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Thread: Anyone build off non-AF body platforms? (D40/x, D60 etc..) + need opinions

  1. #1

    Default Anyone build off non-AF body platforms? (D40/x, D60 etc..) + need opinions

    Hi folks, another newbie here.

    Would like to ask for some opinions. I've already tried to read up as much as possible to avoid asking overly noob questions that keep popping up every few days

    I have D40 with kit lens and am now looking to kinda upgrade. My typical use for the camera include casual shooting, overseas trips, car photography, exhibitions (usually car) and sometimes still-life/products. Basically just a hobbyist.

    I find the kit lens basically quite good for most needs, but I dunno if it's my shaky hand or because of the f/3.5, I have a lot of blurry photos as a good portion of my shots are in fairly low-light (car interior, car in MSCP, exhibition poor lighting, poorly lit places overseas etc..). I have a tripod but in some cases, it's not always available or convenient, and would like to keep it to handheld. Also, I find the kit lens doesn't seem to be tack sharp (is it true or is it my own noobness?)

    1) The question is, should I be looking at using a flash or will a lens such as the AF-S 35mm f/1.8 help significantly with low-light situations? (I do prefer natural lighting as far as possible). I am also looking for a lens that's sharper than the kit lens.

    I like to travel light and have already found some situations where even the D40 is a little bulky for my tastes (especially during rainy weather; I wish I just had a small PnS stashed in my pocket) but overall I still find it acceptable.

    My questions along this line are :-

    2) Would an AF-S 35mm f/1.8 + an AF-S 18-200mm VR seem to cover most of my needs? Or are there better recommendations? (kit lens juz keep as spare or sell; trying to minimise weight)

    3) For the $$$ for these 2 lenses + selling my D40 kit away, I can get a D90 kit (18-105mm VR) and get a nice, fast, non-AF-S prime lens (like the 50mm f/1.8) for another couple hundred more bucks. Would this be a better choice?

    I am leaning towards upgrading to the D90 but some concerns are that for the same $$, I lose 100mm of zoom and my prime lens is 50mm vs 35mm (although I read the 35mm bokeh sux), which may be a bit far for car exhibition and tight spaces, but of course I have a better platform and better body for future upgrades.

    So which combo would be better?

    i) (D40) + (AF-S 18-200mm VR) + (AF-S 35mm f1.8)
    ii) (D90) + (18-105mm VR kit lens) + (AF 50mm f/1.8D)

    I know I can basically 'answer my own questions', but it's always nice to hear some opinions, especially when I might be missing out other equipment combos/choices that I didn't even know exist!

    Anyone actually choose D40/D40x/D60/D3000,5000 etc.. as their base body vs D70/80/90 etc? Any advantage of these cams besides smaller size and lighter weight?

    Sorry for the long post; would love to hear some opinions!

  2. #2
    Senior Member ZerocoolAstra's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone build off non-AF body platforms? (D40/x, D60 etc..) + need opinions

    Quote Originally Posted by NooberGoober
    Hi folks, another newbie here.

    Would like to ask for some opinions. I've already tried to read up as much as possible to avoid asking overly noob questions that keep popping up every few days

    I have D40 with kit lens and am now looking to kinda upgrade. My typical use for the camera include casual shooting, overseas trips, car photography, exhibitions (usually car) and sometimes still-life/products. Basically just a hobbyist.

    I find the kit lens basically quite good for most needs, but I dunno if it's my shaky hand or because of the f/3.5, I have a lot of blurry photos as a good portion of my shots are in fairly low-light (car interior, car in MSCP, exhibition poor lighting, poorly lit places overseas etc..). I have a tripod but in some cases, it's not always available or convenient, and would like to keep it to handheld. Also, I find the kit lens doesn't seem to be tack sharp (is it true or is it my own noobness?)

    1) The question is, should I be looking at using a flash or will a lens such as the AF-S 35mm f/1.8 help significantly with low-light situations? (I do prefer natural lighting as far as possible). I am also looking for a lens that's sharper than the kit lens.

