Joining the Nikon world. Help Needed.

Started Dec 13, 2011 | Discussions
StreamerFly
New MemberPosts: 7
Like?
Joining the Nikon world. Help Needed.
Dec 13, 2011

It is a sad day but one that must happen. Leaving Pentax and heading into the Nikon world. Bittersweet…but I am ready. I hate to let go of the complete reverse compatibility of all the old wonderful Pentax lenses, the in body stabilization, the weather sealing and above all the amazing colors produced, right out of the box by Pentax. However, there are a few frustrations that have simply chipped away at my patience…and the time has come.

So. I have been into photography for about 12+ years. Started in film a bit and have had a DSLR for about 6 now. So I would not call myself a beginner or greenhorn. However, I would not say that I am completely proficient either. Composition still is my biggest obstacle and I wonder whether this is a learned skill or simply a gift. I say this to give you all a bit of background to my abilities before I request your input. I know my way around DSLR’s and even with all of the advancing technology, Nikon 1, and similar, advancement of camera phones, etc…I still like a good DSLR in my hands.

I am about ready to pull the trigger on my first Nikon gear. This time around I would like to make sure I invest in good glass from the beginning…and I recognize that bodies come and go. Budget is a big concern as I simply don’t have that much to work with. Give or take $600…which I know isn’t much. I have no issues buying used gear on forums or through KEH.

Question 1. I have my eye on the D80. Can get it used around $300. From the reviews and reading I have done it is a solid performer. In body focus motor, high enough pixel count to do what I need, and lots of other features. Drawback is that it’s a bit aged…and High ISO sounds like a weakness. Is the D80 simply too old of a model to be buying in 2011? $300 is about as much as I want to spend on a body…as I said I would like to get a good lens or two…instead of getting kit lenses. The D90 seems out of reach money wise. So…is the D80 still respectable enough…and will it be a good entry for me into Nikon? I would prefer to stay away from the entry level D40, 60, 3100, etc. A mid level prosumer body preferred.

Question 2. Lenses. I REALLY want the 18-200VR. But it is way too much dinero. My ideal setup would be the 18-200mm VR, Tokina 10-24, and the 50mm 1.8. I do a lot of outdoor photography and the 18-200 probably would rarely leave the camera body. But since that’s out of the price range…what other options do I have? I don’t want plastic mounts and chinsey lenses.

Any recommendations for me as I get ready to join the Nikon crowd would be appreciated.
Thanks all!

Nikon D40 Nikon D80 Nikon D90
If you believe there are incorrect tags, please send us this post using our feedback form.
mosswings
Veteran MemberPosts: 5,435Gear list
Like?
Re: Joining the Nikon world. Help Needed.
In reply to StreamerFly, Dec 13, 2011

StreamerFly wrote:

It is a sad day but one that must happen. Leaving Pentax and heading into the Nikon world. Bittersweet…but I am ready. I hate to let go of the complete reverse compatibility of all the old wonderful Pentax lenses, the in body stabilization, the weather sealing and above all the amazing colors produced, right out of the box by Pentax. However, there are a few frustrations that have simply chipped away at my patience…and the time has come.

So. I have been into photography for about 12+ years. Started in film a bit and have had a DSLR for about 6 now. So I would not call myself a beginner or greenhorn. However, I would not say that I am completely proficient either. Composition still is my biggest obstacle and I wonder whether this is a learned skill or simply a gift. I say this to give you all a bit of background to my abilities before I request your input. I know my way around DSLR’s and even with all of the advancing technology, Nikon 1, and similar, advancement of camera phones, etc…I still like a good DSLR in my hands.

I am about ready to pull the trigger on my first Nikon gear. This time around I would like to make sure I invest in good glass from the beginning…and I recognize that bodies come and go. Budget is a big concern as I simply don’t have that much to work with. Give or take $600…which I know isn’t much. I have no issues buying used gear on forums or through KEH.

