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  1. #1
    Junior Member

    Thinking about upgrading my Nikon D3100

    Hello everyone,

    So I've had the for about a year now and I love it. I've taken it along with me to Alaska, the Everglades, the beach, you name it, taking pictures of mostly wildlife, scenery, and the moon. So far, I have 3 lenses, a stock 18-55mm and 55-200mm lenses (that came with the camera), and a 55-300mm lens (which I've been using the most when taking photos of wildlife).
    While the camera is good, especially for a beginner, I think it's time for an upgrade. There are times where the shutter speed (like 3 frames per second) really screw me over, especially when trying to take pictures of birds in mid flight, or just animals or sporting events in general. Also, being forced to take pictures using a timer instead of a remote when using a tripod has ruined a lot of great photo opportunities (especially since I have to wait like 5 or 10 seconds for the photo to actually snap). Also, taking videos is kinda painful, since the autofocus noise is extremely noticeable and is kinda wonky to use in the first place.
    Now my boss has a mirrorless Sony a7, and while he swears by his life that mirrorless is the way to go (and despite how much I want one now that I borrowed it for a bit), I can't seem to justify buying it since my budget is around $400-$600... Plus, buying a full frame camera would mean I'd have to buy new / expensive full frame lenses. He suggested I'd get the a6000 instead, but the same problem persists (that and the sensor is not all that different than the d3100 and I heard that it overheats like crazy... plus the battery life just sucks).
    I figured that it's better to stick with Nikon since I already have 3 good lenses. Now the question is; I'm not sure what to get. I've heard people telling me to upgrade to the D5xxx series or the D7xxx series. Both sides have compelling arguments, but I can't seem to make my mind up. Hell, should I just keep the camera and instead just buy Prime lenses, like the 35mm or 55mm ones?
    What would you guys recommend?


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    Last edited by quinton77; 05-31-2019 at 03:39 PM.



  2. #2
    Senior Member

    Re: Thinking about upgrading my Nikon D3100

    Welcome. If you really like your user interface and feel in your hand, look to the d5x00 series. If you want to kick things up a bit and do more tweaking of settings on the fly, look at a d7200. Less menu diving on the d7200, more things are changed with buttons and command wheels. You will have to up your budget $50 to $100. The top lcd will keep you better informed of your camera's current status. Lots of other differences, easy to google or search on the forum for "d7200 vs".
    You will have to put a little practice in, reading the manual and trying things as well as being sure you are up to speed on the exposure triangle. It is not a big learning project, you'll just want to practice a bit so your fingers know what to do if you are in a rush.
    Thanks/Like CGPhotography Thanks/liked this post
     
    I must have a really good camera.

  3. #3
    Staff
    Super Mod
    hark's Avatar

    Re: Thinking about upgrading my Nikon D3100

    Hello and welcome, quinton77. The D5xxx bodies are menu driven which is probably what you're used to with your D3100. The D7xxx series has shortcuts that involve pressing a button and spinning either the command or sub-command dials. That allows changes to be made very quickly.

    The D7200 has 2 card slots which allows a backup to be written to the second slot. Or you can set the second slot for overflow. Having a backup is very important in the event of a rare card-writing glitch. And I think the D7200's buffering is slightly faster than the D7500 (which only has 1 card slot). The D7200 has a Nikon grip available. There isn't one made for the D7500 although I *think* there is an aftermarket one available.

    If rumors are true, Nikon might discontinue the D3xxx and D5xxx series bodies. Instead, the D7xxx will be its entry level body - hence the removal of some intermediate features. A new D7200 is just $100 more than your budget since it will be discontinued. It's a fantastic body.

    One advantage of the D7xxx series is it accepts AF-D lenses which allows the AF to work. On your body, those lenses will only focus manually. There might be additional features of the D7xxx series. These are the ones that quickly come to mind. Good luck with whatever you choose.
    Thanks/Like CGPhotography Thanks/liked this post
     
    Cindy
    Flickr
    and My 2020 Thread

    Where the Spirit does not work with the hand, there is no art
    -- Leonardo da Vinci



  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Danno's Avatar

    Re: Thinking about upgrading my Nikon D3100

    @quinton77, I started out with a 3200 and held on to it for a couple years. When I upgraded I went with the D7200 because I liked having control of the exposure with dials and buttons instead of going into the menus. It is also very similar in layout and menus to the full frame models like the 750.

