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Nikon D40
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clockworkwar
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Dec 4, 2006, 12:20 PM
 
Before I start sorry if there is already a thread for this, I tried searching.

So I have been an owner of a digital camera for a long time, and film SLR's I even have an old Olympus 0M-10. But I have never concidered getting a digital SLR, which is what I am thinking of getting now.

I have thought about Cannons, but I feel a Nikon would be better as I tried a D50 a while back, but now theres a D40 is it any good? I do not have enough money for a D80 atm, but I could save up, if the D40 does not fit the bill.

My choice of the D40, is that its relatively cheap, chunky yet not heavy, and seems to have a high quality about it. Would this assumptions be right?

Thank you for any help people give me.
     
WayzataXC05
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Dec 4, 2006, 12:30 PM
 
It seems to be an excellent camera. Here's a review Nikon D40 Hands-on Preview: 1. Introduction: Digital Photography Review

I wish I could afford one, but college living isn't cheap.
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clockworkwar  (op)
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Dec 4, 2006, 01:08 PM
 
Originally Posted by WayzataXC05 View Post
It seems to be an excellent camera. Here's a review Nikon D40 Hands-on Preview: 1. Introduction: Digital Photography Review

I wish I could afford one, but college living isn't cheap.
Thank you! you've made me one badly! lol. I will have to get one in the new year though.
     
tooki
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Dec 4, 2006, 01:14 PM
 
The only true thing to watch out for with the D40 is lens compatibility, since it does not have its own focusing motor, so it can only autofocus with lenses that have their own focusing motor (in Nikon parlance, that's AF-S lenses [and a few really rare AF-I lenses]). If you look at Nikon's lens selection and find that some lens you want is not AF-S, then you should get a D50 or D80 instead.

tooki
     
clockworkwar  (op)
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Dec 4, 2006, 01:24 PM
 
I may eventually get a D50 because ive seen deals with two lenses free with it, for around the same as a D40 with one lens. Or just save up. I will sort it out eventually....
     
foo2
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Dec 4, 2006, 05:37 PM
 
Agreed. The D50 is so cheap and offers such functionality for a tiny difference in price that I'd just jump on the D50. That said, I do like the D40's size, and it has a few extras (minor little non-pro, non-enthusiast things) not present on the D50.

I'm keeping my D50, and shopping for an 18-200 VR lens still.
     
SLiMeX
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Dec 4, 2006, 05:44 PM
 
If I do not get the D40 for Christmas, I will be purchasing one after the holidays.
I think the camera is versatile and and Nikon is reliable. I've seen good deals online for $499 with a SD card, too.
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tooki
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Dec 4, 2006, 09:07 PM
 
Before you go for a "deal" online, beware that nearly every single online camera vendor is a crook. Don't even consider buying from one without checking reselleratings.com to see how it fares. Anything under a 9 I'd avoid. Most camera sites don't even make it to 5.

I only buy from B&H, Adorama, Amazon, and the local camera shop.

tooki
     
SLiMeX
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Dec 5, 2006, 12:52 AM
 
Tooki, thanks for the head's up. You are all knowing.
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clockworkwar  (op)
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Dec 5, 2006, 12:21 PM
 
Originally Posted by SLiMeX View Post
If I do not get the D40 for Christmas, I will be purchasing one after the holidays.
I think the camera is versatile and and Nikon is reliable. I've seen good deals online for $499 with a SD card, too.
I am to looking at it for its size and reliablity. As im only a novice at digital photography, it will just be something better than a compact to hone my skills. So I wont be buying many other lenses for it.
     
foo2
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Dec 5, 2006, 12:38 PM
 
Lenses and speed are the big reasons ppl buy slrs; otherwise, the g-series from cannon (G7) and even the basic Canon lineup with IS lenses is great for most people.
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clockworkwar  (op)
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Dec 5, 2006, 03:22 PM
 
Yep I will be getting one for the speed and the quality of the picture it can produce. And I said I would not buy many, due to me just learning the ropes with D pics. I can upgrade the cam in a few years, when I need some better equipment if its needed.
     
mitchell_pgh
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Dec 5, 2006, 04:57 PM
 
Originally Posted by tooki View Post
The only true thing to watch out for with the D40 is lens compatibility, since it does not have its own focusing motor, so it can only autofocus with lenses that have their own focusing motor (in Nikon parlance, that's AF-S lenses [and a few really rare AF-I lenses]). If you look at Nikon's lens selection and find that some lens you want is not AF-S, then you should get a D50 or D80 instead.

