I am a Nikon user and often recommend the D40, but you're right, the Pentax is excellent value and a fine camera. You won't go wrong with either..
One thing I might say is that with your subjects of landscapes and wildlife you would fine the Achilles Heel of the D40, namely the reliance for autofocus on lenses with their own motor, much less of a problem than someone who was wanting to shoot portraits - who could not AF with the 50mm f/1.8 or 85mm f/1.8 for example..
For landscapes you would probably be looking at the Sigma 10-20mm or 12-24mm from Tamron, Tokina or Nikon (the last much more expensive and not necessarily better). I got the Sigma for my D200:.
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For wildlife you could look at the 55-200VR or 70-300VR (both good and cheap) or the 70-200VR (much more expensive and excellent) and then the 400mm+ long telephotos (used car prices and excellent). All of these would work fine, though whether anyone has used a 600mm on a D40 is debatable....
Similarly the Pentax's IS would not be such a bonus for your subjects, though it would for other general photography of course, as IS is not really needed for landscapes and you might be using a tripod for that and wildlife anyway. I believe the Nikon kit 18-55mm is going to get VR soon anyway (see News section)..
The longer you use your camera the more you'll find high ISO performance important in natural light. And don't forget the superior Nikon flash system (the small SB-400 unit which I use) is great..
The main thing is to handle both and see which you like ergonomically..
The ISO performance is almost identical - you have to pixel peep like a maniac or shoot at nothing but 3200 and pixel peep to see a real difference. Reviews give the D40 the very slight lead, but it's not relevant for real world photos..
The D40 and K100D Jpegs are slightly different, but it amount to tweaks in Saturation and Sharpening and little else, and these are personal choices anyway..
The D40 and K100/super use the same sensor..
The D40 has no internal motor for older lenses, whereas the K100D has. This really only matters if you want to use older lenses ( which I did )..
If AA's are important to you it's the K100D, if you prefer the proprietary battery then it's the D40..
The D40 kit lens ( 18-55 ) is probably the best of the two, although I don't think that's important - the first purchase people make after a DSLR is a new lens ( once they have an idea what they want ). There's a wider range of newer lenses for the Nikon, but I don't think the K100D is actually short of choices in a practical sense..
The D40 has one main advantage - it can shoot more continuous JPEGs and for some situations that's important. It's not my kind of shooting so it doesn't matter to me..
I think it's down to which one you prefer to hold and use. These are the most important differences and the ones that will impact your photos most. If you're not happy with it in your hands and at your eye, then you won't be happy..
Pentax K100DFuji S5200Fuji E900PCLinuxOS..
I think the D40 probably has a better Jpeg engine, at least from reading the reviews...
Reviews included, but it depends on how you define "better"..
The pentax cameras make their rep by making realistic looking pics. but this means that may or may not have a lot of color, it depends on what the scene had..
Ken rockwell loves nikon and takes nice pics, but they do not represent the real scene because he states that he has the saturation and color mode cranked up in all his cameras. so, if one likes lots of color the user would be better off with the nikon than the pentax. but if the user wants the pics to look as close as possible to the real original scene, a film look, then pentax would be the better choice..
Me, I want the real scene as close as possible from the camera. I can always add more color later..
Also, it should be noted that all rpt ALL reviews are done with the settings done in the factory defaults. no adjustments are made from that point, even though it may be known that a camera behaves far different and gives much better pics with other settings in the jpeg format. it may be known but the cameras are not tested that way..
I do not know of anyone that runs their pentax dslr in the factory defaults when they shoot jpegs. they have always adjusted something to their own wants...
One more benifit in the Pentax favor is the EXP bracketing. I read the D40 does not do it. I find it a very useful option for my type of shooting.That said I do not think you can go wrong with either camera..
If you are now or think you may get bit by the lens addiction. The old pentax primes are a lot of fun to play with... I have a $30 s-m-c tak 50-1.4 that seldom leaves the camera..
All that said the D40 with a sigma 10-20 on it shoots amazing landscapes...gusGet what makes you happy...Anything less makes you less happy!..
I have had the K100 since February of 2007 and have put about 25,000 photos through it. I think it is a great starter camera. It is easy to learn and has several preset settings which can get you up and going very quickly..
In fact when I upgraded to my Canon 40D I decided to keep my Pentax K100. I still use my Pentax on a regular basis. I mostly use it for shooting night football games and ice hockey. I have about 4,000 samples you can take a look at on my web site. I try not to do a whole lot of editing so for the most part what you see is what you get straight from the K100..
Differences in output quality are, as others have said, so small as to be irrelevant..
Of these two I went for the pentax for three reasons:.
1. In-body image-stabilisation which works with all lenses - a real boon..
2. the secondary LCD status readout on the top, which allows you to see shutter speed / aperture and other settings without having to lift the camera up. This may not matter much to some, but having spent many years with 35mm SLRs I am used to seeing the camera settings by simply glancing at the top and like to be able to do it.3. AA batteries - you can get Duracell (or equivalent) anywhere in an emergency..
On the negative side - the buffer is s...l....o....w.... so you can't take lots of pictures very fast with the Pentax. That doesn't bother me as I prefer to wait for the right moment to press the button..
LOOKING AT PRINT QUALITY, NOT TEST SCORES....
I also am looking for an entry DSLR but I'm less interested in test scores than in actual output & what kind of prints can I get at home on my printer..
Today I took JPEG shots under identical conditions and settings with Pentax 100 Super and Nikon D40x. Then I used Photoshop Auto Levels and Smart Sharpen (80 and 1.0 pixel) and printed at both 8x10" and 11x17" at 300 dpi on my Epson R1800..
