Recommended used Nikon DSLR for use by a neighbor

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by marklcooper, May 6, 2009.

  1. My 15 year old neighbor showed aptitude and interest when I handed him my D300 with grip and 17-55 2.8 for the first time and asked him to take my picture for a photo ID.
    I'm contemplating purchasing a used camera and lens to loan him while we go out on some local walkabouts. The D300 is my first DSLR. I have no knowledge about the D40's, 50's, 60's, 70's, and 80's. I do know the D90 new or used is more than I'm willing to spend. I do not anticipate using this camera myself. This is to help a troubled youth try to find something he is interested in. I don't know if he will lean towards landscapes, street photography, candids, or something else.
    So, what is a good entry level used DSLR with one general purpose zoom lens?
    I will not have Internet access until next Wednesday if anyone asks any further questions after tonight.
    Thanks in advance,
  2. Best Buy has new Nikon D200 on sale for $599. It would give you a backup body.
  3. D40 with the 18-55mm kit lens (with or without VR) would be perfect. If you can afford it, an extra battery, a couple of memory cards and perhaps the SB-400 flash would be a nice bonus!
  4. Costco had the two lens D60 kit on sale for $699 last time I checked, a real bargain.
  5. I am touched by your post.... very nice of you....
    I would go for a new or used D80. That was my first Nikon camera. A d200 would do a good job too. As far as lenses I would go for the kit lens 18-70 or 18-135. About a flash, I don't know what you already have. Depending on that an SB600 could do.... if you are all set up with flash heads then an SB400 is an inexpensive one.
    good luck with your project....
  6. The D40 with the 18-55 kit lens ($500) would be a good choice.
  7. Mark, D40, D80, doesn't matter. What a tremendously generous and helpful plan. What will matter the most is the time you spend with him, teaching him and helping him to see the world with different eyes, better eyes and the beauty that is there for all of us. A great project...we should all do something similar.
    Best wishes,
  8. You might consider a D70. It's a good solid camera, and you can pick one up for about $300.
  9. bmm


    To me any model that has 2 control wheels and an inbuilt AF motor. This means if your neighbour (or anyone else) really gets into using the camera then they have flexibility. It also makes it a more natural backup to your D300 and kit.
    As such my mind, just like Rene and Brooks, goes straight to D80 or D200... D70 may also be an option. D40 while great at what it does it just a touch too "feature light" to be ideal for your needs to my mind.
    Then again I'm stating my opinion and ultimately even if you do end up with D40 let me make it clear my admiration and respect for what you are doing. Its just wonderful and your neigbour is a lucky kid to have you around.
  10. has both D70's and D50's for right around $300. The d70 is built better, has a second command dial, the d50 has better performance at ISO 800-1600. Both can use the ~$130 50mm F1.8 lens with autofocus (d40 cannot). Either one would be a great starting point to capture quality images. I would encourage him to save his pennies to buy his own flash once he realizes he needs one. The D70 has commander mode for CLS (SB600, 800 or 900) the D50 does not, which would allow him to get his flash off camera. I think a slow zoom lens offers less creative freedom than a fast cheap prime. With DX bodies the 35mm F1.8 DX lens is alittle more versatile, it has closer minimum focus distance, and a wider field of view, but it's $70-80 more than the 50mm. The addition of a cheap off brand semi-wide angle lens might be a good addition, I own a 19-35mm f3.5-4.5 AF quantarray lens that's only issue is flair when shooting into the sun, but was had for around $50 off ebay. You should consider manual focus lenses as well, it is a good skill to learn on also, and makes for cheap lenses, this is mentoring not charity.
  11. >> "The D40 with the 18-55 kit lens ($500) would be a good choice."
    The same combo is priced at $450 at B&H.
  12. I forgot to mention I want to stay below $500 total w/battery and memory cards.
    I see Cameta has a factory demo D40 with 18-55 for $350 --- that's what I'm looking for. This will leave room for batteries, memory cards, strap, etc.
    Anything special I need to watch out for with a D40?
    This project (after an OK by the parents) will hopefully get me out more.
  13. I got a Nikon D70 yesterday (my first DSLR)...That's the one to get him.
  14. I would say D40 or D40x (I had D40x very good camera) with standard kit lens 18-55 or buy body only and add 18-70 I had that lens before and it's very good for the price.
    D40 and D40X dont have AF motor built in so all the lenses you'll get need to be AF-S
    D80 has motor built in so you can use older AF lenses like 50mm f/1.8 for 100 dollars.
    good luck with your project and let us know how it went.
  15. Mark,
    As mentioned, the one thing is the need for AF-S lenses, to auto focus. Your D300 can use any AF lens, not just AF-S. However, the D40 will make fine pictures. I'd go for the D40 deal you found. If it doesn't work out, with the neighbor, you can use the camera as you " going light " camera, when you don't want to bring the D300.
    It's a cool thing your trying to do.
  16. >> "This will leave room for batteries, memory cards, strap, etc."
    All the D40s comes with a basic set of accessories: a strap, a battery, a charger w/ cable, a TV cable, a body cap, and a hotshoe cover. Honestly it only need a memory card to start shooting. Of course it's always a good idea to keep spare batteries and other extras you prefer or might need.
  17. I'd get something that can share memory cards and batteries with your D300. That would be a D70, D70s or D200. My pick would be the D70s as it has a remote cable release which the D70 lacks and it commands the same price used while being slightly newer and likely less clicks on it.
  18. +1 for the D200 here. That's a bargain!
  19. The D200 is a nice camera, but it does not fit within the stated budget.
  20. What a wonderful thing to do. Thank you for your efforts. I would think a D40 basic kit and memory should do or a used D70 complete with a 35mm used or new and maybe upgrade your CF and pass down the other.
  21. D50 or D70 with the 18-70mm Nikkor zoom.
  22. go for the demo kit and don't look back. the D40 kit is plenty of camera for a beginner. if you have additional AF-S lenses you can share on your outings. even older AF lenses will meter and the focus indicator works. the camera is a camera; it's your time that's really going to make a difference. i'm guessing you'll enjoy it as much as the kid.
  23. I think there is a case to be made for the D200. At $600 it can't be beat. It will have a similar layout to the D300, making it easier to show someone how to use it. It will be far better built- this might be important if it gets bumped around a lot. AND, when you go to sell it you will recoup over half what you paid for it, bringing the total cost of ownership UNDER the budget and likely under the true cost of any other camera (D40, D70). Something to consider since you will more than likely sell the camera sooner or later. Sooner if your project doesn't work out (not trying to predict doom and gloom). But that math is the same regardless. And finally, in terms of a lens and learning photography... get a used 50mm. Heck get a used 50mm manual focus for next to nothing on CL or eBay.
  24. You might consider a D70. It's a good solid camera, and you can pick one up for about $300.​
    Or a D50, which usually seem to run cheaper or about the same price used. Neither the D50 or D70 can use SDHC cards, but that is ok, because at 6mp you can get a lot of images on a $10 2gig SD card. The D50 can also use the same battery that your D300 uses (but not the other way around).

