Archive for August, 2009

Nikon D300S – Capture Movies Using a DSLR

The new Nikon product opens up new possibilities for photography enthusists. D300S offers new features such as dual CF and SD memory slots, a frame rate of 7fps and HD movie capability. It inherited DX-format 12.3 megapixel CMOS sensor and 51-point autofocus from it’s predecessor – D300. It also incorporates other D300’s technologies: Scene Recognition System, auto white balance control and auto exposure.

Nikon D300S provides improved ergonomics by adopting multi-selector with a center button to trigger movie capture. It also offers quite release mode and the dedicated info button with simplifies displays. The new Nikon offers great image playback and movie composition features using the 3 inch 920K dot high definition TFT monitor. There are also many processing tools such as image resize function implemented in the EXPEED image processor that allows for excellent image quality for stills as well as movies.

Expanding market for digital SLR cameras

Digital SLR cameras were once the domain of enthusiasts and professionals. Nowdays, they become more and more popular with casual photographers. Consumer research companies are predicting 35 percent growth in the SLR market in 2009. It is expected that the shipments of SLRs will grow to 2.2 million units for the year. It is also forecasted that by 2011 the market will double, reaching 4 million sales in the US only.

Why are DSLRs becoming so popular? It is mainly because of the dropping prices. The average price of an SLR camera was almost $1000 just 3 years ago, now it’s below $800. Another reason is the expanding use of digital cameras. The transition from a hobbyist to professional is easier now because of greater functionality and ease of use of the inexpensive DSLRs. Additional features such as scene modes are making it easier for users to implement their creativity in the camera rather then on the PC.

The expanding market is largely driven by midrange models such as Canon 40D and Nikon D300. But these SLRs are not only popular among hobbyists, they are also selling well among the professionals. The 2 models offer features that until now could only be found in the expensive, professional grade cameras. These include: dust reduction, highlight tone priority, live-preview, 230,000-pixel LCD, high-end image processor.

Leica S2 – the new standard in professional digital photography



The new Leica S2 was introduced during the Photokina 2008 show and it is now scheduled for market delivery in October 2009. The S2 is equipped with 37.5 megapixel CCD sensor. The 30X45mm sensor was designed by Kodak and it boasts an area over 50% larger than comparable products. As the result, the S2 provides highest image quality. The new Leica also offers many features such as: high speed image processor (twice faster than the competition), precise autofocus, four exposure modes, three metering modes, dual shutter system, rugged, durable, waterproof design, reduced power requirements. The price for a basic kit with one lens is around $30,000.

Panasonic DMC-L10 10.1MP Digital SLR Camera with Leica D Vario-Elmar 14-50mm f/3.8-5.6 Mega OIS Lens


  • 10.1-megapixel CCD captures enough detail for photo-quality 18 x 24-inch prints
  • Kit includes Leica D Vario-Elmar 14-50mm f3.8-5.6 MEGA O.I.S. lens
  • 2.5-inch Live View LCD with 270-degree rotation
  • Supersonic Wave Filter system removes dust from sensor
  • Face Detection focuses, sets autoexposure, and detects up to 15 human faces simultaneously

Myself as a very long-time prosumer of Leica M 6 film camera and all its glorious lenses i frankly think this Panasonic – with a Leica objective – is better than Nikon D60 Kit. Nikon comes with an inferior lens.

The picture quality (RAW) is good and all the necessary manual controls are there beside automatic programs.

Con: noise control with big ISO numbers ( 800 +) is not good. No good for tele.

Pro: the camera takes e.g. Olympus serious flas Fl-36R as TTL. – Very handhy wide angel (24). f=2.8

Dr. Jukka Kemppinen, FinlandPanasonic DMC-L10 10.1MP Digital SLR Camera with Leica D Vario-Elmar 14-50mm f/3.8-5.6 Mega OIS LensI bought this camera because of the swing out viewfinder. It is a jewel of a camera. The first pictures I took few closeups of some flowers. The results were stunning.I am a little surprised that the camera doesn’t sell that well. One problem is that you can’t get it as a body only camera. The lens that comes with it is superb but expensive,but it is supposed to be able to take all four thirds lenses.I will get a Zukor lens longer of longer focus soon. I am really a Canon fan and have a lot of their lenses. This camera is every bit as sharp and precise. The swing out focus is nice but makes a lot of noise when you use it.Since the price has come down a bit this a real bargain.

I got an Olympus Zuiko lens giving a telephoto view of up to 400 mm equivalent. Just as advertised, the four thirds lenses are interchangeable with different brands of cameras. This lens works well. The four thirds media is a step up from small point and shoot cameras.

They are fair weather cameras,and are light,with jewel like action. Given any lighting challenge, or if you take sports pictures,you are better off with a big Canon or Nikon which has a larger sensor. If you try to push the ISO on the small sensor models,you get much unwelcome noise and graininess. I am a ‘collector’ of dslr cameras. I have just about every panasonic lumix camera available and quite a few canons, sonys, and nikons. This camera, by far, is my favorite. It is easy to handle, easy to use, totally stupid proof, and the pictures come out great. I have a Nikon d80 and it’s a great camera but for me, this is still my favorite. It’s just a funner camera and easier to handle. I am in no-way a professional photographer, I just love photography and this camera is a joy.I was looking for an entry level DSLR to purchase as a gift, so I spent a good amount of time at a local store playing with DSLRs. I have a Canon EOS 40D that I love, but my camera was way to pricey to buy as a gift. I tried the most popular DSLRs from Canon and Nikon, but the Panasonic caught my eye because of the movable screen. The camera was easy to operate and took decent pictures (I bring along memory cards so I can try out the cameras); however, like my Panasonic compact camera (I have a TZ3), the images were either too noisy or overprocessed for my taste.

