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Prime lens for D40?

Tom Yuan , Apr 19, 2007; 09:52 p.m.

I just purchased a new D40, and now I don't know what to do. I was on the edge between a Pentax K100D and the Nikon D40, and I sprang for the Nikon because almost nobody would go for the K100D. Personally, I didn't go for it because of the slow auto-focus and lack of continuous shooting, and I went for Nikon. But now I'm really starting to realize there are NO prime AF lenses for the D40. I'm just looking for a cheap 30mm or 50mm lens from the 80's or 90's that will give me decent portrait shots in low light. The Sigma 30mm is there but f/1.4 which is a bit too expensive for me, I really only require an f/1.8 (the Sigma sells for upwards of $400).

At first I saw the old Nikon 50mm f/1.8 (non-D) that I THOUGHT was AF-I, which would autofocus. ( http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/5018af.htm ) Unfortunately, I don't think it is anymore. Does anyone know if there are any wide - standard AF-I prime lenses? I don't think they exist.

If anything I guess I could get one now, use manual focus, and when I upgrade the body in the next 3 or 5 years, I'll could use it then. But it still feels like I'm paying for something I can't even use. Man what if I end up going to Pentax? Hahaha... funny thing to say in a Nikon forum. Any suggestions?


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Peter Daalder , Apr 19, 2007; 10:07 p.m.

Plenty of Nikkor 50mm f.1.8 lenses on eBay...

Kevin Foster , Apr 19, 2007; 10:27 p.m.

The only AF-I lenses ever introduced by Nikon were the 300, 400, 500, and 600mm AF-I lenses back in 1992. These were replaced by AF-S versions a few years later. Nikon does not have any wide/standard prime lenses that are AF-I or AF-S. And if they did I bet they would be at least $400 or more, especially if you consider that the current 20mm AF is in that range.

Ian Cox-Leigh , Apr 19, 2007; 10:41 p.m.

Your options are:

1. Live with AFS zooms only. 2. Use AF lenses as Manual focus lenses. 4. Buy the Sigma lens -- but, it isn't all that well reviewed given its price. 3. Buy Manual Focus lenses and loose metering. 4. Switch bodies to a used D50 or D70 and live with a smaller, dimmer viewfinder and LCD review screen, poorer menus, and weaker image rendering (esp. ISO). 5. Switch to Pentax. 6. Spend more for a D80. 7. Live with the zooms for now and hope Nikon releases some wide/normal AFS primes priced for the D40 market? But, you might be waiting for something which will never come.

I think that's your total list of choices. If you really JUST purchased your D40 (and can return it for full price refund) and you can not raise your total budget (to get a D80 and a 50 1.8), I'd go for the Pentax. Pentax seems to be getting their act together now (with new lenses and camera) and it looks like there will be room for you to grow in their product line for quite a while. All and all they seem to be on better footing since and just before the takeover by Hoya.

Anthony Bez , Apr 19, 2007; 11:09 p.m.

"Man what if I end up going to Pentax? Hahaha... funny thing to say in a Nikon forum."

Pentax does seem to be the best bet to match your criteria, but Shun had some information that put there longterm future in photography in doubt. You would not want to build up a system that may become obsolete.

If it is possible to return the D40, and you could raise some cash the D80 would allow you to purchase the $100 new or even less used 50mm 1.8AFD.

Geoff Sobering , Apr 19, 2007; 11:32 p.m.

Another possibility is a refurbished D70, $500 - GSS

Anthony Beach , Apr 20, 2007; 01:53 a.m.

Least expensive camera with most expensive lenses; seems like cognitive dissonance to me.

Pentax 14/2.8 $525

Pentax 21/3.2 $420

Pentax 31/1.8 $780

Pentax 35mm f/2.0 $300

Pentax 40mm f/2.8 $225

Pentax 43/1.9 $380

Pentax 50/1.2 $690

Pentax 50mm f/1.4 $200

Pentax 50mm f/2.8 Macro $350

Pentax 70/2.4 $490

Pentax 77/1.8 $590

Pentax 85/2.8 $440

Pentax SMCP-FA* 300mm f/2.8 $4550

Pentax SMCP-A* 300mm f/2.8 $5150

No 100mm, 135mm, 185mm, or 200mm Pentax primes. As intriguing as some of Pentax's lenses look; I'm happy using Nikon.

Sam Thompson , Apr 20, 2007; 02:35 a.m.

As far as the future of Pentax. I bet a dozen donuts that if Pentax goes out of the camera business the K mount will live on in Samsung DSLRs similar to how Sony took over the Minolta mount.

I would get a used manual focus lens and forgo metering. If it's dark enough where you need to use a 1.8 lens at 1600. Metering and/or focus will not be very accurate anyways.

Shun Cheung , Apr 20, 2007; 02:43 a.m.

At least so far, the way Sony has taken over the Minolta mount is very disappointing. In a year Sony has only introduced one mediocre DSLR while Canon and Nikon are rapidly improving their consumer line.

If all you need is one consumer DSLR and a few lenses, maybe which brand doesn't really make a whole lot of difference. If you have any long-term plans, I simply see no reason to take some unnecessary risks outside of Canon and Nikon.

Tom Yuan , Apr 20, 2007; 04:09 a.m.

Thanks guys for the responses. I think you hit a point there about the camera having trouble auto focusing and metering at such low light anyways. I think I'll just get one and manually focus it for now, it should teach me a thing or two anyhow. I'm new to photography as a whole but I'm planning on building a lens collection through the years and learning as I go.

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