Hey everyone new to the boards here, just picked up a D40 to give my old FE a rest and finally get into a DSLR. One Of the things I'm wondering is are there any "must haves" for the D40 as far as lenses and other equipment that you can think of? I do a lot of wildlife and nature shots, I'm actually a Bio student and I do some field work that will be taking me around the world once I can take the time away from school. So that being said I'd like to set this up as the most flexible setup I can for field use, while taking pictures isn't paramount to the work I'll be doing I still want to be able to take some good ones.
I'll be picking up extra batteries and a new bag here shortly. One thing that I'm wondering about is there a AA battery converter for the D40 I know I had seen them from the D70 before? If so how well do they work? The reason I ask is in some areas I won't have the resources to be able to charge batteries. One of the first things I did pick up was the rubber camera armor, I know it won't really give a lot of protection but every little bit helps. The lenses (most are from my FE obviously)I have currently are:
Nikkor AF-S 18-55mm kit lens
Soligor AI-S Zoom + Macro 28-50mm 1:3.5~4.5
Sigma AI-S High-Speed Zoom 80-200mm 1:3.5~4
Nikkor AI-S 50mm 1:1.4
Obviously I have no problem with manual focus lenses, so any of those you have to recommend please do. What would be a good over all lens that would also have a good range?
Thanks for any suggestions you guys have.
Oh yeah here is a picture I took the day after I got the D40 using the kit lens. This is am Amur Leopard, one of less than 40 left in the world.
#1. "RE: "Must haves" for the D40?" | In response to Reply # 0Mon 31-Mar-08 02:42 PM
I know many have found a compatible battery grip for the D40, if you do a search or look a few threads down you should find it. As far as a lens setup, that probably depends on your budget. For an all around lens, many are content with the 18-200VR. My current setup consists of older lenses that can't autofocus on the D40, this is mainly because they are quality, fast glass that were cheap. My setup is:
Tokina 12-24 f/4
Nikon 35-70 f/2.8
Nikon 50mm f/1.8
Nikon 17-300 ED f/4-5.6
For me, that covers the ranges I shoot in, although you may want to look into some longer focal lengths for wildlife.
Many have loved the 70-200 VR f/2.8, which couples well with a 1.7x TC and I've heard good things about the Nikon 200-400mm if it's in your price range.
Hope something in here helps.
#2. "RE: "Must haves" for the D40?" | In response to Reply # 0
#3. "RE: "Must haves" for the D40?" | In response to Reply # 0Mon 31-Mar-08 03:25 PM
It's sad that there are only 40 of those beautiful beasts left.
For the lenses, there's always "wait and see". You are obviously getting good use of the 18-55mm kit lens. One of the very highly regarded longer lenses is the 70-300mm AFS VR lens. It produces great results in well lighted shots and the VR is very helpful for lower light shots where the is little or no movement. If wildlife is your forte, then this lens is a good starting point for the D40.
Depending on budget the new 16-85mm is performing well, but I'm not too enamored of it's price point - but it is still attractive as a grab-and-go lens when you want to travel light.
I'm waiting to see if the 80-400 is every updated in a AFS lens it would be great if something like a 80-400 f/4 were available .
Anyway I hope you find what you are looking for. You have a good chance with the existing lenses to see what focal lengths really fit your photography style. I'd still "wait and see" till you have a chance to wring them out and especially test if their "speed" meets your needs and if VR would help at all.
I use MF lenses with my D200 but in shorter focal lengths.
It is still ISO, aperture and shutter speed, right?
#4. "RE: "Must haves" for the D40?" | In response to Reply # 0Mon 31-Mar-08 03:42 PM | edited Mon 31-Mar-08 04:10 PM by fenris
Thanks for the quick replies guys keep them coming!
As for budget for lenses that is one of my biggest boundaries at the moment, you know that whole being a college student thing. A new blower is on the list of the things I need. I was considering the 55-200 VR lens as it seems to be a decent value. The 18-200 is just way out of my price range right now.
Anyone have any experience using the 18-135 af-s?
