Which Nikon DSLR to Buy First?

Even though quite a few of our readers are beginner photographers, we often talk about things that, while simple to us, are much more difficult to understand for those with less experience and knowledge. That is why we strive to share our experience as someone shared theirs with us when we were just starting. The most difficult part for us is not the writing itself, however – mind you, we aren’t holding anything back. The most difficult part is becoming the beginner again so as to remember all the questions we had when we started. Make no mistake, we’ve had plenty of those. I, too, didn’t know what aperture and shutter speed was. I, too, had a hard time getting to know my gear in such a way I would be able to get quality results from it. I remember the painful transition from being a photography theoretician, an arm-chair expert, to one who uses his technical knowledge without thinking about it for the sake of photography, not comparisons and pixel-peeping. Thank goodness that part of my life didn’t last more than a few days. But before any of these questions came to my mind, I, too, had to make what seemed like the most difficult choice of all at the time. The first one, the one that gave way to all the other questions that followed and follow to this day. Where to start? Which camera to buy first?

Which Nikon DSLR to Buy First

Your first camera is not just a piece of equipment. It’s your entry into photography world. The “buy-the-most-expensive” logic doesn’t work here even if you have the means to do so. You have to get it right. Your first camera has to be “just enough”. It will either be too difficult, too heavy, too mind-boggling with all the functions, or too dull and alien. It may turn you to another system, or from photography altogether. Or it will fit you like a glove and lead you down the path of learning everything, and then learning, again, of what’s actually important. So, lets start from the start. In this “Which Nikon DSLR to Buy First?” article, I will introduce you to several Nikon DSLRs – you will not find the best camera here, as there isn’t such a thing. But, hopefully, you will find the best camera for you as a beginner photographer, one you are going to learn with and love for years to come.

1) What is a DSLR?

DSLR (digital single lens reflex) cameras are cameras with removable lenses and mirrors used to direct light from the lens to an optical viewfinder. Typically, DSLRs are much bigger and heavier than any point-and-shoot camera, and are capable of delivering incomparably superior technical image quality under varying lighting conditions, especially in lower light. In their design, they remain virtually unchanged from old film cameras with removable lenses, which were called SLRs. The biggest difference is that film used in old cameras has been replaced with electronic sensors that capture light.

Here are the basic elements of a DSLR (image courtesy of Wikipedia):

SLR Cross Section
  1. Lens
  2. Reflex mirror
  3. Shutter
  4. Image sensor
  5. Matte focusing screen
  6. Condenser lens
  7. Pentaprism
  8. Eyepiece/Viewfinder


Here lies another important difference between these expensive, large cameras and their compact, take-anywhere siblings – sensor size. The bigger the sensor, the better technical image quality is potentially possible to achieve. Nikon DSLR cameras have two sensor sizes. One, the more common and popular, is APS-C sized sensor (crop-sized), which measures approximately 23.5 x 15.6 mm in dimensions. The more expensive cameras meant for advanced users with more demanding needs have larger sensors, called full-frame (FF in short) or FX. These sensors measure approximately 36 x 24 mm and are more or less equal in size to 35mm film used in old analogue cameras (hence the “full-frame” term). Compare that to compact camera sensor size, which can measure 7.44 x 5.58 mm or even less. Large sensors are much more expensive to manufacture. Because of that, cheapest current full-frame cameras cost around $2000, while cheapest APS-C cameras may cost three or four times less.

Read our “What is a DSLR?” and “Nikon DX vs FX” articles to find out more, or see how they compare to compact cameras.

2) Why Would Someone Buy a DSLR?

This question has become much more valid over the last three years or so. If not so long ago DSLR was an obvious step forward for any aspiring point-and-shoot user, today entry-level cameras are fiercely rivaled by mirrorless cameras. But the battle is not lost. So far, many aspects of a well-established DSLR system make it much more mature in terms of lens choice in new and used markets. The wide array of lenses mean a DSLR can be used for any kind of photographic task. Also, most DSLR systems (with the exception of Pentax) have room to “grow”. In other words, they offer cameras with bigger sensors, but same lens mounts, and give the choice of upgrading to a more serious piece of gear in the future should such a need arise.

3) In Search for Your First Nikon

Further on, I will introduce you to several Nikon DSLR cameras. All of them are, to an extent, suitable for very serious work – they all employ swift autofocus systems and near state-of-the-art sensors as well as plenty of other functions, such as HD video. At the same time they are suitable as DSLR entry options because, while still entirely different to any compact camera in their complexity, are sufficiently simple to use and learn with. The question is not whether the camera is good – in general, all current DSLR cameras are good. The question is which one of these is better for you.

  • Nikon D3200

    Nikon D40, first in this segment of Nikon cameras, was a huge success. From a technical standpoint, it wasn’t a very advanced camera even when introduced in 2006. It had an old-ish 6 megapixel image sensor, when 10+ megapixel sensors were expected. Even so, many found it to be so good at what it did, there was hardly a better camera with just enough features. Keyword here’s just enough. I remember owning this camera, and I remember loving it despite also owning “better” gear. It’s newest successor, launched only a short while ago, improves on the same philosophy.

    Nikon D3200

    From first glance, D3200 is an entirely different beast. It features a very well-received 24 megapixel APS-C sensor also found in several high-end cameras, has great video specifications and up to 4 frames per second shooting speed, which is plenty for any beginner. But the basic idea behind it hasn’t really changed – it’s small, lightweight and very easy to use. If you are new to DSLR photography, trust me when I say this – it is a very well accomplished piece of gear and almost certainly more than enough for your needs. Being so small, you can also be sure you will often take it with you wherever you go rather than leave it on a shelf at home. If you are after a camera that is sure to deliver all the basics and is easy to use, D3200 is very likely to be that camera, especially if you are on a budget. You will be tempted by more expensive and, on paper, more capable options, but remember – give in to such a temptation, and you may end up with a Nikon D4 and not having a clue how to use it. Yes, cameras like D7000 have weather sealing and faster frame rates. Be honest, how often do you shoot under rain? Owning a D700 I can tell you that I prefer to cover myself with an umbrella, which is usually large enough to hide my camera along with myself.

    Nikon D3200

    If you are a beginner with a limited budget and are looking for a new Nikon DSLR, look no further. This is a fun, simple, capable camera. A proper photographer will always be able to appreciate such strengths and if you run into one who thinks less of you because of your cheap Nikon, well, it’s his lack of understanding and in no way yours.

    A side note: Nikon D3200 is among several Nikon DSLRs that do not feature an internal focus motor. This means that it will not be able to autofocus with older lenses who’s autofocus is driven by the camera through a mechanical link. Do not worry, though – all recent Nikon lenses feature built-in AF motors (and are named as AF-S lenses, for example the great AF-S 85mm f/1.8G lens) and don’t require a camera to have an AF motor. Older lenses are usually cheaper and great value for money, though, so if you want autofocus (which you do), you will need to spend a little more when buying lenses. In all honesty, you’d probably choose newer lenses even if D3200 had no such limitation.

  • Click here to see Nikon D3200 B&H offers.

  • Nikon D3100

    This camera is the predecessor of D3200 and, as it’s newer sibling, shares the same core priorities. It is small, lightweight and easy to use. Better yet, it’s even slightly cheaper new or second-hand. There aren’t many downsides to this camera, and none of them are all that relevant for a beginner photographer. D3100 has lower resolution sensor at 14.2 megapixels. Don’t be fooled by the numbers, they don’t tell the whole story. It is a high quality sensor none the less and offers plenty of resolution for daily needs. You will still be able to print big should you decide so. At the same time, your JPEG images won’t be as “heavy” as those of Nikon D3200.

    Nikon D3100

    NIKON D3X @ 150mm, ISO 100, 10/600, f/20.0

    Another downside is the lower-resolution screen, which will be less pleasant to use when reviewing images. But it doesn’t really affect your photography, does it?

    Remember – just because there’s a newer camera out there, the older one hasn’t gotten worse or less capable. Nikon D3100 is still great and not exactly old, so if it’s all you can afford, you shouldn’t feel even the slightest bit down about it. D3100 will be there to deliver stunning images as long as you do your part. Owning a newer, “better” camera will not make your photographs superior in any way. Read our review to find out what we think about it in more detail.

    Nikon D3100 Sample #4

    A side note: as with D3200, this camera does not feature a built-in autofocus motor which may (or may not) limit your lens choice.

  • Click here to see Nikon D3100 B&H offers.

  • Nikon D5200

    Nikon places D5200 as an upper-entry model and it slots above D3200. Most specs are very similar between the two cameras – they both share similar 24 megapixel sensors, for example. There are certain technical advantages, however. One worthy of note is a better autofocus system, borrowed from the higher-end D7000 DSLR. Instead of 11 autofocus points to choose from when framing your image, you have 39. That is a lot. This particular autofocus system proved to be very capable even in most demanding conditions and is not that far off Nikon’s best systems. On the other hand, it is also somewhat more complex. Not to say D3200 is unreliable in this department, but the 39-point AF system of D5200 will give you more flexibility if you are into sports photography, for example. Slightly faster frame rate at 5 frames per second compliments such thoughts.

    Nikon D5200

    D5200 also incorporates a more advanced metering system, which may prove to be more accurate in some conditions. More importantly, there’s the versatile tilt/swivel LCD screen. It can be very useful when doing video or photographing from uncommon angles.

    Other than that and the rather hefty price of the D5200, the two cameras are very much alike. Think carefully whether additional features of this camera are important to you and your photographic needs. Be sure to read our thoughts on D3200 above – it is possible one of these cameras is all you’ll need for years to come.

    Here is an official image sample made with the D5200 (click here to see it at full resolution):

    Nikon D5200 Sample Image (7)

    NIKON D5200 @ 31mm, ISO 160, 1/250, f/8.0

    A side note: like the two cameras described before it, D5200 does not incorporate a focus motor and will not autofocus with older lenses (named AF-D). All AF-S lenses will work swell.

  • Click here to see Nikon D5200 B&H offers.

  • Nikon D5100

    A predecessor of the D5200, this camera, like all the other mentioned so far, builds upon the idea of a lightweight, cheap-ish, high quality DSLR for (advanced) beginners. Just as simple to use, it is not all that different from the newer D5200 or D3200, but costs a great deal less than the former and is still in stock. Nikon D5100 has a slightly older, but very, very good 16 megapixel sensor so praised in D7000 and Pentax K5 for its low ISO noise (which basically means it delivers very good quality photographs in low light environments). Read our “Understanding ISO” to learn more.

    Nikon D5100

    Also, it has the 11-point autofocus system currently used in D3200, so is quite capable in that regard as well. More than that, it has a similar tilt/swivel LCD screen to that of the D5200, which is useful when doing video. A very good camera, this. At its current price (with instant savings till 2nd of March) it competes very well to the newer D3200, and its the camera you are likely to compare it to. If you don’t need 24 megapixel resolution – not many people do – this is a viable alternative to any of these DSLRs. Read our review of the Nikon D5100 and think carefully on what you need and don’t.

    Nikon D5100 Sample #05

    NIKON D5100 + 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm, ISO 100, 1/500, f/8.0

    A side note: this is the last of the cameras in this list that does not have a built-in AF motor and will not autofocus with older AF-D lenses. You will need to buy lenses that have AF-S in their name if you want to enjoy swift autofocus performance.

  • Click here to see Nikon D5100 B&H offers.

  • Nikon D7000

    The D7000 is a very, very capable photographic tool many amateur photographers are very happy to own. In fact it is so good, some professional APS-C camera users dumped their higher-end D300s in favor of this newer model. Even with all that in mind, however, it’s not the most difficult one to use, but will require a lot of studying and effort from the photographer to get the best out of it. This camera features all the necessary direct controls and is very good ergonomically. Otherwise an advantage, such a fact will make it rather confusing for many new users. It’s not the easiest to learn with, keep that in mind. It doesn’t even deliver the best image quality of the lot – it’s on par with each of the cameras I presented earlier.

    Nikon D7000

    You may think I’m trying to discourage you from buying it. You would be right to think so. Make no mistake – I think this is a great camera (although likely to be replaced soon). More than that, I’d be happy to own one myself if I were to start now. Yet I would not suggest this wonderful DSLR to anyone who’s not serious about becoming a real photographer. There are cheaper, smaller, simpler options out there for those who just want quality images for their family, friends and travel.

    Nikon D7000 (6)

    NIKON D7000 + 40mm f/2.8 @ 40mm, ISO 100, 1/250, f/8.0

    With that out-of-the-way, let’s talk a bit about what Nikon D7000 offers. It has the same 16 megapixel sensor found in Nikon D5100, and was the first one to get it. It has great video capabilities and fast frame rate at 6 frames per second, which is good enough for sports photography.

    Nikon D7000 Dual Slots

    One of the biggest strengths many advanced amateurs appreciate is the dual SD card slot. It allows two cards to be used at the same time with the option of either holding more images or having them duplicated between the cards. You may also choose to have RAW images placed in one card, and JPEG versions in the other. It has the very good 39-point AF system and a stronger build than any of the other cameras listed here, along with some weather sealing for rough conditions.

    All of this may sound tempting, but remember – Nikon D5200 has more resolution, a tilt/swivel screen, the same AF system, is lighter, smaller and costs less. Think carefully whether you really need the D7000 and if you do, be ready to do some serious studying. Hopefully our “Photography Tips for Beginners” section will hold many answers to your inevitable questions. Do not stop yourself from reading camera manual, too, if you decide to buy it. We have reviewed D7000, but be careful as you read it – you are likely to find it very tempting even if, deep inside, you know it’s too much for your needs and other options make much more sense.

    Nikon D7000 Sample #6

    NIKON D7000 + 50mm f/1.4 @ 50mm, ISO 1600, 1/100, f/2.8

  • Click here to see Nikon D7000 B&H offers.

  • Nikon D7100

    Replacing D7000 in Nikon DSLR camera lineup, this camera is now the last in my list of recommended Nikon DSLR cameras for beginners. There’s a good reason for that, too. Just as with its predecessor, the D7100 is an extremely capable photographic tool and shares many of D7000’s features, such as dual memory card slot. As of today, it takes place as the high-end DX camera in Nikon lineup, at least until successor to the now ageing D300s is announced. And, because of these and more reasons, I can only recommend D7100 to beginner photographers with huge reservations.

    Nikon D7100

    D7100 has fast frame rates, great video capabilities, it is very well build, much bigger than lower-end cameras listed above (except the D7000, of course), has great weather sealing and a very advanced autofocus system, similar to that found in professional cameras, such as Nikon D800 and D4. 24 megapixel APS-C sensor is at the heart of the camera responsible for high resolution, low-noise images, which you can preview through 3.2″ high-resolution LCD screen. Tempting as it all may be, however, in its strengths lies D7100’s complexity. It will most likely overwhelm most beginner photographers with all the direct controls and advanced AF and metering systems. The sheer number of buttons will likely be very confusing. $1200 is a lot of money for something you may not be able to fully appreciate, in which case any of the lower-end cameras above make more sense for beginners. Choose carefully and prepare to spend a decent amount of time learning your camera and all the functions and features it has to offer.

  • Click here to see Nikon D7100 B&H offers.

4) Final Words

With so many different cameras on offer, even those more experienced can often find themselves lost. Deciding which one to buy as the first one is even more difficult. I see a first DSLR much like I would see a first car – you don’t want to get started behind the wheel of a Bentley. What you need is a car that’s just right, just enough for you to learn and improve your skills. But afterwards, if you like the experience and even wonder whether you should take up photography on a professional level, Nikon has plenty of worthy tools for you. In this article, I did my best to introduce you to current beginner-friendly DSLR cameras Nikon has to offer. Hopefully my words were of some use and will ease your decision or calm your mind in case such has already been made.

In the future, we will cover other DSLR brands as well. As for now, have fun using your new gear!


  1. 1) Don
    February 14, 2013 at 1:22 pm

    Great article. I started out a bit differently. I started with a D300, kept it for about a month and bought the D300S because of the video feature. A friend showed me a shot he had taken on low light… I asked what he did to do that and he replied that he took the shot with the Nikon D3S… Away went the D300s a week later, and in came the D3s and the lens trinity… 16 months later gone is the D3s and hello to the D4, a nice new 300mm, the 105mm for macro, and a Lensbaby for the times I want to experiment… Nikon makes some excellent gear… I could not be happier…

    • 1.1) James
      May 28, 2013 at 1:49 am

      Are you a Professional photographer….show some pictures so we can see how good the equipment is…

      • 1.1.1) Don
        May 28, 2013 at 1:53 am

        What does being a professional photographer have to do with anything? I bought equipment because I can afford to buy it and I chose to buy it. What I do with my money is none, I will repeat, none of your business… I would say we are clear about things. Don’t you agree?

        • James
          May 28, 2013 at 2:06 am

          The issue is that it is about a starter kit and the author make it clear that anything above the D7100 is not recommended from his perspective due to the cost and the complexity of the equipment..I started with a Minolta XG1 in 1981 and used my equipment for years, today I also have a D800 and D4 with 16 lenses but the equipment is for people who know how to use it, lots of people buy expensive stuff and never use it..you can spend your money any way you like..and I am sure you take great pictures..fact is..the article is about the first DSLR to buy…there are very few people that can master a D300 or any DSLR in 1 month..

