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You are here: MacNN Forums > Community > MacNN Lounge > I want a DSLR, D40 + 2 lenses on the cheap or what?

I want a DSLR, D40 + 2 lenses on the cheap or what?
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IceEnclosure
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Feb 4, 2008, 08:13 AM
 
UPDATE:

holy awesome:


I have no investment in anything so far - lenses, memory, etc.

I'm leaning towards Nikon as I've always liked the way they feel in my hands.

With the D40x and now the D60 almost released, I'm looking at the D40 as a great camera for me to get into. For less than the price of a D40x with kit lens, I could get a D40 with TWO lenses. One drawback would be that I'd be on the lower end of the megapixel scale at 6.1MP. I recently picked up an Epson Stylus Photo 1400 which prints up to 13x19", and I understand blowing up a 6.1MP image to print at 13x19" should work out okay, but going larger than that would be a bad idea.

Currently I use a 7.2MP Sony P&S. I've done lots of printing at 8x10" and a few at 13x19" even, they look great. I'd imagine the better optics and such that a DSLR would offer, even at 6.1MP, could produce better 13x19" images than a higher-megapixel P&S could.

(prices from adorama)
Nikon D40 6.1 Megapixel Digital SLR Camera Two Lens Kit, with 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G ED II AF-S DX & 55mm - 200mm f/4-5.6G ED-IF AF-S DX VR (Vibration Reduction) for $620 US

Nikon D40X 10.2 Megapixel Digital SLR Camera 3X Zoom Kit Outfit, with 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G ED II AF-S DX Zoom Nikkor Lens for $610 US


Should I just spring for the D40x, but with two lenses? This would allow me more headroom as far as print enlargements go, and only like $100 more.

Should I get a Canon XT/XTi?

Should I get a D60/D80?

What would you do pals?
( Last edited by IceEnclosure; Feb 15, 2008 at 08:13 PM. )
ice
     
Peter
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Feb 4, 2008, 08:30 AM
 
Here's my advice:
Get a fixed 50mm. Seriously.

You want lenses with as little scope on them as possible. So 18-55mm is good, 18-300mm not so good. The larger the range of zoom, the more distortion. Try and get a lens with a fixed aperture. Eg:
18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 -- thats 18mm f/3.5 and 55 f/5.6.
I have a 18-50mm f/2.8. It's f/2.8 at both focal ranges. (Lower the f stop the better)

I'd get a D40x, 18-55mm (the kit lens) and a 50mm f/1.8. And save and upgrade the 18-55 to a 18-75 f/2.8
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Peter
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Feb 4, 2008, 08:32 AM
 
fyi, I recently helped a friend buy:
Canon 350D
Canon 50mm f/1.8
Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8
and it came to just over $800.
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sknapp351
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Feb 4, 2008, 08:38 AM
 
I would look at B&H. They are cheaper than the prices you posted from Adorama. Also, I would consider the D60 just as it is not already outdated, as the D40 is. I bought the D80 opposed to the D200 because I didn't know how to use all of the functions on the D200. Now I am much farther along, and miss having a few of the features. But, that being said I am glad that I bought the D80 opposed to a cheaper D50 since it is still a more than adequate camera.

Here are some links to B&H:

D40 w/ 2 lens kit
Nikon | D40 SLR Digital Camera Kit with 18-55mm & | 9420

D40 w/ 18-135
Nikon | D40 SLR Digital Camera Kit with 18-135mm Lens | 9419

D60 w/ 18-55 VR
Nikon | D60 SLR Digital Camera Kit with 18-55mm VR Lens | 25436

SAm
     
IceEnclosure  (op)
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Feb 4, 2008, 08:52 AM
 
The second lens on the D40 2 lens kit I posted above was a VR lens, accounted for some of the price difference. Just sayin'.

Interesting responses. I think I didn't talk enough about my restrictive budget. I'm not at all against buying a D60 body alone though, by itself. A lens-less camera sitting on my desk would be quite a motivator I think.

Expeed, dust cleaning and some other silly and not-so-silly features? Why get a D60 over a D40x?
ice
     
sknapp351
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Feb 4, 2008, 10:50 AM
 
After looking more, it seems that megapixels and sensor cleaning are the primary gains. I print large, 24" x 36" and up, most of the time so pixels are important to me. If it is a choice of a D40 with 2 lenses for $620 now or a D60 with 1 lens for more some time in the distant future, by all means get the D40. I have not heard anything bad about them what so ever. My personal issues with them would be the lack of a secondary control wheel, and that is just because I am very used to it being there, and that if you want auto focus you can only use AF-S or AF-I lenses. Of course, the D60 has both these same issues for me.

