Which Camera to Buy? D40 vs. D3000 vs. D5000 vs. D90

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by chloe_jenning, Oct 5, 2009.

  1. I bought a nikon d3000 camera one day ago. I wanted to buy the nikon d40, however i ended up buying this one because of the 11 point focus and such and since i would need to go downtown to buy the nikon d40 which is used as a display model. The camera's good and all, i guess. However, i'm second guessing. apparently the d40 is way better but in terms of action shooting? I am a first time dslr user, other than the fact that i played around with my camera for the past day. I'm a quick learner so i don't really need the "easiest" camera around. so i guess i could learn with the d90, if that helps with helping me.
    I change my mind really quickly when it comes to me buying things. I've read reviews about the nikon d3000 on rockwell, and apparently it's the worst camera to get. so would the nikon d40 be better? I really want an all around camera which is better for sports. i would like to keep it under $1000. I'm more focused on getting winter snowboarding shots, and some indoor arena hockey shots in terms of sports, however i'll most likely be taking photos of friends and such.. I'm not into photography with all the plant photos and such. unless it's landscape pictures of tourism cities and such.
    now that i'm thinking more about my choices i was thinking between the nikon d40, d3000, d5000, or d90. also the only other (kit lens and ...) lens i'm considering on buying is the 55-200mm VR. so which would be the best camera when it comes to shooting my sports and overall photo shooting with the kit lens and this lense?
    the nikon d3000 guide doesn't really matter to me. once i learn all of the things i need there is no point of having it there. i will buy a book and go to classes to learn more on how to use my camera, so please just tell me the best camera and if you can give me some tips and such. =) Also i don't want a really bulky camera. like the d3000 body is wonderful. and i'm not thinking on getting any lense bigger than the 55-200. i'm not going pro. these pictures will only be for myself and showing to my friends.
    sorry that my explanation is messed up. I'm just throwing information here and there
     
  2. Anike
    Since you mentioned that you want to shoot indoors I would go for D3000 or D90 not a D40 that last is a older camera and it's high ISO capability is not as good as the other two.
    Also 11 point focus beats 3 point and last D40 is 6MP and D3000 or D90 are 10.2 and 12MP
    if I were you I would get D90 for it's ability to focus with older lenses such as 50mm (+/- 100 USD)
    and it's ability to handle high ISO better. So if money allows go for D90.
    However if you are not going to use AF lenses just get D3000.
     
  3. also, i would like a camera which i won't have to setup up too long when i need someone else to take a photo of me and/or with my friends. for sports photos i'll set it up for them and let them shoot away. maybe i'm most likely to get people to take pictures of me. =) and i want my mom to be able to use the camera i choose too. so yea. she'll definately be a beginner. =P however, when i know what the photos are for, i'll set it up for her. and maybe eventually she'll learn. doubt it though.
     
  4. D90=if you can afford it, more expensive but an excellent camera.
    D5000= less expensive than the D90, more expensive but better than the D3000.
    rgrds
     
  5. anike, KR is often taken with a grain of salt but it is worth noting he said the d3000 has worse high-ISO performance than the d40, which is a cause of concern for your intended purpose. so you have to balance that with the better AF. for shooting sports indoors our at night, high ISO can be a factor. then again, 3-pt AF can be challenging for objects in motion. bottom line is neither of those entry-level options are ideal for sports.
    as for your other options, d5000 would give you both 11-pt AF and much improved high-ISO performance over the d40 and d3000 (and may even be better than d90). except for faster frame rate and video, you wouldnt gain too much for your purposes from upgrading to a d90 from there, and that money would perhaps be better spent on glass.
    my suggestion is to go with the d5000 and the 55-200 VR and see how that works for you. if you find yourself needing/wanting faster, wider, or better glass, then you can upgrade at that point. at beginner level,w hen just learning the camera, sometimes its hard to know what your specific requirements will be as far as lenses. i would suggest at least getting an 18-55 for $99 so you have the wide and mid range covered as well as tele.
     