    I loved the 7200 and I still use it some with my 200-500 f5.6 Nikon, although I have to admit I am currently enamored with my new Z6. You can find good deals on the D7200 frequently and you can also look at the refurbished market at Adorama, (mine was a refurbished model).

    I do not think you would be disappointed with the 7200...
    Dan~~Kentucky

    "The natural man must know in order to believe; The spiritual man must believe in order to know. " ~ Aiden Wilson Tozer ~ "The Dwelling Place of God"

    Nikon Z 6 Nikon D7200 w/Grip, Nikon D700 w/Grip, AF-S Nikkor 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR, Nikon 14-24 f/2.8, Nikkor 50mm/1.8G, Tamron 28-75, Tamron 70-200 F/2.8
    Yongnuo Speedlight YN568EX, Vanguard ALTA Pro 264AB Tripod, Vanguard
    SBH-100 ball head Beike Gimbal Head, ARCA Swiss B1 ball head

    https://www.dailywalkinthelight.com

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Woodyg3's Avatar

    Re: Thinking about upgrading my Nikon D3100

    As others have said, the D7200 is worth a look. Used or refurbished you can probably find a good one in your price range. You'll have more control, faster frame rate, better autofocus. Good luck on the decision, and whatever you get, HAVE FUN!
    Woody Green

    Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can't Lose

    D500, D7200, D7100, D70

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Bikerbrent's Avatar

    Re: Thinking about upgrading my Nikon D3100

    Welcome aboard. Enjoy the ride.
    We look forward to seeing more posts and samples of your work.

    I will join the crowd and recommend the D7200. You will not regret it.
    Brent: Poway, CA
    D7200, D200, F100
    Tokina 12-24mm
    Nikon 18-200mm
    Tokina 28-70mm f2.6-2.8
    Nikon 80-200mm f2.8
    Sigma 150-600mm
    Nikon 50 AF f1.8
    Tokina 100mm f2.8 Macro
    Nikon SB800

  7. #7
    Junior Member

    Re: Thinking about upgrading my Nikon D3100

    I am also trying to upgrade from my beloved Nikon D3100, but I can probably push my budget up towards $1000 if needed. I've been shooting mostly travel, street, landscape, and would like to branch more into wildlife photography. While I started more as a hobbyist, I'm looking starting to actually sell my work and want to be able to increase my ability to capture sharp images even in low-light settings and fast-moving subjects. I like having full manual control of exposure and shutter speed, and love the feel of the D3100 body. I also love my VR and auto-focus capability on the lens it came with (but I like to use manual focus at times), and have since bought a prime lens to go with it. I also have some old Nikon lenses I used with my old-school film camera (FM2 Nikon). So I'd like to stick with Nikon so I can still use my old lenses.

    I guess my main complaint (after 9 years of happy shooting with this camera), is that I feel it doesn't do as well as the even the newest iPhones and Android phones in low-light and doesn't have HDR capability. Obviously, I can sometimes overcome the low-light challenges when I have my tripod on me (and have a slow-moving or stagnant photo subject), but I'd like a camera that can do better than the latest phones and give me larger-res images. Will the D7xxx series give me enough of a boost in capability or is there another body that I could get used/refurbished that will give me a qualitative edge from what the D3100 can provide? Also any good zoom or wide-angle lenses you would recommend to accompany an upgraded body that would help me expand my wildlife photography capabilities?

    Many thanks for any advice!!

  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Bikerbrent's Avatar

    Re: Thinking about upgrading my Nikon D3100

    Quote Originally Posted by CGPhotography View Post
    I am also trying to upgrade from my beloved Nikon D3100, but I can probably push my budget up towards $1000 if needed. I've been shooting mostly travel, street, landscape, and would like to branch more into wildlife photography. While I started more as a hobbyist, I'm looking starting to actually sell my work and want to be able to increase my ability to capture sharp images even in low-light settings and fast-moving subjects. I like having full manual control of exposure and shutter speed, and love the feel of the D3100 body. I also love my VR and auto-focus capability on the lens it came with (but I like to use manual focus at times), and have since bought a prime lens to go with it. I also have some old Nikon lenses I used with my old-school film camera (FM2 Nikon). So I'd like to stick with Nikon so I can still use my old lenses.

