Help for a beginner

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by raysnelling, Aug 6, 2008.

  1. Hi Everyone,

    I hope you can help?....

    I have enjoyed taking pictures on my old Minolta Dimage Z2 for the last few years but would like to branch out into
    the world for DSLR. My only problem is that I there are a number of camera's to choose from and as I am on a
    budget I would like to make sure that I am going to be happy with my choice and not be in a position 12 months
    down the line where I feel that I need to upgrade.

    I thought that instead of posting "What is best?.." questions I would pop on here and ask you guys which would be
    the best investment for a hobbiest on a budget?

    Here we go... My absolute maximum budget is £400.00. I've been looking at the D40 and D60 and would like a setup
    that will cover me for most situations; wide angle, telephoto and macro. Although zoom isn't essential, I would like
    something a bit meaty as I am used to the large zoom on the Z2.

    Can anyone please give me their suggestions on an ideal beginners setup?

  2. Im know that 400lbs is like 800 bucks here, but I bet that cameras are more expensive over there. For that much I would probably get a D60 with kit lens and some close up filters for macro. Start by just getting the lens that is provided and then add from there when you have more money. Your not going to get everything you want on a tight budget like that at first, but start with the camera.
  3. D60 and kit lens (VR) as Galen says. You have everything you need to get great 8x10s and 11x14s for years to come. You
    can add a lens later and "upgrade the system" without losing anything, with something like a 70-300 VR.

    If you're only printing 4x6s and 8x10s or viewing on-screen, though, the D40 is all you ever need. I've blown up my 6MP
    images from my D50 to big sizes often and been very pleased.
  4. If you can push your budget slightly, get the best body you can afford. You're obviously interested in photography as a hobby, since you've had a Minolta, so I assume at some point you're going to want something a little nicer. If you can buy the right camera now (without pushing yourself into debt of course), you'll be happier for a longer period of time. :)
  5. My budget was $1500. I've spent $3700 in just over a year now. LOL.

    Once you get NAS, you're in big trouble.
  6. Ray... I'd actually go for the D40 over the D60 (and I have). Very clean images up to ISO 400 and still real good at
    800. I have often agreed with Peter, but this time I do not. I have made more 11x14 and 13x19 prints from my
    earlier 6MP D70 and now from my D40 than I can remember.

    In the States you can buy a new D40 with the 18-55mm and the 55-200 for $600 after Nikon rebate. Are their similar
    deals in the UK?

    If you want to spend more on a body you should consider a D80, not the D60. Great external controls, and better
    lens choices down the line 9which will save you more money than the difference in price between a D60 and D80. A
    D80 and the 18-55 or 18-70 is probably right at your budget cap, depending on prices over there. A D70/D70s gives
    similar shooting controls with the 6MP sensor for about $300 in the USA.
  7. Thanks all for the responses so far, it's greatly appreciated!

    I too was under the impression that the higher spec body the better however some guy at a local Jessops was tryin
    to convince me to put down the Canon EOS 450D and take the D40! Maybe he was just a Nikon nut! He also
    boasted that the D40 could produce A3 size prints with no distortion. Is this the case?

    I am looking closer at the D60 as I see it has the dust extraction system unlike the d40 and of course the extra

    I've read a few threads on lenses and see that everyone so far is recommending the Nikon lenses over other brands
    (E.g. Tamron). I will go with the recomendations and look at extra lenses at a later date but is there a huge difference
    in these other brands? Would they be sufficient for a man on a budget or would I just be kicking myself??
  8. The D60 with 18-55VR lens comes in at just below 400 pounds (UK stock, 2 year guarantee on body - you need to watch this & avoid grey imports to avoid warranty problems). To this you will need to add a couple of memory cards (SDHC 4gb x 2 should be enough to start with). If you buy before the end of August, there's a 60 pounds cash back offer but you must buy authorised Nikon UK supplied stock.

    Macro is another issue - not sure how close the kit lens focuses.

    As a serious alternative, look at the Nikon D50. I bought a Nikon UK Grade A refurbished one for 179 pounds plus delivery as backup AND it will autofocus with more lenses than the D40 or D60. The D40 is a current model though, and has that nice warranty (& 40 pounds cash back).

    So, a D40 + 18-55 (not VR version) + 55-200mm VR telephoto zoom from ABC Digital Cameras (UK Stock) will set you back around 398 pounds after 60 pounds cash back (2 lenses) + another 15 pounds for 2 x 4gb memory cards. That's about the best deal I can come up with!
  9. Simon has just said almost exactly what I was about to, so I'd just add:-

    I don't print larger than 8 x 12 with my D40 and can't see any defects due to the 6 megapixels at this size even
    looking up close.