  6. it's high ISO capability is not as good as the other two.​
    kris, are you speaking from personal experience? have you compared d3000's high ISOs against d40?
     
  7. Eric not from personal experience but from reviews on the net.
     
  8. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Moderator

  9. We have another member Joe A. who just added a D3000 to an existing D40: http://www.photo.net/nikon-camera-forum/00UcfD
    Hopefully Joe can provide some personal experience.​
    Since you reviewed the D3000, don't you have any feedback for Anike? I know you had a limited amount of time with the camera, but surely you have some thought as to her dilemma.
    For me, between the D3000 and the D40, I would get the newer camera. It has a new sensor that more than likely offers better IQ than a D40 (already good IQ) and the CAM1000 AF module is an improvement over the 3-point AF of the CAM530.
    That said, in general, the D90 will give you better IQ, probably lower noise (CMOS vs CCD sensor), and much better build quality albeit in a bigger, slightly heavier body. If you can afford a D90, don't think twice about it, get it. Make sure to budget for at least one good lens, a polarizer, and depending on the shooting you do, a good tripod.
     
  10. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Moderator

    I posted the first response to Joe A.'s thread mentioned above. Since I have never actually used the D40, I cannot comment on the D3000 against it in terms of high-ISO results. I suggest people read my response in the other thread. Again, hopefully Joe can post some first-hand experience.
    Otherwise, I highly recommend beginners to ignore those nonsense sites.
     
  11. hello thank you for all the facts and help. don't look at the topic question. i don't know where the d40 or 3000 came from. overall. which of the cameras i mentioned is the best for me.
    so i guess, my choices between the d5000 and d90? so let's focus in on those. =)
     
  12. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Moderator

    Since initially you were comparing the D40 vs. D3000, I updated the topic line to those. I have just broadened it again.
    If you want to shoot sports, you are much better off with a D300/D300s, but that is over your budget. The D90 is probably your best choice within your list but make sure you have sufficient money on lenses. It is not a good idea to spent most of your budget on the body with little left for lenses.
     
  13. thank you shun.
    i'm not really going into the sports field it'll just be some fun pictures at times and try and get some neat photos of my friends playing and maybe get someone to get some shots of me. but this camera will be used like any person would use a point-and-shoot camera. friend photos and such however, i will change settings and such and hopefully i'll get to the more creative side. =)
     
  14. thank you shun.
    i'm not really going into the sports field it'll just be some fun pictures at times and try and get some neat photos of my friends playing and maybe get someone to get some shots of me. but this camera will be used like any person would use a point-and-shoot camera. friend photos and such however, i will change settings and such and hopefully i'll get to the more creative side. =)
     
  15. I own the D40, and wish now that I had saved up for a better Nikon DSLR that would take and focus with ALL Nikon lenses. I do not know anything about the D90, but if it will use all of the Nikon lenses, then I sure would get it or the D300.
     
  16. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Moderator

    I have just finished reviewing the D5000 for photo.net. The editors are still working on some final touches, but this is what I have to say about the D3000 vs. D5000:
    Both cameras have the same AF module, but the D3000 uses an older 10MP CCD sensor that is similar to the ones on the D200, D80, and D60. That CCD sensor typically provides one fewer stop of high-ISO capability. E.g., ISO 800 on the D3000 should give you similar results as ISO 1600 on the D5000. Additionally, the D5000 has the following extra features over the D3000:
    • Live View
    • Movie Mode
    • Swivel LCD, at a slightly smaller 2.7". The D3000 has a fixed 3" LCD.
    • More Custom Settings
    The D3000 is very small and has the bare minimum controls. It does have a Guide mode to help beginners learn how to use that camera. The D5000 is a bit larger, has a newer improved sensor, and has more custom settings.​
     
  17. so is it the d90 that is better overall for my requirements? and is it a good auto camera just incase somebody randomly wants to take photos?
    can anybody offer cheap canadian stores, preferably in toronto, that sell the nikon d90 with the 18-55mm lens kit?
     
