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Do I need a new camera?
#1
I have had my 6.1 meg D40 for a few years now. I bought a whole bunch of cheap manual film era lenses I use with it. I sort of hanker for more megapixels. The 600 dollar price tag on a newer Nikon is a meetable challenge for a pension-bound retiree. Should I blow the money (credit)? Sometimes I'm happy with the D40 and sometimes I would like a new toy.

Comment would be appreciated.
Nikon D3100 with Tokina 28-70mm f3.5, (I like to use a Vivitar .43x aux on the 28-70mm Tokina), Nikkor 10.5 mm fisheye, Quanteray 70-300mm f4.5, ProOptic 500 mm f6.3 mirror lens. http://donschaefferphoto.blogspot.com/
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#2
I'm not familiar with the Nikon cameras much, but it does seem your D40 is a bit outdated. I believe it would be wise to invest in a newer model, the change in picture quality will surprise you Smile
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#3
(Dec 23, 2012, 10:08)Don Schaeffer Wrote: I have had my 6.1 meg D40 for a few years now. I bought a whole bunch of cheap manual film era lenses I use with it. I sort of hanker for more megapixels. The 600 dollar price tag on a newer Nikon is a meetable challenge for a pension-bound retiree. Should I blow the money (credit)? Sometimes I'm happy with the D40 and sometimes I would like a new toy.

Comment would be appreciated.

Only if you are going to open a museum. Tongue Big Grin
Lumix LX5.
Canon 350 D.+ 18-55 Kit lens + Tamron 70-300 macro. + Canon 50mm f1.8 + Manfrotto tripod, in bag.
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#4
I owned a Pentax K100D Super, that had the exact same sensor as the Nikon D40. The picture quality of that CCD sensor was, at the time, amazing, and still is pretty good compared to modern sensors. The d40 is a nifty little DSLR, and the 6 Mp resolution is enough, in my opinion. I would probably buy a new lens instead. If you enjoy manual lenses you could get a Samyang 85mm 1.4 or a Samyang 8mm fisheye.
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#5
Thanks Aleyssa and NT
Nikon D3100 with Tokina 28-70mm f3.5, (I like to use a Vivitar .43x aux on the 28-70mm Tokina), Nikkor 10.5 mm fisheye, Quanteray 70-300mm f4.5, ProOptic 500 mm f6.3 mirror lens. http://donschaefferphoto.blogspot.com/
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#6
(Dec 24, 2012, 06:55)Don Schaeffer Wrote: Thanks Aleyssa and NT
I had a D40 and thought it was quite good, considering the price. More important than megapixels is low light sensitivity. If you do any shooting in less than optimal conditions, a new camera will amaze you. I guess Nikon introduced a D5200 model in Europe and should be bringing it to America soon. This should make the prices on the D5100 drop until the inventory is gone. The D5100 is supposed to have the same sensor as the D7000 and usable ISO in excess of 1600. If you can swing for a D7000, I think, not sure, it can automatically focus those manual lenses. The low light performance of the newer cameras, more than megapixel count, is a strong reason to upgrade. I can put a 50 mm prime lens on my D5000 and not use a flash indoors, unless it's really dim. The 50 will open up to f/1.7 to let lots of light in. The D40 can't keep up in dim conditions.

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#7
Thanks Aleyssa. Noise is my major problem with the D40. Low light capability be important. I can't really go higher than ISO 400 with the D40. I like to crop and the low pixel count really limits that. As far as autofocus, nothing will autofocus with my old film-era lenses. If I do upgrade it will be in a 400-500 dollar price range. Actually I am reasonably happy with the D40 and I am debating using the credit card against once my computer is paid off.
Nikon D3100 with Tokina 28-70mm f3.5, (I like to use a Vivitar .43x aux on the 28-70mm Tokina), Nikkor 10.5 mm fisheye, Quanteray 70-300mm f4.5, ProOptic 500 mm f6.3 mirror lens. http://donschaefferphoto.blogspot.com/
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#8
I can't speak from experience but from what I hear you should check out refurbished cameras at the Nikon website and the Adorama web site. I've never looked so I don't know if B&H does refurbs, they might. They say some refurbs have a shutter activation count under 10. Again, you'll be amazed at the low light performance of a new camera. The D3100 has big bang for the buck. The D5100, like my D5000 and I imagine the new D5200, has an articulated screen, like the old Canon point and shoots. This can be really handy. The D5100 uses the same sensor as the pricier D7000.
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#9
You re-opened the wound I thought I had closed. Thanks for the suggestion, Fritz.
Nikon D3100 with Tokina 28-70mm f3.5, (I like to use a Vivitar .43x aux on the 28-70mm Tokina), Nikkor 10.5 mm fisheye, Quanteray 70-300mm f4.5, ProOptic 500 mm f6.3 mirror lens. http://donschaefferphoto.blogspot.com/
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#10
(Dec 23, 2012, 10:08)Don Schaeffer Wrote: I have had my 6.1 meg D40 for a few years now. I bought a whole bunch of cheap manual film era lenses I use with it. I sort of hanker for more megapixels. The 600 dollar price tag on a newer Nikon is a meetable challenge for a pension-bound retiree. Should I blow the money (credit)? Sometimes I'm happy with the D40 and sometimes I would like a new toy.

