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Old Aug 15, 2007, 1:12 PM   #1
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I am looking into getting my first DSLR and I am really leaning towards a Nikon. I first was set on getting the D40x but after reading some concerns from other members, I am nowlooking into the D80. Money is an issue, but I would rather save and get something that I will not regret later in the future. My two main concerns about the D40x are the focus points and the lens compatibility issues. But I read a list of compatible lenses for the D40x and it seemed reasonable? I don't know, it seems the more I try to research my purchase, the more confused I get. I was also looking at the Canon xti 10mp. I don't know what to do. Please help me!!
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Old Aug 15, 2007, 2:28 PM   #2
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Just my personal opinion, but I don't see the number of focus points being a critical issue. I tend to use the center focus point, then re-compose. Occasionally I'll select a different point, but that takes longer to cycle through the different points. I've had a few too many pictures where the camera, left to it's own devices choosing a focus point has focused on the wrong spot. So that wouldn't rule out the D40X out for me (you may feel differently - that's just my experience).

The lens issue could be critical for some people, but not for others. If you would be happy with the lens selection available then its not a problem for you, and buy the D40X.

Best thing to do is handle all 3 cameras (since you mentioned the Canon). You might find that one feels significantly better to you and that's FAR more important than focus points.
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Old Aug 15, 2007, 2:42 PM   #3
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Thank you so much for your input. I never really considered the feel of the camera compared to the features each camera has. I now plan on hitting my local BestBuy and try to get a feel on each camera. I'm such a novice when it comes to cameras, but I really enoy taking pictures with my point and shoot, I thought I would really try to get into photography on a much higher level.
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Old Aug 15, 2007, 2:52 PM   #4
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mtngal has given you some very good advice-

Her explanation of the focus point issue is top notch. I do exactly what she does. I set the center point as my primary spot. That way I can focus on the item I desire to focus upon, and then while holding down the shutter release half way, I reframe and take the photo.

There are more than 40 lenses available for the Nikon D-40/D40X mount. I my opinion, that covers everything that I want just fine.

Of FAR MORE importance is the step to physically handle these cameras to determine which camera best fits your hand. For example, at least for me, the Canon XTI grip feels way too pinched. It only becomes workable with the use of the battery grip, an approximately $100 accessory. However, it might be different for you.

So do not ignore that important step in your camera selection, please!

Sarah Joyce
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Old Aug 15, 2007, 3:57 PM   #5
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Just to give you the other side of the coin, I find the number of focus points EXTREMELY important.

style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"When I focus I prefer one of two methods:

style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"Single point because I want to be VERY precise as to what the camera focuses on. When I do this, I don't like to focus/recompose. It may be because my subject is moving and therefore focus/recompos is impossible, it may be because I'm shooting a shallow DOF shot and focus/recompose results in a photo that isn't as sharp as it could be. The more focus points I have the more I can select the one that best fits my composition.

style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"OR

style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"I don't want to be that precise but I want a better chance of my camera having a focus point over the subject. In this case the more focus points I have the better chance one of them will cover my subject. Think about it - assume the same size image, one camera has 3 focus points the other has 9. Which camera is more likely to have a focus point covering your subject?

style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"So, IMO it's great to be able to use either one or all focus points. In my experience, though, there are very good reasons for selecting a point other than the center one.

style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"I'm not saying my way is right and Sarah's / mtngal's is wrong. Just that there are plenty of photographers that do in fact use non-center focus points quite frequently.

style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"As for lens compatibility I would say the D40/D40x has most focal ranges covered. Where you lose out is in fast prime lenses (2.0, 1.8, 1.4) and in third-party consumer grade lenses. It's kind of an oxymoron - buying Nikon's cheapest camera forces you to buy their most expensive lenses. It means Tamron, Tokina and a good number of Sigma lenses can't be considered.

style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"But these are all just generalizations. We need to get down to specifics - figuring out the camera/lenses/system that best fit your individual needs/style. Those needs will determine whether the D40/D40x is a good fit for YOU or if another Nikon camera or another system entirely would be a better fit.
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Old Aug 15, 2007, 5:11 PM   #6
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If more focus points and larger selection of compatible lens are important to you, give the Canon XTi a try. Having more focus points and a larger choice of lenses will give you more flexbility and possibilities in your photographic creativity.

Have fun shopping.
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Old Aug 15, 2007, 5:18 PM   #7
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I also use the focus point closest to where I want the focus to be.

Centre point + focus/recompose results in errors of focus in shallow DOF shots, which I take a lot of.

YMMV
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Old Aug 15, 2007, 5:44 PM   #8
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So to sum this up thus far: A lot about focusing points has to do with personal technique.

That probably does not come as a surprise to anyone, but we have to place that aside, alongwith physical handling of a camera which is also another very personal item.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Aug 15, 2007, 6:26 PM   #9
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Whatever current entry level DSLR you buy will take you to a higher level without spending a fortune. The difficulty for you is giving the correct weighting to the advice you are receiving. Just keep doing the research, listening to opinions, and try to judge what is important for you. A particular features may look good but be of no benefit to you.

Its the nitty gritty operational things that can be irritating, and you don't find them out until you've used the device, camera, whatever for some time. User opinions can highlight these limitationse.g, Amazon for equipment, TripAdvisor for hotels, etc. If I look at enough of them, I get a general feeling and often pick up a common shortcoming in design or performance, and form a opinion of level of satisfaction or dissatisfaction. Just another piece of advice to accept or ignore!
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Old Aug 15, 2007, 8:20 PM   #10
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1eyedeer-

Is the summation of your post something like this: Only pay 50% attention to those who post to your thread/questions?? If it is just that, then I have really wasted my time over 5000+ posts and I should just go away discreetly and quietly. I really do have other things to do, you know.

Well thanks to your comments, one eye deer, I am giving very serious consideration to just retiring from this forum.Obviously, my comments don't amount to much, at least in your considered opinion. I wonder how others feel?

I get the message! You don't have to tell me twice. I am considering, and most probably I will soon become non poster. Thanks for the LESS THAN GENTLE hint. Yes, we all get the "wake up call" at sometime in the game. Thanks for your rather pointed post. Yes, I can hear what you are telling everyone!I am no longer a contender. I guess that I have got your point rather clearly. Although I must admit that I did not think it would come from you. Oh well.

Sarah Joyce
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