Originally Posted by Stumpokapow
My wife has a Nikon D60. It serves her very well, and she has a bunch of lenses. She occasionally books paying gigs but isn't really professional. She mostly shoots candid portrait shots, animals, and architectural / landmark stuff.
Unfortunately, it is an old enough camera that the autofocus motor is in the lenses, not the body. Her main portrait lens had its autofocus motor stop working. That's not the end of the world as she can manually focus, but certainly it's not ideal. What now? What's our best upgrade path that still allows her to use her existing lenses (she has a pancake lens, a few different telephoto lenses, and then her standard portrait lens). Is there any way to fix the lens without having to buy something new?
Replacing the lens seems like a bad cost move given that any newer or better Nikon model has the autofocus in the body. Unfortunate, it's not at all clear where we should go from a body perspective. It's model hell--it looks like the most recent Nikon body in the same category is the D5500... that seems three or four models ahead of the D60. But maybe it makes sense to move up the quality ladder but go for something a few years old. Maybe a used D600 might make sense. I have no idea if Nikon is even considered good. Mostly she's been very happy with its performance and we like that Sigma makes some affordable lenses compatible with the Nikon mount.
Should she just be scrapping her DSLR stuff in light of how fast mirrorless tech has developed?
(When replying, treat me like I'm a tech idiot when it comes to camera equipment.)
First off, the focus motor being in the lens and not the body is a characteristic of newer gear, not older. To save money, Nikon started getting rid of the AF motor within the body of their lower-end DSLRs about 10 years ago. Only the high end models have it now. Nikon is also incorporating in-lens motors in pretty much all of their newer lenses.
You probably want to ask her just how much she wants to evolve her photography, and how interested she is in making money off of it. One might be inclined to jump at the opportunity to buy new stuff, but a good course of action in her situation depends on:
A: Is photography primarily a hobby for her?
B: Is photography primarily a way to make money (or would like to try to be in the future)?
If A, then you'd want to consider this just like any other hobby and only spend as much as her disposable income and her interest allows.
If B, then it's time to crunch some numbers and see how much cost justifies the business expense of investing in your gear. Tally up the revenue from last year, and ask her if she thinks she can match it or do better this year. If so, use that number to get to what a reasonable budget for gear expenses would be.
A D600 is a nice camera, and it has a larger sensor (full frame) which is usually nice, and someone who is trying to get more serious into photography should probably get one (a full frame camera) eventually. However, be advised that it might increase the cost in other ways because some of Nikon's lenses aren't meant to be used for a full frame sensor. In another one of their cost saving moves, Nikon developed lenses that are designated "DX". They project a smaller image for the smaller crop sensors (like the one on the D60). These DX lenses won't project a large enough image for a camera like the D600. You will want to check what kind of lenses she has first as this will be a large factor in determining the cost of upgrades, especially if moving to full frame (known as FX, in Nikon terms).
Edit: IIRC you're Canadian, and I dunno how it works in Canadia, but in the US, having one or both of the spouses have their own small business allows you to be eligible for a lot of new and tasty ways to reduce your tax bill. I'd suggest she try to make it more of a legit business this year for that reason alone (as long as she has the motivation).