          • Don
            May 28, 2013 at 2:50 am

            Please point out where I said I mastered the D300… Waiting…. My post regarding which first DSLR was pertaining to the fact that people should buy what they want. It is not up to you nor up to me to dictate what someone should buy. If someone can afford starting with a D4 then great. But if that same person can only start with a P&S, then that is where they should start. The main point is buy something and start shooting… The cameras are hammers. Some can afford big hammers, some smaller but they all pound nails…

            • Allan
              May 30, 2013 at 4:24 pm

              Don, calm down. James only asked if you might provide some sample photos; he wasn’t prying into your financial situation. Each of us is entitled to ask any question that’s on our mind, BUT we aren’t entitled to an answer. So, just let it slide next time, huh? Your two responses were uncalled for.

            • Richard T
              December 2, 2013 at 7:05 am

              Don, after reading most of your replies you remind me of somebody who higher end gear to hide your insecurities.

              I don’t think a single reply of yours is helpful and in relations at all to this article. You keep bringing up money and “what you can afford”. This isn’t an article about bragging rights. It’s an article about good buys for those interested in entering dSLR photography. Sure, a D3s is sweet… But come on, most of us here can agree that it is overkill for somebody starting out. Besides, those aren’t even that expensive, so please stop making it out like you’re cruising around in a Ferrari. Nobody cares.

              Photography is about having an eye, and love for it. That is what makes a photo, not what hear you have.

    • 1.2) Mark Jones
      June 26, 2013 at 6:11 am

      I have been using Nikons for over 50 years, which kind of segregates me into the ‘old school pool’ but that doesn’t mean I haven’t kept right up to date with Nikon’s more recent offerings. I have either owned/used every camera mentioned except the D7100 and D5200. No doubt about it I’m a Nikon fan and would probably make the same suggestions to a newbie based on these later cameras. But I started my grandson out with an old D50, which of course takes every lens Nikon ever made, AF and manual, flash syncs at 1/500th , 6.1 mp sensor is, frankly, more than enough for a newbie, and encourages good picture technique ie distance/framing/selection, portrait or landscape view, rather than just relying on the almost infinite cropping ability of these memory hungry 24mp sensor models! Just a marketing gimmick that doesn’t make you a better photographer. Many of the newer cameras have been effectively neutered by Nikon to maintain price points and model differentiation – no exposure bracketing mode, can use only AF-S lenses for full auto mode, syncs at a measly 1/200th, huge file sizes, and very flimsy build quality compared to a D50 which can be had on Ebay for a measly £85 or USD125!
      The only point I am trying to make is that for a very modest outlay one can purchase a superbly built Nikon DSLR, that is far more versatile than a D3200 – ‘cept it don’t do video – and have a lot of cash left over to buy some really good lenses – from Ebay of course!

      • 1.2.1) Genevieve
        December 29, 2013 at 6:41 pm

        Mark, awesome information for a newbie as myself. Thanks for the tips/pointers! :) Happy shooting!

  2. 2) Anselm Hall
    February 14, 2013 at 1:33 pm

    Very nice article once again. My 1st DSLR was purchased last year august (D800 actually got a good copy with no AF issues). But I’ve used/borrowed dslrs before, so I have a fair understanding of them. You’re right though, I’ve had a lot of issues learning certain functions for the 1st few months as compared to an entry level which is much simpler and straight forward. But my passion to learn is so high. And I’ve learned a lot from reading and exploring this site for the past year. I think it could work in your favor or against you, it depends on your learning curve, etc. For now I’m not going gear crazy. I have a 85mm 1.4 g and 50 1.4g and a tripod. Mastering the basics and getting better slowly but surely.

    • 2.1) James
      May 28, 2013 at 1:54 am

      Seems the focus problem was only in the US as I have 2 D800’s the one bought within the first month after launch and the second a few weeks back and have never had focus problems. A
      A lot of pele struggled with focus problems as the did not realize that the high res sensor is very prone to any shake that people thought were focus issues. Even VR lenses struggle on this camera. Use a support and use good lenses.

      • 2.1.1) Don
        May 28, 2013 at 1:59 am

        This has been discussed over and over and over. We all know about the hi-res sensor. Did you just find this site and are scouring through posts, deciding which to comment on? The comment you made were discussed literally months ago.

        • Profile photo of Romanas Naryškin Romanas Naryškin
          May 28, 2013 at 2:08 am


          some of our readers find these articles later than others. Thankfully, these discussions are open to everyone, there’s nothing wrong in sharing an opinion even if it has been discussed many times before. I do agree seeing people talk about the same things, as you said, “over and over and over” again can get tiring. Luckily we’ve no obligation to engage in such discussions if we don’t want to. :)

          Let’s keep it cool. It’s fine if someone wants to add his five cents. That’s what comments are for. We haven’t exactly been spoiling you lot with new content lately, it’s an extremely busy and stressful time for many of our team, but we promise it’ll get better soon.

          Thanks for visiting. :)

        • John
          May 28, 2013 at 2:45 am

          Don looks like you are the site moderator..no place for ego explosions..it is a great piece of advice and in the photography world with all the expensive equipment and the technology such advice to simplify things and share experience is what it is meant to be..
          I am sure James 5 cents worth of advice comes from some yrs of experience and knowledge about the subject..

          • Don
            May 28, 2013 at 2:56 am

            Not a mod at all John. I have no problem with advice. If I did, I wouldn’t be here. I have used much of the advice to great advantage. So the more, more the merrier… My one sticking point has to do with others people telling others how to spend their money. A better camera does not make a better photographer but a better camera can help in ways a less expensive camera can’t match. If someone can afford to buy a Phase One, then all the power to them. They will either learn how to use the camera and to shoot, or they won’t… Pretty simple in my book…

            • Ashleigh
              July 14, 2013 at 6:48 am

              Oh my gosh Don, let it go already. No one here is trying to tell anyone how to spend their money, or judging you based on how you spend yours.

              I found this article because I’m in the process of buying my first DSLR. I wanted some information to help me decide which one would be better for me, and frankly it’s good to know that I don’t need to buy the most expensive camera out there, but can still get a decent camera to learn with. I could easily afford the most expensive camera, but this article wasn’t ever about the cost, it was about which one was easiest to learn on/best for beginners. A lot of people do equate more money with better quality (I did), so the article and some of the readers were simply pointing out that with DSLR’s, money isn’t the most important factor.

              This was also the first article on this site that I read. Being very new to photography, I wasn’t aware that a high res sensor is very prone to any shake, so it was interesting for me to read, and gave me more information to research. There was no reason to bash James for his comment, just because you felt like it was general knowledge.

            • Sahar
              February 18, 2014 at 2:52 pm

              As I read these replies, the only conclusion i get is taht Don is an angree man. I am glad you are not commenting on other blogs.

  3. 3) Tom Irwin
    February 14, 2013 at 1:35 pm

    Minor correction to your camera review- The 24 mp sensors in the D32oo and D5200 are not the same. The D3200 is fabricated by Sony while the newer, higher spec, D5200 sensor is from Toshiba.

  4. 4) Don B
    February 14, 2013 at 2:10 pm

    A good article, and I agree with it.

    The only other thing I would add is, don’t buy a DSLR unless your want to learn the art of photography. If you just want to take a picture, use a camera phone or a point and shoot. You’ll get a good picture, you’ll have more money in the bank, and your wallet will thank you.

    • 4.1) Don B
      February 14, 2013 at 2:11 pm

      I meant to say your back will thank you.

    • 4.2) Love2Eat
      February 15, 2013 at 2:50 am

      So true Don, I am amazed by what can be achieved by the excellent application of post processing tools such as LightRoom even on photos taken on a low-end camera phone or point and shoot. I think in the future, mastering a good editing tool will become more advantageous than having a high-end, high-priced camera system.

      • 4.2.1) Don (not Don B) :)
        February 16, 2013 at 3:37 am

        I have to disagree with you a bit here. Software in many instances can fix a somewhat terrible image. I have seen and done it but what software can not do is to put back data where it is blown out or simply not captured. NIK Software makes great plug-ins to reduce noise, make B&W conversion but what it can not do is to fix an image that the camera failed to capture… With all things being equal, there is no point and shoot on the planet, nor low-end camera that can match my D4 in performance even with software tools at the ready… No way… However, for the average user with a P&S or low-end camera, software tools can be a saving grace…

      • 4.2.2) James
        May 28, 2013 at 1:46 am

        PS and other software is not the tool to fix bad photo’s. it is overused and rob people of learning good basic photographic skills. If you don’t want a DSLR with all the lenses buy a bridge with a fixed zoom but learn the basics of good composition. The old masters and the days of film we did not have the means to post process, we had to learn the skills and art to compose interesting pictures, not post process unrealistic colors and spoil natural sunsets…composing makes interesting and fun photography…so Buy any camera that your budget can justify, follow the above article advice…learn to use your equipment and read/learn about composing pictures…you will have fun…throwing money at technology to try and make you a better photographer is a poor solution to spending time and effort to practice and get optimal value out of your equipment and your current skill level…the rule should be..only upgrade if you have outgrown your equipment or if it is broken…

        • Don
          May 28, 2013 at 2:05 am

          Quoite: “the rule should be..only upgrade if you have outgrown your equipment or if it is broken…” These should be YOUR rules. You can’t speak for anyone on how they spend their money. Maybe some people can afford the best while not knowing how to fully take advantage of it. Can you say you fully take advantage of the myriad of features of the D800? I doubt it. Not many pro shooters do. The rule should be: do what makes you happy within your budget…

          As for PS. It is not a photographers tool. Something along the likes of Lightroom or Aperture are more in line with what a photographer needs. PS is a graphic artist tool that has found its way into photography. PS can not fix a boring or uninteresting photo in the first place. On this we agree, however you seem to be imposing your “rules” as facts when this is not the case with everyone.

        • Love2Eat
          May 28, 2013 at 2:24 am

          I think you are reading too much into my comment (same for the previous comment #37). I never said that the tools fix bad photos, the tools enhance good photos and if you know how to use the tools, it can be just like mastering any other form of art. I did not say that it replaces a good eye for photography or the photographer’s talent for a great composition. Agree the software won’t make one a better photographer, by the same token throwing money at technology (expensive camera gear) won’t do that trick either.
          I do understand where you are coming from. I am using a D90 (which I bought months after it’s release), always shot RAW so that I have some leeway for enhancements, there are times when I felt the urge to upgrade the body, but instead bought new lenses or upgraded old slow ones with faster lenses, mostly pro-grade. I’m happy with the tools I use (LR4) and the shots I take.
          In the good old days people used Abacus, these days you use computers, when technology is around to help you, just use it or you will be left behind.

    • 4.3) Sabahat
      August 23, 2013 at 5:07 am

      Very well said !

  5. 5) Pads
    February 14, 2013 at 2:11 pm

    I was never wrong suggesting the D7000 to 3 of my friends. They are all happy and shooting with glee! Nice points here.

  6. 6) treat
    February 14, 2013 at 4:46 pm

    Nice article.

    One thing to note that, at current pricing, the body-only D7K is a much much better buy than the D5200 (kit or body-only) versions.

    Pair the body-only D7K with a 35-dx or the 50/1.8D(or G), and it’s quite a formidable low to mid entry motored system.

    Likewise with the previous-gen D3100 and D5100. Both are a better buy than their newer D3200/D5200 counterparts by costing significantly less. As you’ve slightly alluded to, the newer features of the D3200/D5200 aren’t really all that must-have and are quite less significant for the target-market of these motorless-DX. They’re just new glitters.

    However, if the target-market is buying dslr for the new shiny and can actually afford to, then go with the D3200/D5200.

  7. February 14, 2013 at 5:43 pm

    A good article, and totally agree with it.

    D7000 was my 1st camera as beginners :) and initial 2 months was nightmare till I learn lots of books/manual and took advise from experts, After that thinks become good. Biggest thing is that D7000 don’t work well with kit lens(18-105), Changed lens to 28-300 and 70-300 VR, it was awesome.

  8. 8) Edward Liu
    February 14, 2013 at 6:18 pm

    Add one more “good article” note! I’ll make sure to point it out to people when they ask about upgrading to a DSLR.

  9. 9) Tony
    February 14, 2013 at 6:52 pm

    Whoa Roman, it is so refreshing to read a reviewer who is not trying to sell me something I don’t need. Going over old ground, before I bought the D3100 in a kit with three long lenses was worth it. The three lenses are still in the box, I use the f/1.8 35mm prime lens, which forces me to go get the picture.

    I loved what you said here:

    “D3100 will be there to deliver stunning images as long as you do your part. Owning a newer, “better” camera will not make your photographs superior in any way.”

    I’ve had this gear for years, and still need to do my part, to learn more about setting white balance indoors, to learn more about working the +/- exposure button with the wheel. I do know enough that light is everything in photography. Yet the Nikon still rewards me with some pretty good amateur shots.

    Thanks for the walk down memory lane, that was very instructive.

  10. 10) Hei Lung
    February 14, 2013 at 7:09 pm

    Go for the D800 or even the D600, with one of the best zooms. You can read the book and catch on to the complicated stuff later. On autopilot they are stuunnning. Heilung

    • 10.1) Love2Eat
      February 15, 2013 at 2:58 am

      Not the best piece of advice, I must say ;-)
      They’re great cameras, there’s no doubt about that. These days technology changes at a much faster pace than it used to a decade ago. So by the time one masters the art of photography and the camera-specific controls and techniques (which is very unlikely if the “Auto” mode is used by the way), the expensive kit might have been outdated.
      So as Romanas suggests in this article, it is better to start minimal and depending on how steep or gradual one’s learning curve is, they should upgrade to more suitable gear.

    • Profile photo of Romanas Naryškin 10.2) Romanas Naryškin
      February 15, 2013 at 3:02 am

      The cameras are good, no doubt, Hei Lung. What about the photographer?

    • 10.3) Don (not Don B) :)
      February 16, 2013 at 3:43 am


      Go with what you can afford. I did and am having a blast… I am not a fan of flash photography as I prefer ambient light when shooting. I have seen only 2 or 3 cameras that can fulfill my requirements for low light, flashless shooting. The two that I owned were produced by Nikon (D3s, and D4)… I bought them and the “lens trinity” simply because: 1. I could afford to, 2. Because they had the performance that I wanted, 3. It was what I wanted.

      If you can afford to buy whatever you want, then do so, be happy, and learn… I read, and shoot almost daily… While Romanas’ advice is sound, it is not the gospel for all situations. In my opinion it is relative to each individual…

      • 10.3.1) someone passed by
        December 3, 2013 at 1:44 am

        Jesus Don! Who cares what are you having? Just by reading all of your comments I can tell that you are a very rich dude who found a way into photography. Yes you can afford a pro cameras but that does not mean you are a pro. I owned many cameras; from a really old film camera which produced in ww2 to Hasselblad H4D 200ms; but i will never be proud of that. Knowledge is limitess! Let me tell you that. Yes true that cameras are like hammers but do you really need a hammer just to pound a nail? In photography, gear isnt everything; gear does costs but creative is free. Last advice for you, please keep your ego inside your pocket, be humble because its the only key to be successful.

        • Don
          December 3, 2013 at 2:38 am

          @someone passed by,

          Almost a year later and you decided to dig this up. Wake me when you have something interesting to say. I will reiterate and I do hope that you can get a small gist of my meaning. Here goes. Buy whatever you want to buy if you can afford it. Who cares? There it is. All in one sentence.

          • Profile photo of Romanas Naryškin Romanas Naryškin
            December 3, 2013 at 5:38 am

            To both Don and “someone passed by”,

            this sort of behavior is not tolerated at Photography Life. Both comments are removed and I strongly suggest that you keep things polite going further. Thank you!

            • Observer mickeywestsidemarav
              September 10, 2014 at 7:18 pm

              Wow, this discussion is intense. Mr. naryskin you are right about deleting such comments. Now i wanna share how i had a bad experience with buying my first camera. i got a d40 with no auto focus, old 50-300 with no AF. and it sucked. did photowalks and event shoots to get experience, and i almost quit doing photography, that was 2013 december when i bought it out of impulse. now i am extensively reviewing these articles plus other articles of photography.because i don’t wanna be robbed of my money. cause i am just one of those poor guys who can’t afford to buy dreamy cameras like d4’s.

              i got my d3200 and they did not mention that it does not have that much DoF. so most of the shots are really like camera phone shots. not unless you put a lot of dramatic effects from the lights. it has a lot of noise when the shot is too dark. i don’t take it for granted this camera is good and it forces you to also study PS editing. given the situation this camera needs accessories to make the shot compared to the semi- pro cameras. i used both 18-105 and 50mm on the d3200 and the only diffrence that i saw was the improvement with the pixels. True that you don’t need heavy resolution for the pics but when the time comes when you got a great shot that you really need to crop, then this 24 mp is something that will come in handy.
              another thing is that when buying the camera, read this first. read the articles, borrow these cameras from your friends if possible. have a feel. don’t just buy one and regret.

              one more thing. d 3200 is good with post editing. you get great picture as long as you get the shot just right. i am a semi pro now after months of using d3200, earned some money from the performance of this camera. and now i am a fashion and events(wedding, life events) photographer and was happy that i bought this camera to launch my photog career after buying the d40.

              cons, – frustrations at first
              pros, – they can be easily over come with editing, and the lighting equipment and looking at other good pictures.
              just like what other photogs would do.

              the next camera that i am planning to buy is either the d810, d90(surprised that i want this because it has the super dens tft like the d4) or d3x.
              and of couse, the top lenses for the money maker. 35mm, 50mm, and the 85mm.

      • 10.3.2) dirt
        September 12, 2014 at 1:12 am

        I what the “lens trinity” just because. Going to ask santa to buy it for me since santa can afford it.