    I like to travel light and have already found some situations where even the D40 is a little bulky for my tastes (especially during rainy weather; I wish I just had a small PnS stashed in my pocket) but overall I still find it acceptable.

    My questions along this line are :-

    2) Would an AF-S 35mm f/1.8 + an AF-S 18-200mm VR seem to cover most of my needs? Or are there better recommendations? (kit lens juz keep as spare or sell; trying to minimise weight)

    3) For the $$$ for these 2 lenses + selling my D40 kit away, I can get a D90 kit (18-105mm VR) and get a nice, fast, non-AF-S prime lens (like the 50mm f/1.8) for another couple hundred more bucks. Would this be a better choice?

    I am leaning towards upgrading to the D90 but some concerns are that for the same $$, I lose 100mm of zoom and my prime lens is 50mm vs 35mm (although I read the 35mm bokeh sux), which may be a bit far for car exhibition and tight spaces, but of course I have a better platform and better body for future upgrades.

    So which combo would be better?

    i) (D40) + (AF-S 18-200mm VR) + (AF-S 35mm f1.8)
    ii) (D90) + (18-105mm VR kit lens) + (AF 50mm f/1.8D)

    I know I can basically 'answer my own questions', but it's always nice to hear some opinions, especially when I might be missing out other equipment combos/choices that I didn't even know exist!

    Anyone actually choose D40/D40x/D60/D3000,5000 etc.. as their base body vs D70/80/90 etc? Any advantage of these cams besides smaller size and lighter weight?

    Sorry for the long post; would love to hear some opinions!
    Ok I try to advise you with my personal opinions. I'm sure others will offer theirs too real soon!

    The main advantage of a D40 over a D80/90 is the smaller size, and hence greater convenience when carrying it around on holidays, etc. You do lose out on some functions (sub command dial, larger viewfinder, top LCD, DOF preview button, wireless flash commander, AF motor, etc etc), so you must take these into consideration.

    The D40 seems to be able to satisfy your needs for the time being.
    I think selling off everything to get D90 + 50mm f/1.8 is not the way to go. The 50mm, though a great value-for-money lens, is kinda "tight" on an cropped body. You gotta stand pretty far away to capture the entire car, for example.

    Prime lenses are sharper than kit zooms, I'm convinced of that.

    My suggestion is to get the 35 f/1.8 DX on your existing set-up.
    If still not bright enough (especially car interior, etc), tripod is the first option, followed by external flash.

    D40 + 35/1.8 + SB600 is a pretty decent combo, with the 18-55 kit lens in the bag.

    Later when you've saved enough $$, you can get the D90 body only, and use the rest of the gear.

    edit: Sorry my mistake... Didn't read your post properly.

    If you can get D90 kit (with 18-105) + 50/1.8, that's a good choice as well. But it's a fair bit heavier than your D40 setup... Is that what you want?
    Last edited by ZerocoolAstra; 7th December 2009 at 02:14 PM.
    Exploring! :)

  3. #3

    Default Re: Anyone build off non-AF body platforms? (D40/x, D60 etc..) + need opinions

    Quote Originally Posted by ZerocoolAstra View Post
    D40 + 35/1.8 + SB600 is a pretty decent combo, with the 18-55 kit lens in the bag.
    +1 on this..i have a motorless body also, it's been my setup for months now (35mm+sb600) and has considerably improved my shooting style..PLS take note, 35mm f1.8 is NOT intended as portrait lens, it is a NORMAL LENS on cropped DX cam like d40/d60/d5k/d3k/d300/d90 just like a 50mm is a normal lens on full frames d3/d700..so don't expect to produce head shots with 35mm and get a flattering subject face as normally you'd see on portrait shots by 85mm prime lens..the 35mm normal lens on DX for me is a very nice walkabout prime: light,fast,sharp..here's a very good read on why you should consider using a normal prime lens:

    http://www.vothphoto.com/spotlight/a...otten-lens.htm

  4. #4

    Default Re: Anyone build off non-AF body platforms? (D40/x, D60 etc..) + need opinions

    Thanks for the opinions, folks. If I don't consider the 18-200mm VR lens ($1k) in the mix, then it seems the better and cheaper way to go would be AF-S 35mm + SB-600 vs getting the D90 combo.

