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DSLR newbie. RTW advice

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1. Posted by Joseph88 (Budding Member 5 posts) 7y

Hi,

So I have recently fallen in love with my friends nikon DSLR (think it is a D40) and as I am going away on a RTW trip next year I thought I would get one.

To be honest I have always loved photography but have neither really taken photo's only admired other peoples work. Being a photography newbie is it wise for me to start shooting using a camera like this, or should I stick to the small basic pocket digital camera?

Japan is my first stop, should I wait until I'm in Tokyo to buy one or similar to the D40, and does anyone know how much I would be saving compared to the UK market? or should I buy a DSLR before my trip so I can practice and get used to it?

Thanks for your help

Joe

2. Posted by fabyomama (Respected Member 560 posts) 7y

If it was a top range Nikon costing thousands, then I'd say wait, as the savings could be substantial. But the D40 really doesn't cost that much in the first place, so maybe it's really a question of when do you want it.

Hope that helps.

3. Posted by Sander (Moderator 4835 posts) 7y

A D40 is as easy to use as any point 'n shoot camera, but it allows a lot more room for growth beyond that initial stage. The only way to stop being a photography newbie is to go out there and take photos (and then look at those photos; evaluate them, see what does and doesn't work, and try to do better next time), so I'd definitely say go and get one. Also, being at home might make it easier to evaluate photos and learn from them and get to know the camera so you can make better use of it while on the road (harder to find the time for this though, but that's up to yourself), so in that regard I would recommend getting it as soon as possible.
You might however want to wait a bit for the Nikon D3000, which is the replacement for the D40 (as that had been getting quite long in the tooth; technically this camera is actually the replacement for the D60, but that was just an updated D40, and it's the D40 which is now being discontinued). Same basics: As simple, cheap, small and lightweight a DSLR as possible, while still delivering really good quality photos; and that updated with technologies developed during the last couple of years. You can expect the D3000 to appear in shops in a month or two, costing £500 initially. (If that's stretching your budget, the D40 remains a very good camera even now, and should see a serious price drop when the D3000 starts to appear.)

I don't know what prices are in Japan (depends mostly on the current exchange rate, I think, which probably isn't too positive from the UK point of view (e.g. buy at home)), but if the camera develops any problems after a year or two, it'll be much easier to go get it serviced if you bought it at home than while abroad, so just for that I usually recommend to buy at home. (Even if myself I don't follow that advice and have bought all my DSLRs and most of my lenses in the USA.)

4. Posted by fabyomama (Respected Member 560 posts) 7y

"...You can expect the D3000 to appear in shops in a month or two, costing £500 initially. (If that's stretching your budget, the D40 remains a very good camera even now, and should see a serious price drop when the D3000 starts to appear..." - Sander

The D3000 holds very little advantage for practically twice the money.

There'll be plenty of good secondhand D40's because of it though. ;)

[ Edit: Edited on 17-Aug-2009, at 16:55 by fabyomama ]

5. Posted by Sander (Moderator 4835 posts) 7y

Quoting fabyomama

The D3000 holds very little advantage for practically twice the money.

If it's "practically twice the money", then that's only because of the announcement of the D3000. When I looked at D40 prices a couple of months ago, they were still hovering around £350-400. The D3000 also has far superior auto-focus (CAM-1000 rather than CAM-530; 11 selection points rather than 3) - although this doesn't "sell", in reality it's enough to justify any price difference, imo. Plus sensor cleaning, 4 megapixels more (okay, so that's not very important, but still nice for allowing more cropping), a much more useful menu system for someone who's not used to digital cameras, and other little touches like that.

An upgrade from D40 to D3000 would be stupid, but if you're buying one new and have the money for the D3000? I think it might just be worth it...

[ Edit: Edited on 17-Aug-2009, at 17:13 by Sander ]

6. Posted by fabyomama (Respected Member 560 posts) 7y

The D3000 seems well specified in many respects (not all though) and if he thinks the improvements are worth having then that's great. Trouble is, he did say he was just starting out and that he's on a budget and that he loves the D40 - if that's what it is.

