What Is Best FIRST Nikon SLR?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by ledzeppelin, Feb 20, 2011.

  1. ledzeppelin macrumors member

    ledzeppelin

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    #1
    Hello,
    I would like some advice on what is the best first Nikon SLR?
    As I have decided that I want some type of Nikon body because I like their ergonomics better every time I hold a body in comparison. It was down between Nikon and Canon but I chose Nikon.

    OK, I don't have any lenses so that is not an issue.

    I want to know what SLR would be easiest to learn on for someone that is nt familiar with composing the settings on a SLR.

    I have looked at the D7000, D3100 and I have heard a rumor that a D5100 is coming out real soon. I always liked the rotating LCD on my old point and shoot Canon A80. It seems I like the Canon for a point and shot best and I have a Canon S95.
    Like I said I do not know how to do the settings on a SLR but I do want to learn but what entry SLR should I consider the best for a nubie?

    thank you for reading,
    ledzeppelin
     
  2. mhgator05 macrumors newbie

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    Aug 25, 2010
    #2
    first nikon

    I bought the D5000 for my first. It just felt like the right entry point, not the lowest but not overly complicated. If figure that by the time I get familiar with the basics of digital slr photography there would be a couple new generations out and could invest then in a longer term solution.

    Also if I do something dumb with the camera from lack of practice or ignorance my investment isn't so high.

    Now I am starting to get better lenses, those will be usable when I upgrade the body.
     
  3. Cliff3, Feb 20, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2011

    Cliff3 macrumors 65816

    Cliff3

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    #3
    It depends on what you're after. Over time, the enthusiast-level entry point in Nikon's product line has been the D70/D80/D90/D7000 class of bodies. Those cameras offer functionality beyond the minimum and I would urge you to read professional reviews to understand what that specifically means. This stickied thread has links to sites that publish those reviews: http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=257862

    If those cameras are beyond your means, then pick a price point that works for you and buy whatever you can afford.

    (edit: I should have included an observation that below that enthusiast level of cameras, there isn't much product differentiation in features that are relevant to photography. I guess that means that only Ashton Kutcher fans buy the D5x00 series of cameras, 'cuz it's not enough different from the D3x00 to make a difference in your photos...)
     
  4. ssmed macrumors 6502

    ssmed

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    #4
    D3100

    I would probably go with the cheaper body, it is quite capable and spend the money saved on lenses that allows you to experiment and find out what you like and are good at. Lenses have a better shelf life and are a better investment and you can bet there will be an even better body out in a couple of years, and probably for a cheaper price. We have a D3100 as the clinic camera now and this seems to be tough enough and has given pleasing results.
     
  5. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #5
    I think you mean D5000- the D7000 isn't an entry-level body.

    Paul
     
  6. peepboon macrumors 6502

    peepboon

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    #6
    Personally, I would not buy what is available right now and go for older models such as the d40/d60. Its gonna suck if you spend X amount on a new DSLR then in a few months time when you get better and want to upgrade you will dish out some more money.

    You can probably find a used d40/d60 for a bargain! Its very easy to learn on these too. I started out with the D60 and upgraded to a D90 a year later after I got to the stage where I needed something a little more pro.

    Plus if you buy a current model, there will always be the question of "is there a new one coming out?" etc etc
     
  7. Cliff3 macrumors 65816

    Cliff3

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    #7
    Enthusiast-level entry point was the term I used. The cameras below that point have a number of limitations that an enthusiastic hobbyist is going to bump into sooner rather than later. (lack of support for AF-D or other legacy lenses, raw file limitations, lack of bracketing, limited controls, the list evolves over time)
     
  8. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #8
    Gotcha, my focus module grabbed entry, not enthusiast- must be time for a cleaning!

    Paul
     
  9. John.B macrumors 601

    John.B

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    #9
    Given the OP's needs, I would say the lack of support for AF-D lenses should be a deal breaker and would recommend staying away from the following bodies: D40, D40x, D60, D3000, D3100, D5000, and the soon-to-be-released D5100.
     