    Besides the various things I've brought up above, I also find the need for zoom past 55mm (usually overseas), that's why I am considering a good zoom lens as well. I know I could prob go with the cheaper 55-200mm VR which complements my kit lens, but then I'd have to carry two extra lenses instead of just one.

    Basically I came up with those 2 combos because I think it's the most 'reasonable' amount of equipment I would carry on a trip (body + zoom lens + fast prime) without the need of a flash.

    I guess if I could put aside weight/bulk issues, the best way to spend the $$ would be sticking to my D40 and getting the (AF-S 35mm) + (AF-S 55-200mm VR) + (SB-600), yes? Still got change vs the other combos.

    Looks like I should be looking at travel bags and carrying gear instead of trying to reduce the equipment

    I don't think I'll be intentionally taking portraits with the 35mm... but if I'm just taking casual shots of my tour kakis and friends, I should be able to move close enough to still get decent portrait shots? (Read that the 35mm focus range is about 1 foot?)
    Last edited by NooberGoober; 7th December 2009 at 05:51 PM.

  5. #5
    maxtheevil
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    Default Re: Anyone build off non-AF body platforms? (D40/x, D60 etc..) + need opinions

    35mm 1.8G,

    weakness : known to flare and CA

    strength : De Low Light Lens, F2.8 - 5.6 for sharpness.

    i won't get zoom if i were u.

    they are poor at giving me big apertures to work on.

    it's most probably your skills and metering that needs working on.

    i have seen alot of pro shots from the 35mm 1.8G.

    i hesitate to use a tripod, because a good tripod, manfrotto onwards, is good and heavy, carbon or otherwise...

    and 35mm on a dx is a 50mm, so, it's not as if i am doing a landscape that needs tripod in low light conditions.


    do spot metering for more accurate metering.

    some shots are too dark to be captured without tripod, just move on, (for me)

    but if u are a superman, then, u would have your tripod with u to mount on it.


    walk with a 105mm lens the whole day and u would see why i rather have a 24 / 28 / 35 / 50mm lens with me, easier to compose a pic.

  6. #6
    Senior Member ZerocoolAstra's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone build off non-AF body platforms? (D40/x, D60 etc..) + need opinions

    I have another suggestion for you: Just a slight modification....


    Maybe sell off your 18-55, get the 18-105VR (D90 kit lens) and 35/1.8 and SB600

    3 items for < $900 if you go 2nd hand (quite new), and if you can sell off your 18-55 for about 90-100, that will offset your costs a bit.

    Overall I think this is quite a good combo. Still fairly light and yet quite capable.
    Exploring! :)

  7. #7
    Moderator ortega's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone build off non-AF body platforms? (D40/x, D60 etc..) + need opinions

    would the addition of VR solve your problem?

    you could consider
    1. AF-S DX NIKKOR 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR
    2. AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR
    3. AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR

    or the tamron SP AF17-50mm/2.8 XR VC Di II LD Aspherical (IF)

  8. #8
    Senior Member ZerocoolAstra's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone build off non-AF body platforms? (D40/x, D60 etc..) + need opinions

    Quote Originally Posted by NooberGoober
    I don't think I'll be intentionally taking portraits with the 35mm... but if I'm just taking casual shots of my tour kakis and friends, I should be able to move close enough to still get decent portrait shots? (Read that the 35mm focus range is about 1 foot?)
    Not sure if you've tried to take "portraits" of your friends from about 1 foot away...
    I don't think they'd be very flattered with the results
    Exploring! :)

  9. #9

    Default Re: Anyone build off non-AF body platforms? (D40/x, D60 etc..) + need opinions

    ZerocoolAstra, quite an idea... is the D90 kit lens AF-S though? *edit : Nvm, found out it is. Cool

    I guess VR would always be welcomed but I think mainly the kit lens isn't the best choice for handheld low-light situations.
    Last edited by NooberGoober; 7th December 2009 at 06:27 PM.