But my eyes eventually lowered to the price tag, and I was in disbelief. This camera costs as much as my EOS40D (a semi-pro model). Perhaps if this Panasonic cost $400, I would be on here saying that it was the best $400 camera you could get, and I’d give it more stars, but for this price you could be getting a camera that is in a whole different league.

That being said, if you want to spend this much on a camera, consider the Canon 40D or the Nikon D80 (or spend a bit more for the D300)–they will give you much better photos, more customization, and solid performance for the same price. If you’re just looking for a beginner DLSR (like I was), stick with the Canon Rebel XTi or the Nikon D40x (or even an Olympus e-volt). Any of those three cameras will give you as good or better photos, more upgrade options (more lenses & accessories), and best of all, you could basically get two of those cameras for the price of one this Panasonic L10.My first dslr, its fab. Of course I cannot compare it to others, however its significantly superior to any of the point and shoots I have used.

Two criticisms. First the autofocus seems to take a few moments to set in, especially with fast moving shots making for blurry pictures. Second, high speed shooting isnt as fast as I would have hoped, just 2 frames a second – shame they couldn’t get 4 or 5.

Price: $1,299.95   Buy This Camera

Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 12.1MP Digital SLR Camera with Lumix G Vario 14-45 mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH Mega OIS Lens (Black)


  • 12.1-megapixel 4/3-type MOS sensor; world’s first Micro Four Thirds camera
  • Includes Lumix G Vario 14 – 45 mm F3.5 – F5.6 ASPH.Mega OIS lens
  • Live View Finder and bright 460,000-dot resolution, 3.0-inch LCD
  • New Contrast AF (Auto Focus) function; Face Detection and Intelligent Auto (iA) mode
  • Capture images to SD/SDHC/Multimedia cards (not included)

You should know where I coming from. My previous camera was a compact sensor, fixed lens, super-zoom camera (Canon S3 IS). I now own and am very happy with a Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1. I have both the 14-45mm/F3.5-5.6 basic zoom and the 45-200mm/F4-5.6 telephoto zoom.

There are two areas where the where the G1 really shines: its electronic viewfinder and its focusing capabilities, both auto and manual. I am old enough and my eyesight poor enough to make an electronic viewfinder superior to an LCD screen or a penta-mirror viewfinder. I also don’t like large, heavy cameras. The G1 is only a tad bigger than many point-and-shoot cameras.

The G1 viewfinder image is high-resolution, full-time live view. It is like looking at HDTV. All the other electronic viewfinder cameras that I am familiar with produce what look like grainy SDTV images when compared to the G1.

Aa for focusing, autofocus on the Canon S3 was slow and it often failed to lock on target. Manual focusing was so difficult as to be a joke. On the G1, both manual focus and autofocus are amazingly good.

When using autofocus (AF), the G1’s 23 AF points really make a big difference (the S3 has only one). The focus is fast and accurate even in fairly low light situations. The G1 shows you the AF points it is using in the viewfinder. I find that feedback reassuring. The G1 also provides a subject tracking feature that really works. You can focus on a subject, then shift camera to recompose without loosing the focus. No holding down the shutter button halfway or pressing an AF lock button required.

As for the manual focus, it simply works as I think it ought to. The lenses have a proper focus ring, and the viewfinder goes into 5x magnification as soon as you start to turn it (you can disable this if you want to). A click on the front mounted control wheel and the magnification goes up to 10x. A second click and the magnification returns to 5x. That’s something even high-end DSLRs can’t do — I mean without taking one’s eye off the viewfinder and switching to live view. And, yes, the magnification area can be moved around the view frame.

I have found the two lenses I have for the G1 give excellent images. It would be nice to have faster lenses, but Panasonic decided to keep the price down rather than market (much) more expensive lenses with larger maximum apertures.

In all other respects, the G! performs as well or better than the DSLR cameras in its price range. The G1 is a good choice over its price competitors when having a large, bright, sharp viewfinder image and having first-class focusing capabilities are important purchase criteria.Great for HDR photography. No serious weaknesses.

For having a smaller sensor than a DSLR, its resolution is outstanding. Under 800 ISO, it favorably compares with the much bulkier Canon 450D, which is probably the best resolving DSLR under $2000. Translation: Outdoors, in good light, you can blow up these images to poster size and they will be razor sharp.

In all the reviews, I can’t find any serious weaknesses and there are some real strengths. The “live” viewfinder is much cooler than a glass one because you can change your settings and see the picture change before you shoot it! So if you’re in a dark place shooting high ISO, the viewfinder will show you the picture as the sensor sees it. Moreover, you can use a magnified view through the viewfinder to help you precisely manually focus for situations where the autofocus isn’t optimal.

Finally, the G1 has unique auto-exposure-bracketing (AEB) abilities for a camera in this price range. It can shoot up to 7 frames in AEB mode, with a maximum step of 2/3 of an f stop. To get that I think you have to go to $3,000 DSLRs.

The good news is the kit lens — 14-48 equiv to a 28-90 on a 35mm camera — gets uniformly great reviews even from professional photographers. The bad news is there are very few lenses made for this camera yet — though that will change if this format takes off.