tooki
So I'm looking at this camera as well... could you elaborate on this a bit? I get that the lens must have a drive, but do most lenses not have their own drive? Sorry... I only know enough to ask dumb questions

Could you give a few examples of lenses a novice may want that wouldn't work with this (in auto focus).
     
tooki
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Dec 5, 2006, 06:43 PM
 
Traditionally, Nikon autofocus has relied on the focus motor in the body. Lens-integrated focus motors were first added in really big zooms, where focusing had to move so much glass that the body-based motor would be overwhelmed. But every new lens released in the past couple of years has had the motor in the lens, so the D40's not a total surprise.

As far as lenses that are not digital-only, none of the primes are AF-S, except for the new 105mm VR macro, and the long telephotos (300-600mm). Only a couple of the zooms are AF-S.

Basically, the D40 is a body built to go with the digital-only (DX) lens series, which is almost 100% AF-S. (Only the DX fisheye is not AF-S.)


Take a look at Nikon's lens selection at Nikon USA Photography and see if any lenses you think you'd want are just AF, and not AF-S.

As for a common lens a novice might want... well, that depends on what you want to shoot! But for example, the classic 50mm/f1.8, the affordable 60mm macro, and the budget 70-300mm zoom all rely on the body's focus motor, and thus would not autofocus.

Also, most third-party lenses lack the focusing motor, too. Now, for the most part I don't think this is important, since third-party lenses suck for the most part. But one of my favorite lenses, the Tokina 12-24mm DX ultrawide zoom, doesn't have the motor. Nikon makes a 12-24 that has the motor, but it costs fully twice as much.

Of course, any lens without a focusing motor will still work on the D40, it just won't autofocus.

tooki
     
iMacfan
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Dec 6, 2006, 07:42 PM
 
Out of interest, do the Nikon primes have the built-in motor? If so, I can imagine the D40 and the 50/1.8 being a killer portable camera.

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OreoCookie
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Dec 7, 2006, 06:47 AM
 
That, unfortunately, won't work. The 50 mm lenses need a focusing motor -- which the D40 doesn't have.
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tooki
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Dec 8, 2006, 06:16 PM
 
Originally Posted by iMacfan View Post
Out of interest, do the Nikon primes have the built-in motor? If so, I can imagine the D40 and the 50/1.8 being a killer portable camera.

David
Re-read my post. And look at the link provided in it. If a lens is listed with "AF" in its designation, and not "AF-S", then it does not have a motor. Only "AF-I" (old, rare) and "AF-S" (current) models have motors.

tooki
     
Goldfinger
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Dec 8, 2006, 06:48 PM
 
Originally Posted by iMacfan View Post
Out of interest, do the Nikon primes have the built-in motor? If so, I can imagine the D40 and the 50/1.8 being a killer portable camera.

David
Not a single one has a motor built in.

The lack of a built in motor makes the D40 a POS in my eyes. That + the fact that it's too light and small to hold and keep stable at lower shutter speeds. What is it these days with all those cameras that keep getting smaller and lighter. Supersmall and superlight is NOT good when it comes to SLR cameras. But I digress.

A question for Tooki: Do you have that 12-24 Tokina lens ? I'm quite interested in buying it since the Nikkor 12-24 is horribly expensive. Any experience/pics you could share ? I heard a lot of good things about this lens.

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iMacfan
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Dec 8, 2006, 07:14 PM
 
Originally Posted by tooki View Post
Re-read my post. And look at the link provided in it. If a lens is listed with "AF" in its designation, and not "AF-S", then it does not have a motor. Only "AF-I" (old, rare) and "AF-S" (current) models have motors.

tooki
Thanks - didn't see that. I guess it'll be a pass on the D40, then, which is a shame since it seems like an excellent camera otherwise.