  10. #10
    Moderator ortega's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone build off non-AF body platforms? (D40/x, D60 etc..) + need opinions

    you could also train yourself to handhold your camera using the correct technique

    see the pictures in this thread

    http://www.clubsnap.com/forums/showt...ortega+malacca

    i shot those with a D80 and a tamron 17-50 f2.8 no VC hand held, only with available light

  11. #11
    maxtheevil
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    Default Re: Anyone build off non-AF body platforms? (D40/x, D60 etc..) + need opinions

    Quote Originally Posted by ZerocoolAstra View Post
    Not sure if you've tried to take "portraits" of your friends from about 1 foot away...
    I don't think they'd be very flattered with the results
    errr, 30cm can be too close, but it depends on the person's composition.

    just be careful that u don't shorten the min distance of 30cm or it's all blur from there.

    if u use the 35mm which is a 50mm on dx.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Anyone build off non-AF body platforms? (D40/x, D60 etc..) + need opinions

    Quote Originally Posted by NooberGoober View Post
    I don't think I'll be intentionally taking portraits with the 35mm... but if I'm just taking casual shots of my tour kakis and friends, I should be able to move close enough to still get decent portrait shots? (Read that the 35mm focus range is about 1 foot?)
    Actually for portrait shots, you need to shoot far to get a "better perspective"..if you get too close to your subject, not only will it make him/her uncomfortable, would also resort to facial features (like nose or chin) elongation (for children and babies i think this would be ok though)......

    an alternative is to shoot far, then crop later on post processing, but then you lose the thin DOF and the resolution that's why best portrait shots in full frames is in 85mm-135mm range (for DX divide it by 1.5)..longer focal length forces you to shoot far resulting to a better portrait perspective while still maintaining a shallow DOF

    it's the subject to camera distance that affects the perspective not the focal length, you can verify this using a very simple experiment with your kit lens, position a friend and instruct him to be still, fix your kit lens to some focal length you want (i.e. 35mm), take two shots of your friend's face, one at a close distance the other at a farther distance, crop both picture later in your pc so that the head shot fills the picture, you'll find that the one shot at a longer distance has a "flatter" facial features which makes for a better portrait..hope that helps

  13. #13

    Default Re: Anyone build off non-AF body platforms? (D40/x, D60 etc..) + need opinions

    hey, i totally understand what you feel. im using a d40 as well and the kit lense of course. i often find myselfs in dark places but i hate to use the flash cause its kinda ugly. so the shutter often gets trapped at aroun 1/30 which always make the photos blur. so i decided to get the af-s 35mm f1.8 i would say for casual use it works pretty good. and in dark places shutter is about 1/60 at f2 so the image remains relatively sharp. however some people complains bout the poor bokeh. but it seems fine to me. check out kenrockwell.com i would say go for the lense. its worth the money. to correct someone above. the 35mm works as 35mm on d40. its not manual lense. so yeah, its worth the buy

    plus, i thnk D40's performance won't lose out much to D90. get the 18-200 VR. its better that way unless you need the video function.
    Last edited by Death-star; 7th December 2009 at 08:20 PM.

  14. #14
    Member Charlietan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone build off non-AF body platforms? (D40/x, D60 etc..) + need opinions

    The 35mm don't works as 35mm on D40. D40 is a DX format camera, 35mm on DX format would be 52.5mm.
    Nikon D300s|Tokina 12-24 f/4|Tamron 17-50 f/2.8|Nikon 35 f/1.8| Flickr

  15. #15
    Senior Member ZerocoolAstra's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone build off non-AF body platforms? (D40/x, D60 etc..) + need opinions

    Quote Originally Posted by Death-star View Post
    hey, i totally understand what you feel. im using a d40 as well and the kit lense of course. i often find myselfs in dark places but i hate to use the flash cause its kinda ugly. so the shutter often gets trapped at aroun 1/30 which always make the photos blur. so i decided to get the af-s 35mm f1.8 i would say for casual use it works pretty good. and in dark places shutter is about 1/60 at f2 so the image remains relatively sharp. however some people complains bout the poor bokeh. but it seems fine to me. check out kenrockwell.com i would say go for the lense. its worth the money. to correct someone above. the 35mm works as 35mm on d40. its not manual lense. so yeah, its worth the buy

    plus, i thnk D40's performance won't lose out much to D90. get the 18-200 VR. its better that way unless you need the video function.
    You talk about the kit lens' poor performance in low light, then you recommend the 18-200, which is no faster. On top of that, it's front heavy when mounted with the D40, making it an unbalanced combination.

