Nikon D40

Discussion in 'Photography' started by oldwhitewood, 29 Oct 2007.

  1. oldwhitewood

    oldwhitewood Member

    Messages:
    356
    Thinking of getting one, what do you guys think?
     
  2. bugs

    bugs Member

    Messages:
    356
    D40X is the more viable version IMO.
     
  3. Dave Spencer

    Dave Spencer Member

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    1,389
    Location:
    N. Wales
    I have one Neil, and I am very happy with it.

    The only real draw back is that, to keep the price down, there is no autofocus motor in the camera. This means you are restricted to Nikon AF-S and AF-I lenses, and even more restricted if you are after a Tamron or Sigma lens.

    It`s no real problem for me because I am not looking to buy too many lenses.

    Dave.
     
  4. oldwhitewood

    oldwhitewood Member

    Messages:
    356
    Dave you will have to excuse my ignorance because I am not too au fait with digital SLRs. But this means exactly that when I hold down the shutter button it wont autofocus if I don't use the kit lens right? Or can I only get Nikon lenses where it will work with this?

    Also can you get macro lenses for them?

    Any advice would be great I'm really keen to get one of these cameras.
     
  5. I would go for a Canon TBH, like the 400d or 40d. IMHO Canon has a better variety of lenses and you get more for your money. I've been very happy with my 350d and lenses. I prefer Canon controls too.

    Good macro lenses for Canon's are the 100mm f2.8 by Canon, or the Sigma 105mm macro.

    Tom
     
  6. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,937
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Hi oldwhitewood,
    There are two mechanical ways a camera system can autofocus. The first is to have a drive motor built into the camera. The second is to have the motor built into the lens so that the motor is powered by the camera's electrics when mounted. The D40 uses the second way. It has no motor but it can power lenses that have motors. Many otherwise solid and optically competent lenses do not have a motor so that when mounted to the D40 neither can perform this task since neither has a motor. This is only a problem of autofocus. Metering still works with most of these lenses even the ones dating back to the mid 1980's . The Nikon designators AF-S and AF-I indicate lenses that have their own motor. These lenses typically have a larger diameter housing to accommodate the motor. During macro photography you never use autofocus because the focus adjustments are so slight. If you can pick up a nice older macro lens on the cheap, get it and don't worry about autofocus because you'll be manually focusing anyway.

    I think the D40 sells as a kit with the 18-55 mm AF-S VR lens. If you can afford it though, I would just get the body alone and separately get the 18-200 VR which is a spectacular lens due to it's sharpness, enormous wide-to-tele range and close focusing (8 inches or less) which is almost a macro.

    I'm steering clear of any Cannon v. Nikon debate but I agree with Tom that Cannon has a more versatile range of lenses for their DSLR's and the technical quality of the images have a slight edge over the equivalent Nikon. Prices are ridiculous though and control preferences are completely subjective.

    Cheers,
     
  7. oldwhitewood

    oldwhitewood Member

    Messages:
    356
    Brilliant explanation thanks, I understand it a bit better now. I used a manual SLR about 15 years ago but have really been using APS then digital compacts and stuff like that ever since.

    Thanks for the nod towards the Canon's too, I do like the look of them but they seem to be around £70 more than the Nikon which is getting a bit steep for my budget.

    What I would really like to do is to be able to get in really quite close to things, and have an aperture of about f1.8 so I can blur the background and foreground. I am not particularly thinking of Macro per se but just getting in really close to patches of ferns, tree roots etc. Really picking out the detail. I am not too sure if a Macro type lens is the only way I can achive this?

    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/NEW-Nikon-Nikkor- ... dZViewItem

    something like that would that do it?
     
  8. beeky

    beeky Member

    Messages:
    879
    Location:
    Chippenham, Wiltshire
    I did a google on "d40 d40x" and there was good review of them which explained the lens options. They said that even really old nikkor lenses from the 60's fitted, but obviously no auitofocus. It's apparently quite small for an SLR and the ergonomics are of the best. It has good reviews on Amazon as well!

    Even with 6MP it seems to hold it's own with the 10MP boys due it's technical wizardry.
     
  9. Dave Spencer

    Dave Spencer Member

    Messages:
    1,389
    Location:
    N. Wales
    I agree with ceg on the Nikon v Canon debate. Whichever way you go, you are buying in to a series of products that will far out weigh your ability to get the most from them.

    I am using the 18 - 55mm standard lens with my D40, and it is a great bit of kit. I recently posted a picture of an Oto in the fauna gallery which shows a fair bit of detail. I reckon I may even be able to get in a little closer.

    One thing you may want to consider, and it is something that swayed me towards Nikon, is the flash technology. I am no expert, but the Nikon flash system is generally considered superior to the Canon. I am sure you intend to take a lot of pics of your tank(s), so this may be worth considering if you really wish to nail aquarium photography.

    Whether you buy Nikon or Canon, you are buying wisely.