Question 1. I have my eye on the D80. Can get it used around $300. From the reviews and reading I have done it is a solid performer. In body focus motor, high enough pixel count to do what I need, and lots of other features. Drawback is that it’s a bit aged…and High ISO sounds like a weakness. Is the D80 simply too old of a model to be buying in 2011? $300 is about as much as I want to spend on a body…as I said I would like to get a good lens or two…instead of getting kit lenses. The D90 seems out of reach money wise. So…is the D80 still respectable enough…and will it be a good entry for me into Nikon? I would prefer to stay away from the entry level D40, 60, 3100, etc. A mid level prosumer body preferred.

Question 2. Lenses. I REALLY want the 18-200VR. But it is way too much dinero. My ideal setup would be the 18-200mm VR, Tokina 10-24, and the 50mm 1.8. I do a lot of outdoor photography and the 18-200 probably would rarely leave the camera body. But since that’s out of the price range…what other options do I have? I don’t want plastic mounts and chinsey lenses.

Any recommendations for me as I get ready to join the Nikon crowd would be appreciated.
Thanks all!

Oof, that's a fairly restrictive budget for what you want to do. The D80 is a nice camera, but it is nearly 6 years old now and has several disadvantages in comparison to even the D90/D5000/D3000 generation. I started out with a D80 and now shoot with a D90. I never thought that I would replace the D80 so quickly, but I found that the D90 was simply a better sorted out camera than the D80 and much easier and more consistent to work with. This is a personal assessment, but I believe I'm not the only one. Sensor improvements, metering improvements, and especially a 3" high resolution screen made a huge difference in my workflow. I have been tempted by the sensor improvements in the D7000/D5100 generation, but the leap from the D80 to the D90 was big enough that I'm happy to wait until some of the Nikon 1 technology finds its way into their DSLR lineup before I upgrade again.

All that being said, you may have only a couple of choices: used D80, or used D5000. The D5000 is a bit quirky but has the D90's sensor and may be a better choice if you are not wedded to a 2-control-wheel user interface. The D3000 is not a bad camera either, and I know a lot of folks who are still in love with their D40s. Frankly, there's nothing really to fear from the Nikon entry-level bodies other than their inability to use non AF-S lenses. In your case, your budget may steer you towards a used "D" lens in which case you MUST use a D80 or D90 body.

I do a lot of outdoor photography as well and find that the 18-105, widely available for around $300, is a very competent lens. The 105-200 range is not often used (unless you're really into perspective compression or wildlife shots), and the need for sub-18mm focal lengths is only occasional (I have a 10-20 Sigma for that eventuality, but use it perhaps 1% of the time). You frankly have little option but to go with a plastic body, plastic mount lens in your price range unless you opt for a rather old "D" series lens. I have knocked about my 18-105 for 3 years on several continents, and an 18-135 for some time before that, with no durability or reliability problems. The only issue you need to attend to is to try the lens on your camera body and ensure that it is sufficiently tight. This is an adjustment issue that can be tended to easily by Nikon or one of their authorized service centers.

In any case, it is the lens more than the body these days that makes the IQ, and you should start with the 18-105. That leaves you about $300 for a camera body. If you do not go with the D80, you will need to either double your body budget for a D90, or accept the "limitations" of at most a D5000. There are still many many folks out there who are getting great results from these bodies, and you sound like someone who could easily be part of that group.

 mosswings's gear list:mosswings's gear list
Olympus XZ-1 Nikon D90 Nikon D7100 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G VR +1 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
mrbr
Senior MemberPosts: 2,371Gear list
Like?
Re: Joining the Nikon world. Help Needed.
In reply to StreamerFly, Dec 13, 2011

Hi ,

I dont have experience with the D80.

Just want to give you some links that maybe are helpfull in forming your own opinion so you can make a good choice.

http://bythom.com/nikon-dx-lens-summary.htm
http://bythom.com/d80review.htm

another opinion :

http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/dx-dream-team.htm
http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/sb400.htm

well you can search Thom Hogon's and KR's website for more information if you want.

Good luck with your choice.

