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View Full Version : Consumer Reports rates it a best buy...


ranthony
10-04-2007, 09:42 PM
...for people like me (I think).

I'm talking about the Nikon D40. I know the limitations of the camera in regard to the focus motor but if you didn't have any older lenses would it be that big of a deal to you?

I don't have older equipment that I'd like to be able to use. I'm basically starting from scratch here. I'm pretty sure I've decided on this camera but are there other 'issues' a newby to DSLR should be aware of with the D40 other than the lack of a focus motor?

ukcatfan
10-04-2007, 10:19 PM
It is not exactly older lenses. It is lenses with an older design. There are many brand new Nikon lenses without a focus motor. Is low light shooting important to you? The most popular lens for low light is one of the ones with no motor. It is the 50mm f/1.8 and is a nice cheap way to get low light shots. There are nice lenses that would have a focus motor, but they are almost all expensive, which is in contrast to what the typical D40 buyer is looking to spend. Are you willing to spend $500+ extra for a good low light lens when you could have bought a better camera and the $100 50mm? Also, the D40 is small for a DSLR. To me that is a downside, but to you it might be a plus. I really liked the D50, but went for the Pentax K100d b/c I felt it was more for the money. I have been nothing but happy.

Kevin

P.S. Forgot to mention that there is no status LCD, no DOF preview, and only three focus points. These might not bother you, but I would not like to be forced to deal with those limitations.

jann1033
10-05-2007, 08:54 AM
i think for a "newbie" the lack of the motor would be enough to tell me" go elsewhere";) the iso of 200 rather than 100 would be limiting as well, it's slower than the 40x( 2. 5 frames per second rather than 3). personally i'd spend the extra money and go with one of the 4 above it in the list for an entry level, i think the 40x includes the motor(??)

Geoff_M
10-05-2007, 09:00 AM
Nope, no motor on the 40x either!

If you're only going to use a couple of lens and they all come with internal focus motors, then I'd recommend the 40x. But if you're going to go beyond that, the lack of a motor is going to be a pain at some point down the road.

Groucho
10-05-2007, 10:20 AM
i think for a "newbie" the lack of the motor would be enough to tell me" go elsewhere";) the iso of 200 rather than 100 would be limiting as well, it's slower than the 40x( 2. 5 frames per second rather than 3). personally i'd spend the extra money and go with one of the 4 above it in the list for an entry level, i think the 40x includes the motor(??)
I disagree on the ISO issue, I've never missed not having ISO 100 and can't imagine why I would (unless I was intentionally trying to do a really slow shutter speed in bright light)... I think all the Sony 6mp-sensor DSLRs start at ISO 200.

I'm surprised nobody mentioned that Consumer Reports is not exactly highly regarded by many people once they get beyond testing anything more complicated than a toaster. :rotfl:

The D40 is really cursed by that focus motor issue. I'm positive that Nikon was just trying to save a couple pennies in production costs but it really makes the camera much less attractive for anyone who wants to shoot with primes or have a wider lens selection. (Yes, they do work, but loss of AF is pretty serious!) I don't use Nikon but I'd be really happy if they put the focus motor back in the replacement for the D40/D40x.

boBQuincy
10-05-2007, 10:32 AM
I'm surprised nobody mentioned that Consumer Reports is not exactly highly regarded by many people once they get beyond testing anything more complicated than a toaster. :rotfl:



Since you mentioned it...
I subscribe to Consumer Reports. If I want to buy a dishwasher, they're my source of information. Power drill? Yep, those guys test them well. High end cameras? I think I'll look elsewhere! ;)

I do use ISO 100, it's the best quality available on my camera *and* I like photographing waterfalls and often need a slower shutter speed. If I could get ISO 25 I wouldn't need the ND filter!

I consider the lens limitation of the D40 to be an issue, especially for disney photographers. Many of our best subjects are in low light and a 50 f/1.8 is almost a standard around this forum. If low light is one of your concerns, it is probably best to look at another camera that takes a wider range of lenses.

webshark3
10-05-2007, 10:56 AM
In general, if you want to use good primes, stay away from the D40 series.

Don't worry about ISO 200. It's been demonstrated many times it's not an issue. In fact, quite often Canon ISO 100 really clocks in at 150, etc...

Also keep in mind that CR puts at much weight on the camera's color appeal (hot pink!) as it does on Image Quality. ;) Go to Dpreview.com for real camera reports.

Groucho
10-05-2007, 11:27 AM
And after DPReview, go somewhere else to get a second opinion, Phil is miles away from the last word on reviews. :)

Digital Camera Tracker (http://www.digitalcameratracker.com/) is a neat site that indexes reviews - stick in most any camera and it'll give you links to many reviews as well as short excerpts from each and a summary of how well each camera did (though there's no substitute for actually reading the reviews.) It's interesting to see sometimes how varied the reviews are for one single camera.

cjb-nc
10-05-2007, 11:48 AM
I am a fairly new D40x owner, having upgraded from a Canon A620 point and shoot (PS).

There are basically 2 differences between the D40 and the D40x
- the 6MP ISO 200 sensor vs the 10MP ISO 100 sensor
- the slightly faster burst rate on the D40x (3fps vs 2.5 fps)
Everything else about the two is the same. The same features. The same electronic-only focus control for the lenses.

Ken Rockwell has a good in-depth review of the D40, the (in his opinion) overpriced D40x cousin, and a full feature guide to both. Start here: http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/d40.htm
http://www.dpreview.com/ is also good for reviews, as mentioned above.