The biggest weakness of this camera vs a full size DSLR is probably high ISO — 1600 and higher. But how much shooting do you do in the dark anyway? If you shoot a lot of pictures in candlelight and need to enlarge them to 24×36 and not see grain, fine, go get your Canon Mark II for $4,000. But in normal light the images of this camera will be really close to anything out there — even really expensive ones.While it does have its quirks, this is a great camera. I’m not the most skilled photographer, yet, and it’s nice to play with the manual settings or to be lazy and let the camera’s auto settings do the work, and they do a decent job.

Pro’s:

——

Small size – The Olympus E-420 (smallest SLR) is 32.6% larger than the G1. The Rebel is 60% larger than the G1.

Excellent Photo Quality – Having come from ultra zoom camera that was incapable of taking a quality picture over ISO 100, it is a dream to be able to shoot pictures at ISO 800 and be able to get print quality photos. I wouldn’t go above 800, though.

Ability to capture raw – While it’s expected in a camera this price, it’s still nice to work with RAW files and have the ability to manipulate the unprocessed image – including white balance problems.

Cons – each of these is very minor

—–

Auto WB – This needs some work in certain lighting conditions

Burst Mode – Even if you have picture review turned off, it is forced on if you’re in burst mode. This makes it next to impossible to capture a moving subject in burst. You’re better off to rapidly fire off individual shots. **This is the #1 thing I would like to see addressed in a firmware update**

ISO above 800 gets real noisy real fast.

Bulb Mode – is capped at 4 minutes. This is fine unless you want to do star trails.

Limited # of lenses – hey, it’s a new system and as such there aren’t going to be a lot of lenses right now. They will be coming, but it will take time. If you want access to a ton of lenses right now, you may want to consider another system or at least be prepared to buy an adapter that will allow you to use Olympus 4/3 lenses or Leica M lenses.

——————————————-

All in all, I love this camera. I’m just trying to figure out how I’m going to talk the wife into allowing me to purchase the 45-200mm lense.I was an early adopter with this camera. Don’t laugh, but I sold my 5D Canon to buy this little guy. I was headed towards the 5DMKII and had a moment of clarity: which camera will I be more apt to use? The DMC-G1 hasn’t disappointed. It takes razor sharp photos and is a joy to use. I’m an aerial photographer and just for fun, I took up a friend’s Canon 5DMKII to compare to the little G1. I was very suprised: both deliver equally crisp shots. In some cases, the G1 delivered a sharper image, on the detail. The fact that they were close blew me away, because the pixel count is very different in the two different formats. The only weak point, if there is one, is that the controls on top tend to get bumped and changed when you’re not looking, so it’s always a good idea to confirm the settings. I sold $5,000 worth of lenses and camera (5D) to get this camera and I’m very pleased that I made the move.I’m a budding photographer;I get all the jargon(rule of thirds is my new word of the day) and stuff but I really haven’t shot too many photos yet,but I’ve done enough shots with my PowerShot 590IS to realize the limitations of a point and shoot.

I felt I was ready to make the step to a big boy camera.I wanted the picture quality/low noise of a DSLR while not being encumbered with something like even a Nikon D90, while having the ease of shooting of a point and shoot. oh, and interchangeable lenses.(That got rid of the PowerShot G10)

The Lumix G1 fit the bill. It’s a true joy to shoot with; even at full auto(intelligent auto, as they call it) pictures are AMAZING!I handed the camera to some of my friends with no photo experience, and they took shots that I would be proud to frame.

Yes, once you leave the land of automatic, the menu options are quite complex, but a little bit of RTFM never hurt anyone :)

and yes, the autofocus is very fast,you can poke around the web to see the reviews, but I can personally say that the autofocus does rival a SLR’s autofoucus.

The viewfinder is very nifty, you can review pictures on it due to it being electronic, perfect when its too sunny to see on the beautiful main LCD;it can do everything the regular LCD can. It is also very sharp and the colors are jaw-dropping,it does 800×600 at 60fps.However, there is tearing when you move the camera too quickly and occasional rainbow effects, due to the viewfinder being based on projection technology,LCoS to be precise(note: I have extreme sensitivity to the rainbow effect,and LCoS/DLP is very susceptible to it)

The main problems are price and the lens;its a bit short in terms of focal distance(45 vs the Nikon D50000’s or Canon XSi’s 55, however the wide 14 may make up for it)while having the same performance (f5.6 at the tele end.). In addition,it is $630 on amazon, while the XSi and the D5k are very close in terms of price, while offering video and the ability to use the huge selection of Nikor or Canon EF-S lenses,respectively.

In summary:

Pros:

Easy to use/great auto mode

LCD is fully articulating, you can do easy self-shots :)

Best live view out there

Fast autofocus(rivals the SLRs)

Good quality pics, gives the competing SLRs (and even the D90)a run for their money

comfortable grip

small size

kit lens is good quality and very small(unbelievably so)

OVER 9000 adapters for lenses out there(from Oly OM to Leica M), due to Four-Thirds being an “open” standard.

Cons:

(These are all really little nitpicks, and the only con that has been a problem at all is the battery life)

not all 4/3 lenses autofocus

4/3 lens adapter is big

panasonic is a bit slow with getting the m4/3 lenses out

kit lens could be a bit faster

the Olympus E-420 is around the same size while being a real SLR

the Olympus E-P1(another m4/3 camera with the form factor of a rangefinder camera, but with no flash or viewfinder) autofocses with all 4/3 lenses,while being smaller. oh it also does great video.It’s a bit more than the G1 though, $700+

kinda pricey for a non SLR

poor low light performance in comparison to the D5k/XSi(ISO 800+ performance is not all that great, and the viewfinder is grainy/jerky in low light, however it is still bright)

VERY POOR BATTERY LIFE in comparison to entry level dSLRs(300 shots is a good day)

AEB is limited, 2/3 steps, 7 shots at the most, not too good for HDR.

no video.

