How much does someone need the in camera autofocus motor?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Star Destroyer, Jan 22, 2009.

  1. Star Destroyer macrumors 6502

    Jun 15, 2006
    So I'm looking into buying a DSLR, I have just bought a Nikon FA, and a couple lenses but the price of film and developing is killing me. If i keep this rate i will be broken in a year, so DSLR it is!.

    The real question i have been facing is how much the in body autofocus motor helps the higher end cameras. For example, if i get a d40 would the price of good autofocus lenses be that much more then if i bought lenses for a d80 that didnt need there own motor.

    The d40 seems to be a good camera (the same goes for the d40x or d60) but would lenses cost more ?

    Basically thats the only hitch preventing me from getting the d40, the missing motor. Is it worth the price jump?

    Or is there anything else i should be concerned with, or should know about the d40(x) and in body autofocus motor nikons?
  2. CarlsonCustoms macrumors 6502

    Mar 5, 2007
    I started out with a D60 and quickly regretted my purchase. I just got a D90 and its worlds better then my D60 and am super happy I cut my losses and moved up.
  3. rogersmj macrumors 68020


    Sep 10, 2006
    Indianapolis, IN
    A year ago, I bought a D40.

    Now, I'm about to sell it and get a D90, because I can't get the lenses I want to autofocus on the D40.

    I know plenty of people who who are perfectly happy with their D40 because they don't do a lot of intensive shooting and have no intention of spending money on fast, professional glass...but I'm getting to that point. It's a dealbreaker for me now.
  4. jampat macrumors 6502a

    Mar 17, 2008
    Go into a camera store and throw together a few packages. You know what focal length you like shooting at as you already have an SLR. Remember to divide by 1.6 (ie if you like your 35mm lens, you will want to try to buy one around 22mm). Price out a D40/60 with the lenses you want and the D90 with the lenses you want, play with both, see if the price difference is worth it to you. Cameras are a very personal decision, you really need to use it yourself and see how it feels in your hands.
  5. Phatpat macrumors 6502a


    Jun 15, 2003
    Cambridge, MA
    You can also get an old D80 (or even D50) pretty cheap if you find you need the AF motor. Of my 3 lenses, only my 50mm f/1.8 needs it. But I'm glad I have it.
  6. PCMacUser macrumors 68000


    Jan 13, 2005
    Since I'm a Canon user, I take autofocus for granted. But having enjoyed it for over a decade, if I were to change to the Nikon platform I would expect whichever body I bought to be able to autofocus any 'autofocusable' lens that I chose to purchase for it. So it sounds like the D80/D90 is the way to go.
  7. leighonigar macrumors 6502a

    May 5, 2007
    If you could find one the S5 pro has been cheap ish. Depending on what you're doing you might prefer greater resolution and an easier interface. On the plus though, the S5 meters with MF lenses.

    Just another option - I'm not saying it's right. Just that mine cost about £420 and the D90 a bit more.
  8. Phrasikleia macrumors 601


    Feb 24, 2008
    Over there------->
    1.5 for Nikon, no?
  9. Sigur macrumors regular


    Nov 4, 2008
    That's the way to go.

    I brought a Nikon D40x and it's perfect for me. The lenses are not much more expensive. There are just less lenses out there. But I'm sure that that's gonna change in the next years.
  10. luminosity macrumors 65816


    Jan 10, 2006
    Don't. Buy. A. D40/x/60.

    Just a decade ago, Nikons' best lenses were AF-Ds. They have not suddenly become poor quality glass. You cannot use this glass to its full capability if you have a D40, if you should want to buy or rent these lenses.

    This glass also tends to be cheaper than the AF-S versions, unless you're talking about something like the 28mm 1.4 AF-D, which goes for the low low price of $4,000 or so, assuming you can find it.
  11. Star Destroyer thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jun 15, 2006
    See thats what i was thinking, better lenses with the non 40/x/60 crowd, however my budget is limited. I was thinking perhaps a D50, i looked at D70/s and they seem below the D50. The D80/90 are far to pricey for me, and it seems the images that come from the d40 are the same as the d50 right?

    Does anyone know when Nikon will put out another camera at the low end?
  12. PCMacUser macrumors 68000


    Jan 13, 2005
    Unless you absolutely must have a Nikon camera, it might be time to look at other brands. Nikon are really pushing the envelope at the high end, making Canon work hard to keep up. But their low end offerings are very, very 'meh'.
  13. Cliff3 macrumors 68000


    Nov 2, 2007
    SF Bay Area
    You may want to read some of the material at as it will give you some good insights to the capabilities of the various Nikon models, past and present. The D70s is a peer to the D50 in terms of age, if I recall correctly, but is positioned slightly higher in the product hierarchy. The used market is probably going to be your friend, but the lower end Nikon digital models don't meter the older non-CPU (AI,AI-S) lenses - you would need a D200 or better for that capability.
  14. compuwar macrumors 601


    Oct 5, 2006
    Northern/Central VA
    It depends heavily on which lenses you want. The Sigma 50mm, 30mm and new AF-S Nikkor 50mm are more expensive than their AF-D counterparts, but not to an extreme. If you're not interested in a collection of wide primes, then there's not a bunch of difference other than a couple of gems like the 35-70 AF-D and 80-200 AF-D.

    The list of fully-compatible lenses are here:

    I think there's one Sigma on the list that doesn't exist, and I think there's one Tamron that isn't on the list.