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peeb
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Feb 4, 2008, 11:05 AM
 
I love my D40 - and megapixels really don't matter much.
     
IceEnclosure  (op)
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Feb 4, 2008, 04:27 PM
 
Originally Posted by sknapp351 View Post
After looking more, it seems that megapixels and sensor cleaning are the primary gains.
Yes, over the D40. But when comparing the D60 with the D40x, megapixel is no different.
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IceEnclosure  (op)
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Feb 4, 2008, 04:28 PM
 
Originally Posted by peeb View Post
I love my D40 - and megapixels really don't matter much unless you're printing enlargements.
Fixed.
ice
     
maxintosh
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Feb 4, 2008, 05:37 PM
 
Does the D40 have an AF drive for the older prime lenses? That was one of the biggest downsides of it, if I remember. The 50 mm f/1.8 prime is my favorite lens by far.
     
IceEnclosure  (op)
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Feb 4, 2008, 05:46 PM
 
No it doesn't. Neither do the D40x or the D60. That seems like it would suck, I have to say. I keep telling myself it's not a big deal at all. They'd work, just manually and a bit of guessing.
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IceEnclosure  (op)
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Feb 4, 2008, 05:48 PM
 
Oh, and How to Do Anything Photographic is full of crazy information on all the Nikons discussed in this thread.

He suggests the D40 over the others. Hmph.
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mduell
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Feb 4, 2008, 05:57 PM
 
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peeb
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Feb 4, 2008, 06:14 PM
 
Originally Posted by IceEnclosure View Post
No it doesn't. Neither do the D40x or the D60. That seems like it would suck, I have to say. I keep telling myself it's not a big deal at all. They'd work, just manually and a bit of guessing.
That's only a big deal if you already have a lot of lenses - given that this is an entry level camera, it's probably not a big deal for most people looking at this camera.
     
OreoCookie
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Feb 4, 2008, 06:21 PM
 
The D40 is a great camera. I suggest you have a look at Sigma's 2.8/18-50 zoom, a larger aperture really makes a difference (and no, VR is not a substitute, especially for this focal range).

If you don't have the budget for that, invest in Nikon's SB-400 flash ($100): it's very small and powerful enough for parties and stuff. It's worlds better than the tiny pop-up flash (but this is true for every pop-up flash). It has a much faster recycle time, I can take three, four pictures with flash in a row and it doesn't eat your cameras batteries for breakfast. I love mine.

Other than that, don't forget to get a good bag. I got a Loewe for $50 which is good enough for the beginning (I wouldn't have minded paying more, but it was supposed to fit into my backpack).

I don't think you necessarily have to wait for the D60.
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Feb 4, 2008, 07:36 PM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
I suggest you have a look at Sigma's 2.8/18-50 zoom, a larger aperture really makes a difference (and no, VR is not a substitute, especially for this focal range).
QFT. You just can't get this through some people's heads though.
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
Other than that, don't forget to get a good bag. I got a Loewe for $50 which is good enough for the beginning (I wouldn't have minded paying more, but it was supposed to fit into my backpack).
Very true. I advise against a "beginner" bag. You will eventually buy a more professional bag, and why waste money on a relatively expensive beginner bag. Used camera bags sell VERY cheap.
     
James L
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Feb 4, 2008, 07:59 PM
 
IceEnclosure:

What is your budget? If we know that we can help you put together a package from the best source(s).

My advice to anyone entering the dSLR world is to spend fairly conservatively at the beginning, and start with 1 lens. Using that setup for a while will tell you what you will eventually want to spend your serious dollars on. You will run into situations where you constantly wish you had a zoom, or found yourself wishing often that you had a macro lens. You will realize that maybe you spend a lot of your photographic time in poorly lit areas where a decent flash would have been handy.

Once you have spent the time figuring out the limitations of your current equipment, and getting a feel for your photographic needs, spend the money on decent equipment. dSLR photography is not an area to scrimp on the budget, unfortunately. The least of your concerns should be the camera body. You will keep good lenses forever, and a decent flash will do a lot for you. This is where your money should be spent. The body can always be upgraded down the road.

Finally, to comment on two posts above. First off I totally agree with the bag comments above. I always tell people to get a camera bag that holds more than you need, because you will grow into it. And, I highly recommend at least the SB600 when you buy a flash. Not to take anything away from the SB400, but the 600 is much more versatile.

Good luck!
     
