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View Full Version : Annoyances and D40x vs D80



SantaCruz
07-28-2007, 12:27 PM
Hello, this is my first foray into the Nikon DSLR arena so be gentle... :D

About me: I've been shooting for over 30 years and fall into the 'enthusiast' category (at best). I recently got the bug to upgrade my point-and-shoot 3MP camera. I have a Nikon FE and 5-6 lenses I've had since new but rarely use it anymore. Digital photography just suits my needs much better nowadays. I've been looking at new cameras for some months now and my 'wish list' did nothing but lead me down a gauntlet of foibles concluding in, 'there is no such camera' (yet). Cutting to the chase... I've been shooting w/a new Nikon D40x for about a week now and am considering upgrading to the D80 for a few reasons. I'm hoping you fine folks can help me separate fact from fallacy.

My reasoning for the upgrade is based on a few annoyances I'm finding w/the D40x. What I'm hoping to learn is what are your annoyances, or pet peeves with your D40/D40x and D80. Reading reviews (ad nauseum) helps but real users with long term experience is better. To start, I'll state my primary issue(s) and will the D80 better address them.

D40x Annoyances:
Exposure compensation: I do it a lot... At night, I absolutely do not want the rear LCD to light up. The information I need is displayed in the viewfinder and all the LCD does is effectively blind me while attempting to keep my eye in the viewfinder. No apparent way to keep it from coming on while doing EC. The same applies for timer and flash buttons. At night this is a real annoyance. Can you limit these indications to the top LCD only on the D80? It appears so but need real-user input.

Info Screen: Being able to jump to and change settings on a per mode basis is good. Having to press the zoom button to get to pg2 (the good stuff) is not. Why couldn't Nikon let you toggle the info button through on/pg1/pg2/off? Having to bring your left hand into play instead of just using the info button and multi-selector is unwieldy, IMO.

That's just a couple for me. In general, does the D80 allow you to make changes to EC, ISO, flash, timer, etc. without blinding you at night, or even better, just keeping your eye in the viewfinder and seeing the changes without having to verify on either the top or back LCDs? If you have annoyances with either model, let's hear 'em. Promo material will always tell you what a product will do, they never tell you what it won't do... Thanks in advance and this is intended as a non-flammable topic.

Rooz
07-28-2007, 06:50 PM
About me: I've been shooting for over 30 years and fall into the 'enthusiast' category (at best). I recently got the bug to upgrade my point-and-shoot 3MP camera. I have a Nikon FE and 5-6 lenses I've had since new but rarely use it anymore.

do these lens' work with the d40x ? i'm surprised.

Exposure compensation: I do it a lot. At night, I absolutely do not want the rear LCD to light up. The information I need is displayed in the viewfinder and all the LCD does is effectively blind me while attempting to keep my eye in the viewfinder. No apparent way to keep it from coming on while doing EC. The same applies for timer and flash buttons. At night this is a real annoyance. Can you limit these indications to the top LCD only on the D80? It appears so but need real-user input.

yes. to be able to do this you must have a seperate top LCD screen which of course the d40x doesn;t have. you have to press a button and rotate the command dial to adjust. this is the way its done on all more advanced dslr's.

Info Screen: Being able to jump to and change settings on a per mode basis is good. Having to press the zoom button to get to pg2 (the good stuff) is not. Why couldn't Nikon let you toggle the info button through on/pg1/pg2/off? Having to bring your left hand into play instead of just using the info button and multi-selector is unwieldy, IMO.

the d80 allows you to customise your menu so you only have the settings you want to adjust regularly on one page so you dont need to toggle thru. not sure if the d40x has this feature.

That's just a couple for me. In general, does the D80 allow you to make changes to EC, ISO, flash, timer, etc. without blinding you at night, or even better, just keeping your eye in the viewfinder and seeing the changes without having to verify on either the top or back LCDs?

i don;t think so. i think you have to look at the top lcd. not sure any dslr allows you to do what you are asking cos its too fiddly to be pressing buttons while looking thru the viewfinder.

If you have annoyances with either model, let's hear 'em. Promo material will always tell you what a product will do, they never tell you what it won't do... Thanks in advance and this is intended as a non-flammable topic.

if you had the d40 i'd be saying stick with it cos the cost difference is significant. but with the d40x, the gap is just not big enuf and i'd recommend you upgrade. 2 seperate LCD screens, 2 seperate command dials, dedicated iso/ WB buttons, internal AF motor so all nikkor lens' will AF, 11pt AF system vs 3 on the d40x etc etc.