    I guess my main complaint (after 9 years of happy shooting with this camera), is that I feel it doesn't do as well as the even the newest iPhones and Android phones in low-light and doesn't have HDR capability. Obviously, I can sometimes overcome the low-light challenges when I have my tripod on me (and have a slow-moving or stagnant photo subject), but I'd like a camera that can do better than the latest phones and give me larger-res images. Will the D7xxx series give me enough of a boost in capability or is there another body that I could get used/refurbished that will give me a qualitative edge from what the D3100 can provide? Also any good zoom or wide-angle lenses you would recommend to accompany an upgraded body that would help me expand my wildlife photography capabilities?

    Many thanks for any advice!!
    Welcome aboard. Enjoy the ride.
    We look forward to seeing more posts and samples of your work.

    I will join the crowd and recommend the D7200. You will not regret it.


    Best Answers Texas voted best answer for this post
     
    Brent: Poway, CA
    D7200, D200, F100
    Tokina 12-24mm
    Nikon 18-200mm
    Tokina 28-70mm f2.6-2.8
    Nikon 80-200mm f2.8
    Sigma 150-600mm
    Nikon 50 AF f1.8
    Tokina 100mm f2.8 Macro
    Nikon SB800

  9. #9
    Senior Member
    Dangerspouse's Avatar

    Re: Thinking about upgrading my Nikon D3100

    First of all, welcome! Perhaps you should start a new thread here introducing yourself and asking this question, rather than revive a year old thread. You might get more responses that way

    Here's my own thoughts on your question, with the understanding that I'm not a pro (I see you list yourself as semi-pro).

    I'm pretty sure a number of members here will recommend you switch to the Nikon mirrorless system, the Z-50 being the model which would be in your budget range. It's a great camera with a lot going for it.

    Personally, I would myself opt for the D500 - in fact, that's the body I'm saving up for myself as I look to upgrade my current D5500.

    Here's why I think that's the preferable option:

    1. Like you, I already have DX lenses that will fit it. Both the Z-50 (new) and D500 (used) go for around a grand, but if you go for the mirrorless you then either have to buy a $250 adapter to use your DX lenses, or start paying $$ for new Z-Mount lenses.

    2. The D500 is renowned as a wildlife camera, with great subject tracking and instant focus. Watch a couple of YouTube vids from wildlife photographers who use it and see if that doesn't resonate with what you want to do. It will absolutely blow any phone camera out of the water.

    And....

    3. This is really why I want the D500: personally, I think it takes better pictures than the Z-50. It's not called the "Baby D5" for nothing. I swear, the best pictures I've seen here and on other Nikon sites all seem to be taken on D500's - better than the Z's, or even any of the FX body Nikons. I'm probably gonna catch a lot of flack from other members here for saying that, but it's true. Almost every time I go "WOW!" over a picture here and then hover my mouse over to see the EXIF data, it seems like it's taken on a D500.

    That's just my own opinion of course. And honestly, whether you get a D7xxx (I like the D7200 a lot, even more than the replacement D7500), that D500, or any of the Z models, it's gonna be a pretty dramatic jump up for you as far as capability goes. You really can't lose here.

    Good luck, and let us know what you decide. And post a few pictures now that you're here!
    Thanks/Like CGPhotography Thanks/liked this post
     
    Fiat lux. Fiat vox.

  10. #10
    Senior Member

    Re: Thinking about upgrading my Nikon D3100

    @CGPhotography
    I love my D7500 and it pairs nicely with the sigma 150-600 for wildlife shots. Its a beast of a lens though so if I want to travel light, the af p 70-300 4.5-5.6 VR is amazing! Neither of these lenses get busted out at night, however. For that you'll want a fast lens, possibly with stabilization. Tough to beat a 35 or 50 f1.8g for the price, though neither are stabilized. I like to use the Sigma 18-35 f1.8 but its not stabilized either. Those lenses are great at taking shots of people and landscapes. For a wide angle lens, I really like the modestly priced Tokina 11-16 f2.8, but again, not stabilized. Its a good wide angle lens, great for starscapes.
    Thanks/Like CGPhotography Thanks/liked this post
     
    Camera- D800, D7500, D40x
    Zoom Lenses-
    DX- Tokina 11-16 f2.8, Sigma A 18-35 f1.8, Nikon 18-140 f3.5-5.6
    FX- Tamron 15-30 f2.8, Nikon 35-70 f2.8, Nikon 80-200 f2.8, Nikon 24-120 f4, Nikon AF-P 70-300 f4.5-5.6 Sigma C 150-600 f5-6.3
    Prime Lenses- Nikon 50 f1.8g, Tamron 85 f1.8, Tokina 100 f2.8, Rokinon HD 8 f3.5





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