Why are old Nikons so expensive?!

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by hector, Jun 16, 2008.

  1. hector macrumors regular

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    #1
    I have a Nikon D40, my first dSLR. I stupidly ignored a few people on this forum who advised me to get a D50 for the lens compatibility and now somewhat regret it. I absolutely love the D40 and have taken around 3000 shots in the couple of months I have had it, but I have discovered that what I really want is some fast primes. Oops...
    The D40 was a good camera to buy at the time because it is small, light, has a massive LCD and could be had new off amazon for a similar price to the older models people were suggesting (things that appeal to me), and at that stage I didn't really know I would get so into photography and want to use prime lenses.

    If a used D50 could be had for cheap, then I would sell up and 'downgrade', but on ebay most of them are more expensive than what I paid for the D40! I could probably pick up a 400D with its kit lens and then get the 50mm 1.8 for not much more than the old Nikon.

    Do you guys have any thoughts on this? Why are such old models so overpriced? Does anyone know of a place to pick up a D50 for a reasonable price? Will the mythical AF-S 50mm 'holy grail' of inexpensive dSLR photography ever materialise?!
     
  2. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

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    #2
    Nikons are well-made, long-lasting, great cameras. They hold their value well!
     
  3. 66217 Guest

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    Jan 30, 2006
    #3
    In Amazon you could find the D50 for around $500 USD (body only).

    For the 50mm to get AF-S, I'll say it would surely happen someday, but could as well take more than a year to appear.:(

    What lenses do you currently have? Could you spend a little more and get a D80? (The D80 sells new for around $750 USD) How long have you had your D40?

    All this questions could help for better input and help from our part.:)
     
  4. thr33face macrumors 6502

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    May 28, 2006
    #4
    It seems as if you want to get yourself one of those 50mm lenses.

    Be advised that the usefulness of a 50 on a crop slr really depends on your style and location.
    Often people want fast primes for indoor photgraphy (parties, gatherings, mostly in flats or houses, etc.). But in this case a 50 is often found to be too 'long'. You'll often find yourself pressing against a wall to gain a few centimeters to get the framing you like.
    From my personal experience i find anything up to about 35mm (on a crop slr) quite suited for this task.
    A 50 works quite well also, but only if you want to isolate a small part of the 'scene'.

    The 'holy grail' as you've called it was announced by sigma some time ago: It's a 50/1.4 HSM. HSM as in "equivalent to AF-S". That lens would focus on a D40, but i don't think it is available yet and it'll probably be 400€ or more.

    One of your fast 'normal' prime choices for the D40 would be the sigma 30/1.4 hsm. but it's more like 350€ instead of the 90€ for a 50/1.8.

    On manual focusing:
    I find that manually focusing lenses in the 50mm or more focal length range is quite easy, as the give enough magnification to judge sharpness well enough. Even if one cannot perfectly focus it by eye, one can bring it close enough to finish off with the focus confirmation dot.

    On Nikon:
    If you're serious about photography and can spend some time getting accustomed to manual focusing the Nikon F-Mount is your friend. Especially the one on the D40.
    The wonderful thing about the D40 is, that it mounts all F-Mount lenses (with the exception of Mirror up ones) ever produced. It even takes pre-AI lenses which the d50, d80, etc. can't mount.
    Those lenses are 25+ years old built only from metal and glass, optically still good and the best part: they can be had for cheap.
    This way one can gather a nice list of equipement with a tight budget.

    There are downsides though: only manual focusing and completely manual exposure are available with those lenses.
    But as they were built for manual focusing their focusing rings have more degrees of freedom for more focus precision.

    On switching:
    If you are serious about switching to Canon then do it before gathering a huge pile of Nikon equipement.
     
  5. hector thread starter macrumors regular

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    #5
    Thanks for the responses.

    thr33face you are right about the questionable usefulness of a 50mm prime, but I find that most of my shots tend to be around this length. I love portraits, and like to fill the frame with faces (see the image a posted earlier in potd thread).

    I had heard about the good quality old manual focus lenses from Nikon, and have actually picked up a 50mm 1.8 e-series from ebay for cheap. I have enjoyed using this, but have found the manual focus to be frustrating and impractical, especially for taking shots of people. I have come across the Sigma prime you mentioned, but it costs nearly as much as I paid for the D40, which is significantly more than the AF Nikon 50mm 1.8 or the Canon ef 50mm 1.8.

