D40 to D7000-- talk me into it.

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by brian_chambers|2, Feb 18, 2011.

  1. I have had a D40 since Christmas 2007 (my first DSLR). I have been pretty happy with it but have been thinking of upgrading and saving up to do so for about 1 year. My main reason for upgrading is landscape and the wish for better resolution and to enlarge with better quality. Of course I wouldn't mind many other bonuses such as better iso, faster focus, video. I had my eye on the D90 which seemed to be very well reviewed and well loved. I got to try one in a store and compare with my lens to my D40 and the image quality looked significantly better to my eye. Before I had enough money saved up the D7000 came out which looked better still. The reviews looked generally good and I was convince that this was the camera for me, but now I think I might be starting to over analyze it. I have seen a couple postings from people not thrilled with image quality with certain lenses and even a couple from people with D40's implying the D7000 was no better !!!
    So I just wanted to talk to people who have upgraded (especially from the D40) Are you thrilled? Is it worth the money? Do feel like regular lenses still give you great images or do you need to up grade your glass too?
    FYI for lenses I have the 18-55 non VR that came with the camera. Nikon 70-300, Nikon 35 1.8, and sigma 10-20. Thanks for your advice.... Brian
  2. I went from a D70 to a D90 and saw some pretty good improvement in image quality (of course, it certainly could have been my learning curve, tripod and new lenses, too!). I do really like the bigger images from the D90--it allows me to crop a bit and still be able to enlarge like I want. Having seen the D7000 specs, I am thinking it is yet another pretty large step up from the D90. (And I sometimes wonder if I could have waited a bit to get that one instead of the D90). Ah, well, you know what they say: The best camera for you is the one you have in your hands at the moment! I am still learning and have not yet "maxed out" my D90, so I'll likely wait a year or two and skip a Nikon prosumer generation. Bottom line: You have probably "maxed out" with the D40, so I'd go for the D7000 if you have the bucks. I think you will be thrilled. P.S. Get a good camera guide, too, so you can use all those new bells and whistles.
  3. You might look at the D3100. A few dollars less, but for landscape images -- the D3100 will do right well. You would have to shop around some to find a *body only* as Nikon is convinced you gotta have a VR 18-55mm lens as part of the kit. The D3100 has almost 3x the pixels per image over the D40.
  4. The + side of the D7000 - you can use non-AF-S lenses. But since you have AF-S lenses, you would save a few hundred $$$s.
  5. Brian, I am about 2 weeks ahead of you. I just recently sold my D40 and moved up to the D7000. LOTS of camera here. I am only a weekend warrior for photography, so this camera might last me a long time.
    Glass is very important for the D7000 as I am finding out due to the very dense 16MP sensor. I had the Nikkor 18-200 3.5/5.6 VR on the D40 and that gave very nice shots. It didn't work well at all on the D7000. I just bought a Nikkor 35 1.8, a Tamron SP 70-300 Di VC, Nikkor 16-85 VR, and just getting the Sigma 10-20 4/5.6 today. The 35mm and the Tamron are awesome on the D7000. Jury is out on the Nikkor 16-85, although I am still tweaking the settings in the Picture controls. I hear good things about the Sigma 10-20. I have my fingers crossed.
    So to answer your question, I would definitely go with the D7000 and try all your existing glass. You might be very pleasantly surprised.
  6. I personally went from a D60 (which like 1/2 a generation newer than the D40), to a D5000, to a D7000.
    Each step was an significant upgrade. I would say though, that if you're mostly shooting landscape, a lot of the D7000's features don't matter so much (the FPS, the dual card slots, the AI-S support, etc.). So, if you have any desire for another lens, it might be good to stick with a cheaper D90 to save money.
    That said, the D7000 is thoroughly astounding. After using the D7000, the D5000 and D3100 both have shutter lag to me. The D7000's noise cleans up really well in ISO1600, and ISO3200 is very useable. 6400 is probably pushing it. For the D60, I often though ISO800 was pushing it. The autofocus is 'meh' when birding (perhaps my technique), and there is that small buffer issue, but other than that I've been completely satisfied. Was it worth my $1200? I do think it's pricey.