  10. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #10
    I'm curious- can you tell me what skills you could possibly achieve in a few months that would cause a D7000 to be obsolete? Can you tell me what a camera body upgrade after only a few months shooting will make better?

    Thanks,

    Paul
     
  11. samtom5 macrumors newbie

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    #11
    I recommend getting the D90

    It will last you a long long time. I outgrew the D3000 in a few months, but the D90 is excellent. It works great in low light and the controls are much better than most of the other entry level bodies.

    The D90 is used by a lot of pros as well but very usuable for those just getting into photography.
     
  12. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #12

    If you can shoot at high shutter speeds, can hand-hold stably or will endeavor to use a good tripod often, then the D7000 is impossible to beat. If you're impatient, want to do a lot of grab shots or don't want to spend time on technique or money on high-end lenses, then get a D90. The 16.4MP sensor isn't going to be very forgiving of sloppy technique and likely cheap glass.

    You generally shoot a DSLR through the viewfinder, so a rotating LCD is actually not that much of an advantage, and using the LCD to shoot generally gives you poorer technique, since the camera can't be supported well when it's out away from your body.

    Paul
     
  13. avro707, Feb 20, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2011

    avro707 macrumors 6502a

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    #13
    As an entry level, without the limitations mentioned earlier, the D90 is hard to beat.

    But a D7000 is also pretty hard to beat - it's a great little camera. Going with the higher end camera body will let you use some older lenses and still have autofocus working properly.
     
  14. Arran macrumors 68040

    Arran

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    #14
    I'll second the D3100. Bought one last year and very happy with it.

    I found this site a goldmine of info on all things Nikon: http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/recommended-cameras.htm#serious
     
  15. spoonyfreshh macrumors member

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    #15
    i second this
     
  16. seattle macrumors 6502

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    #16
    I third this. Great body and it works with older lenses.
     
  17. peepboon macrumors 6502

    peepboon

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    #17
    I never said the D7000 would be obsolete :S

    To clear it up (not sounding like an ass or anything), I think it would be wise to start off with a very basic DSLR to get to know the features and how things work, etc, instead of choosing a camera purely because of features.

    Like what samtom5 posted:

    "It will last you a long long time. I outgrew the D3000 in a few months, but the D90 is excellent. It works great in low light and the controls are much better than most of the other entry level bodies." - That is what I meant when I used the term upgrade.

    In my case, I upgraded to the D90 for a few reasons, more focus points, better ergonomics and better ISO performance, most of my work is handheld at night.

    Hope that clears things up~ :)
     
  18. ledzeppelin thread starter macrumors member

    ledzeppelin

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    #18
    First off, thanks to all for their thoughts!
    I did not think / realize about the rotating LCD not being very useful, thanks for the particular thoughts on that.
    So, about the lenses , since I will be buying new ones and someone mentioned certain cameras do not do something that other cameras do I am confused about that....oh below is the quote;

    "Given the OP's needs, I would say the lack of support for AF-D lenses should be a deal breaker and would recommend staying away from the following bodies: D40, D40x, D60, D3000, D3100, D5000, and the soon-to-be-released D5100."

    So you know that the soon to be released D5100 will not support AF-D lenses, or am I confused here?
    The rockwell site is full of info...thanks.
    So, is there a certain model that lends itself to a nubie for learning?...or are they all ~about the same? ...in the menu regard?

    thanks everyone!
    ledzeppelin
     
  19. avro707, Feb 20, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2011

    avro707 macrumors 6502a

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    #19
    ledzeppelin: It's probably likely it won't work well with the AF-D lenses. Stay with D90/D7000. Sure, you'll be able to manual focus, but that's not always useful.

    Now, on the subject of learning - there is no model that lends itself to learning more than the other. They are all pretty similar. If you know D90, you can use a D3X with little bother.

    Nikon is very easy to use. They have intuitive operation and simple menu systems.
     