Oh I'm also looking for a good camera backpack that still has some room to stick some other personal items when going out. The National Georaphic pack I saw in one of the banners here looks to be the closest to my "style" but man are they spendy. Why is it every camera case out there just about is black or gray? Any suggestions?
As for the leopard yes its very sad because the minimum number of animals to be able to actually repopulate the species would be 100 individuals. As it is there is not a wide enough genetic variety to successfully bring them back without having a source of new genetic material.
UPDATE: just got a Sigma 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 DC OS off of ebay should be here in a week or so.
#5. "RE: "Must haves" for the D40?" | In response to Reply # 4Mon 31-Mar-08 04:23 PM
Re: the bag....
I like the Domke canvas bags for a long list of reasons, but you can search for that in the bag forums. However for what I'm about to say, almost any bag works, however the more padded the lamer in my very opinionated usage.
I like the canvas unpadded bags because they reform easily for packing and do a reasonable job of separating, but not padding the gear and therefore lay close to your body when you carry them. You can add your own padding to taste for transport - I like the Zing neoprene wraps and lens pouches. When you get to your destination you stuff the wraps in the bottom of the bag for additional set-down padding. When you get on the plane you carefully reform this bag around all that other stuff, including maybe a padded computer sleeve in the simple or elaborate day pack of choice. When you get to the destination you have a carry bag for the photo gear and a day pack for outings or trips to the beach, etc. My workhorse day pack is the JanSport Odyssey, versatile, expandable, easily takes a monopod or tripod strapped outside and so far mine has been very rugged; combined with an EagleCreek computer sleeve, it's ready for urban or other treks - best at end of season liquidation prices.
It sounds like you just solved your lens problem so have a good trip.
It is still ISO, aperture and shutter speed, right?
#6. "RE: "Must haves" for the D40?" | In response to Reply # 5Mon 31-Mar-08 07:38 PM
I can't agree more about the way heavily padded bags look. For me honestly I would love to be able to use my old East German Alpine pack. Its medium sized, heavy canvas with rubber backing, its my usual day pack when I go hiking. Hmmm maybe I can build a foam insert for it or something.
#8. "RE: Bag" | In response to Reply # 6Tue 01-Apr-08 03:06 AM
Well I decided to do a rough setup of the bag insert tonight. Used an old high density foam pad and cut it up and then used duct tape to hold everything together. This made the insert that would go in my East German Alpine pack. It works nicely, the insert fits snuggly and the bag is a nice heavy canvas with rubber backing to help keep the water out. Here are some links to pics.
#19. "RE: Bag" | In response to Reply # 18Sun 13-Apr-08 12:56 AM
yep its working quite well. actually today was its actual first "field test", I spent the day at the John Day fossil beds taking some pics and gather some information for a field guide I'm writing.
#7. "RE: "Must haves" for the D40?" | In response to Reply # 4
I purchased a 55-200 when I had my D40 and the lens is good. But in low light, not the best. I shot hockey with it and had a bunch of noise at higher ISO. I do have an 18-135 on my D200 and is a good all a round lens. For your budget, if you have the 18-55 now, the 55-200 lens is a great choice.
#9. "RE: "Must haves" for the D40?" | In response to Reply # 7iaintugwell Registered since 03rd Jan 2008Wed 02-Apr-08 11:08 AM
I had one of the original Domke bags, worked great, loved it, it was a "gotta have". After a couple of years though the interior surface broke down and the inside got to be dusty with canvas particles that found their way into my gear. Tut, tut ! The solution was to buy a Tamrac lintless finish bag that has served well for a long time. True it is bulky but "wotyergonnado ?" Good luck.
#10. "RE: "Must haves" for the D40?" | In response to Reply # 9Wed 02-Apr-08 11:14 AM
Nice thing about the Domke is you can wash them. I do it about every 10 years whether they need it or not . I still have my first one, and original FX3 that I took to Hawaii about 1978. It still is just the right size for my rangefinder - which is a grab and go camera - so it gets some good urban use.
It is still ISO, aperture and shutter speed, right?
#15. "RE: "Must haves" for the D40?" | In response to Reply # 4
>Oh I'm also looking for a good camera backpack that still has
>some room to stick some other personal items when going out.
