Nikon D80 - Buy Body Only or Body with Kit Lens?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by Bill Gillespie, Nov 12, 2006.

  1. Hello All, I have read many of the articles posted in this forum
    regarding the new Nikon D80, thank you for all the information, as well
    as the many links to reviews, provided.

    I have been a photo enthusiast for many years and purchased my first
    Nikon F in 1972. Over the next few years I added a Nikon FM with a
    motor drive and a Nikkormat as well as different lenses to my
    collection. Admittedly I have been very slow to migrate to digital SLR,
    as I truly LOVE my Nikon film cameras and equipment.

    Well it's finally time for the leap to digital and it's just in time for
    Christmas too!! I have decided to buy the Nikon D80. My experience
    with film cameras was to purchase the body only as I already had a
    selection of lenses to use with that body.

    My preferred style in photography has always been to use "manual" mode,
    manually selecting aperture and shutter speed. If I made an error in
    settings, I tried to correct it in the film and/or print development.
    I'm not sure how I'll adapt to the new "auto everything" mode, and I
    suspect that trial and error will tell. The good thing is that with
    digital is that there is no additional costs associated with trial and
    error as compared to film.

    Sorry for being long winded, but my question is very simple. Do I but
    the Nikon D80 body only and buy X? lens or do I buy the Nikon D80 with
    the lens (18-135) kit?

    It should be noted that as this is my first purchase in digital I don't
    have a lens to use with the camera.

    Thank you for your consideration.

    Bill Gillespie, Nov 12, 2006
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  2. Bill Gillespie

    Paul Furman Guest

    Your old lenses should work, the only thing missing is probably a wider
    angle walkaround lens. It seems the 18-135 is designed as an
    'everything' lens (28-200 equivalent) so maybe that's good for you to
    have AF at such a wide range or maybe better to get an 18-70 or a 12-24
    or nothing for now & save up for an 18-55/2.8 DX or 17-35/2.8

    Ummm, hmm 1972 so I think that's pre-AI and you won't be able to meter
    without having the lenses chipped or get a D200... I'm not certain,
    something to investigate... Tell us exactly which lenses do you have and
    folks can comment on whether the 18-135 is good for you. And what type
    of photography you want to pursue; low light indoor family shots,
    wildlife, architecture, closeups, etc.
    Paul Furman, Nov 12, 2006
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  3. Bill Gillespie

    Bill Guest

    The D80 has a smaller sensor, so the images will appear cropped using
    regular 35mm lenses. All your lenses should work as though they're a
    bit longer, so you may need a new wide angle to cover the reduced FOV.

    If wide angle is important, you may want to consider the 18-70 DX
    f/3.5-4.5 lense which is very good for the price and has more to offer
    over the 18-135.
    What's wrong with your other lenses? Your old 35mm lenses should work,
    unless they are all AI and manual focus.

    If you have a bunch of AI lenses, the D80 will not meter with them.
    You need the D200 for those lenses.
    Bill, Nov 13, 2006
  4. The lenses I plan to continue using are a Nikkor 105mm lens with the A1
    bracket and a Vivitar Series 1 70-210 zoom with macro which also has an
    A1 bracket.
    I have been doing quite a bit of research on the Nikon Canada website
    and from what I have seen my lenses should work with the D80, however I
    won't be able to use features such as metering...and that's OK.

    I am looking for a high quality walk around lens. There are a few
    lenses on the Nikon website, there's the AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 18-135mm
    f/3.5-5.6G IF-ED that comes with the D80, there's the AF-S DX
    Zoom-Nikkor 17-55mm f/2.8G IF-ED (which has a high price tag), and the
    AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5G IF-ED.

    Thanks, Bill
    Bill Gillespie, Nov 13, 2006
  5. Thanks for the feedback.
    I plan to use my older AI lenses and the metering won't work on the D80.
    The D200 body is priced at $1829 while the D80 is priced at $1079. Is
    it worth the difference in price for an amateur photog?
    Bill Gillespie, Nov 13, 2006
  6. Bill Gillespie

    DoN. Nichols Guest

    [ ... ]
    It is indeed pre-AI, and the lens will not even *mount* on the
    camera without modification. (The same with my D70 -- and the same
    with the D200.) What will be necessary at a minimum is getting
    replacement aperture rings in the AI style still available for some
    lenses), or having the existing aperture rings modified to clear the
    sensors on the camera, and to even actuate the sensors. There are two
    things on the AI modified lens which are not present on the pre-AI
    lenses, and both represent removal of metal from the aperture ring.

    One (needed to work mount on the D70) is a tab which is about at
    9:00 o'clock when viewing the camera from the lens side, and which tells
    the D70 (and presumably the D80) whether the lens aperture ring is
    stopped all the way down, thus assuring that the camera can control the
    aperture through its full range.