My verdict: If you don’t care about video and you don’t have OVER 9000 Nikon or Canon lenses and/or you want something that you can carry around without being hindered, this is for you.

If you want video or a longer lens, save your pennies for the GH1, it seems to be positioned at the D90’s territory with a 14-140 tele lens and a $1400 price tag. The lens separately costs $800, the price difference between the GH1 and the G1. The GH1 autofocuses while shooting video btw.

Little tidbit: The flash on my G1 died after a couple days, and Amazon sent out a replacement 1st Day Air after I told them I needed it in time for a quickly upcoming vacation, and I didn’t even need to send my old one in before they shipped! Panasonic did not budge, they told me to ship my old camera, wait until it makes it to Texas(I live in CA) and then they would replace it…after 10 days…well into my vacation.

thanks Amazon!

Buy This Camera

NIKON N65 35mm SLR Camera Kit with 28-80mm Nikon AF Lens


  • Lightweight and compact design
  • Designed for ease of use
  • Bright viewfinder
  • Smart light metering systems
  • Five full coverage AF sensors
  • Exclusive Nikon flash exposure technology

He is an excellent seller and I wouldn’t recommend buying from any other merchant. He is very respectable, generous, convienent, curtious, friendly, and timely. Buying from him was a wonderful experience. Not only was the product in excellent condition, but when I made an error on my part he was more than willing to help me. It truely was a pleasure doing business with him

-Jennifer R. GreenI recieved the camera very quickly and was in peak condition and even with film and batteries. There were a few pics on the roll though of flowers. The seller emailed me the instructions as well. Would definently recommend it as a camera, and the seller as well.I have had this camera for about 7 months now and have shot many rolls of film through it and it continues to amaze me on how good of pictures I can get with it. I’m just starting out in photography so it fits me very well. It allows me to go all manual when I need to and has really given me consistent results. It has a ton of features that I haven’t even tapped into yet to improve picture quality in different situations. I do alot of research before I purchase anything and this camera was highly recommended by proffesional photographers and amateurs alike as a perfect beginner to intermediate camera. I have also seen alot of pictures taken with this camera and they are incredible. Overall I love the camera and can’t wait to take more pictures with it.Ok, so it’s not digital, but it has features that most digitals don’t have. Just have an N65 along with a digital like me because it’s still nice to get same day or one hour prints developed. I just love the Auto Exposure Bracketing and Mulitple Exposure capability. The auto focus helps alot. It’s a good flash photography camera too. The Vari-Program on the N65 is lots of fun for an amature like you. In certain modes you can set a desired shutter speed and aperture.I purchased the N65 for a young nephew who’s just getting involved in photography. For the most part, this camera fits his needs. It’s highly automated and allows him to do high speed photography (sports), something many point and shoot 35mm cameras simply can’t do.

I’ve been using a Nikon N70, an older and somewhat more advanced camera, for about ten years. I’ve always been pleased with it, for the most part. One of the drawbacks, however, was its lack of a focus assist light. The N65 delivers this. The N65 also has a more advanced focus system, especially for moving objects. Again, great for shooting sports.

The N65 has all the standard modes – Full auto, aperature priority, shutter priority, portrait, sports, night, landscape, manual, etc. As a hardcore user I find some these things unnecessary. Still, I can see why other users would like these extra fuctions.

Unlike the N70, the N65 in low light situations, in auto modes (auto, portrait, etc.), will release the flash without input from the user. This is probably a great function for novice users. As someone who can take a handheld shot at 1/15 or even 1/8 of a second, without using a flash, I found this feature annoying. The user can circumvent this feature by using the manual modes (e.g. aperature priority).

Another feature lacking on the N65 is a spot meter button. This comes in handy in difficult lighting situations (e.g. half the image is in sunlight, the other in shade) when a center metering system will fail completely.

I also found the N65, like most of the modern SLRS, as just a bit too flimsy. (The heavier N70, when first released, was considered “cheap” by pro users.) It’s mostly plastic and it feels like it will break easily if dropped. This is true with SLRs made by all the major manufacturers. The 28-80mm lens also shares this cheap feel.

The N65 is a bargain for novice users with prices on 35mm cameras falling steadily as digital begins to dominate the market. Another good camera in this price range is the Canon K2. Still, if you want control over your images or you need something tough and sturdy, it would be best to either pay more for a better camera or, at the other extreme, buy an older used Nikon from the days when they built cameras to last.

Buy This Camera

Nikon D80 10.2MP Digital SLR Camera Kit with 18-135mm AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor Lens


  • 10.2-megapixel CCD captures enough detail for large, photo-quality prints
  • 2.5-inch LCD display; power-up time of approximately 0.2 seconds
  • RAW and JPEG capture; burst mode allows for capture of three frames per second for up to 100 pictures
  • Image optimization functions and in-camera image retouching
  • Includes 18-135mm AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor lens

This camera is awesome! Even with “only” 10.2 megapixels, it blows away my best friend’s Canon XSi with 12+ pixels (same price). When we shoot side by side, my photos come out way better, more detailed all the way out to the corners – crisp and focused – and with much better color saturation. He even asked me what was “wrong” with his camera once he saw the Nikon results.

