Nikon D60 + 1 kit lens (VR) vs Nikon D40 + 2 kit lenses (non-VR)?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by earthbound, Jul 31, 2008.

  1. earthbound macrumors member

    Oct 12, 2007
    I will be studying abroad in Japan starting this September and I really can't bring myself to go there without a good camera. I do have a P&S that I got for free from my uncle (HP Photosmart R817 with 5.1MP) which I don't think is going to cut it. I've only gotten into photography only recently and I can't say I know much about it though I have gotten several chances to use a dSLR. Either way, I'm looking for something entry to mid level since I'm just starting out.

    But here's the thing: I can't spend too much money on this (frugality is important when you'll be living in Tokyo for 6 months) so I'm thinking of the 12-month financing that Amazon has for either Nikon D60 + 1 kit lens (VR) or Nikon D40 + 2 kit lenses (non-VR). They cost about the same at ~$640. I know I will be buying the 50mmf/1.8D, but I really can't decide between these two choices. I like having the extra lens, but is D40 too outdated?

    And lastly, is financing a bad idea? Is it better for me to take out a student loan to pay for this purchase?

    Thank you in advance.
  2. epicwelshman macrumors 6502a


    Apr 6, 2006
    Nassau, Bahamas
    Honestly... it's better to pay in cash with no loans whatsoever.

    However I know that's not always possible. Can anyone more knowledgeable than me say whether prices would be cheaper in Japan? If so it may be worth waiting till you get there.
  3. earthbound thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 12, 2007
    I know cash is always better, and I wish I can pay up front, but the only way I can have the dSLR and take it to Japan is either take the financing or the loan. Financing (which is thankfully 12 months no interest no payment) or the loan (no payment and no interest accrued until I graduate) give me the option of paying it off when I'm back from Japan in six months :(

    I'm quite sure the prices are comparable whether I buy it in Japan or in the US.
  4. ManWithhat macrumors regular

    Jun 24, 2008
    I don't really like the D60 or D40(x) because of the lack of in-house AF motor. This will limit your lens selection for auto-focusing.

    Anyways, I don't think you're going to miss much by choosing either the D40 or D60. It's the lens selection that is going to be the hard choice.

    If you're going to be shooting architecture or people, I'd go for the D40 for the 55-200mm zoom. It's not an amazing lens, but you're only going to get to shoot Japan once. If you don't have a steady hand, make sure you bring a tripod when you're site-seeing.
  5. Westside guy macrumors 603

    Westside guy

    Oct 15, 2003
    The soggy side of the Pacific NW
    Given those two choices, I'd go for the D60 with the VR lens.
  6. mondesi43 macrumors regular

    Aug 27, 2007
    Had the D40 w/ 2 lenses, returned it for the D60 w/ VR lens. No regrets.
  7. Phatpat macrumors 6502a


    Jun 15, 2003
    Cambridge, MA
    Just to complicate things a bit, what about the D40 with the 18-55 (non vr) kit lens for $400 (here), then buying yourself a 55-200 vr lens?
  8. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    You do know don't you that both the D60 and D40 lack an in-body focus motor so if you attach a 50mm lens that lens will not auto-focus.

    When planning an Nikon SLR system you have to make sure you have a focus motor in either the lens or the body or you will have to turn the focus ring by hand. If you are on a tight budget look at buying a used D50. They sell for about $325. It's really a better camera than the D40 and has the in-body motor. Used lenses are worth looking into too. But if you intend to shop for used lenses getting a body with a focus motor will pay for itself quickly

    The other option would be to get the D80.
  9. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    (1) Loans are good for students. The idea is that he will be making loads more money in a few years then he is now. Loans are good it you think your income might quadruple.

    (2) I've never seen anything that is cheaper in Japan.
  10. taylorwilsdon macrumors 68000


    Nov 16, 2006
    New York City
    The 50mm won't autofocus on the d40, which is not a good thing for an amateur. You want AF lenses. Skip the 50 until you upgrade to a body with a focus motor or they come out with AF-S primes.
  11. ManWithhat macrumors regular

    Jun 24, 2008
  12. jpfisher macrumors regular

    Dec 5, 2006
    New Jersey
    Even without autofocus, not sure why folks are pointing the OP away from the 50mm f/1.8 -- especially considering its price.

    The D40 + 18-55mm non-VR kit + VR 55-200mm + 50mm f/1.8 is a nice travel kit. You'll need to stop the 50mm down to f/4 or so for acceptable sharpness, and it shouldn't be too hard to hit focus at that aperture, even with the rather shoddy viewfinders found in most DSLRs.

    If money was no object I'd say dump the 50mm and get a 35mm f/2 -- much more useful on an APS-C sensor -- but it's pretty clear that a budget is in order here.
  13. NEiMac macrumors regular

    Aug 13, 2007
    THe really dry side of the Pacific NW
    I have heard great things about the Sigma 30 1.4 if your wanting a prime and it has a focus motor in it. This would be more of a normal range for a DX sensor anyways. Kit lenses should keep you happy for a while I would think though.
  14. earthbound thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 12, 2007
    Thank you for the replies, guys!

    I think I'm going to get the D40 +18-55mm kit + 55-200mm VR + 50mm f/1.8 like what jpfisher suggested. Man, I should've pulled the trigger when Costco sold the D40 + 2 VR lenses for $599 several weeks ago!

    And oh, I know the 50mm doesn't auto focus on the D40, but there's a strong possibility I would want to upgrade the body later on.

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