View Full Version : S3IS or Nikon D40 or ?

Mr Jear
06-16-2007, 04:44 PM
Budget 700 Max but would "like" to keep it less...:o

Size Up to a smaller DSLR

Features 6mp or greater
Would prefer super zoom but.....want fast camera for taking pics of my granddaughter who never sits still.:rolleyes:

* How important is “image quality” to you? 10

Do you care for manual controls? Yes

General Usage

* What will you generally use the camera for?
In order: Family (granddaughter and expectant grandchildren - more on the way) Outdoor scenery, landscapes, flowers, birds, wildlife...etc

* Will you be making big prints of your photos or not?
Unless a pic is outstanding probably nothing more than 4x6, 8x10 at most

Will you be shooting a lot of indoor photos or low light photos? YES

Will you be shooting sports and/or action photos? Just my moving granddaughter

Are there particular brands you like or hate? Have had 2 cannon: A80 and currently A710IS (which is too slow) and a Sony P200 which I handed down.
Not swayed toward any particular brand

Are there particular models you already have in mind? Canon S3IS and Nikon D40 or any suggestion.

(If applicable) Do you need any of the following special features? (Wide Angle, Image Stabilization, Weatherproof, Hotshoe, Rotating LCD)

Not necessarily. The eyesight is starting to go, midlife problem, so a reasonable viewfinder is a must. I like the idea of a super zoom camera, but hate the idea of having to compromise indoor shots for outdoor interests. If I decide on a DSLR, I would probably get one additional lens that would be a compromise between reasonably close to moderate zoom and use it only. I can't see myself investing in lenses (budget mandates).

Thanks for any suggestions and advice.

06-16-2007, 05:26 PM
Hi Mr. Jear!

When you shoot indoor photos, do you prefer to use flash or no? I've always felt the "what camera should I buy" questionnaire should specify this...

When you say the Canon A710IS is too slow, do you mean shutter lag or shot-to-shot speed?


Mr Jear
06-16-2007, 06:14 PM
Hey Chris

I would prefer indoor shots without a flash. (I'd really like to stay away from flash with a newborn). With the a710IS I'm pretty much stuck using the flash to keep ISO low enough to minimize the noise. The shots are far from what I'd call natural looking. And using the flash means waiting several seconds for the next pic. When prefocussed, the 710 has minimal lag, but trying to catch my granddaughter is almost impossible. So in answer to the second question, it's the shot to shot speed that's irritating.

06-16-2007, 07:28 PM
Mr. Jear-

I am a friend of Chris' and a Nikon D-40 user and a Digital camera Instructor. So I wanted to post a few shots of the D-40 with the very low profile SB-400 Flash installed. The lens pictured on the D-40 is the Nikon 18-55mm kit lens that comes with the D-40 kit. Together the D-40 and this SB-400 flash make a perfect combination. The flash is totally TTL, so it constantly adjusts to what you have focused upon and creates a perfect flash shot. But all that comes at a cost.

Perhaps we should be talking about the camera that took these two photos. Did you notice how sharp they were, and I used the photos just as they came from the camera without any pp except resizing. The camera I used was the Fuji S-700, it is also called the S-5700 overseas. It has 7.1mp, 10X of optical zoom (38 to 380mm), a macro and super macro mode, a video mode and it sells for right around $(US) 200.00. That would be just 1/3 of the cost of the D-40 + the SB 400 Flash. There are lots of S-700 photo samples of in the Fuji Folder if you want to take a look.



Sarah Joyce

06-16-2007, 07:50 PM
Mr. Jear

Because I had everything set-up, I decided to also take a photo of the Fuji S-700 for your reference. The camera I took it with was the Niko D-40 equipped with the Nikon 18-200mmVR lens. That is a $(US) 1364.00 combination.

To be honest I don't think the photo looks as good as the photo taken with the $(US) 200.00 Fuji S-700 camera. So that places the Fuji S-700 at just about 1/6th of the cost of the camera that took its photo. Interesting isn't it!


Sarah Joyce

06-16-2007, 09:00 PM
Sarah, I wonder about Mr. Jear's need for speedy shot-to-shot times, and also the speed for obtaining focus lock. How does the Fuji S700 compare with the D40 and other entry-level DSLRs? Heck, how does the S700 compare with the S6000fd?

Mr. Jear has also indicated that it is difficult to maintain a focal lock on his granddaughter with the A710IS, so my thought is that an entry-level DSLR may be the best answer to his needs - budget permitting. He's obviously looking for spontaneous type shots, rather than posed...

Thoughts, Sarah? :D

06-16-2007, 10:39 PM
Hi Chris-

Well there are pluses and minuses when comparing these two cameras. The S-700 costs only a fraction of the D-40, so naturally, that is to be expected. However, it does use 4 AA batteries, so the flash recycle times are fairly fast.

