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Old Jul 27, 2008, 10:15 PM   #11
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I'm certain you'll be happy with whatever you end up getting.

But...

What I'm saying is that you can't just look at the camera.

Your requirements are specialized.

You need a large aperture lens.

A large aperture lens on a Nikon D40 won't autofocus, and the D40 isn't very good at autofocusing anyway.

And manual focusing in dim light is next to impossible.
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Old Jul 28, 2008, 1:25 AM   #12
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Not all camera stores have salespeople that really know the various cameras. Other stores have commission salespeople and perhaps Nikon offers better commissions or something. I shoot Pentax and so am quite familiar with them. I was once in a camera storein a mall somewhere looking at Pentax lenses and ran across a salesman that didn't know Pentax cameras have in-camera anti-shake. I wouldn't worry about buying a Sony just because a salesman tells me the Nikon is better. While I very much like the 6 mp sensor in the Nikon and think it's got less noise at high ISO than the Sony 10 mp sensor, the ability to AF fast lenses would be a big plus for the Sony.
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Old Jul 28, 2008, 5:17 AM   #13
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Quote:
and the D40 isn't very good at autofocusing anyway.
You consistently hear about how poor the D40's AF system is, and in reality it's not as horrible as described. Unsophisticated, yes, inadequate not so. In reality, if your primarily shooting stationary subjects, and are used to shooting using the center focus point, the AF is more than solid, and can even be called snappy. The AF assist light does a very good job in low light as well. Read reviews of the camera...(start with Steve's right here http://www.steves-digicams.com/2007_...n_d40_pg8.html, or this one http://www.dcresource.com/reviews/nikon/d40-review/ ) ...there aren't complaints of slow auto focus, and most refer to the camera's performance as robust. Af-s lenses focus quickly, and you won't suffer from the screw drive hunting (because there is no screw drive). Yes you have to focus and recompose when shooting subjects off center, but many people prefer shooting this way anyway.

Don't get me wrong..if you're shooting sports or other moving subjects, the D40 is not going to work for you. It simply does not do a good job tracking moving subjects because of it's less sophisticated AF system. Under most conditions though and for the average user, the AF system is adequate. The dim light the OP will be shooting in is the bigger problem. He has already said he'll only be using the kit lens, so he likely will never buy primes anyway (which is true of many people), and the kit lenses are pretty comparable for both the camera..so that's a wash. So the Sony probably is the better choice, simply because of the built in antishake which will come in handy in low light with stationary subjects.
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Old Jul 28, 2008, 9:24 AM   #14
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The OP wants to take photos of highly polished subjects in dimly lit environments.

Flashes, autofocus systems, and AF illuminators are probably not going to perform exactly the way we expect.

He can't use flash andshouldn't risk a high ISO setting. That leaves long shutter speeds and large apertures.

For long shutter speeds, he should have a tripod or image stabilization, and still risks motion blur from passers by.

That leaves large apertures.

And kit lenses don't have large apertures.

Am I saying anything that is contrary to anybody's experience or expectations?

Edit: to restore the text rjseeney quoted.
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Old Jul 28, 2008, 11:00 AM   #15
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TCav wrote:
Quote:
The OP wants to take photos of highly polished subjects in dimly lit environments.

Flashes, autofocus systems, and AF illuminators are probably not going to perform exactly the way we expect.

He can't use flash andshouldn't risk a high ISO setting. That leaves long shutter speeds and large apertures.

For long shutter speeds, he should have a tripod or image stabilization, and still risks motion blur from passers by.

That leaves large apertures.

And kit lenses don't have large apertures.

Am I saying anything that is contrary to anybody's experience or expectations?
No your not, and I'm not disagreeing with you in a broad sense. I agree that bright primes are his best bet, and no they don't AF on the D40. However, he seems pretty adamant that the kit lens will be the only lens he buys, which then just leaves the comparison for what is best system with the kit lens. I disagree with your assessment of the D40's slow AF, which isn't true. It is limited by the lenses that can use it, but it is not slow, and works well even in low light. The three point Af is limited when shooting moving subjects, but the OP is not doing that, so the AF system of the D40 based on his stated desires is not necessarily a bad choice. What makes the D40 a bad choice is the lack of stabilaztion, which the OP definetly will need since he won't be using flash or a tripod and only working with the kit lens. That makes the sony a better choice. It's not an ideal situation for all the reasons you mention, and I think he will struggle to get great results...although if he uses high iso's he'll likely get some decent images, which he says he won't be printing.
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Old Jul 28, 2008, 11:15 AM   #16
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So we can then presume that a Sony A200, shooting at ISO 800, 50mm at f/5.6 for 1/4 second will produce a better result than a Nikon D40, shooting at ISO 1600, 50mm at f/5.6 for 1/8 second, because of the image stabilization.

Are we agreed?

Careful! :-)
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Old Jul 28, 2008, 1:30 PM   #17
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TCav wrote:
Quote:
So we can then presume that a Sony A200, shooting at ISO 800, 50mm at f/5.6 for 1/4 second will produce a better result than a Nikon D40, shooting at ISO 1600, 50mm at f/5.6 for 1/8 second, because of the image stabilization.

Are we agreed?

Careful! :-)
Even with stabilization, I think 1/4 of a second is pushing it but if I had to choose, I'd take the sony....lower iso and a prayer of being able to handhold because of stabilization. I know I can't handhold and get good results at 1/8 without VR. So yes, I'd say we agree.

Of course, it's a moot point, since the OP clearly states he'll only be using the kit lens
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Old Jul 28, 2008, 1:49 PM   #18
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rjseeney wrote:
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Of course, it's a moot point, since the OP clearly states he'll only be using the kit lens
... 50mm at f/5.6 is with the kit lens. That's why the shutter speed is so long.
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Old Jul 28, 2008, 2:24 PM   #19
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TCav wrote:
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rjseeney wrote:
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Of course, it's a moot point, since the OP clearly states he'll only be using the kit lens
... 50mm at f/5.6 is with the kit lens. That's why the shutter speed is so long.
...So he could zoom out, and walk a little closer, and either cut the ISO , or use a fast shutter speed (because he would be able to open up a little more) and have a much better chance of getting a usable image. Or back up a little, or zoom in a little tighter to get a different perspective without changing lenses. All with the kit lens......you wouldn't have as many choices with a prime, regardless of how fast it is (although the IQ would likely be better....you can't have everything).
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Old Jul 28, 2008, 2:42 PM   #20
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When you start using shorter focal lengths with automobiles, you start getting weird perspectives.

This was shot at 45mm:



This was shot at 22mm:
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