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Old Apr 13, 2007, 11:10 PM   #1
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Hey, I am about to purchase a nikon dslr, I have choosen to get a nikon over canon because I like how they feel in my hands much better than the canon's. I will be touring on bike soon, so I would like one that is relatively lightweight, such as the d40 or d40x, but I have two concerns.

First I have used a film slr before but never a dslr and I heard that the d40's have the standard manual functions but they are hiden in the menus and not on dials. So I wanted to know how hard is it to get to those features in the field,will it be an inconvinience for me, I do not want to end up just using auto mode.

The second concern is whether to get a d40 over a d40x, I know for a fact that I will be printing several poster size prints. Does anyone have any experience printing this size with a 6 megapixel camera. Will they turn out good or do I should I get the d40x with 10 megapixels, sacrificing the low noise of the d40.

I had considered the d80 but I am leaning away from that in the hopes of getting a d200 in about a year. Also if I go with the d40 I will be able to put the extra $200.00 towards an aditional lens.
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Old Apr 14, 2007, 2:07 AM   #2
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I personally don't care for the D40 as it's one of the most limited DSLRs out there. It has a very limited lens selection and is very stripped down feature-wise. If none of these are a serious impedement though, I can see choosing this camera. I cannot see justifying paying $250 more for the D40x though. Going from 6mp to 10mp is not as big a leap as some might think, and typically when megapixels are increased, high ISO performance declines.

I've heard some suggest that the Nikon D50 would be a better deal as it is pretty much the same camera with more features, but you might have a hard time finding one new.

I don't know much about Nikon cameras as they never seem to fall within my list of desirable features so I can't say much about the specifics of any of them, but I doubt they hide the manual features in a menu. Every DSLR I've ever handled would have a dial and a button or a pair of dials that allow you to make the necessary adjustments to shutter speed and aperture while looking through the viewfinder. ISO on the other hand will often be in a menu, though typically not too hard to access. Perhaps a Nikon user can enlighten you on that.
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Old Apr 14, 2007, 10:49 AM   #3
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While I'm not a Nikon user (I have Pentax dSLRs and love them), I would carefully look at the lenses you can use on the D40 with an eye on the future.

First, from what I've read and seen, the D40 takes excellent pictures. Bear in mind that the lenses have to have with the D40 must havethe motor in them. You are planning on moving up to a D200 as soon as you can afford to. When I put these together,it makes senseget the moreexpensive AF-S lenses as much as possible, for getting the most out of the D200 later on. I would definitely save my money and skip the D40X.

Honestly, if I were in your shoes and looking at the Nikon line, I'd probably forget about the D200, skip the D40 series and buy the D80 with the intention of not buying anything else for a long time. Or else I'd buy the D40 because of its light weight/less moneyand give up the extra features I might possibly want (there's something to be said about learning how to get the most out of a camera without all kinds of bells and whistles - my first SLR was a basic Pentax ME and I happily used it for 25 years).

You might also want to check out the Pentax line, just to see what else is out there. Good luck with your decision!
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Old Apr 14, 2007, 12:02 PM   #4
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The D40 is constantly getting ripped for lack of features, lack of lenses, etc, and how much better the D50 is. Although it is somewhat limited in some respects, it is not a bad camera, and in some ways is on par with the D50. Sure the lack of a focus motor can be considered limiting, but there are around 40 lenses compatible with the D40 that will autofocus. Aside from bright primes, there are no missing focal lengths.

In terms of features and handling, the two big complaints have been the lack of a top LCD and no auto bracketing. One could argue the rear lcd is brighter and easier to read, especially in low light. The D50's top lcd wasn't illuminated, and couldn't be used in low light anyway (which was a major complaint when the D50 was released, but now isn't considered that big of a deal). Auto bracketing can be done manually, although it is less convenient. Now let's talk about the advantages of the D40. Better high iso performance (arguably) and a wider ISO range (up to 3200), a programmable function button, and a larger, brighter lcd display. Otherwise most specs are the same. In addition the D40 is smaller. I don't see where this camera has such a crippled feature set.

No its not the right camera for everyone. The serious amateur probably wouldn't be happy with it. But for most users, the D40 is more than enough camera and at a great price.