Comment would be appreciated.
Don, I certainly know how you feel. I have a D-100 6.2mp and I invested clos to 3K (body only was 1995.00) About 9 years ago. I lived and breathed photography in the film days. I have been hesitant to replace my D-100 because I know I haven't fully exascerbated its capabilities.

Also I knew a Don Schaffer aboard the USS FDR CVA 42 could that have been you?

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#11
Nope--not me. There are lots of Don Schaeffers including criminals, politicians, preachers, and composers. Thanks for the comment plewis.
Nikon D3100 with Tokina 28-70mm f3.5, (I like to use a Vivitar .43x aux on the 28-70mm Tokina), Nikkor 10.5 mm fisheye, Quanteray 70-300mm f4.5, ProOptic 500 mm f6.3 mirror lens. http://donschaefferphoto.blogspot.com/
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#12
I think if you have access to a newer camera you should borrow it, and/or take a few shots with it and I'm betting you will realize that the newer cameras can do things you have never dreamt are possible. If you try the newer cameras I hope you'll be sure and let us know which one you bought and how you like it-LOL. Have fun and keep shootin'. Mike
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#13
Not really a tough call Don, go with something newer. You might want to check craigslist and get a newer camera that might only be a few generations past what is current.

In all honesty, I'm just like you. I don't buy a new camera every time the latest model rolls out, I tend to keep my gear for many years until something truly amazing comes out OR the piece of kit breaks and it makes more sense to upgrade at that point instead of throwing money into an obsolete product.
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#14
Don, I have had a D5100 since last summer and have 8,000+ shutter clicks on it. I really like it! I too have a D40 and the noise improvement on the 5100 is outstanding. On the D40, when shooting something like a lightning storm at night, I could start getting some noise at ISO 800, especially if I had to crop and enlarge the image. At 1600, the noise was rather noticable and when using Hi1, which is ISO 3200, noise was quite noticable under low light conditions. But, I figured a so-so photo was better than no photo at all. Before Christmas, my daughter was in a church play. I was a fair ways back and was having to use my 55-200 DX, which is something like f5.6 at 200mm. The church had spot lights on the players, but the rest of the church was nearly pitch black. Glad I didn't have to go to the bathroom, I would have broken my neck. Anyway, to get enough light to properly expose my daughter, I had to go to ISO 6400 on the 5100. Again, I figured a so-so photo is better than nothing at all. After downloading the images onto the computer, I had to crop them quite a bit and I was astounded at the lack of noise, as well as the lifelike color reproduction of the faces. No orange specks like on the D40 and no bluish black sploches in the dark regions. The 5100 also seems to have better color reproduction overall as well whether it's bright, dark, dim, cloudy and so on. I'm really pleased with the color, and auto white balance is usually adequate, although sometimes I still have to manuall set the WB especially when dealing with night scenes and different kinds of street lights. The 5100 also has more WB options like several differnt kinds of flourescent in addition to more ISO options like 250, 320 and so on.

With the 5200 on the horizon, the 5100 is $549 at Wal Mart, whereas I gave $599 for mine last summer. Before that, they were $849. The swivel screen on the 5100 is far more handy than I ever thought it would be and that's not even shooting video. I don't bend as well as I did several decades ago and the screen allows me to rotate it any direction to compose the shot or see the menu without having to get down onto my belly like a turtle. I really like the HDR feature. It won't give you the surreal HDR images some people get from photo program HDR, but instead it can make high contrast scenes look more like what your eye sees. It's not something I use all of the time, but I don't use the spare tire on my car all the time either. But when I do need it, I'm really glad I have it and the HDR is the same. Taking 2 consequtive images, it's usually no problem getting the shot hand held, even though the manual says to use a tripod. I've used the tripod only a few times with HDR. When I do use HDR, I take a regular shot as well. And the HDR does a better job than does D lighting at times when you have bright sunlit areas right next to deep shadows. So, if there's any way you can scrounge up the dough, I'd sure consider a 5100 while they are still available. I'm sure the 5200 will be better, but will also be way more expensive as well. The people in the know expect around $1,000 when it first comes out. As far as the new D3200 goes, there's no way I'd trade even up for my used 5100. The latter has too many of the good features the 3200 lacks. By the way, the 5100 18-55 kit lens has VR, which out D40s lack. I still have my D40 and I still use it, but when it comes to more difficult lighting situations, the 5100 comes out.

