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Old    Nick Swan (goinbigg17)      Join Date: Jul 2002       08-11-2007, 11:04 AM Reply   
I have been thinking of upgrading from my point and shoot camera. Anyone have any suggestions on what to get or look for. Looking around the Nikon D40 and D40x look like and feel nice. Should I go with the most mega pixels possible? Also, what lens packages should I look for?

I'm looking at using the camera for wakeboarding, snowboarding, moto cross, and also nature and landscape pictures.
Old    Loren (helix_rider)      Join Date: Mar 2003       08-11-2007, 1:24 PM Reply   
Nick, megapixels are over-rated IMO...they just use more hard disk space. For high speed sports like you mentioned, one of the most important items is frames per second (fps). If you want to get any kind of sequence shots, you'll probably want 5 fps. If you just care about the shot at the apex of the jump/move, then 3 fps I'm sure is sufficient.

For wakeboarding, a 70-200 lens is what most people use. For portraits, get a 50 mm. I don't shoot alot of landscapes, so you'll need advice from someone else on that. These are the two lenses that I have on my camera (Canon 30D) 80% of the time.
Old    Joshua Turner (joshturner)      Join Date: Jun 2007       08-12-2007, 12:50 AM Reply   
Wide Angle Lens is what you will be looking at for landscapes.
For a lot of nature you will want to be in tight with the subject and so a telephoto zoom would be perfect
Your D40 will probably be sold with an 18-70 f/3.5-4.5 Lens. This is a pretty standard "kit" lens.

MegaPixels are always nice to have but not ussually needed. as far as disc space consumption goes you can always decrease the quality in camera for more shots per card, so its never a terrible thing to have more MP available but do be careful of those sleazy salesmen who will tell you its all about megapixels. more megapixels has become an easy way for camera companies to market thier cameras as "better" to the general public and so they always offer another version of a camera such as the D40x with more MP so they can slap on a few extra hundred dollars to the price tag. Fankly you are better off investing that money into better lens'. 6MP, which i believe the D40 is, is honestly more than ample in 90 percent of shooting; its only when you get into blowing photos up to poster size that is becomes critical. An important note to consider is that good glass(lens) will contribute far more to a clear high quality image than more MP.

Good glass is also very pricy.

if your camera comes with an 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5 lens then you should look at the 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 VR lens

with these two lens' you will be fairly set up to get a good "start" and will be able to shoot anything under normal lighting conditions. You will notice that in low lighting they will not preform the way you will want them to and your photos will under-expose and So you will have to bump up the ISO to keep your shutter speed up.
that being said its better than forking out $1800 for a faster telephoto lens.
the 70-300 is quite sharp through most of the focal length and will allow you to get a good start into photography without the "major" expense.

the 70-300 is about $600

look into it and have fun with it.
Old    Phantom (phantom5815)      Join Date: Jul 2002       08-12-2007, 6:34 AM Reply   
fps between the D40 & D40x is 2.5/3.0 besides the mp since you're interested in action photos.
Go to the Nikon site to see the comparison pdf file.

http://nikonusa.com/template.php?cat=1&grp=2
Old    Rich Dykmans (richd)      Join Date: Oct 2003       08-12-2007, 6:37 AM Reply   
Both Nikon and Canon offer great bodies but I would add that if you're serious about landscape/nature photos megapixels do matter.
Old    Nick Swan (goinbigg17)      Join Date: Jul 2002       08-13-2007, 10:12 AM Reply   
Thanks for all the great information you guys have to offer. One question about the above comments, what does the following refer to? "f/3.5-4.5 lens"
Old    Rich Dykmans (richd)      Join Date: Oct 2003       08-13-2007, 7:06 PM Reply   
That refers to the maximum aperture of the lens at both ends of the zoom range ie f3.5 at 18mm and f4.5 at 70mm.
Old    Joshua Turner (joshturner)      Join Date: Jun 2007       08-13-2007, 7:15 PM Reply   
Nick. the f/3.5 is reffering to the rating for the maximum aperature. If you don't understand aperature it is basically like the iris in your eye. it is basically a series of blades that open and close to make the hole which the light travels through in the lens bigger or smaller. it basically allows more or less light through the lens. the smaller the number is following the "f/" the wider the lens opens.

the wider the lens opens the more expensive the lens' will get. another thing is the more in-expensive lens' will have a varying maximum aperature. this mean at a focal length of say 18mm the maximum aperature is f/3.5 but as you move towards 70mm the maximum aperature will decrease to f/4.5. becasue of this you will see a lot of lens' marked f/3.5-4.5 which means f/3.5 to f/4.5 depending on focal length.

the reason you want a lens to have a low number or big maximum aperature is that it allows more light in and so when you are shooting at sunset and there isnt nessecarily a lot of light to work with it will allow more light into the camera per exposure, which means it wont be as likely to underexpose.

aperature is also the thing that controls depth of field the best.

get a book called understanding exposure by bryan peterson. its in plain english and will teach you a heap.

good luck
Old    Scott (scott_a)      Join Date: Dec 2002       08-13-2007, 8:09 PM Reply   
Your biggest gripe with a varying aperture is that when you are zoomed in your max aperture will be f4.5 or whatever, and then you'll zoom out and the aperture will stay at f4.5 even though you can open it up to f3.5. Then again, that's only a problem if you're gonna be shooting in manual. If you're shooting in any auto mode it'll probably open it up when possible/necessary.
Old    Rich Dykmans (richd)      Join Date: Oct 2003       08-14-2007, 5:31 AM Reply   
If you initially set the aperture zoomed out it will go back to that setting after you zoom in and then zoom back out, doesn't matter what mode I'm in. I only have one variable aperture lens but that's how it works on my camera.

It would be a gripe if you were shooting in manual and zooming in/out a lot.
Old    Nick Swan (goinbigg17)      Join Date: Jul 2002       08-14-2007, 11:53 AM Reply   
So I found this package deal.

http://www.ritzcamera.com/product/SLR1160.htm?bct=t1134

But from what I gather, the lenses dont seem to be the best as far as the aperature and amount of light entering.

18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G ED II AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor lens

- AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 55-200mm f/4-5.6G ED
Old    Joshua Turner (joshturner)      Join Date: Jun 2007       08-14-2007, 6:55 PM Reply   
Nick, for what you are paying that isnt terrible but the glass inst all that great, but that being said it will be great to start with and get a handle on taking better photos.

you have a good focal range with those lens' and although they arent very fast or nessesarily that sharp they will serve you well untill you want to spend the money. in all honestly when it comes to glass you generally get what you pay for.

buy it and get started in photography. if you love it then spend the extra cash.
Old    Nate (mammoth)      Join Date: Apr 2005       08-19-2007, 9:50 PM Reply   
Some samples from a D40X with the same glass mentioned above. Newbie shooter, auto settings, first day out of the box. Looking forward to learning more. PM me for a link/pass to a gallery with more (and less compressed) shots. Feedback welcome.

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Old    wardovision (caskimmer)      Join Date: Apr 2006       08-20-2007, 6:44 AM Reply   
I'd check out a 30D. with the 40D just announced prices are falling fast on the 30D.

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