Nikon D40 vs D60 vs D90

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by galomp, Feb 20, 2009.

  1. galomp macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #1
    So I have decided I want to get a Nikon.

    I am now looking for feedback on the three cameras in the title.

    I want to keep the body for a long time and just add new lenses when I can afford it.

    I want to mainly take good quality shots of my kids but also other holiday photos etc.

    What are the advantages of getting the D90 over the other two?

    TIA
     
  2. jaseone macrumors 65816

    jaseone

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    Location:
    Houston, USA
    #2
    This has came up many a time recently, so I suggest browsing through the first few pages of threads in this forum and having a good read then coming back to ask more pointed questions.

    Basically D40 and D60 bodies don't have an autofocus motor in the body so there are some older lenses that won't autofocus on them, the D60 has a higher resolution than the D40 but some say that is at the expense of high ISO performance in low light, the D90 has an autofocus motor, a more modern sensor, more megapixels, more autofocus points, faster FPS, bigger viewfinder/lcd, liveview (so like on a p&s you can see the photo as you take it on the LCD) and can record movies in high def (only 720p though).

    After that summary it seems like D90 is a clear winner *BUT* the D40/D60 are MUCH cheaper, are smaller and the lack of an autofocus motor shouldn't really be a huge deal for most people especially with Nikon releasing the 35/1.8 lens. If you went with a cheaper body then you have more money to spend on the lens or lenses and also on an external flash.

    There is a wealth of information out there already on this subject as I mentioned before but at the end of the day you really can't go wrong!
     
  3. leighonigar macrumors 6502a

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    May 5, 2007
    #3
    If you're 'just' taking snaps of the kids, holiday photos etc then I suspect that the D40, and 18-55, eventually perhaps adding the 35mm f/1.8 and 55-200 would do you fine.
     
  4. rogersmj macrumors 68020

    rogersmj

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    #4
    jasone hit the differences right on the head, of course. If you're mostly going to take people shots indoors, you'd probably be best served by the compact D40 with the 18-55mm kit lens plus an SB-600 flash. If you're taking people shots, don't skip out on the flash!!! (Go here and scroll down to the picture of the grandma with the baby -- mouse over it to see why you should get a flash you can bounce!) You should be able to get those together for not much over $600. Later you might upgrade to a faster zoom, as long as it's AF-S (so it will autofocus on the D40), or pick up a fast prime like the Sigma or Nikon 50mm f/1.4 AF-S ($400) or the new Nikon 35mm f/1.8 AF-S ($200).

    In the interest of keeping costs low, that's probably your best start. If you have more money to spend, like twice as much, the D90 is an awesome camera. I upgraded to the D90 from the D40 because I wanted to have a wider range of lenses available to me (like the $100 Nikon 50mm f/1.8 AF-D that pretty much never comes off my camera now), and the other stuff like better low light performance, more autofocus points, better LCD etc are all great too. I'm now to the point where I'm shooting every single day, and the D40 helped me figure out what I wanted. Some people never find it necessary to move beyond the D40, it does everything they need...only you can determine that.
     
  5. Dave00 macrumors 6502a

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    Pittsburgh
    #5
    I just went through this exact decision-making process, and went with the D40. D40 and D60 are very similar. Main difference is more megapixels in the D60, but this translates to a longer time storing the image in between shots.

    There are many more differences between these two and the D90. There is a video mode, but it's a weird video in that it does not focus during the shooting, so if your subject moves, it's out of focus. This really limits your flexibility. There is also "Liveview", which lets you take pictures using the LCD screen, like on a point & shoot. I really miss using the LCD screen on the D40. However, even "Liveview" is not really live; because of technical issues with how SLR's take photos, the picture you see is delayed by a half-second or so. This is a real problem if you're taking pictures of, say, a baby. By the time the image comes on the LCD, the moment has passed, and you won't get the same shot when you press the shutter.

    The D40 with kit lens is $410 at amazon.com right now, which was by far the best price I could find. I wound up going with a deal at Ritz Camera instead, where the D40 with 18-55 (kit) lens, Nikon 55-200VR lens, camera bag, and two DVD's was $599. The only disappointing thing was that apparently the 55-200 lenses are on backorder, so I still haven't received that lens. I also got an SB400 flash and a diffuser. Apart from the adjustment to using the viewfinder rather than the LCD, I'm very happy with the results thus far. (This is of course assuming that Ritz Camera ever sends me the 2nd lens.)

    Dave
     
  6. cube macrumors G5

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    May 10, 2004
  7. jaseone macrumors 65816

    jaseone

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    #7
    ^ What he (Dave) said!

    However to address the shortcoming with Liveview, Liveview is really useful when either using manual focus or if your camera is in an awkward spot on a tripod.

