D40 users

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by ananda|1, May 27, 2008.

  1. Hi PN friends, following are the comments which I read in a PN thread. I like to
    hear from D40 users about this.

    "A D40/D60 would be pretty bad choice for a beginner as it is a very limited
    camera with poor overall user interface and poor compatibility to inexpensive prime

    My general advise is to stay away from the entry-level cameras (i.e., D40/D60,
    Rebels/350-450D, K100D/K200D) because there were corners cut to make them
    as inexpensive as possible. Image quality and specs might sound good on paper,
    but real life ergonomics and features are often quite limited or limiting. An aspiring
    photographer will soon outgrow these cameras.

    On a D40 it is virtally impossible to accurately focus manual lenses when critical
    focus is important. Every beginner should learn about the advantages and
    drawbacks of prime lenses -- selective focus is a powerful aesthetic technique.
    And for low-light work zooms are hardly sufficient.

    For skilled photographer who knows his craft the D40 may be not that difficult to
    master (workflow still not that great), but for a beginner it can be a very frustrating
  2. Yeah well, I'm not a pro, photography is not my proffession and not everybody can blow $1000.00 on a camera! I have a D40x and it serves me well. If the picture does not satisfy you, then get a post processing software. As for the limited lenses, give it another year and you will have plenty of available lenses w/ built in motor out there. Third party brands such as Sigma has a lot and Tamron is beggining to add motors on a few of their lenses.
  3. I don't own a D40/D60 but I dare to offer my opinion anyway.

    I think the author of the original post is right. If you like a camera that takes good pictures a D40/D60 is perfect. Lens compatability won't matter because you'll stay with the kit lens and possibly get a second cheap telephoto lens. However if you are an aspiring pro you're better off getting a more suitable body, D80 or D300. But if you're already very experienced, you know exactly what you need and why, so the D40 might be perfect body for some uses (light, small, cheap).

  4. the variety of expectations and experiences with these cameras are as numerous as their users -- which is to say that generalizations like those quoted in the post may be true for some, and not others. it really depends on the user's experience and expectations. i'm sure a great many will be completely satisfied with the results they obtain from an entry-level camera body, while some others will find them somewhat limited/limiting. i began using a D40 but after some time decided that i wanted access to a wider variety of lenses than was available at the time. i'm not sorry that i migrated away from the smaller body, yet on looking back i realize that if i'd been a little more judicious in my choice of lenses, i could've made the D440 work for me a lot longer. when you realize that the body is primarily a platform. you add lenses and other gear to realize the concept in your mind's eye. these supposed inadeqacies are far less constraining than a lack of discipline and creativity.
  5. I disagree. The only features I find missing from the D40/X/D60 cameras are:
    1) Depth of field preview.
    2) Auto bracketing
    3) Wireless flash capability
    4) Auto-Focus with older AF lenses

    Mr. and Mrs Soccer Parent will never use these features.

    Not having a d.o.f. preview is the most serious of these short comings. A person learning photography that will need d.o.f. preview. You can learn to shoot without this feature but it makes composing certain shots much harder.

    Auto bracketing is a nice feature but a photographer can easily still bracket their shots using exposure compensation.

    Wireless flash is rarely used even by many advanced photographers.
    The AF-S vs. AF issue is the stumbling block for most people. The majority of Nikon lenses are AF-S lenses and while currently there is a lack of AF-S primes on the market, that will change. The after-market is catching up with Nikon also. Anyone with an ounce of common sense could see the shift from AF to AF-S coming. The after-market manufactures have no excuse for being late to the party.

    The D40/x/D60 cameras can be manually focused just fine when using prime lenses. The AF confirmation light inside the viewfinder tells you when you have focus. If I can focus my D70 manually then you shouldn't have a problem with the D40/x/D60 cameras with their brighter and larger viewfinders.
  6. I don't have a D40 but I think its a great camera for certain jobs. If the generalization gloss's over the job to be done then the generalization is poor. Define the job and pick the tool. Sometimes the job changes and the tool needs to be upgraded. The best camera for learning might be a 4x5 view camera if teaching exposure and perspective are top priority.
  7. Everyone has their own opinion. Mine is that the D40 is easy to use and gives identical image quality (at lower ISOs or with flash) to Nikon DSLR cameras costing significantly more.

    It is no more difficult to focus with a manual focus lens than any other typical Nikon DSLR camera (except the D3).

    With the push of a button, you have access to all the main settings and can quickly and easily change those settings.