The focus lock in good light is very fast, at lower light levels it is still at the most .3 to .5 of a second. The flash is Fuji's Intelligent Flash and it is just as good as the built in flash on the D-40. For an external flash I use a slave flash and I can get a flash range of 30 feet with no difficulty by increasing the ISO.

No, the S-700 does not have that neat high ISO capable CCD that is on the S-6000fd, but it is well within enthusiast or family photo expectations, especially when using the slave flash.

Keep in mind, Chris, I suggested a look at the S-700 because it is so much camera for its price point. i will be very interested to hear Mr. Jear's reply to my suggestion of the Fuji S-700. It is a great camera for what it is.

Sarah Joyce

06-16-2007, 11:15 PM
sarah, if you are trying to suggest to the OP that the IQ from the fuji s700 is better than the d40 you are sadly mistaken.

there is no way that the little fuji can match a dslr with the performance of a d40 for anything but price and size. that is not an opinion, its just a fact.

Mr Jear
06-17-2007, 04:45 AM
I am interested to see the review of the S700 upcoming soon by Jeff. I was also interested in the Pan FZ8, it probably would be a great "outdoor" camera left in the lower ISO range but won't do anything for my indoor needs. It's disappointing to see the non super CCD in the S700. Do you think it's as capable indoors as outside (?) remember my target is moving almost constantly. How is the shot to shot time and will it focus quickly in lower light? Can you compare it's natural light shooting to that of the S6000FD? I don't recall the shot to shot and focus times on the 6000, but it too sounds like a respectable camera if a little on the big side. I wanted to ask about your slave flash on the D40, have you experienced any negatives about the onboard flash or is it a range issue? Can you adjust/dial down the onboard flash? I really have 2 interests, outdoor shooting (which is my hobby/passion - until the grandkids came along) and family. I 'suppose' the family component 'should' take preference, and probably will. I really appreciate the discussion. Thanks

06-17-2007, 07:00 AM

Please do not be confused. All I was saying was that the IQ of the S-700 is very creditable when compared to the IQ of the Nikon D-40, especially so, when you consider that he Fuji S-700 is around 1/3 of the cost of the D-40. I own, teach, and use multiple DSLR cameras. I do know the difference, believe me.

Sarah Joyce

06-17-2007, 07:49 AM
Mr. Jear-

In my reply to Chris I spoke of the focusing times and the shot to shot times of the Fuji S-700. The post begins with: "Well there are pluses and minuses..."

No, Fuji did not use their high ISO capable CCD in the S-700. However, the CCD installed is no slouch. The camera is capable of good snapshot quality family photos even at ISO 800 with some noise that can be easily eliminated by Neat Image or Noise Ninja software. The Intelligent Flash feature on the S-700 really works well. When taking a flash photo, the S-700 reads the ambient light and adds just enough flash to perfectly expose the photo. My previously attached photo made of the Nikon D-40 was a macro take using flash. The camera was about 10 inches away from the Nikon D-40 with the SB-400 flash attached to it, when the phot was taken with the S-700, and it was exposed perfectly. I did no post processing to the photo at all. I mere re-sized it for posting. The flash system on the Fuji S-700 works in quite the same manner as the SB-400 works with the D-40. The S-700 also has the abilty to use auto ISO ranges, which the D-40 does not. An auto ISO range is quite useful, especially when taking flash photos of a quickly moving child. I know from experience, as my husband and I have raised 8 children. The S-700 has two auto ISO ranges. They are: Auto(400) and Auto(800). That means that the S-700 will, when taking a flash photo, for example, evaluate both the ambient light and the subject to camera distance and the do either, or both of two things. #1, it "reads" the ambient light and the determines how much flash to trigger, and/or #2 it decides on where to adjust the ISO for the photo, if needed. That means that if the ISO needs to be changed on the S-700, the camera will change the ISO setting itself. And, another interesting fact, the S-700 can select ISO numbers that we cannot gain access to via the menu, for example it can select ISO 134, while we can never do that via the camera's menu.

Natural Light Mode photos on the S-700 are very much like they are on the S-6000fd. All in all, IMO, the S-700 is an amazing performer, considering its price point. Our own Jeff Keller will have the review of the S-700 completed before the end of the month, so there is not much longer to wait to see his opinion. If you desire to see more photo samples showing the kind of photos the S-700 is capable of, just go to the Fuji Folder on this Forum and you will see those photos. The thread has already had nearly 1,100 views and over 70posts.

The flash mounted on the D-40 is a fully integrated flash unit. It is not a slave flash and it does not require the D-40's built in flash open, and in use, to trigger it. The SB-400 will tilt but it will not swivel.