    The other (which will be useful on later film cameras such as
    the N90s, and on the D200 -- I'm not sure about the D80) is another tab
    which moves through the 1:00 o'clock region, and tells the camera body
    how many stops you are currently set below the wide open setting for the
    camera body, so it can calculate the proper shutter speed based on
    metering with the lens wide open.

    Without these (e.g. a non-AI lens) the sensors which the camera
    bodies have will hit the aperture ring and prevent the lens from moving
    close enough to the body to operate the bayonet -- and if forced *may*
    break the sensor linkage within the camera body.

    The good news is that there is at least one fellow on the web
    who offers modification of such lenses. Even if the D80 only needs the
    first of the two (the closed down fully), I would suggest that you spend
    the extra money to have both modifications put in at the same time, so
    you are ready to work on the D200 and other higher-end Nikon bodies.

    The fellow who used to add chips to selected lenses seems to
    have stopped offering that service.
    Indeed so.

    Good Luck,
    DoN. Nichols, Nov 13, 2006
  7. Bill Gillespie

    DoN. Nichols Guest

    [ ... ]
    It depends on how many older AI lenses you have and wish to use
    in a convenient manner. (Or whether you are willing to modify any pre-AI
    lenses which came with your original Nikon-F.) And -- on whether you
    wish to use the metering in the camera body, instead of just a hand-held
    meter. (Compare the cost of replacing those lenses with the cost
    difference between the two bodies.)

    I have a few AI lenses, and am hoping to move up from my D70 to
    a D200 so I can use those lenses with metering. (The D200 did not exist
    when I got my D70.)

    I also have quite a few pre-AI lenses, which I hope to
    eventually modify (especially the more extreme focal lengths) so I can
    mount them on the D70, and eventually meter with them on the future

    DoN. Nichols, Nov 13, 2006
  8. Bill Gillespie

    DoN. Nichols Guest

    Hmm ... You're saying "A1" bracket, not AI bracket (it should be
    the letter 'I', not the numeral '1'). Are you perhaps referring to the
    half-moon clip on the aperture ring which coupled to the Photomic T and
    Photomic Tn finder prisms? If so -- that is *not* what is needed to
    couple to (or even to *mount* on) the D70 or D200 (and presumably also
    the D80). The "AI" aperture ring has interruptions in the skirt of the
    aperture ring closest to the lens mount.

    I have an older Vivitar zoom of similar range (though without
    the macro capability) and the T4 adaptor for it does *not* have the AI
    ring -- only the half-moon clip for the Photomic finder/meter.

    And *which* 105mm Nikkor? I see two listed in the old

    _Nikon F/Nikormat Handbook of Photography_ (Copyright 1968)

    One is a 105mm f2.5 and looks like a very nice lens.

    The other is a 105mm f4 *preset* (not even an auto diaphragm).

    Neither of them have the AI aperture ring, and the preset one
    could not be adapted to have it.

    So -- it is certainly possible that you could have ones without
    the AI aperture ring.

    I've just found that the fellow who does the chip fitting to
    older lenses is back in business, and he includes a 105mm f1.8, and a
    105mm f4 macro.

    Check out
    for the fellow who does the chip modification.

    I have an 180mm f2.8 which he installed a chip in for my D70.

    Pacific rim camera <> has AI
    conversion kits for quite a few Nikkor lenses, but not for any 105mm
    version. However, go to the URL above, click on "catalog", scroll down
    to "NIKON", and click on it. Scroll that page down to the "NIKON REPAIR
    PARTS" section, and click on "NIKON LENS AI CONVERSION KITS". Scroll
    down to the first entry with a pink "PHOTO" entry, and click on that to
    get an image of a typical AI aperture ring. Notice how much of the ring
    is standing clear of the surface on which it was photographed. Starting
    at the f22 marking, and going to the left, you can see one of the tabs
    which enage the camera sensors. The other is just barely visible to the
    right. If your aperture rings look like this, you can mount the lenses
    on a D70, a D200 (and presumably a D80). If not, you will have to have
    the lens modified. (Unfortunately, the web site above keeps displaying
    the home page URL and uses frames to select areas, so I can't simply
    post the URL of the ring itself.) (The AI kits also have the half-moon
    clip for the older cameras with the Photomic finders. You can see it
    beside the ring, but not yet mounted on it.)

    I apparently never bookmarked the site which will modify
    existing aperture rings to AI style -- but a web search should find it
    for you if you need it.