Greetings,
Marc
--
ps : some interesting tutorial websites :

http://www.ronbigelow.com/articles/articles.htm
http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials.htm
http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tutorials/
http://www.normankoren.com/sitemap.html

my photos (examples, see dpreview galleries):

 mrbr's gear list:mrbr's gear list
Fujifilm FinePix F30 Zoom Nikon D5100 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Rajeshb
Contributing MemberPosts: 798
Like?
Re: Joining the Nikon world. Help Needed.
In reply to StreamerFly, Dec 13, 2011

But why are you leaving pentax? I guess used KX or K20d's are available in your budget.

If you are determined to move to nikon then either go for 18-105 VR or 18-55VR + 55-200 VR combo. You can look for a used 18-135 also, but It doesn't have VR. 18-55 and 55-200 are also available widely in used market

Rajesh
--
http://www.flickr.com/photos/rajesh_b/

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
jmcarp
Regular MemberPosts: 274
Like?
Re: Joining the Nikon world. Help Needed.
In reply to mosswings, Dec 13, 2011

[snip] All that being said, you may have only a couple of choices: used D80, or used D5000. The D5000 is a bit quirky but has the D90's sensor and may be a better choice if you are not wedded to a 2-control-wheel user interface...

I do a lot of outdoor photography as well and find that the 18-105, widely available for around $300, is a very competent lens.

I just bought a used D5000 body for $300 and a refurbished 18-105 for $270 as a backup to my D7000 (gave my previous backup, D70 with 18-70, to my grandson). I haven't had a chance to use the D5K/18-105 very much, but so far it seems to be a very capable combo for all but the most demanding shooting. Plus it's noticeably lighter than the D7000 and the lenses I normally use with it. So I guess I'd go along with the suggestion that the D5000/18-105 would be a good recommendation that falls within the OP's budget. For sure the D5000 won't handle older Nikon glass (and some newer 3rd-party glass), but since he's starting from scratch into the Nikon world, that shouldn't be a problem.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
nkarasev
Senior MemberPosts: 1,499
Like?
Re: Joining the Nikon world. Help Needed.
In reply to StreamerFly, Dec 13, 2011

Like others have mentioned you are probably not off to a good start with D80 and only $600 of budget. The DSLR, especially from nikon, is fairly expensive hobby.

Anyways, there are still choices to make and probably decisions to extend the budget. The D40 even being older than D80 is way cheaper and in fact has very good reviews because of image quality. The 18-105 lens while having plastic mount, is well regarded and is within your budget (and will go strong for years). The 200mm is already starting being a bit expensive, but if you are really limited by cash, you can look at regarded 200 AI-S F/4 (manual focus, great optics). There is also cheap and fairly good (some people will swear by it) AI-S (manual focus) 75-150 F/3.5.

There are many more potential choices how you can get cheap but still useful range of good quality lenses. Sorry, it will likely not be VR and AF-S (though something like 55-200 AF-S VR is quite good and affordable)

Yes, the 18-200 is expensive and not that well regarded considering its cost (not bad lens, but many hardly justify it for the price)

If it were me, I would save a bit more $$$, get used D90 + 18-105 VR for starters.

In a year or two would think of expanding the gear or even replacing the D90 with something else (much more cash needed)

Nik

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
nfpotter
Senior MemberPosts: 4,067
Like?
Re: Joining the Nikon world. Help Needed.
In reply to StreamerFly, Dec 13, 2011

What do you like to shoot?

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
StreamerFly
New MemberPosts: 7
Like?
Re: Joining the Nikon world. Help Needed.
In reply to nfpotter, Dec 13, 2011

Thanks for the comments so far. Certainly some tough decisions ahead.

I do alot of outdoor activities. Fishing, hunting, hiking, backpacking and camping. Camera comes with me on mose occasions. In addition there are a good bit of family photos and some kids sports mixed in.