There are a few things in the menus and the way it works that are kind of confusing, and I honestly don’t know why digital is this way, because I was schooled on 35mm film cameras, but it’s all a matter of mastery. Everyone has a brand preference, and I will admit mine has been Nikon since I switched from other brands long ago. You will certainly find people who are just as passionate about Canon or Olympus, true, but when I hear them brag about theirs, I just yawn and think, “my Nikon can do that in it’s sleep!”

I personally wouldn’t waste my time with concerns over megapixels. Especially after seeing the less-than-professional results from my friend’s 12mp+ Canon (fuzzy focus, bland colors). Not to mention the Nikon zoom lenses have a greater range over the competition – for the same price. Also, the D80 is at a GREAT price point right now, being ‘upgraded’ to the D90, but seriously, most amateur photographers will not ever know they’re missing a paltry 2 megapixels.

If you’re not sure whether to buy this over the other brands – don’t think too hard. Nikon is the best and always has been, in my experience (25 yrs). The proof for me is in the results, side by side with their competitors. Don’t be fooled by megapixel stats or ad campaigns. The only reason I gave it four stars and not five is because of the sub-menus which are tedious to navigate and master, and the body is heavier than some other brands – but I just interpret that as being better built. The competition simply pales in comparison! They’re all just scrambling to keep up with Nikon, way I see it.I bought the camera refurbished from Cameta Camera 2 weeks ago and I really like it. It feels great in your hand, even better than the new D90 to me. I also have a Canon XSi which feels great in the hand too. I like the controls on the D80 better. It is more of a shooters camera than the Canon. I think they are both great cameras.

All the pros and cons have been listed in prior reviews. Check out the D80 review at dpreview for all the details. The only feature on the D80 that I probably need to check on is the compressed NEF raw file format. The camera saves RAW files in a compressed format, although the details are sketchy. Nikon claims it is lossless process. I usually shoot large JPEGs with low compression – but I will update this review after I try opening some RAW shots in both Bibble & PSE to compare the results.I have used the D80 camera with the 18-135 lens kit that was a package when I bought it in Dec 2006. Not even 3 years and the lenses has malfunctioned. I was on vaction in Yellowstone and the camera does not focus anymore, so I ended up doing manual focusing. I knew it is the lens because I have 2 other G lenses from my old N65 and the camera focuses well when using the old lenses. Nikon only has a 1 year warranty on this. Otherwise, before the lenses broke it was a great camera. Nikon has very poor customer support.Nikon D80 so far deliver great pictures. only problem i see is with the lens. Nikkor 18-135 giving issues with Auto focus mode. but only advantage is lens has more warranty around 4 years. so no issues, you can keep on sending it for repair if you are patient enoughThough not a professional camera, it is still very advanced. The price has dropped significantly since the D90 came out. Though the D90 does have a few more options like video, I was looking for a camera. I had an old Nikon that used film and wanted a camera that I could use the old AF lenses with. The D60 & D5000 require that the lens have a motor in them, so I would not have been able to use my old lenses.

Though I have only used my camera a few times, I have already taken a few thousand photos with it. There is no fear of taking that perfect picture like there was with film. With Digital, I take a few hundred pics and then narrow it down to that one perfect picture. I love the quality of the pics that the D80 takes. In daylight, the color of the eyes comes out crystal clear.

I recommend buying a DVD that explains all the options and an interactive book that explains the options. There is so much that this camera can do, it will take me years to master it. By the time that I do, I will be ready for an upgrade.

Buy This Camera

Nikon D40 6.1MP Digital SLR Camera with 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G ED II AF-S DX and 55-200mm f/4.5-5.6G ED AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor Lens with 2 Nikon School DVD


  • 6.1-megapixel CCD captures enough detail for photo-quality 14 x 19-inch prints
  • Kit includes 18-55mm f3.5-5.6G ED II AF-S DX and 55-200mm f4.5-5.6G ED AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor lenses, plus 2 Nikon School DVD
  • 2.5-inch LCD with three display options; built-in flash and hot shoe
  • Fast startup with instant shutter response; shoot at up to 2.5 frames per second
  • Powered by one rechargeable Li-ion battery EN-EL9 (included); stores images on SD memory cards (memory card not included)

The 6 Megapixel Nikon D40 is targeted for those who want a relatively compact and light camera yet having most of the important SLR features. The D40 is priced reasonably (cheaper than D50/D80 and Canon Rebel XTi). In my opinion, if you are still considering whether to get a point and shoot camera or a DSLR, the D40 will be a better choice than any point and shoot camera, by far, even those with 8MP or 10MP. But if you are already deciding to get a DSLR or you want more control of the picture taking experience, then I would recommend you to also test the D50 and/or D80 first before deciding to buy the D40. I want you to make sure that you know what you will get (and not get) with the D40. Don’t get me wrong though, the D40 is an awesome camera, and I don’t think you will regret buying one. There are some limitation with the D40 which shouldn’t bother most people, for example, the D40 doesn’t have dedicated button to change picture quality, white balance or ISO settings (which generally only professional/enthusiast will care). Once you understand (and accept) its limitation, the D40 is a potent and exciting photography machine.

Just like all its (DSLR) siblings, the D40 powers on instantly and take pictures with almost no shutter lag which are the major advantages of a DSLR over a point and shoot camera. In addition to the P,S,A,M mode, the picture quality of the auto settings (auto, child mode, landscape etc) are also very good. With 2.5 frames per second you can capture movement progress in sports like football, basketball, baseball etc. Also great to photograph your family or child (child mode). The D40 is a great all around camera.