Hope you can get a 5100 because I believe you'd really like it and it's just more versitile than the D40 as well as vastly superior in low light. Good luck.
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#15
Thanks guys. I'm still thinking about it. The low light and noise arguments are very strong.
Nikon D3100 with Tokina 28-70mm f3.5, (I like to use a Vivitar .43x aux on the 28-70mm Tokina), Nikkor 10.5 mm fisheye, Quanteray 70-300mm f4.5, ProOptic 500 mm f6.3 mirror lens. http://donschaefferphoto.blogspot.com/
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#16
Knowing that you enjoy using old lenses, you should consider the Pentax K-01. It sells for about 310$, with the 40mm kit lens. It's not really a DSLR, lacking an optical viewfinder, but it's shaped pretty good, and has the great 16mp Sony sensor also found in the Nikon D5100 an D7000. More than that, the sensor is electromagnetically stabilized. That means that any lens you use on it, no matter how old (k mount, m42 screwmount and any other mount via adapter) gets image stabilisation. Regarding low light capabilities, image quality, and price, it's a steal.
And it also has a very useful focus peak function for manual focusing.
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#17
I need a viewfinder--either EVF of optical.
Nikon D3100 with Tokina 28-70mm f3.5, (I like to use a Vivitar .43x aux on the 28-70mm Tokina), Nikkor 10.5 mm fisheye, Quanteray 70-300mm f4.5, ProOptic 500 mm f6.3 mirror lens. http://donschaefferphoto.blogspot.com/
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#18
it is not the camera it is how you use it. I shoot regularly with an older d-100. The only thing a newer Nikon would offer for me is better ISO low noise. Not a fan of video, that would make me a cinematographer. touch enough to compete with Ansel Adams, now Nikon wants me to compete with Stephen Spielberg to? In all seriousness save money go to KEH>com look at a used d-300 or even a used d-7000. great company to deal with you get a free 6 month warranty. Do not be afraid to try gear marked bgn or ug. I buy that regularly and other the minor cosmetic flaws , they work perfect.

I too have been experimenting with old manual focus lenses. It is different not having a meter and auto focus, but enjoy the challenge.Exclamation
"I did it my way" Cool
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#19
Thanks a lot for that reference. Nexrt month may be the time for the D60.
Nikon D3100 with Tokina 28-70mm f3.5, (I like to use a Vivitar .43x aux on the 28-70mm Tokina), Nikkor 10.5 mm fisheye, Quanteray 70-300mm f4.5, ProOptic 500 mm f6.3 mirror lens. http://donschaefferphoto.blogspot.com/
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#20
The 10mp Nikon d60 doesn't seem like a huge upgrade compared to the d40. The 10mp sensor isn't that good in low light. The 12mp one is better , and the 16mp one, if you can afford it, is great.
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#21
ok. I still get my models mixed up.
Nikon D3100 with Tokina 28-70mm f3.5, (I like to use a Vivitar .43x aux on the 28-70mm Tokina), Nikkor 10.5 mm fisheye, Quanteray 70-300mm f4.5, ProOptic 500 mm f6.3 mirror lens. http://donschaefferphoto.blogspot.com/
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#22
(Dec 26, 2012, 18:48)Don Schaeffer Wrote: Nope--not me. There are lots of Don Schaeffers including criminals, politicians, preachers, and composers. Thanks for the comment plewis.

Hi Don I am a freelance photographer working in the UK. I cant comment on Nikon But I still use my Canon D60 6.9 MP camera on a regular basis. I also Have a Canon 1ds 11MP in regular use as well as my more up to date cameras. I get superb images from all, shooting in RAW, but I do use L series lenses. I think the quality of glass is just as important as the camera body. I don't subscribe to the MP chasers.
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#23
I did it! I ordered a Nikon D3100 for $479 plus tax at Best Buy (on credit). May Heaven forgive me!
Nikon D3100 with Tokina 28-70mm f3.5, (I like to use a Vivitar .43x aux on the 28-70mm Tokina), Nikkor 10.5 mm fisheye, Quanteray 70-300mm f4.5, ProOptic 500 mm f6.3 mirror lens. http://donschaefferphoto.blogspot.com/
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#24
Congratulations Don! You will have to let us know how you like it and of course let us see some samples!!
Barbara - Life is what you make of it!
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#25
Congrats! Use it wisely and with lots of inspiration!
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