I have the same issue... in a sense. The biggest question for me was the lack of built-in AF, but Nikon seems to be building more of them. None of their primes are AF-S, but they will all meter on the D40x... just won't autofocus. I sorta figure that photographers have been manually focusing their shots for years, so it would probably end up teaching me more by having to do so with these special lenses (as opposed to the more beginner-friendly 18-55 or 55-200 lenses that I'm also considering).
For now. The D40 (not the D40x) seems to me to be a camera that I can play with, then move on from without serious issue if I choose to. Otherwise, I'll have a really nice camera. As they say, the glass used is more important than the body. My question to myself was, "How serious am I going to get?" If I truly knew that I would be very serious and proficient quickly (under two years), I would probably be buying the D80.
The MP difference isn't that important to me because I doubt I'll be printing anything larger than 11x13. How are you going about your search?..
I have decided that the lens issue matters to me because the newer AF lenses are a little more expensive than the others plus the non AF lenses are more prevalent (I have more options). I have also considered saving $400 and getting a D40...but from other forum posts I've read, if you think you will ever want to upgrade or have a need for the d80, you might as well save the money it'd take to buy both and just buy the d80. I can get the d80 and the two lenses I want for about $1200. The d40x with the two lenses I want will run about $1200 (or d40 for $1000). I might as well go for the d80 and get the added quality, features, and lens variety / value. Have you tried holding the two? After holding both at the photography shop, it felt to me like my hand would get tired faster on the d40x than the d80.
Since the price difference is negligible, you've got a great deal on the D80... what lenses are you purchasing? Apparently, I need to search harder for a better deal. I haven't held a D40x, but I have compared the D80 and D40... Now just pondering the price issue. Enjoy the D80...
I am in the same boat. I have some 35mm SLR experience. I started out years ago with a Pentax 35mm with two zoom lenses but it was stolen and I got a Minolta 3000i with two lenses. I got a P&S Olympus 500 a couple of years back but am very frustrated with it's limitations, especially at graduations where lights are low and the target is far away. But I also don't like using film any more. Want to go DSLR but not sure what I want/need (ok, know what I want, it's the need part that's tough).
Back to the D80. But then I read this article by Ken Rockwell.
Comparing the D200 / D80/ D50 / D40x and the D40. His favorite for everyday use it the D40 over the others including the D40X. (cheaper and D40 doesn't have that much more to offer in his opinion). He preferred the D40 over the D80. After reading that, I am trying to seriously decide what I need and best fits my needs an not what I imagine I need. Can see myself being the next Ansel Adams or Ken Burns but we all know, that's dreaming and wishful thinking.
When I sit and reflect on do I need 10 Mega pixels (have never printed anything over 4x6 and don't see any change coming BUT you never know! In fact, have never printed any of my digital photos, just email them and show them on computer or TV.) How often will I use it? Hard to say, teaching consumes 110% of my time during the year but hard to say how much longer I will stay in teaching. The D80 sounds like the better camera and value for the long term but the D40 (not 40x) sounds like what would probably fit my real needs the best. Since I only have two old Minolta lenses, the AF issues isn't an issue. Since the D40 is about half the cost of a D80, I could get the body and then get a 18-200 VR lens but would that be like putting a Bose surround sound 400 watt system in a 72 Ford Pinto? (or something like that?) Arrghh, too many good choices. I want to get a good camera and I don't want to be wishing I had bought better after few years..
I eventually decided to get the Nikon D80. Here's why:.
1. The AF lenses are currently more expensive and less common than the other lenses. So long term, they cost more initially and you're less likely to find a lens that you could use at a second hand store or from a friend. 2. While I currently don't have the need for the capabilities of the D80, I might in 3 years or less. $400 + 900 = $1300.
I held both cameras. After holding the D40/D40x, I felt like it would become uncomfortable to hold for any substantial amount of time. The D80 felt a lot more comfortable to me, even with the added weight and size. Looking back I regret spending so much money, but I've been impressed with the performance of the camera and expect it to keep impressing me for a number of years to come. The bottom line is that the D80 is a better camera and if you can afford to spend the money OR think there's any chance you would need the specs of the D80 in the future, go for that over the D40 or D40x...
I chose the d80 because I like the grip more, but more important are the lens possibilities (for example: the cheap but very good Nikon 50mm 1.8 doesn't autofocus on the D40). I also like the af focus fields in the viewfinder (11 instead of 3; can be important when using f 1.8)...