I consider the D-40's built-in flash to be just like most other built-in flashes: average. The light is contrasty, it produces harsh shadows, and it is range limited.

I have used the Pansonic FZ-7 extensively, and it is a very good camera, especially out of doors. When used indoors, without flash it is limited to no higher than an ISO 200 setting to keep control of the noise. You can still be creative using just ISO 200 and below (as the attached photo shows) without flash indoors, but you had better have a copy of Neat Image or Noise Ninja handy. I have attached three photos, two from the FZ-7, and one from the S-700 for you. #1 photo (a FZ-7 photo) is out of doors at the full 12X optical zoom taken almost pointed straight up. #2 photo (a FZ-7 photo) is taken at ISO 200 indoors without flash. #3 photo is a wildlife shot by the S-700. Notice the sharpness of the lens on the S-700, showing all the fine detail in the feathers on the seagull's back.

Have a great day.

Sarah Joyce




Mr Jear
06-17-2007, 12:55 PM
Hey Sarah
I really like the picture of the gull. Really detailed. And I "do" like the idea of an ultra zoom, the dust issue on the DSLR is a turn off, but I doubt I would be changing lenses all that much. So without intentionally changing directions, can you comment on some of the competition, ie. S3IS, Sony H7/H9, Pan FZ8, FUJI S700 / S6000FD. Stregnths / weaknesses / IQ / shot to shot times. I know, a lot of those details are found in the reviews, but I would appreciate a hands on response, if you can. I've also noticed that many comments (other threads) deliberately push away from the Nikon D40, usually because of the autofocus issue with lens. Do you have an opinion on the D40, since I noticed you have one. Thanks.

06-17-2007, 01:34 PM
Mr. Jear-

As you have probably observed, I do a lot of posting, not only on www.dcresource.com, but on three other websites, attempting to help folks. So I hope that you will not be disturbed when I tell you that I would rather really help folks, rather than just reading reviews and submitting to you, an executive sumary to your personal and rather specialized requirements. That really does not seem fair when you can go to those reviews and get the data yourself.

Well I have already posted photo samples from the Panasonic FZ-7 and the Fuji S-700 for you, so we can eliminate those. The #1 photo attached to this post will be from the Canon S-2IS. The #2 photo will be from the Fuji S-6000fd. The #3 photo will be from the Sony H-5. I don't own a Sony H-7 or H-9. The #4 photo will be from the Fuji S-9000. I don't own a S9100.

As to the balance of your requests, they really amount to personal preferences, and those are items that only you can determine. The search for the ideal ultrazoom for yourself should be a personalized and proactive personal endeavor.

The Nikon D-40 is one of the best cameras for a point and shoot person to transition to as Nikon has made a very measured effort to make the D-40 very Point and shoot in its layout, menus, and incamera processing. The suto focus issue is a total smoke screen. There are a total of 40 different lenses that will work perfectly on the D-40. Don't get caught up or be confused by the rumor that most probably had its beginning in the Canon Camp.

Sarah Joyce





Mr Jear
06-17-2007, 05:35 PM
I am sorry if I have offended/disturbed/or abused your time Sarah. I think your first paragraph was uncalled for. I am not requesting an "executive summary" and you are not compelled to offer one. You made the statement of owning/using many different cameras and all I asked for was a hands on opinion of the ones you are familiar with. Yes, I have read and re-read the reviews on most of the cameras that have interested me.

I really am just looking for real life advice on what for my family is an important and potentially expensive purchase. I dont want to waste what limited resources I have.

One question which still hasn't been answered centers on the responsiveness in low light and shot to shot timings using flash and without. We were originally referring to the Fuji S700 and Nikon D40.

Email conversations can easily lose something in the translation. I apologize if i came across with an inappropriate question or statement. I really do value your experience and knowledge. Thanks

06-17-2007, 07:12 PM
The D40 (or almost any DSLR) will probably have the best image quality of the cameras in consideration, but though others opined that the autofocus (or lack of) lens issue is a smoke screen, those lenses with the autofocusing motor generally cost way more than some very-good quality third-party alternatives and in some cases more than the difference in the cost of the next higher Nikon body that will accept the cheaper lenses (Catch-22). There is an inexpensive telephoto for about $250 that would be fine outdoors. So, as you mentioned if you don't want a big system of lenses, perhaps the D40 would fit your needs - if you don't mind waiting for the flash to recycle for indoor shots.

If you don't want to wait for the flash to recycle, then you'll need to investigate some alternatives. 1) a "fast" lens of say f1.4 or f1.8. You can get a 50mm for as little as $100 or so for the f1.8 variety, but cost goes up quick for faster ones. Also the D40 will require manual focusing of that fast lens which sort of defeats the "quick shot" potential.