  11. 11) Ajay
    February 14, 2013 at 9:51 pm

    Concise and very informative Romanas!

    I was in the same fix a while ago, and ended up buying the D5100. I’m sure the D7000 is better, but I’d rather use the money I saved towards getting better lenses.

  12. 12) Max
    February 15, 2013 at 3:13 am

    d3200 is for the advanced photographer. Why?
    Just because both meter and focus are unpredictable. so for metering you need to master the EV+ histogram

    Auto focus is another bad story. Just sold it got tired from all those adjustments.

  13. 13) Richard
    February 15, 2013 at 3:44 am

    Great article…

    I bit the bullet and went straight for the D7000 for my first DSLR, with longevity in mind. I have had it a couple of months now and am having great fun getting to know the camera and lens (18-105mm). Must admit, I haven’t read the book properly and decided to go straight to manual mode (don’t ask why).
    My only issue (and not with camera) is that whilst I post some of what I think are my better shots, it is difficult to get constructive feed back.

    • 13.1) Peter
      February 15, 2013 at 6:53 am

      It is difficult to get constructive feedback from other photograpers other than “I like it” or “I don’t like it” or “I think the photo should be cropped differently.” If you’re lucky enough to know a professional photographer (they make money from their photos), ask that person for an evaluation, etc.; otherwise, don’t waste your time.

      I find that the most usefull comments about my photos come from artists/painters. They have studied art, composition, color, light, shapes, textures ,etc. They have a different and well-trained “eye.” Fortunately, there are lots of painters in my town.

      Lastly, why not take a college level art history course? You’ll study the greatest art and hear commentary on it by the professor. You’ll find out why artists like Monet were so good…and you could use that info to take your own landscapes.

      • 13.1.1) Richard
        February 15, 2013 at 7:51 am


        Thanks for comments, I hadn’t thought about doing an art history course…

        Something to think about. :)

      • 13.1.2) Calibrator
        February 17, 2013 at 1:29 am

        > Lastly, why not take a college level art history course? You’ll study the greatest art and hear commentary on it by the professor. You’ll find out why artists like Monet were so good…and you could use that info to take your own landscapes.

        Great advice!

    • 13.2) Adnan Khan
      February 15, 2013 at 10:24 am

      Nice article Romanas :) ,it’s going to get some great comments :)

      @ Richard , LOL , yes manuals are boring but some parts should be read like exposure , bracketing,flash and most importantly where n what those tiny buttons are and what their function is :) but the only thing I love most in digital is that it is a self learning tool ,one can’t waste film rolls like that :)
      D7000 has everything a real pro might need apart from few buttons than more buttons and a smaller sensor.
      There was or never will be perfect tools for photography ,only perfect pictures will keep coming.
      Use a prime lens like 35mm 1.8 G DX for better composition and move your feet :)
      Keep shooting if you like photography ,one day you won’t need critique ,in fact don’t worry about it :)
      Shoot from different angles as sometime a picture looks more good shot in sitting mode than in standing mode :)

      If you want to improve your skills look at the pictures created by masters and are in galleries for sale ,study them that how they have composed that image and the book “Art of Photography” by Bruce Barnbaum is worth reading for serious minded photographers whether non serious hobbyists like me or even emerging pros :)
      Just one of the example galleries :


      There are many more if you search…

      Just sharing my short story :)
      My father was a very serious medium and large format hobbyist (now retired due to heart surgery and is very weak) , recently , out of thousands of pictures I took ,for some advise and critique I picked some of my “best” digital shots to show him and played on TV with USB stick ,he quietly kept watching and nodded on some and after that i had an album of selected film prints on only two he said “very nice composition,I like it” and both were shot with Fm3a +55mm 2.8 micro AI-s.
      On my 19 lenses he said “waste of money ,get one or two good primes” ,on my cameras he said ,”you are a collector,not a photographer”
      When I told him that I’m going to buy the new Fuji X100s and showed him specs and everything , he said ” keep the FM3a and 40mm Voigtlander and get rid of everything if you are going to buy this digital camera, it looks good as it comes with a lens” :) ,so 2 cameras and 2 lenses :)
      On D800 after listening to all my explanation that what a great achievement in digital tech. and great pictures one gets with great DR and so on… he said ,” so what? ..it’s not for you ,you wasted money,there is not a single picture you shot with it that is worth looking at” .. I was really disappointed, it is very hard to gulp real criticism especially for most people as in digital age everyone is a pro inside their head :))
      But TBH he is right about me :)

      The pictures I post on Flickr are mostly for camera and lens performance and to show focal length for some trolls out there who have never took photographs and spend most of their time online commenting uselessly on different sites , might be out of job depression syndrome :)


      @ Peter ,you are one lucky guy to live among artists ,I wish this could be the case with everyone :) ,I envy you :)
      On going back to school …well, not all of them become Picasso or Monet :) but sure can learn basics on how to see art at least :)
      Power of imagination with know how technique is important in photography , for some it is a born gift , for some it’s the passion that drives them to get real good pictures and sadly I lack both :)

      I agree , a non commercial pro is hard to find as they are really busy doing their artwork and more difficult to get their opinion. If they say “I like it” it contains “everything” … no one has the time to explain why they like it :)


  14. 14) C John
    February 15, 2013 at 5:23 am

    Really great and helpful article.

    Though I am not that much of a great photographer, I am often asked this question by many. This article not only helps me to answer them better, this also helps me understand that I should not look into higher ranges from my D60 unless I am really getting limited to issues like low light performance, higher MP, more AF points and features…

  15. 15) Pascal
    February 15, 2013 at 6:10 am

    I currently own the D7000 and while it is a fantastic camera, I’m about to replace it with the D600. I have even considered the D800 but it is a bit out of my reach. There is one DX lens (17-55 f2.8, which is a great lens) I need to replace as well. The 24-70 f2.8 is a great lens but too expensive and I have somewhat the feeling that Nikon will be renewing this lens in the very near future (due to other manufactures offering 24-70 with VR). Since I already have a 50mm f1.8 and the 105mm f2.8, I was thinking of pairing the D600 with a 16-35mm f4. I shoot mostly landscape so I guess I can live with the small gaps in reach provided by those three lenses. What are your thoughs about the D600 / 16-35 combo as a replacement for my cuurent D7000 / 17-55 combo?

    • 15.1) Adnan Khan
      February 16, 2013 at 4:12 pm

      Good choice Pascal for the D600 as D800 is a specialist camera ,meaning ,set it to one type of shooting and don’t change settings ,the 4 memory banks are not that useful.
      16-35 VR might not be a shining star on D600 it is only good from 18-35 range on FX, though a very nice ultra wide zoom but I actually use it more on D7000 as it becomes a 24-50 and picks better part of the picture :) than on D800 ,for that I use primes only a 24 ,40 and 85.
      I think the new 18-35 will be much better on FX and it will give same IQ of 16-35 in a much lighter n cheaper package.
      Test the 16-35 before buying with FX at 16mm from F5.6 to F13 on vegetation and carefully check the corners ,also mount a Polarizer and a 2 stop Grad to check vignetting.
      Just saying that you stated about landscape :)
      My mediocre tiny prime 24 2.8 af-d is sharper than 24mm of 14-24, 16-35 and 24-70 :)
      if you are into landscapes ,try using primes the 24 ,50 and 85 package is available in G and cheaper AF-D and 1.4 to 1.8 and 2.8 versions with only the 24 1.4 G beating 24 2.8 AF-D others are head to head :)
      I only have 3 DX lenses 18-55,35mm 1.8 and 18-200 so can’t say how good the 17-55 DX is on D7000 ,you might better know but for sometime I used Tokina 11-16 and that is a great DX ultra wide lens.
      I’m actually considering the new 18-35 after seeing some real samples from D800 ,if they are just OK enough I’ll surely go for it :)


      • 15.1.1) Pascal
        February 17, 2013 at 3:23 am

        Thanks for the tip on the 18-55, Adnan!
        I googled this lens but could not find any real reviews or sample pictures. Where have you seen these sample pics?
        The price setting of this lens (seen it at 649 Euro) will allow me to buy the 85 f1.8 as well, which is good news. Hope this new lens is any good!

        You are right, the U1 and U2 presets are great and I use these a lot on my D7000. I would even like to see that Nikon drops the point-and-shoot and scene presets in favor for U3 and U4. People who buy a D7000 or D600 are generally people who are past the basics and don’t need these anyway.

        • Adnan Khan
          February 17, 2013 at 9:07 am

          Correction Pascal ,it’s the new 18-35 not the 18-55 :)

          You might have skipped the part where I wrote :
          ” I’m actually considering the new 18-35 after seeing some real samples from D800 ,if they are just OK enough I’ll surely go for it :) ”

          Meaning ,I’m waiting for the sample pictures and I think the lens is due in March.

          If you subscribe to newsletter you might be able to find the announcement page here on this site and it was compared with the older model and heavily discussed :)
          I could not find the link directly so had to find link from email :)


          The 13 yr. older model was never that popular and was for film ,this is a G type non VR model with much better sharpness and contrast in corners than the older and still available model.

          And I’m, not saying that the 16-35 F4 VR is not good ,in fact it is very good ,but when one looses 2 mm on the wider side for which it was bought for …., interior shots are much nicer than nature shots at wider focal lengths.Street shots are good too on FX.
          For nature it actually is good at 18-35 and the reason I traded my 24-70 2.8 with 16-35 VR was that I wanted a wider zoom with VR. I still have to test it more on D800 ,just not photographing these days due to business as PG is just a hobby :)
          I have a gut feeling the new 18-35 will be good on D600 and Nikon might have used the better part of 16-35 on 18-35 :)
          So, wait n see both comparisons and as soon as the lens is available ,I’m sure Nasim is going to review it with comparisons of same or near focal length zooms :) ..fingers crossed :)


          • Pascal
            February 17, 2013 at 10:43 am

            Yeah, the ’55’ is a typo. I noticed it right after posting but there is no way to edit…
            I do follow this site quite regular but have somehow missed Masim’s post on the 18-35. Shame on me :-)
            Anyway, I’m not in a hurry; I can wait until Nasim’s review. But from the specs the lens looks quite promissing!

      • 15.1.2) Naftoli
        February 18, 2013 at 1:15 pm

        I disagree. i upgraded to the D800 from the D7k and i am so happy i did not get the d600! furthermore i like my custom settings bank way better than the custom u1 and U2 modes on the d7k/d600

    • 15.2) Pascal
      March 2, 2013 at 1:07 am

      Small update: I finally decided to move to full frame and I ended up buying the D800 (got a good deal on it). I’m very much impressed with the image quality of the D800. Full frame really is a different league. So if you can afford it, go for FX from the start. Even with the D600, you’ll have a tool that last for many years.
      By the way, I don’t understand why many people complain about the huge files the D800 produces. From the shots I’ve taken so far, it produced raw files of about 40MB. That’s not so huge and my laptop works fine with these.

      • 15.2.1) Adnan khan
        March 28, 2013 at 1:24 pm

        Hi Pascal :)
        Congrats on the D800 :) , glad you made a long lasting decision :) ,you must be shooting 12 bit RAW or in menu your crop DX mode is on at 1.2x as the DX 1.5x mode 14bit RAW file is around 32 to 34MB and at Full size in 36MP 14bit RAW my all files are around 72 to 79 MB even some more colorful ones up to 81MB.

        Yes ,if one’s gets the taste of FX it’s hard to go back :)
        Enjoy your new toy :)


        • Pascal
          March 29, 2013 at 4:57 am

          Hi Adnan,

          Thanks! The D800 is truly a great camera – love it! It fits very nicely in my hands as well. That was one of the things I was missing with the D7000.

          Off topic: I saw the DXO results on the new D7100 and I was kinda disappointed by those. The D7000 is very close to the D7100 so I would not consider the D7100 as an interesting upgrade for the D7000. The D7000 even has slightly better performance in dynamic range!

          Anyway, back on topic: my camera is set to shoot RAW 14 bit. But there is a menu somewhere (can’t remember where though) you can set it to save RAW lossless compression. I’m kind of thinking that this setting is responsible for the smaller file sizes I’m seeing. Are you on the latest firmware?

          • Adnan Khan
            March 29, 2013 at 6:36 am

            Hi Pascal :)
            Yes ,i shared my thoughts on it’s announcement page but it is overall slightly better than D7000 and tiny DR difference doesn’t matter if one is shooting on tripod at ISO 100.

            To activate 14 bit RAW ,you should go to Camera icon in Menu ,it’s the 10th item which says ” NEF (RAW) recording” press in ,then choose TYPE ,in sub menu of 2 items, in first you will see three options choose the last one ” uncompressed ” ,then go back and select 14 bit RAW or 12 bit as per your choice.

            Your Firmware should look like this :
            A : 1.00
            B : 1.01
            L : 1.006
            and L is for in camera distortion correction ,I’m sure they must have updated your camera but if it is not then here is the link for distortion control ,see all the models it is for and all the lenses.
            Download n Install and follow the instructions carefully ,just use a camera formatted card when transferring file from computer.



            • Adnan Khan
              March 29, 2013 at 7:05 am

              One more thing Pascal ,I’ve installed a small utility from Nikon ,really can’t remember if it came in a software or I downloaded it but it runs in background and if any new firmware either for cameras or update for software or Nikon news about a product change ,the message pops up if you are online and it’s called ” Nikon message center” , by clicking on the list it will take you directly to relevant page.
              D800’s last firmware was B 1.01 , released on 29-June 2012, here is the link for that.


              You should download both B and L files for future help as a backup , if somehow your firmware gets corrupted , you can again install it quickly.

            • Pascal
              March 31, 2013 at 3:02 am

              Hi Adnan,

              My D800 is setup to shoot 14 bit RAW (it’s defaulted like this). But you better use Lossless compressed. That will reduce the file size without loss of image quality. Lossless compression uses a reversible algorithm that reduces file size by 20 to 40%.

  16. 16) Yoan
    February 15, 2013 at 8:48 am

    That’s a nice article! The first Nikon DSLR I bought is the D90 about 2 years ago and I’m still using it! Photography hasn’t been more fun ever since then!
    I’ve a small remark though – the D3200 and D5200 don’t share the same sensors.

    • Profile photo of Romanas Naryškin 16.1) Romanas Naryškin
      February 15, 2013 at 8:53 am

      Thank you for that, Yoan, I made changes. :)

  17. 17) Max
    February 15, 2013 at 9:18 am

    I want a camera for traveling, for remembering people and landscapes. I am not satisfied with my point and shoot, so I’m considering D3200 or D600. (NOT D7000, because it has about same size and weight as D600, but can much less). On one hand D3200 is smalL, light, handy and cheap – I ponder if D3200 would be enough. D600 has a whole lot more features, weather sealed, bigger viewfinder, better AF and better low light performance, but what about image quality, would there be a big image quality difference? Snapsort says this:

    D600: image quality 94, color depth 25.1 bit, dynamic range 14.2 EV
    D3200: image qulity 81, color depth 24.1 bit, dynamic range 13.2 EV

    Would I see a big image quality difference (NOT in VERY low light, but sometimes indoors without flash, and outdoors during daylight on sunny and cloudy and rainy days), or is this image quality difference virtually imperceptible?

    • 17.1) Max
      February 15, 2013 at 9:20 am

      I have no idea if 1 bit more color depth and 1 EV more dynamic range is absolutely substantial or good visible or virtually imperceptible.

    • 17.2) Max
      February 15, 2013 at 2:34 pm

      I have a “good+ point and shoot, a Panasonic DMC-TZ10 with good optics from Leica. But I dont like it at all. Its not about the missing features and that I can’t isolate subjects. The formost reason why I dont like this camera is because of the very bad image quality:

      400 ISO and more results in a very grainy/noisy pictures which swallows all the details (faces, hairdo, …) => http://images.allprog.nl/browse.php?view=6673_1360963458.jpg

      But even during daytime outdoors with low ISO125 structures look very blurry (look at the red-brown treetops, you can’t see any details, the treetops look like a blurry smearing)
      ==> http://images.allprog.nl/browse.php?view=6968_1360963669.jpg

      I dont know, maybe an ICL from Sony NEX would be enough for good image quality so that static subjects never looked smeared again? or D3200? or will image quality once again be significantly better with a D600?

      I have no practical experience, that why I ask here. I dont mind, as long I really get better image quality.
      Sonny ICL, D3200 or D600….

      • 17.2.1) Max
        February 15, 2013 at 3:10 pm

        test, same two pictures again, linking them in a different way to this forum:

        indoors iso-400

        outdoors iso-125 (red-braun treetops at 100% nevertheless blurry/fuzzy)

      • 17.2.2) Max
        February 15, 2013 at 3:35 pm

        With image quality I mean when I zoom in to 100%. With my Panasonic I do not see more when I go to 100%, its just blurry/fuzzy/smeared. Thats why I dont like this camera. I want a camera which shows details and is sharp even at 100%.

        So what to buy: Fuji X100, D3200 or D600?

        • Pads
          February 15, 2013 at 4:54 pm

          If you have the money, and you don’t mind carrying heavy equipment, then go for the D600. :)

          • Max
            February 16, 2013 at 4:11 am

            *IF* the image quality is good visibly better, *THEN* I dont mind the weight. So the question is: Does it?

          • Max
            February 16, 2013 at 4:15 am

            Because if the quality is only marginal bettern ,then I dont want to spend more money and to carry more weight on my travelings and hikings. Thats why I would like to know about the image quality difference, how perceptibly/noticable it is when looking at pictures in 100%.

