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PostPosted: Sat May 26, 2007 2:21 pm 
This is my first post here and after looking through some old posts and reading reviews and watching the videos etc I thought this would be a good place to start. Great site by the way!

I'm currently looking to upgrade from the Canon S3 IS to a DSLR. I thought I had finally decided on the D80 but then I started reading more about the D40 and I'm torn again. It sounds like the overall image quality between the 2 cameras is negligible and the D40 is cheaper, smaller and lighter.

I really want a DSLR I can carry around with me everywhere so size and weight is important to me. The thing that concerns me is that I will want the 18-200mm VR lens to go with the camera. Will that lens be too heavy for the D40? Will it feel unbalanced?

I'm planning on buying in Hong Kong where they have great deals on cameras so I don't mind paying the extra for the D80 if the image quality is that much better and the VR lens would feel more at home on it.

Another thing that is putting me off the D40/D40x is that the menus and the help system seem targeted directly for total beginners who don't know anything about aperture and shutter priority, exposure compensation and white balance settings etc....I'm certainly no expert or pro, but I'm wondering if that would be annoying after a while.

One last question and one other possibility I'm considering is waiting to buy the new Olympus E-510 instead, purely because it has live view and I've kind of grown up using live view on compacts so I'm wondering if making the change from using the LCD to using the viewfinder would be a big issue.

Sorry this is so long winded, but you know what it's like when you're trying to decide on the perfect camera to buy!!

Thanks for any help or advice you can give me.
Best wishes,

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PostPosted: Sat May 26, 2007 8:55 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 08, 2005 3:32 pm
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Hi Mark, welcome to the Cameralabs forums!

The D80 and D40x do deliver measurably higher resolution than the D40, so if you can afford them, and would prefer to be shooting 10 rather than 6 mpixels, then I'd reject the D40.

As for the D40x vs the D80, the latter is definitely the more powerful and flexible camera and a great model to grow into. As for the D40x, it's wonderful for beginners, but as you say, the user interface can prove a little frustrating at times - if you're the kind of person who wants very quick access to things like ISO, then it can prove a bit slow at times. But that's just if you're impatient like me! I think if you try both cameras out in HK before buying, you'll immediately see what I mean and whether it's an issue for you.

Same for if the 18-200mm feels too 'big' for the D40(x). (it will a little)

The E-510 is also a great choice (so long as it ends up peforming ok in practice) - and as you say, the Live View will help your transition from an all-in-one. I really like Live View myself, even though it can be a little slow in operation - see our Panasonic L1 video tour to see what I mean. ... age7.shtml

So ultimately I don't think I've helped you at all! I agree with all your shortlists and would advise trying out a DSLR viewfinder to see if Live View really is that important, and also comapring the user interfaces of the D40(x) against the D80 to see which suits you better. A lot of this is down to personal preference.

Whatever you end up getting though, please do post some images of China - I've only been to Beijing and the Great Wall, but loved the scenery and so much of the country looks amazing!


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PostPosted: Sat May 26, 2007 9:08 pm 
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Joined: Sun Nov 05, 2006 11:08 pm
Posts: 8003
Location: Germany
For me an excellent viewfinder is worth more than the Live View feature. You will easily switch from your old compact habit! Look through the viewfinder to find out. The D80 (viewfinder and rest) is excellent!

P.S.: and forget about the D40...

Thomas (beware: Nikon-fanboy and moderator!) My Lens Reviews, My Pictures, My Photography Blog
D810+assorted lenses

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun May 27, 2007 2:32 am 
Hi Gordon,
Thanks so much for replying. The videos you make on this site are great and I've not seen other sites doing anything like it. It's so refreshing to be able to sit back and see the camera in action and reviewed at the same time. I know Cnet has their crappy little 20 second videos, but I don't find them very informative at all.

Anyway, your message did help:) because it confirmed everything I was thinking and even though I've never used a DSLR before, I feel I have enough "amateur" knowledge to jump straight in with the D80. Although, I will still wait to see how the Olympus performs in reviews because it should be out by the time I go to HK and I'd like to try them both in the shops to get a feel for them.

I think the thing that is worrying me about using a viewfinder is that I've been trying to make the switch with my Canon S3 and I just can't get to grips with it. I've got one eye closed and my nose is scrunched up against the LCD and I'm trying to take pictures of my dog at ground level and it just feels so uncomfortable! Admittedly, the VF on the Canon is poo and I keep reading how the VF on the D80 is excellent so I am looking forward to trying it out in HK.

