Pentax K100D or Nikon D40

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PonyPlayer
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Pentax K100D or Nikon D40

Post by PonyPlayer » Mon Dec 31, 2007 10:14 am

Hi all,

I am seriously considering purchasing a digital SLR. I am looking at either the Pentax K100D or the Nikon D40. I am probably leaning toward the Nikon since I have a Nikon SLR that I can use the lenses for the DSLR. I have looked at the Pentax and it gets very nice reviews but I have never used a Pentax.

Any thoughts or comments?

Thank you.

Happy New Year to all of you fine folks.

Patrick
"Bart, a woman is like beer. They look good, they smell good, and you'd step over your own mother just to get one!"

- Homer Simpson

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John 5
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Post by John 5 » Mon Dec 31, 2007 10:55 am

Patrick, I would not know where to start in praising the Nikon, but since I can’t be too long winded at this hour, I’ll say this. I’ve done tons of research in the past few years, and gauged the offerings from Canon, Pentax, Sony (ex-Minolta), and Nikon. My choice: The D40 (skip the D40x). I recently dropped just under two grand on a D300, and let me tell you, the D40 is still my go to cam for 99% of shooting situations. Light, solid, and full backward compatibility with vintage lens going back decades, even glass from the 50's work. A D40 paired together with a solid little prime lens, such as a 50mm f1.8 from the 70’s, to be had on the bay for a bargain, can give multi thousand dollar setups a run for their money. Drop down to an f1.2 or f1.4 for some serious bokeh, all at relatively bargain prices on the used market. At home on a tripod or just tossed around on a fishing boat. Also, I don’t want to open up a can of worms here with the Canon fans, but Nikon arguably has the best consumer optics out there, then and now…(Leica people don’t count, that’s a whole other strata all together)..

The Pentax’s only hyped feature which lacks from the D40 is built in shake reduction, but most pros conclude that if you really want that feature, the best performance from that technology is obtained when incorporated in the lens, at least in this price segment.

I wanted to briefly offer my opinion in case you’re about to pull the trigger now, but if you’ll be making the move in the coming days or weeks, I’ll revisit and link you to unbiased industry reviews and commentaries on both.

This here is not considered a pro review, actually, many in the field just refer to him affectionately as the ‘wanker’. But still, he makes a quick summary of points that most agree on, even if his writing leaves a lot to be desired.

Take care,
John

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Post by CMur12 » Mon Dec 31, 2007 8:18 pm

I'm not well versed in digital cameras, but some friends got a Nikon D40 and they found that the only AF lenses it could take were a very limited selection of lenses with the motor in the lens. My understanding is that this camera body will not work with most of Nikon's AF lenses.

- Murray

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John 5
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Post by John 5 » Tue Jan 01, 2008 6:08 am

Murray, no, that’s a viewpoint which skews the merits of the Nikon D40.

The D40 was designed to work with just about every Nikon lens from 1959 on up, and in fact, you even get metering capabilities with all that offer it for digital SLRs. All of the vintage lenses I referred to in my post came even before the dawn of AF, and all work marvelous on the D40. They were all designed to be, and still are, pure manual focus, what pros and amateur aficionados such as I prefer when shooting portraits or other still scenes, such as a SOTD, to make it somewhat relevant.

With the D40, if you want AF, you just have to purchase a modern lens. But most users won’t even have to, for the kit lens that comes with it is just a fantastic AF lens in its own right. Most that would want more than the kit lens provide (and in this market segment, that would be very few, to be honest), and with AF, shall find anything they could possibly want in any of the various modern Nikon AF-S lenses

The D40 was designed to be a lightweight and no-frills piece of work, and as such, it is a solid piece, and has no internal moving parts, such as the little DC motor that was and is still used to move the auto focus mechanism of older AF lens. If you buy an older AF lens, say an 80’s or 90’s design, it will still work perfectly, in fact, I have quite a few myself, but you would have to use manual focus. But again, they will still work, even though it would be quite the moot point to buy them.

John

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Post by jww » Tue Jan 01, 2008 9:35 am

The D40 still gets nods from most pro-ams and many pros because of its versatility, size and excellent price point. One thing that it's missing which some don't like, is a LCD display on the top of the camera body. I think that is something you either already have, and know how to use, or you don't have and don't care.