            • don (not Don B) :)
              February 16, 2013 at 4:25 am

              Have you considered the D600 with a decent travel lens? Maybe the new Nikon 28-300mm… It is not that bad a lens and will pretty much fit your needs. Personally I do not mind the weight. I am going to Norway in a few weeks to shoot and I will be carrying the “trinity” with me, a 300mm, f2.8, a 105mm, and tripod with hyrdostatic ballhead mounted on a Manfrotto.. It will be heavy but at the end of the day it is all about what works for you…

              Second when you say, looking at pictures at 100%, I am assuming you mean 100% crop. Also your monitor comes into play here as well. What looks great on one monitor could luck utterly terrible on another. I have a friend that was actually editing his photos on a TV screen. It was a nightmare after he saw the same images on a good monitor. He only had to go back and reprocess about 2500 images…

            • Max
              February 16, 2013 at 7:14 am

              Hi Don

              Thanks for your reply.

              Before I start thinking about lenses, I have a decision to make. and for that, image quality is important for me. of course also the weight and size and price of the camera. but image quality is my most important thing, since I am really disappointed with ALL photos from the point and shoot. Unfortunately nobody wants to answer my questions, formost the one about does image quality good visible increase when going from fuji x1000 to D3200 and again when going from D3200 to D600 — or is the quality improvment more marginal?

              The answers which came till now, like “buy this” or “buy that” are not really helpful.

            • Max
              February 16, 2013 at 7:19 am

              p.s. @ Don: yes, with 100% I was meaning looking at a phote on my EIZO monitor and adjust the zoom to 100%.

              When you do that with the two fotos I posted above (from my point and shot), you will notice that its very, very blurry. the red-brown treetop is just a smear of color, and the hairdos could as well be made of plastic or cotton … its just fuzzy. THIS I DONT WANT ANYMORE, thats why I am looking for a new camera with good image quality, but I dont know if a Fuji x100 would be enough, or if it gets even better with a D3200 or if a D600 (besides from 1000 new featurs) would also again improve image quality good visibly.

        • don (not Don B) :)
          February 16, 2013 at 7:38 am

          Hi Max,

          For some reason my comment is awaiting moderation. Not sure why. If you want, you can write me at: sapporobaby@gmail.com and we can continue from there.

      • 17.2.3) don (not Don B) :)
        February 16, 2013 at 7:31 am


        I think you are being a bit unfair to those here in the thread. Maybe no one has the equipment to test against to provide you with the answer you require. I would suggest you hit some camera sites, dpreview, and dxomark come to mind… Have a quick peek at this: http://wiki.nikonians.org/index.php/IQ_-_Image_Quality to get a short overview of the factors involved in IQ…

        With that being said, I would buy the D600, or even a D800, or D4 if you can afford it. Slap on a 24-70mm to start with and shoot until your trigger finger gets a blister… :) I am shooting a D4 with the lenses I mentioned above and could not be happier… As to not monopolize Romanas’s thread, feel free to drop me a line at: sapporobaby@gmail.com and we can continue this offline…


        • Max
          February 23, 2013 at 12:31 pm

          Unfair? Equipment? Its a simple question: All I want to know is if you shoot the same scene with a D3200 and then again with a D600 and look then at the two pictures, if an ordinary person would spontaneous judge the picture with D600 as better. I can’t see what is unfair. If I stare at the DxO sensor results the difference seems to be, as written above, very little. But numbers are only numbers and laboratory results. Thats why I want to know how it is in reality. I am not going to spend 2000$ if I can’t see with my naked eye a difference. This whole theory on this web site is driving me nuts.

          • Profile photo of Romanas Naryškin Romanas Naryškin
            February 23, 2013 at 12:41 pm

            Max, I can’t answer that question. I buy gear not because my client will see a technical difference. I use the cameras, not the other way around. I buy new gear when I grow out of the old one. To improve. So that, with time, my results improve. So that, in time, my clients would tell me – I like these images more than I liked the older ones. Not because of the camera, but because I got better. What I can tell you is that I would find my work much less stressful – I mean weddings in particular – if I were to shoot them with a D600, and the results much more to my liking because of the aesthetics brought by a larger sensor as well as confidence when shooting in low light. All I can tell you is that I would buy a D600 over a D3200 if my budget permitted it, with my current skills. Were I a beginner, I would probably buy a D3200 in fear D600 would overwhelm me with its complexity.

            It all depends on what you shoot and what are your priorities. Were you to photograph a landscape with both cameras, I doubt you’d see enough difference to justify price increase. If you were to photograph a portrait the way I photograph portraits, the difference would be worth it for me. Not sure what you value in portrait photography. Were you to photograph a low-light scene at high sensitivities, I believe you would find D600 to render those images noticeably better.

            • Max
              February 24, 2013 at 1:05 pm

              Roman, thank you for your answer. It’s much appreciated. In fact you did answered the question for me. If there would be a big differnce in image quality from this one more bit color depth and this one more EV in dynamic range, then you would certainly know it. So the differnce seems to be small what I anticipated. The big proges in PC graphic history were steps of 8 bit, not only of 1 bit. First 8 bit for EGA, then 16 bit for VGA, then 32 bit.

              One of the things you wrote was ” … if I were to shoot them with a D600 the results were much more to my liking because of the *aesthetics* brought by a larger sensor…”

              Here I would like to ask you what exactly is producing that *more aesthetic*?

              Since its not the image quality (color depth, dynamic range) then it must be the ability to better isolate a subject, is it that what you mean here? Or is there anything else beyond less depth of field what makes the picture more aesthetic with the big sensor? (we talk here about a situation with enough light and a situation which is easy to focus on)

              Roman I’m really interested in your answer.

              P.S. I was surfing a little bit in your photo gallery. You have really some very nice portraits there :)

            • Max
              February 24, 2013 at 1:09 pm

              Sorry for the tying errors. I wanted to write “Romanas”.

          • Don (not Don B) :)
            February 23, 2013 at 12:48 pm

            Max, sorry but it appears that your views are a bit unrealistic… Like hearing, seeing is somewhat subjective. What I might find pleasing someone else might not… Two people seeing the same image might not be able to tell the difference while those same two people in a blind test might mix the results… If this is really important to you, I would suggest staying with the equipment that you have because I do not think you will be satisfied with any result given… As I stated earlier, I started at the top (D3S —> D4) rather than work my way up because I am smart enough and have the dedication to learn how to use the camera and its features… For me the jump from the D3S to the D4 was worth the money. For others, not so much. It is all relative to how you see value…

            • Max
              February 24, 2013 at 1:23 pm

              Don, this should not be a philosophical debate. More color depth is almost always perceived as better, so the question was merely if 1 or 2 bit difference will be spontaneous noticed from ordinary persons. I am sure you know exactly what I wanted to ask.

          • Ads
            April 6, 2013 at 10:43 pm

            “if you shoot the same scene with a D3200 and then again with a D600 and look then at the two pictures, if an ordinary person would spontaneous judge the picture with D600 as better.”

            The D600 and D3200 will give visibly different results in terms of perspective. To cut a long story short, the D600 has a larger sensor, so you need a more powerful lens to get the same field of view. For portraits you’ll get more separation between your subject and the background all else being equal (read the “DX v FX” article for a proper explanation – D600=FX, D3200=DX).

            The D600 will have lower noise levels, but they would only be noticeable on large prints, or if you are shooting ISOs over 1600. If you are going to print 8x10s or on a computer screen I doubt you could realistically tell the difference beyond the perspective.

            Mind you, both of those cameras will absolutely blow the TZ10 out of the water in terms of picture quality.

            • Mark
              April 7, 2013 at 1:58 pm

              Hi Ads

              Thanks for your late reply. Let me declare the conditions more detailed:

              – shoot with each camera the same scene
              – there’s no need for high iso
              – you adjust the focal length that they match each other (D600 1.5 times more)
              – and you adjust the aperture that they deliver the same depth of field (I guess that means the D600 is one full f-stopp smaller)

              now after shooting you look at it on a pixel level = @ pictures native resolution

              What would a average person see: Is there a huge difference, or almost no difference (under the above conditions)?

              Nasim said “theres a huge difference between image quality”.

              But DXO-Sensor-marks state that there is only a tiny difference in dynamic range and color depth. I belive DXO judges the raw files, so the lens-quality would be included in the results of this sensor-mark. Why is the difference according to DXO so tiny? Did they use a super FX lens when testing the D3200 camera, while in daily life an average person would rather a DX-lens, then the difference would become bigger between D3200 and D600?

              I have a problem to bring the statement of Nasim and the results from DXO together. They seem to be contradictionary.

              In my country we can not send bought items back, and buying from America would not be the cheapest solution. Thats why, without practical experience, I am torturing my brain in the effort to understand these two statements and bring them together. I dont want to buy the wrong camera.

              On the other hand, later on Roman said to me, that he is not sure If one would see the difference. So for me this means, there can’t be a huge difference, because if there would be a huge on, Roman would know. Thus Roman and Nasim have mabe different meanings. Or its my condition which makes the difference disappear. Maybe there is only a huge difference in low light, but not with enough light, or similar only a huge difference when you shoot with same aperture so the FX camera has less dept of field. But why should you use the same aperture. you would choose on DX automatically one aperture bigger. Or buy a lens that has a bigger max aperture to compensate. Thus only the low light conditions’s left as a huge-difference-creator. If my conclusion is true, that with enough light there is no difference but only in low light a huge difference, then its clear that I dont FX.

            • Mark
              April 7, 2013 at 2:05 pm

              I dont know if my conclusion is true. But if it is, then I would not pay double for ab FX-system, if the only difference is a bigger viewfinder and better image quality ONLY AT LOW LIGHT CONDITIONS.

              It would be different, if the huge image quality difference would also exists in Not-low-light-conditions. Does it, or does it not? I do belive not from what I heard from Roman and read at DXO-page

            • Ads
              April 7, 2013 at 4:44 pm

              Firstly, indoors with no flash IS low light.

              DXO mark explain their testing procedure pretty simply. Lenses are tested separately (hence there’s no sharpness value given to a sensor) and their performance on various bodies is in their lens database. BTW – I’m not sure I’d call 10 points overall a “tiny amount” (not that I’d buy a camera solely based on benchmarks).

              I suggest you read the DX v FX article again – the difference in separation is largely *because* of the difference in focal length – longer lens = less depth of field/more subject separation all else equal. The “select a bigger aperture” argument is a moot point because you will choose the biggest aperture for a lens on both bodies. I only mentioned it because you said you found lack of separation an issue with your point and shoot.

              You asked if an average person can tell the difference then talk about pixel level performance – unless you are making murals measured in yards then no one will realistically see pixel level performance.

              Go to your local camera store with an SD card and ask to take a bunch of photos with both bodies and any lenses you are interested in. Takes 10 minutes and camera stores are generally only too happy to help. Then judge the photos yourself – MUCH better and faster than spending months online asking questions.

              If that isn’t an option look on flickr for shots done with both cameras, download the original files and see which you like.

              In case you haven’t figured it out, you wont get a “just buy the …” answer, photography like all art forms is subjective and there’s no way for us to tell what looks good to your eyes.

              If it helps I’m a semi-pro wildlife shooter currently shooting a D5100 (DX). On my next photography trip I’ll have a D600 in my bag.

        • Max
          February 24, 2013 at 1:42 pm

          “Slap on a 24-70mm to start with and shoot until your trigger finger gets a blister… :)”

          Don, the 24-70mm is one of the lenses which I have in mind. Since so many people enthuses about it, it must be a good and practical lens. But about the blister on my trigger finger, I am quite the opposite. 90% of my pictures I shoot while traveling. And while traveling I try spend as much time as possible “in the moment” and enjoy the moment when I see something new. I shoot as little as possible but as much as necesary to remember my trips. This is how I use my camera now. Maybe it will change with a good camera which provides many possibilities. Maybe not.

          • don (not Don B) :)
            February 24, 2013 at 1:47 pm


            I was meaning to get the lens and enjoy it, explore it, become part of it. I did this when I first got mine. It is still my go to lens. It is permanently mounted on my D4 (most of the time anyway)… It is a great lens and I am glad I purchased it.

          • James
            May 31, 2013 at 3:06 am

            Max, I have the D800 with the 24-70 f2.8, I bought mine 5 yrs ago and used it on my D700 as well. this is a great lens but have it shortcomings for a travel lens. it is heavy and a fair amount of distortion but very sharp most of the defects can be corrected in post processing. I bought the 24-120 f4 as a travel lens, I visit Europe, Far East and US at least 3 to 4 times a year. This is a magical lens. F4 on the new camera’s with high ISO is no problem. you get more reach and the IQ is very good and is lighter. I use this lens with my D600 as a travel kit and is great. another very good lens is the 24-85 that comes as a Kit lens with the D600. I recently did a workshop with a well known professional photographer on a trip to the US and he run the total workshop with a D90 and a 16-85mm lens. if was fun to see the images he produced with this kid vs us who arrived with all the latest stuff. the ability to compose great images still super-cedes what he called pretty pictures..

        • Hei Lung
          March 1, 2013 at 7:34 pm

          The D8oo with its 36mp per frame and the f2.8 24-70 are a total blast. I watch my pictures on my big screen high definition TV, better than movies. Zooming in reveals detail and scenes unnoticed during shooting. Printing is incidental to the impact of the big screen. No compromises now. Even at f2.8 sometimes light is a struggle. Slower lenses ? No fun.

  18. 18) Max
    February 15, 2013 at 9:19 am

    I have no idea if 1 bit more color depth and 1 EV more dynamic range is absolutely substantial or good visible or virtually imperceptible.

    • 18.1) Adnan Khan
      February 15, 2013 at 10:46 am

      Max ,any consideration on Fuji X100s ? ,I think it fits your needs if you are not lugging heavy zooms around on your trips :)
      Don’t worry about bit depths if you are not printing more than 3 feet :)
      But if you really want a DSLR then D600 is a very good camera :)


      • 18.1.1) Max
        February 15, 2013 at 2:58 pm

        Hey Adnan :)

        I just searched and found Fuji X100 and X100s on snapsort.com. they have a big sensor, and they are quite small, I like that. the x100 has a good price as well.

        the resolution determs the print size, for me its more than enough, I never print 3 feet :)

        but what about the other bits, the one more bit in color depth and the 1 more EV in dynamic range. Is that good visible, or barely not?

        What I want is foremost a good image quality with no blurred structures and details of static/not- moving subjects when there is enough light. My Panasonic point and shoot cleary and absolutely fail in this matter. Maybe I am picky, but I really cant understand, how anybody can be happy with such a smearing camera!! Thats beyond me.

        If a small camera like Fuji X100 can bring a superb image quality, then I will buy it. But if an D3200 or a D600 captures (non-moving) subjects (when there is enough ligh) with good visible better image quality and details, then I would prefere to buy the bigger cameras. Really, I have so enough of 95 scrap-pictures after my holydays. So many lost memories! Even with my old film Koday point-and-shoot with 35mm built in lens I was happier about the pictures, and to have a viewer.than with my crappy, blurry, smeared Panasonic digital point and shoot!

        What would you say about IMAGE QUALITY X100 => D32000 => D600 …. from step to step IMAGE QUALITY gets good visible better, or only very little / barely perceptible?

      • 18.1.2) Max
        February 15, 2013 at 3:32 pm

        P.S. about printing:
        In the last few years I was never printing out a photo. I like to look them sometimes on my screen in 100%. For instance the above “indoors iso 400” – picture. Every person is quite small on this picture. So I like to zoom in going to 100% to see more details and to remember me about this person. But with my Panasonic I do not see more when I go to 100%, its just blurry/fuzzy/smeared. Thats why I dont like this camera. I want a camera which shows details and is sharp even in 100%. So what to buy: Fuji X100, D3200 or D600?

    • 18.2) Max
      February 15, 2013 at 3:44 pm

      this forum needs an edit function!! posting 25 was a mistake, it should be only 26. but then adnan responded to 25, so I had to reply there as well. but then went back to posting 24 and proceeded there. Now its a mess with double-postings.

      With a proper edit funktion I could shrink them all into 1 article. — sorry for the mess. I hope nevertheless someone professional could advice me, accordin to my criterias and wishes, if to buy Fuji X100 or D3200 or D600.

      • 18.2.1) Adnan Khan
        February 16, 2013 at 2:27 pm

        Max , I agree with the edit button ,it will be very useful for typos :)

        You didn’t have to go anywhere both cameras are reviewed and discussed on this site :)
        X100 is older model with 12MP and X100s is 16MP with some refinements ,both look same :)
        They both have DX size 1.5x crop sensor.

        Do you remember 10-13 yrs. ago before digital what camera you had or what 99.9% camera owners (excluding special Pro people ) where using ? … may it be a disposable point n shoot or nice rangefinder or a high end DSLR like F5 or EOS3 … they all had one thing in common ,the sensor (film) ,same size , picture quality depended on lenses and how good a PG was.Only thing developing in those days was better metering ability with faster auto focusing and then we suddenly entered in digital ,at first it was really out of reach with crappy pictures but now everyone can afford a Ferrari :)
        But,if the roads are not straight and well made the Ferrari is useless as one can’t drive it the way it was made for.
        In short ,if you are not selling your pictures ,not printing huge prints and are just a hobbyist like me then in digital you don’t need to upgrade with already having a very nice latest PnS camera ,unless you want to upgrade to proper cameras.

