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Old Mar 31, 2008, 8:27 PM   #11
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would that be the d40? The cheapest I have seen it is about $500 with the kit lens... That runs closer to $200 more than the pricing on the panasonic.
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Old Mar 31, 2008, 9:13 PM   #12
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Yes, the Nikon D-40 is a very good camera. It is probably one of the best examples of a consumer level DSLR camera. If you want to step up a bit, take a look at the Canon XTi DSLR camera as well. Here is a Nikon D-40 photo example.

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Old Apr 1, 2008, 8:59 PM   #13
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And so it begins...


So today I stopped in at my local Ritz to get some hands on experience with the different models. I tried the panasonic first... I immediately realized that it was to small for my hands and would either get dropped all the time or I wouldn't hit the right buttons, etc. The Fuji felt much better in my hand. Being so close between the two I figured that the comfortability would be the deciding factor. I also thought the canon s5 fit good, but I really wanted the wider lens on the fuji or panasonic.

So, while I'm talking to the nice lady working the counter, asking her advice and stuff, she, without prompting, hands me the d40 and says "this is what you want."

I tell you, it felt great in my hands and just goofing around with it for a few minutes I felt pretty comfortable with the controls.

I can live without the long zoom, as I can always add lenses to the d40... the main concern I have would be the lack of image stabilization. I know that the d40 does not have and body stabilization but their are vr series lenses that do feature stabilization. With the kit lens (18-55 or roughly 27-90 eq) will the lack of stabilization generally be an issue? On the longer lenses is the vr system going to work comparably well to the internal o.i.s. systems on the panny or fuji superzooms? Is this even something I should worry about?

Finally, using the imaging resources page comparrison tool I thought that the d40s images looked much nicer overall then the rebel xt and xti... any thougts either way on this or pros of the rebel over the nikon? Another sight I went to suggested the lower end pentax as being a better buy... any thoughts?

I really appreciate all the help.
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Old Apr 1, 2008, 9:56 PM   #14
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The Nikon D-40 does indeed have good images, especially when paired with the Nikkor 18-200mm VR lens. But the key question is simply this: Do you want to go beyond 6mp of resolution found on the Nikon D-40? That is when the problems might begin to crop up.

The other option is to go with the Canon XTi. Have you considered that option? Is it really a substantial upgrade from the XT? Or is it wise to just stay with the lesser priced XT??

Sarah Joyce
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Old Apr 1, 2008, 10:06 PM   #15
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Looking at sample images, I preffered the d40 to both the rebel xt and the xti.



I generally don't bother to crop (but this might change) or print my pics and when I do it is at the most an 8*10 for the in-laws. As long is it looks good on my laptop at 1280*800 I'm happy. I guess I don't see 6mp being a limitingissue for me any time soon.



As far as the lens... isn't the lens you mention like $700+? I understand that this a tremendous ammount in the world of lenses, but for what ammounts to about a $400 body is it overkill?
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Old Apr 1, 2008, 10:19 PM   #16
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As each of us takes stock of our lens inventory, whether this lens or that lens was a good purchase, is entirely a subjective judgement. You may feel differently. I might feel differently.

Certainly, the Nikkor 55-200mm lens, produced in China, is a very good buy, and is available at an excellent price. However, it is a a matter of how keen are you on carrying lenses, and changing lenses when required? I am from the ilk that really does not find changing lenses, and carrying extra lenses in my camera bag to be a totally delightful experience. So please do tell me where you are coming from?

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Old Apr 1, 2008, 10:34 PM   #17
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A couple of things come to my mind about the entry dSLR cameras.