  18. The D5000 is a nice camera all around for a DSLR beginner, and is one that you can grow with. It is a nice size, has great battery life, is capable of making very nice images, and if you want to hand it off to someone to take pictures it will work capably on the green auto setting too. I bought one in May, and it has not yet given me any buyers remorse, just nice well exposed images. Try one!
     
  19. anike, the d90 is "better" than the d5000, but not by a whole lot. it's a camera that perhaps you won't get tired of a year or two down the line, as would possibly be the case with a d40 or d5000. it adds an internal motor, faster fps, and two control dials. i wouldnt hesitate to grab it if its within your bidget. but if its not, the d5000 so far has gotten good notices.
     
  20. Anike,
    Best is to first get to know that D3000 which after 1 day has not revealed its mysteries yet. It's completely silly to go from a $500 camera after one day up to a $1000 camera because some reviews make you wonder the previous $500 camera might have been better. Seriously. Stop. Think for a minute.
    Grab the D3000. Go out, shoot. Enjoy how much nicer a viewfinder works than a crappy LCD screen at arms lenght. Discover whether you will need a 55-200VR (answer is likely to be "yes"). Discover what effects which settings have. Learn to work with your camera.
    Buying another camera does not make any sense at all at this point. 1 day ownership of a DSLR - to put it very rude: what do you know about your camera so far? So how can you judge any of its qualities?
    (sidenote: I've owned a D80 which is technically very close to the D3000. Great camera. Fine ISO800 performance, which the D3000 should be able to improve on being 3 years newer. Good AF system for nearly all occassions - good solid allround performer)
     
  21. You already have the D3000 so I would study the manual and learn how to use it. All cameras will give you excellent results if you no what what your doing, and some require a little more post prossing then others.
    There is not a camera out there that someone has not complained about, sometimes valid but most of the time not. The perfect camera will never exist although a few come close.
    Bad pictures are usually operator err not the camera so don't worry about Thinking you made a bad choice, just have fun learning and enjoy your new camera.
    http://www.slopoki1.smugmug.com/
     
  22. For heavens sake...stop reading reviews and go out and shoot. Have a look at the photos on the selection on this PN site home page...Scroll down on each and see the modest cameras that are used to create these images and understand that the D3000 is fine and you will be pressed to exceed its capability with your skill. Just get on with it and be satisfied with what you have.
     
  23. D3000 = D40/D40X/D60 with much improved AF. Nothing wrong with it at the price point .
    D5000 = D90 with the best (most costly) features ripped out, yet it's pretty expensive.
    Compared to D90 you lose prism viewfinder, ability to autofocus with all Nikon AF lenses, 920k display, battery life and DoF preview.
     
  24. are there any cameras out there that are just like the d90 except without the video and live view. because i would definitely buy it if it weren't for those two pricey features. i would get the d5000 but i don't like the rotating screen and the d3000 is very noisy.
     
  25. gosh i think i'm starting all over again. i don't mind the d40, however i wonder if it would focus well enough for my hockey and snowboarding shots. the 3000 isn't bad however the noise is alittle high. i want the d90 but then i don't. the live view and movie seems interesting for times i might actually use them. however, since it's just been introduced there might be new ones coming out soon so it would be a waste, however i kind of need a camera now. and i'm not so sure of the d5000. same thing as the d90 and i guess an added plus when it comes to the rotating screen just incase, during concerts, i can hold my camera over my head and snap some pictures. =)
    oh gosh. help. i guess the nikon d3000 is not so bad, but was it really worth my money? i payed $589+tax. and the d40 is only $399. but i think i'll get bored of the camera in a year when all the cameras will have movie and live view. this is such a hard decision.
     