        The frustration with image quality you are having is completely understandable ,but those mushy looking pictures if printed like old times in 4×6 will not show any difference.
        Tiny sensors will never be able to match the image quality of the least standard size in PG ,which is 36×24 and is called 35mm format.

        On TV you will only be able to see 1920×1080 size as it’s the resolution of the TV no matter if it is 72 inch or 46 inch …and your image is 24MP or 36MP.
        In high end monitors however the resolution is pretty high but still haven’t known a monitor that will show a 12MP picture in full size all at once.

        A 6 MP image can easily be printed in 6ft. size but you have to see it from 10-15ft away and it will appear sharp!

        Now with advancement of tech. and will be more in future every yr. (they just can’t put out 10 yr. future development in one go as they have to make money every yr.) smaller sensors will keep on improving ,some Pros have already switched to camera phones :)

        Having said that ,in digital tech matters in film lens matters (technically)

        It’s a very easy decision if you want a better camera.

        Want full frame 35mm DSLR ?
        D600 is a very good camera with very high ISO performance ,better than D800 and D4 and Canon high end DSLRs. You wil NOT see any difference in image quality compared to other expensive models.
        It can autofocus at F8 ,meaning if the lens Fstop is minimum to F8 like you have mounted a 2x converter on a lens the 3 new Nikon cameras can focus at F8 while last generation was limited to F5.6.

        YOU WILL NOT SEE THE DR OR 1 EV DIFFERENCE, this is only a technical specification , however a bit of advancement in technology and as I said if you are not printing huge this does not matter or if you accidently shot a high key photo in RAW ,you might get to recover some details and this might be of some very little help.

        What lens ? well it depends entirely on you as I shoot everything from macros to wildlife to landscapes so,i’m kind of a want all type of hobbyist :) but master of none :)

        28-300 is a good all in one solution. a fast 50 1.8 or 1.4 is always handy. Well, for lenses sky is the limit and only your budget might stop you. In wide zoom the new 18-35 is going to be a very good lens for general purpose wide angle shooting.
        BUT! this is heavy stuff if you carry n walk for 6-8 hrs with it.

        DX DSLRs are also becoming better every yr. Right now in tech D5200 is the best DX camera but will equalize the weight when you start adding lenses not much of a difference in size. For faster shooting D7000 is very good but it’s new model might be coming soon.

        You will need fast cards like Sandisk extreme pro series to keep up with burst shooting and large file sizes ,and these cards are your Film! so do not go cheap on that ,they hold what ever you shot.

        Do not shoot RAW if you are not going to process heavily and have to sell your pictures ,just normal JPGs with customized sharpness and color to taste are enough.They will do in camera distortion correction automatically and will save great space and money on not upgrading your PC as storing n opening a 24MP or 36MP RAW file be around 40 to 82 MB in size. I only shoot RAW when shooting Lanscapes , serious tripod Macros and actual wildlife , for family events n Zoo shots I switch to JPGs. In high contrast situation shoot RAW for better highlight and shadow recovery, but only if the photo is important enough :)

        The picture quality of D3200 or even D5200 will not be equal to D600 at high ISO ,those are half frame DX cameras and D600 is a standard 35mm camera.

        Well ,this post was about Nikon DSLRs but I mentioned Fuji as they have come up with some very good DX size cameras in past couple of yrs. and Fuji also makes lenses for large format 4×5 to 8×10 cameras too! not to mention their film history.In short it is a very serious company and has a great part in photography in many ways. And your demand was very simple :)

        X100s is not a action camera but very good for street and travel pics and portraits too! and its fixed F2 lens is very very nice. That is why I’ll be ditching heavy DSLRs on trips and will take only this with 2 extra batteries as they have less juice than the DSLR’s batteries. Fuji projected this same way as Leica did with M3 more than 50yrs. ago :) ” Men’s Jewelry” :)
        At ISO 3200 you are all set no problem :) ,search here on this site for it’s big brother’s review the X Pro 1 for which you have to buy separate lenses and a Leica mount is also available for it.The picture quality will be nearly same as the X Pro 1 of this new X100s both are DX. The X Pro 1 was compared with D800 and Canon 5D M3.

        For above ISO 3200 , down sample your image to 2 MP and have it printed in 4×6 or with some cleaning n sharpening have it printed in 8×10 or 12 then see the difference.

        You should print your most important or memorable shots ,it’s always good to have a hard copy :)
        Nowadays one can have book printed with selected shots and description a great addition to coffee table :)

        Sorry ,I didn’t see your first posts before and answered to to your last post which was to the point :)

        good luck n happy shooting


      • 18.2.2) don (not Don B) :)
        February 16, 2013 at 2:41 pm

        Hi Max,

        Have a look here: http://www.dxomark.com/index.php/Cameras/Compare-Camera-Sensors/Compare-cameras-side-by-side/(appareil1)/834|0/(brand)/Nikon/(appareil2)/792|0/(brand2)/Nikon/(appareil3)/767|0/(brand3)/Nikon for the camera comparisons. While the D600 has better marks on some things, your eye will never tell the difference. Not on a monitor, nor in print… Get the D600, and the 28-300mm, and maybe a fast 50mm if you are inclined… I am planning to buy a D600 as a backup to my D4 simply because the D600 offers most of the performance that I want in a high-end camera..

      • 18.2.3) Adnan Khan
        February 17, 2013 at 9:59 am

        Max ,
        You can download full size pictures from http://www.dpreview.com/ of all the cameras you are mentioning and compare ISO 3200 and ISO 6400 shots in full size.
        I downloaded a 25K ISO sample file from there of D800 and resized and cleaned it and then printed it and then immediately bought the non E version as I was waiting since 3 months in line for the E version but then dropped it and got the D800 :)
        You are upgrading from a tiny PnS ,the full size sample pictures of D600 will give you an idea what most people here are talking about and why they and including me are suggesting D600 as full frame 35mm camera :)


  19. 19) David
    February 15, 2013 at 3:36 pm

    Hi Romanas, i read your article with interest. Its a live topic for me , an entry level user myself with a D5100. I believe Nikon is losing out on the entry level user. This has implication beyond the entry user market.

    Your average Nikon DSLR camera comes without an AF motor. This restricts users to Nikon lenses and a the Few Nikon compatible 3rd party lens.

    Nikon’s range of consumer level lens is fairly limited, often expensive and sometimes not even the top two in the range. Heavens help you if your particular interests are not catered for. Your stuck.

    I love my D5100, its a superb camera. But I am considering defecting to Canon, only so that i can get my big three ie <20, 20-135, and 100-400 at a price that does not kill my budget.

    The D 7000 is a good camera but lacks the articulating screen, which i find very helpful.

    I would like to hear yours and other readers views.

    • 19.1) Calibrator
      February 17, 2013 at 2:02 am

      > Your average Nikon DSLR camera comes without an AF motor. This restricts users to Nikon lenses and a the Few Nikon compatible 3rd party lens.

      Only the D3x00 and D5x00 series have no AF motor. Everthing above that has one, including the D7000 (and it’s older sibling the D90).
      There’s also a thing called “manual focus” – you may have heard of it. ;-)

      > Nikon’s range of consumer level lens is fairly limited, often expensive and sometimes not even the top two in the range. Heavens help you if your particular interests are not catered for. Your stuck.

      If you buy a consumer body then don’t expect pro lenses. Nikon may perhaps act only consistently here and doesn’t expect consumer body customers to buy them.
      With Canon you can’t even use their cropped sensor lenses on the full frame bodies you better be careful what you buy if you have an upgrade path in mind.

      > The D 7000 is a good camera but lacks the articulating screen, which i find very helpful.

      I have the same opinion of such a screen – but Nikon still offers no semi-pro and pro level bodies with articulated screen. Disdaining the pro Nikon range because of this single feature isn’t helpful in the end.

      And by the way: The biggest Canon body at this point with a swilling screen is the 60D, isn’t it? Even the new 6D doesn’t have one.
      The only full frame with interchangeable lenses coming the mind that features a swivelling screen is the Sony A99 – which is more expensive than a D800.

      • 19.1.1) Adnan Khan
        February 17, 2013 at 11:19 am

        Agreed Calibrator :) and Canon is cheating in APS-C cameras with the 4 yr old sensor by just tweaking it and changing cosmetics of camera bodies ,compare the D5100 or D5200 with any of their models even the D32000 wins in IQ.
        Nikon’s lens lineup is different but Nikon is basically an optical company first and that’s why some of their lenses are collectible items and high end lenses are also a tip better than Canon.
        There is no harm in using FX lenses on DX bodies and if 18-200 DX and 70-300 VR can’t satisfy you then good luck with the 100-400 :) ,grass always looks greener on the other side :)
        I’ve used both, in film ,it doesn’t matter but Nikon in digital is far better than Canon.
        Canon cheats and Nikon loots :)
        Canon’s lens lineup looks more in numbers as only the 70-200 are 4 lenses , F4 IS ,F4 L, F2.8 L ,2.8 L2 only the new 2.8 model is best btw :) and NOT cheap!

        I never suggest 3rd party lenses but 1K Sigma 150-500 has really good optics apart from being different from sample to sample in auto focusing :) ,if longer reach is your desire it will AF with non motorized bodies and on DX will crop shoot at 750mm at 500mm FL.

        And I know Nikon’s newer version of 80-400 VR will be $500 expensive than the still expensive older model :) but I’m eagerly waiting for it :)

        I’m not against Canon in fact my very first DSLR was a Canon 350D :)
        Canon pissed me off when I came to know that I can’t even mount the new EF lenses on AE-1 for manual focusing ,on other hand I’m using more than 30 yr old Nikon’s 55mm 2.8 AIs (1979 -today and Nikon themselves has to come up with a sharp lens like that) lens on latest digital to older film cameras and green focusing dot is a big help there :)
        After selling out all Canon stuff I’m still keeping one basic SLR EOS 300 with 50 1.8 and 35mm F2 ,both are very nice mediocre primes.

        If all the fuss is about articulating screen ,then I have nothing to say …LOL ..I’m just worried how people have survived without that for more than 150 yrs!

        Good luck n happy defecting David :)


        • David
          February 20, 2013 at 10:51 pm

          Thanks guys, the comments and suggestions were helpful. I did not know about Canon’s dx/fx incompatability and I ve held off crossing over. Happily, Ive found the lenses I want , so I can keep my 5100.

          I actually prefer manual focus to AF but dont want to do this for bird photography.

          I find articulated lenses LCDs very helpful. Last weekend , I went up the hills to take pics of a famous rock formation. I reached in fading light. I did not have a tripod. I found a ledge , rested the camera on it , used the LCD to aim and took pics . It worked. I’m surprised the new D7100 wont have this feature.

  20. 20) Rohan Machado
    February 16, 2013 at 7:36 am

    The price difference between apsc and ff is decreasing every day…

    If you think you would “grow” into photography… My suggestion is to bite the bullet and go FF right away … At least in lenses.

    Switching from apsc to FF later is doubly expensive.

    I wish I started in FF.

    My two cents.

    • 20.1) don (not Don B) :)
      February 16, 2013 at 8:03 am

      Spot on… Great summation Rohan…

    • 20.2) Rohan Machado
      February 16, 2013 at 9:12 am

      My suggestion for camera + lens is “used D700” + 50mm 1.8g lens

      One of the best lenses, D3 sensors, weather sealed, superb AF 51points covering entire sensor.

      Comparable to D7000 kit price. Performance is entirely different league.

      • 20.2.1) don
        February 16, 2013 at 9:19 am

        Yes Rohan… Another great call… I offered my daughter a D800 but she loves her D700 to death. Does not want to part with it…

  21. 21) Michael
    February 16, 2013 at 1:02 pm

    Great article, I initially got the D3200 kit, but living in Seattle I added the D7000 and a couple of prime lenses just so I can take advantage of the weather sealing. I have used it in the rain several times. But sometimes I grab the D3200 because it weighs less.

  22. 22) Tim
    February 16, 2013 at 3:13 pm

    Great Article!

    I had no-idea what i was doing when i got my first dslr. so i just picked the one that felt good. i picked the d5100 and i have had it for almost 2 yrs. the d5100 has been the best teacher of photography i could ever want! i know a lot more about camera’s and photography now and i still recommend the d5100 as great starting camera! its amazingly easy and teachers you how to use it!

    Best advice i got was to give up looking at specs and go for something you are comfortable with!

  23. 23) Pascal
    February 17, 2013 at 4:59 am

    Maybe slightly off topic but I have a feeling that Nikon won’t be replacing the D7000. In that same gut feeling, I believe that Nikon positioned the D600 as a D7000 replacement. The D600 shares too many similarities with the D7000, such as body ergonomics and AF system. So D7000 users will feel comfortable with the D600 from day 1. The D600 is clearly not a replacement for the D700 (again body ergonomics and AF system). Combine this with Nasim’s reasoning on the future of DX, I believe we won’t see a D7000 replacement in the DX segment. I don’t even think we’ll see a D400 for that matter. What are your thoughts on this?

    • 23.1) Adnan Khan
      February 17, 2013 at 9:34 am

      Pascal ,if they have come up with D5200 in DX it means that a new high end faster FPS DX camera is now missing in the new models’ lineup ,D600 is not that fast and D300s is much older than D7000 which itself is now more than 2 yrs old.
      Here is a rumor for D400 or D7100 …. who knows :)


      • 23.1.1) Pascal
        February 17, 2013 at 10:57 am

        Well, the D5200 is now the top of the line DX camera. While the more serious enthusiast will more likely jump to FX immediately. There are currently two entry level DLSR’s and I think those will cover 99% of the beginners. Yes the D7000 is faster than the D5200 and D600 but how many people need that? I’m confident that the majority of the D5200 / D7000 users don’t need higher speed. And don’t forget that as soon as you’ll get into areas where speed is important, you’ll find that high ISO is equally important. Even the D7000 is not a rock star in high ISO (it’s not bad but it’s not good enough though).
        Also, with a camera as the D800 available, I see no need for a D400. The D800 is very capable in DX mode (16M, that’s more than the current D300). I think Nikon should bring out a camera that sits between the D600 and D800. Same body ergonomics as the D800 (and D700) but with the IQ of the D600.

    • 23.2) Marcus
      February 17, 2013 at 10:20 am

      I think DX is neither dead nor dying. Nikon just makes too much money with it (and will continue to do so as full frame isn’t a cheap mass market product thanks to the expensive sensor alone).

      That being said, Nikon is a bit shy of supporting the DX market with DX lenses except pretty much only superzooms.
      If you want faster standard zoom without going bankrupt you have to resort to Sigma & Co.
      The same goes for faster ultra-wides (Tokina and Sigma) or ultra-ultra wides (Sigma 8-16 mm).
      There isn’t a wide prime and no tilt&shift-lens in the DX range. The latter can perhaps be understood & excused a little but Nikon seems to see DX clearly as a consumer product for people leaving their standard kit zooms or superzooms glued onto their cameras.

      However, what Nikon does well is flooding the market with yearly update after update of small DX bodies. They also keep older bodies available and you can often buy truly old stuff like a D3000 without searching a lot (at least in Old Europe ;-)). And with each of those bodies they sell you the same old kit lenses…

      Personally, I do expect a higher-end DX body this year, too. I don’t know if it will be a “D400” or a “D7200” but I’ll be interested in it as I might need one to replace my D7000. Not that I expect it to die soon – but what if that happens? A full frame body would require lens purchases and I’m nearly completely happy with mine. I only want a faster 16-85mm zoom — continuous F2.8 with VR would be nice, but I don’t think such a thing will be made (Sigma has a 17-70 F2.8-4.0 OS which is *nearly* what I want, though).

      I’m not really hot for the D600 (it’s a full frame D7000 so it would require replacing some of my lenses) and the D800/s is far from perfect for me, too (too slow, no 1080p50/60 modes and no U1/2 settings on the mode dial). No, I’m not exactly in a hurry to upgrade.

      • 23.2.1) Pascal
        February 17, 2013 at 11:07 am

        One of the reasons why I believe that there will be no D7000 replacement is the fact that Nikon has been creating new, very capable, FX lenses that are quite cheap. True, the D600 is still more expensive than the D7000 initially was but the difference is not that huge. I guess that most serious enthusiasts would go for the D600 today instead of the D7000 replacement.

        • treat
          February 18, 2013 at 11:23 am

          actually, the current pricing difference between a D7K and a D600 is still pretty huge:

          D7000 (body-only) == US$896
          D600 (body-only) == US$1996

  24. 24) Iamgeek
    February 17, 2013 at 12:41 pm

    I started with D7000 as my first camera and now i replace it with d800 and I must say it was nice camera if you staring out (nice resolution, ok low light, ok fps, great video mode) and it still is…:D

  25. 25) Srini
    February 18, 2013 at 8:10 am

    I would liked the inclusion of the full frame D600 in this article!

    • 25.1) don (not Don B) :)
      February 18, 2013 at 1:19 pm

      Maybe if you asked nicely and said please you might get your wish… Manner matter…

  26. 26) gregorylent
    March 1, 2013 at 7:50 am

    FX? … go for the d800 .. my d600 is falling apart after just five months .. mode dial, can’t pull it out of the bag without the settings changing, (stop doesn’t work anymore), sd card slot cover, loose as a goose, pops open when gripping .. spend a couple of extra bills, get the 800

  27. 27) James
    March 2, 2013 at 9:15 am

    My first was the D90 second hand, great camera and advance enough to challenge one to learn. Then I bought the best lenses I could afford. 17-35mm F2.8, 24-85 f3.5-4.5, (this lens is totally underated, light to carry all day) 70-200 f2.5 VR I. ( bought used from someone who always buy the latest) I did a photography course and studied my equipment. I do a lot of wildlife and landscapes. I the sold my D90 as the shutter started to go and bought a D300s and D700. I can use my lenses on both and have the DX advantage for wildlife with 70-200 f2.8 with 2x converter. It is more equipment I will ever master and IQ on both I’d great. My experience, by mid range D90 or D7000 used, by good glass and grow, the 3000 and 5000 series are good but will hold your learning back

  28. 28) sandifjm
    March 19, 2013 at 2:23 pm

    I got a D3100 a couple of years ago, and it has been a great starter camera. Even now, I’m still routinely surprised at the images that it’s able to produce. Instead of splashing out on a high-end camera before I really knew what I was doing, I started small, and invested in a few good lenses, books and lessons.

