Need Help - Nikon D60 vs D80 & Lenses ...

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Corduroy94, Mar 3, 2008.

  1. Corduroy94 macrumors newbie

    Mar 3, 2008
    Hello All! First off, sorry this is so long! Ok, so I'm looking to buy my first DSLR and some lenses for it. I have it narrowed down a bit but could still use ANY advice you guys can send my way. To start I've read every review online & in print that I can find on the D60 & D80 and I've even watched the demo videos and used both in store at B&H.

    CAMERA -
    I'm sticking with Nikon's mainly because I'm used to them. I've got a 35mm N80 that I love. Plus, I own a Nikon Speedlight SB600 which is less than a year old. I thought about the Canon EOS Rebel XSi (aka 450D) due out in April but my flash won't work with it & I don't think I'll have time to learn how to use it before my 2 weeks in Hawaii late May.

    Now here's the thing, every time I go to B&H they ask what I plan to use it for and what cameras I've owned in the past. The moment they hear that I have an N80 they force the D80 on me. My big issue is that while I loved my N80 I never used even half the features on it. I only just started using it in manual so I'm hesitant to get another camera with all these features that I'll pay for but might never use.

    Using it for - People (inside & out), Landscape & Scenery, Sports & Travel (no where extreme like Everest!)

    My overall goal is a camera that takes good quality, sharp pictures. One where I have some freedom to utilize the shutter speed & aperture creatively - as I just started to learn. I realize that this mostly depends on the lens so I was thinking of investing in the D60 and adding on some good quality lenses. Then if I want to upgrade the body to something more advanced down the line I could.

    My thoughts on the D60:
    - LOVE the weight & size (I have small girl hands!)
    - Screen turns off when you look thru the viewfinder
    - Antidust system (could be a marketing gimmick though?)
    - Easy buttons & menu on back
    - Like the simple in camera editing/effects you can do
    - Neg = only has one dial and a button for manual mode ss/f-stop controls BUT I didn't find it difficult to maneuver this or things like the ISO changes - just a matter of getting used to it more than anything else.

    My thoughts on the D80:
    - Feels pretty heavy with just an 18-55mm lenses, afraid to try with a bigger 70-200 or 70-300?
    - Grip is large but not unmanageable
    - Plus = has 2 wheels, one for shutter speed & 1 for aperture like my N80
    - Plus = has the LDC screen on top to view settings

    I guess my biggest concerns are am I selling myself & my picture quality short by getting the D60 or will the D80 be too cumbersome in weight and features that it will deter me from using it?

    Lenses -
    These are the lenses I'm thinking about but it seems like every review I read at B& is mixed. Everyone's always talking about how this lens creeps and that lens isn't as sharp or it has vignettes?

    All I'd like are 2 or 3 lenses that give nice sharp pictures under most conditions. I know nothings perfect 100% of the time and the higher my ISO the more noise etc. But I don't know if I sacrifice some sharpness for the VR feature. I know it's not the same as the image stabilization in point & shoots but a little help with camera/hand shake sounds nice if it works.

    18-55mm AF-S VR (included with the D60 kit)
    18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G ED II AF-S (great reputation - but no VR)
    **some reviews swear by the 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5G ED-IF AF-S for sharpness over the 18-55 lenses**
    50mm f/1.8D AF (think this only works in AF on the D80 but could be wrong)

    18-200mm AF-S VR (am I sacrificing quality & sharpness for convenience of an "all in 1" lens?)
    18-135mm f/3.5-5.6G ED-IF AF-S
    55-200mm f/4-5.6G ED AF-S VR
    70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED AF-S VR

    Oh my gosh - have I gone on enough? Seriously, thank you, thank you, thank you so very much for taking the time to read this! Help from real people, who aren't in it for a commission, is such a wonderful thing!

    - KM :rolleyes:
  2. cube macrumors Pentium

    May 10, 2004
    Don't get hung up on just a flash.

    If weight is a problem for you, look at Olympus.
  3. Lovesong macrumors 65816


    Sep 15, 2006
    Stuck beween a rock and a hard place

    Sounds like you're stuck between the D80 and the D60. While the quality coming out of either camera will be equal in terms of image quality, there are several differences (a number of which you have pointed out). The biggest one is the lack of an autofocus motor on the D60. What that means to you is that lenses like that 50mm you have your eyes on will not autofocus (you will have to do it manually). That's my biggest issue with the 40/40x/60 Nikon series. That second wheel may not seem like an issue now, but once you get used to it (like I am used to the control dial on my Canon), everything else seems like a PITA.

