Saturday, January 7, 2012

Nikon D40

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If you read this post on Friday then you know our camera basically died.  It will still turn on and take pictures and stuff, but it won't focus right, the lighting is all off, and it leave these strange lines across all the pictures.  It's a bit of a problem when you're the kind of person who takes pictures of stuff and then posts them on your blog all the time.

I'd like to tell you I'm sad and devastated and that I cried myself to sleep over it last night.  I feel like that's a good person who loves their camera would do.  But the fact is, I've had that camera for at least six years now and I've been ready to move on to a nicer model for a looong time.

My little point and shoot (the one that just died) is a Samsung Digimax S500.  (Haha!  Apparently you can pick up a used one for $35 on Amazon now.  I am so not surprised.)  It's been a great little camera for a lot of years.  But it definitely has its limitations and, while it sounds braggy to say, I think my skills surpassed that of my sad little camera.  It hung in there a good long while, but I'm ready to let it finally rest.  It deserves it.

image via

I've been wishing aloud for a digital SLR camera for at least the past year or so.  (This is what "SLR" means, by the way.  Just in case I'm not the only one who has been wondering for the past several years.)  And, well, last night all that wishing finally made it so.

Some people are great at researching things that have a million details.  Bryan and I, as it turns out, are not really those people.  Maybe we put a little bit too much trust in Amazon, but so far it hasn't let us down.  And so last night we spent a good hour or more searching for a new camera.  (I know, I know, we didn't even take the time to make spreadsheets of all the different features and prices and map out which model would be best.)

These were our/my basic qualifications:

  • Price range of $0-around $300
  • dSLR
  • A good basic body that I can switch lenses in and out*
  • Preferably one that comes with a decent starter lens
  • Preferably a Canon Rebel or a Nikon**

*Maybe being able to switch the lenses in and out is part of the definition of an SLR camera, but my untrained eye saw multiple cameras claiming to have SLR capabilities that only had one fixed lens.

**These were the models/brands that had been most recommended to me by my photographer friends and other bloggers.

There are so many options available when it comes to buying a camera.  And I thing that to really make an informed decision you have to actually know what it is you're reading about.  Which, quite honestly, I don't.  I've read a little (a very very little) and taken a couple photography classes, but that in no way adds up to understanding SLR lingo since I've really never taken more than a handful of pictures on one before.

It would have been easy to get stuck in the vortex of "But I don't know if I'll really like this camera as much as I might like another one and maybe once I know what I'm doing I'll wish I had gotten a slightly nicer one and..."

But here's the thing.  We're still poor grad students right now.  And while it is our current reality, it won't be forever.  In 3 years Bryan will graduate, get a job (hopefully!), we'll start paying off all our student loans, and then we'll actually have a real income.  It will probably take me at least that long to feel like I really know what I'm doing with an SLR.  And if, by the time we have money for a nicer camera, I want to upgrade, I'll probably be able to.  But for now, why not get just get started?

image via

So we decided to go with the Nikon D40.  We bought a used one in mint condition for $315.  It came with the camera body, the starter lens, a memory card, a basic camera bag, and... I feel like it came with one or two more things, but I can't remember what.

After reading the reviews it sounds like there are good reasons why people buy the D50 or the D80 or any other nicer models.  But, for me, it seemed to be a reasonable price on a good starter camera.  And I'm sure that I won't really understand why anyone would ever need a nicer camera for a long time anyway.  It will be such a huge step up from my little point and shoot!

The only sad news is, it's not supposed to arrive until sometime between January 13th-31st.  Yikes!  I hope my patience can hold out until then!


Kristie said...

I have a Nikon L110. It is a step below a DSLR. And for the time being it is much better than my skills are. But I do have so much fun playing around with it!
Good luck with the patience thing. Hope you can survive. :)

Kendra said...

Awesome! I've been telling Jared I need a new slr for FOREVA. My 2004 from Craigslist isn't cuttin it anymore. Yay for you!

Lisa Lou said...

We could have mailed the camera Bryan gave me back to you to use. Haha!

The Jessee Journal said...

Hooray! The only problem? Now instead of a new camera you'll have the wantsies for a new lens. Trust me ;)