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Dec 8, 2006, 07:29 PM
 
Originally Posted by Goldfinger View Post
A question for Tooki: Do you have that 12-24 Tokina lens ? I'm quite interested in buying it since the Nikkor 12-24 is horribly expensive. Any experience/pics you could share ? I heard a lot of good things about this lens.
I've heard great things about that particular lens in magazines, the reviews were raving about it.
Tokina builds some very nice lenses (if you know which to get), but all of them are very sturdily built (I've owned Tokina lenses myself and cousin also loves them -- a professional photographer).
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tooki
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Dec 8, 2006, 09:43 PM
 
Originally Posted by Goldfinger View Post
Not a single one has a motor built in.
...
A question for Tooki: Do you have that 12-24 Tokina lens ? I'm quite interested in buying it since the Nikkor 12-24 is horribly expensive. Any experience/pics you could share ? I heard a lot of good things about this lens.
As I said, it's not quite true that no primes are AF-S: the 105mm VR macro is indeed a prime, and it has an AF-S motor.

As for the Tokina, I don't own one [yet], but my best friend has it, and I've borrowed it several times, including on my recent trip to Switzerland. Flickr: Photos from tooki has a bunch of photos, many of which were shot with that lens (anything below 18mm native/27mm equivalent definitely was). Here are a few examples taken with it:

_DSC6707 on Flickr - Photo Sharing!
_DSC6659 on Flickr - Photo Sharing!
_DSC6652 on Flickr - Photo Sharing!
_DSC6666 on Flickr - Photo Sharing!
_DSC6733 on Flickr - Photo Sharing! (the table in that picture is only about 2 feet diameter)
_DSC6555 on Flickr - Photo Sharing!
_DSC6541 on Flickr - Photo Sharing!
_DSC6387 on Flickr - Photo Sharing!

I just uploaded these ones: Tokina 12-24 ultrawide - a photoset on Flickr, which I actually took with that lens just to show my friend what kind of stuff you can do with it. The store most of those shots were taken in had at least a 20 foot ceiling, just to give you a sense of scale. I deliberately picked some that are from a distance and others that are close up. (For example, that bed was less than 3 feet away from me, and I think I was no more than 2 feet from that Lexus.)


In any case, I think it's a fantastic piece of glass, especially for the price. It does not have a focusing motor, so you can't use it in AF on a D40 (not that I'd worry, since depth of field on an ultrawide lens is so deep that you can almost forget to focus and still get a great shot). I really like shooting with it. And according to Digital Wide Zooms: Index the Tokina may not be quite as sharp as the Nikon can be, but it has less distortion, bearing in mind that this is splitting hairs: in real photography (as opposed to pixel peeping) you won't find any flaws with either the Tokina or the Nikon (which costs twice as much). I really want to get one myself, and wouldn't hesitate for a second to recommend it. It's also a really solid lens; it doesn't feel like cheap junk the way Tamron does, for example.

tooki
     
dpicardi
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Dec 9, 2006, 10:32 AM
 
Tooki's advice about resellerratings.com is right on. Never buy on the web without checking this site first. My only caveat to his advice being the following:
I believe buying from a seller with a 7.5 rating and above to be completely safe as long as they have a history of more than 500 ratings and at least 100 of them are within the last 6 months. (be sure to read several of the reviews as well. I tend to put more stock in the ones that have greater detail.)

Secondly, as important as their rating is the store's return policy. B&H has the ultimate policy. Returns OK within 14 days...no questions asked - a very good thing when buying photo equipment as there are lens quality issues et al.

Most stores will take returns, but charge brutal restocking fees so check this out.

Bottomline if you can find what you like at B&H, go with them for this reason alone. They are widely considered the best in the business for their policies, pricing and service. Adorama is a close second.

Also, don't buy a camera body without holding it first. Features are important, but so are ergonomics. Nikon camera bodys are so wonderful in the hand the make you want to use them more. I love the pics that my Fuji S2 delivers...but I'm always reaching for my D200 as it just feels so perfect in my hands.

Lastly, Sigma makes several lenses with HSM which is their version of Nikon's Af-s. Frankly third party lenses get a very undeserving bad wrap. The 30mm F1.4 prime is a masterpiece and would work perfectly on the D40. It is however more expensive than its Nikon counterpart.

Sigma also makes a 12-24 HSM lens that would work perfectly on the D40. I have the Nikon 12-24 which is excellent...but if I had to do it over again I might buy the Sigma as it can also be used on a Full Frame camera. Both the Nikon and the Tokina are DX lenses meaning they cannot/should not be used on a full frame camera body. (ie a Film SLR or full frame DSLR).

Examples of the Sigma 12-24... Sigma 12-24mm f/4.5-5.6 EX DG ASP HSM Lens Sample Photos and Specifications


Check out this website for examples of pictures taken with hundreds of different cameras and lens combinations...

