If you are not ideologically welded to Nikon or Canon, there are reasonably priced manual glass offerings to be found for many other vendors.

You may find the glass annd SLR from other vendors for the cost of just the Nikon glass.

I have an non oem (maida braind - I had never heard of it before either) 24mm wide angle f/3.5 that I use with my Minolta manual focus bodies that I am very happy with. It landed in my lap for under $30 all up from the *bay about 5 or more years ago.