At 8x10" the Pentax was sharper and the colors more accurate to the subject (although less saturated) than the 10mp Nikon, even without using RAW which supposedly much improves the Pentax resolution and color, and almost as good at 11x17.".
Conclusion: the Pentax with IS is about $150 less online with the kit lens than the Nikon with kit lens and the Pentax produces better resolution 8x10" prints than the Nikon. Of course you can spend about $250 more to add one of the new Nikon VR lenses if you need image stabilization and get a camera that probably marginally out performs the Pentax but costs about $400 more..
A CORRECTION TO MY EARLIER PRINTING RESPONSE.
Sorry, I compared the Nikon D40x to the Pentax instead of the 6mp D40. The D40 price is the same as the Pentax and maybe the resolution will be a bit sharper because they didn't try and cram 40% more (smaller) pixels onto the same size chip... but I didn't test it, so can't say..
Can anybody address the smaller-more pixels vs. fewer-larger pixels on the same size chip?.
I owned the K100d with 50-200 lens and now I own the Nikon D40 with kit lens and 55-200 VR. This are the main difference I noticed comparing my experience..
Focus: D40 works pretty well, considerable faster than the K100d in low light. Also the focus light seems to be more effective than Pentax Flash method..
Focus points: The K100d seen to have a more advanced focus system, the D40 looks very simple, but it's very effective too..
ISO performance: Haven't seen any difference between both cameras yet..
Colors: Must say I liked more the colors from the Pentax, They are more vivid and nicer..
Auto White Balance: D40 does much better than the K100d on which you definitely will need to set it manually..
Menus: D40 menu system is definitely nicer, in camera Help is very useful, but for some reason I adapted easier to the K100d menus, also I find it has more options, also the top information LCD is very good to have..
Image Stabilization: Haven't seen much difference between both D40 with 55-200 VR and K100d with 50-200, Now when using the kit lens, which doesn't have IS, you see the difference of not having Image Stabilization, So in this terms, I dare to say the Pentax are a better options since every lens you put on it will have IS..
Battery life: D40 has a remarkably battery life which is nice to have, but if you fully drain the battery and don't have a spare one with you, that means end of party. K100d drains batteries faster, specially when using the flash, but AA are very convenient..
Continuous mode: D40 can make 2.5 frames per second without limit, the K100d only 5 frames continuously, maybe not a big deal, but it's a good thing to have..
Operation noise: K100d is much noisier, and it's kind of cool..
Flash: D40 has the edge here too, both cameras seems to have equally range, but sync speed of 1/500 is very convenient to have, specially to use as fill flash. Also, since D40 has a lithium battery, the flash recharge faster than in the K100d..
Ergonomics: K100d is a bit bigger,this makes it easier to handle than the D40..
Price: Right now you can get the D40 kit with 55-200 VR, UV filter, camera strap, topload bag for 576.00 at amazon. The K100d super kit and SMC 50-200 is 640.00 after requesting those nasty rebate, so D40 is a better buy right now..
At the end, I liked better the D40 over the K100d, because it's faster and easier operation. Too bad that to get IS we will need to pay for it in every single lens, not like in the K100d. Lens compatibility will be an issue depending on the needs of each user, for me, it's really not and issue (yet)..
'Attitude is a little thing that can make big differences'.
Fujifilm Finepix E550 and F20Nikon D40 and 55-200 VR...
I went with the D40 and couldn't be happier, the reason I went with nikon was the amount of lenses availible for my use(55-200VR for example) and the small compact seize ans the fact that it is a Nikon..
The k100d didn't feel right when I tried it in the store and the D40 felt like I've had one for years, this is individual tho and if you haven't already tried the cameras in the store you should. The only think I miss that the k100d has is more focus points..
Im sure you will be happy with whichever you choose. The important thing is to see which one fits you, look at the availible lenses as well..
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The onlythink I miss that the k100d has is more focus points..
I have a K100D and normally use it with a single spot focus. I got it mainly because I have a lot of old lenses. The IS (or SR as us Pentaxians say) is nice with all lenses even the 40 year old ones..
You can't be unhappy with the Nikon. Happy shooting!.
Brendan Wield wrote:.
Ive read lots, held many, and decided more than a few times but Ireally keep coming back to these two cameras (and their systems ofcourse). I would really like the impressions of those who have usedboth cameras. And while the Nikon system speaks for itself, I amalot less familiar with the Pentax system (what it offers and whereit can lead me).
IF it matters I am interested in using my FIrst DSLR to shotolandscapes, and nature in general.
I have found pros for both cameras.
K100d (super)- The in Camera IS- more focusing points-lower initial price and easier to get lower priced lenses.
The IS really works. The focusing points are so much hype for most of us since we all pretty much use the center one. Low priced lenses are a myth. They are old manual lenses that don't allow you to use auto focus or auto aperture..
D40- intuitive and Didactic interface- better high iso performance- seems to be more readily avalable lenses and a more defined growingpath.
I think the D40 interface is confusing and is quite unfamiliar to users who have owned other cameras. Better to have standard menu since you will probably buy other cameras some time in the future. the D40 does not have better high ISO performance, just stronger noise filtering which wipes away detail. Probably the availability of Nikon lenses for the D40 will always be better than for Pentax because of the sheer volume Nikon produces and the tremendous number of dealers all over the place..
If anyone has any input that that think would help me in my decisioni would greatly appreaciate it!.
Thanks in advance.
You can use standard AA batteries in the Pentax, including the e2 lithiums which get you over 2000 shots on one set with never a need to charge them. Both of these cameras are at the apex of the 6 megapixel sensor. The Pentax gets the most out of it because it doesn't push noise filtering like Nikon does. The Pentax kit lens is probably the best of the inexpensive kit lenses. The Nikon focuses faster. Both are good bets..