SantaCruz
07-28-2007, 10:13 PM
do these lens' work with the d40x ? i'm surprised.

In a word, yes... You need to set the camera to M. Both focus and aperture are set manually on the lens. You control ISO and shutter speed w/the camera. For exposure, you guess. The only indication you get is focus via the LLH dot in the viewfinder. To clarify... I'm using an 18-55 AF-S (kit) and 55-200 AF-S VR with the D40x, not the old Nikkor lenses (except for experimentation/novelty).


yes. to be able to do this you must have a seperate top LCD screen which of course the d40x doesn;t have. you have to press a button and rotate the command dial to adjust. this is the way its done on all more advanced dslr's.

What you describe is exactly the same on the D40/x. The only difference is the back LCD comes on with no way to disable it. This is also true for the dedicated timer (Fn programmable) and flash buttons.


the d80 allows you to customise your menu so you only have the settings you want to adjust regularly on one page so you dont need to toggle thru. not sure if the d40x has this feature.

Same for the D40x. This applies for the setup menu only, not the info window. On the D40/x, there is a dedicated button next to the shutter release that brings up a 'shortcut' screen allowing you to view and adjust your shooting parameters. As there is no upper screen, the only venue to show you this is the rear LCD. Because exposure comp is already shown in the viewfinder, having the rear screen come up is redundant and, at night, blinding. The question is, is this information limited to the upper LCD on the D80 or is it shown on both?


i don;t think so. i think you have to look at the top lcd. not sure any dslr allows you to do what you are asking cos its too fiddly to be pressing buttons while looking thru the viewfinder.

After some more research, it would appear some functions require you to leave the viewfinder regardless. There just aren't any indicators in the VF on either the D40/x or D80. Once the dedicated buttons are memorized, it seems not-so-fiddly to press and change using the command wheel assuming you can see the change via an indicator in the VF. The button locations are specifically designed to be within reach with the camera up and to your eye. This does not include the rear buttons, of course.


if you had the d40 i'd be saying stick with it cos the cost difference is significant. but with the d40x, the gap is just not big enuf and i'd recommend you upgrade. 2 seperate LCD screens, 2 seperate command dials, dedicated iso/ WB buttons, internal AF motor so all nikkor lens' will AF, 11pt AF system vs 3 on the d40x etc etc.

That's kind of what I'm thinking. I'm seeing (possibly) better ISO 800 and up noise levels per some reviews as well. Size is a bit of an issue but assuming you can check/change your settings on the D80 without enabling the rear LCD, that addresses my primary concern. Thanks for your response Rooz.

Anyone care to explain the exact behavior of the second 'on' position for the D80. Literature claims it enables the backlight of both the LCD's?

K1W1
07-28-2007, 10:23 PM
On the D50 you can change the ISO without removing your eye from the viewfinder.
As there are only 4 ISO settings (200, 400, 800 and 1600) you simply put your left thumb on the ISO button and rotate the command wheel with your right thumb.
Watching the exposure meter or shutter speed change in the viewfinder will tell you which ISO you have selected.
I assume that the same system would work with the D40 or D80 cameras.

Rooz
07-29-2007, 01:28 AM
As there is no upper screen, the only venue to show you this is the rear LCD. Because exposure comp is already shown in the viewfinder, having the rear screen come up is redundant and, at night, blinding. The question is, is this information limited to the upper LCD on the D80 or is it shown on both?

EV as far as i know is only displayed in the top panel and thru the viewfinder.

After some more research, it would appear some functions require you to leave the viewfinder regardless. There just aren't any indicators in the VF on either the D40/x or D80. Once the dedicated buttons are memorized, it seems not-so-fiddly to press and change using the command wheel assuming you can see the change via an indicator in the VF. The button locations are specifically designed to be within reach with the camera up and to your eye. This does not include the rear buttons, of course.

only EV changes can be seen thru the viewfinder, (and of course aperture and shutter speed), all other settings like WB/ ISO etc are only displayed on the top panel.

That's kind of what I'm thinking. I'm seeing (possibly) better ISO 800 and up noise levels per some reviews as well. Size is a bit of an issue but assuming you can check/change your settings on the D80 without enabling the rear LCD, that addresses my primary concern.

yepp, i only use the rear LCD for preview or a major settings change. all the most frequently changed settings are done via dedicated buttons and displayed on the top panel.


Anyone care to explain the exact behavior of the second 'on' position for the D80. Literature claims it enables the backlight of both the LCD's?

the only thing i can think of is that if you jog the dial it brings up the top panel LCD backlight. it doesn;t activate the main LCD panel.

