i went to wolf camera yesterday - the ORIGINAL one in cameron village - and checked out their cameras. i immediately ruled out all the canons for one reason or another, but the nikon stood out to me, as it did online also. i played with the D3000, D5000, and D90 - and then the 18-55, 55-200, 35, and 18-200 mm lenses.
Nikon D5000i first played with the 5000 (12.3 megapixels). it was nice, was very light and smooth, however it seemed like i had a foreign object in my hand (i need a class or something - a book & a lot of practice - it had a lot of buttons). it is nothing like my old (film) SLR. i tried out the 18-55 and 55-200 lens which come with the package i was looking at getting. both lenses were pretty short and light, which i was happy with - i was worried after looking on line that the 55-200 one would be longer thus heavy. heavy lens = heavy camera = tired hands. they were nice, got a lot of zoom on the 55-200 lens (i aimed out the door across the parking lot). next i tried the D5000 with the 35mm lens which is a fixed focal length lens. that was sort of weird since i'm used to being able to zoom (fixed focal lengh is like the point-and-shoot disposable type cameras - no zoom). it was really clear, though, and the employee told me about how it let in more light so the pictures would be more vibrant and clear. that one is definitely on my "get soon" list - but maybe the 55mm? the only downside to the d5000 is that the camera itself doesn't have an autofocus built in. so, you have to buy lenses that have the motor in the lens. not a problem if i want to buy nikon lenses... most of them have it. also want to definitely make sure to get the VR in the 55-200 (or any longer zoom) lens if i'm not going to have a tripod. as much as i shake, the vibration reduction option for an extra $50 will certainly be worth it.
Nikon D90so next i tried the d90 just to compare- it costs a couple hundred dollars more but my thought was that if it is WORTH IT then i'll wait. it was HEAVY and LARGE and did not fit well in my hands. though, i did get to look through the 18-200 lens which was AWESOME. combining the two other lenses was great - but, it was expensive. $850. (the other two lenses were $100 - $200 each.) so, wondering if the heft of the camera was because of the lens (the 18-200 lens was a little larger, but still not "BIG" by any means), i removed the lens (on both cameras). there was clearly a difference in weight. that sealed the deal for me on which camera i wanted to get.
d5000, i have an envelope with your name on it. i'm selling cards, retired stamps, and tutus and as soon as it is fat enough for ya, you're going to join my family. you and the generic two lenses. THEN i'll get the 35 or 55 prime. THEN maybe i'll save again for that 18-200 lens. it rocked! OR, a fisheye lens. that'll be sweet to have. oh, DSLR camera, i have plans for you - what fun we'll have.