    The camera, in my opinion, is perfect for a beginner. You can 'set it and forget it', and get marvelous results. You can use it fully manually and get marvelous results. Who could ask for more!
  8. It will get you taking photosa digitally for 5+ years. Some limitations are there certainly, but I have not read a single complaint about them malfunctioning. If you send a photo off to be printed or observe it on your computer with a reasonable size screen, there will be no difference with a much more expensive model.

    When and if you get more advanced and know what more features you need and can afford it, then get a camera with those features.

    You are right in that the biggest drawback is not being able to fully use some of the older lenses. A quality close up lens on the kit lens will get you into macro, the 70/300 or 55/200 zooms are decent teles for most use in brighter light.

    I would suggest you get the lens shade for it at $12.

    I am thinking of getting one as a back up to my D200.
  9. I'm not sure what the big deal is - seems like a perfect camera for a beginner to me too. It's inexpensive, comes with a decent enough lens and anyone can take good photos with it right out of the box. If you want to learn more about photography than point-it-at-something-and-press-the-shutter-release then it's all right there waiting for you - if not, then there's no reason to ever take it out of Auto or P.

    I've found it to be a very easy camera to use and it's grown right along with me as I've started exploring different technical aspects of photography. The controls seem pretty well laid out to me and I have no trouble making the adjustments I need between the command wheel and various function buttons. I rarely need to go into the menus to adjust anything from shot-to-shot.

    My feeling is that if you're starting out as a beginner, by the time you've reached the limits of what you can do with a D40, you'll be ready for a new body and you'll know what features you want and need in the next one. If you already know what features you require in a camera, or have disposable money to spend on toys you may not ever make full use of, then by all means, jump ahead to whatever it is you think you need - D80/D300/D3 - or buy a used body if you can't afford the latest model. If you've got $500 to spend on a camera, just go buy a D40 and don't look back.

    I will say that getting perfect focus manually is a little trickier with the D40 (and all DSLRs, I suspect) than it was with the split prism finder on my old film SLR - at least at f/1.4 & 2.0 which is when I'm usually having to focus manually. The focus confirmation light works great though, even with 30+ year old N-AI lenses, although they have so much more throw in the focus ring than the kit lenses that you have to know which side of the light to err to at f/1.4~2.0 as the DOF can be smaller than the range that the AF system thinks is in focus. Again, I suspect that's an issue for any camera without a split prism finder - you just can't trust what your eyes see as sharp on the focus screen at really big apertures. Fortunately, it's got a nice big, bright LCD on the back of it so you can zoom in and see if you nailed it or not right then.
  10. Background: I use a D40x as a lightweight "travel/casual" backup body to my D200. This works very well for me and has allowed me to enjoy photography in situations where I might not have brought my D200.

    I have a mantra about camera gear, one I have had to learn the hard way: "I will not buy a piece of equipment until I can clearly articulate why I need it."

    For instance, I really enjoy macro photography. There are features on certain camera bodies that make macro photography much easier. Only once I was able to REALLY understand why those features were valuable to me did I upgrade my equipment.

    The D40/D40x/D60 line is meant for beginners and I think it's perfect for them. It gives you access to all the necessary controls, is simple to use, and is small enough that it won't discourage a photography novice from carrying it around. Yes, there are limitations.

    But I would use the D40 until I understood how I needed to grow (and honestly, you may never feel the need to upgrade your camera body). The last thing you want to do is pay serious money for a big, complicated camera body that you don't know how to use. You'd run the risk of being frustrated with the weight, cost, and complexity, turning you off from photography all together.
  11. "On a D40 it is virtally impossible to accurately focus manual lenses when critical focus is important"

    Oh - my D40x must be faulty then as I mainly use a 50mm f1.4 pre AI and an 85mm 1.8 pre AI, and manual focussing is straightforward. OK the finder is not as bright as on the F2 or F3, but it is brighter than many older SLRs, most of which had plain screens as well, but without the electronic rangefinder that works with every lens fitted to the D40/X.

    And if you compare the viewfinder with a screw Leica, its a picture window!

    When, oh when, will we stop having these pointless opinions aired? If you choose a camera that does as much as possible from what you would like it to do, at the price you are prepared/able to pay you have chosen YOUR best camera - no-one elses! Please share your experience, and allow everyone to take advantage of it and make their choice, but please, no more telling people that something is no good - that is only your opinion, based (I hope) on personal experience.

    Rant over!
  12. I bought my D40 after using film SLRs for 40+ years as a first inexpensive DSLR to see how I'd get on before spending more money.