    Roco, I have had the D40 around 2 months, maybe 3 and so far have only picked up the above-mentioned manual focus 50mm 1.8. I got it for £250ish with the rebate, roughly the same price as the D50 body only you mentioned! This is why when I got it the D40 was a no-brainer.
    I would love to be able to upgrade to the D80 but being a student money is v tight. Maybe the D80 will come down in price when it gets replaced soonish?

    The more I think about it the more I think Canon is a more sensible option despite not liking the ergonomics as much as the Nikon - one of the reasons why I went with the D40 as everyone agrees that the feel of the camera is important. I really think that for the sort of photography I like (see my flickr and smugmug in my sig if you are bored :D) the fast 50mm prime is what I need. It baffles me that Nikon haven't sorted their lives out and produced one, a quick google search reveals serious demand for it given the size of the D40/X/D60 market. They must sell millions of 55-200mm VRs, I am sure an AF-S 50mm 1.8 would fly off the shelves if it were prices similarly to the current AF version
     
  6. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #6
    Not all Nikons hold their value that well. Want to buy an N2020? I've got one you could have for under $100.

    The N50 holds it's value well because the next least expensive Nikon DSLR with a built-in focus motrer is the D80 which is very expensive. Supply and demand - people want those in-body motors and don't want to pay thr D80 price. Alsothe D50 is not that old. It is only the last model before the D40/D60 was released and the technology has not changed, so it is a current tech camera. So is the D70

    You'd think Nikon would take notice and listen.

    I read the suggestion above to try a manual focal 50mm lens. I think I paid about $50 for one once. it's a AI'd 50mm f/1.4. You should get one just so ou can see how well made lenses were before the autofocus era. The build quality is like nothing on the market today, sold brass and glass and the focus ring has a very smooth feel to it because back then the focus ring was the control that was used the most

    Another good thing about older lenses is that they are "free". They sell for the same price you buy them. Buy one for $80, use it for a few years then sell it for $80.
     
  7. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

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    #7
    black.
     
  8. Butthead macrumors 6502

    Butthead

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    #8
    Agree with the quality of older lenses, but one could hardly call a early gen dSLR 'current'...
    For what it(D70) cost originally, the 450D spanks it...technologically speaking.
     
  9. leighonigar macrumors 6502a

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    May 5, 2007
    #9
    Don't go Canon, seriously.

    I see you're in the UK:

    Until recently http://www.srsmicrosystems.co.uk had refurbed D50s for £179 with warranty but they seem to be gone.

    Cameraworld (good place) have nikon D70ss with the 18-55 for £299. I have a D70, nice cam. Smaller screen though. After selling your D40 you shouldn't be out much http://www.cameraworld.co.uk/ViewPr...th NEW 18-55mm II&CAT_CODE=23&SUBCAT_CODE=149

    What I personally have just bought is an S5 pro, https://secure.fujifilm.co.uk/shop/consumer/digital/digital-cameras/d-slr-long-zoom/finepix-s5-pro
    For £405 after a discount code - the one I used seems to have expired, but perhaps a new one will crop up. This camera meters with old MF lenses and has amazing DR.

    Hell, with the price drop even Jessops are selling this £1000 camera cheap! http://www.jessops.com/Store/s47705...rtBy=RelevanceDESC&IsInStockOnly=False&comp=y
     
  10. Butthead macrumors 6502

    Butthead

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    #10
    Lots of people would like 'fast' lenses period, pros can rent them. I would like to have all the of fast f2.8 Canon L series tele lenses.

    In shorter lengths, say 50mm or less until you get very wide, F1.8 is considered more 'standard' speed, with 1.4 or lower F number being 'fast' - prime or zoom :). I'd rather have the mythical F1.2 zoom lenses...won't hold my breath :p.
     
  11. Butthead macrumors 6502

    Butthead

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    #11
    S5 discount or not is moot for OP on a 'budget', D50 is better than the D70 for any number of reasons, LCD on the D70 is puny compared to the D40
     
  12. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #12
    If it were priced like the current offering, what would be Nikon's investment in production and profit per lens? I doubt they'd fly off the shelves either, most people with D40/D40x/D60's are happy with the kit lens.
     
  13. marioman38 macrumors 6502a

    marioman38

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    #13
    If you are going to make a post like this, it is expected that you give reasons. Sure I own a Canon, but that does not mean I hate Nikon, I believe they are both fine companies.

