Nikon D40 vs. D60, which one?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by nicholasjh, May 17, 2008.

  1. nicholasjh macrumors newbie


    May 17, 2008
    Victoria, Australia
    I'm looking to buy either the Nikon D40 or D60... I've been researching hard for two weeks but can't come to a conclusion. This is my first dSLR and looking to do photography just as a hobby.

    I want both of them with an 18-55mm VR lens, and I will be looking to buy lenses in the near future and eventually another Nikon (but that's a long way off).

    I'm in Australia, so in terms of price the D60 with 18-55mm VR is around $850.
    The D40 isn't quite so simple- it normally comes with the standard 18-55mm non-VR, but that seems to be a waste of money, so I've been looking around for a good package with the 18-55mm VR. On eBay I can find the body for under $500, either second-hand or grey market... I'm OK with second-hand but not sure about the whole Hong Kong goods thing. If I can get a decent body then I can just buy the VR lens, and that'll give me a total of around $750.
    If I choose not to buy the D40 on eBay, then the kit with with the non-VR lens comes to $650, and then the VR lens makes it $900, so the D60 is better value if I go that way.

    Feature wise, I can't come to a clear winner. Compared to the D40, the D60 has:
    • 10 megapixel sensor vs. 6
    • Lower base sensitivity (ISO 100 vs ISO 200)
    • Flash sync 1/250 vs. 1/500 sec
    • Auto ISO option includes ISO 200
    • Faster continuous shooting (3 fps vs. 2.5 fps)
    • EXPEED processing
    • Image sensor cleaning system with Airflow control system
    • Automatically rotating user interface (for using camera vertically orientated)
    • Stop motion movie function
    • Eye sensor
    • Electronic 'rangefinder' for manual focus
    • Active D-Lighting with dedicated button
    • In-camera Raw processing
    • New JPEG retouch effect

    I have heard that megapixels really don't mean much, and if you want better quality look for decent lenses or improving your own photography skill. The D60 has a slower flash sync but has some other interesting features.

    I really can't come to a conclusion between the two- I need help! Please don't recommend other cameras, these are the ones I've narrowed it down to, and I don't need more of them confusing me again.

    If anyone has owned both, which one did you prefer? If you just have one of them of have done research yourself, what have you decided?

  2. Digital Skunk macrumors 604

    Digital Skunk

    Dec 23, 2006
    In my imagination
    If those features don't matter then get the D40.

    Honestly, the D60 isn't much of an improvement other than those small details you mentioned. Expeed from what I am reading about is a processor in the D300 and D3, but just a "concept" in everything else with no clear definition as to what that means, that i could find anyway, things may have changed.

    If you can live without the features listed and with the cash you save go for the D40. Personally, if the need for an uber small SLR arrises, I would go for the D40 over the D40x and D60, but that's just me.
  3. Techguy172 macrumors 68000

    Feb 2, 2007
    Ontario Canada
    The D40 is a fine starter and for it's low prices I would just buy it because the D60 isn't really that much better.
  4. epicwelshman macrumors 6502a


    Apr 6, 2006
    Nassau, Bahamas
    First off I doubt you'd notice any difference between the VR and non-VR kit lens. If you'd be happy with the 18-55VR you'd be happy with the regular one, I know I am.

    I succumbed to Nikon's marketing when I bought the D40x over the regular D40, but seeing the "new" D60 which essentially is a D40XS I'm not too pleased with them.

    I vote for the D40.
  5. taylorwilsdon macrumors 68000


    Nov 16, 2006
    New York City
    I vote D40. The IS kit lens is an improvement (same speed, but with IS or VR as Nikon calls it; you can shoot slower shutter speeds).
  6. PkennethV macrumors 6502a

    Aug 16, 2006
    +1 for the D40. For the price of the D60 you can almost get a D80 (but that's a whole other beast).
  7. MadDoc macrumors 6502


    Apr 25, 2005
    If money is not an issue - get the D60 (bias: I own one, it is a fantastic camera), you will be future-proofing yourself.

    I disagree that megapixels don't mean much. having 50% more MP means that you can blow your pictures up to a greater size (important for wall posters, etc) and if your framing is not great you can crop the higher resolution images with less loss of detail with more MP.

    I think it comes down to the fact that the D40 is cheaper and has a faster flash sync speed - in every other respect the D60 is a better camera.

  8. PkennethV macrumors 6502a

    Aug 16, 2006
    The D40 also has less noise (hence the higher base ISO)
  9. iAussie macrumors member

    Dec 14, 2006
    Hi Nick, I'm a fellow Aussie and went through a similar decision making process about 6 months ago when I was trying to decide between the D40 and D40x (before the D60 and 18-55VR was released), but I'll see if I can give you some insight.

    For the record, I got the D40 with 18-55 (non-VR), and I've taken about 5000 photos with it over the 6 months I've had it (including 6 weeks travelling around Europe), and I've been very happy with both the camera and the lens.

