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Old Nov 29, 2008, 9:49 AM   #1
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Hi all,

My wife and I are looking to move from a standard digital point and shoot to a digtal SLR. Our usage will be typical family stuff; pictures of the kids and family, vacations, and sports activities. We are both amateurs, but wan to to learn a more about photography. It was recommended we get one of the Nikon D series of DSLRs, but with a lack of knowledge and the many choices, I find the options confusing.

Just briefly looking, I found the following on buydig.com and amazon. I am sure looking elsewhere I will find different combonations of lenses.

Nikon D60 DSLR w/ 18-55 VR, 55-200 VR & 2 Nikon School DVDs + Free 4GB Card

Nikon D80 Digital SLR Camera w/ 18-55 VR & 55-200 VR Lenses + Free 4Gb Memory Card

Nikon D80 10.2MP Digital SLR Camera Kit with 18-135mm AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor Lens

What I am looking for advice on is whether or not I should go with the D80 over the D60, and if there are particular lenses I would be better off getting to start off with? The price difference between the D60 and the D80 is about 150 bucks, so if the D80 was a better way to go I would rather spend the additional money now.

I considered the D90, but felt the price was a little too steep for me.

Any suggestions or advice please?
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Old Dec 10, 2008, 2:12 PM   #2
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Best deal!

D50 + 18-70mm 3.5/4.5 + sb 400

You can get the whole package from Craigslist for <$450 + shipping.

D50 is a better camera in many aspects than either the D40 or D60.

Unless you are going to blow up prints larger than 11x16 you don't need more than 6mp.

Second purchase is to buy an AF 50mm f/1.8 or 1.4

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Old Dec 12, 2008, 2:49 PM   #3
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Hi Skalek!

I wouldn't recommend a D50. First, it only has six megapixels. Many people say, you don't need more but if you want to cut out parts of a bigger picture, more megapixels do come in handy. Second, with a 2" display and only 130 K pixels, the D50's screen is way too small and inferior to current screen sizes to really judge the sharpness of a picture taken.

So let's talk about your two choices, the D80 and D60:

I have both cameras and can assure you: both cameras are able to produce very good pictures in an almost identical quality. I doubt that someone could differentiate pictures of these two cameras, when they are taken under similar circumstances. But there are advantages and disadvantages of both cameras.

The D60 is smaller and lighter and provides a sensor cleaning system. It has Active D-Lightning which supports you in taking pictures with high contrasts. But that's it for the D60's advantages. Unfortunately, it lacks some serious functions or provides some features that are inferior to those in the D80. E.g. the D60 has three AF fields whereas the D80 has eleven. The D80 has a pentaprism view finder which is significantly larger and brighter than that of the D60. And the D60 needs lenses with built in lenses as it has no dedicated body motor to focus those lenses. The D80, however, has such a motor and can use more older lenses than the D60. Additionally, the D80 has more advantages like the second DSLR-like upper display, more buttons as shortcuts to frequently used functions, the possibility to display a grid in the view finder, auto review with RGB histogram and many more.

Don't take me wrong: the D60 is a great camera that is possible to produce great pictures. But the more complete package is the D80. It has all the features you could need if you want to take photography seriously. But you could also have fun with the D60 if you don't want or need the functions it lacks compared to the D80 or if you really want a very light DSLR.

Now for the lenses: don't, I repeat, don't take the 18-135mm. It sounds like a convenient lense but it is very hard to take good i.e. sharp pictures with it when you're new to the DSLR techniques. The combination of the 18-55 VR and 55-200 VR is a very good one if you don't mind changing the lenses. Otherwise you could look for a combination body + 18-105 VR or a Tamron 18-200 without image stabilization but a very good price/performance ratio.

And last but not least a hint: it's christmas time and many people swap their D80 for the brand new D90. So think about buying a used D80 as they are very cheap, at the moment. A friend bought one yesterday for about 310,- Euros.



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Old Dec 13, 2008, 3:54 PM   #4
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I agree with your lens reccommendations (Nikkor 18-55mmVR and Nikkor 55-200mmVR). I have those two lenses and like them a lot. However I was able to purchase a used Nikkor 24-120mmVR lens and that is even better.

The Nikon D-50, but it is still a very good piece of kit. I recently bought a used D-50 for $(US) 235.00 and it had less than 1,400 shutter actuations.

I also though that with the introduction of the new Nikon D-90 that we would see the price of used D-80 bodies drop, but that has not been the case here in the USA. That is why the Nikon D-50 is till a very good altnernative. Fill the photo frame prpoerly and you need less cropping.

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Old Dec 16, 2008, 8:15 AM   #5
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Just moved this to the Nikon dSLR section for you rather than the Point and Shootarea.
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Old Dec 16, 2008, 11:09 AM   #6
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I have a D60 and D80 comparing the two, its apples and oranges.

If you want a great camera that the wife can carry in her purse or the glove compartment go with the D60.

If you want an entry level near pro camera with go with the D80, matter of fact even though it's several years old a lot of pro's still use them as a backup or primary camera.

The ability to use the old lenses is a big advantage, tons of which are for sale used.
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Old Dec 21, 2008, 2:10 PM   #7
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My two cents is - go into the store and hold the camera. I went for the D40X because I have small hands and the camera feels comfortable in my hands. As for buying off Craigslist etc. I checked with Nikon and the warranty is only of use to the original buyer and having the receipt really does not make a difference because the store would have registered the camera at purchase. I was advised by other members to pay the extra for peace of mind and knowing if there is a flaw in the lense (which can happen) it will be covered.
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