    I think my point is, whether you get a D90 or a D7000, you're going to be making a rather big leap over the D40. You'll get auto-CA correction, off-camera flash, AF-D lens support, resolution, dynamic range (which is rather poor in the D40/60 etc.), and high ISO. The D7000 will be a bigger leap... faster FPS, more resolution, dynamic range, etc., but is it worth nearly double the cost? That's up to you to decide. The D7000 will definately last you longer (it's packed with the latest features), but the D90 is simply a great bargain right now (though it's slightly long in the tooth).
    You have a good lens collection so I think you don't need to upgrade glass... except for perhaps the 18-55. You mind as well grab a kit lens since you're buying a camera, and get VR.
    No matter what you do... it might be a good idea to keep the D40 also. It's a rather unique camera... high flash sync speed, base ISO 200.
  7. one thing to consider is the difference in resolution between 6mp and 16 mp may reveal flaws in your optics you didnt notice before. so there are possible hidden costs associated with a d7000, otherwise known as NAS. would i upgrade if i were you? if i had the $$, yup.
  8. Are you thrilled? Yes, absolutely!
    Is it worth the money? Yes, absolutely! In fact, not only is it worth the money, it is a bargain for what you get.
    Do feel like regular lenses still give you great images. Yes. I don't seem to be encountering the differences some are claiming (I am not saying they are not there, just that I am getting favorable results even with the 18-200mm). I have not done a side-by-side test but may in the near future and will be sure to post the results. After shooting about 2500 images over the last two weeks with a variety of lenses including the 35mm f1.8, 85mm f1.8, 80-400mm, 70-700mm, I find the IQ to be really, really, really great and notice no difference from any other Nikon body.
  9. Wow thanks for all the great replies. I am glad to hear most seem very happy. I definately will hang on to the D40 mostly because my 11 year old son wants to use it all the time and I don't think its worth a lot on the used market. I can relate to the comment that the D7000 will last longer. I would worry that if I go for the D90 I would soon think about shopping all over again...
  10. I can't speak to those lenses on the D7000 but on a D90, the 18-55, 35 and 70-300 (it's the AF-S VR version, right?) are all excellent, and I wouldn't hesitate to buy one as an upgrade to a D40. The step up in linear resolution from 12MP to 16MP is less than 20%, so I've got to assume that those lenses are also going to be good on a D7000 and anybody having very bad results is probably doing something wrong.
    The D7000 is an all-around upgrade to the D90. If I were buying now, it's what I would want. But as Jerry said the D3100 is a substantial image quality upgrade to the D40, so if you like the D40 but want to upgrade its image quality and a video mode, and you're feeling budget conscious, that might be the way to go.
  11. I have a D7000 and a D40.
    If I were you I'd take the D3100 right now. Small, light, video AF, decent ISO, excellent IQ - what more to want?
    OK, D7000 has a sealed body - but without the sealed lenses is useless. Also better resolution (more demanding on lenses and technique), higher ISO (but much smaller than the difference from D40 to D3100), better DR and faster FPS - all differences non relevant IMO compared with the big $ difference. If sometimes you'll want to go D400 or even FF, the 3100 could be an excellent second body.
    Don't get me wrong, the D7000 is an awesome camera but ask yourself if you'll gonna really use all that features or you just want to have the best there is now just for the comfort.
    In fact, these days I am trading my D7000 for a D90 and use the difference to buy a Panasonic GF1 with the 20mm f1.7 lens so I have DSLR quality wherever I am going ;)
  12. I recently moved from a D60 to the 7k as well. I think that the D7000 has a more noticable mirror slap than my old D60, but everything else about it is pretty stellar. Going from 3 to 39 AF points has allowed me to capture a lot more shots where I'd previous miss something on the D60 (the 3D tracking is pretty awesome... to a point!) and the sensor has given me the confidence to shoot with an extra stop and a half of ISO without worrying so much about noise (part of that is me "getting over it" as well).