One primary issue with Pentax is their autofocus system is archaic...and quite simply, its aweful. It has improved with the K-r and K-5/7 but they are still eons behind. (IMO)

In addtion their DA* series lenses, while producing amazing results have a poor reliability level. And investing in that direction was not warranted. Therefore...it did not make sense to me to continue down that road any further, hence I am not simply upgrading my Pentax body...but instead coming to Nikon.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Dennis
Forum ProPosts: 12,823
Like?
Re: Joining the Nikon world. Help Needed.
In reply to StreamerFly, Dec 13, 2011

What Pentax gear are you currently using and is it really worth switching to end up with a $600 kit ?

FWIW, I'm in the process of switching from Sony to Nikon, but I started with a bang and as I sell off Minolta/Sony lenses, will have finances for the kit I want.

Edit: I just read your second post and something still doesn't compute. You stated that your frustration with AF and reliability of lenses keeps you from wanting to invest more, but given that you're going to buy a $600 kit and live with an old, used DSLR and probably a single used lens, do you even need to invest more ?

Anyway, I can't comment on older bodies, getting into Nikon with the D7000 (a friend went from a D70 to a D90, so I've never tried a D80) but at least by reputation, the 18-105 is a very sharp lens for the price. Someone recommended the kit lens duo. I picked up a 55-200 VR for $150 recently (there was a $100 price break for a couple weeks) and it's a fine lightweight, casual lens, but AF is slow and a little noisy (I actually tried two copies because the first had a noise that didn't sound "normal" and indeed, the second was better). It's nothing I'd be happy using as a primary lens if I were switching away from another system to get better AF.

  • Dennis

-- hide signature --
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
nfpotter
Senior MemberPosts: 4,067
Like?
Re: Joining the Nikon world. Help Needed.
In reply to StreamerFly, Dec 13, 2011

StreamerFly wrote:

Thanks for the comments so far. Certainly some tough decisions ahead.

I do alot of outdoor activities. Fishing, hunting, hiking, backpacking and camping. Camera comes with me on mose occasions. In addition there are a good bit of family photos and some kids sports mixed in.

One primary issue with Pentax is their autofocus system is archaic...and quite simply, its aweful. It has improved with the K-r and K-5/7 but they are still eons behind. (IMO)

In addtion their DA* series lenses, while producing amazing results have a poor reliability level. And investing in that direction was not warranted. Therefore...it did not make sense to me to continue down that road any further, hence I am not simply upgrading my Pentax body...but instead coming to Nikon.

IF you HAVE TO stick to that budget, here's my suggestion:

Get a used D80 (or D200 if you can find one cheap enough) and 18-55 VR kit lens, then get a used 55-200 VR. That should get you started just fine. That was my 1st set-up, and it was great.

If you can come up with a bit more money in the semi-short term, I'd save for a D90 with the 18-105 VR kit lens, then save for a 70-300 VR.

Keep in mind that you may need a little extra $$$ for some accessories: an extra battery, maybe a couple filters (ND and CP, skip the UV's, you don't need them), memory card(s), perhaps a few other minor things.

If there is ANY way you can wait and get a D7000, DO IT!!!

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
seob
Regular MemberPosts: 439
Like?
Re: Joining the Nikon world. Help Needed.
In reply to jmcarp, Dec 13, 2011

jmcarp wrote:

. For sure the D5000 won't handle older Nikon glass (and some newer 3rd-party glass), but since he's starting from scratch into the Nikon world, that shouldn't be a problem.

may not AF as many lenses (AF-S and AF-I only) as the D80, but meters the exact same lenses and mounts original pre-AI lenses that the D80 can't.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
PHXAZCRAIG
Forum ProPosts: 10,481Gear list
Like?
Re: Joining the Nikon world. Help Needed.
In reply to StreamerFly, Dec 13, 2011

I've got experience with D70s, D80, D200, D300 and D700 now, plus a couple of film Nikons from the 1990's.

When I had the D70s, I bought a D80 for my wife. It seemed substantially better than the D70s, but in years since I've kind of come to dislike it. The matrix metering on the D80 is why - it's just erratic, but it really tends to overexpose and blow highlights. Center-weighted is ok. If you get the D80, keep a close eye on its exposure choices.

I was much happier with D70s and D200 metering choices. I've also seen very nice results from a friend's D50.