Shoot at a higher ISO with the kit lens. The kit lens is only fair, and by adding the high ISO grain effect, expect the image quality to drop severly.

The Fuji F-30 (or 31)
reportedly has good high-ISO performance that may work better indoors in natural light than other options. You will not need an ultrazoom indoors, so the "3X" lens is fine and covers about the same range as the D40.

There is no perfect camera.

06-17-2007, 10:14 PM
Mr. Jear-

I guess I viewed your request in a somewhat different light. I perceived you to be asking for comments on the now current models of the ultrazoom and DSLR cameras.

I am more than happy to comment of the cameras that I own and use. However, they are not the very latest models. So let's review the cameras that could possibly mesh with the models that you are now considering.

I own the FZ-7, rather than the now current FZ-8.

I own the Canon S-2IS, rather than the now current S-3IS and soon to be available S-5IS.

I own the Fuji S-9000, rather than the now current Fuji S9100.

I own the Sony H-5, instead of the now current H-7 and H-9 models.

I own the Nikon D-40 DSLR camera

I own the Fuji S-700.

I own the Fuji S-6000fd.

In view of these differences, that is old models versus new models, I will comment on the cameras that I do own and use.

As special K mentioned, the Nikon D-40 is probably the most capable as well as the most expensive of the prospective cameras. Based on my knowledge of your plans for the new camera, the D-40 IMO is not a crippled DSLR camera at all due to the fact that it does not have a focusing moter housed in the camera body. There are 40 categorized lens that will work fully with the D-40. Nikon's term for an IS capable lens is VR, which stands for Vibration Reduction. The lenses in reality are not overly expensive as special K suggests. For example the generally accepted, so called "two lens kit" for the D-40 is the Nikkor 18-55mm non VR lens and the Nikkor 55-200mmVR lens. The Nikkor 55-200mmVR lens is currently selling for around $(US) 225.00, which is not an ultra expensive price for a quality Nikkor lens.

Even if you wanted more reach, the Nikkor 70-300mmVR lens that works on the D-40 sells for $(US) 485.00, which when you consider that there are Nikon non VR lenses selling for $(US) 1700+, The Nikkor 55-200mmVR lens is fairly reasonable.

In a Burst mode the D-40 is capable of 3fps. If used employing flash, naturally the shot to shot times will be increased due the added time needed to recharge the flash unit. The rapidity of focus of the lenses included in the so called "two lens kit" is very fast in normal outdoor lighting. As light levels decrease, the focusing time will naturally increase. However, at no time have I ever had those two lenses take more than 1.5 to 2.0 seconds to focus even in the lowest of lighting. The D-40 can use all of it ISO capabilities up to ISO 1600 if you are willing to use software programs such as Noise Ninja and Neat Image to reduce the visible noise. The key advantage of the D-40 camera is its measurably larger CMOS based imager which produces cleaner appearing images.

The Fuji cameras in the group that I own are the S-700, S-6000fd, and the S-9000. They are somewhat similiar, but still different. They all do use the Fuji Intelligent Flash System which is a very high quality flash system that compares favorably, but not exactly with the Nikon Flash System. The S-700 uses a normal (non high ISO capable imager). The S-6000fd uses the same imager that is found on the Fuji F-30. It is high ISO capable up to ISO 3200 on the menu, but realistically it performs well in day to day operations up to the ISO 1600 level. The S-6X00fd and he S-9X00 camera make use of the same Fuji branded lens. The S-9X00 camera uses an earlier imager than the S6X00 imager and is therefore less able to effectively use the high ISO settings. ISO 800 does well on the S-9X00, images at ISO 1600 are marginal. The shot to shot times of the S-6X00 and the 9X00 are about the same at 1.8fps unless flash is being used, then the times become longer. Focusing times on the S-6X00 and the S-700 are similiar and quite fast, usually .5 of a second at the wide angle position and up to 2.0 seconds in low lighting at maximum zoom. In contrast the focusing time on the S-9X00 can be as long as 3 to 4 seconds in low light and at maximum zoom. Simly stated it is measurably slower. There are no flash units specifically designed for the S-700, the S-6X00, or the S-9X00camera. Most users choose the Sunpak 383 super for the S9X00. I use slave flashes with the S-6X00 and the S-700 when I need more light and/or more flash range.

The Canon S-2IS is an ISO limited but none the less very capable camera. It has an excellent video mode, and a long zoom that is IS enabled for greater efficiency. Shot to shot times are not exceptionally fast in day to day operations. They are slower than the Fuji S-700 and about equal to the S-6X00 camera. The focusing speed of the S-2IS is slower than the Panasonic FZ-7 and only barely faster than the S-9X00 camera.

