What's the best upgrade for my GF?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by miles_hunter, Nov 24, 2010.

  1. My girlfriend has a Nikon D40 and a couple of decent lenses (a 50mm prime and a VR telephoto). I'd like to buy her a new camera for Xmas but as I'm a Canon nerd, I'm not really sure about the product line up. Any advice would be gratefully received!
    * Something with better image quality (including but not limited to more megapixels)
    * Something that has a more intuitive menu system and preferably a button for ISO.
    * Something that isn't that much bigger than the D40. (She has small hands and doesn't like big cameras.)
    Any thoughts? I'm thinking D7000 - but I'm not sure if the lenses are compatible.
  2. Most of the better Nikon cameras are not going to be as small as the D40...Personally I'd go with the D7000 for her, (the lenses she has will be fine) but it is bigger.
  3. The D7000 can use any lens a D40 can use, and since the D7000 has its own AF motor, it can autofocus with AF lenses as well as AF-S lenses, whereas the D40 can only autofocus with AF-S lenses.
  4. I love it when Nikon and Canon people get along. It's like when you see a guy in a Red Sox hat with a girl in a Yankees hat. Okay, maybe not quite like that.
    If she likes the D40 and you think she's going to want the newest tech version of that, the D3100 has the same form factor and is set up similarly, but with a much improved AF system, much improved sensor and live view and a video mode. Image quality beats the snot out of a D40 (which uses a sensor that's at least 3 generations old). I don't know if I'd say the menu system is "intuitive" but it has a guide function that's supposed to be easier for less experienced users.
    If she's more experienced and is going to want something more serious, a D90, or if you can afford it a D7000 is the latest and greatest. Any lens that works on a D40 works on both those models, and they have the added benefit of an in-camera AF motor... okay, some explanation for that. Canon put the motor to drive the focusing in the lenses, and the camera body controls it electronically. Nikon has that too (AF-S lenses, which means the same thing as USM) but also has lenses that don't have a motor built in, and are driven by a mechanical ("screwdriver") connection to a motor in the camera body. Both of these systems work just fine on a D90 or D7000, but the lower end bodies (D40, D40X, D60, D3000, D3100 and D5000) do not have the in-body motor, so they can only power AF-S lenses and screwdriver lenses are manual focus only.
    The VR tele lens is certainly an AF-S lens and is fully compatible with all the cameras I've mentioned so far, but unless the 50mm prime is the (expensive) new model it's a screwdriver lens and she's been using it as manual focus, but if you give her a D90 or D7000, it gains AF.
    The D7000 might still only be in stock as a kit with an 18-105mm lens. That's quite a good lens, so if the kit is within your budget go ahead and do it.
  5. I love the Internets! Thank you all -- just the kind of advice I needed.
  6. okay, some explanation for that. Canon put the motor to drive the focusing in the lenses, and the camera body controls it electronically. Nikon has that too (AF-S lenses, which means the same thing as USM) but also has lenses that don't have a motor built in, and are driven by a mechanical ("screwdriver") connection to a motor in the camera body.​
    If it seems odd to have two different AF systems, well, yeah. Not to put too fine a point on it, but Nikon screwed up (pun intended). Their first attempt at AF (the "AF" and "AF-D" lenses) had the AF motor in the camera body driving a screw that connects to the lens. Canon's system, with the AF motor in the lens and the camera just providing electrical power and control signals, was so clearly superior that Nikon promptly lost the pro sports photographer segment of the market which they had dominated since SLRs overtook rangefinders in the '60s. Nikon's AF-S, which follows Canon by putting the motor in the lens, came later. The screw-motor system is basically obsolete at this point, but the better camera bodies still support it for compatibility with older lenses.
  7. Any AF Nikon lens will be at least as compatible (maybe more) with a D7000 as with a D40. It will even meter with MF Nikon lenses, which the D40 does not. The main question is is it small enough for her. If not, probably the D3100 would be your next (only logical) choice. But unless she is super sensitive about size and weight, she should just get used to the bigger D7000.
  8. If she is pleased with her D40, and she probably is, I would not get her a new body unless she has indicated she wants one. But every aspiring photographer always wants a new accessory or two. Like a lens. Or two. Or a flash. Not sure exactly what she has now. If her 50mm is the 60mm f1.8 and not the new AF-S version, she would probably most appreciate it (50mm f1.4 AF-S). Or perhaps the 35mm f1.8. Or both! If she does not have an external flash, the SB-400 is an excellent add-on for the D40. It delivers a lot of punch for its size and weight and is a welcome addition to a D40.
    Perhaps you can detail exactly what she has.
    And while I do prefer a dedicated ISO button, the D40 offers easy access to changing ISO by pressing the rear bottom left button twice. While not as convenient as a dedicated button, it is still very fast and easy to adjust. I have a couple of D40s and would not change them for the lack of a dedicated ISO button.
    Keep in mind that the image quality of the D40 in good lighting and with flash pretty much as good as any Nikon or other camera out there.
  9. I love the Internets! Thank you all -- just the kind of advice I needed.​
    Is that so? You asked for the best upgrade for your girlfriend. You got advice on a camera upgrade.......