  26. Though I will wait for Shun's review of the D5000 to be posted, I will say that my early indicators tell me that it's a sheer gem of a "not so basic" DSLR.
    I sold my D40 & D80 (backup's) and got a D5000. It's a micro D300 with a flip screen
     
  27. Sorry I'm late, folks. As Shun mentioned, I have been shooting my old trusty D40 alongside the D3000 for a few days now. As a point of reference, I mainly shoot a D300. The D40/D3000 is my little camera, my pre-AI Nikkor camera, and (theoretically) my wife's camera.
    After spending some quality time with the D3000 and the D40 side-by-side ( I happen to have two 35mm 1.8Gs and two 18-55VRs at this time, so it's really been equivalent side-by-side, with both cameras around my neck with the same lens on each), I must say I am disappointed in the D3000. I did real-world walkabout comparisons, and more technical tripod comparisons. I REALLY wanted the D3000 to win going in because of the 11-point AF system, and hopeful because the computer and processing inside is now several years newer. I didn't even want the D3000's images to be better; I only wanted them to equal the D40's, so I could get the CAM1000 module.
    The D3000's AF system is truly amazing at this level of camera, but the only place the images beat the D40 is at ISO 100. Let me say that again: The ONLY place the D3000 images look better than the D40 images is at ISO 100. I find this pathetic, frankly, and I doubted my settings for the first two days. But even at ISO 200, the first signs of noise are evident. You can begin applying NR to the D3000, but you then lose any advantage of the D3000's higher pixel count. By ISO 800, I would think hard about shooting the D3000 there, especially with NR high enough to remove the noise "grain". I shoot the D40 at ISO 800 all the time. If I had to put a value on it, I'd say the D3000 is at a 1.5 stop disadvantage ISO-wise, and from my experience comparing the D40 against a D60 twice, the D3000 may even be a half-stop worse than the D60.
    I am probably going to keep the D40. My final decision will come after putting some D3000 shots through Noise Ninja. As an more-involved enthusiast shooter, I wouldn't mind that extra step so much, in exchange for the D3000's AF system and better resolution when ISO 100 is adequate. But with off-the-shelf, out-of-the-camera JPEGs it is NO CONTEST. The D40 files knock the D3000 files out cold.
    I want a D2000, Nikon. A new technology 6MP CMOS sensor with the CAM1000 module. But the market/public would never have it and I know it is an impossible dream.
    Anike.... For what you want a camera to be, take the D3000 back and get the D40. I think a D90, while a GREAT camera, is much bigger than what you want/need.
     
  28. i guess the nikon d3000 is not so bad, but was it really worth my money? i payed $589+tax. and the d40 is only $399.​
    Does the D40 come with 18-55 VR ?
    Joe A: Could you post a D3000 ISO 1600 sample shot?
     
  29. i also vote for the D5000
    it is less than $600 bucks online (body only) right now, so it is a steal. then you can get whatever fast action lens you want instead of being stuck with a kit lens.
    i also like the D5000 because it has usable ISO 6400 pictures. That should speed up your action photography a lot. The D40 is only capable of decent ISO 1600, so you are very limited in low light even if you carry a fast lens with the D40.
     
  30. The $399 D40 kit is the non-VR 18-55. But it doesn't matter. These are interchangeable-lens cameras, and you can put the lens you want on the body you want. Buy an 18-55VR, sell the 18-55 non-VR, and upgrade for $50 net. So it's the $589 D3000 kit, or the "$449" D40 kit.
    Here a shot of some tile boxes on the tripod. Both are ISO 1600. Both are f/2.8 through the 35/1.8G lens. Both camera are set as close to the same as they can be with different menu choices. The D40 clearly preserves more of the texture of the cardboard's surface. I think it's day and night.
    00UfwH-178427584.jpg
     
  31. And the D40....
    I upsized the D40 to 3872 pixels across before making the equal 600-pixel wide crops you see. I figured I could go 'up' on the D40 image, or 'down' on the D3000, and figured 'up' makes the D40 image have to do more so it is the more conservative choice for the test.
    00UfwK-178427684.jpg
     
  32. Thanks for that Joe.
    What's more the D40 looks sharper despite being upsized, due no doubt to the NR on the D3000 destroying any resolution advantage it had.
    I'm now even more convinced that my D40 was the best 258 pounds UK I ever spent!
    If the D3000 is worse than the D60 it's hard to guess what on earth Nikon have can have done. Surely they could have kept the image processing the same and just improved the AF?
     
