Professional Camera Study – Nikon Branch

I have decided to study more about professional camera – digital one of course. I found a website named http://www.kenrockwell.com where Canon and Nikon are mentions included hints, terms, review, comparison, etc. I do not know if it is a good site to study or not but there are many new things I want to learn. So, then I will write about Canon right after I finish studying Nikon ones.

So far, I have thought what I need for a pro camera are lens, mega-pixel, battery, memory stick (just basic stuffs) and of course other functions which are built-in. However, after searching and reading, I find out that there are other stuffs to be considered. I do not have a lot of money so I want to buy a reasonable one with good features for my purpose – taking pro pix.

LENS – “Long term, it’s always better to spend money on lenses instead of digital cameras. Any of these lenses will work great on any fancier camera. Cameras drop in price and go obsolete every year, while lenses can stay current for decades. ”


Nikon 18-55mm II

It weighs nothing, it’s super sharp, has little distortion, zooms much more precisely then more expensive lenses and has better macro performance than more expensive lenses.

This lens was introduced as a kit lens along with the Nikon D40 on November 16th, 2006. It works perfectly on every Nikon digital SLR (D40, D50, D70, D80, D100, D200, D1x, D2X, etc.) It won’t work on film cameras. Nikon Product Number: 2170, in catalog as of spring 2008

  • Name: Nikon calls this the 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G ED II AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor
  • Optics: 7 elements in 5 groups (one ED element and one aspherical element).
  • Focal Length: 18-55mm, which gives the same angle-of-view on a digital camera as a 28-85mm lens gives on a 35mm film camera.
  • Marked Focal Lengths: 18, 24, 35, 45 and 55 mm.
  • Focus System: Internal Silent Wave Motor, driven by the camera’s electronics.
  • Focus Distance Scale: NONE.
  • Manual Focus: A nasty little front ring.
  • Maximum Aperture: f/3.5 – 5.6.
  • Diaphragm: 7 blade rounded, stopping down to f/22 – 38.
  • Close Focus: 11″ (0.28m) from the back of the camera. This is 4.5″ (11.5cm) from the front of the lens!
  • Maximum Reproduction Ratio: 1:3.2.
  • Filter Size: 52mm.
  • Size: measured: diameter: 2.772″ (70.41mm). Extension from flange: 2.903″ (73.74mm) at its absolute shortest (focused past infinity at 32mm), 2.986″ (75.85mm) at its practical shortest (focused at infinity at 32mm) and 3.637″ (92.38mm) at its longest (closest focus at 55mm). Nikon specifies it as 2.7 x 2.9″ (70.5 x 74.0mm), no details.
  • Weight (naked): measured: 7.175 oz. (203.4 g). Specified: 7.2 oz. (205g).
  • Included Accessories: LC-52 52mm front lens cap, translucent push-on rear cap.
  • Optional Accessories: LF-1 Rear lens cap, HB-33 bayonet hood (discontinued and probably replaced by the HB-45 as of spring 2008), CL-0715 Flexible lens pouch. Note that Nikon got cheap by providing it as a kit on-camera, excusing them from including a rear cap. I never use my other hoods, so no problem.


Plastic Mount


One side of the lens

Memory Stick

Is it necessary to own another 4GB memory stick as what I bought for my Sony Cybershot? I have a 40Gb hard disk laptop, a 80Gb iPod, a 40Gb had disk desktop? Should I need one? Hmm… I travel much. Sometimes I cannot carry my laptop, but iPod. I do not want to lose my pix nor copying them always right after taking photos – kinda annoying. So, I think I should consider one.

SD memory stick by Patriot

* Capacity: 4GB
* Type: (SDHC) Secure Digital High Capacity
* 100% compatible with all devices designed to use Secure Digital cards as standard or extended data storage
* For PDA’s, MP3’s, Digital cameras and other portable devices

Nikon D40 6.1MP Digital SLR Camera Kit with 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G ED II AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor Lens

What a camera! “For the best possible camera for just about anything, fun or serious”, said Ken Rockwell. Well, it is worthy having a look. It is listed on his recommended camera list.
The Nikon D40 kit (for only ~ $500), comes included with
* 6.1-megapixel CCD captures enough detail for photo-quality 14 x 19-inch prints
* Kit includes 3x 18-55mm f3.5-5.6G ED II AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor lens
* 2.5-inch LCD with three display options; built-in flash and hot shoe
* Fast startup with instant shutter response; shoot at up to 2.5 frames per second
* Powered by one rechargeable Li-ion battery EN-EL9 (included); stores images on SD memory cards (memory card not included)

Specifications of Nikon D40

Effective pixels 6.1 million
Image sensor RGB CCD, 23.7 x 15.6 mm, 6.24 million total pixels: total pixels
Image size L (3,008 x 2,000) / M (2,256 x 1,496) / S (1,504 x 1,000)
Sensitivity 200 to 1600 (ISO equivalent) in steps of 1 EV with additional setting one step over 1600
Storage media SD memory card, SDHC compliant
LCD monitor 2.5-in., 230,000-dot, low-temp. polysilicon TFT LCD with brightness adjustment
Exposure metering 3D Color Matrix Metering II, Center-weighted and Spot Metering
Exposure modes Digital Vari-program (Auto, Auto [Flash Off], Portrait, Landscape, Child, Sports, Close Up, Night Portrait), Programmed Auto [P] with flexible program; Shutter-Priority Auto [S]; Aperture-Priority Auto [A]; Manual [M]
Interface USB 2.0 (High-speed): Mass Storage and PTP selectable
Power source Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL9, charging voltage (Quick Charger MH-23), 7.4V DC, AC Adapter EH-5 (available separately; requires optional AC Adapter Connector EP-5)
Dimensions (W x H x D) Approx. 126 x 94 x 64mm (5.0 x 3.7x 2.5 in.)
Weight Approx. 475g (1lb. 1oz.) without battery, memory card or body cap

