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I have a Nikon D3100 and now I have upgraded my lenses and tripod, I am tempted to upgrade my camera. My interest is landscape photography. For a while I was pondering over a D5100 and a D7000. I understand the D7000 is more advantageous but I have to pay more hard earned cash for currently a hobby and I have only bought my first DSLR last year August. I sent an email to Nikon and they suggested I should also consider the new Nikon D3200. It has more mega pixels and a more advanced processing engine. With a concern of tonality and noise sensor perfomance I replied if the D3200 is better but unfortunately the replier did not have that information, only sample photos. Any recommendations?
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If you think that after 8 months your photographic skills are being limited by the D3100 then by all means upgrade. But as somebody who has done this over the years and then found no real improvement to the end products (the photographs) I can assure you it can then become a very expensive hobby indeed. Upgrading is subject to the laws of diminishing returns - you pay more and more to get less and less improvement. Look at improving your lenses first.
If your funds permit, keep the D3100 as a "second body".
Then you'll learn that the D3100 is capable of making pictures that are every bit as good as the more expensive Nikon bodies, except for those with very high pixel counts. What the D3100 lacks is the durability, weather-sealing and, of course, the street-cred of something more expensive.
This is a difficult question.
A question for you - do you want to make fine quality colour prints larger than 20x16 inches after post processing RAW files?
The D3200 has a bit more potential resolution printing larger than 20x16, but is only 12 bit which could be a bit limiting if you are prepared to go extra miles to achieve the greatest colour nuances.
With a D5100 upgrade and maybe a D400 likely before the end of this year to consider - but at higher prices - "when" and "what to" is not an easy question to answer.
Thanks for the great advice. Some could question my little experience so far to upgrade. I have already upgraded my lenses, have my decent filters and tripod. My approach would be using filters (nd grad) and getting as much from the camera during landscape sessions with as little artifical RAW processing. With that in mind I thought the improved sensor of the D5100 and D7000 would improve the tones and noise of each exposure. If I were to have the D7000 I would use mirror lock up. Though are there any obvious differneces to sharpness, probably very slightly? I think I will get the D5100 with the £50 cash back offer and would expect to keep it longer than my current D3100, I read the D3200 is still aimed for the casual novice consumer who can crop and print there photos, don't get me wrong it still must be a great camera. the D7000 is probably too early for me I didnt expect to spend so much on equipment so far :/. Though I have surprised myself with the photos I can treasure so far.
I did buy a second hand R1900 printer so I can print my work. It just collects dust for now as my spare time gets used up photographing landscapes, processing then displaying on interent. Though like some other fellow ephotozines I am keen to display my work and if anyone wanted to purchase then they can do so. If I stick to this hobby which I still enjoy then years to come I may want to print larger than 20x16, and with that in mind what I capture now would ideally be as good as it can get. Thanks again.
Is autofocus important to you? If so, the 5100 is less advantageous as, like the 3100, there is no autofocus motor in the body of the camera. That means that you are limited in what lenses you can get and still use the autofocus and the lenses are relatively pricey. If that's going to be a factor then it may be worth saving the extra for the 7000 or even something at the higher end with a full frame sensor.
Not sure if true but I have heard that auto focus is faster where the motor is in the lens - if that is true then if auto focus is important it may be worthwhile sticking with lenses with auto focus motors built in.
Roger if I were you I would wait for the potential of the much talked about D400.
Or if you are really hooked on landscapes and potentially large prints go full frame
I actually went from a D7000 to a D3100 which I bought when my D7000 developed a problem only a few days prior to flying out to the caribean last year.
The D7000 is now back on the road and in every day use I find it difficult to distinguish much difference in IQ between them, admitedly I only ever print to A4.
I expect pixel counters and poster printers would say differently.
As for landscape work you say you would lock up the mirror if you had the D7000 so why dont you with the D3100?
About the only thing that I often use on the D7000 thats not on the D3100 is bracketting and even thats easily overcome simply by taken extra shots with exposure compensation added or subtracted.
Admitedly the D7000 claims to have a more robust body but then its almost three times the price solution D3100 falls apart buy another and still have £300 left in your pocket
IKKY - How do you find controlling the D3100 compared to the D7000, looking at the manual it seems fairly similar to my D5000 apart from the missing features but on other threads I keep seeing it claimed that the D3100 has a lot more buried in the menus compared to the higher spec options.
Yes I do use autofocus, I have never tried manual focus (yet). I was told to use spot focus with hyperfocal distances as a general guide. Admittedly I (mentally) focus more on frame and quality of light in respect to time of day. I suppose all those points of focus in D7000 is okay for Auto-area focus, though would be useful if the points are for metering aswell. I wont be buying anymore lenses soon, I have a sigma ex dc 10-20, ex dc 17-50 and Nikkor vr 70-300. I wonder how much the D400 will be?. I don't use mirror lock up for D3100, it does not have that feature offically, do you use it by switching to live view? Bracketing sounds useful but maybe more useful if not as a good working practice to aim to get the first or second exposure right. I dont know what the advantages of full frame are, im still a newbie. Thanks again to all you good people, the weather is drab but 1st May was a stunner!
You are correct in as much as some of the control options on the D3100 are buried in the menu compared to the D7000.
However in the "realworld" I dont find this a problem, my only problem is I ocasionally go to change a setting and momentarily forget which camera I am using.
As I said in my original reply to Roger I find no noticeable improvement in IQ between them so if I were considering upgrading I would sit down and make a pro and con list of those cameras you were considering before shelling out the dosh.
It maybe that you would be better of considering upgradeing your PC, editing programme, monitor or even printer before the camera.
This may seem extreme however a freind recently put a few of my shots through his upmarket system and the reulting prints were mega compared to what I was able to produce.
It just goes to show its not always the camera that needs upgrading.
Pity no one can sell me an upgrade for my brain and fingers
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