Opinions Needed RE: Nikon DSLR purchase

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by mandy_swanson, Mar 1, 2009.

  1. I thought I had made up my mind and I was going to purchase a Nikon D80 however I keep second guessing myself. I know I want Nikon but...

    Would it be better for me in the long run to get a Nikon D80 with 18-135mm f/3.5 - f/5.6 DX Zoom-Nikkor lens OR get a D60 with a better lens? Even a D40?

    Just a note: This will be my first DSLR. I'd like a prosumer camera and I am willing to spend about $800 for the camera and lens.

    If you think going the 'better lens' route with a D60 or D40...what lens do you recommend and why?
    Thank you!
  2. The D80 is as of now a very good deal (brand new for less than $600). It's only slightly more expensive than the D60. You can save at most, $200 for getting the D40 instead. I'm not sure if that $200 can make a big difference in terms of lenses; it really all depends on what lenses you want to get. The D40 is an excellent camera in its own right, and it's not a bad idea to get it and reserve more budget for lenses.
    On the other hand if you go up to a D90 (it's essentially a generation newer in terms of technology), You'll end up with a more modern camera that'll perform better in low light.
  3. I bought a D80 about a year and half ago, and I love it. But- its pretty old now compared to the D90 which has way better sensor, according to what I've read. The D80 can be had now for as little as 5-600$, but I would pony up for a D90 or better and get some good glass too. I'm sure you'll hear a variety of opinions here.
  4. The D80 has enough advantages over the D40 or D60, in terms of convenience features (second command dial, more options that can be changed without going into menu, much brighter viewfinder) so it is probably worth the small difference in price. You might try to get a kit lens with VR along with it. That will probably hold you until you need faster glass (a constant f/2.8 lens), at which point the Tamron, Tokina, and Sigma choices, which are optically close to the Nikons, will cost about 1/3 as much and would be good candidates for add-ons.
  5. The D80 has a built-in AF motor, which the D40 and D60 do not. Right there, you hugely expand your range of later (and much less expensive) lens purchase options. The D80 is also capable of using its pop-up flash to remotely control strobes like Nikon's Sb-600, 800, and 900. If you're headed into a more than just very casual use, you'll eventually buy one of those speedlights... and you'll really like being able to use your strobe off-camera.

    An important bonus from getting a body with a built-in AF motor: you can use Nikon's terrific, and super cheap 50/1.8. That lens will not AF on the D40/60, but it's an incredibly useful little lens that will do wonders for you in in low light when the slower kit zoom will choke up. Just to stir the pot a little, right here is a shot from just yesterday, using my good ol' cheap little 50/1.8 from 20 years ago. Being able to AF with that lens is helpful with wiggly targets like the one you see there.
  6. OTOH there's enough buzz about the possibility of a new model to be announced on Tuesday that it may be worthwhile to wait 2 days and see... the buzz seems to be that D5000:D90::D60:D80.
    But all of these are very nice cameras and it's not like any of them are a bad decision.
  7. I agree with Andrew, it wouldn't hurt to wait a week or so to see what new models Nikon brings out and if they further drive down the price of the older cameras.
  8. Why is it that when posters say they have X dollars they can spend on a camera, half the replies recommend cameras and lenses that are at least twice as expensive as X? I would swear these people are all car salesmen or real estate agents.
  9. GET THE D80! You will not be sorry
    You will be able to use a wide range of Nikon lenses, but with the D40 or D60, you will be limited to lenses made just for this camera; unless you do not mind manual focusing.
    I wish I had waited a year before buying my D40.
  10. Lacey,
    I had the same issue last Sept. I'm not sure if you've actually handled the D80 and the D60 but that was what made my decision. The D60's viewfinder is noticeably smaller than the D80 (which still is smaller than your last 35mm film Nikon...) and that was a dealbreaker for me. As has been said above all the advantages of using the non AF motor lenses is a plus as well. The other thing I didn't grasp as much in the store was the value of the second command dial on the D80 vs the D60/40. Being able to move quickly through menu's, adjust aperture and shutter speed with quick flicks of the dial is a great advantage.
    As far as the 'better lens' route, I don't think you'll save much between the D60 and 80, maybe if you go with a used D40 you could pair it with the new 35mm 1.8 and 50mm 1.8 which would make a great package. Good luck!
  11. Wayne: people sometimes mention more expensive equipment because - just sometimes - people who've been down the same or similar roads hate to see someone spend too little, only to have to spend it all over again. I can't tell you how many threads I've seen here where purchasers of D40 and D60 bodies express some dismay at discovering their inability to use cool, inexpensive prime lenses or to control off-camera strobes. When for the cost of four pizza-and-a-movie nights out, they could have a much more capable camera and not be re-buying everything all over again in six months. That story plays out here over, and over, and over again.

