Digital SLR question


TPF Noob!
Nov 19, 2007
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Sacramento CA
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I am just getting into photography I've shot maybe 10 rolls on my Nikon FM10 and 2-3 on my Mamiya NC1000. More to the point I love these cameras (read I like manual cameras) but film and processing costs start to add up when you're a college student. I think I can convince my Dad to get me a dSLR for Christmas but the budget would be pretty low. How poorly would my money be spent if I told him to get the D40 or the D40X? Is it worth the risk to buy a D50 or D70 used? My Dad currently uses a D70 and has a couple decent lenses for it so I would like to stick with Nikon unless there is a much cheaper option that is better.
What kind of lenses does he have? Bear in mind that the D40/x can ONLY use AF-S lenses which makes it very limiting. The D70 on the other hand can use any post AI Nikkor lens.
Contents of the camera backpack:
Micro Nikkor 60mm f2.8
Sigma 10-20mm f4-5.6 DC HSM
Nikon ED 70-300 4-5.6
(Just getting what I can from the side of the lens)
and some fisheye but that isn't here right now. (Nikon brand)
plus a SB-800 speedlight

I'm not against manual focus just not sure how long it will be before I have the money to upgrade the body, probably not sooner than 2-3 years.

What is the likelyhood I'm going to get burned buying a D50 or D70 used?
I'm not against manual focus either, but I am against manual focus on dSLRs. It will definitely not be the same as focusing on your FM10.

From that list, the Sigma is the only lens which will autofocus on a D40 or D40x. Personally I would avoid both and go for the D50 or D70... if worried about buying used, then avoid buying online and instead buy from a shop where you can check the condition of the sensor, the number of activations etc, before buying. In fact you may not even need to buy used, as I still see D50s being sold Refurbished (which is basically the same as buying new).
Are there any particular reasons to buy the D70 over the D50.
I had my choice of a new Olympus E-500 (two lens kit) or Lightly used D70 for $ was a tough choice, but the warranty and two lens eventually won me over. I did get to use the D70 for a while, and liked it a lot, it was a tough decision, and I probably would have been happy with either one. While I was testing the D70 out, I took this picture in the early early morning (the moon was still out, near full moon). I was really impressed with how much detail the lens was able to take in...
I think you should go with a d70 or d50, I cant comment on which to get, but being able to share lenses will come in handy.

Just think next time you want to buy an expensive lens, you could try "hey dad, I think that we would both love this lens, lets go in half and half on the price." ;)

Buy used at a camera store, It might cost just a bit more than online, but you get to talk to a real person and try the camera before buying.
With said list of lenses what would you get for a lens to go with the camera say with a D70?

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