Need help w/ Camera Lens for D40

Discussion in 'Fine Living, Home, Design & Auto' started by Douglas, Jan 22, 2009.

  1. DNW

    DNW Senior member

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    Finally, if you do get a new lens, make sure it is compatable with the D40. Nikon lenses will have AF-S in the title somewhere. Otherwise, you may end up with a lens that will not autofocus on the D40 body. I would also recommend a lens that has VR (vibration reduction).

    Good catch. I forgot the D40 and D60 do not have autofocus motors in the body. Because of this, shooting with any lens without AF-S is a PITA.
     


  2. GQgeek

    GQgeek Senior member

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    A lot of "interesting" information here.

    I have a D40, and I'm somewhat of a camera enthusiast. I've read books about exposure, composition, and follow the Nikon message boards. I bought the D40 for the very same purpose, to take photos of my child to be.

    Since most of the photos you plan to take will be indoors, I highly recommend a external flash. This will increase your image quality much more than any new lens. The most basic external flash from Nikon is called the SB 400. It is an exceptional value, small, light and has bounce capability. It is completely idiot proof and will give you great captures right out of the box. The next step up is the SB 600, which is much larger and heavier, but more versatile. For instance, you can bounce the flash when you're shooting in portrait and you can also bounce behind you - two features that the SB 400 does not have. (GQGeek, FYI the SB 800 has been discontinued, the new top of the line flash is the SB 900).

    With respect to the other posters, an ultra wide aperature lens is not going to be much help. First, the OP shots in full auto. Second, in low light, he'll have no choice but to shoot wide open, which will give him little depth of field. Literally, you'll get shots where your baby's ear is in focus, but the face is not.

    Finally, if you do get a new lens, make sure it is compatable with the D40. Nikon lenses will have AF-S in the title somewhere. Otherwise, you may end up with a lens that will not autofocus on the D40 body. I would also recommend a lens that has VR (vibration reduction).


    I'm on the Olympus system so I don't know how the Nikon flashes breakdown, but initially I got the FL-36 flash, which had most of the same features as its big brother but less range and a longer recycle time. The recycle time was slow, which was annoying because it made me miss shots. I'm sure the Nikon flashes are the same. My recommendation for flashes is always to get the big one. It's more expensive and a little bit bigger, but you won't find yourself cursing when you miss a shot while you're waiting for it to charge up again.
     


  3. otc

    otc Senior member

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    To echo some of the advice given here

    The 50mm f1.8 is a great deal and can be had for less than 100 (this applies to canon people too). It is faster than any lens you will ever own unless you start buying even faster primes (there aren't really any zoom lenses that go faster) and the fixed 50 is a good length for portraits with your camera and will make you a better photographer by forcing you to think a little bit about framing.

    The SB 400 flash is a great thing. I WISH there was somethign comparable for canon bodies (the small canon flash is fixed--you cannot bounce the flash) as it lets you have the core features needed in a flash without the giant box stuck to your camera.
     


  4. Brian SD

    Brian SD Moderator

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    I bought the VR 18-200 and its been fuckin awesome.

    That said, I still bust out the famous 50mm / 1.4f and the image quality tends to be astounding. Color representation isn't as good on the 50mm, but for a new photographer it might produce more along the lines of what you're looking for.
     


  5. greg_atlanta

    greg_atlanta Senior member

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    Is there such a thing as a flash that doesn't make indoor portraits look horrible?

    The trick is to not make the flash work too hard. The flash is just there to cheer things up, not to turn night into day. If you don't have decent lighting to begin with, the flash will go off at high intensity and kill everything (visually).
     


  6. matadorpoeta

    matadorpoeta Senior member

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    anyone who tells you that you need a flash is wrong. if you like the look, fine, but flash is optional.

    the best thing you can do is to take the camera off auto. there are only 3 settings you need to learn on your camera: aperture, shutter speed, and i.s.o.

    set your i.s.o. to 800.

    set your aperture to its largest setting (lowest number).

    then set your shutter speed accordingly, or let the camera do it for you in 'aperture priority' mode.

    for portraits with a d40 it is a crime not to own and use the 50mm f/1.4 lens. if you don't shell out for fast glass (especially since you bought your camera for portraits), it was a waste to buy a dslr.
     


  7. DNW

    DNW Senior member

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    anyone who tells you that you need a flash is wrong. if you like the look, fine, but flash is optional. the best thing you can do is to take the camera off auto. there are only 3 settings you need to learn on your camera: aperture, shutter speed, and i.s.o. set your i.s.o. to 800. set your aperture to its largest setting (lowest number). then set your shutter speed accordingly, or let the camera do it for you in 'aperture priority' mode. for portraits with a d40 it is a crime not to own and use the 50mm f/1.4 lens. if you don't shell out for fast glass (especially since you bought your camera for portraits), it was a waste to buy a dslr.
    you like it, teh grains? but, +1 on the f/1.4. it's the fastest lens Nikon makes.
     