>The National Georaphic pack I saw in one of the banners here
>looks to be the closest to my "style" but man are
>they spendy. Why is it every camera case out there just about
>is black or gray? Any suggestions?
Hi. I'm a noobie to this site and wanted to respond to your seeking of a camera bag.
I personally have a Lowepro Sling Shot 100AW. At first I thought it was a little costly, but the function of being able to utilize as a single strap backpack (with a brace that clips while walking), and being able to detach said clip and swivel around for "quick access" is AWESOME. I'll post a link of the video from the product website here.
It also has a built in weather guard cover - which looks like it would come in handy for those sudden weather changes while on a shoot. Check it out!
#17. "RE: "Must haves" for the D40?" | In response to Reply # 16Fri 11-Apr-08 03:58 PM
Well for most of the day I was just taking pics in some of the preset modes. I think that was taken in the "sport" mode. It was taken with the kit lens the day after I bought the camera and mostly the day was about spending time with my friends and playing around with the camera.
here is the data from the pic:
Image Size: Large (3008 x 2000)
Focal Length: 55mm
Metering Mode: Multi-Pattern
1/30 sec - F/7.1
Exposure Comp.: 0 EV
here are some more pics that I had taken that same day.
The password is guest
#23. "RE: "Must haves" for the D40?" | In response to Reply # 15
Thanks for posting that link for the Lowepro Slingshot...that looks like something I will be acquiring...a really nice design, especially for city shooting or hiking.....
Nikkor 50mm 1.8
other asst. glass
Visit my Nikonians gallery.
#21. "RE: "Must haves" for the D40?" | In response to Reply # 4
>Anyone have any experience using the 18-135 af-s?
I've been using D40 with 18-135 for a year. It's a great lens, providing a very useful range without excessive bulk. It does make the camera significantly heavier than the 18-55 kit lens, but I rarely use any other lens these days.
I'm looking to get the 70-300 VR, but need to win the lottery or rob a bank first.....
#11. "RE: "Must haves" for the D40?" | In response to Reply # 0
I use my computer laptop backback as my camera bag. I put all my camera equipment in the laptop foam insert with some socks separating the gadgets. Socks fit over the lenses perfectly. Because the D40 is so small, it works great, except you can't carry a computer. You probably have a laptop bag, so look at it. With the money you save from the bag, you might want to consider investing in a decent tripod, ballhead and wireless remote for the camera. The remote is about $20, but a decent tripod and ballhead are substantially more. Think about getting them used. Because you do a lot of wildlife and nature shots, you probably need a longer zoom or telephoto. The cheapest way is purchase a teleconverter and use it on your Sigma. There are limitations with a teleconverter but then there's always a trade-off. If you have more cash, you can consider the Nikkor 70-300 mm VR which I think goes for about $500 new. It's a great lens because you can easily handhold it for wildlife and nature, and that extra 100 mm makes a big difference. The only other missing gadget is a flash. You can use the built in flash, but I find it pathetic and useful only for fill in. I almost never use it. If you want something that will give you a significantly good picture at night with the subject not right in front of you, consider the SB 600 ($180) or at least the SB400 ($100). With the SB600 you can bounce it off the ceiling and/or use a diffuser, or use a flash sync cord to use it off-camera for better portraits. You will have more flash power so you can also get decent night time pics of subjects you would otherwise have to skip. And this is only the beginning!
#12. "RE: "Must haves" for the D40?" | In response to Reply # 11Fri 04-Apr-08 01:35 PM
Thanks for the input. I already have a tripod, its old and heavy by modern standards, but I trust it to be very solid and to not fall over or wobble on me. Sadly I found out Sigma suggests not using the 18-200 with a TC, so I think I'll be saving up for one of the 70-300 VR lenses. As for a flash yeah that will be another thing to come here soon. I'm also thinking of getting one of the battery vertical grips to add a little more size and stability.