The Pansonic FZ-7 with its Leica branded lens that is manufactured under license by Panasonic produces well exposed and colorful images of high qualityl in an out of doors environment. In an indoor environment without flash the FZ-7 is limited to a maximum of ISO 200 due to crippling noise. Its flash performance is adequate, but not as good as the Fuji or Nikon cameras. The FZ-7 focuses more quickly than the Canon S-2IS, but of course does become slower when at the max zoom and in a low light environment.

The Sony H-5 focuses at about the same speed as the FZ-7, and similiar to the FZ-7 it becomes slower as the zoom is increased to the maximum and light levels fall substantially. The Sony H-5 does better at ISO 400 without flash than either the FZ-7 or the Canon S-2IS. Its shot to shot times compare favorably with the Fuji S-6X00 and the S-700 cameras. The lens on the H-5 is a branded Carl Zeiss lens, but it is also made under license by Sony just like the like leica Lens is manufactured by Panasonic. Comparing the images from the FZ-7, the Canon S-2IS, the Fuji S-700, and the H-5, it is clear that Panasonic does the best job out of doors, while the Sony H-5 leads in the low light level/no flash environment. In contrast the S-6X00 and the S-9X00 are much more high ISO capable, with the S-6X00 being the clear class leader in high ISO capability. The S-700 is in a different league, but none the less has higer performance than one would usually expect for a roughly $(US) 200.0 pricepoint camera. It has oftentimes been inferred that the high ISO capable Fujis: the Fseries and the S-6X00 and the S-9X00 cameras do well in low light but they fail in an out of doors environment. I have not found them to fail out of doors. It is true that they do have a lesser dynamic range than say the Panasonic FZ-7, but they are certainly not crippled out of doors.

In my opinion the two stand out cameras in the group are the Fuji S-700 and the Nikon D-40.

Sarah Joyce

06-18-2007, 12:39 AM
the d40 is going to be the best performing camera of the ones listed. any good quality dslr will outperform a compact period.

the fuji range are excellent compact cameras. they are different in just about every way. the first thing you need to decide on is do you want a compact or do you want a dslr.

there are 2 other things i think are very important to point out here:

the nikon kit lens' are NOT just fair lens'. they are very good lens' built well, focus fast and have excellent clarity and sharpness.

flash recycle times are evident for every camera and the d40's iso peformance is fantastic so the flash isn;t necessarily needed as often as people are trying to point out. besides which, buy an sb600 external flash, (a must for any high quality low light indoor shots), and the recylce time is exceptional.

i would strongly recommend you look at the output from posters like fiondrunne and Reg00 who are shooting in all sorts of lighting conditions without a worry in the world.

Mr Jear
06-18-2007, 05:30 PM
Thank you for the wealth of information, so much to digest. :eek: After reading Jeff's review of the Fuji S700, I have ruled it out completely. It is definitely a performer for the right situations, esp @ the price. But I am looking for more.
I understand that any camera is a compromise of one sort or another. I compromised with the Canon A710IS which now belongs to my wife. It's a great little camera and I have taken some very nice pics with it, but always felt like I had to shoot 10-20 just to get the one I wanted, which works with a digital cam (no wasting film or money for developing) but I was missing a lot of moments I wanted to capture.

So to answer Rooz: Yes, I want a DSLR.:D

With that answer I need to ask, can I continue this thread or should I start a new one? I don't think the discussion will get too involved but ?? who knows?
Without stretching what is now my starting budget (@700) I only see about 3 choices: Nikon D40/40x Pentax K110D/100D Canon xti

So, any observations or comments on those choices? Thanks

06-18-2007, 06:10 PM
Mr Jear-

Yes, we can continue with this thread and alter the topic with no problems. I own both the Nikon D-40 and the Pentax K-100. Based on your requirements, Nikon has the best lens selection and Flashes.

My recommendation would be the Nikon D-40 kit, which includes the Nikon 18-55mm (non VR) lens. To that I would add the Nikon 55-200mmVR lens. That lens is a great lens with IS (VR is Nikon's term for IS). It is very quick to focus, has wonderful resolution and it is selling on the internet for around $(US) 230.00, making it something of a bargain.

For a flash unit you can either use the SB-400, the SB-600, and the top of the line, the SB-800. I would recommend either the SB-400 or the SB-600 flash.

The D-40 and the 55-200mmVR lens brings you in right around your budget figure. I am attaching a hand held shot made with the D-40 (it might have been the D-40X, I am sorry, I am not sure) and the Nikon 55-200mm VR lens at ISO 1600! It looks very good for being right at the limits for this camera and lens combination. It was taken is the IAH airline terminal without flash.

