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Nikon D40 and D80 - price vs quality?
I've been reading and reading reviews.! My biggest decision now is whether to stay within my budget and get the Nikon D40 w/kit and 55-200 lense for around $600 or wait a while longer and put out more money for the Nikon D80..

I'm more than a beginning photograher, but definitely not a pro. I have done senior portraits outdoors and in my home. I want zoom for wildlife, macro for still-life and good quality for at least 8x10 prints for resale. I don't use a lot of the manual settings (at least not on my digital camera, mainly because it doesn't seem to make a lot of difference). I have a 5.1 HP and I'm at a point that the quality just isn't enough for what I want to do..

I've looked at photos online from several different cameras in different price ranges. I loved the Canon D20, but out of my price range. The Rebel XT had some good quality ones..

Since price is a factor, would I be disappointed in the Nikon D40? I'm anxious to get something soon, but I don't want to wish I had waited (3-6 months) to get the D80. Would I see a big difference in quality? Next step will be to go to the store, but I know a sale person will try to sell the higher priced one..

Any suggestions or advice???..

Comments (10)

The quality of the pictres would be the same. What gives you more D80 is the bracketing, more focus points, grid in the VF, more buttons, a little easier operation, larger body for heavy lens.It has the same metering problem as D40.The question is not price vs quality but price vs usability..

You're the only one to know if you want primes with AF, a top LCD and all the features a D80 offers.VictorBucuresti, Romaniahttp://s106.photobucket.com/albums/m268/victor_petcu/http://picasaweb.google.com/teodor.nitica/..

Comment #1

Baloo_buc wrote:.

...It has the same metering problem as D40......

What metering problem?.

Please don't pedal such pernicious nonsense to newcomers. Just like any DSLR you have to know your camera..

Chris Elliott.

*Nikon* D Eighty + Fifty - Other equipment in Profile.

Http://PlacidoD.Zenfolio.com/..

Comment #2

Keyphotos wrote:.

I've been reading and reading reviews.! My biggest decisionnow is whether to stay within my budget and get the Nikon D40 w/kitand 55-200 lense for around $600 or wait a while longer and put outmore money for the Nikon D80..

Don't wait. Get the D40 now. Skip the 55-200 lens and save for a better one, that you will use for a long time. Save some more, sell the D40, and get a D90? Get a macro lens..

I'm more than a beginning photograher, but definitely not a pro. Ihave done senior portraits outdoors and in my home. I want zoom forwildlife, macro for still-life and good quality for at least 8x10prints for resale. I don't use a lot of the manual settings (atleast not on my digital camera, mainly because it doesn't seem tomake a lot of difference). I have a 5.1 HP and I'm at a point thatthe quality just isn't enough for what I want to do..

You still have a LOT to learn. Understanding how (and why) to manually set exposure is important!.

Since price is a factor, would I be disappointed in the Nikon D40?.

Probably. But not for quite a while..

I'm anxious to get something soon, but I don't want to wish I hadwaited (3-6 months) to get the D80. Would I see a big difference inquality?.

No!.

Next step will be to go to the store, but I know a saleperson will try to sell the higher priced one..

You should do this early in the selection process. Buy a camera that feels good when you hold it!.

Charlie DavisNikon 5700, Sony R1, Nikon D300HomePage: http://www.1derful.infoBridge Blog: http://www.here-ugo.com/BridgeBlog/'Experience: Discovering that a claw hammer will bend nails.Epiphany: Discovering that a claw hammer is two tools...'..

Comment #3

You know very well what I'm talking about. Everytime you have something black in the scene the matrix metering wants to make it dark gray usually blowing the highlights. Because of this I have to look at the RGB histogram after each shot to see the decision camera has just made. In high contrast situations it's annoying.Of course you have to know the camera and this is an idiosincrasy.VictorBucuresti, Romaniahttp://s106.photobucket.com/albums/m268/victor_petcu/http://picasaweb.google.com/teodor.nitica/..

Comment #4

Electonics are outdated very quickly - dont hasten it by buying somethng already out of date.

6mp hasn't cut it for quite a while. While MP isnt everything it shows the ovrall out of datness of the whole package..

Comment #5

Baloo_buc wrote:.

You know very well what I'm talking about. Everytime you havesomething black in the scene the matrix metering wants to make itdark gray usually blowing the highlights..

You are showing your inexperience. EVERY meter on EVERY camera assumes EVERY object is mid-gray and meters accordingly. That is why all DSLRs have an exposure compensation facility. The camera does not have a brain. You have to use yours and supply the camera with the judgement it lacks. If you shoot a black piano you have to employ positive exposure comp.