From my own experience, I have two AFS lenses: the 18-55 kit lens and the 55-200 VR. That covers most of what I want to do, they work just fine with the D40/x, and they're both inexpensive. I also have the 50mm f/1.8D. As mentioned, yes, it is manual focus on the D40/x. No big deal, just manual focus it. It's easy to use, takes nice pictures, and has a nice shallow DOF for macro shots. Basically, if I'm taking the time to compose a careful macro shot, then MF is no extra time, and better control than the AF gives anyway.

I briefly borrowed a Canon XTi as well, which is Nikon's primary competitor to the D40x. It works well too. There's an older version of the XT series with a lower-res sensor that is probably a good alternative to the D40 if you want to save a few bucks.

My main benefits from the SLR vs the old PS:
- bigger sensor = better low light sensitivity. The D40x takes acceptable pictures clear up to ISO 1600
- bigger lens opening = truly wider apertures = shallower DOF on macros
- multiple lens choices, and they take standard filters without weird extension tubes
- RAW mode for more control over the sensor-to-jpeg conversion (yes, I like to photoshop my pics)
- vibration resistant lenses available (my A620 does not have stabilization)
- slightly better resolution (10mp vs 7mp) gives a few more pixels for crops

Main losses from the PS:
- size, I can pocket the A620
- price, I've spent around 4x as much on my Nikon kit
- batteries, A620 uses standard AA, Nikon uses its own battery

Hope this helps,
Charles

YEKCIM
10-05-2007, 01:12 PM
Adorama (http://www.adorama.com/INKD50R.html?searchinfo=d50&item_no=3) and Beach (http://www.beachcamera.com/shop/product.aspx?sku=NKD50RB) both have factory refurb D50's (body only) in stock for ~$400 if you are interested...

~Y

ukcatfan
10-05-2007, 03:44 PM
I am a fairly new D40x owner, having upgraded from a Canon A620 point and shoot (PS).

There are basically 2 differences between the D40 and the D40x
- the 6MP ISO 200 sensor vs the 10MP ISO 100 sensor
- the slightly faster burst rate on the D40x (3fps vs 2.5 fps)
Everything else about the two is the same. The same features. The same electronic-only focus control for the lenses.

Ken Rockwell has a good in-depth review of the D40, the (in his opinion) overpriced D40x cousin, and a full feature guide to both. Start here: http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/d40.htm
http://www.dpreview.com/ is also good for reviews, as mentioned above.

From my own experience, I have two AFS lenses: the 18-55 kit lens and the 55-200 VR. That covers most of what I want to do, they work just fine with the D40/x, and they're both inexpensive. I also have the 50mm f/1.8D. As mentioned, yes, it is manual focus on the D40/x. No big deal, just manual focus it. It's easy to use, takes nice pictures, and has a nice shallow DOF for macro shots. Basically, if I'm taking the time to compose a careful macro shot, then MF is no extra time, and better control than the AF gives anyway.

I briefly borrowed a Canon XTi as well, which is Nikon's primary competitor to the D40x. It works well too. There's an older version of the XT series with a lower-res sensor that is probably a good alternative to the D40 if you want to save a few bucks.

My main benefits from the SLR vs the old PS:
- bigger sensor = better low light sensitivity. The D40x takes acceptable pictures clear up to ISO 1600
- bigger lens opening = truly wider apertures = shallower DOF on macros
- multiple lens choices, and they take standard filters without weird extension tubes
- RAW mode for more control over the sensor-to-jpeg conversion (yes, I like to photoshop my pics)
- vibration resistant lenses available (my A620 does not have stabilization)
- slightly better resolution (10mp vs 7mp) gives a few more pixels for crops

Main losses from the PS:
- size, I can pocket the A620
- price, I've spent around 4x as much on my Nikon kit
- batteries, A620 uses standard AA, Nikon uses its own battery

Hope this helps,
Charles

I just have a few comments on this.

First, I would not trust a thing that Ken writes. He is the greatest photographer in the universe though. :rotfl2: Well, maybe in his own mind. Second, having just moved up to a AF 50mm from a MF one, I really appreciate the AF. It was almost impossible to get on ride shots at WDW with MF. Even POTC was moving too fast when the boats were backed up waiting to exit. Third, the 50mm f/1.8 is not a macro lens, so if that is a real interest of yours, you should look for a macro lens. You will be even happier with the results.

Kevin

jann1033
10-05-2007, 04:24 PM
Since you mentioned it...
I subscribe to Consumer Reports. If I want to buy a dishwasher, they're my source of information. Power drill? Yep, those guys test them well. High end cameras? I think I'll look elsewhere! ;)

I do use ISO 100, it's the best quality available on my camera *and* I like photographing waterfalls and often need a slower shutter speed. If I could get ISO 25 I wouldn't need the ND filter!

I consider the lens limitation of the D40 to be an issue, especially for disney photographers. Many of our best subjects are in low light and a 50 f/1.8 is almost a standard around this forum. If low light is one of your concerns, it is probably best to look at another camera that takes a wider range of lenses.

yeah i use it for the same....and for what they were asking for nd filters i could have practically bought something with iso 25( well not really as the geigo gecko says, "that 's a dramatization of course") but the day of 30 dollar filters must be longgggg gone:rotfl:

Master Mason
10-05-2007, 04:34 PM
well you can still get 30dollar filters, but would you really want to place them in front of lenses that would cost a lot more?