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tooki
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Dec 9, 2006, 12:18 PM
 
With some exceptions (like the Tokina 12-24), I stick with Nikon lenses (or Canon, if I were on their system). As they say, you buy a Nikon camera because you want Nikon lenses, not the other way around. (Same for Canon.)

Off-brand lenses are not bad. But they aren't as good, and in most cases, not cheap enough to be worthwhile. Why? Because you can buy Nikon/Canon glass now, use it for 5 years, and then sell it used for 75% of what you paid. If the lens you picked becomes rare, it may even appreciate. Third-party lenses, on the other hand, lose value rapidly, so if you choose to sell, it will likely cost you more in the end than the Nikon/Canon!

Sigma has a 10-20mm DX lens, but IIRC it's optically inferior to the Nikon and Tokina (though in no way bad. See the link in my previous post.

tooki
     
Goldfinger
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Dec 9, 2006, 01:05 PM
 
Well I gather from the reviews that I read that the Sigma 12-24 is an aweful lens. Boatloads of chromatic abberation and distortion. Bad build quality AND more expensive than for example the Tokina.

I tend to agree with Tooki. I always buy Nikkors but for this Tokina I'm willing to make an exception since the difference with the Nikkor is more than 500 euros and the quality is as good as equal. Normally i'd buy a second hand Nikkor but you can't find the 12-24 second hand for a normal price.

My next lens will be a new Tokina 12-24 or a second hand Nikkor 35-70 2.8
No variable aperture lenses for me.

Thanks for the pics/info Tooki.

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tooki
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Dec 9, 2006, 07:38 PM
 
Yep. I just saw a Nikon 12-24 at the camera shop today on the used shelf for $729. As I said, you can resell a used Nikon or Canon lens for 75% of what you paid for it. (It's $950-1000 new, for those of you that aren't familiar with it.) Good for the seller, not such a great deal for the buyer, usually!

But yeah, this one Tokina is a great exception to the rule of off-brand lenses being not such great buys.


Why no variable aperture? Sure, few high-end lenses are variable, but there are some gems among them, like the 18-200mm VR lens.

tooki
     
SLiMeX
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Dec 9, 2006, 08:54 PM
 
So has anyone got one yet? I think I will swing by the local camera shop tonight on my night out on the town with the girlfriend, and see if they have one in-store. I'd really like to see how this thing feels before I drop $600 on it.
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foo2
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Dec 9, 2006, 09:05 PM
 
Originally Posted by SLiMeX View Post
So has anyone got one yet? I think I will swing by the local camera shop tonight on my night out on the town with the girlfriend, and see if they have one in-store. I'd really like to see how this thing feels before I drop $600 on it.
Bear in mind you can get a D50 (a far more functional camera) for about that much nowadays.
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clockworkwar  (op)
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Dec 10, 2006, 06:03 AM
 
Ermmm nope Ive felt one and they feel good. Im going to get one in the new year if I dont get tempted by a Tag Heuer watch lol, which most likely i will. The D50 and the D40 are both alike in many ways and both have advantages and disadvantages to them, they are both amazing cameras though.

You will be amazed at the size of the D40 and the way it feels, its amazing.
     
Goldfinger
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Dec 10, 2006, 03:37 PM
 
Originally Posted by tooki View Post
Why no variable aperture? Sure, few high-end lenses are variable, but there are some gems among them, like the 18-200mm VR lens.

tooki
I just find it extremely annoying when you zoom in your max aperture changes along. Sure you could just change the ISO on your camera to compensate but I'm an old school guy. I almost never touch the ISO dail on my D70s. I'm still used to having a film in the camera that has only one fixed ISO value. AND of course, higher ISO means more noise. And noise is bad. Grain is cool.

Another reason is that when I switched to digital I got rid of all my primes (except for my 50 1.4) and made the switch to zooms. Why ? Two reasons really. One: To make it easy on myself. But of course being used to great primes I thought to myself: you're only going to buy the best zooms out there. No cheapos.
Two: Thanks to the highly annoying crop factor I'd have to get some serious wide angle primes to replace my "film" wideangles. Problem being that those extreme wideangles are prohibitively expenive. So I decided to go with wide angle zooms which are more affordable.