  20. cleanup macrumors 68030

    cleanup

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    #20
    I like how folks are steering a beginner user away from beginner's/entry-level cameras. This is why I don't think Nikon is a good platform to invest into if you're just starting out and staying within a tight budget is your primary concern. You've got to purchase a mid-range body to get AF-D compatibility and access to inexpensive glass... and in the end you might just be confused by all the other features that come on a D90/D7000. Why Nikon doesn't have motors in their lower end bodies is beyond me. I doubt it would raise the price that much.

    Anywho, I've been shooting with my D40 for a couple years, and yes, it is rather annoying not having access to cheap AF-D lenses, but I'm glad I started small. D40s have kept their value ridiculously well for whatever reason, and I won't be losing out much when I upgrade.
     
  21. ssmed macrumors 6502

    ssmed

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    #21
    I feel that for a first SLR the D7000 and D90 are over the top. When we bought film cameras we did so for long periods and they lasted, not because they were particularly well built, but because there was very little practical advantage in upgrading. Nowadays there will be a much better camera around the corner.

    As for older lenses, if the OP doesn't own any he is unlikely to want to go and buy any secondhand. For instance comparing the previous AF 70-300mm to the current AF-S 70-300 VR you would have to be slightly crazy to buy the older lens. It is slow, not so sharp and needs a much more expensive body to use it. Why not buy the cheap body and get the AF-S, it will be better in every way and there are few circumstances where that will not be the rule.

    In addition, it is always worth thinking about the cost per picture. If the body costs $600 and the lens $400 and you take 5000 pictures over the following 5 years, its 20 cents a shot. Increase the cost of the body to $1100 and that becomes 30 cents (50% more).
     
  22. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #22
    But handheld at night isn't going to change the camera requirements one bit- you need good high-ISO from out of the gate-- the lowest-end models today are heads above the highest end models 30 years ago- and we've got a large history of great images from then and before-- so again I dispute the "growing out of" theory. There are people who've made award-winning photographs with a D40- IMO most "growing out of" is "I'd rather buy something than learn better technique." If your argument for an upgrade is that you need high-ISO and more AF points, then I'd argue that if that's what your preferred type of photography needs, then you'll spend much less money purchasing a camera that has those features than not "choosing a camera purely because of features."

    The last time I shot family portraits for my business partner, I used his D40 and kit lens- the lights and modifiers I brought made a lot more difference than not using my professional Nikon body. He shot one of his step-daughter's track meet a few years ago with my 80-400VR, which is one of the few AF-D lenses released since the advent of AF-S- and he had few problems manually focusing despite being a complete newbie and having one of the low-end bodies which are nowhere near as easy to manually focus as the pro bodies.

    The lower-end Nikon bodies won't autofocus with all lenses designed between 1986 and 1996- and some lenses up to about 2000. They need lenses designated AF-S or AF-I for Nikon and similar lenses from 3rd party manufacturers to autofocus. The biggest impact for most people seems to be that the ridiculously cheap 50mm f/1.8 lens is manual focus only on these bodies. For more serious shooters (that is "I want a decent lens that's more inexpensive than the current high-end stuff" rather than "I want a cheap fast lens,") this means the 35-70 AF-D, 80-200 AF-D and 300mm f/4 EDIF are off-limits[1]. All of the mid-level and above bodies contain a "screwdriver focus motor" that WILL autofocus with these lenses. Unfortunately for most, the mid-level bodies are generally slower to AF with these lenses, so for high-speed action the best solution is to get a pro body with its higher battery voltage- but that means real money.

    Oddly enough- the entry-level bodies will all use pre-AI (1959-1977) lenses as-is, where the mid to pro-level bodies aren't able to do so without having someone convert the lens to AI.

    Take Ken Rockwell's site with a grain of salt- he's been known to write "reviews" of equipment he's never touched, and while there's some good information there, there's also a bunch of opinion not well-labeled as such. I also happen to think he's not that good a photographer, who doesn't really challenge any of his equipment with hard use. Thom Hogan's site bythom.com is much, much more reliable, accurate and the opinions are those of a seasoned professional.