    The only three downsides I can think of are the mirror slap (which I'd expect from this larger camera), the metering in low light (it seems to just report "LO" in lowish light, whereas the D60 would attempt to give some shutter reading unless the exposure time is >10 seconds - in REALLY low light) and the LCD power-off detector which I believe exists on the D60, but not the D40 - basically the LCD auto-offs when you raise the camera to your eye. Everything is a significant improvement. Learning the AF system takes a little time if you're stepping up though.
    Very much loving this camera in combination with my 70-300VR. The 70-300 is able to resolve the additional resolution, and is still pin sharp on a good shot. The distortion correction works a treat on the 18-55 at the wide end too.
  13. You may notice a pretty big computer slow down, going from 6 to 16mp. If you already have a two or more core setup, not as much.
    The D40 is a really good 6mp jpeg camera, and you may also miss the 1/500 sync. Other than the moderate cost, the D7000 gets a great report.
  14. I did a quick, pretty much unscientific test between the D40 and D700 using the 18-200mm at200mm. I shot RAW, opened the files in CS5, upsized the D40 image to the same size as the D7000 image. No processing of any kind.
    And to add some fun to the discussing, I processed the D7000 image with DXO adding a bit of sharpening.
    I noticed the D7000 had a slight amount more purple fringing than the D40 image. Otherwise IQ was pretty much equal between the two throughout the frame.
  15. so, elliot, your conclusion is what, exactly? you say IQ is equal but you give the d7k three thumbs up. i cant tell b/c those pics are too small to see any meaningful difference, other than the d40 pic looks darker.
  16. Eric, I guess I should have clarified my statement about the IQ. It has been reported that there is a decline in IQ with the D7000 when not using pro glass. I just don't see it anywhere. Aside from more resolution which seems to yield a sharper image, I don't see any real differences in IQ (sharpness/detail between the two except as noted about the purple fringing. As you can see in the DXO processed image, it is easily handled.
    I have gone ahead and enlarged the 3 images for easier viewing.
  17. To coin a phrase from Nike... Just do it! You'll never look back!
  18. Here is the D7000 crop.
  19. And finally the processed image.
    (Again, I am not disputing the results others are getting - I am just not experiencing it with my D7000.)
  20. Image here
  21. The above image was upsized from a smaller file I was working on. This is the correct file, cropped and sized properly.
  22. I went from the D40 to the D7000 (I think that I was in B&H's first batch shipped) although I am not a camera expert I find that the D7K leaves you a lot of room to grow. It will definitely take me a while to figure out all of the bells and whistles. The book stores in my area finally came out with 3 different aftermarket guides. Thom Hogan's is scheduled around June. The Nikon manual will not help you figure out all of the features (at least they didn't help me). Image quality is a large leap from the D40. You can crank up the ISO to levels that the D40 could never hope to achieve and still get pretty decent images. I still haven't tried the video feature (don't know if I ever will). My main lens are the 18-200, 50 1.8 and the 35 1.8. The 50 1.8 will autofocus on the D7K. I am seriously considering a 2.8 lens upgrade I think that I need something faster than the 18-200... still trying to decide on the focal length. I am not thinking of getting rid of the D40 though, it never hurts to have a backup. I'm not quite brave enough to take the D7K kayaking. I guess that I will attach the obligitory image.
    D7000,18-200 lens@150mm, 1/160 sec, f5.6,800 ISO shot through a fence
    Florida panther not to be confused with a Florida cougar. Panthers are endangered and not as aggressive as the cougars....HA
  23. elliot, i was hoping to compare the d40 and d7k files at larger sizees...the sharpened d7k file doesnt tell us anything. oh well...
  24. Eric, I will post large files for sometime over the weekend and put the links here.
  25. elliot, thanks
  26. I had stated previously that I was noticing some purple fringing in my D7000 images. I have realized that the fringing is appearing when I open RAW files in CS5 - Nikon's software seems to automatically correct this and perhaps other issues. Very interesting.