Sarah Joyce


06-18-2007, 08:35 PM
It's very nice to learn something new! I knew Panasonic manufactured Leica lenses under license, but not that Sony/Zeiss had the same relationship.

Regarding the Fuji vs the digicam world in the dynamic range arena: I believe that Fuji's Super CCD sensor has better dynamic range than "conventional" sensors used in digicams, both because of it's relatively (in the digicam world, not DSLR) large size to pixel-count ratio and also because of the unique design of the sensor itself. I'm sure much of this advantage is lost in jpeg format, though, as dynamic range of any sort gets really hammered by compression.

That's an impressive Nikon D40X shot, Sarah - the amount of detail at ISO 1600 is amazing compared with any point-n-shoot.

06-18-2007, 09:45 PM
That D40x shot is a little grainier at 1600 than my D40. Although perhaps it's emphasized by sharpening done without noise reduction first?

06-18-2007, 10:46 PM
So to answer Rooz: Yes, I want a DSLR.:D

With that answer I need to ask, can I continue this thread or should I start a new one? I don't think the discussion will get too involved but ?? who knows?
Without stretching what is now my starting budget (@700) I only see about 3 choices: Nikon D40/40x Pentax K110D/100D Canon xti

So, any observations or comments on those choices? Thanks

there are really 2 classes of dslr you are looking at:
d40/ k100d/ xt
xti/ k10d: i would have thought these 2 were well outside your budget of $700 ?? :confused:

personally i would rule the d40x out altogether. the xtra mp's don;t mean much and it costs more for the same issues that the d40 has.

there are pros and cons of each of the d40/k100/xt models. alot of detailed review info can be found here.


most reviews i have read have the d40 IQ ahead partly due to the fact that the nikon kit lens are better quality and partly cos its a brand new camera with a little bit better technology. but there is of course the incompatibility with many lens'. if you are not the sort of person that is going to invest heavily into multiple lens' then the d40 can be a good choice to enter the dslr market at a bargain basement price range.

Mr Jear
06-19-2007, 03:19 PM
I have held/handled the Pentax K100d, Nikon D40 and Canon Xti. All were reasonable, but (forgive me) the Nikon just felt better for some reason. :D The Canon seemed a little more responsive in continuous shooting and maybe focusing at distance (kit lens) but that is all subjective. I was looking at the B&H site today and found several kits:
D40 @ 525
D40x used @ 575 might have just been body I dont' recall.
Pentax K100D @ 435 and 50 rebate = @ 380
Canon Xti @ 725
The Canon does stretch the budget a bit, so I'm considering the $700 as a starting budget, realizing that with this decision it will be an investment no matter what I choose. :eek: The Pentax price is pretty nice, but have read mixed reviews about it. Is it wise to stay away from used, especially considering dust factor?
Are there any negatives re Pentax vs Nikon? I don't really know what to ask in this area. I wonder about the in-camera anti shake vs in lens VR. Is one better than the other... I know the "Canon Camp" is not fond of the D40 but when I was looking at the cost of lens (B&H) they didn't seem all that different.
Forgive me, I feel like I'm wandering here. I need to dig into the reviews a bit more, maybe I'll have some more questions later.:rolleyes:

06-19-2007, 03:31 PM
I've joined this topic late but I am curious as to why nobody has mentioned the Nikon D50. Yea, it can prove hard to find, but it's out there and it's now cheaper than the D40 and offers a focus motor, which the D40 lacks. In the long run a D50 would end up saving you money.

I think you should strongly consider a D50.

06-19-2007, 03:39 PM
I agree with jcon-

On one level, that of greater utility. However, when one considers that the OP (Mr.Jear) is transitioning from a point & shoot background, the easier to use menu interface, and the greater in-camera processing might swing the decision to the D-40 in place of the D-50. It is really up to Mr. Jear.

Sarah Joyce

06-19-2007, 04:06 PM
Mr. Jear-
I own both the Pentax DS and the Pentax K-100 DSLR cameras, so please understand that I do not have an anti Pentax bias. The Pentax 18-55mm kit len maufctured in Viet Nam is a pretty decent lens. However, my objection to the Pentax line sets in firmly when you begin to look for a longer focal length lens that would provide a good solution to the photos that you are thinking about of your grandchildren.
You are really forced to look at third party lenses from Sigma, Tamron, and Tokina. Let's consider the low cost lens alternatives, shall we?

Sigma 18-125mm-I found an excellent sample on E-Bay for $(US) 140.00. This is a lens that would work quite well for you. It is going for $(US) 250.00 retail.

Sigma 18-200mm-Retail on the internet $(US) 324.00. This lens could be a one lens solution if you purchas the K-100 body only.

