Monday, May 18, 2009

Monday Morning Muzzle & DSLR Musings

Muzzle Boy

I never, ever tire of seeing this muzzle.

Jan inquired about my camera. I recently purchased a Nikon D40 from It was a package deal. I got the camera, two lenses, two DVD's, and a gadget bag (I've linked you to the ad, although the package has changed and no longer includes the bag and DVDs, I think there is a printer offer now. They change them frequently.) I personally was satisfied with my purchase from this site, but do your research. There are good and bad reviews for most online camera retailers, I've noticed.

It was funny because when I found the camera on Ritz (after Costco had backordered it), I noticed they were in the same "family" as Kit's Camera, which I've seen retail stores for. It turns out that Kits and Ritz's online camera sites are not affiliated with their retail stores at all.

When I looked at the D40 camera package, I noticed another one that seemed exactly the same, except for a little more money. I read all of the fine print and could not figure out what in the world was different. Of course, I ordered the less expensive one. Guess what? I discovered later, after I received the camera, that the more expensive one had a 55mm-200mm lens that had VR- Vibration Reduction. It was a small detail I hadn't noticed. In retrospect, I probably would've paid more for VR, but too late now!

Why Nikon? It wasn't a hard choice. I was influenced by bloggers and their cameras and photos, people around me who have Nikons,reviews, and cost. The Nikon was a little less expensive than a comprehable Canon. I also went to camera shops and played with the Nikon D40. Just holding the camera, it felt like a good "fit" for me.

At this point, I have read my manual and watched the DVD's, which were very basic. I probably only know a 1/3 of what I need to know to fully operate this camera.


Somebody needs his whiskers clipped!

Let me tell you that I can hardly stand to use my point-and-shoot anymore, although it's a necessity for some activities, especially riding as t
he Nikon is a little too big for my saddle bag! To me, the quality of the DSLR from my point-and-shoot is night and day. However, I am still shooting mostly on AUTO, or the various modes (sports, macro, portrait, etc.) I am still pretty much using it as a point-and-shoot. And I am not afraid to admit that. I just haven't had time (and probably won't, until the school year is over) to really explore more about the camera's capabilities. But I also feel when you pay that much for a camera, it should meet you halfway, and it does. The other half is "in your head," as a photographer told me. It's the artist's creative eye. You can have the best camera on the market, but if you don't have the eye for photography, it won't matter.

So that is the beginning. If you are feeling intimidated by a DSLR- don't be! Before I bit the bullet and got the DSLR I was going to move up to a Nikon Coolpix P90, which is in the class of point-and-shoots they call "ultra-zooms" (Canon makes a great one too, that feels like a DSLR in your hands and is probably a bit nicer than the P90 from the reviews I read.) But the price of the P90 was still $400. I knew that I would "outgrow" that camera within a year and want a DSLR anyway. So for around $150 more, I got a DSLR, which I can grow with. I will probably never need another camera, since I plan to stay an amateur, my photography is just a creative outlet for me. Now, I will admit that I'm already eyeing other lenses, particularly this one.

I'm not one to give particular technical shooting advice because I don't have the skills to do so, but I can share my experiences and hopefully that will help you in some way, at least if you are just starting out or thinking about getting a DSLR!
I'll write more camera thoughts in the future.


JAN'S PLACE said...

great info.. I did pick up the Nikon L100 at Costco, Point and Shoot.. but the look and feel of the SLR.. I have 90 days to check it out, or return. What was the other model you mentioned that had the vibration feature?


Pony Girl said...

{Jan}~ Yea, can't wait to see how it works for you! I'm going to look it up.
The one with VR was also a Nikon D40. They had two packages, one with a VR lens, one without. But the only difference in the ad was the "VR" in the lens description, which being a rookie, I didn't pick up on.

Marchelle said...

you are really doing your homework! i had a friend who made the same mistake on the 55-200 lens not having the VR, but it was an ebay transaction and she realized it in time and was able to cancel the transaction. i'm sure you'll do fine either way. if any of the shots you've posted so far are shot with that lens, then i'd say you're doing fine!
one thing i will suggest having started with the D40 myself, if you are going to invest in other lenses, always make sure they will work on your camera. for example, the very common 50mm f/1.8 which sells for around $125 doesn't auto focus with the D40. they NOW have a 50mm f/1.4 that does, but with that 1.4 also comes a higher price tag; around $350, i think. don't quote me, but if i remember right, D40's will always need the lenses that have AF-S in them. which i think is because the camera itself doesn't have the auto focus motor, so you have to use lenses that have the motor built in. (AF-S = auto focus - silent wave motor)
and as always, i don't claim to be any kind of know-it-all, so please, anyone, feel free to correct me if i'm wrong! i just read everything that PW, Scott Kelby and Ken Rockwell have to say! LOL

Pony Girl said...

{Marchelle}~ You are right about the lenses. In fact, they now make one for the DX models (Nikon D40-D60) I linked to it in this post, I think it's a 35 mm and f/1.4. And no, it's not the affordable $100-125 of the 50mm f/1.8 one...bummer. It's still a couple of hundred or so. I'm saving up for it...lots of dog sitting jobs, and hopefully no horsey vet bills, LOL! ;)
I think without VR, the zoomed photos could be a bit blurry, from camera movement. It's hard to hold steady with that lens way out, especially on the breezy farm, LOL! But so far, it's not enough to bother me. I'm not a professional and not overly picky about my photos, I know they aren't technically perfect. Thanks for stopping by and adding your thoughts, I LOVE your photography, you are an inspiration!!

Spruce Hill said...

It's my first time over here and I am not disappointed. Your shots with your new camera are really great! I love nose shots!

City girl turned Country Girl said...

Great post PG, I understand what you are saying with the preset features, that's where I get my belief that my issue is my lens...Well even for an "amateur" you are doing great!! I just ordered 2 DVD's for my D90, I got a DVD when I purchased the camera but it was very, very basic...These new ones are very detailed so I'll have to let you know how I like them, maybe you could find the same for the D40!!

Debby said...

I stopped by for a pink saturday visit but was taken in by your camera post. WOW!!!! The pics are incredible. I just purchased a Coolpix P90 last week and haven't had a chance to play with it yet, so hope the pictures are half as good as what I see from your new camera. Have fun playing!