  27. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Elliot, exactly what are the images you are showing?
    The D40 has a 6MP sensor that generates a 3008x2000 image. The D7000 has a 16MP sensor that creates a 4928x3264 image. For example, your D40 image http://www.photo.net/photo/12709234&size=lg is 1500x997.
    Your D7000 image http://www.photo.net/photo/12709232&size=lg
    is 1500x994. Is that a crop or it has been scaled down? If it is scaled down, it would immediately hide all the flaws from the lens. That is precisly why Leslie Cheung's "test" does not make sense: Friendly Test for Shun or anybody else...
    1500x994 is about 1.5MP. From the D7000, you are merging about 10 pixels to 1 and are treating it as a 1.5MP camera. I can understand why you don't see any difference using the 18-200 DX @ 200mm on the D40 and D7000.
    P.S. The reason you see chromatic aberration/purple fringing is that different colors of light cannot focus onto the same plane. That is why the 18-200 is soft, especially on its long end. You can use software to treat the symptom, namely removing the color fringing, but you cannot fix the poor focus. In fact, that is a major reason I don't like the 18-200.
  28. It appears that when the files upload to P.Net, their size is changing. Not sure why and I have no idea how to upload the full sized image without compression. I would be glad to email the originally sized files if anyone want to see them.
    And as stated previously, I am seeing a difference with the D7000 image being noticeably superior. What I am not seeing is any degrading of IQ when going from the D40 to the D7000 using the same lens as has been reported by various users. This is based on what I am seeing under extreme magnification in CS5 with the full resolution files. Again, I am not speaking for others, only me. I just don't see it when pixel peeping my images.
    As far as treating the purple fringing, I am not doing anything other than opening the file in ViewNX2. Or opening the RAW file in Photoshop. I have noticed this same effect with Nikon's 70-200mm VRII.
  29. without being an engineer, simple physics will tell you that an 11x zoom will perform better on a 6mp camera than an 16mp one. why? because the sensor far outresolves the lens in the case of the d7000. even DPReview noted the limitations of kit lenses on that high-MP sensor. They didnt put too fine a point on it, probably because they realize the d7000k is bundled with the 18-105, and many new DSLR owners wont have another benchmark of quality with which to judge lens performance. but there are more inherent compromises in an 11x zoom than a 6x zoom. the upshot of this for the OP is if he wants best performance, he may need to upgrade his glass--which is exactly what i said earlier in this thread.
  30. i was going to go with the thread and try to convince you to get a d7000, but after reading, the d3100 is actually a very very good suggestion too.
    if you do mostly landscape and keep to AF-S glass, then the d3100 is way more economical.
    things i'd want the d7000 over a d3100 are for older lens use, sports/action photography, extreme low light, more buttons. but if you stick to landscapes, casual use, family/friends, the d3100 is more than up to it, for much cheaper. it's also much lighter, and smaller too.
    personal anecdote: my first DSLR was also a D40; i got it may 2007. i like to carry my cameras everywhere so size is pretty important to me. i had a D90 for a while, but sold it. when i did have it i didn't really like how much bigger it was. the d7000 i understand is a tiny bit beefier than the d90. however its AF ability and low-light ability, combined with fast FPS make me want it as a sports camera.
  31. So here's my schpeal with the D3100... I currently have a D3100, D5000, and D7000. Generally speaking, that is the order I like them in, least to most.
    The D3100 is nice and light. I actually like the form factor of the D40/d60 better however... the D3100 is kind of pudgier. The D3100 is good in that it has ISO100 base, which is *critical* for me for flash sync speed issues (fill flash) and also long exposures, such as daylight ND grad exposures.
    The D3100 however, has crazy shutter lag.
