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Thread: New entry level dslr vs 2nd hand mid-range dslr

  1. #1

    Default New entry level dslr vs 2nd hand mid-range dslr

    Hi all,

    I'm thinking of upgrading from my FZ20 "prosumer" to a dslr without breaking the bank.

    The way I see it, there are 2 ways to do this:
    1) Buy an entry level dslr (e.g. nikon d40) ~$900 with kit
    - Pros: brand new, warranty, perhaps technologically improved
    - Cons: maybe lacks the functions even older mid-range dslrs have

    2) Buy a 2nd hand mid-range dslr (e.g. nikon d70/canon 10d/20d) ~$700-$1200 from bns(may have to top up for a lens)
    - Pros: more functions than new entry level dslr, possibly better performance despite
    being old by virtue of being a semi-pro machine
    - Cons: Old, probably no more warranty, maybe image processor/sensor has since been
    improved upon

    Any thoughts as to which might be a better route to take?

    Mainly, I'm thinking of getting a d40 (light,responsive,good kit lens,cheap,good picture quality,easy to use) but I'm tempted by the 2nd hand mid-range dslrs in bns particularly because they end up being around the same price and the d40 has had mixed reviews ("toy-like",no AF motor,etc) and many recommend getting the d80 instead (which is beyond my budget).

    Would appreciate any advice/thoughts/opinions/experience...

  2. #2
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    Default Re: New entry level dslr vs 2nd hand mid-range dslr

    For me I will pick a 2nd hand mid range DSLR than a new entry level DSLR. A D70 is still a much more capable camera than D40.
    Canon 80D|Panasonic LX3/LX5
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  3. #3

    Default Re: New entry level dslr vs 2nd hand mid-range dslr

    try to aim for option 2, but get the set which is at least not that old. I've seen some d70s with like few months warranty left. Coupled with low shutter count, the set should be good to go. D40x is quite crippled.

  4. #4

    Default Re: New entry level dslr vs 2nd hand mid-range dslr

    Or you can go for the 350d kit.... around the same price as the d40 kit and not crippled + you get mirror lockup... useful for macro or long exposure shots....

  5. #5

    Default Re: New entry level dslr vs 2nd hand mid-range dslr

    Quote Originally Posted by zj2000 View Post
    Or you can go for the 350d kit.... around the same price as the d40 kit and not crippled + you get mirror lockup... useful for macro or long exposure shots....
    you sure the other camera does not have this function also?

  6. #6

    Default Re: New entry level dslr vs 2nd hand mid-range dslr

    Quote Originally Posted by westwest2 View Post
    you sure the other camera does not have this function also?
    yes... not even the d80 has this feature....

  7. #7

    Default Re: New entry level dslr vs 2nd hand mid-range dslr

    i think u will need to go and try out the 2 different types u are considering, e.g. D40 vs D70 or 10D...then, decide with your heart

  8. #8

    Default Re: New entry level dslr vs 2nd hand mid-range dslr

    IMHO, i felt 400D is suitable.
    there dun seems to be much diff btw 400D vs 30D, except the size of the camera that allows better grip.
    mid range for canon i felt is a 5D.

  9. #9

    Default Re: New entry level dslr vs 2nd hand mid-range dslr

    Actually, as most of my friends have Nikons, I was thinking I should probably buy into the Nikon system as well to facilitate sharing.. I mentioned Canon cuz it seems there're a lot of 20Ds being offered in bns at what I think are pretty attractive prices and 20D is/was a semi-pro camera.

    Comparing the D40 and the D70, I'm not entirely convinced there's that much of an advantage to the D70. Not really sure about the D100 though.. In either case, however, both the D70 and D100 are really old cameras and the D200 is still beyond my budget.

    Maybe it's cuz I don't know enough about DSLRs.. Can anyone enlighten me as to how the D70 is a more capable camera? The most obvious issue is the lack of AF motor making the older lenses, especially the prime lenses unable to AF on the D40.

    Other than this, it seems I read several reviews stating that while the D40 and D70 use the same sensor, the image processing pipeline has been improved in the D40..

    And I don't think have 1/8000s shutter speed is really that big an advantage to the max of 1/4000s on the D40, and neither is the fractionally faster continuous shooting speed of 3fps vs the 2.5fps on the d40... 5 point AF? Well, it'll only affect portait orientation shots and there's always the half-depress then re-compose method so not a huge issue...

    Is there any other feature on the D70 that isn't available on the D40 that I'm missing? Is the inability to AF with older lenses that big a deal?
    (That's an actual question, not an opinion, since I don't have any experience with DSLRs)

  10. #10
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    Default Re: New entry level dslr vs 2nd hand mid-range dslr

    Quote Originally Posted by mpark View Post
    Actually, as most of my friends have Nikons, I was thinking I should probably buy into the Nikon system as well to facilitate sharing.. I mentioned Canon cuz it seems there're a lot of 20Ds being offered in bns at what I think are pretty attractive prices and 20D is/was a semi-pro camera.