Here are the pros and cons of the D40 in Sidarta Tanu’s opinion on Amazon
Pros
1. Nice out of the camera result picture quality
2. Affordable price
3. Compact size and light weight
4. Large and bright 2.5 inch LCD
5. 2.5 frames per second
6. B/W, Sepia, several more in-camera editing features.
7. Instant power on, fast autofocus and no shutter lag
8. Noise is acceptable at high ISO settings. Auto ISO settings available.
9. Great 18-55mm II AF-S kit lens.
10. Great battery life (400+ on a single charge. 1000+ if flash is not used).
11. Auto (flash off) mode available
12. 1/500 flash sync

Cons
1. No direct button to change QUAL, WB and ISO settings
2. Grip comfortably but might be a bit too small for some people
3. No top LCD and no front command dial
4. Autofocus will not work with non AF-S or non AF-I lenses (such as the 70-300m G and 50mm f/1.8D lens)
5. No AF/MF switch (have to use the switch on the lens)
6. Only 3 autofocus point
7. 6 Megapixel (More Megapixel needed to print larger than 12 X 18 at 300 dpi)
8. No night landscape mode in pre-programmed settings
9. No in camera image stabilization (like Sony and Pentax) but Nikon has lenses with it (VR).
10. No depth-of-field preview button

Weight

The first thing I noticed, and so did my non-photographer wife, is that it’s so light. We thought it would be much heavier, but no! It must be made of air. It’s like not having a camera with you at all.
The light weight makes it a dream to carry around all day. Having a camera with you instead of left in the car or at home is the difference between getting a great shot or missing it.
My D40 lets me get make great results hand-held at slow speeds, probably because it also has very, very little shutter and mirror vibration.

LCD screen
On the D40, what you see is what you get

Lens Compatibility

D40 only autofocuses with the latest AF-S lenses, and also the the older, professional, AF-I lenses.
You’ll have to focus manually with traditional AF lenses, which means forget about older lenses except macros (I always focus those manually) and fisheyes and ultrawides (easy to focus).
Every AF lens made in the past 20 years meters and exposes perfectly; it’s just the autofocus which won’t work.
Every manual focus lens made since 1959 also works fine, if you don’t mind focusing by hand and guessing at the exposure.
This is a smaller deal than it sounds, since the included kit lens and other modern lenses obsolete the older lenses I thought I might be using with this.

Print Size (which is considered one of cons of D40). Ken does not it  is a big deal, I think

Image clarity is more dependant on how you shot the photo than on the number of megapixels. A clean shot from a 3MP camera is much better than a slightly out-of focus shot from a $5,000 12 MP camera.

A clear image can be printed any size from any modern digital camera. Sure, if you print mural size and look at it from inches away you won’t have the sharpness you’d get from 4 x 5″ film, but if you shot it properly, it will be sharp enough to look great when viewed from a distance appropriate to the size of the print.

So long as you have 100 to 150 DPI (dots or pixels per inch), you have plenty for a sharp print viewed at arm’s length. This means a 6 MP camera can make prints 30″ (75cm) wide and still look great. When was the last time you printed that big?

Ideally you’d like to print at 300 DPI to look super-sharp even when viewed too close with a magnifier. You can figure this by:

Long print dimension in inches = 4 x (square root of megapixels)

Long print dimension in centimeters = 10 x (square root of megapixels)

For example, the square root of four (megapixels) is two. 4 x (two) is eight. Thus the biggest print you can make without losing sharpness as seen through a magnifier from a 4MP camera is 6 x 8″ (15x20cm). From a sixteen MP camera likewise you could go to 12 x 16″ (30x45cm), and still look at the print through a magnifier.

The resolution issue is one of scale and viewing distance.

Sure, more resolution is better at bigger sizes, but how sharp your image is has little to do with how good it is. Far more important technically is whether or not the colors are correct and whether or not any sharpening was done tastefully. Many digital cameras add nasty looking sharpening that puts very artificial halos around sharp lines, making the image look obviously digital to those of us who recognize these things. Sloppy sharpening is done to impress the innocent by overemphasizing the lines around things if real sharpness and resolution is lacking.

Of course you can print much bigger, since sharpness isn’t as important in color as most people worry. You can get great results from a 6MP camera at 20 x 30″ if you want, since normal people view big images from further away. This is all art and in the eye of the beholder; I prefer huge prints made from my 4 x 5″ film camera, and for portraits I prefer the smoothing of digital cameras.

Don’t worry too much about this, since sharpness is not as important in color as it is in B/W. I make 12 x 18″ color prints all the time from 3 to 6 MP cameras and they look great, since I only print images that are good to begin with.

Ken also post a handy Nikon D40 User’s Guide on his website. Check it out!

Man, I spent a whole Sunday just reading what Ken Rockwell wrote on his website and some other pages such as Nikon and Amazon. Lots of new things. Moreover, I like his photos, esp pix of his kids – who are so super duper cute.

Finally, I totally agree with him that “Good photographers get great great photos even with the cheapest cameras.” I took many great photos with my Sony Cybershot – just a amateur digital camera. Hmm… now I start to study about Canon. Then, I will compare and choose the one I want the most

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5 thoughts on “Professional Camera Study – Nikon Branch

  1. im about to buy this cam d40 . your info s very use full thanks.but still ive confusion with.i ve a sony digi cam in which they mentioned 15x zoom,in d40 its all numeric dimentions so please can u say me using basic kit of d40 cam how much distance i can zoom in terms of X please.this ll be real helpfull buying this cam.

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