    You get faster flash sync. on the D40, more megapixels on the D60.

    You probably get less noise on the D40, probably better dynamic range on the D60.

    You don't need to rush to buy closeup lenses for the 18-55 (both and non-VR) since it goes down to almost 1/3
    lifesize without any
    extras - about 1 foot away, ratio 1:3.2.

    The VR is worth much more on the 55-200 than on the 18-55 because tele. lenses are much harder to hold still.

    D60 has several extra features - you have to decide if they are important to you.
  10. Re. your other question, I tend to buy Nikon lenses but have two off-brand ones - the Sigma 10-20mm and Tamron 17-50mm. They work fine, but I would have liked to have been able to afford the Nikon equivalents. Dust removal is just gravy - doesn't do much in reality (I don't miss it on my D80).

    "Prints with no distortion" is pretty meaningless from the Jessops man! However, I've printed to 10 x 15 inches from the 6 megapixel D50 (almost A3) and they've withstood camera club competition judge scrutiny well. I've also had images from the D50 converted to 35mm slides and projected to 4 x 6 feet with no negative comments about noise, grain or whatever. So don't be seduced by the megapixel myth unless you plan to do loads of heavy cropping or VERY large prints (more than 10 x 15 inches).

    Camera bodies go 'out of date' every 18 to 24 months, but they don't magically start producing worse images when the new model comes out. The usual wisdom is to invest in good lenses and upgrade the camera body only when it wears out or something substantially better comes along.

    Hope this helps!
  11. Thanks all for your suggestions! It has given me a great amount to consider and will help a lot!!

    All the best,
  12. I'll still never consider the d40/60's for anyone wanting to venture into the dslr world and are most importantly "on a
    budget". My reasoning is this: if you are on a budget you aren't likely to have the money for all those fancy AF-S
    lenses. I'm on a budget too, and I tend to buy older lenses w/o AF-S just because they are less money. Optically
    just as good, but sometimes half the price of the newer alternative. For that reason I would second Simon's
    suggestion of looking at the D50. It was my first dslr and even now I still miss it for it's versatility. It's only 6mp, but
    did great 8x10 prints. I never tried printing bigger than that, but then again most other amateurs don't go much
    bigger than that either. It also solves that autofocus problem the newer entry level slrs have.

    I know that the technology in dslr's changes every couple months, and you said you didn't want something that you
    would want to replace soon. Unfortunately you're gonna want to replace your camera no matter what in at least a
    year. Even if you had a D3, as soon as it's replacement comes you'd want that too.....that's just the way it is. But
    you can still take good pictures and make good prints from an older camera. I know a wedding photographer who
    still uses his Canon 300d (albeit as a 2nd body) and another photog who works for a modeling agency that uses the
    same camera. That's old technology but they still take great pics. Try not to get caught up in the need to buy the
    newest thing just because it's newer. Especially since you're on a budget.

    So, to sum up: look at a D50 or even a D80 once the prices drop, or buy used and save a ton and invest in a good
    lens or two. You said you wanted to get into macro so a D50 with a Tamron 90mm macro would be well under
    $800usd for you. A used D80 would be around the same price. Good luck.
  13. i'll agree with other posters that there's little practical difference between a d40 and d60 in terms of performance, and
    that more MP doesnt necessarily equate to a "better" camera. the entry-level bodies are great for casual users, but
    the lens compatibility factor rears its head as soon as you think about upgrading your glass, and is definitely an
    issue with macro. nikon only has two AF-S macro lenses (60mm and 105 VR), and the 3rd party variants (i.e tamron
    90, sigma 150,) are very highly regarded.

    for that reason definitely consider D50 and D80, which would allow you to get an older used non AF-S lens at a
    fraction of the cost and still have AF. of course, you can MF with a macro lens, but to not be able to AF at all with
    many lenses is a big limitation IMO.

    if you go d40, the money you save vs. a d60 is enough to purchase a 55-200 in addition to the 18-55 kit lens or an
    sb-600 flash. but there's no cheap macro beginner's set up, really, although the 18-55 with extension tubes is as
    close to it as you're likely to come. you can also use a 50/1.8 with tubes for semi-macro, but that lens is MF only on
    a d40/d60.

    as far as being happy 12 months from now with your choices, i dont think any purchase you can make can
    guarantee that. there will always be a newer body to tempt you into upgrading. it's up to you to determine when to
    say that's enough.
  14. get a used d80 if you can find one. great camera. it is due for replacement fairly soon so the prices will come down a bit.

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