He won't lose money on the D40 if he buys one at the right price, especially my suggestion of good secondhand, whereas he'll lose a lot on a newly released D3000 that he'll not only have to wait for, but whose features will be totally wasted.

Was trying to save the bloke some pennies and get him shooting. ;)

Post 7 was removed by a moderator
8. Posted by Q' (Travel Guru 1987 posts) 7y

Quoting fabyomama

The D3000 seems well specified in many respects (not all though) and if he thinks the improvements are worth having then that's great. Trouble is, he did say he was just starting out and that he's on a budget and that he loves the D40 - if that's what it is.

Interesting topic. I'm not sure if saving a few pennies when you're first learning is really the best way to go. What you want is a system that's as flexible as possible but isn't intimidating or over budget.

Flexible because, as you learn you'll no doubt branch off into different directions. The equipment must be flexible enough to support this exploration. This is why a DSLR system by either Nikon or Canon is probably the best. They have the most flexible systems with the largest number of lenses and accessories. A point and shoot camera or other less popular systems just doesn't have this kind of depth.

Obviously you also want something that's not too expensive or uncomfortable to use. You want to practice, practice, practice, and not something you'll put in a pedestal to just admire. Some people do that unfortunately. So something within a comfortable price range and feels good in your hands is perfect. Keeping in mind that the more you spend, the more you get. Usually this translates into greater flexibility, quality, robustness and functionality. However, keep in mind that equipment in use can be lost or damaged and you shouldn't price yourself so high that you'll give up photography entirely should something happen to the gear.

My advice would be not to pinch your pennies too tightly and go with as expensive a system as you can comfortably afford. Unfortunately photography is not a cheap hobby.

The asian markets vs. the west will depend a lot on your luck. There's some bargaining that happens with higher priced photo gear (even here in Canada). So shopping around and hard bargaining may get you a nice discount. Granted D40's or D3000's aren't considered rare or highend so bargaining may not get you a huge discount. And the possibility of selling an out of date D40 won't get any salesman excited (unless he's got stock he's desperate to get rid of). What the Japanese market does offer is technology that's several months ahead of the rest of the world, or might never make it outside of Japan. Balance that with what Sander said about repair warantees.

[ Edit: Edited on 18-Aug-2009, at 09:56 by Q' ]

9. Posted by fabyomama (Respected Member 560 posts) 7y

The D40(?) is flexible, within his means and he loves it. Lucky for him, because it's been tried and tested and has proven to be one of Nikons most successful cameras ever. The answer he was looking for was when to buy one. Simples. ;)

edit: "Unfortunately photography is not a cheap hobby..."

It can be as cheap as you want it to be.

[ Edit: Edited on 18-Aug-2009, at 12:47 by fabyomama ]

10. Posted by Q' (Travel Guru 1987 posts) 7y

Joseph88, my point and advice to you is do your own research, maybe considering the points I made in my previous post, hear other people's opinions also (your friend's, other posts in this thread, salesmen, online forums, photography clubs, etc.) and make your own decision. Nobody is qualified to tell you which camera to buy, it's your hobby and you should pursuit it with your own wits.

Quoting fabyomama

The D40(?) is flexible, within his means and he loves it. Lucky for him, because it's been tried and tested and has proven to be one of Nikons most successful cameras ever. The answer he was looking for was when to buy one. Simples. ;)

edit: "Unfortunately photography is not a cheap hobby..."

It can be as cheap as you want it to be.

I think you're as far from the truth as you can get. I didn't give an opinion on either cameras that have been suggested. But since you're so keen on it.....the D40 is a bit of a recent Nikon oddity. It was very quickly replaced by the D40x and D60 and even D5000/D3000. That's a clear indication that Nikon itself found the design wasn't good. As well photographers that have hands on experience with the camera found it to be a poor purchase and pushed Nikon toward better designs. While you can learn photography using any camera, as a consumer, the D40 is a poor purchase.