$600 budget just ... isn't a budget these days. What about sticking that money in a savings account and adding to it over the next few months? Meanwhile, scour Craigslist ads for a D90 or D200?

As for lenses - there are many better lenses than the 18-200vr, though none are as convenient. You will be giving up some IQ for that convenience. The 18-55 and 55-200 combo is a lot cheaper and gives overall better IQ (particularly above 100mm). And you can find used copies (very little usage) of those lenses dirt cheap.

I'm guessing you can find a use D200 for $500, and an 18-55vr kit lens lightly used for $100 or so. That would be my first choice. I'd also look at D90's, though I like the D200/300/700 bodies a lot more than the D70/80/90 bodies. The movie capability of the D90 could be useful.

-- hide signature --
 PHXAZCRAIG's gear list:PHXAZCRAIG's gear list
Nikon D80 Nikon D200 Nikon D300 Nikon D700 Nikon 1 V1 +28 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
SNGX1327
Veteran MemberPosts: 5,186
Like?
Re: Joining the Nikon world. Help Needed.
In reply to StreamerFly, Dec 14, 2011

MAYBE it's just me. i've never used a D80, i currently shoot with a D90... but i've read some reviews and i think that the gap between teh D80 and D90 is great enough that i would go for the D90.

that's coming from a guy who, if i were to switch back to canon right now, i'd get an EOS 30D.

i just think that the feature gap between any of the older cameras and the D90 is pretty great. BUT, you are right the price gap is there, too.

i think others have recommended and i also recommend the 18-105. you can probably get a D90 + 18-105 used for $650ish? maybe $650 for the body? ehhh you'll have to do the research yourself on that one!

the 18-105 is a good range and if you want teh 18-200 it will get you ALMOST there.

i sold my 18-105 for an 18-55 (i also have a 70-300 for the long end). as a lens the 18-105 does have its down sides (distortion at 18mm, slow AF) but all in all it's a great general use lens.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
shworl
Forum MemberPosts: 59
Like?
Re: Joining the Nikon world. Help Needed.
In reply to SNGX1327, Dec 14, 2011

If you look on the web site of B+H Photo, they have a D3100 with 18-55 lens for slightly less than $600. This would make a great starter combo. You can add a 55-200 lens to it later, or take advantage of some very aggressive prices that are good through Dec. 31 (about $150 extra).

You can also sell the 18-55 (for about $100) after you buy a used 18-105 (about $250 - I agree that it is a very good lens to have).

The D3100 is a step up from the D3000, and would be my choice over the D80. I shoot a D90 and love it, but if I needed an inexpensive second body, it would be the D3100. Most of the reputable on-line stores (B+H, Adorama, Cameta) will have the same specials this month.

Good luck in your search.

Sam

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
intruder61
Senior MemberPosts: 2,493Gear list
Like?
So What is it Going to be?
In reply to StreamerFly, Dec 14, 2011

so streamerfly, with all the good advise given, what are you going to do?

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Kris in CT
Senior MemberPosts: 1,312Gear list
Like?
Re: Joining the Nikon world. Help Needed.
In reply to StreamerFly, Dec 15, 2011

Since you mentioned outdoors and at your price point, I personally (just my humble opinion) would try to find a good used d200 (i've seen them around for 350 and up). If you think the d80 will work for you the d200 is a d80 on steroids! The biggest advantage is metering with non cpu lenses. There are some serious bargains out there if you look and they can be dirt cheap!... I had a d5000, but being on a limited budget like you are, I quickly developed lens envy and just couldn't afford the af-s lenses. This damn Nikon Acquisition Syndrome has led me to a d90 which I love and a full spectrum/ir d200 (don't ask long story) I love the feel of the d200... FWIW Cameta sells refurb nikons with a 1 year warranty.. d5000 body is 360, d80 body is 420.... Best of luck

 Kris in CT's gear list:Kris in CT's gear list
Nikon D300 Nikon D7100 Sigma 120-300mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
blurredvision
Regular MemberPosts: 383Gear list
Like?
Re: Joining the Nikon world. Help Needed.
In reply to StreamerFly, Dec 15, 2011

I don't understand some of the responses in this thread. Some of you act like the D80 would be such a burden of a camera. Four years ago it was fantastic, now you act like it can't focus or take a picture.

