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Another beginning camera question...
I found this site while visiting the Fatwallet forums, looking for a good DSLR camera deal. Here at my job (I work at a high school), we have a Nikon D50 and Nikon D80. My coworker and boss use them for taking photos of school events and such. They produce amazing pictures, as with any SLR camera. My coworker also has bought a couple of lenses for the D50 out of his own pocket to use when he upgrades his camera (probably to a D80)..

Both of them love their Nikons, and I agree the image quality is amazing. I'm looking to buy a starter camera, and was considering buying a used D50 or D80 (so that I can meet my budget limitations). Other cameras suggested to me are the Rebel XT (or XTi), or a D70. I haven't heard much else about other vendors. If I go with a Nikon D50 or better, then I have the opportunity to mooch off my coworker and use his lenses to learn how to use the camera. If I go with a D40, I've found that I will have to pay more for the lenses because they don't have autofocus.

I've been looking at Craigslist to gauge the prices for one of these Cameras, and they fall into the $600-800 bracket, which is where I'm trying to stay..

I say all this to say, with the budget I have, which would be the best camera to start out with, as well as extend in the future. As far as the Nikons go, it seems that I'd need to get at least a D50. With the Canon, it seems the XTi is the bare minimum. Any suggestions on good starter cameras with decent upgrade paths in the $600-850 range (used price)?.

Thanks for your time,Ted..

Comments (11)

The XTi is not the bare minimum. The XT is still a great camera. All the cameras you mentioned are outstanding. I suggest that you go to a store and "try them on.".

Jerryhttp://jchoate.zenfolio.com/..

Comment #1

It appears that lens system compatibility is not an issue for you..

I suggest that you check out, in the store, the Pentax K100D and K100D Super. New! Check out the Pentax SLR forum here and the reviews of the camera...

Comment #2

Well, from the talks I had with my coworker, it seems that the Rebel XT is a competitor to the D40/40x, which, I'm told (and has been repeated here in various discussions), requires you to buy more expensive lenses in the long run..

What I'm looking for (as I mentioned before) is a camera that I can upgrade without fear of losing use of any lenses that I've already purchased. My boss and coworker can switch lenses from the D50 to the D80 without blinking. All of the lenses have autofocus (and this is important to me in the beginning as a learning tool), and I do not want to have to buy more expensive lenses with autofocus when I can just buy a body with autofocus..

One thing I should note is that I'm looking to make the purchase at the end of the year, or early next year, so any info about new camera technologies that may reduce the cost of the older cameras would be appreciated..

Ted..

Comment #3

Of what I read about Pentax, they don't seem to have as wide a selection of lenses right now. I don't think this will matter in the short run, but I don't plan on upgrading my camera for at least another 2-3 years. As I take classes and learn more about digital photography, I want to be able to walk a steady upgrade path..

To put it a different way:.

From what I understand, you can do this and still use all of your Nikon lenses (in addition to buying new ones).

D50 -> D80 -> D200 -> Beyond.

I'm guessing the same applies to the XTi and lower-end D models from Canon. So, what I'm asking is: which set of cameras provides this type of interoperability? Nikon seems to be the most versatile, but also the most expensive (being on the very high end of my budget). The XT/XTi looks to be about in the mid-range of my budget, with the Pentax series being closer to the lower end of my budget..

If I go with Pentax, it doesn't seem like I'll be able to grow without buying into Nikon or Canon. With Nikon, it seems like I'll be overshooting my budget. With Canon, I just don't know enough about the company to really make a decision as to whether I want the XT or XTi. So, if you have any advice or can fill in any of the holes in my knowledge, I'd greatly appreciate it..

Ted..

Comment #4

Nikon would seem a sensible starting point bearing in mind your colleagues' use of them, as they would be more likely to give you help with their knowledge of Nikon's user interface etc..

You're right to mention the lack of autofocus motor as an issue with the D40(x), but to say that it limits you to expensive lenses is not quite correct..

Many of Nikon's inexpensive lenses work fully with the D40(x), e.g. the 18-55mm, 55-20mm VR and the 70-300mm VR, as well as new lenses like Sigma's 30mm f/1.4, and the top of the range Nikons for when you win the lottery..

Here is a list of all compatible D40(x) lenses, it might be useful to check to see if your colleagues' lenses are there, then you are really in a great 'borrowing situation'....

Http://www.nikonians.org/...az=read_count&om=16715&forum=DCForumID201.

Alex..

Comment #5

Alex Leach wrote:.

You're right to mention the lack of autofocus motor as an issue withthe D40(x), but to say that it limits you to expensive lenses is notquite correct..

When I was looking at the lenses available for the D50 and above, I noticed that some of these lenses had counterparts for the D40, but they were more expensive. This cautioned me to pick the D40 as a starting point, as I do not believe these motor-having lenses would be usable in a D50 or higher, should I upgrade (my coworker said that buying a D40 would pretty much leave me with repurchasing lenses should I buy a D50 or better later)..