    However, lens availability is a major factor in which brand, and model you should choose. Why? Your lens will last (hopefully) through numerous bodies. I am using the some of same lens on my 400D, as I did on my old 35mm Rebel Ti, and Rebel 2000. A good set of glass can make the shot. I am planning on using my current lens with my next dSLR as well. Canon makes some truly high quality glass, and some decently priced ImageStabilized zooms.

    The point: no matter the brand, check all of your options for lens, as this is your true investment.
     
  14. hector thread starter macrumors regular

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    Cheltenham, UK
    #14
    Yep I mentioned above that that is what I have done but have found focussing manually to be impractical for human subjects, although inanimate objects don't move around so much and are pretty patient so that makes it easier...

    This is the problem, I have a newer, smaller, more modern D40 with a nice big screen (I often shoot, change settings and then re-shoot) which cost me £250! If I was going to sell up and downgrade I would hope not to be 'out' at all, especially not by as much as £50 (the used price of the canon or nikon 50mm 1.8) :(

    f1.8 is a hell of a lot faster than f5.6!

    Why would it be any different to any other lens anyone would produce?

    Why not?
     
  15. Cliff3 macrumors 65816

    Cliff3

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    #15
    A D100 or D1x is an early gen DSLR. The D50 is merely discontinued.

    The D70 was originally designed and priced to compete against the 10D, not the Rebel series of cameras. The D70 was announced in January 2004 while the 450D was announced in January 2008. Pitting the two cameras against each other as competitors is pointless. I would not characterize the D70/D70s as current tech.
     
  16. leighonigar macrumors 6502a

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    #16
    Aesthetic reasons.

    I considered going canon when I bought the S5 - the problem was that Canon didn't have a zoom, priced similarly to the 18-70 that was as good. There are other things, metering, huge problems with quality control (there are loads of people who've sent back their EOS 1D IIIs over and over on DPReview, people have also experienced issued with the Rebel series, there are some issues with Nikon too, but they seem to have the upper hand).

    How do you shoot your D40? I use the two control wheels on the D70 constantly, are you happy with one?

    Edit:
    I've just had a look on ebayuk and it seems D50s go for around £160-180. Whichever way you cut it that's cheaper than spending £260-300 on a 400D and kit lens.

    You feel bad about the D40 because it is so cheap, Canon don't yet have anything as cheap. As such, bodies with an AF motor represent an upgrade. I'm not sure where I stand on Nikon's body motor thing, but I kind of agree. These cameras are for Beginners 90% of whom will never use non-afs lenses. The 18-55 and 55-200 and that's it. Removing the motor provides differentiation in price and features and thus is a good thing.

    Just get the D50 and be done with it. They're no more expensive used than equivalent Canons.
     
  17. harcosparky macrumors 68020

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    #17

    I thought this thread was gonna be about old Nikon cameras, don't old Nikons use film? :D

    I guess "old camera" is a relative term in the digital world.
     
  18. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #18
    What I am saying is that I don't think it's practical for Nikon to update either of the 50's to AF-S and sell it for ~$120- the margins on such a lens don't make sense. Now- it could be that with all the FX plans a 50mm is seen as a "must do," but outside of that, most of the profitable target market will be looking at the 24-70mm, and on a D3 or the next FX bodies, I'd expect that the two stops would be covered by ISO in terms of everything except DoF, and it's rare that you really want extremely thin DoF, normally it's about low light, and Nikon believe that they have solved that for the high-end market.

    The D40/D60 was meant to be an entry-level camera for consumers- average lens sales are probably under 1.2- which is why Nikon generally doesn't sell it as a body-only camera. The folks who do "upgrade" lenses are more likely to go to another zoom, or "upgrade" camera bodies first.

    So, how many $120 lenses do you have to sell to cover the profit on a $1400 lens? My guess is that in terms of pure margins on manufacturing, it's at least 500:1. Add in shipping to retailers and it may be at twice that. Why is the Sigma 50mm HSM ~$600?

    So, economically a new AF-S 50mm isn't very profitable, and only affects a camera that's not really aimed at lens purchasers. I'd expect to see several other lenses go AF-S well before a 50mm if the 50 ever does. As I said, there may be a perception that the 50mm needs to be redone because of the FX push, but that's about all the "before anything else" stuff I expect would make it happen soon.