    I find it so good that I have no desire to change. Anything fancier would be more weight to carry around and wouldn't give me any better pictures as Elliot points out above.

    True the kit lens is made of plastic but presumably it should last 5 years or more or Nikon USA wouldn't guarantee it for that length of time.

    You can program the Fn button for white balance and use auto ISO which means you rarely need to use the menus. Even if you do it's not a particularly slow process.

    You have flash sync at 1/500 second so you can even use the built in flash for daylight fill.

    Think of all the great photographs that were taken years ago using a RF camera (no DOF preview!) and lenses 35-50-90 mm. With a D40 and the kit lens you get something even wider, 28-84 equivalent. With 800 ISO fully usable and 1600 ISO pretty good and better than film the small maximum aperture is rarely a problem.
  13. Hogwash! I wonder if the commenter ever held a D40?
    "On a D40 it is virtally impossible to accurately focus manual lenses"
    This is ridiculous. I am finding it easy enough to focus my manual lenses.
    "poor overall user interface"
    The user interface is fine...
    "An aspiring photographer will soon outgrow these cameras" and "the D40...can be a very frustrating exercise" (to master) are contradictory statements, don't you think?
    Now that I have a D40 that has been working properly (the first one was a lemon I am still cursing Nikon for selling me) I am finding myself getting along just fine and collecting AF-D (manual focus on D40) lenses for when the time comes to upgrade the body.
  14. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Ananda, you provided a very long quote. Could you provide a URL specifying where in photo.net it is coming from and who made that comment? I think some context may be helpful.

    Since it mentions fairly recent cameras such as the Pentax K20D and Nikon D60, it has to be a comment from within the last 4 months or so.
  15. I had no trouble manually focusing this image with my D40 and Voigtlander 58/1.4 lens...and his hands were moving pretty fast.
  16. Perhaps the best test would be "How hard would it be for a D40 user to switch to a truly manual camera?"

    Well, I did just that as my D40 / 18-200VR / 10-20 mm Sigma all got stolen. All I've got left is a Nikon FM2n with 50 mm and 28 mm primes which I'd just purchased (used and cheap). Adjusting was interesting but fairly easy. I've put a couple of rolls through the FM2n and enjoy it. Zooming with your feet is interesting, having a f1.8 and f2.8 lens is nice. And I'm getting results I'm fairly happy with. I had the D40 for about a year beforehand and shot quite a bit (approx 20,000 images in that one year).

    So, I would say that evidence is too the contrary based on my personal experience. Of course, your milage may vary.
  17. Maybe a list of features on things that the D40 lacks and other have could be constructive.

    I don't own a D40 because,

    1) it doesn't have a dedicated dial for both shutter speed and aperture
    2) it doesn't have input for a trigger cable
    3) it doesn't have a top lcd so I can't change my settings while one camera hangs and I have the other in my hand. (I use two).
    4) it can't autofocus on regular af or af-d lenses.

    There are other things I don't like but maybe could live with but these are the deal breakers.

    I shoot mostly portraits, weddings and other events (and I get paid).

  18. I think the original D40 is the best choice among the models lacking an AF motor. The philosophy behind the D40 was very minimalist; to an extent, the D40x and D60 defeats that idea. The D40 presents us one of the cheapest DSLRs out there; yet it is capable of producing low noise images and good results.

    The only other competitive camera that's cheap enough to go against the D40 is the Canon EOS Rebel XT. But the XT is older and less egronomical, although it does have AF capabilities with all Canon EOS lenses.
  19. I own the D40 and wish I had been able to buy aD80 or the D300.
    As far as lenses go, someone posted on PN, a list of lenses taht will fully work on the D40, and it was quite an impressive list; with some very fast lenses.
    Being retired and on a small fixed income, I will never be able to buy a better DSLR, so my advice to you is, if you can afford to buy a D80 or D300, DO IT!
  20. Hi guys
    Thanks for the input.
    I use D40 and happy with its performance (with 18-200 sigma, HSM). I suggested D40 for a beginner's question. However, above comments in the same thread confused me and I wanted to hear from others. I was considering to upgrade to D80 but dropped the idea and planning for 10-20mm sigma lens.
    Thanks again.
  21. "My general advise is to stay away from the entry-level cameras (i.e., D40/D60, Rebels/350-450D, K100D/K200D) " ----
    .....aspired pilots , do not learn how to fly on Cessnas..... start right away flying on F16s , or B 747s......!!!
    Why Nikon , Canon and others even bother with entry level cameras ??? :)......just my 3 cents, raf
  22. Lots have been said..i have used D40 and presently having D40x.both worked well for me.for a beginner the D40 is a good choice,It gives sharp images and you can't judge the camera after the prints are taken.I am fully satisfied with them.Yes,The problem is of lenses.Hope Nikon soon comes out with a solution.
  23. I have not been shooting a lot of time with D40 so far but I dont think it is hard to get through even for an entry class photographer. I shoot mostly film, but use sometimes D40, always with my AF-D Nikkor prime lenses and one wideangle AF-D zoom that I own, and I dont think that manual focus is a problem on that body. User interface is mostly similar to other Nikon bodies that I`ve seen and in fact is quite easy to operate. Ergonomy is ok, but keep in mind that it is a smallest of all the Nikon bodies, so it doesnt fit so good with a bigger lens (e.a. 180 f/2.8 AF-D) in your hand as other Nikon bodies do.