Many of Nikon's inexpensive lenses work fully with the D40(x), e.g.the 18-55mm, 55-20mm VR and the 70-300mm VR, as well as new lenseslike Sigma's 30mm f/1.4, and the top of the range Nikons for when youwin the lottery..

I'm not so concerned about the low-end or high-end lenses (as I'll pretty much never be able to afford the pro lenses). Where my concern is lies in the mid-range lenses that my coworker and boss have purchased. These seem to produce very nice images, as well as being available second-hand for decent prices..

Here is a list of all compatible D40(x) lenses, it might be useful tocheck to see if your colleagues' lenses are there, then you arereally in a great 'borrowing situation'....

Http://www.nikonians.org/...az=read_count&om=16715&forum=DCForumID201.

I will make it a point to get my coworker to look at this with me tomorrow. Thanks for the lead...

Comment #6

Ted:.

Both the XT and the XTi are great cameras, and the difference in IQ is minimal. If I were you, I would check prices and go with the better price. You might be able to buy a good tripod for the difference..

Jerryhttp://jchoate.zenfolio.com/..

Comment #7

Tessai wrote:.

... This cautioned me to pick the D40 as astarting point, as I do not believe these motor-having lenses wouldbe usable in a D50 or higher, should I upgrade (my coworker said thatbuying a D40 would pretty much leave me with repurchasing lensesshould I buy a D50 or better later)..

There's a misunderstanding here..

Nikon's original autofocus camera system had the AF motor in the camera body, connected by a linkage to operate the autofocus lenses. (This is in contrast to Canon's system which has from the outset used a motor in the lens.) I've never really understood why Nikon chose that route, but they did..

Over the years Nikon have introduced lenses which have their own AF motor, which offers a number of advantages. These are the AF-S and AF-I lenses. Cameras like the D50 use their internal AF motor to operate the lenses which don't have one, but they can also use AF-S/AF-I lenses when they let the lens AF take over..

The D40 was the first Nikon SLR to abandon the in-body AF motor entirely, and the D40x followed suit. This means they can only use AF-S/AF-I lenses - or rather, before the Nikon boys drop on me from a great height - the other lenses work but they don't autofocus. For the full story see: http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/nikortek.htm.

So the only downside of the D40/x is that there are some lenses they can't use properly. This is no problem at all for the majority, who will buy the camera with a lens or two and never need to use anything other than AF-S lenses. It is a significant problem for people with legacy lenses, or who want to use prime lenses as most of those are not AF-S. There is also less choice of Sigma lenses, and no Tamron lens can autofocus on the D40/x..

So the problem is in a sense the opposite of what your co-worker said. If you switch from a D40 to a D50, you solve the compatibility problem, you don't create one!..

Comment #8

Is correct. .

I think for you, it makes sense to choose Nikon. But if you broaden the choices, simply look to the right and notice that there are 5 major dSLR manufacturers....

Whatever you consider seriously, be sure to actually go to a store and hold, operate, look through the camera. One of the biggest differences is the shape and some shapes don't fit some hands. Also observe the appearance of the picture seen through the viewfinder. Some cameras show MUCH brighter and bigger images..

Charlie DavisNikon 5700 & Sony R1HomePage: http://www.1derful.infoBridge Blog: http://www.here-ugo.com/BridgeBlog/..

Comment #9

Tessai wrote:.

Of what I read about Pentax, they don't seem to have as wide aselection of lenses right now. I don't think this will matter in theshort run, but I don't plan on upgrading my camera for at leastanother 2-3 years. As I take classes and learn more about digitalphotography, I want to be able to walk a steady upgrade path..

Pentax does have a smaller series of lenses and they are sadly lacking in long, fast pro quality lenses. But if you are looking to shoot with small, lightweight and sharp prime lenses, Pentax has some excellent glass. I've shot Pentax for years and have not found lenses to be a big limitation, especially if you are comfortable with shooting manual focus lenses....but I also do not need pro level gear either..

A lot depends on where you plan to go and what you eventually will want to do with your photography. If you plan to go into pro sports or wildlife photography where long and fast (and seriously expensive) telephoto zooms are required, then Canon or Nikon is most likely the best way to go. If you will need pro level support, again Canon or Nikon will be the way to go..

If your requirements will be more modest and you are only looking to grow as an amateur photographer, then a DSLR from any of the major manufacturers will serve you well..

JohnPentax *ist-D, K100D, Fuji F20/31fd, Oly Stylushttp://www.pbase.com/jglover..

Comment #10

As I strolled in to work this morning, I asked my coworker about what he said about the D40. It turns out, I misunderstood what he was saying. What he said was this:.

"If you buy a D40, you will be forced to buy lenses that have autofocus built-in (if you want autofocus, and you probably do), which means that while you save on the camera, the lenses will cost you more. You're better off with a Nikon that has autofocus in the body so that you can buy lenses without motors [and save on the lenses].".

So, basically, if I buy a D40, I'm understanding that I'm limited in my choice of lenses, which seems pretty harsh, as I'll have to buy a new camera body to be able to use the better lenses...

Comment #11

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