Saturday, May 24, 2008

Nikon D40

So, today I purchased a Nikon D40 Digital SLR! It's a big move for me. I've been relying on point-and-shoots and modified webcams but now, hopefully, I can take a deeper plunge into astrophotography with this camera.

I got a pretty good deal on the basic kit (camera body and 18-55mm zoom lens) and also got a deal on a 55-200mm zoom, kitbag, instructional DVD and other goodies. I experimented with it tonight on a few different subjects (kids and pets, basically) and the results were brilliant. Very vibrant color, excellent depth of field, and a very easy, intuitive menu system (with quite a large screen to use as well!) make this camera a very nice system indeed. Tomorrow morning I'm going to wander around downtown Austin and take a few shots there as well.

It will probably take me a while to learn how to use it. I used to own a 35mm SLR way back when, and while it feels very nice to have an SLR-type camera again, I have a steep learning curve ahead with respect to using it for astrophotography. I may well start with wide field shots (piggy-mounted to the LX200) before attempting deep sky stuff.

! Be sure to check out my blog to see my Nikon D40 astro shots here!

7 comments:

OtherPhil said...

I also just bought a D40, but it's driving me crazy. I'm used to all-manual controls (F3). When I try to do astrophotography with it (on Manual, bulb exposure, older 300mm lens), it just tells me "Subject is too dark. Use flash." I'm assuming I need to change a setting to override this, since my flash won't reach Saturn. ;-) Have you encountered this with your D40? I haven't tried with the 55-200.
Phil

Phil said...

Hey,

Admittedly I have not tried bulb yet. I have been using 20 second exposures max, as I don't yet have the IR control for shutter release.

I DO get "Subject is Too Dark" when I have NO lense attached (i.e. for attachment to scope) but it still allows me to press the shutter button.

One website says you can only go to Bulb mode if you set the shutter mode to Remote:

http://www.bartbusschots.ie/blog/?p=652

Try that?

Cheers,
Phil

otherphil said...

I was trying to use an AF lens. It couldn't detect what to focus on, so it wouldn't shoot. Using MF worked OK. It will shoot bulb exposures in s or c on Manual Exposure. But with the remote, it doesn't work like a real bulb exposure (press=shutter open, release=shutter closed). It's actually like "T" or time (press once=open, press again=close) and says "--" instead of "Bulb." Here are some fireworks shot on "--" with the remote. And here's a night shot (the hill is actally lit by streetlights, not sunset).
Now if I can just figure out how to disable the blinding info display after each shot is taken. Ugh. Thanks for the forum.
Happy shooting!

Phil said...

Hey There,

While browsing Ebay, I noticed that there is a flip-cover system designed for the D40 which enables you to cover up the LCD display of the camera. Wasn't too expensive, maybe US$20.00 plus shipping.

Cheers,
Phil

Phil said...

By the way, both shots are very good. The fireworks shots are nice and the wide field shot is very good indeed. I think it just takes a LOT of practice and patience...

Keep it up!

Anonymous said...

When I try to take a picture through the telescope, the camera says no lens is attached (which is correct). Is there a setting on the camera that I Nneed to make?

Phil said...

Anonymous - yes, that's right. You'll have to set the camera to Manual mode (M on the command/mode dial) and set up your shutter speed and ISO accordingly.
Cheers,
Phil