SantaCruz
07-29-2007, 02:43 AM
Thanks K1W1... unfortunately, no dedicated ISO button on the D40/x. You can, however, program the Fn button do to so. Again, LCD comes to life. Bad at night.

That's perfect, Rooz. Methinks I'll spend some time w/the D80 at the camera store tomorrow to see if it's a bit more 'me' friendly. Again, any annoyances you folks have with the D80 would be helpful also.

Rooz
07-29-2007, 02:47 AM
btw: all of your old nikkor lens' will work on the d80. (if they are AF lens' of course). they wont AF on the d40 becasue it has no internal AF motor. i may be stating the obvious there but just in case you weren;t aware.

my main gripe with the d80 is the fact it doesn;t display the iso setting in the VF. thats a real pain in the ass imo. not sure what other dslr's have but imo this is a critical setting to display for the occasions you set and forget and then use the wrong iso settings for the next shots.

Sambru
07-29-2007, 10:29 AM
Buy a D200 and a lot of those issues will be resolved. I own both the D80 and D200, as much as I like the D80 I like the D200 better, mostly because of the dedicated buttons.:)

SantaCruz
07-29-2007, 01:47 PM
Hadn't really elevated my looking to include the D200. I'm seeing it does have more VF indicators than either the D40 or D80. I can remember a time where not removing your eye from the viewfinder was a priority. Apparently not anymore. All that information (IMO) needs to be where you preview the shot. Quite a premium to pay for that apparently. Thanks again and, more with the annoyances...

wh0128
07-29-2007, 07:18 PM
Yes if I were you I'd save up for the D200 for those dedicated buttons to make shooting photos go faster and not having to spend so much time in the menus.

Its only a couple hundred more $$ than the D80 and I think its worth it.

SantaCruz
07-30-2007, 02:21 AM
Thanks for the advice, wh0128. Fortunately, it's not a matter of saving for me. The upcharge for going from the D80 to a D200 is more like $600. The D40x actually does a pretty good job. It's missing some stuff like WB and exposure bracketing (which I could use) and, as mentioned above, I don't like having to go to the menu's for so many things. I do like the format/size however and, inconveniences aside, its performance is on par with the more expensive models in many respects.

For those making comments on glass, the old Nikkor glass I've got is older than all of you are referring to. These are non-cpu, fully mechanical, non-AF lenses from around the 1970-1980's. Again, much to my surprise, they actually work on the D40x but you have to use them fully manual. The compatibility charts don't include these. You don't even get a recommended aperture in the VF, you have to guess. The only thing that works is the camera will actually actuate the aperture lever to stop down the lens when opening the shutter. Crude as it is, I have some good glass from back then and they fill some long, wide angle and close focus needs the 18-55 and 55-200 just don't cover.

As for annoyances, I understand most don't really want to 'complain' about their equipment. If it has shortcomings, however, it does those looking to buy new equipment a service by informing them of things the mfg. never does. On that note, I'm having a dickens of a time with sodium lighting and WB on the D40x. Short of creating a custom setting for it, none of the built in ones seem to do a good job. Doing night shots, there are usually sodium lights to deal with and, left to its own accord, I'm getting some some pretty red/yellow laden results. Any tricks or tips on this?

K1W1
07-30-2007, 02:31 AM
Have you thought about trying to find a D50?
You are going back to 6MP from 10MP but it has virtually every other feature you want and the price should be very attractive if you can find one.

coldrain
07-30-2007, 06:17 AM
Sodium lights are just amber/yellow, so you can not expect white balnce to make things appear to be like they would be with white light, there are just too many wavelengths missing to reconstruct the colours. I find you get the best results by just accepting the yellow light to be the correct light, and shooting with white balance set to "cloudy".

You can use, and have the camera meter with, your old lenses on any Canon EOS body with Nikon to Canon adapter (like the one from Novoflex), and on the Nikon D200 and up. A D50, D80 or D70 will notallow metering with them.
With the Canon EOS option the camera will however not actuate the aperture, it gets closed/open when you set the aperture on the lens' aperture ring.

So, to use the older lenses the Nikon D200 is the best option.

SantaCruz
08-02-2007, 10:28 PM
Just to bring things full circle, I've traded up to the D80. The additional dedicated buttons, top LCD display and other customizations pretty much solved my issues w/the D40x. I do miss the smaller format, however. Guess I'll just have to pu an A570 IS or something for the casual stuff. Thanks for the input and look forward to a great shooting experience w/my new D80.

XaiLo
08-02-2007, 11:00 PM
Happy shooting...:)