Ask CG: New lens or new camera?

Reader Nate writes,

So here’s my problem. The kit lens for my Nikon D40 is busted –something’s rattling around inside — and I don’t know what to do. My options are either buy a new lens for about $200 or spend $600 on either a Nikon D5000 or the Olympus E-PL1.

On one hand, I would like to save some cake and $200 isn’t that bad for a camera that I don’t mind. I already have a 50mm f1.8 Nikon lens and Nikon SB-600 Speedlight anyway. But a new camera would be nice so I was thinking another entry level Nikon because it will work with my gear anyway.

Then there’s the Olympus E-PL1 that’s calling my name. It’s a lot more portable (read: wife-friendly) and Biggs says in his review that the picture quality is fine. It’s not like I even consider myself an armature photographer. I’m more like a weekend shutterbug so the I don’t need all the fancy manual controls found on DSLRs that I honestly don’t know how to use anyway.

So what do I do, CrunchGear?

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