OreoCookie
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Feb 5, 2008, 05:44 AM
 
Regarding the flash, the SB-600 is as big as the D40!
I agree it's more versatile, but it's also more expensive (which wasn't an issue when I thought of buying one) and larger. It wouldn't feel right in my opinion if I put it on top of a D40, but that's just me

To be honest, I was thinking of upgrading to a SB-600, although there is no pressing need. The SB-400 can bounce (but not swivel). For a noob, it should be more than sufficient.
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IceEnclosure  (op)
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Feb 5, 2008, 10:56 AM
 
I'm attracted to the smaller D40-D60 body. I think I'll get a D40x with just the kit lens. I agree with Peter, a fixed 50 would be awesome, I'll probably get one soon after getting the camera. SB-400 too.

Although I've been thinking about this for a long time, I've only just decided to do it, so it'll still be a couple of weeks before I make a purchase. I'm excited.
ice
     
Goldfinger
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Feb 6, 2008, 05:21 PM
 
Originally Posted by IceEnclosure View Post
No it doesn't. Neither do the D40x or the D60. That seems like it would suck, I have to say. I keep telling myself it's not a big deal at all. They'd work, just manually and a bit of guessing.
Good luck with trying to manual focus with that viewfinder.

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Peter
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Feb 6, 2008, 05:29 PM
 
it's one of the advantages of Canon's if you want 50mm (50mm f1.8 Canon has AF)
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peeb
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Feb 6, 2008, 05:30 PM
 
Don't get a D40 if you have a lot of lenses you are attached to. Otherwise, it's wonderful. Also, modern lenses work well over a huge range - that's just not an issue these days.
     
IceEnclosure  (op)
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Feb 6, 2008, 06:18 PM
 
Eh, I'm back up in the air again. I kind of want AEB. And that damn 3-point focus on the D40/D60. I certainly wouldn't cry if whatever camera I got has LiveView also.

But I don't want a Canon! I just don't like how plastic-y they feel.(XT/XTi/XSi)


: \
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James L
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Feb 6, 2008, 06:43 PM
 
     
Peter
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Feb 6, 2008, 06:44 PM
 
pony up a little bit more money and get a Canon 30D? metal body.
we don't have time to stop for gas
     
peeb
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Feb 6, 2008, 07:14 PM
 
Originally Posted by Peter View Post
pony up a little bit more money and get a Canon 30D? metal body.
Except that that is about 800 without any lenses, while the D40 is 450 with a great 18-55 lens.
     
Peter
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Feb 7, 2008, 07:48 AM
 
the stock 18-55 isn't great.
this is though
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OreoCookie
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Feb 7, 2008, 07:57 AM
 
@Peter
If a 30D + a Sigma were in the budget, he'd have told us by now. He can put the same lens on a D40 (or a 400D), though, and take excellent pictures. The 18-55 kit lenses of any manufacturer aren't that great, you get what you pay for after all. In either case, a low-end dslr with kit lens will beat pretty much every P&S out there in terms of image quality.
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peeb
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Feb 7, 2008, 12:34 PM
 
Originally Posted by Peter View Post
the stock 18-55 isn't great.
this is though
Come on. That's a $500 lens - the stock lens is great for the price - it's not a cheap, bad quality lens that you're going to need to replace immediately.
     
IceEnclosure  (op)
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Feb 10, 2008, 03:59 PM
 
Snatched up a D40 with 18-55 kit lens, Nikon 55-200mm f/4-5.6G IF-ED AF-S DX VR telephoto lens, AND a spare battery for $575 shipped to my house. Slick Deal indeed.





Nikon 55-200mm f/4-5.6G ED IF AF-S DX VR - Google Product Search

Won't be here for a couple of days yet. I'm excited! Oh and I need to scoop up some good SD cards locally too.
ice
     
Peter
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Feb 10, 2008, 05:23 PM
 
you also need to scoop up a Flickr Pro Account.

congrats btw!
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peeb
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Feb 10, 2008, 08:59 PM
 
I think you did well there! Post some pics!
     
hayesk
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Feb 12, 2008, 10:53 PM
 
I just chose a D40 over a D40x - the sensor on the D40 is really good. The stock lens is fine, but I'm going to pick up the 50mm f/1.8 - I've seen some work of other people that use this lens on their D40 and they said manual focusing is fine with a little practice. There is also focus confirmation in the viewfinder.
     
peeb
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Feb 13, 2008, 12:02 AM
 
Really? Talk me through why you want that lens with this camera...
     
greenamp
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Feb 13, 2008, 12:05 AM
 
Definitely go for a fixed lens. Maybe be on the lookout for used D50 too.

edit: erps u already bought
     
greenamp
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Feb 13, 2008, 12:06 AM
 
Originally Posted by peeb View Post
Really? Talk me through why you want that lens with this camera...
Because it is superior lens. The image quality is better and f1.8 over f4 is a big difference.