    That seems pretty cheap, and is most likely a grey-import price, what store or website is offering it for that price? Not saying grey-import is a bad thing, just make sure you know what you're buying.

    Optically, I believe the VR and non-VR versions are identical (sharpness, distortions etc), see this review for more details on the non-VR version, which like they say, is surprisingly sharp. For the price, most definitely not a waste of money :)

    Price wise for the camera, I noticed that Harvey Norman is currently flogging off the D40 for pretty cheap at the moment, $600 with the 18-55 (online catalogue). I bought mine from Ted's, who have it for $650 at the moment (link). Also try calling a few JB HiFi stores, I remember they had it pretty cheap when I was shopping around for mine.

    Having used my D40 for about 6 months, I don't think I'm missing out on anything by not having the extra features of the D60, and I don't feel they're worth the extra couple of hundred dollars. As for the VR version of the lens, its only benefit is having VR (which can be useful sometimes) but even a cheap tripod will give you better results at slow shutter speeds.

    My advice? Get the D40, its an great camera for the price. As for the lens, I'd suggest you start with the non-VR (since it'll almost definitely come with the D40 regardless of how you buy it), try it out for a little while (at least a few hundred 'real world' photos, not just an hour taking photos in your kitchen) and then decide whether to get the VR version (you may decide the money is better spent on other camera goodies!)

    Good luck, I'm sure you'll enjoy the new camera regardless of what you buy :cool:
  10. nicholasjh thread starter macrumors newbie


    May 17, 2008
    Victoria, Australia
    D60 VR Link

    I don't think it is, but I'm not 100% sure.

    Anyway it sounds like the D40 is a good choice in terms of the camera, but I'm still not convinced about the lens... I will probably be doing a bit of people and action photography, and a lot of it will be handheld. Also I will probably be doing some shots in low light, and I have read that that's where the VR makes its mark. I've also heard that the non-VR is pretty slow and has a plastic feel, but if I have more info I'm happy to go with the D40 + non-VR.

    I probably won't be doing many posters or cropping, but thanks, it's something to keep in mind for the future.

    I'm still torn, but the D40 price is looking more and more attractive. If I take the D40 with non-VR into consideration, it is more a matter of whether or not the D60 with VR is worth the extra money. From the replies it seems that it's probably not, but I'm still not 100%.

    I've got a family friend who's a professional photographer, so I'll probably ask him as well, but thanks to everyone who has replied, and I'll appreciate more replies to help me make up my mind. :)

  11. cube macrumors P6

    May 10, 2004
    If you're going to forgo the warranty, just get a used D50 or D70s (D70 would also be a possibility but see if Nikon would fix it for free in your country if it dies with BGLOD, maybe it must not be a grey import too).

    If you go to a local shop, you can examine it, and they'll probably give you at least 4 weeks warranty. Paying a little bit more is worth it, I think.

    But if you're buying used, check that it comes with all the original accessories, or it might not be worth it.

    If you have a laptop, get a card reader and take it to the shop with you. Take a picture, and look at the EXIF data for the number of shutter actuations.
  12. iAussie macrumors member

    Dec 14, 2006

    Unfortunately they don't make it very clear, but the one year "Australian" warranty included with the camera is through them (the shop) rather than Nikon, so its definitely a grey import (but like I said before, not always a bad thing, its just annoying when they're not very upfront about it).

    Basically it just means if you have a problem you send it back to the store who'll then pay for it to be repaired, rather than you returning it to Nikon directly. I assume the only difference is that you might be without it for longer due to the transit times, but that's just my assumption so if anyone has done this before, is that all there is to it?

    Here's a photo of the two next to each other, the VR version is slightly bigger but apart from that, their physical build-quality will be the same.


    When you say the non-VR is 'slow', are you worried that autofocus is slower? Cause once again, this should be the same between the two lenses. A 'slow' lens can also be referring to its maximum aperture, a 'fast' lens (eg with an aperture of f2.8) lets in more light and hence is often called 'fast', while kit lenses tend to be 'slow' because their max aperture is only f3.5 to f5.6 (which is the same for both the VR and non-VR versions). Here's some more info on lens apertures
  13. jhamerphoto macrumors regular

    Oct 26, 2007
    Neither! IMHO, the D40, D40x and D60 are all a complete waste of money. The lack of integrated AF motor means you have to use Nikon DX (or comparable) lenses if you want to use autofocus, and this means more cost in the long run. If you want a Nikon, get a D80, it's worth the extra money. If you don't care about brand, I'd recommend an Olympus E-550 for much better features, a low price and great lens selection.
  14. nicholasjh thread starter macrumors newbie


    May 17, 2008
    Victoria, Australia
    thanks, but seeing that i'm new to the whole dslr thing, i will probably only be using DX lenses in the future. i would love the nikon d80 but it is out of my price range, and the Olympus E-550 isn't sold in australia.

    anyway thanks everyone for all you info and help, it sounds like the D40 + 18-55mm non-VR is a good choice, and it'll give me a chance to save for a nice lens in the future. i'll just make sure with my photographer friend, but i'll gladly take more help if anyone's got it.

