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Old Nov 6, 2008, 9:48 PM   #1
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I have three kids and two orthodontists and have to look for value. My usual best bang for the buck methodology is to wait until a popular tested model gets replaced.

Decided on Nikon. I am not sure whether the best deal is to get a d40x, d60or a d80 (which is probabaly impossible with my budget), My daughter loves macro and also shoots lots of events for a local online newspaperusing a high end p and s. She loves super macro and now that I know she is serious, I want to buy an SLR that willserve her well for a few years.

I can get an off the shelf d60 at circuit city this week for 599 that comes with the standard cheaper lens.

Do the smart people here have any advice for whether I should look for a deal instead on a d40x body and use the savings to buy a better lens. Should I consider the d40 even though I might need to use the camera occassional for high resolution blow ups for my business?

Does anyone know asmart dealon a decent lens and body combo?

If I could afford but one quality (for me, quality meaning better than the ones that come with the camera at circuit city) versatile glass that would handle macro as well as everyday people shooting, what lens would that be.


a dad looking to stretch his Christmas budehgt because I think photography is wonderful

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Old Nov 7, 2008, 12:34 PM   #2
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The entry level Nikon models like the D40, D40x and D60 do not have focus motors in their bodies. So, you would need to have lenses that have focus motors built in to use them on these bodies (if you want Autofocus).

So, I'd probably lean towards the D80 out of those choices.

What kind of macro photos? Most of the kit lenses have a maximum magnification of around 1:4 (they can fill the frame with a subject that's 4 times the size of their APS-C sensor). That's probably fine for many closeups.

If you want to fill the frame with an even smaller subject, you'll probably want a dedicated Prime (fixed focal length versus zoom lens) with 1:1 magnification (able to fill the frame with a subject as small as the camera's film or sensor).

Examples of popular lenses with 1:1 (a.k.a., lifesize) macro ability would include the Nikkor 60mm f/2.8 Micro, Sigma 50mm f/2.8 Macro, Sigma 75mm f/2.8 Macro, Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 Micro, Sigma 105mm f/2.8 Macro, and Tamron 90mm f/2.8 Macro.
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Old Nov 8, 2008, 5:43 AM   #3
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Like Jim, I like the D80 as well. But it is an older model and they are closing them out at most locations. Circuit city has them now for $899 w/ 18-135 and $749 w/ 18-55. Both of those lens are pretty good. Since you don't have any lenses now buying them w/ focus motors is no big deal. The D60 package you were looking at had the 18-55 VR. The VR does make a difference. The only problem I had with the 18-55 is the 55 end is short. But the lens was better than it's price suggests. I still like the D80 for the extra features it has. You may consider the 55-200 as a inexpensive second lens. They also perform better than they cost.

For macro on a budget get a close up set. They screw on the front of the lens and make them focus closer and you can add them up (usually 3 come in a little kit). I used them for years and the results were great, and they are only about $30 or so. Just get the right size for your lens or get bigger ones and a step down ring so you can use them on more than one lens. I still keep them in my bag for when I don't want to carry a dedicated macro. A great stocking stuffer too.

One last D80 plug. Many of the lenses I have purchased since they started putting focus moters in them are the older versions of these lenses. No focus motor usually translates to cheaper. So look, you would be saving money by spending more now. I think I saw thatline on the Lucy show from the 50's. How times never really change.
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Old Nov 8, 2008, 11:33 AM   #4
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To Jim and Rene,

Thank you both for your sage advice. I have found a deal on a d80 with 18-135 for around 769 at Ritz... not sure whether to jump on it or wait for deeper discounts ..
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Old Nov 8, 2008, 12:54 PM   #5
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I wouldn't expect discounts to go much deeper. It's been out of production now for a few months and inventory will likely run out before the discounts get to deep. The original price for this kit was $1299, so you're already at 40% off.
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Old Nov 10, 2008, 9:05 AM   #6
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Let me take a different route.

Buy a D50 body. You can get one for $250 off Craigslist

It is superior camera to either the D40 or D60 for a couple of reasons.

One, non DX; AF lenses can be used. Who would want to own a Nikon digital SLR camera that cannot use some wonderful, "older" lenses such as the Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D AF, Nikkor 60mm f/2.8D AF Micro, Nikkor 85mm f/1.8D AF ++?

Two, the D50 also has the benefit of 5 autofocus points, as opposed to the D40's three. For a subject in motion, this simply means the D50 gives you more options to compose while keeping the main subject in continuous focus.

The D40 has a larger lcd screen and is smaller and may fit smaller hands. Having owned both, IMO, the D50 is the low noise champ in low light.

What lenses. Here are some inexpensive options for good consumer lenses. The 18-70 is better than a kit lens, however prices have dropped and I just bought a NIB for $100 so you can too.

50mm f/1.8 AF or AF-D = <$100
70-210 f/4 AF = $150
18-70mm f/3.5-4.5 = $100

you can buy the 18-200mm VRII off Craigslist for <$500 if you want an all-in-one.


SB-400 = $85 off Craigslist

There you go, at the most you will have < $700 for a complete set up.

If you want to go to another camera, the D300 is the next step because it can meter all those AI lenses.

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