I swore I would never own a Nikon. It's not that Nikon isn't a great camera, it is, and it's not that it doesn't offer excellent ergonomics, (Where stuff is and how easy it is to find it and hold it and shoot with it while standing on one leg in the rain in the pounding surf without being ripped out to sea), and it's not that the glass is top of the mark and it's not that the seventeen point focusing grid isn't fantastic, it's the cost and maybe the snob appeal.
There I've said it. I am offended by the price and the fact that Nikon owners think they have the only camera in the world.
So what happens when you have a clearly acknowledge prejudice? You wind up owning one!
Yes, that cruel fate was waiting just around the bend for me and I walked right into it with both eyes open and both hands clutching for the beautiful body.
And to add insult to injury, it was a D90, which is Nikon's entry level twelve megapixel camera. Fate sucks!
But now that I have my grubby little paws on a Nikon I'll let you have a look and see if there is something in it for you.
It took me a while to get use to the LCD screen on the top of the camera body. I've always looked for information about the settings and battery life and all that stuff on the back of the camera. Nikon does have a honking big LCD on the back of the camera body, but it just doesn't offer what I am looking for when it comes to info. Sure you can review the picture you've just taken and sure you get a quick glimpse of all the important settings, but if you aren't double quick it is gone. The LCD on top of the body has all of that stuff except for the picture review and that's where you have to look.
Now we're dealing with nearly seventy-years of solid ivory here and trying to get new instructions loaded in the ole cerebral file system is a murderous task. I have actually done it but it was a dangerous thing what with all the cobwebs catching fire and the rusty cogs screeching without any oil to lube up the brain, but it got done and I'm happy as a clam with the new learning and the old but new to me camera.
What did it cost?
KEH a top-notch re seller of used equipment says $278/289, body only. I told you it was the high-price spread.
Adorama has one for $189, which is more like it.
B&H has one with an 18-105 lens ready to start shooting for $399.95 which is a lot but you get the good useful glass so that's a plus.
Let's talk about glass before we go on, don't let anyone tell you a 18-50mm lens is a great starter lens. It's not even good as a paper weight. Buy the body without that useless chunk of glass and put something on it you can really use.
Of course the best way to find a used Nikon is to cultivate professional photographer friends. No, I'm not going back on my “Don't buy Pro equipment” position, a D90 isn't pro grade stuff, but a whole bunch of Pros have a 'carry' camera that they use for friends and family and pets and fires and celebrity wardrobe malfunctions and that's the camera you want.
When a Pro decides to upgrade their 'carry' they want to get their money out of it and they are willing to make a deal. That's when you with your shell-like ear to the ground swoop in and make a killing.
I can't even complain about the rechargeable battery Nikon uses cause it charges in less than an eon and holds that charge for month on end. And after you take out the second mortgage to buy the D90, if you have spare change lying around you can get a MB-D80 battery grip which holds two Nikon rechargables or six Double A's and that will eliminate my whine about not being able to power up with cheap batteries at any food mart anywhere in the world.
What you have no dependents constantly begging for money and The Thing on the Couch hasn't bought a grill which will launch attack missiles at China and your car is running just fine and the rats haven't gotten into it and eaten away all of the wiring forcing you to buy a new car and so you have actual cash on hand and a two lousy batteries aren't going to break the bank at Monte Carol and aren't you just special.
Owning a Nikon doesn't make you a photographer, it makes you a Nikon owner, but then owning a Lexus doesn't make you blush when you pull into the church lot for midnight mass and two teenage boys pass out and half of the men in the congregation gasp and all of the women shoot you that look which says “I know what you have been doing and it better not be with my husband!” And neither will having a Nikon draped around your neck when you start making plans for the Ducks to be back in the Rose Bowl.