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  1. #1
    SouthpawShooter's Avatar
    SouthpawShooter is offline Wrong-Handed Photographer
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    Default Nikon D3200 for beginner - Plenty of growing or too ridiculous?

    I've been researching a ton of cameras to get my feet wet with. I initially was thinking about going with a compact/mirrorless system, but at the prices I would have been paying for high quality cameras I can get some pretty nice full-bodied DSLR's.

    I really like the specs. of Nikon D3200 at its price point, but I'm not sure if this would be right for me. I feel like Nikons are a little more straight-forward in operation and more geared to pure photographers and not people wishing to use their cameras for movies and what not. I don't care about video capability or any of that mess. I'm only focused on getting the best camera for image quality.

  2. #2
    homank76's Avatar
    homank76 is offline Please teach me...
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    What do you plan to shoot? The Nikon D3200 is a great starter camera, but it is also very easy to out grow. For just about the same price I would look into getting a D5100, more options for the price and a better value.

  3. #3
    esmapo is offline I'm new here!
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    Thanks homank you have saved me a post I was gonna ask which is better as I like the two, I was leaning toward the 5100 but you just confirmed it!!! Ps sorry for hijacking your thread.
    To be the best photographer you can be pick up your camera and NEVER let it go!!!

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  4. #4
    lerabu is offline dPS Forum Member
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    A D3200 is a very nice piece of equipment, however as was previously mentioned, it is easy to outgrow.

    If that is you top budget I wouild go for teh D5100.

    To be honest a second hand D90 is also fabulous if you don't have the budget for a new D7000.

    Anything above 12MP is just too many MPs and mumbojumno to make you spend more. If you frame your shot adequately it will do you wonders! Additionally the D90 has an inbuilt focus motor which allows you to use non AF-S lenses with the autofocus function.

    What do you plan to shoot and do with your photos afterwards?
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    Gear: Nikon D80, 18-105mm DX VR f/3-5.6, Nikkor 50mm 1.8D AF, Nikon SB-700

  5. #5
    SouthpawShooter's Avatar
    SouthpawShooter is offline Wrong-Handed Photographer
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    I plan on focusing on landscape photography, wildlife, anything outdoors really, but mainly landscapes. I guess my eventual goal of my photos would be to inspire people to create stories around them, wonder where they were taken, and just captivate the viewer. Take them to the place I was when I shot it. I know that is cheesy and cliche and a bit lofty for someone as green as I am, but who doesn't love a photo that, when you look at it, you're completely taken in and want to be in it and take in all it has to offer personally.

    As for what to do with my photos? If you mean post-processing, I don't plan on doing an extreme amount of post processing. I play around a little in photoshop now, but it is mostly just figuring out what all I can and can't do. I'm learning both (photography and photoshop) at the same time. It has been a blast too. So relaxing, and I love being able to create stuff. How I missed out on photography so long, I'll never know.

    If you mean do I plan to use the photos for anything, then no. That's not a realistic goal at this time, other than displaying them in my home which I plan on doing with some of my favorites, but other than that nothing.

    ALSO, followup question: Let's say I decide on either the D3200 or D5100. I'll probably be able to spring for two lenses. What should they be? 18-55 NIkkor and a 55-300? I'm completely up in the air on lenses. I am of the thought that an 18-135 coupled with something else would give me the most versatility but I don't have any true knowledge to back that up. Thoughts?
    Last edited by SouthpawShooter; 11-30-2012 at 03:16 PM.

  6. #6
    rspears's Avatar
    rspears is offline The Wedding Guy
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    I think the 3200 would serve you fine as a starter camera with what you are wanting to do.

    As for lens, For landscape, I'd pick a wide lens. The 18-55 Kit lens is a great starter lens. Unless you'll be wanting to zoom into a bird on a branch a few hundred feet away, the 55-300 might be overkill. One of my first lens purchases was a 24mm prime. It was a great landscape lens.
    Rich Spears www.rspearsphotography.com
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    Nikon D3s, D700, Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8, 70-200mm f/2.8, 50mm f/1.8, 85mm 1.8

  7. #7
    lerabu is offline dPS Forum Member
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    I agree with the above poster.

    If you're wanting to go really wide, look at the Sigma 10-20mm. However I always support using camera brand lenses.