  33. wow, the d3000 is clearly much noisier...
    anike, if i were you, i'd either downgrade to a d40 and learn how to shoot sports with 3pt AF or upgrade to a d5000.
     
  34. I will also add and clearly concede that there's more sharpening (in-camera) in the D40 file. I am, right now, finally installing CS4 so I can use the new Camera Raw that sees the D3000. Then I can compare RAW to RAW, with everything in-camera dropped, and the WB set the same. Stay tuned.
     
  35. OK. I've done a slightly more scientific comparison for those of you who care about such things. You need to understand that as I was comparing the D40 and D3000, I just shot them both the same way for a few days, and compared things as I went along. I didn't save pictures as I went along because they were inquisitive, not creative.
    Everyway I tried them - low light, bright light, golden hour, noon-day harshness, low ISOs, high ISOs, on a tripod, handheld, fast 1.8 lens, slow consumer 5.6 zoom - it was always the same. The D40 was better except when comparing the D40 at ISO 200 with the D3000 at ISO 100 (when lighting allowed the lost stop). When Kari asked for an example, both cameras had blank, formatted cards waiting for today's playing.
    I shot both cameras again at the tile boxes. I used the same 35/1.8G on both bodies. Both are ISO 1600. Both are f/5.6. Both are 1/2 second. Both on a G1325 with a Markins M20. The exposure more correctly approximates the boxes as they sit in the corner than the shots above.
    I opened both NEFs in Adobe Camera Raw 5.5.0.97, set them both to a white balance of 3200 degrees, and set all sliders to zero. Before saving I upsized the D40 file to 3872 pixels wide to match the D3000. I applied no sharpening, curves, levels, nothing. I saved both as 8-out-of-12 compression JPEGs in Photoshop. I then made 650x650, 1:1 pixel crops of the same area from each file, and this is what you see below.
    The D3000....
    00Ug0E-178453684.jpg
     
  36. The D40....
    00Ug0K-178453784.jpg
     
  37. Joe,
    The D3000 example looks a little higher magnification. Were the shooting distances a little different perhaps? With the upsize to 3872 the two should be the same. (On the original pair, the new ones look the same).
     
  38. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Moderator

    Well, I'll let everybody draw their own conclusions. However, I really appreciate that Joe puts in his time to show us an A/B comparison. This type of effort is time consuming; I am speaking from experience.
     
  39. Richard.... Any difference is me and my finger drag-creating the 650x650 frame for the crop/resize. I suppose one could be 647 and another 651, for example, before the cut. I think they're pretty close.
    And finally, two more with more exposure. These are two new NEFs, not the ones above processed brighter. These are just like above, just more initial exposure. I see the gap between the two much closer than I did comparing JPEGs to JPEGs out of the camera. But I had gone fairly neutral on settings in both. I see no way to set everything to the same "zero" in-camera that you get by "resetting" the JPEG in ACR.
    A completely neutral JPEG-from-CameraRaw'd-NEF is nicer than any base setting I got the D3000 to. But so are the same things from the D40 NEFs. Comparing JPEG-from-D40 against JPEG-from-D3000 it was all D40. Gonna need more testing for me to decide what I'll keep, but we are WAY outside the realm of John & Ann Q. Public getting the cleanest images from one camera or another.
    The D3000....
    00Ug2D-178457584.jpg
     
  40. From the D40....
    00Ug2F-178457684.jpg
     
  41. Joe A., great work, thanks for the effort. Indeed quite disappointing on the D3000, not at all what I expected of a re-dressed D80 + 3 years more development on firmwares...
    Though the RAWs are much closer than the JPEGs... So out of curiosity (and because I might want a small DSLR too for travel :), does the D40 use picture styles? The "standard picture style" that is probably used on the D3000 is somewhat punchier than the defaults of the older pre-picture-styles camera, so maybe part of the noise is introduced there? It's just a thought, since the JPEGs look so much more different than the RAWs to me.
     