  10. From the title, I was afraid you were seeking advice on how to upgrade your girlfriend...which I really didn't feel qualified to comment on :)
    I agree with the suggestion of the D7000 as an excellent step up, but honestly, it's a lot of money to buy "on spec." I'd go with her to a camera store and let her decide if the weight and size are acceptable. Only she can tell.
    To me, the most important difference is the greater ease of changing image parameters on the higher-end Nikons...more dedicated buttons, a control wheel under the index finger, etc. If your girlfriend is happy with those aspects of the D40, perhaps her photography would be more impacted by another lens or two.
    Happy Thanksgiving!
  11. by the way, the D3100 -- which i own and am fond of -- has a Fn button which by default is set to change the ISO setting.
  12. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Miles, I don't know how far along your relationship with your girlfriend is and how much Canon equipment you have, but if you have a steady relationship and she is using a Nikon D40, I assume that she is not that advanced and does not have a lot of Nikon lenses. Instead of getting her something like a D7000 and deeper into Nikon, why not get her something like a Canon 50D or 60D and gradually convert her into Canon so that the two of you can share equipment? I think that is the much better approach in the longer run.
    If she has to have another Nikon body, the D90 and D7000 are both quite good. I have had a D7000 for a few weeks and have been testing it. There should be no doubt that it is an excellent buy for $1200. Seriously, Nikon probably should have priced it higher.
  13. If I were Miles's GF, and he tried to convert me to Canon, I'd ditch him. But not before having one of those melodramatic movie moments where I say "A Canon? Didn't you ever know me at all?" and slap him. Really, if I were dating a Yankees fan (weird, but it's happened) I wouldn't start giving her a bunch of Red Sox stuff, even though it would be easier on us if we supported the same team and could both agree that Jeter's facial expression is in fact a smirk that means he's overpaid and happy about it.
  14. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Andrew, the Red Sox and the Yankees are rival sports teams that need to beat each other a few times a year and their fans don't like one another. I used to live near New York City and know that very well. Canon and Nikon are merely different brands of tools for creating great and not-so-great images. The camera brands may need to compete for customers in the market place, but as photographers, there is no reason that Nikon users need to hate Canon users or vice versa. I happen to drive a Honda car but I don't hate people who drive GM, Ford, or Toyota.
    Again, I have no clue how serious the OP's relatoinship is, but it seems to make a lot more sense for a couple to use compatible equipment so that they can share lenses, flashes, etc. In particular, the GF seems to be a beginner at this point; IMO it is unwise to buy another Nikon body to grow further apart in terms of equipment compatibility.
    As I always tell people, you can take great pictures with either brand. Especially at the D40's level, there is hardly any difference.
  15. I understand. Still, I wouldn't assume it's something one should do. Complications n'at.
  16. Best update for your GF: a boyfriend with a Nikon :)
  17. Best update? GF 2.0 ('course, that does tend to cause lots of lockups/lockouts due to conflicts with GF 1.0.....)
  18. and gradually convert her into Canon​
    :) I'd rather have a chat about something like that, than get converted "by surprise"...
    Best upgrade for your GF, . A Porsche of course :) (911..) no camera can beat that.. :)
    Seriously, I agree with Shun about both going for the same brand, but that does not neccesarely need to be Nikon or Canon i'd say. This is where the communicating kicks in and agreeing on what you both like best ( and on who is the "stronger person"of course .. ;-) )
    Camera's and stuff can become serious matter for some people..
  19. I think it is probably best to ask here instead of a bunch of strangers in an internet forum.
    That is if you indeed are thinking about a camera upgrade and not an upgrade to the girlfriend - the latter might not go down too well.
  20. Depending on your GF's budget, a D90 is still an excellent option and a great value.
    I have one and don't feel any need to upgrade it.
    A refurbished (=new) D90 costs only U$ 719.95 at B&H (U$ 500.00 less than de D7000).
    I already purchased refurbished cameras in the past and never regretted.
    With this money she can buy good a quality lens and/or a Nikon dedicated flash and she will probably get the same pictures with the d90 or D7000 anyway.
    I think it's worth considering...
    Good luck. :)
  21. Here's a slightly different tack; get her a D90 body, and a dedicated SB600 flash. D90 bodies are getting pretty cheap these days and it's an excellent upgrade for the D40. What's cool about the D90 and other better Nikons is that the SB600 and 800 Strobes can be triggered remotely by the camera without any special equipment!
    If she is at all creative she'll love that flash option and the superior quality of the D90s sensor, plus she can use the lenses she already has. Also, why not enroll her in a college photo class at a local community college? That's the best upgrade out there.
  22. Miles, the D40 is a great camera and my advice would be to buy your beloved a new lens. That's going to make more difference than a new digicam. If you don't like my advice, just disregard and follow the prior responses.
  23. Out of interest, did anyone else think this was about an upgrade from a Panasonic micro-4/3 camera?

    Miles: Good luck. I'm afraid I don't have anything useful to add to the above advice, other than agreeing with it.

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