    You can find the older non-VR 18-55 DX AF-S lenses for about $100.

    Another note on the D50 is that you can shoot up to ISO 1600 and still get very good images. The D80 (like the D200) degrades pretty fast after ISO 800.
    The only advantages I see with a D40/60 over a D50/70 is that they are lighter. However you said he is 15, so he should be able to handle the heavier camera w/o a problem. The disadvantages to the D40/D60 are no AF motor, no LCD on top (which is handy for a begginer to see thier exposure settings) and I do beleive they use a different type of battery, so the En-EL3e batteries you have for your D300 won't be compatible.
  25. I agree with mike, for learning you can't beat a prime lens. But since it's a crop camera I would say get the cheapest 28 or 35mm lens you can find instead of a 50mm. Even an old manual focus lens would be great, so long as it's compatible with the camera you choose.
    I also agree about the D200, which is compatible with manual lenses. It's a great value and will hold its value better than some of the lower priced cameras. I've seen lots of used D200 bodies going for more than $600, which I don't understand since you can get brand new ones for that price.
  26. Just wanted to commend you, Mark, for a thoughtful and generous undertaking on your part. Hope it has the desired impact.
  27. Mark, what a great thing to do. I am absolutely sure this will make a good impact on this youth's life.
    It sounds like you have a kit in mind, and I would have recommended the D80, but it isn't in your stated budget. My sister has the D40x and loves it. It has a lot of features that will keep him learning for a while. I know multiple length zooms are popular, but the wisdom of Pnet pointed me to a 50mm prime - and I love it. It forces me to really think about my photos. Maybe the D40 and a prime?
    Anything you get will be perfect - like others have said, it is your time that really counts.
    All my best!
  28. That's very good of you. A D40 kit, demo or refurb, would be perfect. It's a fine camera, simple to use, very light weight, and 6MP is enough for most things. I've seen refurbs at $375. Especially for walkabouts - that sounds like daytime, good light, fine for consumer lenses. Forget this D200 nonsense. If the neighbor decides to go pro he can get his own D200.
  29. I would second the D200 purchase, that gives you a quality backup camera as well. Not to mention for 599.00 nothing will beat it.
  30. I think the D40 would be the perfect starting camera, I bought my wife the 40 (her first DSLR). I have upgraded to the D300 from the D70 (also a very good camera). She is reluctantly moving to the 70 and I will give my daughter the 40.
    The D40 with the kit lens is a wonderful 1st DSLR
  31. I'd go for a D50 with a 18-200. I venture to say you can get both used around 700.00.
  32. A DSLR is likely too much camera for a beginner and may overwhelm him. How about a simple point and shoot and access to a computer, with some simple software for global edits and cropping?
    If the bug bites him, then think about a DSLR. One can start off on automated program and later break out from there.
    Just my $.02.
  33. Used D40 and 18-70mm lens with SB-400
  34. Thanks for all the replies. It looks like the D70s might be a little more useful in the long run. With the dual command dials and buttons on the back it looks easier to adjust to changing conditions. I do have a couple of old Nikon AI primes to play around with the manual stuff.
    I've considered a point and shoot, but because of the kid's background I'm not sure how that would feel next to my D300 w/grip and 2.8 lenses. I've considered removing the grip and using my 24 2.8 (?) AI prime for the first couple walkabouts.
    I'm having a hard time justifying a new D200 even at $600.
    I'm just an amateur and got by with just an FE for my first 20+ years of photography. Then I discovered and ebay 7 or 8 years ago and now have a Mamiya C330 with 3-4 lenses, a CirroFlex, and another FE for B&W only. We have plenty to work with if we want to go manual.
    The parents have a computer and printer. I figure if he finds some keepers he can come over and use my P2200 for nice prints. We can always start out with Picasa for the very basics.
    I'm going to keep an eye out for a good used D70s and 18 - 55 lens and see what turns up.
    I'll try to start a new thread should I decide to go ahead with this project. My work schedule is pretty hectic right now so nothing is going to happen for a month or so.
    Thanks again - Mark

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