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Old Jan 21, 2010, 12:04 PM   #1
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Default Should I buy a used D40 with the kit lens or a new FZ35?

Greetings! This is my first post but I've been reading up on this for a few months now, on various forums.

I've finally been able to save up the right amount of money to buy myself a camera. I'm choosing between a USED D40 DSLR or a NEW FZ35 Point and Shoot. The last camera I had was a fixed focus, 3MP Kodak. Needless to say I'm an absolute beginner to all this photography stuff. The things that I do know come from the beginners' section of http://digital-photography-school.com/ but have never been put to practice. I also know, to some extent, about the effect of sensor size in DSLR vs PnS.
I am willing to learn. I understand that under capable hands, any camera can produce beautiful photos.

I was originally set to buy the new FZ35 but now I'm not so sure because my camera purchase would be a huge investment for me. I won't be able to save up the money I would spend for this purchase anytime soon (I'm a student whose sole source of income is allowance). Since the DSLR would have a better resale value I'm starting to rethink my options.


I have a lot of questions and no one / nowhere else to ask so here goes:

1) What camera am I going to learn the most while enjoying the experience? I'm a techie at heart who enjoys new "toys".

2) Which one of the two will last longer without feeling "outdated"? (is this a baseless fear of mine?)

3) Am I correct in thinking that the D40 would really last as long as I'm interested in learning?

4)Is there a safe number of actuation counts for a used D40? Is there a certain life span?

Feel free to suggest other cameras, but within the same price range. My budget is pretty tight.
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Old Jan 21, 2010, 12:25 PM   #2
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Crimson-

Welcome to the Forum. We're pleased that you dropped by.

Firstly, there is a huge capability difference in the Nikon D-40 (with which I am assuming that you will only be getting the Nikon 18-55mm kit lens) and the FZ-35. Clearly, you will be able to do a whole lot more with the FZ-35 have a 28mm to 486mm (expressed in 35mm terms) zoom capability.

The learning curve on the FZ-35 will be less steep, and I would guess, also much more comfortable with the FZ-35. The transition and learning curve to the D-40 will be somewhat steeper and longer. In addition you will be doing considerably more post processing of your images. How are your photo editing skills? The FZ-35 will also provide HD video and stereo sound, as well as the ability to zoom while filming. that is impossible with the D-40. Therefore, you will probably learn more and more easily with the FZ-35 camera.

Both camera will have about the same lifespan. The D-40 is already outdated by 2 generations, the D-60 and the D-3000 cameras. The FZ-35 is a new model with the latest features.

No, the D-40, just like any camera has a finite life. It was, when introduced in 2007, Nikon's lowest price DSLR camera. Thus it was not manufactured to be a 100,000 shutter actuation camera. Also the D-40 is used and will not come with any 1 year guarantee like the FZ-45 has. If money is tight. That is certainly a factor that should be considered.

Getting a a seller to give you an accurate shutter actuation number is very difficult. The D-40 was introduced to the Nikon line as a sort of introductory DSLR camera with the expectation that the purchaser would quickly (12 to18 months) move upwards to a more feature rich Nikon brand DSLR camera.

It is just my personal opinion, but, I believe the clear choice is to go for the FZ-35 camera with the full one year guarantee and much more photo capability.

Have a great day.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Jan 21, 2010, 12:28 PM   #3
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There is no easy answer to your questions. But here's a crack at some for your specified questions
Quote:
1) What camera am I going to learn the most while enjoying the experience? I'm a techie at heart who enjoys new "toys".
In all honesty both cameras will allow you to learn. As for new toys - well that's difficult - especially with your sole source of income being an allowance. There's also a huge difference between learning photography and playing with new toys. The D40 certainly provides more potential as, down the road, you could add lenses and flashes. The fz35 has more flexibility right out of the gate with a very good zoom range in the lens.
Quote:
2) Which one of the two will last longer without feeling "outdated"? (is this a baseless fear of mine?)
It depends on your sense of outdated. The d40 is already replaced so in that sense it is "outdated" but they're still capable of producing great photos. In the digicam world there are new models coming out every 6 months or so. For DSLRs they are replaced every 18-24 months or so. In a short 6 year span the DSLR market has undergone a tremendous change. The bottom line is there is no future proof camera. Some people feel the pangs of "outdated" as soon as something new comes along. Others happily use the same camera for 5 or 6 years.

Quote:
3) Am I correct in thinking that the D40 would really last as long as I'm interested in learning?
The D40 is both an electronic and a mechanical device. Both can and will eventually fail. In the mechanical realm, the shutter will eventually fail because that's the part that has the most abuse. I believe the shutter is rated around 50,000 clicks but I'm not sure. It might fail at 35,000 or it might make it to 100,000 - but it will NOT last forever. New shutters cost several hundred $$ - usually not worth replacing except on professional cameras.
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Old Jan 22, 2010, 3:36 AM   #4
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Thanks for the replies. It really helps my decision making process.
As of right now, I'm leaning back towards the FZ35. I guess I was just surprised that the D40 was almost the same price, albeit used.

Can anyone suggest what other things like accessories I could get for the camera, if any?
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Old Jan 22, 2010, 3:54 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crimson7 View Post
...suggest what other things like accessories I could get for the camera, if any?
Depending on your type of use, I would suggest a spare battery will be the first accesory to buy. This will give you great freedom to go on shooting if you are away from your home, holydays, hiking, etc. Never being afraid that your in-camera battery is about to give up on you, just as you have found your best motive ever, is worth the cost involved. Also a spare memory-card will be useful.

Good luck!
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Old Jan 22, 2010, 7:40 AM   #6
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Hi Crimson – I think Sarah (mtclimber) says it best, and I'd agree that the FZ35 (38 here in Europe) would appear to be the obvious choice here.

Quote:
I am willing to learn. I understand that under capable hands, any camera can produce beautiful photos
Absolutely. You will thoroughly enjoy using the FZ35 I'm sure (bit of a 'gadgety' camera!) and it would seem to be a very capable performer, with great zoom lens, offering exceptional value for money. If the photography bug really bites you, you've always got the DSLR 'upgrade' path when you've completed your studies and maybe earning a bit more money....

I'd also agree on a spare battery – charged, naturally(!) – but the FZ35 does last a fair time on one charge if money's tight (rated at 470 shots). I'd get a spare smaller capacity SDHC card too, just in case – do remember with the FZ35 you'll want "Class 6" cards, preferably rated 10Mb/s or greater if you want optimal performance (an absolute must apparently if you're going to do video).

Hope it works out for you!!
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Old Jan 24, 2010, 9:05 AM   #7
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I'm going to get the FZ35. Thanks for the replies! They helped a lot. It would seem to be what is best suited for me.

One question though. Am I going to be able to get the effect where the background is blurred and only my subject is in focus? I'm under the impression that this is not possible with a Point and Shoot.
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Old Jan 24, 2010, 10:00 AM   #8
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Crimson-

Generally speaking, due to the fact that digicams have a small imager, they, as a result, have a much greater depth of field. The Fuji brand with their EXR cameras have a feature called "Pro-Focus," where the subject is is sharp focus and the background is blurred. It is processing feature produced merging three images together.

That effect is more common to DSLR cameras that enjoy a substantially larger imager (up to 15X larger). You do see it produced under some lighting conditions in a digicam when a large aperture is used.

We are glad thad we could help you in the selection process. Have a great day.

Sarah Joyce
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