    If you want to save even more money then look at picking up a refurb at a place like Adorama, a lot of folks over at NikonCafe have been picking up refurbed D40's & D60's to use as either point and shoots or as a backup.

    As for cube, the d50 really shouldn't enter the equation, the d40 is actually the replacement for the d50 (confusing much Nikon?) and I wouldn't compare a d90 with a d200 either, if you want to do that you may as well add in the D300 and make this thread like all the rest...
     
  8. cube macrumors G5

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    May 10, 2004
    #8
    D40/D40x/D60 are consumer crap. They are not a replacement for a used D50.

    Because of the price range, if you look at the D90, you should also look at the D200.

    The D300 is out of the price range. You have no point.
     
  9. jaseone macrumors 65816

    jaseone

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    #9
    Thom Hogan and most others would tend to disagree with you:

    http://www.bythom.com/d40review.htm

    But that is fine you are entitled to your own opinion.

    Also there is no stated budget in this thread so I stand by my comment that if you include the D200 you should also include the D300.
     
  10. cube macrumors G5

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    May 10, 2004
    #10
    Obviously, you don't read what actual common Nikon users post here.

    The OP only mentioned current cameras. It's obvious that if he were willing to pay the D300 price, he would have asked about it.
     
  11. epyfa macrumors regular

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    #11
    Shouldn't it be: D40 vs D60 vs D80 and D50 vs D70 vs D90? That would make more sense. ;)
     
  12. cube macrumors G5

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    May 10, 2004
    #12
    OK, but add the D200.

    Then some of us will say: "Forget about D40/D40x/D60 and let the real discussion begin"

    I left the D70/D70s out because of risk of failure.
     
  13. leighonigar macrumors 6502a

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    May 5, 2007
    #13

    Remember of course (unless I'm going mad) the D40/60/40x can't use their inbuilt strobes as a commander of off camera flash. This probably doesn't matter, but it might.
     
  14. 103734 Guest

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    Apr 10, 2007
    #14
    Jaseone is one of the most active users on this forum, and he knows what he is talking about.

    I think if you are just planning on buying a camera and 1 or 2 lenses then just get the D60, if your planning on really getting into it and buying tons of lenses I would go for the D90 because it has a built in AF motor (D40 and D60 do not), and you will have more options for lenses and if you ever feel like moving up you can sell the D90 body.

    Really though you will be happy with any of these cameras.
     
  15. MacJenn macrumors regular

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    Oct 25, 2008
    #15
    Jaseone is wrong a lot also and has been burned quite a few times here. He certainly likes to post his opinion. Nothing wrong with that, but he is by far an expert on photography. On a dedicated Nikon board I have read 2 threads where the reg posters ripped him for not speaking the truth. You can't BS as easily on a dedicated photography forum like here.

    Take what he says or anyone says with a grain of salt. Verify everything.
     
  16. jaseone macrumors 65816

    jaseone

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    #16
    What threads were those? :confused: I never claim to be an expert as I'm far from it and make mistakes from time to time so sure I've been corrected before but I can't ever recall being "ripped" for it.

    Time for a hiatus from this forum I think...
     
  17. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #17
    Are you attempting to intimate that the D50 isn't a consumer camera? That's specious. The D40 and D60 cameras are a complete replacement for a D50 in their target markets. Nikon understands the market they're in and they understand how to make successful products for that market. In fact, since the introduction of the D40, Nikon has picked up significant market share, and since it replaced the D50 it's quite obvious that lots more people accept the fact that it's a valid replacement than don't. Most people who don't get it don't understand the market, Thom Hogan isn't one of those people.


    Funnily enough, everyone I know who has a D70s still has a functioning D70s, and most of them still shoot with their D70s. I find it at least odd that someone would recommend a used body over a new body then harp about the risk of failure- surely the risk of failure for a used D50 is higher than it is for a new D40? Especially the D70s, which doesn't have the same connection issue the original D70 did and seems to have a significantly lower failure rate.
     
  18. 103734 Guest

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    #18
    Well i agree with what he is saying in this thread that the D40, D60 are not consumer "crap".
     
  19. rogersmj macrumors 68020

    rogersmj

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    #19
    Yeah can everyone keep off the personal attacks, please. Along with flame-inviting statements like "the D40 is consumer crap." You don't like the D40, fine, but there's better ways to lay out an argument. You certainly don't need to frame it as a personal attack. With comments like that these forums are starting to degenerate into stereotypical photography forums.

    Galomp, you still haven't stated a budget, so depending on that the D40 still might be right for you. But if you can afford it, the D90 is a lot more camera.
     
