Nikon D40: Not Just For Beginners

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Happy St. Patty’s Day everyone!  I hope your weekend was great and you were able to rest, shoot, or do whatever you needed to this weekend.  Today I’m going to do something just a little different.  Instead of bringing you another edition of “How I Got This Shot”, I’m going to talk a little about camera bodies.  Specifically, the Nikon D40.

As many of you know, I personally shoot with the D40 and it’s the only camera body that I currently own.  Now, I’m no pro.  But I do consider myself an advanced amateur.  I’m getting a little frustrated as I have been seeing a lot about the D40 being a “beginner’s DSLR” or a “consumer model”.  Some of this is just marketing, that I am aware of.  But some photographers seem to think the same thing of the D40. 

Sure, the D40 is missing a lot of features that higher-end DSLRs like the D300 have.  It’s more susceptible to noise at higher ISOs, it only shoots at 2.5 frames per second, and it’s missing Nikon’s Commander Mode to be able to use Nikon’s Creative Lighting System without having to buy an SU-800.  Does any of those things prevent the D40 from taking great pictures?  No.  Why?  Photographers make great pictures, not cameras. 

When people ask me whether or not they should upgrade their body or their glass (lenses), I will always answer with “glass”.  Quality glass will make the most improvements in the quality, clarity, and sharpness of your images.  A camera body is simply something that traps light.  All the bells and whistles on the body only do one thing: make the photographer’s job of making great pictures easier.  Don’t confuse that with making better pictures.  If you take crappy pictures with a D40, you’re gonna take crappy pictures with a D300 or a D3.  If you are unhappy with the images you get with your D40 or the like, invest in some books on photography and learn the basics.  You can find a ton of great information on the web too.  Ken Rockwell, whom I share this whole sentiment with, has a great website with articles about everything he knows about photography.  Heck, you can even ask me.  I’ll tell you everything I know too.

If you still don’t believe me, go over and check out this Nikon D40 User Group on Flickr and see some of the images for yourself.  Seeing is believing.  All of my shots have been taken with a D40 too.  All of this should help clear up some of the questions in your mind about your DSLR and whether or not you need to upgrade.  And if you’re in the market for a D40, I see them all the time on Craigslist for sale with the reason being that I want to upgrade to a better or higher-end DSLR.  Now, maybe they really need to.  Now if you’re shooting sports, the 5 or 6 fps of a D200/D300 will certainly make a difference in getting “the shot”.  But I would say the majority of those people selling their D40s aren’t sports shooters and haven’t mastered photography with their D40.  They bought into the marketing hype.

One last thing: you can still make big prints with a D40.  I hear it all the time, “My D40 is only 6.1 MP so I am limited to the size I can print.”  Well folks, that’s the beauty of digital and Photoshop.  You can easily enlarge your images without losing a ton of quality.  Besides, how many of us print at 24″ x 36″ on a regular basis anyway???  Let’s be realistic here.  All-in-all, I think you see my point.  What’s the purpose of my ranting this morning?  I’m simply trying to save you some hard-earned cash and keep you from making a mistake that so many others have made.  I hope you understand.

That’s it for today. (As I step down off my soap box.)  I’m heading to New York today and I’m looking forward to shooting and making a stop at B&H Photo.  I hope to come back with some good shots to share with you all.  As I mentioned before, my posts may be few and far between this week but I will try my best to get one or two in before I get home.  Have a great week! 🙂

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One thought on “Nikon D40: Not Just For Beginners

  1. If you are interested- check out tiptoes.co.nr.
    There is information on the homepage about it, its a site for artists and its pretty cool 😄

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