The Canon 450D hasn't been released for sale yet. Since cost is a factor, the street price of the Nikon is less than the Canon 40D, so I guess you answered your own question. You really need to handle both cameras..
Do yourself a favor and look at Olympus e510. better kit lenses, dust reduction that works, IS in body, & live view... best bang for the buck going....
Oly forum here is a great place to find out more about them and the review as well...
Okay, you have a D40x right now, your friends have different cameras..
If I may ask, what is it about your D40x that causes you to think you need to upgrade? Your current camera can product some pretty solid images. Unless you feel you have reached the limit of what the D40x can do for you, why not invest in better glass (not know what lenses you have). A friend of mine purchased a D40 (no x). At 6MP, it fills her needs and then some. She has used my Canon 40D and the pictures she gets out of it are just as good for her needs. She only print 4x6 prints, takes a lot of landscape images and some people pictures..
Now, if you really feel that more fps is important to your type of shooting or better lower light shots without a flash, perhaps you just want a larger camera because it will fit better into your hands...but I think you need to tell us why you want a new body otherwise everyone will tell you to look at what they already have used...and that isn't getting you any further ahead. People will tell you to look at camera X because it has feature Y but that feature will have minimal impact based on what you shoot (for example, people will tell you to get a camera or lense with some version of stabilization but you shoot a lot of sports in the bright outdoors...stabilization will not be that effective for you)..
Given the little information to go on, I say don't worry about a new body right now...unless there is a reason..
I am going to be making my first Digital SLR purchase. I have used aNikon D40x and liked it and have friends who own the Nikon D80 andthe Canon 40D and they love their cameras..
I am somewhat cost conscious but want to take a good quality(prosumer) photo. I am trying to decide between three cameras (allat different levels)..
Canon 450DNikon D80Canon 40D.
I would appreciate hearings peoples thoughts on this before I make adecision...
Okay, you have a D40x right now.
The original poster doesn't have a DSLR right now...
If you liked the feel/ergonomics of the Nikon D40x, you will love the D40!!! It offers the same great package, same great Nikon flash system, usable high ISO, lightweight, etc. at almost half the price! Don't buy into the megapixel myth....
And since price was one of your concerns, the D40 gives the most bang for the buck!.
For example, the going rate of the D80 is around $800-900. The D40 can be had used for around $300-400 used, with the kit lens. The money you save can be put into a flash system(sb-600/800/400) a longer zoom(if you need it), 55-200mm VR. And you will still get at or around the price of just a D80..
Just my opinion. Hope it helps..
P.s. - you talked about "good photos." I believe that taking "good photos" comes with practice and experience and not gear. A buffoon with a D3 cannot capture a photograph as good as an experienced and well-studied photographer with a D40..
That said, enjoy your purchase and take as many shots as you can (and have fun while doing them). Gear does not matter as much as the photographer. Have fun learning and capture memories along the way!.
...in matters of grave importance, style not sincerity is the vital thing - Oscar Wilde..
Oops...my mistake...sorry, I misread the original post (must have skipped the word "used a"..
Given this and that you still have not told us what your main subjects would be, If you liked the D40x when you did use it, why not consider the D40 or D40x (more megapixels isn't always better) or perhaps an Canon XTi. The only reason I am sticking with Canon or Nikon is that you have friends that have both these brands. Perhaps you can convince them to let you borrow a lense or two as you are learning..
I don't think there are cameras that take "bad" pictures produced today. What ever you choose would likely be pretty good to learn with. The D40 is an inexpensive camera with more than enough MP for most people to learn with. You could probably purchase a D40 kit and a 55-200VR for around the same price as the D40x kit (give or take a little). That would be my opinion given the information available (now that I have re-read your original post)...
I actually don't own the Nikon D40x. I purchased it for a company I work for, so this would be a personal purchase. I hope this clears up any confusion...
To what level are you willing to commit to get good pictures?.
Personally, I think the D40, D40X and even the newer D60 are below what the "serious amatuer" should invest in. (I use Nikons so I can't really comment on the Canon's. ) The reason I say this is that they don't have in-camera focusing motors. That restricts you to using the newer, generally more expensive ASF lenses. Not that there are anything wrong with those lenses, right the opposite. But there are some gems to be found in older glass that you would have to manually focus.
(They all lack a proper focusing screen.).
I'd say go with the D80 if that's where your budget fits. A used D70 or D70s isn't a bad camera either..