All cameras are built to a price point, in order to be competitive. I have used most of the Nikon bodies since the F3 and I can say that basically you get what you pay for. I have used the D40 (a friend's) and for the price, you can't really complain. If you wanted something really rugged, then you'd have to shell out a lot more money. The question is, do you really need it?
don't really get what you mean by lousy casing/not so nice casing. in terms of casing, the grip is probably all i care about, and i like Nikon's sensitive design for the grip. i used to use a D70s and got a D80 this year, the latter is smaller than D70s. D70s' grip was ok, i thought D80's grip was going to be difficult, but after using it i like how it still balance well despite the smallness, and the light weight allows me to bring it to places without having the feeling that i'm taking too many things with me. maybe my palm isn't that big, but it works well for me.
For me chunky was my F5 but the one that took the prize is the olderr F4s. That was built like a tank. Dropped it more then a few times and it keeps on working but then again I have dropped or bumped hard all my camera bodies all these years and I never had a single problem where it failed. But then again you have to pay the price for it. You get just as good a camera from any top brands these day for the money you pay for. The Pro bodies goes alot further as they are made to have not just the best functions or features but it's built to last a long time and to take more abusive then the regular sunday Joe is able to. That kind of combination thus requires more sophisticated assembly, exotic materials as casings and internal structuring to protect the mechanical and delicate electronic components that's inside each Pro-bodies.
But that is not to say the lower end ones are that "bad" that you should feel somewhat short-changed or insulted that they give you these choices. Take my D70 for example, for its price, it is well made. For those who feel bodies in these price ranges are bad, this plastic they use is the same used in Stealth Planes..they are typically your higher end plastic that offer a good weight vs toughness combo for the sunday shooter or even semi-pro shooter to use on a daily basis. Yes in the early days, mechanical cameras or even electronic one like F90 or my old FG have metal bodies. But these days, tough plastic and moulding technology was still in it's infancy. Times have changes and there are plastic that is alot stronger and more resistance to vibration then metal. Of course even that, that is up to a point before you have to go back to some thing metail but even that is some exotic amalgamented material. Translation? Not cheap material.
In my youngers days ya..great fun carry a bag full of lens and 2 bodies and a big tripod around but now decision to cut down to just a few lens and one body and a tripod suits me just fine. I wish the body was heavier as it promote a more stable weight for me to shoot at slower speed without a tripod but well..it's a trade off. I like to carry a lighter bag around town! heheheh
I banged my D70 too and most of the time don't even put it in a proper camera bag all these years and it is still ticking along fine. There really is no reason to nitpick. You can wait 10 yrs but there will always be things found on Pro-Bodies that will NEVER come down to be adapted on lower end cameras. Some do but never everything.The simple truth is..you GET what you PAY for.
I felt not much difference from my D80 to a borrowed D200. Just difference in the weight. Grip is good for my hands. Image quality roughly the same, the D200 just a bit more rugged than the D80. The feel of handling a D200 is shiok, better than a D80 of course. You really pay for what you get. Don't expect too many good things with a D40x.
If you noticed, Nikon's built quality has ALWAYS surpassed that of Canon's. Just look at its 30D - so plasticky, but of course, they have improved with their latest launches.
My 20 eyars with Nikon was 'coz its built quality and weather sealed. Of course, it would be HEAVY, and if u walk 16 hours a day lugging your equipment, then u will know what I mean.
Each brand has it's strong points and for low light, it is Canon, sports, also Canon. But with the latest offerings from both camps, u would see that the line dividing these are blurring... some sports shooters are shifting camps liaw.... with the new CMOS from Nikon, would the low-light issue be solved/bettered? Let's just see.
It is at times irritating when one goes into the "is Nikon better or Canon better" discussion, just like sports fanatic's "MU vs Arsenal". Just shoot with what you have... For myself, I never liked to discuss my pix and/or other ppl's pix as photography is SO INDIVIDUALISTIC. If YOU feel YOUR pix is nice, then it is nice... period!
IF you ask for C&C (hope everyone know what C&C means), then be ready to accept POSITIVE and NEGATIVE critiques and/or comments. I have seen some only able to take POSITIVE ones, then those fellas should note "only POSITIVE C&C welcomed". If you don't like C&C at all, then please don't end your pix or note with C&C. For others, if you don't see C&C asked, then zip up.
When I get the chance to meet you guys, I can share with you the 'differences' between SG and MY photo forums. Sorry, a little OT the last few para
As above, in a way that some of their bodies have solid functions and not so good casings
Nikon D40x, good CCD but lousy casing
Nikon D80, good functions [comparable to D200] but not so nice casing
Wah... so many cams until cannot disclose
Whatever it is, one needs to hold the cam in his/her hand to feel if it is right for them... like for myself... I just cannot hold the Canon 350D, how good they say it was when it was launched those days... cannot means cannot, I dont care what ppl say... D200 fells like home.. as I have slightly bigger hands...
Built? Ppl want this want that in their cam, weather seal, whatever seal, ... but have you seen photogs run like hell to keep their 'precious' when only a few rain drops fall!! Seal my foot lah!
Get whatever model you think it built like a tank and stick with it, if not, we will label you hypocrite!