As stated above, canons are no easier to work; the Nikon vs. Canon debate is largely one of personal preference. Both create amazing images.
If you are looking to get a reasonable quality SLR for taking photos, the D40 would be a fine choice. You can also look into the Canon cameras that are in a similar price and functionality range. Just so you know - some lenses won't autofocus with the D40, and it doesn't shoot video.
If you are looking to ACTUALLY get into photography, it might be nice to step it up a little bit. You will quickly out-grow the D40. It's kind of a limiting camera. Unfortunately, the next best bet is probably the d90, which is twice as much. I don't know the lower end line of the Nikon SLRs well enough to say if there's a good in-between, maybe someone can help with that?
And, I would also like to stress that the best way to learn about photography basics is to take a class where you can shoot some film, or at least just shoot film yourself. Working with an old fully manual SLR gives you a really good fundamental grounding, and will also help you to wrap your head around the concepts quickly because you have to manually adjust everything which forces you to think hard about how to create good image.
^exactly that. i started out with a Nikon D60 about 2 and a half years ago and it was a perfect beginner camera. it's really similar to the D40 and to be honest if i could go back i would choose the D40 because it was a couple hundred dollars cheaper i think and they're just really similar. but yeah the D40 would be a perfect camera to start out with and IMO nikon's are easier to figure out when starting photography but it's up to you.
and like twoods stated above the D40 does not have an internal focus motor so if you want auto focus you'll need AF-S lenses which are a couple hundred dollars more than regular lenses which i didn't realize until i was ready to sell my D60 because i only used the 18-105mm lens, which is a perfect beginner lens BTW. good luck meng!
"You know, you're probably my favorite NSer ever." -teleak
I'm a nikon guy and started with a d50 and a few lenses. Eventually I moved up to a d300. I would say pick a brand and stick to it. Spend your money on glass. Bodies are disposable, glass will work forever (nikon's mostly).
Damn dude you did a shoot with derek from pretty lights?? that shits legit man!
Sorry i had no constructive post to what your looking for btu i just had to give this dude props for his site its super legit!..
but i just got into photography as well and i got a cannon rebel t2i not to long ago with i forgot which new Tamron lens ill have to check and i think its a great camera for sure. I love using it and it gets the job done for what im looking to do with it which is basically film/get stills of skiing, and take sick pictures of anything. I think its great and highly recommend it if your just starting out
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i have a D300 (with the grip too) and it was my 1st camera.. to be honest its the best way to get in is get the proper gear. the camera and a 16-85mm lens is the way to go.
if you want to get into photography, dont expect it to be cheap. Photography is a very expensive hobby, ask any photographer. my camera bag and contents are worth more then $5000, im not even that professional.
I started with a D40 and it was a great beginner camera. That being said, I upgraded to my current D90 within a few months and that has allowed me to become a much better photographer. It has auto settings as well as full manual which is nice if you want to give your camera to your friends for a few runs.
I'm waiting for a D300 replacement right now. But the D90 still produces great images for its price.
I would go above the D40, to the D90 because of the limited lens selection.
The canon rebel series is awesome if your looking to get a beginner DSLR. I have the XSi and I love it. Its really easy to use, great for learning on, and their relatively cheap $ wise. The T1i and T2i also both take HD video, while the XS and XSi don't. They are all awesome cam's.
As for lenses, the kit lens from canon (18-55mm F3.5-5.6 IS, Don't get the non IS version) isn't terrible for the price. If your looking for some more zoom i've heard good things about the 55-250mm F4-5.6 IS. Another awesome lens that I highly recommend is the canon 50mm F1.8, its around $100-$120 and is amazing for the price, great bokeh, I love mine!
As for Canon VS Nikon, they both make awesome DSLR's. Its really personal preference, like I prefer Canon over Nikon.
Oh and all the photo's on my Flickr page (in my sig) were taken with my XSi.
I started out with a Nikon d40! It was an amazing camera but, as a lot of the answers had said, you will grow out of it pretty fast! If i was u i would buy a second hand d80 and put ur money in more lenses! A good camera to grow in! Better to start with second hand things too cuz they are almost always in really good shape and you will save a lot of money! Today I use a d90 and its really good! d80 is almost the same so look at that one!