Tamron 18-200mm-Retail on the internet $(US) 324.00. Like the Sigma 18-200mm this could be an all in one solution for you.

Tokina 24-200mm-Retail around $(US) 250.00 on the internet if you can find it. Otherwise an E-Bay search might be a possibility. But it effectively gives you a 36mm-300mm lens. Perhaps not a sufficient wide angle for you?

So there is a look at the possibilities. Have you physically handled the Pentax K-100 camer, Mr Jear? That is always a must. That camera might fit my hands perfectly, but it also might not be a good fit for you. So that is an important step you must/should take.

Sarah Joyce

06-19-2007, 05:56 PM
However, my objection to the Pentax line sets in firmly when you begin to look for a longer focal length lens that would provide a good solution to the photos that you are thinking about of your grandchildren.
You are really forced to look at third party lenses from Sigma, Tamron, and Tokina.

What's wrong with that? There are many great lenses out there. And don't forget all the old Pentax lenses will work (with varying degrees of automation) many of which are available at keh.com.

The more relevent limitation is the K100D's tiny buffer which limits the number of shots in a row for those who are so inclined to machine-gun. However, if you can't get the shot in 3 RAW or 5 JPG shots, then something is way wrong :-)

Mr Jear
06-19-2007, 06:02 PM
I agree with you completely Sarah, I need to 'aggravate':o the local camera shop some more. I don't remember the Pentax as well as the Nikon and Canon, they seem to be everywhere. I don't have large hands (wear a cadet ml golf glove - if you're a golfer - means shorter fingers) so I really do need to 'hold' and play with the cameras more.

The D50 is now very hard to find (at least in my area) so would be more difficult to get in my hands. I am traveling to the midwest in a few weeks, maybe I can find one at a local camera shop, but don't really want to wait too much longer (next grandchild is due in early July). Then again, babies don't move too quickly and I still have the A710IS.:D

I have been very impressed with some of D40 photos in the other thread. It seems to have a good following.

Sarah, have you found any difference between in cam IS compared to in lens IS in your hands on experience?

06-19-2007, 07:39 PM
Mr. Jear-

All I can give you are my own impression of the two types of IS. I have found that lens based IS seems to be a bit more effective than camera body based IS, although there is some variance by brands.

Sarah Joyce

06-20-2007, 01:39 PM
The 55-200mm VR Nikkor, fully compatible with the D40, is a bargain indeed. I used that one recently at Ritz, build quality isn't astounding, but it is sharp and grabs plenty of light. That'd be a little over $700 for D40, 18-55mm (love the wide angle of kit lenses, that's their strong point), and 55-200mm VR.

06-21-2007, 02:34 PM
The Nikkor 55-200mm lens is a rather impressive and economical lens. Here is a hand held, no flash sample photo taken in the IAH airline terminal at ISO 1600 and max zoom.

Sarah Joyce


Mr Jear
06-21-2007, 02:49 PM
Sarah I was re-reading the thread and noticed you mentioned using a slave flash with the Fuji S700/6000 when needing extra light. Forgive my ignorance, but how does this work? I understand the hot shoe, but where/how do you connect the slave flash to the Fujis? I had a really strange idea of getting the S700 for macro and zoom, playing with it on vacation (since it's so versatile) and then I could still opt for the D40 or ? that I really long for later on:rolleyes:. Together the price is about the same (D40+S700 = ball park 700-750), and I could still save up for the zoom lens at a later date (or maybe find it isn't needed). Even though there have been some 'less than stellar" reviews, the photo's in the Fuji thread are really impressive. I am going to the cam store probably this weekend. I'll let you know how that goes... Thanks

06-21-2007, 04:29 PM
Hello Mr Jear-

Take a look at the attached photo which shows the Fuji S-700 equipped with a Slave Flash. Here is how a slave flash works: The S-700, in this case, fires its built-in flash. The photo electric cell on the Slave Flash ( it is located just below the "w" in the brand name:Bower) "sees" the light from the S-700's built-in flash and fires the Slave Flash. In essence you now have two flashes illuminating your photo. Hence you have more light and a greater flash range. There is no wiring needed between the Slave Flash and the Fuji S-700 camera. If you also increase the ISO as well, you can sit back at 30 to 35 feet and get a nice photo using the telephoto portion of the S-700's lens. The first photo actually show how the flash is attached and the second photo was taken at 35 feet with an Olympus E-300, using this same Slave Flash (in the attached photo) and an Olympus Zukio 40-150mm telephoto lens. The Slave Flash is one I found on E-Bay for $(US) 24.00 delivered to my home.

I really enjoy the Fuji S-700 camera. It is very capable, has a great flash system, and loads of features, all for around $(US) 200! It is a great teaching tool. and a great beginner's or Family camera.