Best bet is to have a fixed f1.4 or f1.8 50mm and an f1.8 wide angle.
     
IceEnclosure  (op)
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Feb 13, 2008, 12:12 AM
 
Originally Posted by greenamp View Post
Definitely go for a fixed lens. Maybe be on the lookout for used D50 too.

edit: erps u already bought
D50 is getting older than the D40 is.


edit:
nvmnd. I think you were saying it'd be around my price range with a pretty decent feature-set.
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IceEnclosure  (op)
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Feb 13, 2008, 12:14 AM
 
Originally Posted by peeb View Post
Really? Talk me through why you want that lens with this camera...
Are you against us manually focusing our cameras with dope lenses? : )

I'll be picking one up too.
ice
     
greenamp
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Feb 13, 2008, 12:24 AM
 
If the D40 is anything alike to the D50, just remember that it tends to over expose slightly. If I shoot aperture or shutter priority I typically set exposure bias down one full stop ( -1 ) and stop down equally when in full manual.
     
peeb
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Feb 13, 2008, 10:52 AM
 
Originally Posted by greenamp View Post
Because it is superior lens. The image quality is better and f1.8 over f4 is a big difference.

Best bet is to have a fixed f1.4 or f1.8 50mm and an f1.8 wide angle.
Really? Do you have any comparison images to illustrate the quality difference?
Originally Posted by IceEnclosure View Post
Are you against us manually focusing our cameras with dope lenses? : )
I'm definitely not 'against it', but I am a little skeptical of using that lens with this camera - I can't help but feel that the lack of auto focus would be a pain. I'm also not entirely convinced that you are going to see a real world quality difference between those two lenses using that camera.
Originally Posted by greenamp View Post
If the D40 is anything alike to the D50, just remember that it tends to over expose slightly. If I shoot aperture or shutter priority I typically set exposure bias down one full stop ( -1 ) and stop down equally when in full manual.
That's true - Nikons in general tend to do this - I set mine to -.7.
     
greenamp
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Feb 13, 2008, 12:53 PM
 

Taken with kit 18-55mm lens.
Camera: Nikon D50
Exposure: 0.04 sec (1/25)
Aperture: f/5.6
Focal Length: 50 mm
Exposure Bias: -2/3 EV
ISO Speed: 200


Taken with Nikon 50mm f1.8
Camera: Nikon D50
Exposure: 0.077 sec (1/13)
Aperture: f/5.6
Focal Length: 50 mm
Exposure Bias: -2/3 EV
ISO Speed: 200

Shot both at the same time, same lighting, same white balance, Fine JPEG, straight from my D50. To me the difference is well worth the added $100 I spent on the 50mm. Exposure, white balance, and color detail is more vibrant and consistent on the fixed. And at higher ISOs the difference is even more apparent. IMO the kit lens isn't that great with anything over ISO400.

Not to say that the kit lens isn't a decent lens though.
     
Peter
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Feb 13, 2008, 01:50 PM
 
it's a widely known fact that the "nifty fifty" is a great purchase
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peeb
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Feb 13, 2008, 02:06 PM
 
Hmm... - Thank you! I might have to look at that...
( Last edited by peeb; Feb 13, 2008 at 03:25 PM. )
     
Jawbone54
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Feb 13, 2008, 03:04 PM
 
Indeed. Whether you get a Canon or Nikon, you can't go wrong with a relatively cheap 50mm f/1.8, especially if you plan on taking any portraits at all.
     
mdc
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Feb 13, 2008, 03:23 PM
 
I've always heard great things about the Nikon 50mm 1.8.
I'm going on a trip soon and have been meaning to buy the lens before I leave. Thanks for the photos greenamp. I agree that the 50mm looks a lot nicer.
     
Peter
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Feb 13, 2008, 03:52 PM
 
I love my 50mm.
we don't have time to stop for gas
     
IceEnclosure  (op)
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Feb 15, 2008, 08:14 PM
 
got it, still charging!

ice
     
mdc
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Feb 15, 2008, 09:39 PM
 
Very nice, I'm sure you'll enjoy it.

I bought the Nikon 50mm 1.8 today.
     
Peter
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Feb 16, 2008, 07:48 AM
 
I'd invest in some UV/Polarizing filters to protect those babies
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mdc
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Feb 16, 2008, 08:06 AM
 
Just in case anyone is interested in the Nikon 50mm 1.8. I took a comparison photo with the regular Nikon 18-55mm yesterday.

This crop is at 100%, with the 55mm at the top.
     
 
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