Selecting a new DSLR can be really overwhelming, particularly if you’re a first-time buyer.
Do you have to decide between brands, but you have to decide between versions, lenses, and accessories – all of which can cause an intimidating experience.
However, the goal of this post is to help make that decision just a little bit simpler.
I’ve been shooting Nikon since I first got into DSLR photography. When I purchased my first camera (a D5000), the choice was a comparatively simple one: my dad had some Nikon lenses and I didn’t have much money!
Now several years after I’m not as unhappy with that decision as ever. Nikon’s consistent lens mount size over the years lets you use lenses going back to the 70s and 80s on many of Nikon’s newest DSLR bodies – meaning you can get quality used glass, at a price that is comparatively affordable.
That’s a dialog for another day, nonetheless.
The bottom line is, you’re going to get a fantastic camera with a great array of lenses with either Nikon or Canon. If you've got friends or family members that shoot one or the other, and you’ll be around them often, that’s a good enough reason for me to select either brand.
But since I shoot Nikon, today’s post is about how to select the finest Nikon camera for you all!
Get Past the Hype: Things that Don’t Matter
At the time of this writing Nikon has 4 cameras that you simply may be deciding between: The D3200, D7100, D90 or D5200. These are the most up thus far models, and in some situations you might be considering one that’s a generation older in order to save money – we’ll talk about that.
I’d rather start out by listing a couple things that you just should completely cease paying attention to – by doing so, however before we begin going into the person models, you’ll make your choice a lot easier.
Odds are if you'ven’t purchased a camera in some time, the very first thing you look at when choosing the camera is the megapixel count.
Nowadays any new camera will have more than enough megapixels for what you desire. Even one on the lower range that's 10-12 will have enough detail for you to blow up your images to poster size seriously, and with no major issues, how often are you doing that?
It may be pleasant to have the flexibility, but once you reach 24 megapixels the files sizes arehuge. On my D7100, I rarely, if ever, shoot at the maximum quality level, purely because it only isn’t practical.
Complete Frame Vs. Cropped Frame
New to photography? Afterward you do look at a full frame sensor. To put it differently, for a Nikon camera you can instantly stop paying attention to the D600, D800, or D4.
They’re enormous. They’re expensive. And unless you’re a professional shot, they’ll be overkill for what you’re looking for.
So save your cash for some new lenses and cease thinking about those entirely.
You should know that Nikon’s most affordable DSLR the D3200 has image quality that in most shooting scenarios will be close to as good as that on their most expensive camera, the D4, to help set your mind at ease even more. Other things professionals need, and most of what you’re getting with cameras that are more expensive is more options, on camera controls and you probably don’t.
This may matter for a select few of you, but for most of you, it should be a nonissue.
The point is, have you ever actually shot on video on a DSLR? Most beginners haven’t. It’s not easy.
The sound is terrible, the auto focus doesn’t operate in an usable manner, like using your phone or a camcorder and it’s nothing.
Check out a pocket camera like the Canon S110 – which is easy to use and shoots exceptional video if you want a great camera that does video.
Knowing what you have some additional equipment and ’re doing , then a DSLR can be a great way to break into a more professional video setup. But if all you need to do is movie your kids, you’d be best searching elsewhere.
Does all that make sense? Nikon FX-format Digital SLR Camera , glad we’ve got that cleared up. Now, let’s get you a camera!
Finding the Best Camera for Your Needs
I’m going to look at the different type of users of Nikon cameras and allow you to find a camera based on what you identify with the most, rather than regurgitate all the technical specs of each camera for you.
Greatest Picture Quality at the Cheapest Price Possible?
As I mentioned before, in great lighting, for most uses, the quality from an entry level DSLR will rival that of their more expensive counterparts. So if all you really need is good image quality and aren’t needing to break the bank, then pick up the Nikon D3200.
You can probably find the senior D3100 that is still an excellent camera, or refurbished versions, if you’re really concerned about cost. If you go with that, you’re losing some build quality from the higher end cameras, and the display is a reduced resolution than the newer model.
Don’t get the D3000, there was really remarkable about it.
Without Breaking the Bank, seasoned DSLR User Wanting to Update?