    There's a big difference between telling people to consider spending $650 instead of $450, and telling them to skip the $2500 D700 and get the $4800 D3 instead, so they won't have to buy a battery grip.
  12. Ray House

    Ray House Ray House

    The D80 is an awesome camera. There have been some AF problems with the 18-135, but you'll get a 5 year warranty on this lens. I have a D80 w/18-135 and I think its a great combination. Then when you can get a good flash and a 50mm f1.8D and a tripod in whatever order you need them.
  13. Lacey,
    The D80 is a great body. (My first camera was a D70s, and it is still an excellent body....a generation behind the D80!)
    The problem is staying in your budget and still getting a good lens to go with the D80. There are a couple of kits out there right now, but even the least expensive is pushing your budget. The D80 body is selling for about $650, less tax.
    The 18-135 AF-S/D80 kit is $799, which will put you just over your budget with taxes.
    18-55 & 55-200mm VR kit is $920.
    You could buy the D80 body only and shop around for a less-expensive consumer lens from another manufacturer.
    There are certainly some good options out there!
    Ray's suggestion is right on the mark. Get the D80 and a decent lens to start, then you can add a 50mm f/1.8 lens and an SB400 or SB600 next year and you'll feel like you just purchased a new camera again!
  14. A D80 with the 18-55, and a 50/1.8 should be within your budget. Heck, you may even be able to add a 70-300G and keep it around $800. IMHO, the 18-55/70-300 will give you better results and range than the 18-135 for the same money.
    The biggest advantage of the D40/60 is the smaller size. I'm on the same page as Matt, ^ a Nikon body with a built in focus motor opens up many more options.
  15. I was in the same boat as yourself, looking at the D60, then D80 and flip-flopping back and forth. I finally settled on the D200. It was pretty much a "screw it, you will enjoy it, and use it, so make the most of it" type deal. I have a Tokina Pro 24-70 2.8 to mount on it already. So I didn't need any "immediate" funds for lens.
    Good luck on your decision, I think most are saying you will be pleased with either choice you make.
  16. I have a D60 and the fact that it will not focus the "screwdriver" autofocus lenses (50mm 1.8) drives me nuts. I bought it on an impulse because they through in two kit lenses and I didn't even consider the autofocus thing. Get a D90. It has the same sensor as the D300 for a lot less money.
  17. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    If you are a very casual photographer and just want something a bit better than a "point and shoot" digicam, the D40 and D60 are for you. If you are a more serious photographer, you'll likely outgrow the D40/D60 quickly; in that case I would recommend the D80, which is on deep discount since it is now the old model.
    You can always get a basic lens for now if you absolutely cannot exceed that $800 budget and then add more lenses later on.
  18. Andrew, what does "D5000:D90::D60:D80" means...? Let me guess: new D5000 will be to D90, what D60 is to D80? (mathematical language). Sorry for my ignorance.
  19. One more option: a new D200 from Best Buy for $600...
  20. Andrew, what does "D5000:D90::D60:D80 " means...? Let me guess: new D5000 will be to D90, what D60 is to D80? (mathematical language). Sorry for my ignorance.​
    Yeah, that's it. Like on the SATs. You take some of the D80 guts and the same or very similar sensor, remove some features to make it cheaper and make it fit in a smaller package, add a newer firmware and you have a D60. The word on the street is that the new model will be like that with the D90.
  21. As far as cheap lens goes, look into nikon 50 1.8. Can't get better value from Nikon than this lense.
  22. Thanks everyone for all your imput.
    I finally made my decision and bought the Nikon D200 with the Nikon 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 AF-S DX VR Nikkor Zoom lens. I also purchased a book on the specific camera and Understanding Exposure.
    I am so excited to get the camera and start learning!
  23. Get the soon to be released D5000...its basically a stripped down D90 at a D40 price.
  24. Ray House

    Ray House Ray House

    Lacey, You made a great choice! Congratulations.

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