    Comparing the D40 and the D70, I'm not entirely convinced there's that much of an advantage to the D70. Not really sure about the D100 though.. In either case, however, both the D70 and D100 are really old cameras and the D200 is still beyond my budget.

    Maybe it's cuz I don't know enough about DSLRs.. Can anyone enlighten me as to how the D70 is a more capable camera? The most obvious issue is the lack of AF motor making the older lenses, especially the prime lenses unable to AF on the D40.

    Other than this, it seems I read several reviews stating that while the D40 and D70 use the same sensor, the image processing pipeline has been improved in the D40..

    And I don't think have 1/8000s shutter speed is really that big an advantage to the max of 1/4000s on the D40, and neither is the fractionally faster continuous shooting speed of 3fps vs the 2.5fps on the d40... 5 point AF? Well, it'll only affect portait orientation shots and there's always the half-depress then re-compose method so not a huge issue...

    Is there any other feature on the D70 that isn't available on the D40 that I'm missing? Is the inability to AF with older lenses that big a deal?
    (That's an actual question, not an opinion, since I don't have any experience with DSLRs)

    based on wat u have said, i have to say its 100% true. however this 100% is only 50% of the difference between d40 and a d70... my gf is using the d40 while i m using the D70s and the following is the difference that i felt:

    1) D40 has a much better lcd screen. It is larger and can zoom in much more than the D70s. It wins the D70s hands and legs down thoroughly.

    2) The main reason why D70/s is favored and created the big hoo-haa in the DSLR market is handling. What i meant by handling - u just have to pick up a D40, D40x, D50, canon 400d, canon 350d, sony alpha. After that close ur eyes, and i can assure u that ur hands will feel the best fit and most shiok. The body simply feel solid and not plasticy at all.

    3) 3rd difference is again about handling. If u use the D40, u will be having a headache trying to change iso, whitebalance, apeture etc. if u want to change iso and whitebalance, u have to enter the menu via the lcd and then access a sub menu and then finally select the iso and then shoot. It take more than 5seconds. for seaoned ppl, it take arnd 3seconds. For the D70/s u just have to press one button and turn the wheel and u can set the iso, the whitebalance etc.

    4) wat particularly irritates me on the D50 and D40 is that i have to use my index finger to hold one button and use the thumb to turn the wheel to change apeture. But on D70/s, there is an additional dial that is use specifically to change the apeture.

    5) The viewfinder of the D40 is larger than the D70/s and is much more pleasureable to look at.

    6) On the D70/s there is a top status led screen and u can easily see all the camera settings. However on the D40, u have to use the menu again.

    7) D40 wins D70/s hands and legs down on iso noise. Shooting the same scene at the same settings at the higher isos, D40 shows significantly lesser noise.

    8) My gf says that the D40 is small enough to fit snugly into her hands and hates the D70/s which is more fitting for guys. Since u are a guy, u should be loving the D70/s

    9) image quality - image quality for all dslrs including D40 and D70/s are the same to me. (my eyes cant differentiate that well, maybe others could). But i can see the differences in image quality from different lenses.

    10) the 1/8000s shutter speed of the D70/s - well.... i dun really use up till 1/8000s often, 99.9% of the situations requires me to shoot at 1/2500s at most... so without the 1/8000s on the D40 shouldnt kill u

    11) Another main and VERY important difference - the flash of the D70/s can act as a commander and wirelessly trigger ur flash that is positioned at another location. To me, this is a very important and very useful function. On the D40, u need to place at least a SB800 on it and let the sb800 to act as a commander to remotely fire another flash.

    12) And u already know that D40 works in Autofocus for only AF-S lenses. this really restrict the variety of lenses that u can use as there are many other non AF-S excellent lenses. Even the tiny 50mmf1.8 cant be used on it in autofocus.