    Photography is an incredible hobby. It’s endlessly fascinating, very rewarding, and always humbling. Even if you’ve taken what you believe to be the best shot of your life, a quick look online, or through a classmate or acquaintance’s portfolio will show you that there is still so much more to learn.

    So far I’ve received a couple of “honourable mentions” in amateur contests, actually sold an image to a company for use on their website, and had a request from a pub owner to hang one of my shots up in their establishment.

    I would recommend the D3100 to anyone looking to get started. I’ve thought about maybe sometime down the road going the semi-pro route, and shooting weddings, engagements, baptisms etc. on weekends. If that happens, then I would have to consider an upgrade to a higher-end model. As I continue to improve, I am beginning to run up against some of the camera’s limitations, but for the most part, I remain very satisfied with the D3100. New photographers should focus more on learning about composition, light, exposure, aperture and basic technique; rather than technical specs. That will all come with time.

  29. 29) Steve Z
    March 21, 2013 at 3:40 pm

    Nice article and very useful, informative website.

    I’m coming back to photography after some years of being out of the loop. My last serious camera was the Nikon F3 and an assortment of prime and decent quality Nikkor zooms. I haven’t really paid attention to what’s out there since, and I’m really not a gear-head. I don’t get much enjoyment out of poring over the tech articles and obsessing over gear — I’d rather be outside hiking, fishing, biking or canoeing and taking photos as and adjunct to my activities.

    I’m pretty old school I guess in my shooting style, and doubt that I’d ever make use of most of the auto features available on modern DSLRs. I like the creative challenge and control of leaving a camera in manual and making my own f/stop, shutter speed and ISO choices. That being said, I’m a big believer in using the best glass possible, since anything thrown away before the film/sensor is gone forever — no amount of post-processing is going to bring it back. I feel the same about film, which would translate to today’s sensors — I value the widest dynamic range, saturation, finest grain and lowest noise.

    So what out there among all the FX-format cameras would suit my style and values? I know they can all be put in manual. Is there a camera body that subordinates bells and whistles for ease and range of creative control? Or should I dust off my old FM2 and call it good?

    Thanks for your time and sharing your experience.

    Steve Z

    • 29.1) Adnan Khan
      March 21, 2013 at 6:14 pm

      If you like to shoot slide film and it’s getting developed and scanned in your area , stick to film.
      Digital swamp = digital rot= heavy investment on computer and software and some sharper glass to match high resolution , plus your camera becomes obsolete with in 4 yrs. max.
      And if you are not a commercial photographer ,who needs his workflow fast.

      I only drowned in digital as there is no more slide film developing in my area anymore all labs are closed except Neg.And I’m just a hobbyist, though I still occasionally shoot film too.

      if you like to taste it a D5100 or a D5200 would be enough for basic models with either the kit zoom 18-55 lenses or 35mm 1.8 DX prime = 50mm in 35mm format for starers.
      Want a bit advanced level then D7000 or new D7100
      Cheaper model in full frame is D600 ,I’m sure you’ll figure out the lenses :)
      Semi Pro advanced model is D800 with F100’s body design is 36 MP and about 3K USD for body only.
      Full Pro is D4.
      Choice is yours and sky is the limit.

      Nikon is best in digital ,IQ wise with all models from basic to Pro compared with Canon in full frame only ,Canon’s APS-C cams suck.
      Nikon loots ,Canon cheats, Sony sucks :)

      In rangefinder class Leica has full frame and Fuji has DX cropped sensor, you can figure out the price difference among them as was in past :) ,Fuji is surprisingly very good as there films are :)

      With a decent scanner which has a better Dmax in $700 (basic level camera body price ) you can scan your own negs or slides which will cost a LOT less.

      But do get a little taste of digital too :) ,I’m sure as an experienced shooter you won’t be having any trouble ,but feel free to ask if you have any more questions as what happened to PGy while you were away in the mean time :)

      I’m not a gearhead nor married to Nikon and have shot many brands in film ,one has to keep up daily in this rocket fast world as with a gap of just 3 yrs. I’m still catching up ;)


      • 29.1.1) Tom Irwin
        March 21, 2013 at 7:13 pm

        Adnan Khan- That was the most useless diatribe I’ve ever read.
        You suggest people stick to film because digital requires a heavy investment to get a computer & software? Who do you think is reading this that be shooting film?
        This is 2013 not 1990. We have been in the digital age for decades. Computers have been a household item for almost 30 years and Nikon’s ViewNX 2 digital software is free. Sounds like this “rocket fast world” as you called it has move forward without you.
        Tom Irwin

      • 29.1.2) Steve Z
        March 21, 2013 at 8:11 pm

        Thanks for the reply, Adnan. I appreciate your time.

        No film developing here anymore in NW Montana. Probably hasn’t been for years. But even 30 years ago unless I found myself in a metropolitan area, sending stuff out was the rule rather than local developing. Or, develop it yourself. In high school I was lucky — we had a photography club and access to equipment, but as a young person I was never able to justify the cost of that kind of equipment, even though the cost of film and processing was hardly negligible . . .

        No problem with the computer skills or equipment, I’ve been using them since the DOS days. And have always had a Mac for my personal use ever since 1985.

        From your comments, it doesn’t seem like much has really changed overall in the biz end of photographic equipment, even though the technology and models have marched on. Lots to think about, and I appreciate your thoughts.

        Best regards,

        Steve Z

        • Adnan Khan
          March 22, 2013 at 2:16 am

          Steve ,
          You are most welcome, as you mentioned film that is why I replied about film as you were going to dust off your FM2 :) for my own personal pleasure and peace of mind I enjoy PGy with FM3a my last film camera :) , but also tried to update you very briefly on the current digital situation , if you are a hobbyist there is no problem enjoying both types of PG ,but if you want just digital the post is here and I added the semi pro and pro level models too as per your experience.
          You live in USA and are having trouble with developing, I’ve to sent it to UK if a friend or a family member is going or take it to Hong Kong or Malaysia with me on my business trips :) ..but yes, I understand :)
          13 yr old (practical) digital has evolved quite fast and now every other day a new camera from someone pops out (hence using of “rocket fast” words ) , but , there are some cameras that a real PG like you can enjoy :)

          As of today the Semi pro D800 / E with some exotic primes from Nikon and Zeiss or current mid zoom 24-70 2.8 is top level gear in general photography in 35mm.

          For full pro quality the 24 MP D3x is now available in sane price of 6K .but a cheaper D7000 DX beats it in Dynamic range ,personally not recommended as it’s pretty old now but if you want the build quality it’s still good to go anywhere :)

          If you are having ,55mm 2.8 AI-s micro,28 2.8 AI-s, 58 1.2 AI-s and 28 1.4 D from old days then those gems can still take the D800’s 36MPs by the horns :) even the mediocre 24mm 2.8 D does a pretty fine job, but the new 24 1.4 G is much better. If you are a prime shooter.

          14-24 2.8 ,16-35 F4 VR, 18-35 G (new) ,24-70 2.8 ,70-200 F4 VR III ,70-200 2.8 VR II and upcoming new 80-400 G VR II are top level ultra wide ,mid range and short to long tele zooms.

          24 1.4 G ,50mm 1.4 D or G, 85 1.4 or 1.8 G ,105 2.8 G VR Micro, 135 F2 DC and 200 F4 D Micro are top primes in Nikon, not including the beefy stuff from 200 to 800mm primes.(which are all very good)

          This site is very much respected by many top reviewers and photographers of digital world as of their testing of sensors and lenses.


          you can check the performance of sensors and lenses beside compare models and lenses.

          I was not questioning your computer skills but tried to mention that it is also included in the upgrade in digital world. A good PC or Mac with enough RAM running latest version should be OK.
          I’ve stopped using desktops and now buy the top level PC laptop with all upgrades included and use it for 2 yrs. max.

          good luck n good light :)



          Tom Irwin, the reply was NOT for you ,I don’t have to explain to you why n what I said.
          I’m sure you are a master level photographer, keep doing what you do best.

  30. 30) Steve Z
    March 22, 2013 at 10:00 am

    Hi Adnan,

    Thank you very much again for taking the time. Lots to think about in your post, and for my part I really need to dig in a bit a do my homework. You give me some very good starting points and advice.

    No need for any apologies about any of your comments — I was only giving a little feedback to better describe my experience level, be it with computers or with photography. It’s all good, and no argument with anything you’ve written.

    What I think I’ll do is buy some film, take the camera off the shelf and play around a little. Just to judge if I have the time and mental commitment to justify the expense of buying back into photography.

    It could be I’ve just got a touch of spring fever brought on by some unseasonably warm and sunny days here in Montana. Or too much time recently to spend on the computer. 8^)

    In the meantime I’ll do some more research and make myself smarter about the current state of digital photography. One thing for sure digital photography has going for it — instant gratification. No waits for for the postman to bring back the results from processing!

    Again, thanks very much. I find your advice very helpful.

    Best regards,

    Steve Z

    • 30.1) Adnan Khan
      March 23, 2013 at 8:43 am

      Hey Steve :)
      No problem mate , glad you find my quick tips helpful ,sure you need to do more research and there is a lot more on net as compared to when I was thinking about getting a DSLR.
      First I had to figure out this non standard DX,APS-C thing as I knew small point n shoot cams have tiny sensor but putting a smaller size sensor in near full size DSLR was worth knowing as in basic film model cameras to full pro the sensor was the same (film).
      DX helps on the tele side and gets the better part of picture from the image circle in virtual crop form.
      Nikon DX is 1.5x and Canon has 2 sizes APS-H 1.3x (mostly for action) and 1.6x size most common in their APS-C size DSLRs.
      I just happen to buy a Canon 350D as I was shooting Nikon and Canon both in 35mm auto focus.
      But with Nikon’s cameras’ improving in image quality I bought a full frame D700 which is a very good true DSLR and it was not so new or hard in handling as I had F100.
      Since this new generation of Nikon cameras came out they all win over others in IQ.
      Canon is a huge company and PG equipment from making broadcast huge cameras to tiny PnS cams is just one of it’s dept. and is a marketing giant as well.
      Nikon is basically an optical company with a history of producing great glass but now as their bread n butter depends on making good cameras they try harder than Canon in this dept.
      Sony is another giant and have jumped in due to their video history and chip making ability and have collaborated with Zeiss on lenses ,but Nikon can tweak Sony’s sensor better as the same senor used by 3 cameras the Nikon D7000 DX had a upper hand.
      And who knew that we would be shooting with Samsung cams beside using home appliances or TV’s :)
      But,it’s sad to see that the very near competitors in film have vanished or bought by giants or are not making full frame cameras as more tough competition would have led to even better cameras and more choices.
      Sure go ahead n dust off your FM2, see if your fever remains :) ,I hope it does ,PGy is a fun hobby :)

      I’m not against digital , in fact I used to dream about cameras like this just 15yrs ago :)
      In film we can’t waste frames on over creative or odd shots but in digital we can shoot hundreds and keep one :)
      Who would have said ,” Wow! great shot! , very nice ,I like the texture …and so on ) on a shot of a Jeep’s muddy tire LOL :)
      Many strict film shooters would have said ,what a waste of frame or are you mad! :)
      Yes ,digital gives you on the spot what you shot results, this is great!
      I find it as a great learning tool and practicing tool where we couldn’t shoot film as much as we can do in digital.
      And it’s a Godsend tech to commercial PGy as it’s fast and they can do better work in short time.

      But I treat them as an electronic item as they are ,I smile when ppl. say “oh I’m in love with my this or that camera) :) , well did they fell in love with their big giant fat ass projection TV too? as now 2 inch thick TV’s are much much better in every way :) ,that’s why I said they become “obsolete” …not like your FM2 :)
      Of course the huge TVs must be working still and my first tiny Fuji 2 MP PnS cam works just fine but it’s the small improvements and sometime really good improvements matter, as the metering ability used to be number one improvement looked into new film cameras with focusing ability in AF cameras.

      There are lots of choices if you are not printing 3 feet wide prints. A tiny advanced PnS with Manual controls can give very nice results.
      Do have look at Fuji X100 S ,it comes with a fantastic 35mm equal fixed lens ,a wonderful camera which I intend to buy for my trips abroad (just waiting for some more good reviews and real life samples ) rather than lugging heavy DSLRs and zooms.It can mimic Fuji’s film modes too. I just don’t understand why they are not making full frame ,which is not a problem for them.
      The Sony RX-1 is tiny full frame but expensive with all accessories it would be better to get a Leica :)

      You mentioned good DR ,but you won’t notice it in smaller prints or at 100 ISO but very subtle difference if compared to cameras like D800. Only high end models with advance meter can stand out.
      ISO up to 1600 is mostly clean in latest models and if you downsize the same 12 to 36 MP image in 2 MP it looks a lot better and sharp while watching on your HDTV even it’s screen size is 72″ the resolution is same :)

      I am mostly using the on camera flash or tiny flash SB400 rarely and my big flashes are rotting in bags as the low light capability is increasing on every high end good model with cleaner high ISOs.

      Nikon D600 full frame camera is also very good on high ISOs as it’s the second camera after Nikon D3s in high ISO capability.

      You can read reviews here about the D800 and D600 and there are downloadable full size pictures available at http://www.dpreview.com/

      You can search n compare many pictures from different cameras in their full size :)

      Best regards to you too and I hope you will figure out what’s best for you :)
      good light n happy shooting :)


  31. 31) Heshan
    March 28, 2013 at 2:13 am

    Great post for beginners, very well done. I’m sure you’d be getting a lot of comments for going all Nikon here, but that’s not the point of this entire post, I’m sure. It really breaks down the important bits of buying a camera based on what the photographer needs – something that newbies often don’t realize!

    • 31.1) Steve Z
      March 28, 2013 at 4:51 am

      Thank you very much Adnan. Fascinating background on how we got to where we are today, and I very much appreciate the encouragement.

      I went hunting up in an upstairs closet and found our two old Zero Halliburton camera cases, a souvenir of the Camera Corner store in Green Bay, WI going out of business some thirty years ago. Had a bad moment when I couldn’t get one of the cases unlocked (the heavy one, of course), but then remembered we had set our birthdays as the combos. 8^) Beside my FM2 body, a couple of primes and a telephoto zoom, I also found my wife’s FE2 body. I thought she had sold that some years ago.

      Boy did seeing that stuff bring back memories. You’re absolutely right, photography can be an endlessly absorbing and diverting hobby. One that in our case got us into the out of doors on our tame little photo-adventures more than perhaps we’ve been doing lately. Even found some long-expired rolls of Tri-X Pan and Kodachrome film.

      I am going to hunt down some fresh 35mm film and shoot a few rolls and see how I feel about renewing the commitment. I think I’ve already more than halfway got myself talked into taking the plunge into the brave new world (for us) of digital.

      Thank you again for the advice and the encouragement.

      Best regards,

      Steve Z

      • 31.1.1) Adnan khan
        March 28, 2013 at 2:41 pm

        Hi Steve :)
        No problem ,glad your fever is still in motivating condition :)
        Sure ,get a few rolls and this time actually shoot with digital in mind as if you don’t wanna waste frames in past but now do some :) ,take pictures of flowers and fields or whatever is near by and you missed that on film even try macro or closeup shots with the most close focusing lens :)
        Kodak Ektar 100 is great normal ,Fuji Pro400H is superb and I use it in color mostly , Kodak Gold max 400 and in 800 ISO Fuji X-Tra or Superia 800 are good medium speed films and can be pushed / pulled up to 1 stop or even up to 2 stops :),do try to get one roll each of them :)
        You can shoot the Tri-Pan even though it’s expired I’ve seen some good exposures from 12yr old non frozen films but usually the colors are weird but this is B/W so, no problem trying :) ,shoot one roll n see the results if good enough then try others too.Shoot half of it in under 1 and half of it in even 0, try 2 or 3 exposures over too ,this will give you an idea what is the best setting for those expired rolls.

        Yep ,they do pull some memories out for sure :)
        Sadly last year Kodachrome was announced that it won’t be getting developed even and whoever had rolls in freezers rushed n shot it within given date :)
        Someone should buy it’s color scheme rights from Kodak as they also make sensors and use it in filter mode like Fuji is doing in digital to their slide films.

        I got this hobby from my dad who is a very serious hobbyist and always mostly shot MF or LF 4×5 and developed and printed his own prints ,now retired n weak but when he wanted to teach me developing I wasn’t interested as PGy was way low in my list of hobbies then :) ,he also did some experimental E6 developing but usually sent it to the lab.

        There is a sea of digital cameras out there and in price range from $80 to $8000 USD for everybody’s needs.
        I mentioned the top stuff in 35mm as per your very first post ,otherwise many to choose :)

        have a great day :)

  32. 32) Felipe
    April 1, 2013 at 2:11 pm

    I’m starting out with DSLR’s and bought a used D5000 off Craigslist, I paid $300 and so far I’m pretty happy with it, but upon further reading, I come to find out that the D5000 has been discountinued.
    Is there any specific reason for this?