  42. You're quite welcome, Wouter.
    The D40 "JPEG settings" I used are, to use the menu names: Shooting Menu > Optimize Image > Custom > with sharpening -1 (med low), tone 0 (normal), saturation 0 (normal), hue 0. The D3000 "JPEG settings" were: Shooting Menu > Set Picture Control > Neutral > with sharpening 2 (0-9 scale), contrast 0 (-3 to +3 scale), saturation 0 (-3 to +3), and hue 0 (-3 to +3). With the exception of sharpening, I have them both dialed back about as far as the menus allow. There is no getting a "stripped NEF" JPEG out of either camera. These are the camera settings for the first pair of pictures I posted above at 11:57 and 11:58.
    It really makes me rethink it because I can shoot NEF and batch-process to "plain old JPEGs", for snapshots and such, to level the playing field and get the cleanest data out of the D3000. But I need to stress to newbie readers that the two crops above that look so similar are IMPOSSIBLE to obtain straight out of the camera, even if you shoot NEFs and process through Nikon software. I am taking a significant custom step in the workflow.
     
  43. so all in all. i've decided to save my money for future cameras and once i get more experienced. but now i'm not sure if it would be better just to stick with the d3000 and work around it or go down to the d40. which camera would deliver better sports photos. especially indoor ones. this is so hard. and thank you so much joe for the extraordinary help with the photos and such. i think you are not just helping me out. =)
     
  44. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Moderator

    If you are going to shoot sports, I would say forget about the D40 because of its AF system. Even the D3000, D5000 and D90's is not ideal for sports, but 11 AF points will help. I'll take nosier images over out-of-focus ones any day. If you can afford the D5000 or D90, I would get something a little better than the D40/D3000 unless you are a totally casual photographer.
     
  45. ok thanks. yea i'll stick with my d3000. i'll start off not so expensive, because first of all, i'm not a pro and i'll save up some money. also i want to wait a while until the movie and live view feature gets better. =) thanks alot guys.
    so final answer is: d3000. =)
     
  46. the d5000 and d90 have much better capability to shoot in high iso, that is critical for high speed action photography, limiting yourself to ISO's of 800 or below with the poor noise of the d3000 will hamper the shutter speed. being able to shoot at iso 3200 or 6400 on the d5000 and d90 and get usable pics will allow you to shoot at shutterspeeds 4x and 8x faster, that is a huge speed increase and with a f/1.8 or f/1.4 lens it will help immensely.
     
  47. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Moderator

    Albert, I have compared the D3000, D5000 and D700 side by side. The D5000 has, at best, one stop advantage over the D3000. If you are limiting the D3000 to ISO 800, to get the roughly the same quality, you'll have to limit the D5000 to ISO 1600.
    If you set the D5000 to its top rated ISO 3200, it is going to be mediocre. To get any further into Hi (6400), you'll see poor results.
     
  48. i like the results of the d5000 at iso6400, compared to the d40 at iso3200 (which was very unusable) the d5000 at iso6400 in my subjective opinion cleans up noise very well and gives me a very usuable picture. and the d3000 has the worst noise out of these 3 cameras from my eyes.
     
  49. I think the D90 would give you everything you are looking for. You should be able to find the camera with the 18-105mm VR lens (which is pretty good), for around $1150 or so if you hunt around a bit. I had a D60 for a short period of time but wanted more focus points and more frames per second. The D90 gave me this as well as better high ISO performance. If you can save up a little more or stretch a little beyond the $1000 limit, I'm sure you'd be very happy with the kit. It also has very easily adjustable settings with the small screen on top of the camera body.
    I don't think you can go wrong with the D3000 either since you say you really want to get the hang of the dSLR. One great thing about Nikon products is that you can sell stuff on eBay or something and get pretty good money for things as you grow out of it. I felt the same way you did (just wanted to stay under a certain price point and not get the advanced equipment) and got the D60. I liked it a lot but sold it and bought the D90 a few months later, and that D90 is just the best thing out there for the dollar (IMHO).
     

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