Can I use a 50mm f/1.8 AF-D lens with the D40?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by owen_farmer, Jun 22, 2008.

  1. I am considering buying a D40. I currently use a 50mm f/1.8 AF-D lens with a Nikon Pronea 6i (APS film) for indoor portraits and like it. If
    I get a D40 will I be able to manually focus and how difficult is that with the D40? Also will the camera metering work? Thanks,
    Owen
     
  2. You will indeed have to use the lens manually. The D40's viewfinder is rather small, and that makes it harder to easily discern critical focus when you're shooting with that lens wide open (when the DoF is slim, slim, slim). But people do indeed use that combination. What sort of subject matter, and distance to that subject?
     
  3. It will meter and you'll be able to manual focus. However, manually focusing with the D40's viewfinder, especially at f/1.8, isn't exactly fun.
     
  4. It's fully functional on a D40 in everyway except that you can't AF with it. You''ll have problems shooting anything that moves fast, because MF will become difficult to accomplish. When you MF, you should press the shutter half-way down as you turn the focus ring and wait for the focus confirmation light in the lower left corner of the viewfinder to lit up. Due to the D40's small and dark viewfinder, judging whether you're in focus by sight (instead of the little lamp) will not be easy. Though since now you're using a APS-C SLR, I suppose you'll probably be OK with the D40's viewfinder.
     
  5. Easy question first: Metering, yes, it will meter fine.

    Subjective question second: Different people seem to have very different experiences of manual focus. Only being one person, I don't know how typical my experience is, but I find it really easy. Others complain that they find it impossible, but I find it hard to imagine myself in their shoes so I don't really understand why. (I have awful eyesight so it's not that). It's been a long time since I used a Pronea (I never actually owned one) but I'm pretty sure the d40's viewfinder is actually slightly better, so if you can manually focus on the Pronea you will probably be OK on the D40 - it might be worth trying that first. Does your Pronea have a focus-confirm light when you use manual focus? I find the D40's one very useful. If I understand correctly, the new d60 has a fancier arrangement to tell you when you're nearly in focus as well as when you've nailed it, but I've not tried that - and for the extra cost you may as well step up to a d80.

    Using a digital SLR does seem to make one more exacting about focus. I'm pretty sure that even the d40 sensor is more detailed than APS film, so close examination tends to reveal a lot to pick on. When a file is open at 100% it's like examining a huge print from a close distance, and something about the nature of monitor pixels seems to be particularly unforgiving. This is not in itself a problem, it just takes a little getting used to.

    Be warned that if you also have a Pronea-specific lens (IX-Nikkor, like the kit zoom that probably came with it) it should apparently NOT be mounted on new dSLRs, even though it should in theory be able to cover their sensors. D40 and D200 manuals are very firm about this one - something about having enough clearance distance for the mirror. The 50/1.8D will be absolutely fine, though.

    Hope that's of some help.
     
  6. I find the focus confirm indicator on the D40 fairly easy to use too, just a little slow. With an f/5.6 lens it is actually better than most split image and microprism devices on Nikon film cameras since those black out at smaller than about f/4.5.

    My guess is that it is driven by the same electronics as drive the autofocus system. If that is the case then you are no worse off in terms of accuracy with manual focus, just slower.

    Yes, as I understand it the D60 uses the analogue display in the viewfinder to indicate how far off you are and which direction you need to go in. It does this in the auto exposure modes but not in manual since it then needs the analogue display for exposure indications.
     
  7. I have a D40 and the 50mm F1.8. I should also note that I am not a professional and do it primarily as a hobby (pics of my kids/family). I will admit that it is a bit more difficult to focus correctly at F1.8, but with practice and some experimenting you will get used to the lens and get more accurate. Right now I have the kit lens and the 50mm, but never use the kit lens. The 50mm has barely any distortion wide open, colors are great, very sharp pictures, and depth of field is great. For the price, you can't beat it. Just note that if you're photographing children, it's a lot more difficult to get the focus right on while they're moving. There's admittedly a lot of lost shots with children, but when you do get the shot it's well worth it.
     
  8. The indoor photos that I take are primarily of my grandchildren at f1.8 at distances of 4 to 10 feet. I rarely manually focus
    the pronea since there is little need to do so. Manual focus at 4 feet looks like it could be a challenge. It appears that a
    D80 is a better choice. I am concerned that the D80 will soon be replaced/upgraded, since it has been around a while.
    Thanks for the help.
    Owen
     
  9. I finally sat down the other day and tried MF with this combo, for static objects. It's really no problem. I found it was best to look for the focus confirmation out of the corner of your eye rather than looking directly at it. Focus was pretty much spot on every time, I was surprised. Still, I would much rather have AF!
     
  10. With static objects, I think that you are right. My grandkids (ages 2 and 4) were at the house today. I have an unfinished
    roll of slide film in my Olympus OM1, so I used it to take some photos of them. I was shooting at f1.4 and 1/125 sec,
    where accurate focusing is critical. I found it difficult. Unfortunately kids aren't static objects. Thanks,
    Owen
     

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