    How long do you think I could keep this camera before upgrading to something better ?

    Thanks for the very informational website, it’s gold for newbies like myself.

    • Profile photo of Romanas Naryškin 32.1) Romanas Naryškin
      April 1, 2013 at 2:21 pm

      Hey, Felipe, and congratulations on your purchase!

      I’m afraid there are several aspects which you got sort of wrong, however. There’s no one who could tell you if you should upgrade but yourself. You said you were happy with the camera, but then read it was discontinued. So.. tell me, please, what did actually change? Nothing at all. You should still like the camera just as much as you did, and if you don’t just because it’s older than you thought, you’re heading in the wrong direction. Don’t get obsessed with newest gear. It’s a huge hole that’s very difficult to get out of once you’re in. Use the camera and once you’re not happy with it, once it breaks, once you outgrow it – and it may take a while to achieve that – then consider upgrading. Of course, if you have tons of cash you don’t need, you may as well go and buy newest and greatest. It won’t make any difference at all, though. Take a look at this article – https://photographylife.com/dont-be-stuck-with-your-gear-pursue-your-passion

      The only specific or otherwise reason why the camera is discontinued is because it has been replaced by newer models (first D5100, and then that one was replaced by the current D5200). It’s still a perfectly fine piece of gear and as long as you like it, don’t worry about it. I use a camera that’s been discontinued myself, and I use it for weddings.

      Hope you find my advice helpful, best of luck!

    • 32.2) Adnan Khan
      April 1, 2013 at 5:51 pm

      Felipe ,
      I fully agree with Romanas and congratulations on your first DSLR :)
      if you could have just put “D5000” before buying the camera in Google search you can see what comes up :) ,all the reviews and when it was announced etc.
      I still own it ,well , have given it to my brother who knows nothing about PGy :) ,only shoots it in scene modes.
      Last yr. with the 18-200 DX and 35mm DX he took it to EU for a family vacation and came up with great shots.
      It’s a very good camera but as these are electronic items first and cameras later so, I personally treat them as one and try to get whatever is latest n better, but that’s just me.
      It totally depends on one’s budget and especially for chronic impulsive hobbyist buyers like me it is a constant pain on wallet :)

      i’d say you shoot it until it dies and only good long term investment you can do is to get a 35mm 1.8 G DX lens (around $200 USD) for D5000’s low light shooting, but it’s not a must have if you are satisfied with the very good kit zoom lens.
      Second good item is tiny flash SB400 ,very useful item to have.But again one can live without these.

      D3xxx and D5xxx series gets an upgrade in every 12-14 months or so and Series D7xxx gets a upgrade model in 20 to 24 months , Semi pro and Pro models get a slight upgraded model in 2 yrs with entirely new model within 4yrs. as far as the last 6 to 8 yrs has been so far ,but this time last yr new cameras got delayed due to Tsunami in Japan and floods in Thailand.
      You also have to be in the news and remember models too :) as 700D is a Canon DX new camera and D700 is a Nikon full frame 2008 model camera :)
      Every yr. they come up with mouthwatering stuff ,as I was thinking of getting a Fuji X100 or X-Pro 1 but then the new Fuji X 100 S got announced :)
      So, as Romanas said you have to hold back your temptations too :)
      Ppl are still shooting with 2006 models but you have got a late 2009 model :)
      The only frustration I see in digital is ISO noise as with every new model one gets a better AF system with a good meter with some high ISO noise improvement ,in film it didn’t matter at all but we had to carry big flashes and tripods :) ,digital is freedom from this extra gear in someways but not for everyone :)

      happy shooting and good light :)

  33. 33) vhinzpaul
    April 5, 2013 at 12:12 pm

    Thanks Nasim for the review it helps us alot.

    I got my first DSLR camera late last year…My option was Nikon d5100 vs Canon 600/650d. However, I chose to settle with Nikon d5100. It is much cheaper than Canon SLRs with almost the same specs minus the auto focus system which Canon has. Nonetheless, d5100 is so easy to use, with just a glance you know how it works but eventually I still read the manual and some articles. Though I had only the 18-55mm kit lens, I still love the output of this camera. But somethings bothering me…I don’t know how to use the bracketing and metering system…and how these things make the picture more interesting…I do Manual mode with this camera…

    • 33.1) Adnan Khan
      April 11, 2013 at 12:28 am

      Read the manual and there are some very good articles ,click HOME or PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS.
      Try to get a 35mm 1.8 G DX if your budget allows ,it’s around $200


  34. 34) Ian Strong
    April 10, 2013 at 4:23 pm

    Hey, I’m thinking about upgrading from a point and shoot to a dslr. I’d kinda like to stay under $1500. Would I be better off buying cheaper camera body and getting better lenses? My only concern is that I’d outgrow a cheap body sooner than I’d like. Is the D7000’s 18-105 kit lenses any good? I’d just buy the 35mm and 50mm, but I would like something wide for landscape and indoor pictures. Also what would be a good telephoto lens? I read a lot about which lenses to get, but with so many options I’m getting a bit confused…

    • 34.1) Adnan Khan
      April 11, 2013 at 12:39 am

      First priortize your type of PGy. that you want to shoot wide or tele ,better to start with one prime 35mm 1.8 G DX.
      In this budget either get a ultra wide zoom and a fast prime or a prime and a telephoto like 70-300 VR
      18-105 is not that good better to get 18-200 VR II DX and a 35mm 1.8 G DX with D7000 in this budget you will have to stretch a bit more.
      D7000 + 35mm DX + 70-300 VR
      D7000 + Tokina 11-16 + 35mm 1.8 DX


      • 34.1.1) Ian Strong
        April 11, 2013 at 2:44 pm

        Probably would get the wide zoom first, then possibly add the telephoto later.
        Thanks for helping!

  35. 35) Gianpaolo Cardellini
    April 10, 2013 at 9:30 pm

    hey, i own a nikon coolpix p510, it is a great camera but as an amateur photographer i’d like to buy a dsrl.
    i’d love the nikon d7100 what is your opinion about this camera?

    • 35.1) Adnan Khan
      April 11, 2013 at 12:42 am

      As of today the D7100 is the best DX camera .

  36. 36) Ashad
    April 23, 2013 at 7:41 pm

    Romanas thank you for the detailed breakdown of the each type of camera. I have been researching them for a while know and im still debating between the D3200 or the D31oo. This being my first DSLR camera and a college student who is simply using photography as a hobby, should I invest in the newer D32oo or the less expensive D3100 and use the difference in price to get a prime lens? There is always the option of buying the D3200 and simply waiting for a while and then investing in a prime lens later. Thoughts? My uncle is a professional photographer and his view is to buy a cheaper camera and invest in high end lens for beginners.

    • 36.1) Adnan Khan
      April 23, 2013 at 7:52 pm

      Your uncle is right but that was in film days ,in digital new technology plays a major role.
      I’d suggest a D5100 body and 35mm 1.8 G DX lens.
      Rest is up to you that in what kind of PGy interests you more.
      I’m also a hobbyist :)

      • 36.1.1) Ashad
        April 23, 2013 at 8:04 pm

        Would you chose the D5100 over the D3200? If so, why? I only ask because where I work the D3200 is cheaper than the D5100. Thats why I figured I would chose the D3200. I mainly want to do outdoor photography and capture special moments with friends and family.

        • Don
          April 23, 2013 at 8:07 pm

          If all you want to do is to shoot family and friends, this is a no brainer. Get the cheapest camera and kit lens you can find and be done with it.

        • Tom I
          April 23, 2013 at 8:50 pm

          Having shot with all of these cameras I agree with your uncle. The D3100 will produce images indistinguishable from any other of the cameras on your list but at a lower purchase price. Spend your money on better glass. A 35mm or 50mm 1.8G with a D3100will capture images the equal of ANY crop sensor camera on the market, including the most recent models. It is all about the lenses, your creativity, your mastery of your camera and post processing.

        • Adnan Khan
          April 23, 2013 at 9:14 pm

          Yes ,I’d choose the D5100 over D3200 as basically both are same ,in D3200 the new Expeed3 chip helps 24MP to process quickly, but for some ppl. 24MP are too much especially on a basic DX body.
          If budget matters get the D3200 but high ISO noise is the major problem in digital.The D5100 performs a little better than the D3200.
          There is a way to get around that problem by downsizing the image from 24MPs to 4 MPs which makes the high ISO image better looking shot at ISO 3200 to 6400 and you can either watch on big screen TV or print 8×12 in reasonable quality.
          The D5100 has the same sensor as of the D7000.
          And yes the kit lens 18-55 is very good.
          You can also get a used or refurbished D5000 which works great with the kit lens in daylight.
          Any basic series 3xxx or 5xxx will work for you ,but if you get the 35 1.8 fast lens that will mostly solve the low light issue + on camera flash.
          The ISO described by all the companies in digital is not accurate, Film ISO 800 equals around ISO 1000 of digital roughly.

    • Profile photo of Romanas Naryškin 36.2) Romanas Naryškin
      April 24, 2013 at 12:44 am


      we at PL are very happy to have such helpful readers. :) You’ve already been given plenty of advice. I would, too, recommend you buying a cheaper camera and a better lens/lenses, especially if it’s just a hobby for you. You won’t see any difference between the images, I think. If you worry about your camera getting old, don’t. And if you still do, buy something that’s in the middle of your price range. Adnan has a point when suggesting D5100, but if D3200 is cheaper, I would, in all honesty, go with it. The difference between ISO performance isn’t major between the two cameras, and if you downsize images from the D3200, they should look as good or better than those of D5100. In any case, they will be as good as you are, both cameras are wonderful for beginners.

      Good luck!

  37. 37) James
    April 24, 2013 at 12:35 am

    For what you want to do, I suggest you buy the D3200, there are to many people shouting a lot of technical noise at you, I have a D800, D700 D 300s and for international travel a D3200. I have lenses that is 15 yrs old but quality. the D3200 is great, I do landscapes and nature and have taken some of the best city and landscape shots with the D3200. get the 18-55 vr lens to start with or 35 f1.8. your next lens should be the 70-300 VR. I have one that I travel with and is fantastic. I also have the 24-70 f2.8 and the 70 -200 VRii F2.8 professional stuff but very heavy and travel with me in the car. my D3200 kit is the 24 mm f2.8 for landscapes, you dont need a fast lens as you want to use a tripod and speed is not an issue but the lens is great quality, I have the 18-55 VR zoom and works 100% as a short zoom. even the 55-300 VR is good but the 70-300 VR is fantastic. go and read Ken Rockwell and ByThom Hogan’s views on these lenses. they are “consumer” pro’s. forget about noise and a lot of the technical stuff. buy your camera and enjoy the shooting and posting/printing of your pics. try and keep your ISO below 800 on the D3200 and your pic quality will be great. learn to shoot in A mode most of the time and stay away from auto. only use it when you dont know what to do with the camera is a given situation.

  38. 38) Ashad
    April 24, 2013 at 10:31 am

    Thank you everyone for all the detailed advice and personal insight! I will let you guys know what I decide. Im 100% sure tho im going with the 35mm 1.8 from the start that has been the most talked about prime lens from everyone.

  39. 39) Kartik
    April 29, 2013 at 3:15 am

    Great article. I have owned a Nikon D90 for 3 years now and am in desperate need to change. I have to choose btw d7100 and d600. the d7100 is a very compelling choice but i have heard that the fx lenses are far better than the dx in terms of range and image quality. Do i need a Fx camera as i am not a prof. but am not satisfied with the low light performance of the d90, also the images are not as good as the ones i have seen from the new cameras.
    Is there a sea of difference btw Fx and Dx image quality ?
    Pls help.

  40. 40) TINA
    May 6, 2013 at 5:25 am

    Hi, thanks for the great article. I am interested in buying a Nikon DSLR. I have never owned one so I am looking for an entry level. I am tossing up between the 3200 and the 5200. Most of all, I was wondering do they take really good video. I have a Panasonic digital video camera which I am ready to ditch as it is really ordinary inside. I would like to buy a camera/video in one as I am travelling overseas and don’t want to carry too much. I would appreciate your advice please. Thanks!

  41. 41) TJ
    May 13, 2013 at 11:35 pm

    Hello everyone

    I am about to buy a d5100 with the 18-55vr kit lens. Have a question for everyone. I live in an area where there are a lot of theme parks. So I want a lens that will take great photos in the park during the day/night and also a lens for indoor shooting as well for different attractions with high and low light levels. I can buy up to two lens. I’d love some information on what additional lens I should buy. Thank you!!!


    • 41.1) Tom I
      May 14, 2013 at 12:07 am

      The D5100 is a great choice. My two cents, for someone who wants to shoot in daylight and at night and can buy up to two lenses would be:
      But the body only. Nikon Refurbished or used on Craigslist is a good option for a value shopper. Then pick up these two lenses: Nikon 18-105 VR as a walk around lens for moderate to good light. It’s sharp, has lots of range, is inexpensive, light weight and works well at night up to 15′ with flash. For night shots with lowlight/now flash go for he Nikon 35mm f/1.8G. Skip the 18-55, no zoom-ability.

      • 41.1.1) ron in the arctic
        June 9, 2013 at 7:04 am

        I have the D5100 with the 18-105 and a 50 mm 1.8. Your suggestions are good, if TJ followed your advice I’m sure he/she is happy.

        • TJ
          June 9, 2013 at 7:53 pm

          Thanks for the advice. I just purchased the D5200 with the 18-105VR and the 35mm f/1.8G….what is a good flash to add on? Ive read about the sb400 and sb700? Any preference? I know the 400 is basic and the cheapest. Want a good flash that will go well with going to the theme parks a lot.
          Thanks again for the help!!

  42. 42) Debayan (Dean)
    June 4, 2013 at 2:42 am

    I am just a beginner at DSLR photo graphy and i read this article ! Too helpful and id love to buy a D3200as as my first camera !!
    But someone told my that i could get a Canon EOS 5D Mark III Kit (EF 24-105 mm f/4L IS USM) SLR at a cheaper value and a little more features than D3200….Can you please help me…Please…im in a real dilemma !! I mean 5D Mark III has a bigger sensor and an Primary (RGB) Color Filter with the lens it is providing !! Does D3200 provide RAW imagery ?? I think im in love with D3200 :) :) But cant get over this dilemma…..
    Need Help Nasim sir !!

    comparison between Canon EOS 5D Mark III Kit (EF 24-105 mm f/4L IS USM) SLR and Nikon D3200 SLR (18-105 mm VR Kit Lens)

    • 42.1) ron in the arctic
      June 9, 2013 at 7:00 am

      THe D3200 compared to the Canon 5D Mark 111??? These are two completely different cameras! The Nikon is a great beginners camera that is lightweight and very easy to use. If I have read the ads in the magazines and on the internet, the Canon camera costs about ten times more than the Nikon D3200. That particular Canon is a superb camera and would be a likely choice of professional phtographers but you need deep pockets to buy that Canon!

  43. 43) James
    June 4, 2013 at 3:01 am

    they are two complete different camera’s. I dont know where you can get this special where it cost the same price. I have a D800 and some others and have the D3200 with 18-55 VR lens that I use when I travel, I also use this camera with all my pro lenses and the photo’s are great. what are your needs? everyday use and travel, the D3200 is fantastic, I have a lady friend who does weddings as a pro and she use 2x D3200 as she likes the lightweight and the IQ is very good as se use good lenses.
    If you want a big pro camera than the Canon is a good camera but very complicated to handle and very heavy..

    • 43.1) Debayan (Dean)
      June 5, 2013 at 1:51 pm

      Thanx James…Im sorry my friend was talking about EOS 1100D…i got the wrong info from him !! I checked out the price and its quite costly..!! and im going with the D3200…!
      By the way…which kit lens should i buy with D3200 ? the 18-55mm or the 18-105mm ? the later is more costly but is it worth it ?? Or will the 18-55 be enough ??

      • 43.1.1) Tom I
        June 5, 2013 at 2:40 pm

        The 18-55VR and 18-105VR offer similar image quality which is very good. The limitation is f/stop at the long end so you may need a flash in dark environments. I like the 18-105VR because it gives you quite a bit more reach (zoom). Since 35mm is neutral, neither wide nor zoom, going to 55mm only gives you 20mm of zoom. At 105mm you have 70mm of zoom plus the ability to capture excellent bokeh at the longer end.
        In the US (California) you can expect to get about $75 for the 18-55VR on Craigslist and should be able to locate the 18-105VR for around $225. Try Googling “refurbished Nikon 18-105” and you may find one at Adorama, B&H or other reputable sellers.
        By the way- if you are on a budget you might consider a refurbished D3100- a really great camera.
        Good Luck,

  44. 44) Ashad
    June 4, 2013 at 4:54 pm

    Hi users, im just looking for some advice. I finally made a decision between the d5100 and D3200 and i went with the d5100. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the camera and have been shooting like crazy and getting great shots. Im using the 35mm 1.8 mainly and a 50mm 1.8 both I love. My question is i didn’t realize that the d7000 has the auto-focus motor so i could use some cheaper lenses and is weather sealed and it does perform better then the d5100. I am able to still exchange the camera out and pay the difference (10 days left) which I am willing to do. Any advice? What would you do? Use the 5100 for a few years and then upgrade to a full frame later or stick with the 7000 for a longer period of time? Thanks!

