Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Camera - Advice Needed!

Alrighty, guys.  I need advice.
See this baby here?  These retail for around $850 on Amazon.  This is a Nikon D40 DSLR camera.
I have the opportunity to buy this camera - gently used from someone I know well - at a highly discounted price.
I have wanted to get a nice camera for a while for two main reasons:
1) I want good, quality pictures of my kids.  Both for myself and to give as gifts to family members.
2) My blog photos could definitely use some help!
I'm not really experienced with photography period, let alone a DSLR camera.  However, I'm already looking into some photography classes and doing research on how they work.
What I need from you, my cherished readers, are OPINIONS!
Do you have a fancy schmancy camera?
What model do you use?
Once you did your research, was a dslr hard to learn and use?
What *affordable* photo editing software do you use?
Do you think this is a great camera?
Thanks, friends!  Happy Wednesday!


  1. Good camera, i have great. I am no photography genius. I just hit the button..and SNAP ! Good buy. Have a great day, Stephanie.

  2. Thanks, Darren O! Sounds simple enough, right?? :)

    1. I have a DSLR! Easy as! There is an auto focus function and all you need to do is use the setting (pre-set) to match the pictures you're taking! DO IT! You won't look back!

  3. I have a dslr similar to this one and really love it. For a long time I just shot on automaticl and the shots were fine and then took a camera course to learn to shoot on manual and even though I'm still practicing, I can already tell a big difference in my shots, so I say get the camera....but in the future invest in learning how to use it on manual. :)

  4. My boyfriend has two Canon DSLR cameras - one to use (Mark 5D) and one to teach me with (Mark 7D). Some of the functions (ISO, aperture, macro) are a little frustrating at times, but if you put it in auto mode, the camera takes care of that for you. The extra functions are nice and can make some really cool pictures once you learn how to use them, so I say go for it and have fun seeing all the cool things the camera can do.

    I don't know if Nikon has the same function, but our cameras have a setting where the photo comes out as a jpg instead of the CR2. If your photo is a CR2, it needs to be run through an editor before you can post it to your blog. (sorry if you already know this. i didn't know about this when i first started using a dslr)

    As for editing software, we use Photoshop. It's pricey, but it has some great functions. There is also Picasa where you can organize your photos and do simple edits (i use it for my non-DSLR pictures). My friend uses GIMP, which is supposed to be a free version of Photoshop, and Photoscape. I've used Photoscape a little and it's fairly simple.

    For the Nikon you are asking about, my boyfriend says it is a good camera, but if you the option of getting a Canon, get the Canon. lol.

    1. Thank you for all the awesome information!!!!!!!

  5. Unless you are going to put hours (days) into learning the minute details of the camera and reading books on when to use what setting in general AND are willing to invest into a camera bag with at least one more lense and a potent flash (heavy and bulky), you are better of with the higher-end point and shoot with wide focal range and larger matrix. I have both - guess what do I take to kids school, where there is no space for a tripod, lightning is not good for the spot I am, and kids are running everywhere. With DSLR camera is just a beginning, or it is still glorified point and shoot, but far less convenient.

  6. Any modern digital SLR you chose will work fine. The real difference is in the lenses you chose. Typically, the more expensive the lens the better the photograph. However, for what most people do (including myself) the non-professional amature lenses are fine. If you can get a great deal on the camera go for it. See if you can find a great deal on a lens too. If you need to buy gear, a great place to look is Go to the forums and scroll down until you find BUY AND SELL CAMERA GEAR. Its a great place to shop, get advice, and post pictures if you want.

    I hope this helps.

  7. I have the Nikkon D5000 (a few years old) and I love it. You can just "point and shoot" with it in 'auto' mode. Or I can put it in 'manual' mode and get creative. I actually took a class through the BH Community Education last year on getting to know your DSLR camera and that was a great class to learn about shooting the camera in manual mode.
    If you can get the camera at a reduced price, I definitely say go for it. I also recommend looking into a basic camera use class as that will give you the information to start using the wonderful bonus features of a DSLR.

  8. I love my Nikon. I would suggest going to the camera store and try Nikon and Cannon and see which one feels better in your hand. I would also ask how many actuations (shutter count) are on the camera already. I think but don't quote me they should last between 100,000 and 150,000 actuations. A good body is a great start and then start investing in good lenses. They really do make a difference.

    I think you could get a way with using natural light for a long time before needing a flash. Yes some places are dark so you could increase your ISO (sensitivity of the sensor or in the old days film). You will start to get some 'noise/grain' at a lower ISO on this model then higher but cameras have come a long way too.