  15. Zer0 macrumors regular

    May 22, 2007
    hey nicholasjh..... I think thats the right way to go. You should not miss the VR too much on 18-55. I moved from Sony DSC H5 with anti shake technology to D40 and certainly dont miss not having the VR. You might however want to get the VR versions when buying longer telephoto lenses. Cheers
  16. PkennethV macrumors 6502a

    Aug 16, 2006
    Agreed. I moved to the D40 from an (Canon) S3IS. The fact the the D40's base ISO is 200 is makes up (in fact, I prefer it) for the lack of VR/IS. After seeing ISO 200 on a point and just don't want to shoot anything over 100 with a point and shoot:p

    Though yes, VR does make a difference in the 100mm+ range.
  17. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

    Oct 9, 2005
    8 miles from the Apple Store at Tysons (VA)
    Slight correction here. With the D40, D40x and new D60 the limitation is that one needs to use AF-S lenses (Silent Wave autofocus) rather than being able to use regular AF (autofocus) lenses. Has nothing to do with DX, which refers to lenses specifically built for Nikon's digital SLR cameras with the 1.5x specifications. Most of Nikon's lenses are "FX," or "Full Frame," designed for use on its 35mm SLR bodies or on its DSLR bodies. To date Nikon has only one DSLR camera with Full Frame, the D3.

    Some of Nikon's finest primes are AF-S full frame lenses.

    One can use any of Nikon's AI-S or AF lenses on the D40, D40X and D60, but would not be able to autofocus and would need to manually focus with these lenses. Not really a big deal in most instances, and often MF is preferred, such as working in macro or extreme close-up photography.
  18. moesker007 macrumors member


    Jun 28, 2005
    Minneapolis, MN
    I have the d40x, though I should have got the d40. It's a great little camera, and I don't think the 60 is worth the extra $$. Just my 2 cents...
  19. compuwar macrumors 601


    Oct 5, 2006
    Northern/Central VA
    VR/IS is only useful for camera/photographer movement, not subject movement. So, if you're wanting to shoot static subjects in low light, then VR helps, if you're looking to shoot people, then it's not as good as learning to use flash well. In that case, the higher sync speed wins out- in fact I'd probably chose on that alone, as it will allow more options for freezing high-speed subjects.

    Other than the addition of the VR components, I doubt there's much difference in the two lenses, if any.
  20. nicholasjh thread starter macrumors newbie


    May 17, 2008
    Victoria, Australia
    awesome! thanks everyone for your input, i'll pick up a Nikon D40 + 18-55mm non-VR this weekend... i'll keep you posted.

    also i hope this page can help anyone who is making a similar decision!

  21. godmachine12 macrumors member

    Oct 25, 2006
    I'll give you another thumbs up for the d40. I bought one last summer as my first dSLR and I love the camera. I'm still using it to learn on and I'm still shooting with the kit lens. I find sometimes I could use a little extra length, but I just move the best I can. Seriously though, it takes sharp pictures in the right conditions. It's small enough to take places without being too much of a burden as well. Price wise, you just can't beat the quality it puts out.
  22. Hmac macrumors 68020

    May 30, 2007
    Midwest USA
    There is speculation in knowledgeable circles that the D40 and D40X will be gone by the end of this year, with the D60 becoming the new low end of the Nikon lineup.

    By Christmas... D60, D90 (replaces D80, which is rumored to be gone) , D300, D3, D3X, and maybe the D10 if it appears this year, according to Thom Hogan.
  23. NEiMac macrumors regular

    Aug 13, 2007
    THe really dry side of the Pacific NW
    I think your making a good choice, I have the D50 and love it. :D I don't think the no autofocus in the camera is a huge deal, specially as time goes on, should be plenty of lenses to keep you happy.
  24. Terry222 macrumors newbie

    May 25, 2008
    I'm going to mention the D80 as a minimum starter SLR if your going with Nikon. I've read that many reviews on the 40 and 60 and tried them out.

    I purchased the D80 quite a while back as all the Nikon SLR's under it seemed to be missing one thing or another which I knew I would want as I got further into photography. Even something like the ability to use 3 shot exposure bracketing is so valuable for those odd lighting shots. If you do a side by side comparison with the Nikon models, you see each little thing they have left off certain models and they just know that you'll soon be forking out more cash for an upgrade.

    One thing I wasn't totally happy with trying out the 40, 60 and especially the 80 was the noise levels. I expected a better quality of noise reduction for such a large name in camera manufacturing and felt as though they were almost taking the pi** with these lower end SLR's.

    Perhaps the D300 has cleared everything up? I'll find out in a couple of months ;) If not, try Canon.

  25. termina3 macrumors 65816

    Jul 16, 2007
    Maybe, but the name doesn't have as much to do with it as the price tag. I'm not saying everyone should go buy the most expensive camera, but the price can be an indicator to quality.

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