Let’s face it, price is an issue for most people. So let’s say you’re ready to go past your D3100 or D5000 you’ve had for a couple years, to something more representative of your expertise degree. You’ve got a couple of lenses, but still don’t need to overspend.
Consider a D7000. It’s not the latest camera on the block, but the image quality will be comparable to the D7100, and many of the upgrades that were made will be negligible to the typical user.
I’ve seen body only D7000 going for as low as $649, which is almost half the price of a new D7100.
The D7000 is a large step up in relation to features and build quality from any one of the cameras in the 5000 or 3000 line, thus don’t shy away from this merely because it’s a couple years old.
It ’s also worth noting that while it’s 5 years old, the D90 is widely accessible and is a great camera for the price. It lacks some of the features of the D7000 line that is newer, but is a great step up from Nikon’s entry level cameras with regard to controls.
Starting HDR Photographer?
You can do HDR with any camera which allows you to set manual controls, however if you’re serious about it, you’re going to need something that's bracketing built in.
This means your camera can automatically take 3 pictures at varying exposures, generally one at normal exposure, then one one over exposed, and eventually underexposed.
You can then use HDR software to create one totally exposed picture.
The D3200 doesn’t do bracketing, thus for the beginning HDR photographer you’ll want to pick up a D5200 or if cash is more of a matter a D5100. A few years ago I learned HDR on my D5000 while and it was a great intro camera. A customizable function button that let me easily turn on bracketing, although it had a menu system that I was used to with a point and shoot.
Seasoned HDR Photographer?
Then you definitely should only pick up the D7100 if you’re a more experienced HDR photographer.
There are a couple key attributes that make this a better camera for HDR.
You can shoot 5 picture mounts. You’ll learn that 3 brackets regularly is to get the range of light you need, as you get better at HDR. The D7100 makes it easy to add two more shots.
In addition, it shoots at up to 7 frames per second, so if you’re trying to take mounts on the fly and don’t have a tripod – this will get you much better results (although you still ought to use a tripod).
The plethora of on customization abilities and camera controls suits itself to a more seasoned photographer and will make setting up pictures easier.
Worth noting that the D7000 only does 3 exposure mounts, thus in this case I believe it’s worth checking out the D7100.
Upgrading from Shoot and Point to first DSLR?
If you ’ve been using a point and shoot your entire life, updating to a DSLR can be a little daunting endeavor. Don’t worry though, it doesn’t have to be!
The best part about the D3200 for beginners is that it’s really menu based. The camera can do much of what it’s bigger siblings can, but much of it is still in your point and shoot just like in – that is easy to browse menus. There’s even a question button that will clarify what distinct attributes of the camera do if you’re uncertain.
Then the D5200 is worth taking a look at if you’re wanting to have a little more control, but still keep the intimacy of a menu based camera. It will definitely give you more room to grow than the D3200.
Have Lots Of Nikon Lenses from Your Movie Days 20 Years Ago?
For instance my aunt has an old 50mm f/1.2 that I’ve been striving to obtain on “long period loan” for awhile now. This lens wouldn’t have metered on either my old D5000or D90. With the D7000 or D7100 nonetheless, almost any lens autofocus and from 1977 or newer will both meter.
So if you have various lenses that are old, don’t sell them off just yet, you may only need a fresh camera body.
Need Professional Attributes, but On a Budget?
Here you have a couple choices. You might be tempted to snag an used D300 for less than the cost of some of the newer cameras. On the surface this appears like an excellent idea. You’re getting unbelievable build more manual features, quality, and a less expensive cost – but I’d think twice about doing this.
The D300 is an old camera. Many advancements in camera technology have been made, and you’ll get better photos and many more usable attributes in a D7100 than one of Nikon’s older cameras.
Stick with the D7100 that's still almost half the price of they and the most affordable complete frame camera the D600 – ’re essentially the same in terms of attributes.
Seeming to Do Photography and More Serious Video?
If you’re genuinely seriously interested in video, I hate to say this, but contemplate switching to Canon. I’m a Nikon man through and through, and I also do lots of video. The video quality on a D7100 or even D5200 is unbelievable. But there are particular attributes that become a little deal breaker.