I personally think his purchase path is pretty decent, he's doing his homework with the resources he has. I see the common internet responses of "spend more than what you just told me you can spend" but not everybody has cash flowing from their ears.

Hell, I still shoot with my D50 and I think it takes fantastic pictures, even with the kit lens. That's 5 year old tech, I'd hate to see what you guys think of that.

 blurredvision's gear list:blurredvision's gear list
Nikon D50 Nikon D7100 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G II Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G Nikon AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D +7 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
tatanka
Contributing MemberPosts: 886Gear list
Like?
Re: Joining the Nikon world. Help Needed.
In reply to PHXAZCRAIG, Dec 15, 2011

PHXAZCRAIG wrote:

It seemed substantially better than the D70s, but in years since I've kind of come to dislike it. The matrix metering on the D80 is why - it's just erratic, but it really tends to overexpose and blow highlights. Center-weighted is ok. If you get the D80, keep a close eye on its exposure choices.

Have to agree on the D80's metering. I still have and use my D80, but never did quite get used to the metering. Some will say "you just have to understand how it works." Great camera otherwise.

 tatanka's gear list:tatanka's gear list
Canon PowerShot S3 IS Canon PowerShot S95 Canon PowerShot SX30 IS Canon PowerShot SX40 HS Nikon D80 +8 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
PHXAZCRAIG
Forum ProPosts: 10,481Gear list
Like?
Re: Joining the Nikon world. Help Needed.
In reply to tatanka, Dec 16, 2011

tatanka wrote:

Have to agree on the D80's metering. I still have and use my D80, but never did quite get used to the metering. Some will say "you just have to understand how it works." Great camera otherwise.

When you do understand how it (matrix, on the D80) works, you just turn it off and go back to center-weighted!

Unfortunately the D80 in my life is used by my wife, who wants nothing to do with looking at histograms or checking the metering. Mostly she wants to set it to ISO400 and worry (only) about composition. When I get our vacation pics back, I'm looking at images from the D80 that I might have to pull back as much as two stops. I just don't understand why it's so far off from the D70s I had, or the D200 I have now. Those cameras have beautiful out-of-camera exposures, and if anything, they underexpose a bit.

-- hide signature --
 PHXAZCRAIG's gear list:PHXAZCRAIG's gear list
Nikon D80 Nikon D200 Nikon D300 Nikon D700 Nikon 1 V1 +28 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Barry Fitzgerald
Forum ProPosts: 29,888
Like?
Re: Joining the Nikon world. Help Needed.
In reply to StreamerFly, Dec 16, 2011

StreamerFly wrote:

Thanks for the comments so far. Certainly some tough decisions ahead.

I do alot of outdoor activities. Fishing, hunting, hiking, backpacking and camping. Camera comes with me on mose occasions. In addition there are a good bit of family photos and some kids sports mixed in.

One primary issue with Pentax is their autofocus system is archaic...and quite simply, its aweful. It has improved with the K-r and K-5/7 but they are still eons behind. (IMO)

In addtion their DA* series lenses, while producing amazing results have a poor reliability level. And investing in that direction was not warranted. Therefore...it did not make sense to me to continue down that road any further, hence I am not simply upgrading my Pentax body...but instead coming to Nikon.

I'm in a similar situation to you I've lost patience with Pentax and tired of their awful customer service (ie none)

The Pentax K-r has major problems with AF in low kelvin light so things have not improved it's actually worse than the K-x which was mostly fine.

SDM (silent death motors has been a disaster for Pentax but I personally find the lens range lacking in some key areas, esp affordable fast primes.

I'm looking around at Nikon right now I think the D90 is worth a shot esp if you do lower light shooting D80 tried that I think it's a bit old now still ok though.

I know what you mean about reluctant because Pentax have loads of potential, if only they could sort their act out (unlikely)

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum MMy threads