    By the way, it's a lens, not a lense

    Singular = lens
    Plural = lenses
    Exploring! :)

  16. #16

    Default Re: Anyone build off non-AF body platforms? (D40/x, D60 etc..) + need opinions

    wow, professional english aid eh? whatever.
    he wanted a combo. why don't you read first

    anyway, i thought its a DX LENS

  17. #17
    Senior Member ZerocoolAstra's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone build off non-AF body platforms? (D40/x, D60 etc..) + need opinions

    Quote Originally Posted by Death-star View Post
    wow, professional english aid eh? whatever.
    he wanted a combo. why don't you read first

    anyway, i thought its a DX LENS
    A DX lens is a lens, isn't it? Unless it's a television set...
    Exploring! :)

  18. #18

    Default Re: Anyone build off non-AF body platforms? (D40/x, D60 etc..) + need opinions

    correction, it indeed works as a ~53mm

  19. #19

    Default Re: Anyone build off non-AF body platforms? (D40/x, D60 etc..) + need opinions

    Thanks for the great recommendations and tips, folks.

    Come to think of it, 30cm is really too close for comfort..haha.. Actually I didn't really mean to go so close but was just pointing out that I read that was the len's minimum focus range. I'll keep in mind that portrait shots are better from some distance.

    The 18-200 is indeed similar performance to my kit lens in terms of aperture, but I think bro Deathstar meant I should go ahead and get it for my zoom needs, and also get the 35mm for low light needs, instead of taking up the D90 combo. Thanks for your opinion.

    I think it's quite natural to always pine for the better camera body, but with some well put considerations, I'm thinking the D40 might be enough for a hobbyist like me. Anyway, come to think of it, even if I commit to the D40 platform and pick up the current equipment for it, it's not TOO much of a commitment, in terms of $$$.

    I will probably be happy using the new lenses for awhile, which should be sufficient for my needs. Maybe by the time I find that I need a better body, it might be time for the D90's successor or even later

    I'd still welcome any recommendations and opinions but thanks so far to all the contributors!

  20. #20

    Default Re: Anyone build off non-AF body platforms? (D40/x, D60 etc..) + need opinions

    Quote Originally Posted by NooberGoober View Post
    Thanks for the great recommendations and tips, folks.

    Come to think of it, 30cm is really too close for comfort..haha.. Actually I didn't really mean to go so close but was just pointing out that I read that was the len's minimum focus range. I'll keep in mind that portrait shots are better from some distance.

    The 18-200 is indeed similar performance to my kit lens in terms of aperture, but I think bro Deathstar meant I should go ahead and get it for my zoom needs, and also get the 35mm for low light needs, instead of taking up the D90 combo. Thanks for your opinion.

    I think it's quite natural to always pine for the better camera body, but with some well put considerations, I'm thinking the D40 might be enough for a hobbyist like me. Anyway, come to think of it, even if I commit to the D40 platform and pick up the current equipment for it, it's not TOO much of a commitment, in terms of $$$.

    I will probably be happy using the new lenses for awhile, which should be sufficient for my needs. Maybe by the time I find that I need a better body, it might be time for the D90's successor or even later

    I'd still welcome any recommendations and opinions but thanks so far to all the contributors!
    yes d40 would be enough and any lens you buy with it you'll surely use when you upgrade the body so no waste then..but if you ask me, better to buy external flash first before any zoom, coupled with the kit lens, you'll improve your indoor and night shots dramatically, an external flash can bounce the light on walls or ceilings making for a softer cast, evenly spread light and removing annoying shadows on your subject compared to a built in flash which is very harsh due to it's smaller source and "always forward" orientation

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