Actually I do have another question/issue. I saw your video about "lens creep" with the 18-200mm VR lens and I just want to check something with you. If I'm carrying the camera around my neck and the weight of the lens is pulling the camera forward and down, will the lens then subsequently start to extend? I have a feeling it locks into position at both ends and only creeps in the middle, but I wondered if this would be an issue.

At the moment my pictures are all over the place, but I'm in the process of sorting them out on Flikr, so once I do that I'll post a link. I really am in a great place for photography because China is amazing. The Great Wall of course is a great place for pics as is BJ. At the moment I'm living in the Yellow Mountain region so after I get my new cam I'm going to be taking some trips into the mountains to try it out.

Thanks again and keep up the great work with your site:)

P.S. Thanks to tombomba2 too, the D40 is now a memory:)

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun May 27, 2007 4:34 am 
Well I made the switch from PNS live view to SLR viewfinder without any problem. The only downside is that you LCD of the DSLR will get a little oily because of your nose touching it. Well it is just small problem anyway.

Someone mention to me, you want live view, the view finder is already live view, no slowing down when using it.

The 18-200mm VR only creeps when you zoom out in the middle. At the 18 or 200mm end it will never creep, for my version at least.

D40x is of course smaller but once you kinda venture in to the DSLR world, carrying the camera everywhere will be a little harder and more people will notice the camera and of course will lead to snatch thief or robber to take notice on you( in Malaysia, this kinda thing is horrible )

One more thing, the VR function will drain battery around 30% than normal lens usage. 1200 shots can go down to around 500 to 800 shots if VR is always on.

One last thing, get a D80, you can grow with it. And it supports AF lens.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun May 27, 2007 4:57 am 
Thanks for your advice JiangChen. I understand the VF is live view, but I'm thinking more for the times when I use the LCD screen on my Canon where it flips out and up and down etc and you can take pictures at all angles without having to contort your body so much. I guess for the most part, most people take pictures of things right in front of them, in which case it's no big deal.

Thanks for confirming what I thought about the lens creep.

Having a camera that is very "obvious" and that looks expensive is something that concerns me a little, although I'm seeing more and more Asian people with bigger cameras these days anyway. The last time I went to Yellow Mountain, there were Chinese, Japanese, Koreans etc and they were carrying huge kit bags with 3 or more cameras, tripods, the works so depending on where I actually take it, I'll just have to be more aware. That was actually another reason I was thinking about the D40/x though so I appreciate your comments on that.

I had thought about the lens too. I don't know very much about the four thirds types of lens and with the D40 having no internal focusing drive, that is something I'm also taking into consideration. I really think the D80 is the way for me to go:)

Thanks again,

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun May 27, 2007 5:11 am 
Being able to flip the live view from different angle is a plus. One time my college was having an exhibition and the gallery was crowded, I have to hold my cam up high(D80) above their heads to take that pic without live view. I have the 18-200mm VR as well so the pic came out good so I guess having one or not (live view) depends on how often you need the live view to shoot. The Olympus system, although I don't quite know what is four third, has good live view cameras and I think they will be integrating this system into all their future model.

I have look through the viewfinder of the E-300 before and I have to say it is very disappointing. The Canon 400D has better viewfinder but so far you can count on the viewfinder of the D80 or any viewfinder that has around 95% and 9.4x view.

One last thing, buying a brand also is kinda buying a system. I am not sure whether you want to take this into consideration but certain brand will provide a lot of other lens and accessory as well of different kind of support. Most people go for Canon, cheaper, lighter, a lot of high quality lens and a lot of support.

Go to a shop and grab this few cams and get the feel of it when you hold it and try out their shooting ability, it will make all the difference other than you researching through the net. Good luck.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun May 27, 2007 5:21 am 
decisions, decisions!!!!

You're right, once I hold all the cameras and try them out, I'll probably know instantly which one to get. I'm reading so many reviews here and there and in the end it's just gets more and more overwhelming.

I just realised when I read your message that I started going on about the four thirds lens in connection with the D40 and of course it's Olympus that uses the four thirds system....confusing! It's because the D40 only auto-focuses with the AF-S and AF-I lens that got me mixed up.

I hope HK has the new Olympus E-510 when I go there. I'm planning on going in about 2 or 3 weeks and it's worldwide release is set for June so fingers crossed.

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