    13) in the viewfinder, there is only 3 focus point for the D40 while the D70/s has 5. I find that 3 focus point is really too little and my gf often complaints abt it. yaya some ppl may say that u can half press and recompose, but if u its easy to lose focus when u recompose.

    to sum up: D70/s has superb handling as compared to the D40, and thus the reaction time to take every picture is much faster eg. change iso, whitebalance etc quickly to shoot ur intended pic. however if u like low noise high iso pics and small size camera, then D40 is for u. D70/s still handles iso well till iso640, so u still has much room to work with..
    Last edited by kcuf2; 15th July 2007 at 02:24 AM.
    09 Oct 09 officially marks the date I become a canon convert.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: New entry level dslr vs 2nd hand mid-range dslr

    excellent comparison by kcuf2

    eventually whatever that can be captured by both the d70 and d40 are essentially similar pictures. there are slight differences in the image engine at least, that i felt the d40 to be a little more saturated in colors and a little hard on sharpness than that of a d70. noise performance of the d40 at least in my opinion is better than that of the d80/d70, i have repeated this in a few posts but its essentially my experiences working around with iso800/1600 shots indoors.

    used both before. moved on to a d80 right now. if i may suggest to you, get a d80 body used, its not that expensive in buy-sell, not to far from the d40 kit price, and get a d40 kit lense used, the 18-55mm II, its only abt sgd $120-$130. although the lense feels cheapo plasticky, the performance is good, and i dare say... its one of the better kitlenses that i've ever came across in several brands.

    i can show you close to 8000 shots done on that cheapo piece of lense, and for some shots people would think whether its even possible for a $130 piece of glass to perform that way.
    chezburgr i can haz?

  12. #12

    Default Re: New entry level dslr vs 2nd hand mid-range dslr

    Thanks kcuf2!! That certainly was a very thorough comparison and I'm really grateful for the effort! And thanks to everyone who given their comments so far! (kelccm, ZeroDivine, zj2000, westwest2, trd2970, jasperng, psychobiologist)

    kcuf2:
    I must admit one of my gripes with the d40 is that the handgrip is kinda cramped when I hold it. I just figured that's the price of being a small, light, and therefore easy to bring around anywhere and everywhere without straining the neck. (I've also read in several places that one important thing to consider is the weight of the cam since you're more likely to bring it around if it ain't too heavy). Haven't really tried out a d70 yet though.. Is it not much heavier/bigger than the d40?

    psychobiologist:
    a d80 for price not too far from d40 kit? I want!! If it weren't for the price issue, I'd get a d80 no hesitation. If I'm not wrong, even a used d80 will cost something like 1.5k and up... and there doesn't seem to be anyone selling just the body.

    Ah well.. I've seen arguments along the lines: a d40 gives you 80% of the d80 performance and nearly 50% the price.. Right now, can only fork out less than 1k so... have to give the d80 a miss unless can find used for about 1.2k.. anyone?

  13. #13

    Default Re: New entry level dslr vs 2nd hand mid-range dslr

    hello, if i were you. i will recommend the 20D. the price has dropped a lot. you get semi pro functions that you will not find on the 400D. the grip for the 20D is much bigger so it will be a plus. i will not recommend the 10D because you cannot use EFS lens.

    maybe you can get a 20D and a 18-55 for starters first lor. then slowly upgrade. being 2nd hand next time want to sell also no heart pain
    random equipment.
    where are my primes?

  14. #14
    Member NeTHaCk's Avatar
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    Default Re: New entry level dslr vs 2nd hand mid-range dslr

    i once used a d70s as a body on a long term rental before i got a d50.

    the d50 is smaller and a good camera but smaller than the d70s/d70. i must say, i miss the d70s and maybe, after my d50 shutter goes bust, i'll get a d70s or if i have enough money, the d80

    the d50 size is almost the same ( or isit the same size?) as the d40

    i'd recommend gettting a d70s kit ( the kit lens is a good lens. dont doubt it) or find a d70s body and get a 50mm f1.8 prime lens.

    unlike the 18-55 lens of the d50, the d70/d70s kit lens , the 18-70 is a good performer. and no, its not as cheap as the 18-55. the lens alone can fetch $250++


    if you dont mind, a d70 kit 2nd hand can go around $740 , which leaves you around $260 more to get a 2nd sb-600 flash or another lens

    a d70s kit can go around $8X0-$1000

    i recommend that you play around with the d70s/d70 + kit lens first. it set me a few months before getting a 50mm prime , anohter few months to get a 100-300mm and another few months to get a 28-70 f2.8
    total = 1 year. im an NSF so $$ is a constraint
    Last edited by NeTHaCk; 15th July 2007 at 11:26 AM.