Some notable new features:

1. Auto (no flash) mode. Without this mode the flash will pop-up (on all other pre-programmed mode) even when you don’t want to use flash (which can be annoying). The internal flash will not pop up automatically with the P,S,A,M settings.

2. In camera editing capability such as black and white, sepia and some filter effects etc. While sounds gimmicky, these features are useful especially for those who doesn’t have Adobe Photoshop (or other image editing software).

To date, D40 is the smallest and lightest among all the Nikon DSLR (even smaller than the Canon Rebel XT/XTi, however the D40 is more ergonomics). I believe that choosing a camera that fits comfortably with your hands is important. Therefore, I recommend people to test the camera before buying (even if you want to buy online, please do go to a physical store and test the camera first whenever possible).

The D40 has only 3 (horizontal) autofocus point (5 for D50 and 11 for D80). If you know “The Rule of Thirds”, the additional AF points above and below the center focus point (available in D50 and D80) are handy to help create the horizontal third line. However, the 3 horizontal AF point in D40 is still helpful to create the vertical third line. Also one can focus with the middle AF point and after the focus is lock then move the frame upwards/downwards to create the horizontal third line. Just make sure the exposure level is still accurate when you move the frame after you lock the focus.

About the 18-55mm II AF-S kit lens: A good lens producing sharp photos (though not a very fast lens). Also decent for close-up/macro photography. Lens uses internal focus technology and focusing operation is silent. A very decent kit lens.

Lens compatibility: Notice that with D40, autofocus function will not work for non AF-S/AF-I lens. If you already have non AF-S/AF-I Nikon lenses and want a backup or replacement camera, you will be better off buying D50, D70s or D80. If you buy the D40, it will be convenient to stick with AF-S and AF-I type lenses. I’m not sure why Nikon choose this route for the D40 (whether to enable smaller size camera or from now on Nikon will only make AF-S lens compatible camera). There are a lot of good Nikon AF-S lenses (price range added: low, medium, high) that are fully compatible with the D40 such as:

- Nikon 35mm f/1.8G AF-S DX (L)

- Nikon 50mm f/1.4G AF-S (M)

- Nikon 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G ED AF-S DX (L)

- Nikon 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G ED II AF-S DX (L)

- Nikon 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5G ED IF AF-S DX (L)

- Nikon 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6G ED-IF AF-S DX (L)

- Nikon 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 G ED-IF AF-S DX VR (M)

- Nikon 55-200mm f4-5.6G ED AF-S DX (L)

- Nikon 55-200mm f4-5.6G ED AF-S DX VR (L)

- Nikon 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED-IF AF-S VR (M)

- Nikon 12-24mm f/4G ED IF AF-S DX (M)

- Nikon 17-35mm f/2.8D ED-IF AF-S (H)

- Nikon 17-55mm f/2.8G ED-IF AF-S DX (H)

- Nikon 28-70mm f/2.8D ED-IF AF-S (H)

- Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G ED-IF AF-S VR (H)

- Nikon 105mm f/2.8G ED-IF AF-S VR Micro (M)

- And several other expensive prime tele/zoom lens like 200-400mm, 300m, 400mm, 500mm, 600mm.

High priced lens ($1000+) are usually pro level lens which usually have better construction, faster (f-stop), and produce better quality picture. However, often times, lower price lens will serve your needs just fine. I think it is important to know what you want to use the camera for before deciding which camera and lens to buy.

Image quality of the D40 is very good which is #1 factor that I look for in a digital camera.

Here are the pros and cons of the D40 in my opinion:

Pros:

1. Nice out of the camera result picture quality

2. Affordable price

3. Compact size and light weight

4. Large and bright 2.5 inch LCD

5. 2.5 frames per second

6. B/W, Sepia, several more in-camera editing features.

7. Instant power on, fast autofocus and no shutter lag

8. Noise is acceptable at high ISO settings. Auto ISO settings available.

9. Great 18-55mm II AF-S kit lens.

10. Great battery life (400+ on a single charge. 1000+ if flash is not used).

11. Auto (flash off) mode available

12. 1/500 flash sync

Cons:

1. No direct button to change QUAL, WB and ISO settings

2. Grip comfortably but might be a bit too small for some people

3. No top LCD and no front command dial

4. Autofocus will not work with non AF-S or non AF-I lenses (such as the 70-300m G and 50mm f/1.8D lens)

5. No AF/MF switch (have to use the switch on the lens)

6. Only 3 autofocus point

7. 6 Megapixel (More Megapixel needed to print larger than 12 X 18 at 300 dpi)

8. No night landscape mode in pre-programmed settings

9. No in camera image stabilization (like Sony and Pentax) but Nikon has lenses with it (VR).

10. No depth-of-field preview button

In conclusion, the D40 is perfect for those who want high quality pictures, more control (than a point and shoot camera), and have a DSLR experience (instant power on and no shutter lag), without having to carry a bulky camera. And unless you are shooting sports/actions professionaly (which faster focusing processor, faster frames per second and larger memory buffer might be needed), the D40 is pretty much all you will need.

Happy Photographing!

Sidarta Tanu Great camera for the price. Looked at D60, but D40 gave me what I needed at the cheapest price.