Image stabilization will be a personal need for some people. I got along very nicely without it onmy first dSLR (a Pentax DS, which did not have in-camera stabilization), but I was only taking nature pictures outdoors and with shorter lenses. I stayed away from 200mm because I quickly found outthat I could no longer reliably hold the camera steady (I could when I was younger). After a frustrating week trying to shoot birds with a 200mm lens, I broke down and bought a (then new) K100 (which does have stabilization)and a 300mm lens. I also started taking night pictures, often hand-held at slower shutter speeds and quickly found out how useful stabilization could be in those circumstances, too. So stabilization will be important for longer lenses or slower shutter speeds. I'm really happy I have it for myself because it helps overcome some limitations I now have (which I did NOT have when I was 20!), but I can easily see where others wouldn't feel any particular need for it at all.

As far as the d40 goes - the examples I've seen are really very good. They will certainly be better at higher ISOs. I really like the 6 mp sensor in the d40 (it's supposed to be the same one in the K100 and I have no interest in getting rid of mine). I've only tried to print pictures up to 8x11 and have been completely satisfied with the results. The only times I feel "pixel-deprived" with the 6 mp camera is when I'm taking macros or birds and want to crop heavily, then it's nice to have the extra pixels in a 10 mp camera (I also have the K10, and would like to upgrade that one to the newK20, while still keeping the K100).

Some people say that the VR lenses are actually more effective than in-camera stabilization. I'm not convinced that one is more effective than the other - it seems to me that they are both effective when it comes down to real-world shooting, rather than lab bench tests (I've seen awesome results with both systems).

If the d40 feels best in your hands, and you like the pictures it takes, why not get it? The entry Pentax is a good buy, has some more features than the d40 does, but it's a heavier camera, so you might not like it as well. The d40 has one limitation that might or might not affect you - it doesn't have a lens focusing motor in it so it can only auto focus the more expensive (and fewer) lenses that have motors in them. From what I understand, the lenses without motors will still work - you'd just have to manually focus them (that will bother some more than others). And if the lenses you want will focus with the d40, it shouldn't be an issue to you at all.

The K200 (which is replacing the K100) has the advantage of weather sealing, 10 mp sensor (which I just don't like as well as the 6 mp sensor in low light) and maintains any Pentax lens capability. It's much heavier (also larger). Unless the weather sealing is a priority for you, I think that the K100 on special/clearance sale would be a better buy (just my opinion) if you are considering the Pentax line.

Bottom line - all of the entry dSLR cameras are capable of taking awesome pictures. Choose the one that feels best in your hands, and the one that you prefer when you look at sample pictures. Then go out and have fun taking LOTS of pictures!
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Old Apr 2, 2008, 9:16 AM   #18
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I think that the K100 on special/clearance sale would be a better buy (just my opinion) if you are considering the Pentax line.
One thing to keep in mind with the K100D is that it's not going to Autofocus with Sigma HSM lenses (you'd have to use manual focus with them). Pentax SDM lenses will still AF on this body (it would just use the focus motor in the camera body versus the one built into the lens). But, Sigma's HSM lenses won't work that way. They'll require support for it in the camera to Autofocus.

Since Sigma is coming out with some of their lenses with HSM now for Pentax mount (for example, the new Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 EX DG HSM Macro II), you may want to keep that in mind (no Autofocus with them on a K100D). The K10D and K100D Super and newer Pentax models will be able to Autofocus with these lenses (but, not the older K100D).

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Old Apr 2, 2008, 12:10 PM   #19
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mtclimber wrote:
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The Pansonic Fz-18 is not a bad choice at all. However, in all fairness I must let you know that for about $(US) 100.00 to 120.00 more you could get a highly rated consumer level DSLR Camera.

Sarah Joyce
Indeed, but how much would it cost to stick an 18X IS zoom on the front of that :-)

I have an FZ8 in my collection and i can recommend them over similar units from canon/olympus/sony that i have owned and used previously.
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Old Apr 2, 2008, 1:37 PM   #20
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mweb-

The Panasonic FZ-18 is an excellent camera and here is the USA, it is selling at $(US) 300.00 to 325.00 making it a very good buy. I own and use a FZ-18 and like it very much.

Where the costs of even the consumer level DSLR cameras is driven up are usually in the various lenses that are added to the kit.

Sarah Joyce
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