    In ~17 years of shooting Nikon bodies, I've never felt the need for a 50mm f/1.8- but I love the 35-70 AF-D and 20-35mm AF-D lenses. The 24-70mm is better, but significantly more expensive. If you're not looking at old top-of-the-line pro glass though, the differences aren't that big a deal IMO, and you can find pretty-much any focal length on the list above. Then again, I shoot my 35-70mm in manual focus mode probably 70% of the time, so I wouldn't feel all that put out with a D40.
  15. Star Destroyer thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jun 15, 2006
    See compuwar, since i have been shooting with a Nikon FA for the last 2 months everything is completely manual (to learn photography a bit more in depth) i dont think i would mind if i had to manual focus my lenses.
    Currently money is a bit of an issue, which is why i cant go out and buy a D90, or D80, and thus looking at d50s and d40s. I think once i get a deal on something i will most likely cave and just buy that as i cannot make up my mind at all!
    I want a future proof it, but really if i cant afford a new body in the future my future wont be to bright and i doubt i will be enjoying photography haha
  16. mattyb240 macrumors 6502a

    May 11, 2008
    Are you in the UK, I know a women who is selling a brand new one for £275 buy it now. Full warranty etc although it is not the VR lens on it just the standard 18-55.
  17. toxic macrumors 68000

    Nov 9, 2008
    manual focus on a film body is very different from a digital. no splitscreen and small, dull viewfinders unless you're willing to pay for full frame.

    Nikon has a 1.5 crop factor.
  18. NinjaMonkey macrumors regular

    Nov 19, 2003
    You should find the lenses you are interested in and price out a complete kit. If too many of the lenses you want are not AF-S then you should look elsewhere.

    I just bought a D90, my first Nikon and only one lense does not have an internal focus motor, the 50mm f1.8. I also have the kit 18-105mm and Sigma 10-20mm. The other lense I plan to get to complete my kit is the Nikon 70-300mm VR which is also AF-S.

    The Nikon kit lenses are pretty good and the recent ones are all AF-S the 18-55 and the 55-200mm VR. If photography is just a hobby for you then I would not worry about the lack of a focus motor in the D40.

    Just my opinion...
  19. Star Destroyer thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jun 15, 2006
    sigh, i am NOT in the UK, I'm in Canada...

    Yeah, photography is just a hobby. Its a fun thing to do to relieve stress and capture some memories. I wont be working in the field or anything..

    I think perhaps the D40 would be best for me? hahaha
    I still have thoughts about that D50/70s it really will come down to which one i can get the cheapest i guess..

    P.S - are there any companies making DSLRs using Nikons mount that will take nikon lenses?
    Maybe one of those would be what i want
  20. toxic macrumors 68000

    Nov 9, 2008
    i know there are adapters for Nikon mounts on Canon bodies, complete with autofocus to infinity. i haven't used one, though.
  21. NinjaMonkey macrumors regular

    Nov 19, 2003
    I'm pretty sure you can get adapters for Nikon lenses for use on Olympus DSLRs though I'm not sure if autofocus works. Olympus makes very affordable feature rich camera bodies and their Zuiko lenses are top notch. However they do not offer a great upgrade path. They also use a smaller sensor so high ISO shots can be full of noise (800 is the highest I'd go).

    If you are on a tight budget they may be worth looking into.
  22. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    It's not a matter of price. The thing is that you just can't use some lenses unless you have the motor. For example if you like the 85mm f/1.4 lens you can't use it with the D40. It's not that it costs more to use it, you just can't use it, Well you can't use it in auto focus mode. You can turn the ring by hand. Many of Nikon's best lenses and some of the best ones on the used market are not AF-S

    About the price of film. Buy it in bulk 100 foot rolls. You can still buy $20 bulk rolls at Freestyle in Hollywood CA. It costs anpit $0.50 to process your self. You can get more then 30 rolls of film from a 100 foot bulk roll.

    My opinion of film now is that if you are going to go to the effort to shoot it you may as well shoot a format larger then 35mm. So 2 1/4 square or 4x5.
  23. NinjaMonkey macrumors regular

    Nov 19, 2003
    Is a hobbyist going to spend $1000 on a 85mm f1.4? Come on now...

    Either the D40/x/60 would be great to start out with. There are great AF-S lenses out there that cover a wide range and are relatively affordable. Photography is an expensive hobby but you do not need to spend a ton of money to take great pictures. Start off basic and upgrade your body and lenses down the line.
  24. cube macrumors G5

    May 10, 2004
    To tighten up your budget, the D50 is the way to go, unless you want some extra features like dual control wheels and lighted control panel, in which case you will have to accept some failure risk of the D70/D70s (maybe less with D70s than with D70).

    You can find many good and inexpensive used plain AF lenses, for example some non-HSM versions of Sigmas (and some which have no Nikon equivalent).
  25. fiercetiger224 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 27, 2004
    Go for the D90. You won't regret it. If you go for a D40 now, you'll be like "I knew I should have gotten the D90!". If you go D90, you won't even worry about it. :D

    Moving on, you'll need to get used to the crop factors on entry level DSLRs (the Nikon Dxx series has a crop factor of 1.5). So you won't be getting the "wide" shots that you normally had with a 35mm. Nikon is great about providing a wide starter lens kit that comes with a camera (they provide 18mm-whatever, so 18mm x 1.5 is... :rolleyes:). BUT it's best to grab a good piece of glass at the same time.

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