  8. matadorpoeta

    matadorpoeta Senior member

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    you like it, teh grains? but, +1 on the f/1.4. it's the fastest lens Nikon makes.
    800 is not very grainy. i have some 8x10 prints shot at i.s.o. 800 with a d80 that are grainless (noiseless) to the naked eye. but yes, i'll take a little noise over using a flash any day.
     


  9. otc

    otc Senior member

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    Newer digital cameras are actually getting pretty good at high ISO.

    That being said, unless you need it, you should not be pumping the ISO numbers since there is a quality degradation
     


  10. Douglas

    Douglas Stupid ass member

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    Tons of great info in here guys, thanks so much.

    I am wondering if there's a better solution than the 50mm lens though. With a digital SLR isn't that going to equate to something more like a 70mm? Isn't there, say, a 40?

    Sounds like I need to spend on a flash, a diffuser, a prime lens, and spend some time in a textbook.

    FYI - I didn't buy the camera specifically for portraits, or even for baby (who has come along more recently - I bought the camera about 2 years ago) but I want to be able to capture some good memories.
     


  11. DNW

    DNW Senior member

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    Tons of great info in here guys, thanks so much. I am wondering if there's a better solution than the 50mm lens though. With a digital SLR isn't that going to equate to something more like a 70mm? Isn't there, say, a 40? Sounds like I need to spend on a flash, a diffuser, a prime lens, and spend some time in a textbook. FYI - I didn't buy the camera specifically for portraits, or even for baby (who has come along more recently - I bought the camera about 2 years ago) but I want to be able to capture some good memories.
    Here is Nikon's line up: http://www.nikonusa.com/Find-Your-Ni...ses/index.page A 50mm lens translates to 75mm on Nikon DSLRs. But, keep in mind that anything else without the AF-S designation will not autofocus with your D40. I don't know about you, but I'm certainly not fast enough to focus manually while trying to capture an action shot. So, unless you upgrade, you're probably limited to one of the AF-S zooms. A cheap, and pretty decent lens, in this group is the 18-55mm. If it's not fast enough for you, be prepared to spend some serious dough to get a constant lens like the 17-55mm f/2.8. Bottom line, if you want to shoot indoor without flash, you're gonna spend a lot of dough. Or, you can spend a little bit of money (relatively speaking) on a nice flash and shoot with any lens.
     


  12. milosh

    milosh Senior member

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    Tons of great info in here guys, thanks so much.

    I am wondering if there's a better solution than the 50mm lens though. With a digital SLR isn't that going to equate to something more like a 70mm? Isn't there, say, a 40?

    Sounds like I need to spend on a flash, a diffuser, a prime lens, and spend some time in a textbook.

    FYI - I didn't buy the camera specifically for portraits, or even for baby (who has come along more recently - I bought the camera about 2 years ago) but I want to be able to capture some good memories.


    Check out the Sigma 30 1.4 HSM. It will work with your D40.
     


  13. A Y

    A Y Senior member

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    Nikon recently introduced an AF-S 50 1.4. I'd get a midrange zoom instead of starting with a 50, especially with the D40's 1.5x crop.

    --Andre
     


  14. Huntsman

    Huntsman Senior member

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    OP, I see you mentioned a yellowish tinge -- frankly I'd be surprised if the lens was so bad it was yellow shifting your images. And while flashes tend to distort color, typically it goes blue-white. This makes me think you have a white balance problem (perhaps in addition to the other items you mentioned. Is your white balance on Auto, or is a manual override set? Though some cons have been mentioned about the fast lenses of <f/2.8, I still recomend them. No lens is at its best wide open (that is, at the lowest f/number), so if you get a faster lens and shoot it at, say, f/2.8, you;; have higher quality, but will also have the flexibility to go faster if you need it. And 2.8 is excellent for portraiture. I'd suggest that 18-55 zoom like everyone else, and in addition, a 28mm f2.8 AF ~ H
    you like it, teh grains? but, +1 on the f/1.4. it's the fastest lens Nikon makes.
    Anymore, so sadly. [​IMG] They should still make ^^ the best lens I've ever had the priviledge to shoot. ~ H
     


  15. milosz

    milosz Senior member

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    I thought the 50/1.2 AIS was still in production?

    My (in today's terms) ancient D70 @1600 had less 'grain' than Tri-X in D76 1:1.
     


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