As it stands now my kit includes:
D40 w kit 18-55 lens
Nikkor 50mm 1.4
Sigma 70-200 MF
Soligor Zoom+Macro 28-50mm
Sigma 18-200 HSM
my daypack with insert
old heavy tripod
3x2gig and 6x1gig memory cards
Camera Armour for D40
2 extra batteries
car charger for batteries
and of course a cleaning kit
#13. "RE: "Must haves" for the D40?" | In response to Reply # 12vindex1963 Registered since 27th Jan 2008Fri 04-Apr-08 08:32 PM
I bought the Camera Armour for D40 and love it. I think it's money well spent considering I put the camera in a Nikon fitted bag and put it between the windshield and handlebars of my motorcycle. The camera isn't a collectors item it's meant to be used and I sure do use it. My D40 goes hiking also.
#22. "RE: "Must haves" for the D40?" | In response to Reply # 0
Since you use a lot of manual focus lenses, I would recommend a Katz Eye focusing screen for your D40. It uses a split prism and microprism collar to help you manually focus more quickly. I just got mine a few days ago and I love it.
They can be found here: http://www.katzeyeoptics.com
#24. "RE: "Must haves" for the D40?" | In response to Reply # 22IvarS Registered since 19th Apr 2008Sat 19-Apr-08 05:50 PM
>Since you use a lot of manual focus lenses, I would recommend
>a Katz Eye focusing screen for your D40. It uses a split
>prism and microprism collar to help you manually focus more
>quickly. I just got mine a few days ago and I love it.
>They can be found here: http://www.katzeyeoptics.com
What is this? Is it possible to replace the focusing screen on the D40 /D40X?
#26. "RE: "Must haves" for the D40?" | In response to Reply # 24Sun 20-Apr-08 10:37 AM
This focusing screen is similar to what came standard in old manual focus cameras. There is a split prism in the center which splits the image in two and is in focus when the lines of the image match up with each other. The microprism collar will make the image in the viewfinder look similar to being pixelized. When the viewfinder is clear, the image is in focus. For me, this is faster than trying to fine tune focus with just the green focusing dot in camera. You can also get the Katz eye with different grid and crop lines on it to assist your shooting further.
It is very possible to replace the D40 focusing screen and is also pretty easy to do. It took me a total of 3 minutes to get the old screen out and the new screen in.
#27. "RE: "Must haves" for the D40?" | In response to Reply # 26Sun 20-Apr-08 01:45 PM
Yeah that is on my list of things to get however it is going to have to wait a bit. After this weekend my leather working business is taking off and I need to buy a bunch more leather for filling orders. But then this also means I'll have more money to toss into my camera afterwards hehe.
#25. "RE: "Must haves" for the D40?" | In response to Reply # 0
>I'll be picking up extra batteries and a new bag here shortly.
> One thing that I'm wondering about is there a AA battery
>converter for the D40 I know I had seen them from the D70
>before? If so how well do they work? The reason I ask is in
>some areas I won't have the resources to be able to charge
>batteries. One of the first things I did pick up was the
>rubber camera armor, I know it won't really give a lot of
>protection but every little bit helps. The lenses (most are
>from my FE obviously)I have currently are:
>Nikkor AF-S 18-55mm kit lens
>Soligor AI-S Zoom + Macro 28-50mm 1:3.5~4.5
>Sigma AI-S High-Speed Zoom 80-200mm 1:3.5~4
>Nikkor AI-S 50mm 1:1.4
>Obviously I have no problem with manual focus lenses, so any
>of those you have to recommend please do. What would be a
>good over all lens that would also have a good range?
>Thanks for any suggestions you guys have.
You can get a battery grip for the D40. I myself have ordered the one from Hahnel, but I have later on seen others, having built in IR-remote.
In this grip I can use either EN-EL9, one or two, or I can use AA.
#28. "RE: "Must haves" for the D40?" | In response to Reply # 0
Did anyone say the ML-L3 remote yet?
If not, that thing is a really great little must have for the D40 in my opinion. There's absolutely nothing fancy about it, but it's cheap, it's a remote, so why not pick one up?
I also got the camera armor, but not for whatever protection it may or may not provide. I just hated that feel of the slick plastic on a tiny DSLR --especially if I'm using a heavier lens. Plus, what with the annoyance of arthritis and all, it just makes it a lot easier to wrap my digits around and hold.