    D5000: for all the talk of the D3100 antiquating the D3100, I still like the D5000 a bit better. It has the quietest shutter sound of any SLR I have ever used. I also like the articulated screen for low tripod shots (you ever try to look through a viewfinder with the camera 8in. off the ground?). The shutter is a bit faster than the D3100, and at least some tests say that the D5000 has better dynamic range at low ISO (it has a D90 sensor). The D3100 has better high ISO performance, but dynamic range is underwhelming. My major gripe about the D5000? ISO200 base... same as the D90.
    D7000 just beats both cameras. It's faster, more rugged, more responsive (very little shutter lag), faster shot to shot times, better resolution, better dynamic range, etc. etc. It has custom settings, it has depth of field preview, it has a virtual horizon, AI-S support, AF-D support., off-camera flash support, need I go on?

    The question is, do you need all of this? I most certainly wanted it. I was waiting for it... a base ISO100 camera, more featured than the D90, and smaller than the D300s. Nikon gave me exactly what I wanted.
    If however, my feature list was somewhat less ambitious... I'd be happy with a D90, and the extra $600 in my pocket. Oh how I could spend that $600 in lenses...
  32. I went from a D70 to the D7000. It is kind of like going from walking to an F-16. I have been a photographer for nearly 60 years, including about a dozen years in advertising photography. The leap represented by the D7000 is revolutionary, not evolutionary. I now have pushed about 2000 images through the camera and continue to have the WOW factor. The thing that impresses me the most is the low noise, high ISO, available light capabilities. There are two other very impressive features -- the camera is incredibly fast. Virtually no lag from finger to capture. In part it is the really short delay to tripping the shutter, but has more to do with the buffer. You simply cannot overload the buffer. It will hold about a hundred NEF images. This means that you can shoot as fast as you can and the camera will never slow down. I have a couple of 27 inch monitors and the image quality is amazing. You are going to want a large monitor and lots of memory because the images are large. at better than 15 MB per image, you need lots of memory for images, backups and to burn them to hard copy.
    I bought the battery grip as well and the whole thing has a great feel in my hand. I started digital photography with the D-1. The D7000 is a quantum leap from your D40. Get the camera, it is a no brainer. Plan on spending a lot, and I mean a lot of time learning its capabilities -- they will amaze you.
    I worked with Adorama on new lenses as well. I had not ordered from them before and in a shameless plug, let me say they were a delight to work with. They took time on the phone to answer questions and were professional and fully informed from start to finish.
  33. I went from a D50 (basically the same as your D40) to a D90 last year. HUGE improvement, so your improvement to a D7000 would be even greater... but...
    If you only ever view files on-screen or at 8 x 10 or lower, a well shot photo with a D50 looked the same printed as the D90. The same. Now, low light capability is another story.
  34. Elliot, some of your sharpening seems extreme! How do prints work out.
  35. The attached crops are from the full size sample I posted. The RAW files were opened in ViewNX2, converted to JPGs and then opened in CS5 so I could set up the file as you see it. There was no processing done to them whatsoever.
    I see no deterioration in IQ with the D7000 using my 18-200mm lens, and as you can see, there is really only a bit of a difference from 6mp to 16mp - I am not saying there isn't a difference, just that the difference is not huge. Gather from it way you may. I am thrilled with the D7000. Its auto white balance is the best of any Nikon camera I have used. Its shutter is the quietest of any Nikon camera I have used. The ergonomics are excellent. And the image quality is superb. And its high ISO performance is the best of any DX camera currently available.
    And if you are not getting good results with all your lenses, including those that don't cost $2000, I don't know what to tell you.
  36. John, what speed cards are you using on your D7000? My only (minor) gripe with the D7k has been the buffer limit, which I sometime's tap out on while burst shooting birds in flight.
  37. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    If you shoot action such as sports and wildlife with the D7000 with RAW files, buffer is definitely an issue. The first time I took my D7000 out to shoot wildlife, I ran into that problem within 15 minutes. Using lossy compressed RAW will help because the D7000 can write those about twice as fast. If you use lossless compressed RAW, it'll be a problem.
