't like ballet and won't be doing it next year. It was dads idea.

Okay, now that ballet is out of the way. Plus the performance is only 1 time a year and it is this month.

So what do you think now.

TCav May 2, 2008 3:46 PM

Using a telephoto lens indoors is going to be tough. For sports, you'd need a lens with a maximum aperture of f/2.0. For my daughter-in-law's middle school band class concerts, I've been able to get by with f/4.0 and only gotten motion blur on the trombone slides. For ballet, there will be a lot more motion thatmiddle school band concerts, but less than basketball, so I think you'd need something in between ( f2.8 ).

Canon and Nikon have medium telephotos (85mm or 100mm)with maximum apertures around f/2.0 for about $400. Anything else will putyou over budget for just the lens, and you'll still need to be fairly close. And these lenses will not autofocus on the Nikon D40, D40X or D60.

So if the Ballet is something you want, that is something that the Panasonic FZ18 will not do.

But for soccer, the Panasonic would be a more economical choice. Also, for sports, the autofocus system in the Nikon D40, D40X or D60 would not do well.

(Are you picking up that I don't think you should get the Nikon D40, D40X or D60?[suB]:-)[/suB] )

TCav May 2, 2008 3:50 PM

Derby08 wrote:

You all are wonderful! Glad I found this site.

Ballet is not important to me at all. Glad she can't read yet. But hey, she doesn't like ballet and won't be doing it next year. It was dads idea.

Okay, now that ballet is out of the way. Plus the performance is only 1 time a year and it is this month.

So what do you think now.
Sorry. I was composing a response to your last post while you were composing this one.

I think that something like the Panasonic FZ18 would suit you well. Aside from the Ballet, you haven't mentioned anything that would suggest that you need a dSLR.

JimC May 2, 2008 4:03 PM

Well, there are still pros and cons to both types of systems.

I'd suggest looking through Steve's Best Cameras List for starters.

That's where you'll find a list of models deemed to be better values within a given market niche. That doesn't mean there aren't other good cameras (and some may be even better than the ones on the list), it's only a small selection of the many models available now you can use to help narrow down your choices.

Since you're new to digital photography, I'd suggest starting out with a dSLR solution. If you move back to a smaller point and shoot model later (or get more than one camera for the best of both system types), it would be an easier transition to make versus starting out with a less advanced model.

You'd have less in the way of performance limitations with most entry level dSLR models, as compared to non-DSLR camera models. Plus, your lenses would become an investment within a given camera manufacturer's system, usually allowing you to upgrade the camera body later, while taking your investment in lenses with you.

My vote with your budget would be the Sony DSLR-A200 (a.k.a., Sony Alpha 200). At a list price of $599 including an 18-70mm f/3.5-5.6 Autofocus lens, it just fits in.

Then, buy more lenses as budget permits (if you need them for the type of shooting you find you like). Because the Sony dSLR models are compatible with any Minolta Autofocus lens ever made (Sony bought Konica Minolta's Camera related assets and started making dSLR models using the same anti-shake technology and lens mount), you have a lot of low cost options in the used market for additional lenses later, too. Most of the time, you'll find more used Autofocus lenses in Minolta A (a.k.a., Maxxum, Alpha, Dynax, Minolta Autofocus) lens mount, compared to Autofocus lenses from Nikon, Canon or Pentax at popular vendors of used gear like, and

All lenses you use would also benefit from the in body stabilization system. If you can stretch that $600 budget another $100, get a Minolta 50mm f/1.7 Autofocus Lens for about $100 used and use it for the ballet from a close seat.

Note that I'm biased towards Sony, since I shoot with a Sony Alpha 700 right now. Any of the dSLR models can take great photos. Some are just going to be better suited compared to others for some conditions.

You've got similar options with some of the other dSLR systems (except that Nikon's entry level models are rather limiting if you want brighter primes right now). Sigma has announced a new 50mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM autofocus lens that should be available in major camera mounts (for example, Sony, Nikon, Canon, and Pentax).. But, they haven't set a firm price yet (and they haven't said when they're going to ship it). This new 50mm would Autofocus on a D40 (it's got a built in hypersonic focus motor that doesn't need a body based focus motor). But, for now, your choices are going to be more limited with an entry level Nikon solution.

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