Sarah Joyce



Mr Jear
06-23-2007, 02:38 PM
Well I promised a report after my visit to the local store..... Very pleasant visit, asked for specific cameras and they were delivered to the counter. I asked for the Nikon D40 and the Pentax K100D to start with. Played with each, took some photos. Interesting that both were in burst mode, in fact, all the cameras seemed to be set up that way (?) While I was checking out menus and other tactile areas, the clerk presented me with an Olympus E410, also set to burst mode. It was very small, very light and very responsive, but without a natural handle for my right hand I was extremely careful with it.. Then he presented an Oly E500. I asked about the 4/3rds system and his comment was: "yes all the smaller digital cams use the 4/3 format and all DSLR cams will soon be changing to it as well. I asked just to make sure I understood him and he continued on with the same line. THis is news to me, I thought the 4/3 was unique to Oly. Then he proceeded to push the instore insurance policy offer and other things which I tuned out.... So back to my experience. I have to say that both the Nikon and the Pentax felt good in my hands, but the Pentax was definitely heavier and I "really" liked the viewfinder on the Nikon (very bright). The Oly E410 viewfinder was quite dim. At this point, Nikon is in the lead and I really want to find a D50 to play with. There are so many non Nikon lenses available. Can anyone offer an opinion on the Nikon 18-135 AFS compared to the 18-55 kit lens?

06-23-2007, 03:36 PM
Mr. Jear-

Originally the Nikkor 18-135mm lens was the kit lens for the D-80. It is a very sharp lens and is rated as a very good lens. For more details, please go to www.photozone.de. It would give you some added zoom range. Effectively, in 35mm terms, the Nikkor 18-135mm lens gives you a range of 27mm to 202mm, when mounted on the Nikon D-40 camera.

So yes, it would be a nice addition. What price are they asking to replace the Nikkor 18-55mm with the Nikkor 18-135mm lens? If the lens was to be purchased separately it would run about $(US) 300.00.

Sarah Joyce

Mr Jear
06-23-2007, 05:15 PM
I was looking at B&H. I believe it's @725 for the D40 with the 18-135 (one lens only and non VR at that). It would seem that's allowing me 100 for the kit lens. Would it be wiser to get the kit lens and add the 55-200 VR? That total would be @ 755 and give 'more reach' with VR. Seems like a better deal. I was planning to stay away from the local "cracker" store, at least to start with. The only local choices I have are CC, BB and Ritz. None really useful other than to demo things. I've heard/read really good things about B&H.

06-23-2007, 05:27 PM
Mr. Jear-

B&H is very reputable and easy to deal with, I have used them many times.
I feel the kit lens (Nikkor 18-55mm) and the Nikkor 55-200mmVR is possibly a better combination. That would give you VR where you need it the most.

Sarah Joyce

06-28-2007, 06:28 AM
"yes all the smaller digital cams use the 4/3 format and all DSLR cams will soon be changing to it as well.

that is complete and utter rubbish.

RE: kit lens'


although the 18-70mm is widely regarded as the best "all rounder" of the 3, i personally prefer the 18-135mm becasue it is tack sharp and gives you excellent range. i did own it at one stage. if you read the report on the 18-55mm there are some comments there about sub standard build quality. i also think if your going to get a kit lens, go for something with a tad more reach than 55mm so its more versatile.

the 18-70 and 55-200VR is a nice setup. the 18-135 adding the 70-300mmVR at a later date is even better imo...there's a bit of overlap there but the 18-135 would be a very flexible walkaround lens that you rarely have to change. and when you reeally want telephoto swtch to the 70-300.

Mr Jear
06-28-2007, 06:48 AM
I totally agree with you Rooz. I don't remember my response, I think I just stared at him a while (trying to be polite:rolleyes:). I think he was in his "push Olympus mode"????? He was also pushing their in-store insurance/dust cleaning service - "you know that sensor is electrostatic, so any time you open the camera, dust will be attracted to it"... :eek: and dust cleaning runs several hundered dollars..... it was hard to concentrate on the cameras with all that hard sell going on. It really just pushed me out the door.

I have decided to go NIKON. My biggest question is lens choice - and thanks for your input re 18-135. I'm really leaning toward the 55-200VR. Seems like the overlap between it and the 18-135 would be a waste. Your thoughts??

06-28-2007, 06:55 AM
I'm really leaning toward the 55-200VR. Seems like the overlap between it and the 18-135 would be a waste. Your thoughts??

yeah thats too much overlap. if you get the 18-135 you need to get the 70-300 to make it worthwhile. if you go the 18-70mm the 55-200mm will be fine. the other option of course is to get the very best walkaround lens on the market...the 18-200VR and cover the whole range with VR but this is an expensive option.