Wednesday, April 28, 2010

No, I am not Ken Rockwell

Last week, I bought a Nikon D40 refurb from Cameta Camera on ebay. It cost me $242. I've paid more for film SLRs, to be honest about it. Why would a someone that's a fairly adept photographer buy the low-hanging Nikon fruit? I mean, shouldn't I be buying a D300 or at least a D90? I already have a well-used D70s that I bought new back in 2005, so why would I want yet another 6 MP DSLR? Well, my daughter Marjorie leaves for 3 weeks in Japan on May 9. She has a D50 that I bought for her in 2006. The D50 was giving her the odd problem, which might be caused by some dirty AF contacts...or not. So, it's basically insurance should she need another camera body before she leaves. In the time I have had the D40 (which I originally poo-poohed as a beginner's DSLR when it came out), I have to say that I have enjoyed shooting with it. For one, it's small and lightweight - meaning it's also a great travel camera. Two, the rear LCD is really nice for chimping, and the control layout is pretty easy to deal with. Three, it can take even old non-AI manual lenses (although anything NOT AF requires manual exposure, which isn't a big deal)--so I have been shooting with my 180mm 2.8 AIS lens...and it's fun. What about only 6 megapixels? I'm not printing murals, and 6 MP is just fine for almost anything I'd use this camera for. The only drawback with the D40 and its siblings, is that it requires AF-S lenses for autofocus. If you are in the market that the camera was intended for, that's not usually a problem. But if you are like me, with quite a few older AF-D lenses, having those autofocus would be a nice feature..but not a deal killer. But that's typical Nikon -- leaving some features out that probably won't matter to many, but irritating to others. That said, look for another low-hanging fruit review of the Canon 1000D in the near future.

So, yes, the D40 is a nice lightweight camera that I would recommend for travel, vacations, and just carrying around. I like the color saturation options, including the option of shooting in B&W. It's considerably lighter and more compact than my D70. It takes a new battery, the ENL-9. Photos? Yes, here are a few...

arboreal splendor
Taken with the 180mm 2.8 ED AIS manual lens. Damn, what a fine lens!!

My favorite Narcissus
With the 35mm 1.8 G AF-S DX lens.

morning narcissus
Taken in b&w mode, 35mm 1.8 DX lens.

As I said, it's a fun camera.


Jennifer said...

I shoot Nikon too - I have a D80. You are the furthest thing from Ken Rockwell.

Love your blog. :)

I just inherited a darkroom, and I have no idea what I have, but was wondering if you knew of any good books to help get me started?

Matthew Clark said...

Hey, Im a regular follower of your blog and really interested in your opinions about photography. I have something that might be of interest to you but couldn't find any contact details. Is there any way I can get in touch with you??

Marc Akemann said...

The photos you show are fantastic, Mark! The first one is my favorite of the three. Makes me want to shoot color again. In any case, the lesson here is that any camera in the right hands will produce excellent photos.

Mark said...

Thanks for the great comments!

Matthew -- my email is

Shucks, Marc.. :)

jayv said...

Great shots. I'm in love with my Nikon.