    I think if you like the ergonomics on the D60, you should go for it, but do make sure that you get AF-S lenses so that you can autofocus.

    Now about the glass... like all things in life, there is no such thing as a free lunch. The 18-200, like you keenly pointed out, is a great travel lens, but as the saying goes- jack of all trades, master of none. Don't get me wrong- given your other choices, it's likely going to be your best bet, but do look at a 17-55 f/2.8 as a first starter lens. It's a beautiful piece of glass, and it runs circles around anything else you suggested. It's a little more pricey than the 18-200, but you will be much happier. Also, you never mentioned what glass you have for that N80. If you already have a kit lens, you might not need to get another one.
  4. Corduroy94 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 3, 2008
    Currently I have the N80 kit lense which was a 28-80mm f/3.5-5.6 AF and a 70-300mm f/4-5.6 AF. I probly wouldn't use either of them on my DSLR. The 28-80 was an ok lens but the 70-300 was a pain. It was a gift and they got the bigest lense for the least $ so ... I guess you get what you pay for ...
  5. ftaok macrumors 603


    Jan 23, 2002
    East Coast
    Keep in mind, that my thoughts on this are based on what I've read and not any actual personal experience.

    Instead of going with the D60, you might want to look at the D40. It's a great value compared to the D60. From the specs, there doesn't seem to be much more added to the D60 (from the the D40). It's basically: 10MP vs 6MP, anti-dust, LCD sensor, and the VR kit lens. It still has the lack of an in-body AF motor.

    So based on the choice of a D60 vs. a D80, I'd be more inclined to go with the D80. However, if the 10MP isn't a big draw for you, I'd choose the D40 over the D60.

  6. Eauboy macrumors regular


    Jan 28, 2008
    Washington, DC
    I use a D80 and *surprise* I would lean toward suggesting it.

    The separate dials for shutter/aperture is really nice. There is no question that shooting manual is a great way to work on your technique, and no question that having separate dials makes it much easier to shoot manual.

    I'm glad that you're thinking about size, and how that affects whether or not you'll use the camera. To be honest, there are times that I don't take my D80 with me because it is just too big for the circumstances. [hangs head in shame] On the other hand, I have no reason to think that I'd carry a slightly smaller camera like the D60 in those circumstances, either. Perhaps if I had the D80 and a real compact P&S then sometimes I'd take the P&S, but I can't see the size difference (for me) between the D60 and the D80 being enough to be meaningful.

    I love the grip on the D80. Like it was molded just for my hand.

    I use the 18-200 VR lens almost exclusively. Yeah, it's probably a bit soft, but unless I'm shooting a subject especially suited for my 60mm micro, then the 18-200 is almost always going to be on the camera.
  7. techie4life macrumors 6502

    Jul 19, 2007
    Just to add my 2 cents:

    I recently got a D80 kit, along with the 50mm f/1.8 from B&H online. All I can say is, I LOVE it. I don't think I could have picked a better camera for what I use if for. All of the control buttons and dials really will come in handy.
  8. compuwar macrumors 601


    Oct 5, 2006
    Northern/Central VA
    With all AF-S lenses, you really should look at the D40, it's a dSLR, you'll be buying a new on in 2-5 years anyway, so spend as little on the body as possible. Plus the D40 is easier to shoot at 6MP, and it's smaller if your hands are an issue. It'll work fine with the SB-600 and with a lens list like that, you're not likely to need to crop too much.
  9. Qianlong macrumors regular

    Oct 23, 2004
    It depends how much money you're willing to spend.

    do remember camera bodies get replaced every +- 18 months for a newer model, but lenses can last a very long time.

    if you want to save money get a Nikon D40 + kitlens or the newer 18-55VR lens. Take a lot of pics and decide if you need wider or longer lens and invest towards that.

    The D40 and the D60 are almost the same, well except for the higher megapixel count, but that doesn't really matter.

    some options:

    * D40 + 18-55 (VR)

    + Tokina 12-24mm??
    + Nikkor 70-300VR??

    * D40 or D60 + 18-200VR (will probably fit 99% of everyday/ hobby use)

    + Tokina 12-24mm??

    * D80 + 18-200VR

    * D80 or D300 + Nikkor 12-24 + Nikkor 17-55 + 70-200VR if you're really rich :)

    I know everybody is praising the 50 mm f1.8 lens but on a DSLR it's kinda long for normal use, but very good fr ex portraits.
    if you really need a prime which fits the 50mm range or for low light situations take a look at the 35mm nikkor f2.

    don't forget that the D40 doesn't have a slot drive motor for AF - prime lenses like the 50mm so you have to manualy focus them.
  10. seany916 macrumors 6502

    Jun 26, 2006
    Southern California
    Canon Xsi in a month or 2.