  20. forbes macrumors newbie

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    Feb 18, 2009
    #20
    Hi I just bought a D60 and I'm really pleased with it. Compared to any compact camera, the picture quality is consistently good, so whatever you end up choosing you will not be disappointed. I chose the D60 because I basically couldn't afford the much bigger up-front cost for the D90. I didn't want to take the chances in the second-hand market on one of the other non-current models.

    On reflection, and indeed after reading Ken Rockwell's article on the subject, I probably would have been just as pleased with a D40, with more money to spare to spend on other kit. I probably won't have lots of money to spend on many new lenses, so for the moment and given that there is a fair choice of AFS lenses, I am not too constrained by the limits of not having an autofocus motor on the camera. If you have greater ambitions then like the other guys say, you should consider a body with a built-in motor.

    The lack of live view on the LCD on the D40/D60 is a not an issue - you get a much better idea of the picture by looking through the viewfinder! Also the D90 movie mode doesn't look that great if you check out the recent post on the subject - my compact Fuji takes little movies just as good as those.

    Finally I would say that if you do buy, keep some money aside for an external flash if you will be taking indoor shots. The built-in flash on the D60 has a limited range so you get dark patches in the background with the built-in lens. (The aperture on the built-in lens doesn't go that big - the 35mm and 50mm primes that the guys were talking about has a much bigger aperture.) I got the low-end SB-400 flash unit and I'm really happy with it - you can bounce it off the ceiling etc and you get lovely soft portraits as a result.

    Also most people get at least a clear filter to protect the end of the lens, so you might want to include that in your budget too, as well a bag to protect the kit.
     
  21. mfarrar macrumors newbie

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    Feb 16, 2009
    #21
    I would wait before making any decision until the big camera show which I think is 3rd March? There will be a lot of new DSLR releases, one of these would interest you, its rumoured to be called the D5000 and seems to fall inbetween the the D60 and D90, might be a replacement for the D60 though not sure. It is rumoured to have the same sensor as the D90 and the same high quality rear LCD and also the HD video capture. Though like the D40/60 it will not have a focus motor in the body.

    I think there is going to be a replacement for the Canon Digital Rebel too so that should be quite interesting too.
     
  22. cube macrumors G5

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    #22
    The D50 is consumer but it's not crap. And it's not consumer in a pejorative way. The D40/D40x/D60 are a downgrade.

    Most people buying the D40/D40x/D60 have no idea about SLRs.

    I bought a used D70 and it hasn't failed. So? That doesn't mean I will guide a newbie user along that path.
     
  23. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #23
    You've stated that opinion, but haven't backed it up with any salient facts. If it's simply the addition of an in-body focus motor, then it's a mostly specious argument for the target market. The funny thing is that the D50 shutter seems to fail at 25% of the number of actuations of the D70s (see below.)


    Yet most of those people get the pictures they want with their D40s, and they're the target market, at 1.2 to 1.3 lenses per body and a kit lens at an entry price point that's very low.

    The D70 had an engineering problem that was eventually fixed even out of warranty. The D70s does not have the same problem, and the failure rates seem to be well-within the range for those units. Once again, I find it odd that someone would recommend a used D50 body versus a new D40 yet worry about failure rates on the D70s- which seems to be at odds with the shutter life database:

    http://www.olegkikin.com/shutterlife/nikon_d40.htm
    http://www.olegkikin.com/shutterlife/nikon_d50.htm
    http://www.olegkikin.com/shutterlife/nikon_d70s.htm

    nikon_d50

    Average number of actuations after which shutter is still alive: 22,901.4
    Average number of actuations after which shutter died: 28,425.2

    nikon_d70s

    Average number of actuations after which shutter is still alive: 31,258.9
    Average number of actuations after which shutter died: 60,951.6


    nikon_d40

    Average number of actuations after which shutter is still alive: 13,678.5
    Average number of actuations after which shutter died: 114,167.7
     
  24. cube macrumors G5

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    May 10, 2004
    #24
    It is no good if your camera fails in the middle of a trip, even if Nikon fixes it for free in your country.

    The D70s also has some problem. Someone on this forum was bitten by it. Before he reported this, I also thought D70s were safe.
     
  25. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    Jan 5, 2006
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    #25
    DSLR bodies are like computers. They have a short life because technology moves fast. Don't plan on keeping it 10 years. Yes. it may still work but you will want an upgrade for the same reason you would not want a 10 year old computer

    Lenses do last "forever" optical technology does not move as fast. 20 year old lenses still work fine. Plan your budget on upgrading the body every five years or so

    The #1 advantage is the built-in focus motor. The motor allows you a wider selection of lenses. Yo are not limited to those having their own motors. the D80 also has a built-in focuse motor. Concider the D80 too.
     

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