    Dave.
     
  10. oldwhitewood

    oldwhitewood Member

    Messages:
    356
    It's something I want to get, well an SLR. I want to try and take my photography to the next level. At the moment I've been using a Fuji s6500, it's ok but it frustrates me having to use the screen, the electronic viewfinder is useless and I really dislike it. While you can use the lens to manually zoom really well manual focusing is really slow and cumbersome, I want an SLR to give me a more touchy feely control over focusing and composing shots. Plus I want to use smaller apertures, below f2.8 which I just don't think you can do on a compact.

    I am still a little in the dark in terms of lenses mind, I thought you couldn't use the older SLR lenses with the DSLRs, evidently this isn't the case which is quite exciting!
     
  11. oldwhitewood

    oldwhitewood Member

    Messages:
    356
    It's something I want to get, well an SLR. I want to try and take my photography to the next level. At the moment I've been using a Fuji s6500, it's ok but it frustrates me having to use the screen, the electronic viewfinder is useless and I really dislike it. While you can use the lens to manually zoom really well manual focusing is really slow and cumbersome, I want an SLR to give me a more touchy feely control over focusing and composing shots. Plus I want to use smaller apertures, below f2.8 which I just don't think you can do on a compact.

    I am still a little in the dark in terms of lenses mind, I thought you couldn't use the older SLR lenses with the DSLRs, evidently this isn't the case which is quite exciting!

    At the moment I've been looking to get a Lomo camera and shoot on film, as I really like the results you get. But I also feel that there is a lot of smoke amd mirrors with lomo, it is essentially something where the limitations of it are seen as cool and organic. I already have a holga which I'm just playing with really to satisfy that need, but I think really the future and my own photography must lie in the digital SLR domain.
     
  12. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,937
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Hi oldwhitewood,
    I've had a look at the ebay link. You know I'm not 100% sure but I think that this lens does not have a motor. The -D designator is one of those features that started Nikon on the wrong path. The -D means that there is a metal contact through which the lens passes distance-to-subject information to the camera. This is supposed to help with exposure information but in reality this feature doesn't really help except if you are taking a flash picture pointing at a highlly reflective subject, like a mirror. The lens is is reported to be very sharp and is an excellent buy but I suspect you will have to manually focus with a D40 because nowhere in the specs does it say AF-S. As I said before, it will meter perfectly, no problems there, but you may struggle to get pinpoint focus in low light situation if your vision is not perfect, especially if you are using wide open apertures which limit your depth of field to begin with.

    I would definitely get the lens at those low prices, but it would not be my only lens. Another option would to use the money you save with this lens and get a used D70 body that has a motor. This elliminates a lot of AF issues but the penalty is weight. It just depends on what feature are important to you.

    If AF is important to you and if price is an issue then it might be better to get the kit lens 18-55 AF-S with this body. I think Dave mentioned he has this lens and has had great success.

    I understand what you want to do with the large apertures, isolate subject from background and so forth but generally, if you are shooting ferns and roots at close distances, depth of field falls off the wagon anyway so that even at f5.6 you can still do a decent job of it.

    Cheers,
     
  13. oldwhitewood

    oldwhitewood Member

    Messages:
    356
    Excellent advice again thanks. You know I think I will just get the camera with the supplied lens and see how I get on. I'm sure I will be able to get reasonable results with it. I think so anyway :oops:
     
  14. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,937
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Hi,
    I'm gonna guarantee your success. :D

    Just for future reference, I snapped some pictures to show the difference between the two types of Nikon AF drives:

    This shows the mount of a typical D lens or a non-AF-S type lens. SInce there is no motor on the lens there is a screwjack which is rotated and inside the housing is geared to rotate the barrel. The screwjack is the upper fitting with a recessed slot to accept the drive. Any lens having this screwjack does not have a motor and AF will be disabled on a D40.
    [​IMG]

    This shows the motor drive spud protruding from the mount face (at the 7 O'Clock position next to the white "AF-L") on an N90. When the lens is mounted this spud rotates to drive the lens screwjack. Dave, correct me if I'm wrong but I think the D40 lacks this spud. At the 12 O'Clock position inside you can see the camera's electrical contacts that will mate with the pins on the lens.
    [​IMG]

    This is a side by side comparison of the lens contacts. The D Lens is on the left and the AF-S lens is on the right. You can see that there is no slotted screwjack on the AF-S lens but it has a lot more pins, some of which power it's on-board motor. More pins mean more features/functions on a lens but all that is independent of optical quality. That 50 mm 1.8 is faster and is probably sharper than either of these two zooms at 50 mm.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    When you are hunting for lenses this ought to help you avoid making a bad AF decision at least.

    Cheers,
     
  15. oldwhitewood

    oldwhitewood Member

    Messages:
    356
    That is fascinating, thanks for taking the time to put it together for me I appreciate it.
     

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