    Now -- you do know that your existing lenses will give coverage
    on a digital as though they were longer focal length? The 105mm would
    give coverage as though it were 157.5mm, and the 70-210mm would give
    coverage as though it was a 105-315mm. So -- your need for a new lens
    will probably be towards the wide angle end of the spectrum. I actually
    got my D70 as body only, and later, as I discovered how well received it
    was for the price, I got the D70's "kit" lens -- the 18-70mm (equivalent
    to 27-105mm on a film camera).
    If they do not have the AI ring -- you will not be able to
    *mount* them without probably breaking the sensor on the camera body --
    unless you get the aperture rings modified.
    The 18-70mm is a very nice lens for the money, and might be a
    good one to start with, at least.

    Good Luck,
    DoN. Nichols, Nov 13, 2006
  9. That depends on how much you use the camera, and what you shoot.
    If you shoot several hundreds of exposures per month, and/or
    tend to shoot objects that are not static (children, sporting
    events, etc.), you might want to think about AF lenses and maybe
    the more expensive body too. You'll find that AF lenses are
    well worth the cost when objects are moving when you shoot.

    Non-metering with Ai (or with a D200 or D2 body, pre-Ai lenses)
    is a significant inconvenience that perhaps is not tolerable as
    a day in day out problem. But for occasional use where it would
    otherwise not be possible, it certainly is something that can be
    done. For example, modern long telephoto lenses with AF and VR
    are very expensive; but Ai lenses cost less, and pre-Ai lenses
    even less. If you have occasional need for an 800mm f/5.6
    lense, the fact that the metering on the camera does not work
    may not be nearly as significant as the several thousands of
    dollars difference in price of the lense!
    Floyd L. Davidson, Nov 13, 2006
  10. DoN. Nichols wrote:

    Hello Don and thank you for the information and links you provided.

    I have taken a closer look at my 105mm f.25-f32 lens and at my Vivitar
    zoom lens and they *appear* to have the same ring as shown in the
    pictures you referred to. In any case, at least I know there is a
    distinct possibility that my older lenses can work with a new Digital
    SLR, even if they require modification.

    As for my dilemma, I was debating between the DX 18-135 and the DX 18-70
    lens, but the debate has grown to include camera bodies as well. I am
    now leaning towards the D200 rather than the D80 because of the
    advantages of using my older lenses. As for the difference in price,
    well I have to consider my own experience in that the last camera body I
    bought lasted 30 years. So if you consider the difference in price
    ($750) over 20 years it costs about $37.50 per year. Not much to think

    If only I was as convinced when it comes to lenses.
    Bill Gillespie, Nov 13, 2006
  11. Bill Gillespie

    Paul Furman Guest

    The Vivitar 70-210 Series 1 sounds like a nice lens, I see one selling
    for $265.49 used, which is a lot for an old obscure 3rd party lens,
    depending which version:

    Sounds like the 105/2.5 is a nice one too.

    But it sounds like they will have to be sent out for modifications to
    even mount without damaging the camera. The difference between modifying
    for a D80 and the simpler D200 modification probably isn't worth
    justifying the D200. It may not be possible to modify the Vivitar? I do
    think you will want to be able to meter.

    The D200 has a larger metal body... if you like that feel. It probably
    has slightly better manual controls which I guess you would like too but
    they seem quite similar otherwise. Very similar. You can get a better
    price on either body at or or probably I think the D200 is $1600 now.
    The 17-80 lens is better, it's flimsy plastic lens & not super fast but
    a good performer at a reasonable price. If you really like wide angle
    shooting consider the 12-24 Tokina, for I think under $500. Also
    consider a used AF 35mm f/2 for around $350 as a normal lens or 50mm
    f/1.8 for $100 as a short telephoto portrait lens for low light. It
    might be a bummer if the vivitar can't be modified at all to have only
    the 105 as a fast lens but yeah the 17-35/2.8 is way expensive.
    Paul Furman, Nov 13, 2006
  12. Bill Gillespie

    map Guest

    Bill a écrit :
    what do you mean exactly?
    map, Nov 13, 2006
  13. Bill Gillespie

    Bill Guest

    Keep it simple.

    If you intend to use the older lenses, and you can afford it, get the
    D200. It's a better camera feature and control wise, and it will meter
    with the older lenses. That convenience of metering is worth the price
    difference to me, but you'll have to decide if it's worth it to you.
    Again, keep it simple - do you want full-time manual override? If not,
    then get the 18-135. If you do, then get the 18-70 which has a ring
    Silent Wave Motor so it can instantly be used in both auto or manual
    focus modes, the 18-135 can not.

