My college age son has been bugging me to give him a camera. I want to pick-up a used starter kit for about $300, including a kit zoom, charger and battery. I have a D50 (which was my first DSLR) from seven years ago, but I want to keep that for myself. It works perfectly, and I still use it for snaps and other non-critical work. It lays around my house with a normal lens on it for grab shots. I don't mind putting it in situations where I wouldn't risk damage to my newer cameras. I use a D7000 for my important shots. Also, I have a lot of pre-AFS lenses that still work on the D50 - Nikon's newer low-end DSLR's don't AF with those.
Sooooo, I can get a D50 or a D40 kit for my budget (with the same 18-55 lens). I've never shot with the D40, but I know it has a newer sensor with more resolution, and it has a vastly superior rear LCD (which is my biggest beef with the D50). Some of the D40 kits also come with the newer VR version of the kit lens. On the other hand, the D50 can share all of my older lenses. It also has the top LCD, which I would really miss (but would he?), and has more external controls (again, is this an issue with a complete beginner?).
My son will probably use this mostly for people shots of his friends, and occassional site-seeing when he travels. He'll probably not use it much in low light without flash, or for action shots.
What do you think? Newer, better sensor and bigger/better LCD...or...backward lens compatibility and external better controls? If anybody has shot with both, I'd appreciate your feedback on whether the D40 has a significant increase in image quality over the D50.
Tue 01-Jan-13 07:23 AM | edited Tue 01-Jan-13 07:24 AM by James23p
This is why I would go with the D50. It has the ability to AF with older AF-D lens since it has a in camera AF motor vs the D40 which does not. This for a beginner helps keep costs down because you can use all kinds of older AF-D lens and have full function and auto focus. Plus my D50 just keeps going my daughter uses it now but it is a solid performer. I'm not saying the D40 is bad but I just think the D50 had more features.
I have a D40x that my son and his wife are now using - and they are liking it. It was relatively painless to get them acclimated to using it, and would make a good starter for your son, I think.
However, since you have a D50 and lenses that won't work with the D40 that you can loan him; I would go with the D50. You are already familiar with the D50, and can help him with advice more readily than with a D40.
I just bought a D40 to use as a lightweight/car/snapshot/goof-off camera. I leave an 18-55 VR on it, or my Holga lens. The drivers for my decision were price and size/weight, so I got the D40 over the D50. The D70 is also an option.
Since he is just starting out, the 18-55 and 55-200 are dirt cheap and have built in motors. You could get a D40 (or D50/D70 -- they are priced similarly) used from KEH for about $160, an 18-55 VR for $80, and a 55-200 VR for $110. That would make a great beginner's kit, and is only about $350.
Late to the party which is usual for me but interestingly enough my D40 still has an important feature that makes me bring it along on daytime shoots. Unlike any of my other cameras, it can flash synch at 1/500s which makes it the bomb for balance fill flash photography. As a teaching instrument it is much more friendly than my D70 which I assume is similar to a D50. My D300 and D7000 get first and second position in my bag. The D40 will be coming out with me more while the D70 would stay home.
Go with the D40 for casual stuff. The D50 only has the advantage when you use older lenses. Realistically what are the odds that your son will be swapping lenses?
I would go with the D50, simply becuse it is a good reliable camera, or at least, mine is. It can use older lenses.
For a student, maybe the D40 with the (18-55 no VR) lens epoxied in place forever! And, the Program dial glued on AUTO!
Of COURSE your student is a marvelous and wonderful human being...a star among their peers...but...I always cringe when somebody wants to buy their college student a camera.
Those cameras wiil be bashed, stuffed into purses,drawers, glove boxes, gym bags with wet, dirty socks and rhyming items, ignored, put away wet, with fingerprints on the lens, and generally have the merry Aitch beaten out of them!
Surprisingly, many do survive this! But, a rugged and inexpen$ive point and shoot seems like a wiser investment...it'll cost less to replace when (not if)it is stolen. Buy a pink one...somebody would have to be really desperate to steal one of those!
Concur with point and shoot. Concur with pink .. May add tastelessly garish.
I have a Canon sx160is point and shoot. Cost about $150 on sale. Does most of what a DSLR does, except less. You can play with aperture, ISO, shutter speed, focal length. Color balance, color tone, e.g. B&W, Sepia, Red, Blue, etc.
I am building a bracket to mount an optical hot shoe slave. Eventually, I'll be able to use a Yongnuo RF-603 for lighting control. Got me a repaired tripod. The possibilities are endless.
I'm using it to learn until 30 Sep, when I buy a DSLR.
Yes. Get him a point and shoot. WHEN it is run over, dropped in the pool, or snagged by someone who wants to buy weed, you're out only $150, and no sentimental hurt.
When he's out of college, THEN give him the D40. He'll appreciate it more.
I would go with the D50. My daughter who has just turned five, loves her D50. It's rugged, hard wearing, can take the knocks and more importantly can use older AF lenses Which tend to be tougher and cheaper. I bought the D50 second hand with an old AF D 35-70 3.3 In practically mint condition for $90 on yahoo auctions. There really is no place for point-and-shoot when you can buy at DSLR for less than a hundred dollars.
I thought he sensor was the same, but this is confusing as the ISO for D40 is higher. The only issue is weight, inbuilt help, better controls to change pictures once they're taken, BUT the D50 is built more like the D7100 with WB and ISO buttons on the back. I lost my D50 to an orange juice accident, and so ended up with D40, I wasn't happy, but I got used to it!
Image quality I guess is only as good as the lens.
Being closer to the beginner category myself, I'd first ask your son what his interest in a camera is, not what he will shoot with it. Does he want to learn about photography, or just take pics? If it's just pics - point and shoot. If he wants to learn about photography, then I'd look at d40 vs.d50. Then I'd also get prime lens, tell him to set it on manual and go shoot and experiment. That will teach him more than anything, if that is his goal. I'll leave the rest of the equipment recommendations to others. Hope that helps - sorry it's so late.