The auto mode is very easy to use; it takes nice, clear, clean photos. It is like working with a point and shoot, but with better quality. As an absolute beginner, the manual mode was very difficult to use. There are no clear explanations of the modes and how the modes are displayed. For example, 15 means 1/15th of a second, but 15″ means 15 seconds.My only problem with the Nikon D40 is that you cannot view your photos before you take them like most regular digital cameras. The Nikon D40 and D60 do not have this feature. If that feature is important to you I would suggest the Nikon D90. Otherwise it is a nice starter camera.You never know what you are going to get when you purchase something used. Plus, some people lie. But I was amazed at the kindness of my seller and the almost perfectly new-ness of the camera I ordered from her. It was still in the original box and came with lots of extra goodies for it. I’m not even sure if she’s actually used it. It was shipped and received here days before I was even expecting it. I was quite happy. Camera works great for someone who doesn’t know the technical side to photography—which is me. I wanted it mostly for my Africa mission trip this summer, but I have been playing with it already and am loving it. The only thing i miss is that there is no video on it—and I like to take short video clips.

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Nikon D60 10.2MP Digital SLR Camera Black Gold Special Edition (Body Only)


  • Special black-gold edition D60; compact, comfortable, ergonomic design
  • Superior image quality thanks to 10.2 megapixels and Nikon’s exclusive EXPEED concept; body only, lenses sold separately
  • Nikon Integrated Dust Reduction System includes original Airflow Control System and Image Sensor Cleaning for protection against dust
  • Active D-Lighting automatically compensates highlighted or shadowy areas while you shoot, creating images with natural contrast – even in difficult lighting
  • Capture images to SD/SDHC memory cards (not included)

The Nikon D60 is an awesome camera! Great pics, so easy to use! Just make sure to get insurance coverage through your homeowners insurance! Huge mistake on my part and thus needed the replacment body…one fly-ball at a baseball game made the original camera toast! =( Not that you can expect anything less, those baseballs are tough! haha Great camera though, you wont be disappointed!I purchased this model from Amazon after seeing it in a local camera store. It is also my second Nikon D60 as I had the standard (not GOLD) model from [...], but returned that after realizing I wanted and/or could get along with just a single zoom lens instead of the two in the [...] Package. based on my small time with the initial D60 and now this GOLD version with the Tamron 18-200mm lens, I am not “crazy” about the picture or operational quality. Years ago I used Minolta SLR’s and favored them over the automatic pocket 35 mm cameras. I enjoyed the manual control and flexibility they offered. Once DIGICAMS became lower priced and more readily available, I used those. My current DIGICAM, the Panasonic TZ5 actually takes better pictures on automatic setting than either of the two Nikon D60’s I have tried. I like the D60 for the manual settings and creativity, but do not think the D60 is any better on Auto settings than what I already had. I wanted an entry level DSLR, and did not want to pay more for higher priced (and probably better) DLSR’s but probably should have. The manual settings are great however and I enjoy having a “real” camera to experiment with. If you want a DSLR simply to replace your pocket DIGICAM, and just use for “AUTO” or “PROGRAM” settings, keep your current pocket camera and do not buy this D60. But if you, like me, want an “entry level” and reasonable priced DSLR, the D60 may be for you. I cannot say I am terribly happy or dissapointed overall, I just think this camera could be better at “AUTO” and “PROGRAM” modes. Certainly, I would recommend a “faster” lens than I got, the Tamron 18-200 mm Zoom XR.Bought this for work (I’m a reporter) and it has been a pleasure to use. Very easy to use and takes great pictures! Just remember you need to buy a lense because this doesn’t come with one!The D60 works well, is small, lightweight, and compact, and user friendly. It is a good camera. However, there is NOT much difference between the D40 and D60 other than megapixels and price. To be honest, 6 megapixels are plenty enough to make a 16X20 print. In fact, the D60 is less sensitive to light and has a slower shutter speed, creating a higher chance for blurry pictures. The glass (lense) is what’s most important, not the body. So my advice–forego the overpriced D60, save yourself $300 with the D40 and buy a super good external (bounceable) flash or put towards a better lense. This is what I wish I WOULD have done. Nikon D60 10.2MP Digital SLR Camera with 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G AF-S DX VR Nikkor Zoom Lens If you are going to go for it, go for the GOLD. This camera will blow you away! The photos I took on my trip to Berlin are Gallery worth. You can’t go wrong with this just under Pro camera. Sharp deep rich color photographs that will hold your heart forever. Thumbs up.. BRAVO

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Nikon D300 DX 12.3MP Digital SLR Camera with 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G ED-IF AF-S VR DX Nikkor Zoom Lens


  • 12.3-megapixel captures enough detail for poster-size photo-quality prints
  • Kit includes 18-200mm f3.5-5.6G ED-IF AF-S VR DX Nikkor zoom lens
  • 3.0-inch LiveView LCD display; new 51-point AF system
  • In burst mode, shoots up to 100 shots at full 12.3-megapixel resolution
  • Self-cleaning sensor unit; magnesium alloy construction with rubber gaskets and seals

The Camera was in “good condition” with one minor chip in the top of the “control panel”. Everything else seems to be in good or like new condition. It is fast and does take good or excellent pictures. The camera with the 18-200mm ED-IF AF-S VR DX lens makes for a real good match.

The seller, along with Amazon, had to be contacted and encouraged to send the missing parts, a lens and a body cap.

Nikon D300 DX 12.3MP Digital SLR Camera with 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G ED-IF AF-S VR DX Nikkor Zoom Lens

I ordered my D300 after my D70 suddenly froze in the mirror-up position while I was accompanying a handicapped Italian participant in the 2008 NY City Marathon (I managed to fix it, and had to run like h*ll to catch up!)