    Sorry Elliot, I do see sharpness problems in your images, especially the upsized D40 one, but that is expected. There are also issues in your RAW processing workflow as you described; that confuses the results. I always feel that different criteria to evaluate quality and sharpness is the real reason why you are happy with certain lenses that a lot of photographers and reviewers dismiss.
    I should apologize to Brian Chambers, the OP here. He is merely asking about upgrading from a D40 to D7000. This thread is not meant to be the continuation of the discussion about the D7000 requiring higher-quality optics started by Craig Supplee a few days earlier: Poor IQ from Nikkor18-200 3.5/5.6 VR on D7000
  38. I started with Nikon film cameras......have since owned and still own (2) D50's, a D80, a D90; and my
    son presently owns a D7000......from my and my son's experience, I would highly recommend
    the D7000.....unless you would rather wait for the D300/300s replacement...
  39. Shun: The D7000 has a 100 MB buffer and writes very fast. I shoot fast, but not continuous and do shoot RAW files (without the .jpg backup to the second drive). I have yet to run into a buffer problem. Every other camera I have owned did have a buffer issue after about a dozen images or less. Maybe my 70 year old finger isn't as fast as it used to be. But short of using continuous shooting in some sports settings, i find it hard to imagine that you would run up against a buffer limitation.
  40. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    John, fast and slow is all relative. To begin with, the D7000 uses SD memory cards, which are slower than the fastest CF.
    I used to have buffer full issues occasionally when I was using the D2X back in 2005 to 2007. In late 2007 I switched to the D300 which is UDMA compatible and can write 1 lossless compressed RAW filter per second with a 15-frame buffer. In 3+ years of using the D300 @ 8 frames/sec, I have yet to run into buffer full even once. For full-time sports photographers, the much deeper D3S buffer would likely be a plus.
    As I said, in the first day I took my D7000 out to shoot wildlife, I ran into buffer full several times. That same afternoon I shot surfing and ran into that same problem some more times. Since then I have switched to lossy compressed RAW that cuts the file size in half, but I still shoot in the 14-bit mode. I find that switching to the 12-bit mode does not help much. On the D300/D300S, I have to use 12-bit since the 14-bit mode tops at 2.5 frames/sec.
    If you are coming from a D70, D80, or D90, I am sure the D7000 will feel fast, but for those who are familiar with the D3/D3S, D700, and D300/D300S, the D7000 is a step backward.
    Since the OP is a landscape photography, buffer write speed is probably a completely moot point.
  41. No need to apologize and I appreciate all of the input. I think I am going to go ahead and get the D7000. It seems like lots of people are pretty impressed with the camera. If I am disappointed in the image improvement I guess I could always return it. I didn't mention it in my original post but I am doing a bit of sports including our town's soccer league wants me to take action shots of the games to post on the web. So I think the D7000 might work better for that than the D3100. Again thanks for the help and all of the thoughtful replies. Brian
  42. Brian-
    I know I'm the perenial party pooper, but in the future I'd go with the 'if you need to be talked into it than you don't need it' theory. Shopping with my own wallet - and you may have a crazy supply of disposable income that I do not - there are so many things that you could potentially need to improve your work that it isn't worth worrying about the things you aren't finding any fault with.
    For my personal work, I mostly shoot a Hasselblad, even though I have been a loyal Nikon user for 21 years. My lenses are all old, some of them with coatings that are at best mediocre by today's standards. I could afford to upgrade them to the modern ones, but despite the worse coatings I notice no loss in performance for what I'm using them for. Instead, I use that money on props, costumes, etc.
    I'm not saying don't get the D7000. It is a much better camera, and I'll be buying one myself soon. But I wouldn't go buying new lenses for sports or anything just because people on this board post photos that X is better than Y. If you're practicing and striving for improvement, than by all means buy whatever tools you need to take the photos that you want. But if you're perfectly content with the pictures you're getting, don't throw money down the drain.
    Take a vacation or something instead. Or use the money for a guided tour of a wilderness park. You'll take infinitely better photos actually taking photos than you will letting people talk you into more gear that ties up money.

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