    In business terms, a new 14mm, 20mm, 35mm, 85mm, faster 12-24, and better 80-400VR are all more profitable and better for this year's target- pro and prosumer body folks who aren't going to say things like "I only spent $400 on the body, why would I spend $600 on a lens?" The profitable segment understands that spending more on lenses makes sense, and their disposable income level is higher.

    Nikon is looking to improve its margins and maintain revenue. This year, that means shipping fewer units, so the units need to be more expensive. Given the rise in shipping prices, that's likely to pay off by producing more high-end, high-margin, low volume products than low-end, low-margin, high-volume products.

    If I were you, and I were convinced I needed a fast 50mm with AF, I'd switch to Canon now if the D80 is out of your range and you're unwilling to pay the price for the Sigma 50mm. You're not the D40 target market, and with Canon, you're going to get the shots you want as soon as you switch, rather than waiting to see if Nikon will do something and then having to wait for availability- especially if you suddenly find out that the pricing reflects modern lensmaking (If I were Nikon, I'd want to show off nanocoating if I did decide I had to do a 50mm, and I wouldn't aim for a price point below $350.)

    You got the wrong tool- however you'd have had to have paid more for the right tool- the Canon XSi and Nikon D80 are the current entry-level photography cameras and they're fairly competitively priced, about 40% above the D40 for a body only.

    Cut your losses now if you want a fast AF 50mm. Nikon's stopped focusing on the cheap consumer segment, you're not likely to get more joy there.
     
  19. QuantumLo0p macrumors 6502a

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  20. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #20
    We are comparing Nikons to Nikons here....

    The D50 is not "early". Nikon had been making digital SLRs since 1984. I saw on in use as the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles in the press box at one of the events. I was in the box. The guy using it was not talking as it was a prototype camera. It was a sub-megapixel camera and it was not verycompact The D50 was not even one of Nikon's early consumer level cameras. The D100 came out years ahead of the D50, the D70 was after that. The D50 was only recently discontinued and replaced with the D40. The only real difference between the D50 and D40 is they removed the focus motor from the D50 to make the D50 smaller and cheaper. What counts is the sensor, light meter and autofocus system. THese are close enough between the 50 and 40 that it dose not matter. Technology did not change between those models oly the feature set and price point.

    If you want the camera that would be one generation of technology back from the D40, that would be the D100. It's sensor was not quite as good and had a little bit more noise.
     
  21. Cheffy Dave macrumors 68020

    Cheffy Dave

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    #21
    excellent advice,I couldn't have said it better:cool:
     
  22. cube macrumors G4

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    #22
    The D50/D70/D70s did not drop much in price because Nikon stopped making inexpensive bodies with a motor, so savvy buyers on a budget are forced to go the used route.
     
  23. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #23
    You're wrong.

    The MSRP of the D80 is identical to the MSRP of the D70/D70s (well, ok- the D80's MSRP is .95 more- the shock!,) so I think you're mistakenly rewriting history. The street price on a D80 is $740- the same street price as the D50 body only[1] when it was new[2] and about $150 cheaper than the D70's street price when it was new.

    The D40 introduced a new low price point for the Nikon DSLR. It did that because it was purposefully limited to make it attractive to its target market segment. Nikon's D80 is still an inexpensive body with a motor, at roughly the same price point that Nikon's "inexpensive body with a motors" have always been at as far as I can tell.

    Everyone's rewriting history because the D40 is a fantastic body at a fantastic price point- but it's not at the price point that Nikon's hobbyist cameras have generally been at- it's much lower. Spend what you would have spent on a D70s or a D50 when it was new and get a new D80 and you'll get all the features and quality you want. Spend hundreds less on the D40 and compromise on autofocus for AF-D lenses and focus points and gain a kit lens.

    [1]http://www.nikonians.org/nikon/d50/
    [2] In Sept. 2006 Nikon dropped the price $50
     
  24. leighonigar macrumors 6502a

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    #24
    Yes, the D80 is a slightly cheaper, street, than my D70 was when I bought it. Of course you get much more for your money now so it's kind of hard to compare price bands without looking at what the rest of the market is doing over the same period. I do agree with you to an extent though.
     
  25. cube macrumors G4

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    #25

    I am talking about obtaining a Nikon with motor at a new D50 price, not a new D70 price, and certainly not at launch.
     

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