The dreaded question...

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by LAWSON1985, Oct 12, 2008.

  1. LAWSON1985 macrumors newbie

    Oct 12, 2008
    Which camera to choose.


    Right, I am really wanting to invest in a DSLR as I want to take up photography as hobby.

    I get alot of access to gigs with big name bands so I'd like to try my hand at snapping some decent pics, and also take photo's for my friend night he runs in a nightclub, aswell as landscape shots and other photography.

    I am wanting a camera that is within my budget,(200-300) that can take good quality photographs, that a good SLR should capture, and will capture moving things good, such as bands etc...

    I have been told that in order to choose a camera it is essential you visit a shop and try out holding them first as it has to feel right, and I als know its the person behind the camera than the camera itself, however,

    I have looked around the internet and my local Jessops and was originally looking at the Nikon D40, I was then advised it may be worth investing in the Nikon D60 with the VR Lens Kit.

    What is the VR Lens kit and what will it do? ( Apologies for stupid questions )

    I am aware of the other little features the D60 offers such as the vibration reduction etc...

    So I am wondering if anyone can offer any advice, as a beginner, would you invest in the D40 as a starter camera and save some cash, or invest in the D60 and spend the extra? If I spend the extra what exactly will I gain that I will not from the D40 as a beginner.

    Thanks in advance for your help and look forward to replies.
  2. mrgreen4242 macrumors 601


    Feb 10, 2004
    VR = vibration reduction. It's Nikon's branding for image stabilization. The D60 doesn't have vibration reduction, the lens does. Any of the lenses the D60 can use, with and without VR, can be used by the D40. Th D60 just happens to come with a VR lens, the D40 doesn't.

    The D60 is a pretty bad buy, in my and many others opinions. Here's a really good site, and his D60 review:

    The D40 is a really nice camera, despite it's flaws (no focus motor in the body, no automatic exposure bracketing, only 3 autofocus points are the main ones). It's the smallest/lightest SLR on the market, it comes from one of the two biggest DSLR manufacturers with a very wide selection of lenses, and the quality of the photos is, in my opinion coming from even a nice point and shoot, is fantastic. You really can't go wrong with it.

    That said, it'll be outside of your budget of $300. You'll spend $400 on a refurb kit (with basic lens) and $450 on a new one. You might find a used camera for close to $300-350, but that's as little you'll spend on a DSLR with lens, I think. For the record, I just bought a D40 and I love it, but I'm not just saying any of this just because I have one. I already know I'll want to upgrade, eventually, but I think it's at least 2-3 years down the road. I'll wait until a D40 sized body gets the D90's movie mode, live preview, plus some of the other features like AEB and a more autofocus zones (plus a better light meter, which is something I've personally not had trouble with, but I think other "pro" reviewers have complained about).
  3. TheReef macrumors 68000


    Sep 30, 2007
    NSW, Australia.
    Might like to take a look at the Pentax k-m (Pentax K2000) once it is released.
    It will offer in-body shake reduction and will be very cheap in comparison to other new entry level dSLRs. (In-body shake reduction also saves you money on lenses)

    There is also an external flash kit available targeting beginners (still has built in flash though).

    Attached Files:

  4. Westside guy macrumors 603

    Westside guy

    Oct 15, 2003
    The soggy side of the Pacific NW
    Do you have any friends that use digital SLRs? If so, what brand(s) do they use? It can sometimes be useful to have the same brand as a friend, whether you're just looking for advice, want to borrow a special lens they own, etc.

    If saving money is of paramount importance, go with the D40 (I'm limiting myself to the cameras you listed). The D60 is newer, but it's not particularly compelling feature-wise. I would argue that you definitely should try to get a VR lens, regardless of what camera you buy.

    You'll find that, on this forum, some people are very vocal in the support of their particular brand of camera - especially if they use something other than the big two (Nikon or Canon). But really, you can't go wrong whichever way you go. I do agree with the people that've told you to try handling the different cameras to see which "feels right".
  5. luminosity macrumors 65816


    Jan 10, 2006
    I strongly advise against the D60. It costs more and gets you little beyond what the D40 offers. Remember, pixel size in the D40 is larger than the D60, since you're stuffing fewer megapixels onto a sensor the same size as the D60 (and D300, though the 300 uses a CMOS chip).
  6. anubis macrumors 6502a

    Feb 7, 2003
  7. Fortimir macrumors 6502a


    Sep 5, 2007
    Indianapolis, IN
    Aw, we wouldn't want the poor beginner to get stuck with a Canon, now would we? :p

    It's personal, but the ergonomics/button-layout/handling on the D40 through D90 is far superior to any Canon in the equivalent price point.
  8. LAWSON1985 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 12, 2008
    Will the D40 be able to take good photo's of bands playing live?

    Moving objects etc?
  9. cpcarrot macrumors member

    Jan 24, 2008
    That sort of thing is far more concerned with the lens than with a camera body. Yes the D40 coupled with a good low light lens (read either a prime opening up to 1.4-1.8 or a zoom 2.8) will be able to get good pics of bands playing live + moving objects. With the kit lens? Probably not.
  10. wheelhot macrumors 68020

    Nov 23, 2007
    What about the XSi?