So at the moment my glass collection is rather limited: 20-35 2.8, 50 1.4, 70-210 4.0
What's next ? A 35-70 2.8 (I wish I could afford the 28-70 2.8) and that 12-24 to finally replace my all time favourite 24mm lens. I'd like to exchange my 70-210/4 for a 70-200 2.8 as well but that's low priority since I don't use those long focal lengths all that much. I'm a wide angle person.

Another reason for not wanting a variable aperture lens is that most variable aperture lenses only start at 3.3 or 3.5 and I like to make pics with available light a lot so I can use the bigger opening.

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Dec 10, 2006, 06:40 PM
 
Originally Posted by Goldfinger View Post
So at the moment my glass collection is rather limited: 20-35 2.8, 50 1.4, 70-210 4.0
What's next ? A 35-70 2.8 (I wish I could afford the 28-70 2.8) and that 12-24 to finally replace my all time favourite 24mm lens. I'd like to exchange my 70-210/4 for a 70-200 2.8 as well but that's low priority since I don't use those long focal lengths all that much. I'm a wide angle person.
That's not such a measly collection as you may make it seem to be.
I've had a Tokina 2.8/28-80 Pro SV (for my F80) and I loved it. It got rave reviews as well, especially price-performance was unprecedented. However, I don't know how it performs digitally.
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Dec 10, 2006, 09:14 PM
 
Hi all,

I did get to have a look at a D40 today. Must say that it seems very good value, and pretty solid, but still a bit plasticky - like pretty much every SLR nowadays. However, having got used to 35mm SLRs and rangefinders, the APS sensor DSLRs just seem too squinty. Looks like I'll have to hope the EOS 5D magically drops in price by 50%...

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OreoCookie
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Dec 10, 2006, 09:44 PM
 
Well the EOS 5D and the D40 are pretty much on opposite ends of the spectrum
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Dec 11, 2006, 07:14 AM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
Well the EOS 5D and the D40 are pretty much on opposite ends of the spectrum
Yeah, I know - the problem is which side of the spectrum my wallet is!

But the really sad part is that I'm in my early 20s - but I sound like I'm 75.

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Dec 11, 2006, 07:52 AM
 
Originally Posted by iMacfan View Post
Yeah, I know - the problem is which side of the spectrum my wallet is!

But the really sad part is that I'm in my early 20s - but I sound like I'm 75.
Well, I'd tell you the same thing: if I were rich, I'd get a Nikon D200 and some nice glass. Since I wear glasses, I want to get at least a Nikon D80. But in reality, I just had to get a new stove and I'll need to get a new bed as well.
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Dec 11, 2006, 11:16 AM
 
It's the same with the D50, well built cameras, with the same style as the pro models, with easier to use functions and I'm pretty sure the D40 does RAW, the D50 does. It's great, you can work like a pro or an amateur with the same camera.

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Dec 13, 2006, 12:17 AM
 
I have a couple of non Nikon lenses that are quite good, a Sigma 10-20 (sold my Tokina 12-24) and a Tamron 28-75 f2.8 which is sharper and has better contrast than my Nikon 35-70 f2.8. Of course my bread and butter lens is a Nikon 17-55 f2.8!
     
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Dec 13, 2006, 12:46 AM
 
Im trying to decide wether I want the D40 or the D50. I know that the D40 doesnt have the built in autofocusing motor, but does the D50? What would be a better deal, Im an amateur photographer moving from a compact digital camera to an SLR and have $500-$600 to spend for christmas.
Nikon D50 Digital SLR w/Nikkor 28-80mm F/3.3-5.6 G Lens - 25233 - WolfCamera.com
Nikon D40 DSLR Camera w/18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G ED II AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor lens - 25420 - WolfCamera.com
     
foo2
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Dec 13, 2006, 12:54 AM
 
I'd get the D50. It can fully use all these lenses we're talking about here.

Right now the D40 is priced (very) high (relative to value vs. the D50) since it's brand new, whereas the D50 (even though it's a significantly better product in most ways) has been on the market for a year or so now.
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clockworkwar  (op)
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Join Date: Sep 2006
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Dec 13, 2006, 09:37 AM
 
Originally Posted by foo2 View Post
I'd get the D50. It can fully use all these lenses we're talking about here.

Right now the D40 is priced (very) high (relative to value vs. the D50) since it's brand new, whereas the D50 (even though it's a significantly better product in most ways) has been on the market for a year or so now.
I have realised this to!
     
   
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