    Have a look through flicker for photos being taken with a certain type of lens, see what you like, study the EXIF info and see what you like. When you identify it, buy it

    I have a 50mm 1.8 right now and will by a 24mm prime for indoors and landscapes.
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  8. #8
    inkista's Avatar
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    Um. You might want to take a look at this table of Nikon models by tier and generation. If you like the specs on the D3200, but the better usability features of the D5100, then you really probably also want to look at the D5200, which is the D5100's successor.

    Personally, since you're a landscape shooter, I think 24MP might actually come in handy. Just me, though.

    And one way I've heard the Canon/Nikon design philosophies described was that Nikons were designed by photographers, while Canons are designed by engineers. Frankly, there's not a whole lot to nitpick between the two, except that (as a Canon shooter I have to say this), Nikon does tend to have fewer features on their entry-level models than Canon does on theirs.

    The D3x00 and D5x00 line will only autofocus with AF-S lenses. They don't do high-speed sync (FP mode) flash, they don't have DoF preview buttons or true mirror lock-up, and they don't meter accurately with non-CPU lenses. None of these are deal breaker problems, but they can be annoyances.

    Quote Originally Posted by SouthpawShooter View Post
    I plan on focusing on landscape photography, wildlife, anything outdoors really, but mainly landscapes.
    Wildlife can be an issue with an entry-level Nikon because of the focus motor issue. Until Nikon upgrades the 80-400VR to AF-S, if you want to go supertelephoto (> 300mm) for less than $2000, chances are you'll have to go 3rd party. But if landscapes are your main priority, you might be just fine with a 70-300 lens for wildlife.

    ALSO, followup question: Let's say I decide on either the D3200 or D5100. I'll probably be able to spring for two lenses. What should they be? 18-55 NIkkor and a 55-300? I'm completely up in the air on lenses. I am of the thought that an 18-135 coupled with something else would give me the most versatility but I don't have any true knowledge to back that up. Thoughts?
    I generally say there are three schools of thought on this.

    1. "training wheels triple" approach: get three cheap lenses to gain experience with lenses, so you can make an informed decision on what lenses you really want. An 18-55/55-200 combo with a 35/1.8 or 50/1.8 fast prime, and you'll have wide-to-normal, normal-to-telephoto, fast vs. slow, stabilized vs. unstabilized, and prime vs. zoom all covered, for about the cost of one good midgrade lens.

    2. Don't waste your time getting training wheels lenses you'll have to replace later, just go straight for what you'd eventually land on. Great. If you have experience with lenses and know what you want, or have a mentor you trust to tell you what it is you need. Otherwise, chicken'n'the egg problem presents: how do you know what lenses you want, if you've never really used many lenses? OTOH, you could also try before you buy and use an online rental house.

    3. Get a superzoom. An 18-200ish lens, while it will have image quality compromises to cover the larger zoom range, will still be useful after you've "outgrown" it as your go-light/travel/I-don't-want-to-change-lenses lens. It will, however, probably cost a bit more than the training wheels lenses if you go brand-name, rather than 3rd party.

    Which path you choose to take depends on your personal priorities and budget.

    This is just me, but I would advocate at least spending five minutes with the D5200's opposite number, the Canon T4i. Without legacy glass to worry about, feel in the hands and ergonomics of the menu system do come into play in the decision process. Pick 'em up and see how they feel in your hands.

    I would also council you that yes, mirrorless costs in the same range as dSLR. But with landscape photography, you do sometimes have to consider what it's going to take to cart your camera (and tripod) with you out into the wild.

    For me, the same bag that can (barely) hold my 5Dii and two L lenses can easily hold my G3 and five lenses with room to spare for a flash. And will weigh only half as much as the Canon setup. With mirrorless it's not just the camera bodies that are smaller: the lenses are, too.
    Last edited by inkista; 11-30-2012 at 06:38 PM.
    I shoot with a Canon 5DmkII, 50D, and S90, and Pansonic GX-7. flickr stream and equipment list

  9. #9
    macgurrl's Avatar
    macgurrl is offline I'm new here!
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    As noted and posted, I outgrew my D3100 in one year.

  10. #10
    sk66's Avatar
    sk66 is online now Lovable Contrarian
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    Quote Originally Posted by inkista View Post
    This is just me, but I would advocate at least spending five minutes with the D5200's opposite number, the Canon T4i. Without legacy glass to worry about, feel in the hands and ergonomics of the menu system do come into play in the decision process. Pick 'em up and see how they feel in your hands.
    This is huge. Particularly in lower end models because so much more is buried in menus without direct control.

    Pick a "system" that works for you and "makes sense" to you. Either will end up costing about the same and have the same capabilities.

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