    Well I guess the interface could get used to :D
  11. interpunct macrumors newbie


    Oct 2, 2008
    portland, or
    the kit lens on the d40 won't be any good for shooting live bands. in terms of zoom, it would work, but the f-stop range is pitiful.

    you'd be better off buying a d40 refurbished body and purchasing a good lens with at least f1.8 for shooting bands.
  12. mrgreen4242 macrumors 601


    Feb 10, 2004
    Yes, it'll be fine for that. For shooting bands/moving objects having a camera with VR/image stabilization won't help anyways, and the lower pixel density of the D40 sensor will actually give you a better quality than a higher resolution camera.

    Depends where you're at shooting the bands from. If you are shooting from the sound board, for example, there's not going to be many zooms faster than f5 or f6 that are anywhere near your budget. If you are shooting from the side of the stage or up close to the front of the stage, getting a fast prime will help, but then again it'll depend on the type of set. If it's a dimly lit relaxed, uplugged/accoustic style set you'll want a fast lens. On the other hand a brightly lit rock show or something and the f3-6 you get out of the kit/entry level zooms will probably work fine.

    Best bet is going to be to borrow/rent some of the gear you're considering and try it out.

    BTW, there's no f1.8 lens that will autofocus with the D40. There's a couple of nice zooms that go down to f2.8, and Nikon and Sigma both make an AF-S f1.4 prime, but there's no f1.8. The f1.4 primes are pretty costly, as are the f2.8 zooms. Shooting in the (near) dark is hard, and expensive, unfortunately.
  13. I'm a Mac macrumors 6502

    Nov 5, 2007
    I disagree with ken rockwells review of the d60. It has come down a lot in price (although he was right to say $750 was a ripoff) and it is an excellent camera. I got my d60 with the 18-55 VR lens for $630. Now that it has come down in price, I would say it is worth it. It's Active-D lighting makes it superior to the d40, as well as the VR lens does too. (if you're buying in the kit.)

    So, I would say go with the d60, unless you'd rather spend less (in which case the d40 is still a great camera.)

    EDIT: The nikon d60 is also lighter than the d40
  14. mrgreen4242 macrumors 601


    Feb 10, 2004
    The D-lighting looks pretty cool, and that was one of the things I considered before buying a D40. In the end the price was the decider, for me, though. Anyways, the only reason I'm commenting again is because the D60 isn't lighter than the D40. At least not according to

    They list the D40 at 482g and the D60 at 495g. 13g is about half an once, for those not metrically inclined.
  15. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    Nikon just lowered the price of the D80 to the D60 price point. So right now the D8 is a much better value than the D60.

    But think about what lens you'd want. Which you want now and next year and so on. Which body (d40. d60. d80) hardly matters. Lenses do mater think about them, ask questions about them.

    As others have said in the Nikon line "VR" is a function of the lens, not the body.
  16. I'm a Mac macrumors 6502

    Nov 5, 2007
    But according to, the d60 is 16.1oz and the d40 is 70oz

    Yes you might get more bang for your buck with the d80, but for someone on a budget, especially someone looking for there first DSLR, the d60 is more what they need (although, the d80 is a great camera, I didn't want to spend the extra on features I don't really need)

    Also, I know that the VR is a function of the lens, but you cannot but the d40 and the 18-55 VR as a kit.
  17. abijnk macrumors 68040


    Oct 15, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    I disagree with this assessment. While it is true that the D60 and D40 are very similar, I like the D60 better than the D40. I am very much a beginner, but have still been able to see a difference in the overall quality of the images.

    I would recommend the D60.
  18. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    Right now at B&H the D60 with 18-55 VR lens is $699. the D80 with the same lens is also $699. You don't pay any more for the D80.

    The one feature the D80 has that is really important that the D60 lack is an in-body focus motor. Without that motor you can';t use some of Nikon's best lenses. Well OK, you can use then but they will not auto-focus. Even if the D80 cost $100 more the focus motr would pay for itself because you could them buy a lower priced lens. For example a good used 80-200 f/2.8 lens sells for between $650 and $450 bepending on the version but the AF-S version is newer and goes for over $1K The D60 can't us the lowe pricd version of the lens. And then what about "primes"? I like my 85mm lens and it would not work on the D60.

    Withthe two camera selling at the identical price it should not e hard to choose.
  19. mrgreen4242 macrumors 601


    Feb 10, 2004
    Well, I'm not sure of the real true honest to goodness weight of either, but CAN tell you without any uncertainty that the D40 doesn't weight 70oz. ;)

    Nikon says 475g/17oz for the D40 and 495g/16.1oz for the D60. As you can see, one of these numbers is obviously wrong. 475<495, but 16.1<17. So, in face of this obvious logical flaw, I'll resort to DCResources measurements, which indicate the D40 is the smaller of the two, which I'm pretty sure is correct based on my handling of them both in the store when I looked at them.

    Finally, I think everyone is missing the OP's first post: he wants to spend $200-300. Even the D40, the cheapest of all the options, is more than that, so regardless of the D60's advantages, or lack thereof, the D40 is still probably a better recommendation.
  20. woolyback macrumors regular

    Feb 14, 2008
    Where are you seeing that - I'm looking at their web-site and the lowest price I can see for body + lens is $749 ??

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