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D3100 vs D90


13 Mar 2013 2:41PM
You can probably sell a D3100 on ebay for 250-300 and acquire a used D90 for about 300-350. If it were me, I would do it.

The main advantage of a D90 over the D3100 is the extra controls you get (two function wheels and external ISO and WB buttons) which make it much easier to control the manual settings of the camera. It's much easier to learn to shoot in manual mode on a D90 (I am learning right now Smile ) because the dual control wheels and external ISO control allow you to manage exposure yourself far faster (well, auto ISO is fine most of the time). Sorry, I know this goes against everything that's been said, but its just my opinion. For me, its all about the controls. The rest (high iso, more megapixels etc) can wait until you have money to spare, but if you really want to learn the basics of photography, you need a camera which allows you to control things yourself, not a camera that is built to do everything for you. Plus, it shouldn't really cost you anything at all.

I rarely take a picture without considering the white balance, iso, shutter and aperture and feel the need to tweak all of these things all of the time.

The D90's other major advantage is its big, bright viewfinder which makes composing and focusing much easier and is basically nicer to look through. The D3100 has a small, cheaper pentamirror - you'll notice the difference the second you look through it. Being able to see exactly what you are taking photos of - isn't that the whole point of a DSLR anyway? Plus, the back screen is MUCH nicer and you'll get a better impression of what you are taking.

If the D90 was a significant investment, I'd advise 'stick with your 3100' but seeing as you really won't have to spend very much if you minus the income of selling your 3100, I really think you should reconsider.

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Jestertheclown 8 7.5k 249 England
13 Mar 2013 5:43PM

Quote:you need a camera which allows you to control things yourself, not a camera that is built to do everything for you.

That statement doesn't really hold water and is more than a little confusing to someone who's just begun learning.
Once set up to do so, a D3100 allows you to control everything yourself and a D90, also set up to do so, will do everything for you.
I'm not sure I'd want to use auto ISO too often either.
Alda Plus
4 70 30 United Kingdom
13 Mar 2013 5:51PM
I've never used the guide on the D3100 anyway, I find it more confusing than trying to do it myself lol. I bought the 18-105mm lens today, and I'll see how I get one with it. Thank you all again for your comments GrinGrin
DonSchaeffer 12 15 United States
18 Apr 2013 7:49PM
I don't understand why the D90 is better than the D3100. The D90 has a 12 megapixel APSC sized sensor. It's older technology. I'd love to know.
DonSchaeffer 12 15 United States
19 Apr 2013 3:34PM
I noticed that the D3100 has a Fresnel screen. This is a big advantage in manual focusing. They went back to film era SLRs.
jryans10 3 12
22 May 2013 9:14AM
I started off with a D5100 but went to buy a used D90 because the price is good for what you get - and you have an internal motor and battery grip.

I also like how you have quick access to things like the ISO and White balance without having to go through the entire menu.

Idk - I just seem to love my D90 now, but it's all about preferences. I think even though it is 12mp (still very good), the quality is great.
Alda Plus
4 70 30 United Kingdom
22 May 2013 9:28AM
Thank you all for your comments Grin. In the end I got a refurbished D5100 and I absolutely love it. If anyone wants a 6-month old D3100 let me know lol.
ste_p0270 5 74 England
23 May 2013 8:14PM

Quote:If anyone wants a 6-month old D3100 let me know lol.

why not trade it against another lens? you have the 18-105mm, why not consider a prime or
other type?

Ste
Alda Plus
4 70 30 United Kingdom
23 May 2013 8:50PM
I'm keeping the 18-55, and I have a 50mm f1.4 prime. I need the money from the D3100 to pay for the D5100 lol TongueGrin
ste_p0270 5 74 England
23 May 2013 9:04PM
GrinGrin
30 Sep 2015 5:29AM
The D90 technically is a superior camera to the D3100, it has better dynamic range, better image quality, lower noise at high ISO to name a few of the advantages. Having said that and as has been mentioned it is quite long in the tooth now, buying secondhand you could be landed with someone else's problems; i.e. you don't know the camera's history and how the previous owner(s) have treated or mistreated it. Another factor to consider is the shutter count, I believe Nikon estimate 120k actuations for the D90.
I'd go with better lenses, the best you can afford, the better the lens the less they depreciate in value and they can be taken forward with any future camera body you purchase.
Alda Plus
4 70 30 United Kingdom
30 Sep 2015 7:49AM
Thanks, but this post was two years ago now SmileSmile. I upgraded to the D5100, and then to a D7000. I'm quite happy with it. GrinGrin
30 Sep 2015 8:12AM
I didn't even think to look at the dates Blush still it might come in useful for anyone stumbling across it like I did. Happy shooting with your D7000
LenShepherd 9 3.2k United Kingdom
3 Oct 2015 9:17AM

Quote:The D90 technically is a superior camera to the D3100, it has better dynamic range, better image quality, lower noise at high ISO to name a few of the advantages.


I appreciate the thread is around 2 years old - but have you got the 2 cameras reversed? It is the D3100 that has greater DR, higher resolution and lower noise (image size for image size) though it is more aimed at a beginner.
The D5100 the OP bought was a good step up for the money available.

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