    Generally, I do not think it is a hard piece of stuff for an amateur - as an amateur, trying to achieve some next levels, I found it just fine for a startup. For sure, lens is not a limitation.
  24. Who wrote that? Never mind, it's not important. I'll bet my nearly 40 years of experience that I can take better photos with those "entry level" cameras than anyone who thinks the camera itself is what makes good photos.

    Even entry level digital cameras are far more advanced and capable than their counterparts of past decades. Wanna see a camera with a difficult viewfinder to master? Try any TLR, including the vaunted Rolleis. I've used 'em. Excellent cameras, beautifully made with sharp lenses - and awkward viewfinders for most beginners.

    How 'bout those box camera viewfinders? Soda pop bottles in optical quality. Folders? Goldfish bowls.

    Lessee, then there were those compact fixed lens rangefinders so popular during the 1970s-'80s. Heck, I love 'em, but most had rangefinder patches so small and difficult to see in daylight they were better suited to experts than to beginners.

    Affordable, easy to use, entry level digital cameras have enabled more beginners than at any time in history to learn to make good photographs quickly. Anyone who says differently ain't paying attention.
  25. Lex
    Thanks for your words. I just suggested D40 to a beginner in casual conversation thread and I don't know why this guy targetted D40 so heavily.
    Anyhow its over and I am confident about what I suggested. Thanks again.
  26. My D40 has served me well.

    But I have outgrown it.

    It does what it's meant to do, and in the right hands, a little more.

    You get what you pay for.
  27. You can learn just as much using a D40 as you can shooting a D300. Yes, the 2nd control wheel on the D300 is nice. And the AF on the D300 is faster. But I've successfully used my son's D40 to shoot indoor basketball using monolights. It was fairly demanding shoot and the camera performed very nicely.
  28. From a d40X owner.
    I am perfectly happy with mine,it does what i want and what i had in mind when i started.
    All the rest to have a good end result has nothing to do with the camera and then lens but with you,compostion,interresting subject,pov,unusual captures of subjects,being alert,being able to sense when something will happen,being patient,to see things..a free imagination...lol...all sunject which has nothing to do with the lens or the body but are so very important also for a satisfying end result.
    i am very happy with my d40X lol and all the rest is up to me.
  29. I just recently sold my D40 after a year of heavy use (35,000 shutter actuations) and can say that it is a wonderful, lightweight instrument. I only sold it to help fund my D300 purchase otherwise I would still have and use that camera for everyday work.
  30. I use a D40 professionally everyday on the job. Food photography. There are few shortcomings for the price. My sessions are intense and last for hours. I think the camera is miraculous. My friend, a newspaper photographer, uses a D40x and she swears by it. It's true that one must access the menu to make some adjustments, but if a newspaper photographer (who must shoot quickly in order not to lose the moment) and a food photographer (whose subject loses its vitality every second it's out of refrigeration) then the camera can't be all that bad. I love it.
  31. "A D40/D60 would be pretty bad choice for a beginner as it is a very limited camera with poor overall user interface and poor compatibility to inexpensive prime lenses."

    If D40/D60 is not a good choice for beginner then which camera is ?

    "My general advise is to stay away from the entry-level cameras (i.e., D40/D60, Rebels/350-450D, K100D/K200D) because there were corners cut to make them as inexpensive as possible. Image quality and specs might sound good on paper, but real life ergonomics and features are often quite limited or limiting. An aspiring photographer will soon outgrow these cameras. "

    Isn't the cut down versions of semi-pro cameras are the entry-level cameras?

    I guess someone bought D40/D60 and got jealous of D80/D300 owner.

    I have used D40x and I own XTi. They are very good DSLRs, gives me excellent images. They are worth $$$.

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