    Another thing to consider is file size of each image. I am not sure how many pixels each image is on this camera. But you better be prepared for lots of photos. DSLR are so easy to take tons and tons of photos on and getting rid of the not so good photos takes time and practice because in the beginning at least for me I want to keep all of them. So see how much storage space your computer has and you might want to look into an external hard drive as back up or to keep your images on.

    I bought Lightroom. Fairly inexpensive compared to Photoshop and user friendly.

    There are a ton of youtube videos on DSLR and how to use them and their functions as well as websites. Kelby training is one. There is a lot of good info out there. I also belong to This is a fee based forum but they have breakout sessions to purchase and classes. The forum is fairly active and lots of helpful friendly people. Plus I have found of group of local CMs that I have become friends with and they are super helpful as well.

    I think I just wrote a book but I think that would give you a good jumping off point. Have fun! Watchout though you might become a little obsessed with it. ;)

  9. I have the Canon T2i Rebel, which I had purchased in college after saving up for many months. I love it :D I've had good experience with Canon for years, which is why I chose it over Nikon, but a good friend of mine swears by Nikon.
    It's really a personal preference - I'd suggest going to take a look at both models to see which one is more to your liking. :)

    It's not too difficult to learn how to use a DSLR - between the included user's manual, YouTube videos and online tutorials, you will learn in no time! I like being able to change out the lenses and having more options than I would with a point and shoot.

    I use Photoshop, but I stumbled upon a good photo editing site online and it's free and easy to use! To use all the features, you do have to upgrade to pro, but it's only 33 dollars per year and totally worth it.

  10. I also love my Nikon. I shoot with a D80 (it is about five years old) but looked alot at the D40 when I was first shopping. It was a great camera, and I see people using them frequently when I am at events. I am in the market for a new camera as technology has changed significantly over the past few years.

    Something to consider with a DSLR... Being a digital device it is powered by a processor - more or less it is a mini computer. The older the "computer" gets, the harder it is to maintain or repair. The newer the camera, the better the "computer", therefore the whole package works a little better. This leads to better pics, more features, better operation, etc. Would you consider buying a five year old computer?

    The D40 was discontinued/archived a couple of years ago, and was upgraded to the D40x. The D40x shows on Amazon for the $850 range you mentioned, but the D40 (only used equipment available) is significantly cheaper. The D40x has also been discontinued/archived by Nikon. The newest generation of cameras like this are the D3000/3100/3200 or the D5000/5100/5200.

    I hope this helps. I don't think you can go wrong. Photography is a great hobby and it is extremely enjoyable to be able to capture those moments with your kids. Nikon makes great equipment. I hope you enjoy your new camera!

  11. The reason to buy a DSLR camera is not to use it in a preset mode but to get the quality images you want through manipulation of the camera settings. It is so you can take quick low light images without blur or to take images in very bright conditions without loosing the full range of colors and having some things overly exposed. If you want to take good photos and use it in programmed modes as some of the others have recommended then you should do yourself some justice and save some money and buy a great top of the line point and shoot. If you want to learn to use the camera, change the settings and get closer to professional quality images, get a DSLR. You should also realize that the camera body is the least of an investment you will make with a DSLR. You will need lenses for the camera that will easily double or triple what you will spend on this camera body. The camera body is an older unit and you didn't mention what the person wanted for the camera but you may want to pass and look at a newer camera body. This one is only a 6.1mega pixel camera. The newest cameras start at 18 mega pixels and go up from there. The post from Jonathon above also gives you some great advice as well as the person that said to go to a camera store and try out both Canon and Nikon. You will also have to consider what sort of software that you will post process the photos with. I would recommend Photoshop Lightroom. A full version of Photoshop as another poster recommended is not necessary and costs in the neighborhood of $600+. Lightroom is much easier as it is only for photography and not graphics design. If you want a Nikon look at the D3xxx or D5xxx cameras. If you don't care I would also suggest that you look at Canon. If you do look at Canon look at the newer ones the T3i, T4i, T5i. These are going to be in the entry level DSLR range and provide you with great images. This will also allow you to purchase a few good lenses and upgrade your camera body later down the road when you are ready to step up to a new camera. Hope this helps.

    1. your questions below
      Do you have a fancy schmancy camera? Yes but I don't refer to it as "fancy schmancy"

      What model do you use? 2x Canon 7d

      Once you did your research, was a dslr hard to learn and use? No. I had already messed around with film SLR camera.

      What *affordable* photo editing software do you use? I use Lightroom and Photoshop CS6. I recommend Lightroom to any new user

      Do you think this is a great camera? I don't think the camera that you are looking at is a great camera. It is a camera and was once a great camera but I would pass and look at a newer model. This one is more than several years old.

  12. Nice Dslr camera having good image quality and in a budget, now save your memorable moment using this camera.