I was thinking if I only had 150 dollars to spend on a camera kit, what would I purchase in 2023, that I know would get me great photos. Now this would strictly be for photographs. I would probably buy a Nikon D60 (just because you get a little more pixels compared to the Nikon D40). I was searching for one (Nikon D60) on MPB.com and the shutter counts were really high. A shutter count of under 20,000 is what I would look for on these old cameras. So I would of bought a Nikon D40 on the current stock. Ken Rockwell recommended the D40 over the D60. But in 2023 the 10 mega pixels on the D60 would give you a little more cropping room, compared to the 6 mega pixels of the D40.
Prices on MPB.com
Nikon D40 Cost = 40 dollars (Shutter counts were below 10,000).
Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G cost = 109 dollars (in excellent condition).
I’ve owned a Nikon D60 once and really regret selling it. I still have my Nikon D70 and love it. The only drawback to the Nikon D70 is the small LCD screen on the back. The Nikon D70 reminds me of a film camera, because you can’t really tell if you took a good picture until you open it on your computer, since the LCD is real small. You can see enough of the image to see if it was overexposed.
Really you could not go wrong with the Nikon D70, D60 or D40. The D70 does have an internal motor for lenses without motors. What’s great about the D70 is the battery life lasts forever. I’m talking weeks. I own a Nikon D7100 and the battery is dead in a day. Same with the Panasonic DMC-G6.
The Nikon D70, D60 and D40 are all CCD sensor cameras. Which can give you a film like look photo.
I would avoid heavy old Nikons like the Nikon D200. Great camera, but it never leaves the house, because of the weight. Weight really plays an important part in camera selection.
Now the Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G prime lens would give you great quality photos while learning about photography. Better to buy a great lens and a cheap camera.
But now would I really want a DSLR in 2023? Would I be better off at buying an inexpensive mirrorless kit? Maybe?
What’s great about carrying a cheap camera is if you lose it, break it or get robbed. No big deal. If that happens to your Leica, then it’s off to visit your local bank.
You could get a cheap Sony or Panasonic mirrorless kit for under 150 dollars. I’m pretty sure.
What’t nice about the Panasonic LX3 is it has a fixed lens. Years ago you could pick these up cheap on EBay, but the prices have gone up. Still a good choice and video capabilities are not bad. Before the pandemic I bought a Panasonic LX5 for 35 dollars, which I gave to my father.
Also, think about a Canon DSLR kit. I’ve never owned a Canon and would like to try one some day.
Now you might be thinking only really cheap people would look for a 150 dollar camera. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to try a Nikon Z9 and the latest lens for 7000 dollars plus. Sure, if I needed that to make money it would make perfect sense. I guess it would? I almost feel guilty posting this in our materialistic society. Like has he gone mad… send him to prison for thinking about buying an old camera for 150 dollars.
Using old gear is like going back in time. Say for instance a person who still shoots film and uses a dark room. Photos have a different look. Even some Hollywood directors still use film, because film has a magical look. Think of Eddie Van Halen that put together his own guitar and sound system. He admitted it was junk. He called his sound, “brown”. Putting an odd ball kit together and creating our own, “distinctive look”. I’m still searching for mine. 🙂
Is it only me that looks at these 7000 dollar mirrorless camera images and thinks, “it looks sanitary”. Almost to clean. Nothing left to reveal. The magic is gone. Imperfections add style, mystery and personality. For instance, even my Nikon D7100 CMOS sensor camera images don’t look as good compared to a CCD sensor image, in my opinion.
You might consider taking up a personal challenge and see what kind of images you can create with a cheap camera. The next time I’m at a thrift shop and see that 5 dollar digital camera lying in the heap of cables and old phone cases. It’s mine!