To answer the other question, you should be able to do poster sized prints with a 6mp camera, although a 10mp camera will give a bit more latitude for cropping and resolution.
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Old Apr 14, 2007, 2:07 PM   #5
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I didn't know the D40 didn't have a top LCD. I only knew about the missing focus motor, lower lens selection, less autofocus points (I forget how many it has), and just recently found out it had no auto-bracketing. I agree the LCD isn't that big a deal though, I don't use the one on my camera that much either since I shoot in low light so often.

I never said the D40 was a bad camera. For a lot of people it'll probably be their best option, especially if they intend to move up the Nikon line in the future. It's just my opinion that the entry level cameras from Canon, Pentax and Olympus all offer a good bit more for the money.

In an effort to be fair, I went and found something the D40 has which I wish my K100D has, a focus assist light. I shoot a lot in low light and without one, the K100D has to use the flash for focus assist. This gives the D40 an edge if you want to shoot pictures of a baby in low light without startling him, or any other situation where deploying the flash unnecessarily is just too annoying.
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Old Apr 14, 2007, 3:03 PM   #6
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Quote:
The D40 is constantly getting ripped for lack of features, lack of lenses, etc, and how much better the D50 is. Although it is somewhat limited in some respects, it is not a bad camera, and in some ways is on par with the D50.
Other advantages over the D50 include a more powerful flash (GN. 17m vs 11m), less high ISO noise, ISO 3200, auto ISO, bigger buffer and faster continuous shooting (2.6 vs 1.6 fps jpeg, 2.6 vs 0.7 fps in RAW), slightly larger viewfinder, bigger brighter LCD, in camera editing features, and better out of camera jpegs (though more consumer oriented). Some have also suggested improved metering.

When you consider that the two year old model is still selling for near the same price, the D40 looks like a pretty good buy. Unless you really want to shoot fast AF primes, or really prefer the controls of the D50 by alot. If it had included all of the features everyone wishes, the D40 might have been priced $200 higher up against the XTi.

As for the lenses, I would wish that one of the more popular 3rd party fast standard zooms like the Tamron 17-50 f2.8, Sigma 18-50 f2.8, or Sigma 17-70 f2.8-4.5 were available. But the Sigma 17-35 f2.8 is a reasonable alternative. And there are good fast teles, 70-200 f2.8 or 50-150 f2.8. I could see simply pairing the kit lens with the 50-150 and being pretty satisfied overall at that price point. That's a pretty nice lightweight, flexible kit.

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Old Apr 14, 2007, 6:22 PM   #7
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I have recently purchased a D40 and can confirm that the top dial allows you to switch between the aperture, shutter and full manual priority (plus scene modes). There are no dedicated buttons for ISO and WB. With regard to ISO, the auto ISO is a great convenience. The custom menu allows you to set Auto ISO with amaximum acceptable ISO plus minimum acceptable shutter speed, so you don't have to manually set the ISO. For WB, you can either press one button to give you the shooting conditions screen where you can change the WB, or program the Function button (normally the self timer button), to go straight to WB change. Some of the expert reviewers miss dedicated buttons and a top LCD and some don't. I've not had them so don't miss them. The viewfinder gives a lot of information once you know where everything is.

My thoughts were that the D40 + good kit lens + WA lens were better valuethan the D80, and I wanted a small camera.

The D40x leaves more room for cropping and presumably has an advantage for print size - I wanted the WA lens more than extra pixels. My main negative comment is that the matrix metering overexposes on some high contrast scenes, and many users post that they have a set permanent -0.3 or -0.7 exposure compensation for outdoor use.
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Old Apr 14, 2007, 9:18 PM   #8
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I was just offered a d80 body for $700.00 and an old lcd screen I was considering getting rid of, do you guys think I should go that route or save the $200.00 get a d40 and an aditional lens. Will the d40 have enough resolution to make poster sized prints, alson I have never felt a d80 before, is it to heavy to take on a touring bike trip.
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Old Apr 17, 2007, 12:45 PM   #9
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I also forgot to add that he would include a Nikon 50mm f/1.8 lens with the deal. It is used about 5 months but still under warrenty. If I decide to get it what should I look for in a used camera.
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Old Apr 17, 2007, 12:45 PM   #10
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I also forgot to add that he would include a Nikon 50mm f/1.8 lens with the deal. It is used about 5 months but still under warrenty. If I decide to get it what should I look for in a used camera.
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