    Again, I'd argue that the higher-density pixel bodies aren't necessarily "little bother" for people who don't have good discipline and good glass. When the D2x came out, sites like DP Review were full of blurry shots- and I'd argue the D7000 has the same problem, as to some extent does the D3x[2]. When proper technique is used, they produce stellar images, but they require technique and these days, people would rather not use tripods, learn to time shots, practice and do "work," they'd rather "upgrade" and bump up the ISO and shoot sloppily.


    First off, the only "inexpensive" glass is the 50mm f/1.8- everything else is less expensive, but certainly not inexpensive (and used lens prices on all the good lenses have gone *up* in the last 6 or so years.)

    Secondly, until the D40, SLR users averaged 1.5 lenses per camera. Nikon's raised the average to 1.8- however a lot of that is with things like the 18-200 superzoom which is AF-S or the 35mm f/1.8 DX- also AF-S which gives a 50mm angle of view on an APS-C DSLR or two-lens kits. So, we can say for certain that the vast majority of entry-level DSLR users will never, ever mount an AF-D lens onto their camera- so in terms of pure monetary value, Nikon saves literally millions of dollars by not including the focus motor on the body. That's money that can be put into R&D, marketing or shareholder's pockets.

    Paul
    [1] I own all three- the 80-200 just because I don't shoot enough in that range to make the purchase of a 70-200 worth-while. The 300/4 because I got a bargain on one 12+ years ago, and the 35-70 because I cheaped out- of the three, the last is the one I'd replace with a new lens first because it's my most used lens studio-wise and a new 24-70 is optically supurb.
    [2] The pixel density on the D3x isn't as dense as the D2x or D7000, both of which require more care when shooting. All three are dense enough that you'll observe the effects of poor lens sharpness and diffraction much sooner than with a lower pixel density body.
     
  23. AML225 macrumors regular

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    Apr 11, 2010
    #23
    I personally would never buy an SLR without a proper thumbwheel for both aperture and shutter speed. I believe this means nothing lower than the D70/80/90/7000. You learn very quickly on a DSLR and I just find any camera without both thumb wheels is unusable. If I were you I would get a D90 over a lesser newer body. If possible get the D7000.
     
  24. Cliff3 macrumors 65816

    Cliff3

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    #24
    You should read Hogan's blog comment titled 'Random Wednesday Comment' from his archived 2010 blog posts. He talks about where you decide to set the feature bar if you're not buying the best. Since you chose the word 'first', which we interpret as entry-level, then you are intending to buy at a level below the best. We can't set that bar for you, that is something you need to do for yourself. I know where I set the bar for my own needs, and I know precisely why I have it set there. But my needs are different than yours. Where do you set the bar?

    Hogan has a useful chart on his site that will let you easily compare the features of Nikon's current bodies: http://www.bythom.com/currentdslr.htm[FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][/FONT]
     
  25. ledzeppelin, Feb 21, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2011

    ledzeppelin thread starter macrumors member

    ledzeppelin

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    #25
    Well, I thank you and the other fine people for taking the time to post!
    I am tired this evening (Monday after the week-end off) and I cannot take the time and consideration for what I would like to post back....sorry for that.
    Anyway, I went to bythom website links you gave me and it mostly crystalized my thinking.
    I do "NOT" think I am a "good enough" buyer...nor do I want to get the very best, so I am a few bars above "good enough".
    Does this make sense?
    I would like to have something better than entry level that is why I worded my thread best first Nikon not best entry Nikon...I am concerned about ease of learning the parameters of use....but it seems most would say learning the menus etc. are all about the same....so discount that factor, right?
    Anyway, I may wait a bit and see what Nikon comes out with regarding the possible D5100 and then finalize something......thanks to all....I am tired and I hope I made sense.
    ledzeppelin
     

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