    • 44.1) Tom I
      June 4, 2013 at 5:28 pm

      Ashad- Exchange it for the D7000 if you think you would be comfortable with a slightly more complex camera. The D7000 is much faster to meter and focus and the controls affecting metering and focusing as well as bracketing and ISO are done with external buttons, not in the menus through your LCD screen.
      Image quality is identical and for the casual shooter the smaller D5100 is excellent. But the build, functions and performance of the D7000 are superior.
      Recently I brought both the D5100 and D7000 to shoot a boxing match, I found the slight delay from shutter depression to capturing the image with the D5100 made it too slow to catch the punches. The instant response of the D7000 was able to snap the image the instant I pushed the shutter.
      Your choice of lenses was excellent, especially the 50mm f/1.8.
      Hope that helps.

      • 44.1.1) Debayan(Dean)
        June 6, 2013 at 8:28 pm

        Thanx…Tom !! That was Gr8 help ! :)

  45. 45) amanda
    June 24, 2013 at 11:47 am

    I am looking to purchase my first and I am not sure which to go with. I have been looking into the d3100, d3200, d5100. I am not really looking to do alot of video since I have a camcorder for that. I have a little one (5months) so it would be shots of him ( home and out and about), family shots, vacation shots, low light shots (indoors at weddings and such). I am new to this so any input on which camera and lens’ would be helpful. . Thank you!

    • 45.1) Love2Eat
      June 24, 2013 at 11:53 am

      If you don’t mind the spending for d3200, would highly recommend that for your needs.

  46. 46) Bradley Clark
    July 1, 2013 at 6:10 pm

    Hi all

    Just read this entire thread hoping but failing to find specific mention of d3200 and histograms !

    I am a complete beginner, I am hugely enthusiastic and have read countless magazines, books and text books (langfords etc )..

    I finally took the plunge and bought a d3200 with 18-55 vr lens… and generally speaking im over the moon with my purchase (mainly as im finally able to experiment and try out all wgat ive read.

    However! Am I right in believing there is no histogram function available on my camera? ??? If so im most dissapointed! I feel like im learning fast (please dont shoot me down – im aware I have a LONG LONG way to go – my images are proof if that) its just this histogram function from what ive read seems to be a fantastic tool (particularly for beginners)..

    If id been made aware of this missing function pre purchase, I may have thoight twice… that aside I agree its a great camera and im truly loving learning and developing my skills !


    • July 2, 2013 at 12:34 am


      first off, read our article on histograms – perhaps you’ll find something useful there. (https://photographylife.com/understanding-histograms-in-photography)

      As for D3200, I am unsure if it has a histogram or not. Did you try pressing the navigator up or down a few times while in image review?

      • 46.1.1) Bradley Clark
        July 2, 2013 at 1:57 am

        Hi Romanas.

        Thanks for the super quick response !

        I have indeed tried that as im told many of the more advanced nikons access histogram that way, ive also trawled through the menu and other areas as well as my rather brief (in comparison to my previous bridge) user manual.

        All to no avail sadly!

        Im aware checking live view for detail in highlights/lowlights does the same job but of course not with any real accuracy !

        It would appear my d3200 does not have a histogram function then!! Im so enthusiastic and keen to develop quickly I do remain most dissapointed…

        Another query… if I shoot in live and then use post production software, am I then able to view hisyograms in software ?

        On that note im looking at purchasing software but as my budget is slight (hence d3200), and cs6 incredibly expensive, do u think that lightroom5 would be sufficient for my needs? We’re aware my current skill level is rather basic but this does not preturb me seeking perfect, quality exposures! During my endless reading and research I see there is much fun and enjoyment in playing with images in software. . Functions like dodging and burning, overlapping two exposures (or more) to retain detail in shadows and sky for example amongst many other functions. .

        Does Lightroom offer these capabilities ? Would it suffice do you think ?

        Many thanks again

  47. 47) Bradley Clark
    July 2, 2013 at 2:06 am

    I forgot to thank you for your link.. most informative!

    In fact this site seems pretty great all round for someone such as me, great find! Very happy !

  48. 48) soni soman
    July 16, 2013 at 7:10 am

    I am planning to buy a Dslr cam,i am new to use it.kindly advice as a beginner which model of nikon to buy.

  49. 49) Don (not Don B) :)
    July 16, 2013 at 7:23 am

    Hi Soni,

    Different schools of thought on this. Personally if you are limited in funds then one of the less expensive Nikon models mentioned here would be a great place to start. However, if you have the financial resources to go for something a bit more expensive and that you can keep and grow into, maybe start with a D600 or even a D800. If financial resources permit, go for the D4. All of these will be cameras that you will keep for years and years and grow into and not grow out of. Good luck…

  50. 50) Jakes
    July 16, 2013 at 11:30 am

    Soni, I have been n freelance photographer for 28 yrs and have worked with all kinds and models. To start get a Camera such as the Nikon D90 or Canon 60D with a basic 18-105 lens. Then start to get to know the basic functions of the camera, get some help om composition but most important start to take pictures, from your own dog, garden, birds, sunsets, water, people, all kinds of stuff, focus on different angles and point of view, untill you discover your real area of interest. You have not wasted lots of money on equipment and you have gained the most important experience ever, discover your photography passion or not and if so,Mehta is your interest. Camera’s today have specialized jobs and designed for specific functions. Nikon D800 and D800E are slow rate cameras and you will not find a better DSLR camera for landscapes, macro and still life. The D600 FX is an entry level FX and is a general all purpose camera. Nikon D3x is a pro level media and photojournalism camera. The D4 that Don recommend as a starter is a specialist sport, action and wildlife camera that works very well in low light and also used by event photographers that need a fast camera with high ISO/bad light performance but there are better camera’s for studio and landscapes. That only covers camera’s. lenses, as a free lance pro who focus on street portraiture, nature and wildlife only use 4 lenses and include only 1 zoom lens. But that is another long story. As suggested. Get the zoom and a 35 mm fixed lens as starting kid.

  51. 51) George V James
    July 29, 2013 at 8:22 pm

    I am planning to buy my first DSLR and after lot of reviews, I prefered Nikon to Canon. But still I was not sure which camera should I go for. Only recently I got this awsome website. Since I can’t afford D5200, I am confused between 3200 and 5100. Both comes under the same price range. So plz help me out.

  52. 52) Tom Irwin
    July 29, 2013 at 8:45 pm

    There is no “right” answer to your question and frankly, in the scheme of things, your choice of camera won’t really matter as much as 1). Lenses, 2). Technique and mastery of your camera, 3). Post production (Lightroom, Elements, Photoshop) expertise.
    So I’d select by lowest price and consider a used/refurbished camera so if down the road you opt to upgrade to another model, it will be easier to recover your camera investment. If you are buying new go for the D5100 because it can be purchased “body only” allowing you to select lenses. The 18-55VR kit is ok but lacks the useful range of an 18-105VR.
    I’ve used the D3100 and D5100, not the D3200 which is a D3100 with a newer 24mp sensor and a minor tweak to the video fps. Images should be indistinguishable among these models.
    To recap- what WILL make a difference is your choice of lenses. Picking up a 35mm 1.8G and/or 50mm 1.8G will do much more for your image quality than any differences the camera sensors make. Also, pick up a copy of Elements 11 to learn post production. Cameras come and go but lenses, technique and post production make all the difference.
    Everyone’s got an opinion and that’s mine.

    • 52.1) George V James
      August 1, 2013 at 8:49 pm

      Thank You very much 4 d reply.
      Can i ask one more thing?
      As am an ametuar, buying a slr without af motor, would it affect?…is canon 600D better than Nikon D5100?

  53. 53) Nomen
    August 2, 2013 at 5:54 am

    Hello, I am a beginner planning to buy my first DSLR, reading lot of reviews, I have narrow it down to either D5100 or d7000, I like more natural photos and traveling photos and wild life (not going to the jungle but some thing I see flying or walking), my recent travel photos disappointed me with my existing camera Nikon L120, My budget is roughly around $7/800. I lean towards d5100 due to its weight,comfortability and swivel screen etc.. but some of the option in d7000 such as off flash and commander dial seem to be impressive. I wish to keep my new camera for long run.
    Here Some Pic I took with L120 http://themuute.blogspot.ae/

    Thank you

    • 53.1) Tom Irwin
      August 2, 2013 at 8:31 am

      Go with the D5100. It fits your budget, is smaller for travel and uses the same sensor that will capture images identical to the D7000. It’s slightly simpler controls make it easier to master. The D7000 has advantages but the Commander Mode is not one of them. In theory it can trigger multiple flash units using through the lens metering and use it to control remote flashes. But it requires ALL the flashes be Nikon and their SB700 unit runs $330 each. Better to buy third party flash units for under $100 along with cheap radio triggers. Commander Mode that has difficulties outdoors, around corners and when others are flashing cameras. Advantages of the D7000 include its faster metering & focusing system along with easier external controls. But if you have a budget get the D5100 body only and a Nikon 18-105 VR lens. For wildlife add Nikon’s 70-300VR. The value of a swivel screen is minimal and some never use it.

  54. 54) Nomen
    August 4, 2013 at 2:23 pm

    Tom, appreciated your reply, What accessories should I consider along with, I have seen an offer D5100+18-55, with Tripod, Case, bag, IR (sorry for my ignorance i don’t know how useful it is) for $570/-

    Or do you recommend D7000+18-55 VR over D5100+18-105 VR given the cost difference is $250/-?

    I leave 70-300 VR for a while until my budget permits me. How good is non 70-300 non VR or perhaps considering 55-300VR.
    Many Thanks,

  55. 55) Sian
    August 15, 2013 at 3:11 am

    Hi there! I am very new to photography and will soon be taking the plunge and buying my first DSRL over here in the UK! I have read lots of reviews and info on the Internet about which DSLR to get, but its not any clearer for me! I want to take pictures of everyday life, people, wildlife, landscape, and sports photography. The Nikon D3200 keeps popping up as a good one, though I have read it isn’t good for sports photography. Should I therefore go for another camera, or would I need to buy additional lenses to make sports photography possible on it? Many thanks in advance :)

  56. 56) Maggie
    August 29, 2013 at 10:57 am

    Thanks so much for this article. It’s the best thing I’ve read yet. You were informative and made me actually understand. I owe you my photography world

  57. 57) Meenz
    October 23, 2013 at 1:21 pm

    I found this article to be very fascinating and a great deal of help. Thank you for writing it. I am going into wedding/event photography and I am going to be buying the d3200 as a learning camera. Thanks!

  58. 58) Davy
    December 14, 2013 at 9:30 am

    I can’t agree with the premise, you have to start with a budget crop sensor SLR at the outset of this article. Beginners with money should be informed of the advantage of Full Frame, also, those with a genuine love for photography should be made aware that they will stand to loose those DX lenses when and if they want to upgrade to Full Frame.
    With the advent of semi affordable Full Frames from Nikon, Canon and Sony, I think this article needs to be expanded to include the Full Frame option for up graders and beginners a like. A new D610 or 6d with a thrifty 50 is a great learning platform for those with the cash upgrading from cheaper alternative equipment.

    • December 19, 2013 at 2:00 am


      I am the sort of person who’s not chasing the latest and greatest and believes that one should start at the start. Cameras listed in this article are not only affordable and very capable, but also simple to use, small and lightweight (in comparison). And I believe one should start with something like that. The first DSLR of a complete beginner should be cheap and simple, that is my opinion and the article reflects it. I started off with a D80, but also had a chance to use a D40 quite a lot. It was a great camera, both of them, and I remember them fondly. Neither one stopped me from upgrading to full-frame eventually, and not everyone needs or even wants to upgrade to full-frame.

      I would not buy my kids a Ferrarri as their first car. They’d get a Golf. Or something smaller, like a Fiesta. So that they start to love the simple things and don’t go chasing the best for no reason other than to chase the best.

  59. 59) Jimmy C
    December 15, 2013 at 8:11 pm

    Thanks for the good read. I’ve debated for a out 5yrs of getting s DSLR. When I visited the Grand Canyon (Aug 2013) I could have borrowed a Canon DSLR from my sister and I said “nah, my Samsung S3 takes good pics”, but let me tell you…. After seeing the canyon I totally (and instantly) regretted not taking her up on the offer.

    I think I’m off to buy a D5100 :)

  60. 60) jen
    December 27, 2013 at 1:16 pm

    This was helpful readding for me. I am a beginner and trying to decide which camera I should choose. The most important factor for me is what will create great large prints and I think it was slightly mentioned. Either way , the article made me re-think what is important and what is not for what I am paying for at my skill level. I just want to capture what I see and translate it to paper to share to the world.

  61. 61) Sheena
    January 26, 2014 at 11:10 pm

    Hi, this is really helpful thank you. I am planning to buy Nikon this year and when I checked their site I saw D5300, what are your thoughts about it?

    Thank you.

  62. 62) Marhen
    February 4, 2014 at 1:32 am

    This article helped me a lot. I’m really having a great trouble in choosing what DSLR to buy because it’s my first time. Thank you. :-)

  63. 63) Jessica Bonilla
    February 11, 2014 at 9:30 pm

    Can someone help me? I have been doing photography on the side and I have had my Nikon D60 for 4-5 years. I am looking into buying another better camera, but not sure at all? :/

    • February 12, 2014 at 7:29 am

      Jessica, it is best not to leave your email in the comments or you might start receiving all sorts of spam into your inbox.

      As for your question, did you read the article? Or were none of the above cameras to your liking?

    April 24, 2014 at 12:58 pm

    I want to buy a DSLR for the first time. I have used D3100 from a friend and it was a good experience. Having researched DSLRs a bit, now I am in fix between D3300, D5200 and the higher ended pricey competitor D5300. What do you recommend?

  65. 65) Phil Williams
    June 17, 2014 at 5:04 am

    Thank you very much for the insightful and helpful article. I am about to purchase a camera to take on our honeymoon to America and as such I require (want not need!) a DSLR to capture the beautiful sights and places we will be seeing. As the honeymoon itself is overly expensive I guess it highlights the fact that it will be a “once in a lifetime trip” so we will want to take as many memories home with us, also due to the cost it means I CAN’T spend that much on a camera.

    Strangely enough the Nikon D3200 is in my Amazon wishlist and I wanted to find an insight into whether it was a good camera for an amateur photographer, I guess you know that outcome :). I did get slightly worried when you mentioned the issue with it not having a built-in focus motor. I have double-checked the Lens kit that comes with the camera and after further research I should be ok: AF-S DX Nikkor 18–55mm f/3.5–5.6G VR II.

    Again, I just want to say a big thank you for the article, it has been a huge help and I shall proceed with the purchase…I WILL hold you fully accountable!! Only joking, I will take full responsibility from the wife for the choice :).


  66. Profile photo of Hmingtea Ralte 66) Hmingtea Ralte
    July 4, 2014 at 5:31 pm

    I am planning to get my First dslr soon. As 5300 is in the market now, i find it hard to choose between D7000 and D5300. Most oF my friends here opt for D7000 coz its in the mid range lvl and some other pros like the dual sd slot, the motor for old lenses etc. As per my view, 5300 is much better coz of the latest processor, articulated lcd, more pixel (which i think will give more sharpness) . I dont worry much abt the lesser AF points. The price difference will be around $180 more for D7000. Please help me out to make the right decision. Thankyou.

  67. 67) Jacqueline
    August 28, 2014 at 3:58 am

    Just wanted to ask, im going to be going a lot of motion photography
    I shoot horses because im a equestrian..
    I really wanted to get into photography.
    I know its really like late but just discovered the site
    Very interesting, and i have a very big choice!
    So which do you guys recomend for me?
    Much appreciated

    Beginner equestrian shooter :)

  68. 68) Jassmina
    September 7, 2014 at 11:01 am

    very clear and informative article.
    I own Nikon D3200 and i think it is the best entry level dslr camera for beginners to DSLR technology, because it is very easy to use, has more megapixel and large sensor than any Canon DSLR camera under $700 and have a low price near its competitors, so you can invest in tripod and lenses, because the goal is learning, and that’s what Nikon D3200 do (learn + great image quality and HD video); i write here http://goo.gl/eq7LJo a small comparison between different entry level dslr cameras, maybe it can help who is confusion about what to buy as first DSLR camera.

  69. 69) Taylor
    September 7, 2014 at 7:12 pm

    Thanks for the informative article. I’ve been out of the photography world for a few years and looking to upgrade my D60 but still use my old lenses. Your tip on lens compatibility is definitely valuable to be in making in a decision about which camera to get!

  70. 70) Jagadeesh
    October 7, 2014 at 3:20 am

    nice article. very much helpful for beginners

  71. 71) kalista
    February 18, 2015 at 10:52 am
  72. 72) jiten
    April 19, 2015 at 8:14 am

    I am confused which one to choose, either D5200 or D3200, I am just a beginner but want to take it to the next level, want to shoot wild photography, sporty, natural beauty & random moments, modelling photography… pls suggest

  73. 73) Manjunath.H.G.
    July 7, 2015 at 9:12 pm

    Nice article, well written. For beginners it is P520 is most recommend, as it is a bridge camera,familiarize and go for high end professional gadgets. Thank you.

  74. 74) V S Shatakarni
    July 28, 2015 at 11:29 am

    Nikon D3300 is getting highest and getting number ONE position by many websites
    This, with a 24-megapixel sensor, is a strong entry-level camera, at an accessible price point. It has helpful features for those upgrading from a compact model – such as a special “Guide Mode”, which helps novices maximise each shot.

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