advice needed on dslr cameras

    Hi im going to but a digital slr soon. at first i thought that i would go for the nikon d40x but dont think that i would really need the extra pixels as im never going to print to a size that big. I then thought about the canon 400d but as this is going to be my first slr i think that the d40 will be the best thing for me as its aimed at beginners. I no about the lens issue the the d40 but as i dont have any i dont think it would be too much of a problem would it? i guess im just really asking for some advice/suggestions.

    edit/ i can get the d40 for 250 from amaxon including the £60 cashback, thats not including any quidco/voucher. is that a good price?



    I can't help you personally not kept up with the latest cameras but the folks over at talkphotography will know more and have always been a friendly crowd

    I've got the D40 Kit (£330 from Jessops, just waiting for £60 back).

    It is a really nice camera and takes some nice shots. Hold on a mo and I'll give you some examples...

    I don't think the lack of AF motor in the body is too big a deal on the D40/D40x, it seems reasonable to remove it to reduce size and cost.

    However I don't like the fact they've removed exposure bracketting and depth of field preview - if you are unsure about the length of exposure you are using bracketting allows you to fire off the shutter several times in a burst mode with some of the exposures under exposed and some over. This also allow you to produce HDR pictures by mixing the pictures together.

    If you're happy with 6MP, have you looked the Pentax K100D at all? This camera is a reasonably low price with the major difference over most other cameras in its pricerange is that it has in body image stabilisation - this means the camera moves the sensor to counteract movement in the camera when taking a shot which generally allows you to shoot at lower shutter speeds than without. Although you can buy lenses with IS for Nikon/Canon cameras, these lenses generally cost more and have to be slightly larger/bulkier to accomodate the IS mechanism.

    As for the 400D, I wouldn't discount it simply because this is your first foray into the digital SLR market - this is an entry level SLR camera plus you will find in times you will get better with the camera and perhaps appreciate having the extra features.

    It's also worth bearing in mind that with an SLR you are not just buying a body but you are buying into a complete system - you need to think about what sort of lenses and flashes you might like to invest in later on, have a look at what the camera companies offer as you may find one of them has a better selection of lenses for what you are wanting.


    If you can get your hands on one and you want to go for a Nikon, try very hard to get hold of a D50, slightly better than the D40 and on a par with the D70.

    I have a D70 and a D50 now and cannot complain, actually the D50 is a lovely camera and I use that one more than the D70 :whistling:

    Original Poster

    nice pics there brownie.

    @johnmcl7 i did consider the k100d but read that its much more harder to find items for it compared to the nikon and that it has a poor color balance indoors without a flash.
    like i said above i have never used a dslr but is it really that important to not get a preview? are you saying that i wont be able to produce hdr images with the 40d as i would like to be able to do that.

    im still not too sure about the 400d as i would like to understand most the features first, i still have another month before i have to buy one so will do some more reading on it.

    @crazy1 i havent actually looked at the d50 yet, i was told that the d40 was quite good for beginners but will have a read on that aswell.

    i still need to go in to a shop and have a look at them as i have only been reading review and have not seen any in person yet.

    [SIZE=2]Most cameras have a poor auto white balance with artificial lighting, I would always recommend using a white balance preset as it's easy to do and can prevent poor pictures. With the D40 it will be more difficult to produce HDR images although you will be able to by using a tripod and manually compensating on each shot - in some cases you may need to do this anyway to get the exposure range needed for the HDR image. Image stabilisation can be very useful, I think it's something you need to give consideration for.[/SIZE]

    [SIZE=2]As for the 400D, just because the features are there doesn't mean you have to use them - when I bought my first digital SLR last year I started off with it on full auto, letting it choose pretty much everything. Then I moved onto using scene modes, checking what settings the camera was choosing when it chose effects I liked. Once I was familiar with the camera's scene modes I moved onto Aperture priority, choosing most of the settings myself which is how I still shoot most of my pictures. While the camera can do reasonably well in auto a big advantage of SLRs is that they give you far more control over your picture and you want to take advantage of this, the camera does not know how you want your picture to look.[/SIZE]

    [SIZE=2]As an example, you'll have seen pictures where the subject is sharp and focused but the background has a pleasant blur to it - this is produced using a large aperture giving a shallow depth of field, which is something you can't really do on point and shoot cameras with their smaller sensors. However you don't always want such a shallow depth of field, at other times you want a much deeper depth of field for which you need more light, to have the camera usable you may choose to bump up the ISO. In auto mode, the camera will do whatever it needs to get the shutter speed reasonable - for my models it will widen the aperture first, then the ISO which means I can be stuck with pictures that don't look focused properly because I needed greater depth of field.[/SIZE]

    [SIZE=2]I don't think you'd have any issues with the 400D from a beginner's point of view, just becase the D40 has stripped some features out doesn't make it any more friendly for a beginner.[/SIZE]

    [SIZE=2]Incidentally I'm not biased towards any of these cameras above (I'm a four thirds shooter, primarily Olympus), my main hobby is photography so I'm well aware of the complexities involved - you are right to take some time over your decision as it can be difficult to switch once you've invested money in one particular system as it's all tied together, you can't use your Nikon equipment on a Canon.[/SIZE]


    I've got the 400D and like most dSLRs you can just leave it in 'auto' mode and you can just use it as a point and shoot. After a while you will find you will want to get more creative and you will grow into it and explore the other shooting modes and advanced functions.

    Otherwise if you get too basic a camera you will want to upgrade a lot sooner and it will have been a false economy.

    However, as a lot of photographers say 'the class is in the glass', the lenses you have are very important also!

    I was told to avoid the D40 and get the 400D. I never used either of the cameras due to financial problems, but I was given advice by professional photographers

    Original Poster

    ok i see what you mean now, but the thing is im only a student and think that the 400d is abit too expensive especially as im not certain yet how much time im going to spending on it. obviously as i get better like you said id want to buy more lenses and if i do spend quite alot of time on it then in the future i more then likely will upgrade to a more advanced one. but for what i am going to use it for will the d40 be good enough? if i save some money and go for the d40 then i was also thinking that i could buy an extra lens.


    I was told to avoid the D40 and get the 400D. I never used either of the … I was told to avoid the D40 and get the 400D. I never used either of the cameras due to financial problems, but I was given advice by professional photographers

    To be honest, I don't think that's particularly good advice - the most obvious point is that a professional photographer has completely different requirements to someone who is just starting with SLRs. While the D40 does have some stripped down features which is causing some photographers to turn their nose up at it, on the whole it's a good camera which has received a lot of praise.


    and if you buy a d40 before aug ust 31 for around £250 including cashback you could probably shift it on ebay for around that price if you don't get on with it. you will have learnt by then whether it does what you need or whether another camera might be better. It takes exceptional images for a 6mp camera and is easy to use. it is debateable whether you would see any improvment in image quality by going to 10mp (D40X or 400D) unless you are blowing up to v large sizes. I would have liked IS and the pentax did appeal but it is quite a lot heavier and I wanted to use it for hiking. If I really get into it and carry it around regularly I will probably move to an oly E410 or 510.


    Bear in mind the advantage of more MPs isn't simply that you can print to large file sizes, it gives you a lot more room to crop particularly with a difference of 4MP.

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