The d40 is getting quite old now but seems ideal for someone like me. Especially since more motorised lenses have finally appeared, there aren't many valid arguments against Nikons entry level cameras anymore. If a person can afford a variety of lenses they can surely afford a more expensive camera body, these motorless bodies are for people like me who would just use one or two lenses for everything (e.g. 18-200mm, personally for my uses I couldn't see the need for anything more than that. Even that is questionable since you can just get closer to your subject in many cases. A nice prime might be cool for DOF and low light, but 50mm on DX seems a bit long? I don't know.)
Well, the "one lens" that you list, assuming you're talking about the Nikon version, sure is a spendy one - close to $700! For about that same price I picked up an 18-70 (200 used) 50/1.8 (100ish, screwdriver) and old 80-200/2.8 (400, used screwdriver). The AF-S equivalents of the screwdriver glass cost a lot more than I paid. I can't imagine (for my much-different-than-your needs) having a non-screwdriver body. It would get expensive fast! Realistically though, the biggest thing missing is a fast and cheap
AF-S prime. Yes the 50 is a bit awkward for a lot of things on DX, but it still lets in 4x the light of any kit zoom (at its best-aperture focal length) which is occasionally useful. I might swap mine out for a 35/2 at some point, though, since that's a more normal focal length and a nicer lens. The 50/1.8 is overrated, but still easy to recommend for someone in need of cheap low light capabilities.
I wonder how long it'll take for the video recording feature to trickle down to Nikon and Canons entry level DSLRs, probably a while since it has only just appeared on the higher tier of semi-pro cameras.
I wouldn't be surprised at all if it was in every model they release going forward. Implementation is cheap, the expense is more in the development. Nikon already has it in a sub-thousand dollar body (which i wouldn't really quite class as "higher tier of semi-pro").
If I could find a d40 cheap enough here in NZ I think it'd be a pretty good place to start, I don't really see the point in paying 2x the cost just to get a few more megapixels and I think maybe Live View on the latest entry level cams (not on d60, but on 1000D and 450D). Then it's probably at least 3x the cost to step up to d90 to get video, and the 5D MKII would be overkilled-overkill for someone like me.
D90 body price is only 999 USD. I doubt you'd find a new d40 for 333. If all you want from it is video it's not worth it, but it is a much nicer camera in a lot of ways, and opens up the screwdriver lenses if your priorities change.
Hah. I must be the only person who doesn't even have a camera who reads about this stuff. Video recording is such a sweet feature though, for someone like me who isn't a photography purist and likes the little extras that compact cameras have been able to do for a while now. Oh well just a matter of time, trickleeeeeeeeeeeeee downnnn plz!
Nah, tough to be a knowledgable consumer without doing research before buying!