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Old May 24, 2008, 3:51 PM   #1
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A friend of mine has an older Nikon autofocus film SLR, with 3 lenses. He would like to get a dSLR, but the lenses he's got won't autofocus on the D40, D40X or the D60. The least expensive Nikon dSLR that will work with the lenses he already has is the D80 at about $750, and that's more than he's willing to spend. He could go with a used D50 or D70 for about $350 or $400, but the consensus here seems to have been that buying a used dSLR is not such a good idea. So what's he supposed to do?

And I'm certain he's not the only one in this situation. Nikon has abandoned all the casual amateur photographers that have, for years, used their Nikon film SLRs, when it dropped the autofocus motor from its line of entry level dSLRs.

Was putting the autofocus motor in the body a bad idea? I don't no. But what I do know is that when you make a decision regarding the infrastructure of a system, you stick with it, whatever it was.

This would be like the United Kingdom saying something like: "We were wrong, and everyone else was right. Driving on the right side of the road is better. From here on, cars made for the UK will have the steering wheels on the left. We'll start moving traffic signs to the other side of the road, and will finish as soon as possible, probably in a couple of years. In the mean time, everyone should start driving on the right side of the road instead of the left."

You don't simply abandon one system of doing things when you've got a lot of infrastructure in place to support that system. That's why the US will never switch to the Metric System.
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Old May 24, 2008, 5:24 PM   #2
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This has been one of the more common arguments and complaints. At first thought, it seems like it was a mistake. However, these cameras have recieved nothing but praise, and Nikon has actually gained ground in market share at the entry level. So it seems most people aren't discouraged by the lack of a focus motor. It's also not the first time that a camera maker has changed mounts...Nikon has done it in the past as has Canon, and the world didn't tilt off it's axis and both compaies survived. And it's possible that as we move toward cheaper full frame cameras, at some point in time, the DX format will become the odd man out (although not anytime soon I wouldn't think). In truth, there are plenty of lenses available that will focus with the entry level Nikons, that cover most every shooting range. True, there are no AF primes available, but I don't think the average user of the D60-40-40x cares to shoot with primes. Heck, I shoot alot, and rarely use primes. Another thing to consider, is the kit lenses that come with the D60 are solid performers and won't add a huge premium to the price of the camera. The older film lenses (at least the consumer grade zooms) have issues on the digital bodies and in reality are outperformed by the newer consumer grade zooms. So by saving a couple of bucks by trying to pair old lenses with the new body, I think you're giving up quite a bit in image quality. Sell the old lenses and spring for a whole new system would be my recommendation. Really, the only people who should be bothered by the lack of a focus motor are working pro's who have some of the top end older glass that isn't AF-S...but then again, those guys are shooting with the D40-40x-60 anyway.

I initially thought it was a bad move too..my original plan was to pick one of these bodies up as a back up...then I realized all my lenses except 2 would work (the 50mm f1.8 and my older 105 micro which I never use AF for anyway) and they are my least used lenses. I don't want to sound like a Nikon fanboy, but i just don't think it's that big of deal anymore. I still think the biggest issue with these bodies is the poorer 3 pt AF system, and the lack of customization available. But then again, these are consumer bodies and don't fit my style of shooting anyway.

Just my opinion...which is only worth what you paid for it.
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Old May 25, 2008, 11:35 AM   #3
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According to latest sales data,Nikon'sstrategyis a success: " The brisk sales by Nikon were attributed to a successive introduction of models designed for beginners. Canon Inc., which occupied the largest shares in similar surveys conducted by BCN in 2005 and 2006, dropped to the second place in the latest survey "

http://en.j-cast.com/2008/01/25015807.html
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Old May 25, 2008, 11:35 AM   #4
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Put simply, my point is that Nikon cut loose a bunch of loyal customers for the cost of an internal focus motor. That's a market segment they may never get back.

This is not equivalent to a change in mounts. When Canon, Nikon, Minolta, etc. changed mounts it was to incorporate a significant improvement in the capabilities of the cameras and/or lenses. This is the same mount, but Nikon is, in effect, dropping a feature from the lenses already out there, some of which are still in production.

And I don't believe the D40/D40X/D60 would have received any less praise if they had an internal focus motor, and they would have appealed to a broader audience, a significant number of whom were already in the Nikon camp.

And I don't believe we're moving toward cheaper full frame cameras. I believe that APS-C is the new standard and will remain so because of the broad availability of lenses. I believe that full frame will remain a specialty market, much like 2ΒΌ was in the heyday of 35mm.

I agree that all it will take for my friend to get on the dSLR bandwagon is money. But for some people, it's a lot of money. My step-son just bought a Nikon D300, in part because he could use the lenses his late father left him. He can afford it, and he's ecstatic. But I suspect it's a lot of money for my friend, and I am bothered by the fact that the brand he trusted has abandoned him like it has.
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Old May 25, 2008, 11:43 AM   #5
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TCav wrote:
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Put simply, my point is that Nikon cut loose a bunch of loyal customers for the cost of an internal focus motor. That's a market segment they may never get back.
This may be true but I was just by Target, and leaving that internal focus out allows the D40 to undercuta similarCanon by $50... They may loose a few current owners this way, but they are also getting a lot more new customers...
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Old May 25, 2008, 12:32 PM   #6
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I may be wrong, but I don't think dropping the focus motor has turned that many Nikon loyalists away. I think the largest portion of Nikon SLR users had already made the switch by picking up either a D50 or D70 a few years earlier. Those folks have already upgraded (for the most part already) to the D80-200-300 and the D40-40x-60 was never an option. And the truth still is, the newer AF-S consumer zooms are simply better than the old consumer zooms, and buying them as a kit doesn't add up to that much more money. I think Nikon has added new features and better value to the AF-S lenses and thus it is a fair comparison to changing mounts. An 18-55 (27-82.5 equivalent) with VR beats the pants off the old 28-80 consumer zoom that was bad on SLR's and just awful on Digital bodies. And this lens is included with the D60 kit. You can get a D40 with the older 18-55 and 55-200 for under $600 with tax. You don't get Vr, but both these lenses are way ahead of their old film counterparts. You're getting the D40 for about $300 with this deal...that's pretty incredible and I'm considering replacing my P&S with this kit as a carry around. Unless you were shooting with some of the pro-level glass, there really isn't a reason not to get the newer lenses. The D60 two lens kit is only a little more expensive than a D80 body only (soon to be a D90 which will likely be more expensive if the rumors hold true). So again, sell the old lenses to make up the difference, and start fresh. You'll get better performance and image quality.

Sure there might be a few old standby's that are upset about this, but if you think about, there's no reason to be upset. It's now cheaper than ever to go digital and to switch brands because you can't use some old, obsolete film lenses is really silly. If you're shooting with pro glass, the entry level cams aren't for you anyway. If you've got $1000+ glass, you can probably afford a D80 or 300. Nikon has cut way into Canon's lead with this strategy, and has gotten the industry closer to really affordable digital bodies.
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