I already owned the 18-200mm lens, purchased in a kit for my photojournalism-major son, who is down on zoom lenses.

I’ve been a photographer since 1958 when I “inherited” a school photographer position held by my father and uncle before me. I’ve owned dozens of cameras over the years, mostly Canons and Leicas, and won more than my share of awards from the start, including grand prize in the Kodak High School contest and the old NY Herald Trib contest. I shoot today to illustrate medical equipment case histories as a marketing communications consultant. I have a collection of more than 50 cameras of all brands.

And so, when I say the D300 + 18-200 zoom is a magnificent imaging-making combination, I know of what I speak.

1. First of all, images. Spectacular. At 18mm, it is sharper by far than my 20mm f2.8 Nikon AF, which I sold shortly after I bought the zoom lens (I still own a 17mm Tokina for use with a film N80). There is some mild pincushion distortion characteristic when you shoot planar surfaces close, and you need to keep people out of the frame edges or they will look fat – but for scenics and general photography, it is spectacular.

There are definitely focus points across the 18-200 range that are not as sharp as at the extremes. It’s pretty neutral from a color cast perspective – that point was brought home to me this week when I shot the same scene with the 18-200 and my Tamron 28-75mm XR Di, which startled me with a warmth I never appreciated.

Also – you will discover that the small maximum aperture of the 18-200mm VR doesn’t give you the focus separation of subject from background you might want. Shoot close and wide where you can – the lens is sharp enough wide open to handle that, although “wide open” on this lens isn’t very wide at any focal length.

2. The VR spoils one. For shooting subjects that don’t move, it works just as promised. If you have good technique, you can easily hand-hold this lens at 1/8th of a second over most of its range, and I’ve shot lower with careful bracing.

Unfortunately, the VR mechanism is pretty useless for shooting moving subjects unless in quite bright conditions.

3. The range of options of the menu system can be boggling, although right out of the box, you will shoot amazing images, particularly in the “P” (program) mode. However, once you get past the standard functions, you will not use a tenth of this camera’s capabilities without reading the manual with the camera in front of you. I rate the quality of the manual as a B-. Its explanations are pretty good, but organization borders on absurd, and you may be forced to go through the manual just to understand the vernacular for the function you may be seeking.

4. The LCD screen is a blow-away. I am reluctant to increase its brightness from “0″ because I am afraid of misjudging images, but you can boost brightness quite a bit.

5. The RAW setting produces roughly the same quality images as the fine jpeg setting – until you screw something up. Then the RAW images are vastly better, because you can compensate greatly, especially with the Nikon Capture NX program. Be warned, however, that the NEF format is NOT compatible with popular programs like Paintshop Pro, which handled the NEF files from my D70 and my son’s former D50.

6. The dynamic range – highlight to deep shade/shadow – is spectacular. I don’t push the camera to 3200 ISO, where I know it is measurably poorer; I don’t shoot faster than 1600. I carry a 50mm f1.8 lens with me at all times to avoid having to go faster than 800 ISO, because I can see the difference.

Don’t overexpose with the D300 – not necessary, and just complicates your tasks later. I used to set my D70 at +0.3 compensation to avoid shadow losses, but be VERY careful in doing that with the D300. I do it only in backlit situations where I cannot flash fill. The D-lighting in Capture NX is safer than the D-lighting setting in the camera, and seems to work fine.

7. Battery life is good, assuming you don’t use built-in flash. I always use an SB-400 for fill, so my experience may be different. TTL flash with the SB-400 on the D300 is not to be believed.

8. Consider carefully if you really need the vertical grip. I find the ergonomics quite good without it, and I don’t like the hair trigger on the vertical grip. However, the grip changes the public’s perceived nature of the photographer using it, in an era when everyone is walking around with dinky D40s and digital Rebels. At weddings, it’s a must. I attach it when I want to crash a scene as a pro – with the 80-200mm f2.8 zoom and lens shade, and the vertical grip on a D300, you can get past a lot of guards (e.g. sidelines of most non-pro football fields). On the other hand, take it off when entering museums or other places where the guards are looking to keep pros out. The weight with the AA battery pack is unacceptable – with the lithium ion, no big deal.

Conclusion: While not a D3 or D700, the D300 is more than enough camera for those who shoot images rarely printed larger than 24×36, and certainly more than enough for those whose work shows up mainly on the web.

It’s about the GLASS stupid. But you need a good body to use that glass. This is my backup body for my D700. You can’t go wrong with a Nikon.Every aspect of the purchase was as advertised. The sale from Beach Camera through Amazon went without a hitch. The package arrived on schedule, without damage, and all warranties/instructions were included. The camera has performed, so far, as expected. The 18-200mm zoom will make a good all-purpose TRAVEL lens and I expect to be purchasing additional lens (not necessarily for travel) in the future.Not only is this one of the finest cameras Nikon has ever produced, but Cameta Camera is a good, reputable dealer. I got a factory reconditioned (demo refurb)camera and 18-200 lens for hundreds less than I could at a local pro dealer.

The quality is indistinguishable from new, and there is a 30 day warranty from Nikon included.

As for the quality workings of the camera, they are outstanding, although I would not recommend this camera to an amateur as they will not reap the benefits of all this outstanding machine can do.

I give the camera an A+ and I give Cameta Camera an A+ as well. I will surely do business with them again.

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