Because of this I have to look at the RGB histogram after each shot to see the decision camera has just made. In high contrast situations it's annoying. Of course you have to know the camera and this is an idiosincrasy..

The D40 and D80 expose for the shadows. Some other cameras (Canons and older Nilons) underexpose. That is predictable behaviour not a fault. If I swaped to a Canon I would have to adjust..

Both the D40 and D80 weight the shot to light conditions under the active focus sensor. Again perfectly logical. You obviously focus on the main subject which, logically, the camera should expose correctly. Far from being a problem it is a strength of the camera..

If the metering is such a problem please explain why it is not mentioned as a fault in a single review?.

If you are having to check each shot you are doing something wrong..

P.S. I see from your profile that you have had your D40 for one month..

Chris Elliott.

*Nikon* D Eighty + Fifty - Other equipment in Profile.

Http://PlacidoD.Zenfolio.com/..

Comment #6

Davoe wrote:.

6mp hasn't cut it for quite a while. While MP isnt everything it showsthe ovrall out of datness of the whole package.

That will be why Nikon chose to use only 12Mpixel on it's full frame sensor on the D3 then?.

Larger photosites give inherantly lower noise characteristics. Why design in problems unnecessarily?.

I use both a Nikon D50 and a D80 mainly at ISO 1600. The D50 has less native noise than the newer D80.

Chris Elliott.

*Nikon* D Eighty + Fifty - Other equipment in Profile.

Http://PlacidoD.Zenfolio.com/..

Comment #7

Of course you are more experienced than me. I know how the metering works but what you say is for spot metering not for a matrix metering.

My "old" Canon A610 has better exposure control than Nikon D40 (under 1% wrong exposures compared with 5% of Nikon) but that doesn't make Nikon D40 a worse camera. I just wanted to tell that expose for the shadows do both the cameras he asked about..

Here is an example that it should not happen (the exposure compensation was -0.3EV) although the dynamic range is greater than that of the sensor:.

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window.

I have to check histograms because the uncertainty is too high. 95% of the exposures are OK. When I will know better the camera maybe I will have a feeling that for that shot I have to use -2EV and for the other +0.3EV. You may have that feeling, I still don't have it.I'm not arguing with you or mean to offense you.VictorBucuresti, Romaniahttp://s106.photobucket.com/albums/m268/victor_petcu/http://picasaweb.google.com/teodor.nitica/..

Comment #8

Baloo_buc wrote:.

Of course you are more experienced than me. I know how the meteringworks but what you say is for spot metering not for a matrix metering.

Not correct. That is the way any metering system works. With matrix metering or whatever the camera has to figure out an average of black and white tones. With the D40/D60/D80 in MM the cam still weights the shot heavily to the active focus sensor..

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window.

I would say at least -1 EV for this shot and probably nearer -2 (Depending on time of day/strength of the sun)Also try setting Tone at -1 or -2..

Chris Elliott.

*Nikon* D Eighty + Fifty - Other equipment in Profile.

Http://PlacidoD.Zenfolio.com/..

Comment #9

I shoot with 2 D40's a D300 and a D3. Nothing wrong with the D40. I typically leave the D40 set to -.3 or -.7 EV and it works just fine. If you don't see yourself using a lot of manual controls the D40 will work just fine for you. Be aware that the D40, D40x and D60 do not have built in AF motors so you are limited to Nikon AF-S lenses if you want auto-focus. If you are not doing a lot of cropping, 6mp will be just fine for 8x10s and will even do decent A3+ size prints..

If you really want to take advantage of a DSLR though you will need to get off the full auto and learn a little bit..

The most important one being adjusting or manually setting the WB in situations other than sunlight. Getting the WB correct will make the most difference for you. On the D40 you can set the function button to set WB, so it makes for a quick fix. The other thing you will want to learn how to do it adjust flash power, again easy to do on the D40. As for the 55-200, it is not an awful lens. You might want to spend the extra $100 to get the VR version though as this will give you a little more flexibility with hand holding and lower light conditions..

I personally skipped the D80. Its not a bad camera at all but to me it was not worth the premium in price. A used D200 on the other hand would sing and with the number of low frame count D200's floating around with everyone upgrading to the D300 you could get used one for nearly the same $ as a D80..

I know this is a cliche, but it is the lenses that make most of the difference. Don't worry to much about the body as long as it has the functionality you need and put your money into the glass...

Comment #10

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This question was taken from a support group/message board and re-posted here so others can learn from it.

 

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