I have been using a Canon G3 for 5 years, and would love to move to a DSLR. Nikon would be my choice - although I admit that I might be tempted with the D80 since I am used to using a top-mounted LCD. I still have a 30 yr-old FM body with 50mm lens and love that camera. You simply can't go wrong with Nikon imo.
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stbdtack
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Post by stbdtack » Tue Jan 01, 2008 11:12 am

Patrick,

For some reason Nikons usually get higher ratings on reviews than do Pentax in the same class, but I've always wondered why that is. I'm a big fan of Pentax and have owned high end "professional" Pentax cameras starting with the Spotmatic way back when -- my latest film version is the LX which is unbeatable in my view. My digital isd D is just super and uses some of my older, wonderful lenses, etc. Pentax optics rival all but the high-end Leicas. Though I'm not really familiar with the models you're considering, you probably cannot go wrong with either.
--Pat Thayer
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PonyPlayer
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Post by PonyPlayer » Mon Jan 14, 2008 10:32 am

Hi all,

Been a couple of weeks since the original post. I've had a chance to look at the cameras (have yet to pull the trigger) and am leaning toward the Nikon D40. I've also been looking at the Canon XTI but this one is a bit more pricey.

I know there are a few of you that use the Canon XTI and I'd appreciate any thoughts you have on the camera.

Patrick
"Bart, a woman is like beer. They look good, they smell good, and you'd step over your own mother just to get one!"

- Homer Simpson

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Post by sebell » Mon Jan 14, 2008 11:30 am

If you already have an investment in Nikon
lenses I would definitely say go ahead with
the D40. I shoot with a D200 and the Nikon
AF-S 17-55 f2.8G with great results.

- Scott

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Post by jww » Mon Jan 14, 2008 11:48 am

PonyPlayer wrote:Hi all,

Been a couple of weeks since the original post. I've had a chance to look at the cameras (have yet to pull the trigger) and am leaning toward the Nikon D40. I've also been looking at the Canon XTI but this one is a bit more pricey.

I know there are a few of you that use the Canon XTI and I'd appreciate any thoughts you have on the camera.

Patrick
There are some very good review sites, but I recently stumbled upon this one

http://www.cameralabs.com/reviews/digit ... iews.shtml

There is some side-by-side comparison stuff, but what I like the best are the videos at the end of the reviews where you get taken through the camera and it's features. Pretty useful.

I like my Canon G3, and like the technology around the xTI regarding dust cleaning, but still think Nikons have better view finders and take better pictures. You can get a very good D40 kit with two lenses (18-55 & 55-200) for under $700 here in Canada.

Have you actually been into a photoshop and held the Canon and Nikon in your hands? That's a very important test. Narrow it down to the two - take a couple of your own memory cards, and take some photos with each (a set of identical where possible) then compare the files side by side.

Have fun and good luck!
Wendell

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PonyPlayer
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Post by PonyPlayer » Thu Jan 24, 2008 10:06 am

Wendell,

Thanks for the tip on cameralabs.com. This is a great site and the forum is also very good. I love watching the camera reviews. Very well done.

I just read that Canon will be releasing the new 450D so I think I may hold off just a bit to see if the prices drop on the 400D and try and pick up a bargain.

Patrick
"Bart, a woman is like beer. They look good, they smell good, and you'd step over your own mother just to get one!"

- Homer Simpson

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Post by guru » Sat Apr 18, 2009 3:47 am

I use the D40 and find it to be a fine camera. As far as your old Nikon AF lenses go, they may not work.

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Post by IanM » Sat Apr 18, 2009 6:07 am

guru wrote:I use the D40 and find it to be a fine camera. As far as your old Nikon AF lenses go, they may not work.
I have a D80, and have used a D40 in the past. I don't know much about the Pentax, but I would go for the Nikon.

As guru has already mentioned, the D40 will only work with AF-S type Nikon lenses. AF-S lenses have the focus motor built into them, whereas the older Nikon AF lenses need to be driven via a motor located in the camera body. The Nikon D40 does not have a focus motor built-in, and will not work with older non-AF-S lenses.

Ian
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