    (from a Nikon D300 owner)
  11. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    What lenses do you have for the N80? they should work just fine on the D80 (but not the D60)

    No one will notice the difference in image quality between bodies. In the end all a DSLR body has to do is open the shutter ad record an image. All those other features are for the potographer, not the person who looks at the final result.

    The D60 lacks an in-body focus motor so it can't auto-focus any non AFS lenses. Many great lenses will not work on the D60

    I looked at you list of lenses. What subjects would you shoot with a 200mm lens? With a 300mm lens? If it is wildlife or sports those f/5.6 lenses are to slow

    VR is nice. It can reduce blur due to camera shake but it can't freeze motion blur due to the subject's motion. If you are thinking about sports you need a faster lens.

    Camera shake is not a problem if you shoot at 1/(focal length) or faster. On a 18-55mm lens that means you can shoot at 1/30th or 1/60th without VR. Do you need to shoot slower? The VR vesion of the lens would let you hand hold a wide shot at 1/10th but the subject had better not move. I would rather just use a fast f/1.4 prime lens

    One advantage of the D80 is it's ability to use olde used lenses. You can find a 80-200 f/2.8 used for as low as $400
  12. jpsalvesen macrumors newbie

    Apr 16, 2007
    Get the Nikon D80 if you really want full creative control. Its advantages over D60 is separate dials for shutter and aperture, a larger viewfinder, better AF system overall, and in-house autofocus motor that will allow autofocus to work also on fast primes. You want fast primes if you're looking to do those soft available-light portraits or concert pictures etc. So, it will take you a long time to outgrow your D80.

    Get the D60 if all you want good quality snapshots.

    I'm also very happy with my Olympus E-510. The in-house image stabilizer works well. There's a lot of good glass available, but that glass is also slightly more expensive. The camera is lightweight but the ergonomics are good: Fits well in your hand, and you can adjust all essentials without looking at your camera. The Olympus anti-dust system is the best available. If I am to compare it to the D80, the viewfinder is smaller and the build quality is not quite the same. You might want to check it out if you're too serious for the D60 but you feel the D80 is too heavy.
  13. cube macrumors Pentium

    May 10, 2004
    While there is little difference in weight between a consumer Olympus body and a one of the new Nikons without motor, where one gains with Oly is with the lenses, as the system has a higher crop ratio.

    For example, ff you go with the E-510, which has IS and is a bit lighter than the D60, to get something comparable to the ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 40-150mm F4.0-5.6 (220g), you have to go in Nikon for the AF-S DX VR Zoom-NIKKOR 55-200mm f/4-5.6G IF-ED (335g).

    The difference increases if you go for even longer lenses, including the fact that there is no bigger DX glass in Nikon, and you have to use FX, while on Olympus everything is optimized for the sensor size.

    Of course there will be differences in DOF and noise.
  14. Naim135 macrumors member

    Mar 28, 2007
    St Helens UK
    What about a D200 Body

    Hi a couple of years ago I got my Dad a PC:eek: the idea being that he could use it with an Epson Stylus pro 700 all in one to scan in his collection of slides and negatives which he is slowly working his way through. I lent him my Leica Digilux 1 for a time and this re-ignited his love for photography, after many months attending various digital photography and Photoshop courses he decided to by a Digital camera, he went through looking at various models Leica Digilux 3, and also variuos other size camera's and settled on a Nikon D200 body with Tamron F2.8 18-55 and also a Nikon 105mm Macro, he is more than happy with these but I did ask why not get the D80 but he pointed out you can do so much more with the D200. I can appreciate that you may be getting features you may not need but if you want to to that bit more at least you now have the choice

  15. carbonmotion macrumors 6502a


    Jan 28, 2004
    San Francisco, CA
    I took a D40 to places in the world that haven't been touched by civilization. Mountains, Deserts, and Plains. It still looks like it's new. The light weight was a huge plus when you've got a ruck that's close to 80 pounds on your back. If you do alot of scoot and shoot, I recommend getting a lighter body. The D80 is a very nice camera and I wish my D40 had some of its features, which I didn't know at the time of purchase but now understand. That said, if you need to save a few bucks to from the body to put toward great Nikkor lenses, I would do that first and foremost.
  16. iTiki macrumors 6502

    Feb 9, 2007
    Maui, Hawaii
    Nikon D80 w/ 18-200 VR ?

