Derick on the edge of..the camera

Derick on the edge
Originally uploaded by snoweyes.
Here's a nice, looong response to an e-mail I got from a friend looking for a new camera for herself.

We're talking about the Nikon D40,.
There's another one called the D40x, which is a more expensive, but improved camera with higher resolutions, etc....

The D40 is a wonderful camera. Its sensor is the same one in my pentax @ 6.1 megapixels. It's a good starter camera.. It's got a faster sequential framerate than mine. It feels nice in your hands. It uses proprietary batteries which can get pricey. It has many, many interchangeable lanses, but the lenses themselves can be much more expensive than the camera. There is no image stabilization, but in general it has a very nice image. I believe it uses Compact Flash for memory, so that may be another necessary purchase.

My beef was with the batteries and image stabilization. Batteries will eventually need to be replaced, and if you take alot of photos like I do, the batteries will begin to lose recharge power within 800 charges, which means you'd better get a replacement. Problem is, at the store they can be $50! If you look online you'll find much cheaper batteries for $15, plus another $20 for the charger. I like using AAs 'cause they can be used with other electronics and I don't have to wait for a charge if I'm in a real photo emergency, I just buy some more AAs and go. I bought rechargeable AAs for my pentax for $9. Not a deal-breaker or anything, though!

The real meat was in the image-stabilization and my wish to take IR photos. The Nikon must absolutely use a tripod since the camera blocks IR more harshly than my Pentax. It takes 6 seconds on a Nikon to make a good picture, while I can hand-hold thanks to the IR capabilities, as well as the Image Stabilization. Another issue was lenses.

All Nikon lenses either have auto-focus in the lens or not at all. So that means if you got an older, AF lens the AF still won't work, because the D40 doesn't have the mechanicals in the body. If you don't change your lens or get newer (more expensive) lenses you won't have this problem. My pentax has the autu-focus in-camera, which becomes much cheaper long-term since I planned on getting only older lenses.

Another bad point for me and Nikon was auto-exposure-bracketing. That means you can tell the camera to take a series of three pictures: one at the best brightness, one slightly brighter, and one slightly lower. I am getting into HDR photography and that is simply impossible on the D40, which I could easily do on the Pentax K100d. Again, if you aren't interested in tinkering, which I do constantly, this won't matter!

I say go down to Camera Gallery and give it a whirl for yourself.

The Canon Rebel hurt my hands after 30 minutes of hard use. The Nikon Felt Great, and the Pentax felt the best in my hands. You really should feel out and understand the camera before buying anything! And, once you do decide to buy, I say go through Amazon because you can significantly save money. Make sure to get one that says it has a FULL USA warranty. There is a pretty big grey import market that uses baaad warranties only good in Japan! The more time to look around and give yourself time to learn the better.

Here's a review I used before I went out and tested it for myself:

The Nikon D40

The Pentax K100d

The Nikon is easily the more popular camera in the USA, and I have friends that choose theirs over mine. I'm happy with my choice, but I'm a weirdo.