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    Default Re: New entry level dslr vs 2nd hand mid-range dslr

    Quote Originally Posted by NeTHaCk View Post
    i recommend that you play around with the d70s/d70 + kit lens first. it set me a few months before getting a 50mm prime , anohter few months to get a 100-300mm and another few months to get a 28-70 f2.8
    total = 1 year. im an NSF so $$ is a constraint
    u not bad leh...as NSF u could save till buy a 28-70 f2.8... i spent my nsf monthly pay on games and food years back lol dun really have any savings left..

    regarding the size of D40, D50 and D70/s: If u go to the harvey norman at imm, they have on their display shelf the D40, D50 and D70/s and D200 put side by side each other... and u can see the obvious "getting from tiny(D40) to big(D200)".. the difference in body size between the D40 and the D70/s is quite noticeable if u ask me.. i dun have my gf D40 with me now to take a comparison photo for u... sorry.

    regarding the kit lens part: The D70/s kit lens 18-70 f3.5-4.5 is really a much better performer than the D40 kit lens 18-55 f3.5-5.6.

    firstly: u can see that the 18-70 kit lens have a larger apeture at f4.5 compared to 18-55 kit lens at f5.6.

    second: the 18-55 does feel plasticky...while u can literally feel metal on the 18-70.. much much more solid and pro built. and somemore the 18-70 lens come with a petal hood, makes u look more pro

    third: the contrast on both lens are excellent, i have no grips with both of them. But i find that the resolution of the 18-70 lens better than the 18-55 lens. (this is based on what i feel after seeing tonnes of pics from both the 18-70 n 18-55... different ppl might express different opinion) However, this isnt much of an issue because in general the pics taken by both are excellent...

    fourth: because the D40 kit lens is plastic wrapped, it is much lighter than the D70/s, difference by a couple of hundreds grams. but personally, i love the extra hundreds grams because i like the solid feel
    09 Oct 09 officially marks the date I become a canon convert.

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    Default Re: New entry level dslr vs 2nd hand mid-range dslr

    i believe the current price for the D40 sets is arnd $1,000 while that for the D80 is arnd $1,700. actually if u are willing to wait and save, u can aim for the D80... oh yea, i just realise u are upgrading from the FZ20... perhaps u can sell away that and grab a couple hundreds of dollars!

    in a way, its always better to wait a while n a couple of months to get the better that u can afford rather than get one immediately which u might not like it so much after u toy with it after a while... (i learn thru painful experience, buy n sell n buy n sell etc.)
    09 Oct 09 officially marks the date I become a canon convert.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: New entry level dslr vs 2nd hand mid-range dslr

    It all depend on how much u can sell ur FZ20. From there then u can consider wat is ur budget n how much needed to top up. If the sale from ur FZ20 within your budget of buying a DSLR then u can choose which cam is suitable. Try to read all the cam reviews n functions on websites before u make any decision. Make ur money worth buying the cam ur want not the style ...haha
    Nepotism will never end....:thumbsd:

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    Default Re: New entry level dslr vs 2nd hand mid-range dslr

    Quote Originally Posted by mpark View Post
    Thanks kcuf2!! That certainly was a very thorough comparison and I'm really grateful for the effort! And thanks to everyone who given their comments so far! (kelccm, ZeroDivine, zj2000, westwest2, trd2970, jasperng, psychobiologist)

    kcuf2:
    I must admit one of my gripes with the d40 is that the handgrip is kinda cramped when I hold it. I just figured that's the price of being a small, light, and therefore easy to bring around anywhere and everywhere without straining the neck. (I've also read in several places that one important thing to consider is the weight of the cam since you're more likely to bring it around if it ain't too heavy). Haven't really tried out a d70 yet though.. Is it not much heavier/bigger than the d40?

    psychobiologist:
    a d80 for price not too far from d40 kit? I want!! If it weren't for the price issue, I'd get a d80 no hesitation. If I'm not wrong, even a used d80 will cost something like 1.5k and up... and there doesn't seem to be anyone selling just the body.

    Ah well.. I've seen arguments along the lines: a d40 gives you 80% of the d80 performance and nearly 50% the price.. Right now, can only fork out less than 1k so... have to give the d80 a miss unless can find used for about 1.2k.. anyone?
    i'm not kidding! the d80 body only in buysell is close to abt 1.2k-1.3. very close actually depending on your luck :P

    if you get a grey d80 body i think its closer to 1.4 new? personally in feb i bought the d-80 body from states off the shelf at 1.3k sgd. but..argh.. i'm using now lah..
    chezburgr i can haz?

  19. #19
    Member NeTHaCk's Avatar
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    Default Re: New entry level dslr vs 2nd hand mid-range dslr

    to bro kcuf2 .. hehe .. i didnt buy the nikon one.. instead i bought a tokina one.. was a steal considering that it was hceap but had fungus on it. sent it for careful cleaning and cost me $80.

    no difference in sharpness to me, or maybe cause im not fussy ?

    the kit lens of d50/d40 is damn freaking light. it feels like im carrying a PnS camera instead of a DSLR at times. when i put on the 18-70, i start to notice the weight difference. dont talk about the 28-70.. built like a tank. weighs like a tank too.. lolz

    a d80 can be quite cheap. search the buy and sell forum and see your luck. trust me, luck also plays an important role in photography, not only skill :P

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