    I'm in a similar situation as the OP. I have a couple of PS cameras (Nikon and Pentax) but want to move up to a DSLR. After going back and forth between Canon and Nikon, I prefer the "feel" of the Nikon. I was set to get the new D60 with the kit lens (18-55) and add the 55-200. I thought this would be a good combination to find out where most of my use would be and buy better lens' down the road to cover those needs. Now, I'm looking at the D80 with the 18-200 VR lens. This gives me everything the D60 has, plus a better body, better quality glass and AEB (for HDR). The D80 combo will cost me about $400 more than the D60 with the 18-55 and 55-200. Do you agree with my thought process or have other opinions?

    Thanks, Mike
  17. bam bam macrumors newbie

    Sep 27, 2007
    Chicago area
    I have the D80, 18-200 VR, 50mm f/1.8, 18-135 kit lens and speedlight 800. Bought about eighteen months ago. (Before the D40 & D60 came out). I really like the features of the D80 and the ergonomics. I was deciding between that and the Canon Rebel Xti and the D80 just felt better in my hand.

    The first lens I bought was the 18-200 VR. I haven't used my 18-135 since. I like the VR lens a lot, great for virtually every picture outdoors. It is just OK for indoors because it is not fast enough in low light (and with two fast moving kids I got a ton of blurry pictures). Most of the time I have to strap on the speedlight, but that makes the whole outfit quite heavy.

    I absolutely LOVE the 50/1.8 lens. It takes fantastic pictures and is perfect for indoors, even in low light. I'm amazed that it only costs ~$100. Very cheap and an incredible value. Everyone should own this lens.

    I almost get bummed out when I have to switch back to the 18-200 lens due to the extra weight.
  18. jpsalvesen macrumors newbie

    Apr 16, 2007
    Then no-one should buy the D60. Or the D40x. Or the D40. Neither one has the autofocus screw, so autofocus doesn't work with the 50/1.8.
  19. numbersyx macrumors 65816


    Sep 29, 2006
    Or they can just manually focus a very fine lens
  20. Corduroy94 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 3, 2008
    First off THANK YOU so much to everyone that's been replying. This has been such a huge help! I'm 95% set on the D80. I really want that 50mm lense and I can't imagine always having to use it in manual focus on the D60. My photography teacher has been encouraging me to get the 50mm because she swears it always helps her students improve their photos by forcing them to get closer instead of always relying on their giant zoom lenses (guilty!).

    I'm still a little hung up on a few things with the D60 (weight w/acess, dust, LCD motion sensor ...) but I think once I play around with the D80 in the store a bit more I'm not gonna care about those things. In the long run it's all gimicks and marketing and I defintely want a better camer and better pictures over any features!

    Any other advice, especially on lenses, is always welcomed!! Thanks again!! Look forward to talking more with you guys!

    - KM :eek:
  21. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    And just when i was going to tell you to stick with your guns and get the D60 + 18-200 mm VR lens. :eek:

    You know you want it. You like the size. The lenses you listed before all have autofocus. The kit lenses will be great for you. If you want a "fast" (ie: big aperture) lens that will autofocus, you can still get a Sigma 30 mm f/1.4 instead of the Nikon 50 mm f/1.8 or f/1.4. It'll also give you a prime lens, just like your teacher suggests.
  22. Corduroy94 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 3, 2008

    Haha thanks! Like I said 95% sure. If I know myself I'll be flip flopping in my head until the moment I walk out the door with the camera in hand! :)
  23. Qianlong macrumors regular

    Oct 23, 2004
    or you can buy an older D70s or D50, both will work with the 50mm lens.

    the chip inside the D70s is the same as the newer D40.

    with the money saved you can invest in a flash or wide/ long lens.
  24. basharar macrumors newbie

    Mar 8, 2008

    I was seriously considering the D80+ 50mm lens, but I got the D60 "had the D40 before" with the Sigma 30mm 1.4, IT is a lethal combo, ADL "adaptive dynamic light a serious photo enhancing feature from the nikon D300/D3" on the D60 is worth the price alone vs. D40 or D80... The sigma gives a wider picture than the Nikon 50mm, excellent low light performance and very sharp...
  25. Edward Abbey macrumors newbie

    Apr 4, 2008
    Nikon D80 and Zork Multi-Focus System for Landscape?

    On the verge of buying the D80. I do have concerns about the weight of the camera and lens in my backpack in the wilderness. My primary use would be landscape photos. I have always wanted to get a Tilt/[shift] lens for this reason, but owning Nikon lens, I have resisted converting to Canon and the Nikor lens is too long. So I have been considering getting the Zork Multi-focal system and putting on the D80.

    Does anyone have any experience with this combo?
    Lens suggestions for this setup?

    Thank you very much!!

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