    The 17-55 f/2.8 you mention is a fine lense, but it's pricey. I
    considered it when I bought the D80, but when the 18-70 does almost as
    good for much less, it was hard to justify the cost. The wider
    aperture at f/2.8 is nice, but I don't desperately need it. I also got
    a very good deal on the 18-70 used from a trusted friend, so that
    helped sway my decision. If I was buying everything new, I'd be more
    inclined to get the 17-55. As a general walk around lense, the 18-70
    does a fine job.
    Bill, Nov 13, 2006
  14. Bill Gillespie

    Bill Guest

    The OP was looking at the Canadian website and is posting from a
    Canadian domain, so I would presume he is quoting CDN prices. With B&H
    or Adorama, he needs to factor in shipping and exchange rates.
    Bill, Nov 13, 2006
  15. Bill Gillespie

    frederick Guest

    I think you'll find that although the 18-135 doesn't have ring-motor,
    manual focus override still works by rotating the focus ring. Playing
    with one in a shop on D80 and D200, the focus action also seemed
    reasonably fast, so not like the 18-55 or 55-200.
    frederick, Nov 13, 2006
  16. Bill Gillespie

    Bill Guest

    Almost any lense does that...even if not designed for it.
    Sure, until the DC motor gets ruined from improper use.

    Bill, Nov 14, 2006
  17. Bill Gillespie

    Bill Guest

    I'm not exactly certain to what you're referring, so I'll presume you
    mean to ask what the 18-70 has to offer over the 18-135.

    If so, the 18-70 offers better image quality with similar sharpness
    but better across the glass, less CA, and nicer contrast. Don't get me
    wrong, the 18-135 is no slouch, but the 18-70 is a bit better. It also
    has a ring SWM that allows full-time manual override of focus control,
    and a metal lense mount (18-135 has a plastic mount).

    Also, I'm not positive but I think the 18-135 lacks a weather seal at
    the lense mount as well - if it does, I just don't recall seeing it,
    while I know the 18-70 has a seal at the mount.

    Overall the 18-70 is a great lense, and embarrasses most, if not all
    other "kit" lenses from other DSLR manufacturers. I'm comparing this
    to a 17-40 f/4 L I used with my Rebel XT for a year...the 18-70 is
    virtually its equal (except for vignetting at 18mm but we're comparing
    an APS-C designed lense to a regular full frame 35mm model).

    I don't think you'll find a better deal from Nikon. The 18-200 VR
    comes close with its extra features like wide zoom range and VR, but
    it's not as cost effective unless you want only one lense.
    Bill, Nov 14, 2006
  18. Bill Gillespie

    frederick Guest
    "Two focus modes, auto[A] and manual [M], with manual override in auto mode.

    I thought your reply when I pointed this out before was a joke.
    Apparently not.
    frederick, Nov 14, 2006
  19. Bill Gillespie

    DoN. Nichols Guest

    O.K. They should mount and work with either external metering,
    or using another lens for a starting point for metering, or guess,
    shoot, and "chimp" (check the LCD display -- both look at the image and
    look at the histogram for judging exposure.

    And -- with a D200 (which you mention considering below) you
    could actually *meter* with these lenses, too.
    A nice way to put it in perspective. Of course -- while the
    camera might continue to work that long, the continual production of
    newer and more feature-ful cameras may tempt you to move on long before
    then. It all depends on how much those features tempt *you* explicitly.
    I'm not as much tempted by the larger pixel count of the D200, but the
    larger viewfinder, and in particular, the ability to use the older
    lenses without having to juggle a light meter or play guessing games is
    what really tempts me about that one.

    Since I have the 18-70mm "kit" lens, the one which I really want
    is the 70-200mm f2.8 VR -- but affording it is a stretch at the moment.
    (Same for the D200. :)

    BTW I got a private e-mail reply to my post offering suggestions to
    you. I have not yet seen whether he also posted it to the
    newsgroup, where it could be of help to you. I guess that his
    newsreader either responds both to the newsgroup and to the
    individual whose article he is directly responding to, or he hit
    the wrong button or key on his newsreader and just responded via

    Good Luck,
    DoN. Nichols, Nov 14, 2006
  20. Bill Gillespie

    DoN. Nichols Guest

    There is a switch on the body of the D70 (and D200) which
    decouples the focusing in the lens from the camera body, thus allowing
    manual focusing without damaging the body's motor and geartrain.. The
    D200 also has three positions ((M)anual, (S)ingle, and (C)ontinuous).
    "Single" focuses once when you half-press the shutter relase. Nice to
    lock in a focus setting and reframe for composition. "Continuous" tries
    to track whatever object is in the focus zone of the viewfinder, and
    thus is better for sports. (The D70 has those choices -- but you have
    to dive into the menus to change between them. The external switch on
    the D200 is a lot more convenient for that. I don't know what the D80
    has, but I would expect it to at least have the D70's Manual/Auto
    switch, if not the D200's Manual/Single/Continuous switch.)

    DoN. Nichols, Nov 14, 2006
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