Wednesday, July 4, 2007

question to photographers

Inspired by a NYT article reviewing digital SLR (single-lens reflex) cameras and encouraged by they low prices I finally made a choice which camera I want to buy.
My first choice is Nikon D40 (second being Canon EOS D400). Here is nice comparison between Nikon D200, D80, D70, D50, D40, Canon 5D and XTi cameras).

The major shortcoming of Nikon D40 is that it does not have automatic sensor cleaning system... I am not really sure how big issue is that? All old style cameras also did not have it and somehow people were able to manage that problem.

Nikon D40 comes with 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G ED II AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor Lens and I plan to additionally buy a tele-lens
Nikon 55-200mm f/4-5.6G ED IF AF-S DX VR Zoom Nikkor, as well as a wide angle lens Nikon 12-24mm f/4G IF-ED AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor.
The problem is that the latter lens costs 940$... So I was wondering if any of you maybe has Tokina equivalent of this lens (or any experience with Tokina lenses in general) as I am tempted to buy it as it costs only half what Nikon lens does. Here is comparison
between those two lenses.

EDIT (25th of July 2007) - Here is what Lars wrote to me in reply to this post:

About the camera: Actually, we own a D40 since 3 weeks now and are very satisfied with it. We bought it with only the 18-55mm lens in the kit, as I have a couple of other Nikon lenses already (24mm f/2.8; 50mm f/1.8; 105mm f/2.8; 300mm f/4). So for me the decision pro Nikon (vs. Canon) was a clear cut.

Since you don't have any SLR lenses at all, you are free to choose - but I would still go for Nikon (though Canon would be fine too). Your decision will rather be, whether to get a new D40 or a used D50! The former is newer and mostly better than the latter, but has one clear disadvantage: The lenses. Whereas on the D50 basically all modern lenses (Nikon, Tokina, Tamron, Sigma) work just fine, with the D40 you are bound to the VERY modern lenses, which offer a ultrasonic drive (aka SilentWave) for autofocus. Currently there are only some Nikon and Sigma lenses offering this, but in the future there will definately be other from Tokina and Tamron as well. With other words, on the D40, my lenses which I had before (all belong to the "D" series), do work on the D40, as they measure the light (exposure, metering) and I can use them to take pictures with manually turning the focus ring, they just DO NOT autofocus! Julie doesn't like that, so she is only using the original 18-55mm lens. This is a nice lens, covering a reasonable range of zoom for everyday use, which will fully satisfy you most of the times. Noteworthy, since the D40 has a lens-magnification factor of 1.5 the 18-55mm lens corresponds to a 28-80mm lens by the known standard, as I said, enough for most daily situations. However, if you want to shoot wildlife animals etc, you definately want a more tele-lens: so the 55-200mm, corresponding to an 80-350mm lens is what you want! Buy it by all means and do so with the camera in one of these SUPERkits having both these lenses. An interesting alternative, would be the image-stabilized new tele lenes (their VR series) from Nikon, eg the 300mm f/2.8, designed for digiSLRs -they are really good, but pricey and heavy. I don't believe you need them, unless you go on safari again - but then you could still rent one...

The "automatic sensor cleaning system" is no issue at all (for me), if you only pay a bit attention while changing lenses. Obviously avoid long opening periods of the camera with no lens in front, and any dust! The 6M pixels will be plenty, no need to spend more money for the 10M pixels D40x.

About the other lenses, I don't think you need a fisheye nor a macro at this moment. Of course you can always get it later if you feel you are missing it! Fisheye effects you can do on any picture with photoshop, and in order to do really nice macro pictures you need to invest and carry around! a tripod... About the wide-angle: It is nice to have one, but then 28mm is not soo bad. If you need something wider, keep in mind, it is expensive and heavy, as these lenses contain a lot of glas... Make sure you get one with ultrasonic drive (aka SilentWave) if you want to autofocus (although for wide angle manual works very good and easy - tele is more of a problem).

I do believe you should buy a UV filter for both lenses for protective reasons! And pouches for camera and the lenses...

I hope you find this useful - let me know, for what you go. And, don't by anywhere else than online. Trusted stores I know are, Adorama and B&H photo - you will need to juice and use your credit card though...