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Nikon D3100

Posted: Wed Mar 05, 2014 11:55 am
by legostudios34
Is the Nikon D3100 a good camera for the money? My mom's got a 5100 and I realize that the 3100 is lower-end than the 5100, but B&H has the D3100 for $389, and I've been considering buying a DSLR to replace my Fuji S4200 (at least for normal shots, I'd still use the S4200 where I need a super-zoom, at least until I get a telephoto lens for the SLR). So basically what I'm wondering is if the D3100 is a good entry-level DSLR for someone ready to upgrade from a good bridge camera, and if the quality of the pictures from the 3100 would be worth the significant amount of money I would be spending. Also, would the D3100 be able to sync with flash units?, as I would like to get some Alien Bees or something similar to start good night photography.

So, should I spend the $389 to get a D3100 or would I be best off to save the money and stay with what I have or spend another $120 on a Canon T3I or D3200?

Re: Nikon D3100

Posted: Wed Mar 05, 2014 2:56 pm
by railohio
You won't notice much of a difference between the D3100 and the D3200. You'd be better off with the cheaper body and a second (or third) lens like the 55-200 and 35.

Re: Nikon D3100

Posted: Wed Mar 05, 2014 8:49 pm
by Y@
If you buy a DSLR, buy a Canon.

Re: Nikon D3100

Posted: Wed Mar 05, 2014 9:04 pm
by PatAzo
The D3100 reviewed well including image quality. It is a good entry level camera. As you move up the product line the performance gets incrementally better at each step. But unless you are a compulsive pixel peeper, the differences at each step are not blow your hair back better. At $389 with a lens the D3100 is in my opinion a good camera for the money.
The review at http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/nikond3100 might help you decide. They do some of the more objective reviews you’ll find. Their forum is a mixed bag of good advice, folks with deep pockets and snooty prima donnas.

The D3100 will sync up to 1/200. It has a hot shoe for an external flash and you can also use external triggers like Pocket Wizards. It is compatible with Nikons iTTL and the Creative Lighting System. For night photos when you get to lights consider portability. With studio type flashes you need 110V nearby or to drop some cash on power supplies. Speedlights pack less power per unit but they are easier to carry and set up.

Re: Nikon D3100

Posted: Fri Mar 07, 2014 9:36 pm
by jkh2cpu
It really doesn't matter what brand you buy... they're all good. I've used Nikkor lenses since the mid 1960s, and that experience brought me to the Nikon D70 when I retired 9 years ago. Passable shots can be taken by any of the major digi camera makers. Judging from your Icon, I detect that you are a younger fan (nothing wrong with that; I took my first train shot of AT&SF 3751 in San Diego when I was ten.) Being new at the game, you need to shoot lots of pictures, use RAW, and get a decent digi editor. gimp, which I use, runs in windows, linux, and osx, and is free. (gimp-2.9.2 will be released sooner than later as a beta, and that release will allow 16 bit editing, which is why you want to use raw.)

And as for the nikon camera... get one that has a focusing motor in it. You can spend your bux on new stuff, or better yet, buy it used from the major houses. I just picked up a nice 24-120 f3.5-5.6 for 200 bucks. It was soft, so I sent it in for cleaning and adjusting, and now it's as good as new. Saved myself 1,000 by that move. You really don't need a whole lot of gear: you need trains and the time to snap them. The sun coming over your right shoulder helps a lot.

John.

Re: Nikon D3100

Posted: Sat Mar 08, 2014 3:11 am
by Jochs
I bought a D3100 last month, and so far have been satisfied with it. I love the fact that you can go high-end ISO, above 3200. My D50 can only go as high as ISO 1600.
I also am satisfied with the video feature.

Re: Nikon D3100

Posted: Mon May 19, 2014 9:43 pm
by legostudios34
railohio wrote:You won't notice much of a difference between the D3100 and the D3200. You'd be better off with the cheaper body and a second (or third) lens like the 55-200 and 35.
I ended up buying the D3100, and I intend to get both of those lenses. The telephoto for telephoto shots, and the 35mm F1.8 so I can let in more light for night shots.

Re: Nikon D3100

Posted: Tue May 20, 2014 9:09 am
by jkh2cpu
Night shots? Get the best tripod / head that you can afford. When the sun is down, the light is gone and you'll be shooting still life in seconds and 10s of seconds.

John.

Re: Nikon D3100

Posted: Tue May 20, 2014 2:58 pm
by PatAzo
What kind of night shot do you plan to do? Stop action is pretty difficult without flash equipment or a cluster of bright lights. f1.8 lets in light but you may find depth of field to get to shallow. I find f5.6 to be a happy medium for stills and streaking lights.

Re: Nikon D3100

Posted: Tue May 20, 2014 3:13 pm
by legostudios34
My friend shoots in well lit areas with a 35mm f1.8 lens and gets good results. I do intend to get some flashes so I can use other lenses though.

Re: Nikon D3100

Posted: Tue May 20, 2014 3:38 pm
by jkh2cpu
RRF deleted most of the EXIF for this shot, but: 1/3 sec, ISO 800, f5.6 on a substantial tripod... You really do want to consider a tripod for night shots... Oh... The lighting was from a very bright one that was at Owosso that evening.

Image

Re: Nikon D3100

Posted: Tue May 20, 2014 4:26 pm
by bdconrail29
legostudios34 wrote:My friend shoots in well lit areas with a 35mm f1.8 lens and gets good results. I do intend to get some flashes so I can use other lenses though.
His point was that don't set your aperture to f/1.8 because your DOF will be way too thin and most of your photo will be OOF. The only benefit to an f/1.8 lens is auto-focus accuracy due to more light being let in at f/1.8 (camera AF's at max aperture regardless of what aperture YOU have the camera set).

Re: Nikon D3100

Posted: Tue May 20, 2014 11:58 pm
by PatAzo
Shoot what works and try what doesn't. Digital is all but free. I like to stop down a bit. If f1.8 works for you it's all good.

Re: Nikon D3100

Posted: Mon May 26, 2014 6:29 pm
by railohio
Well, I can say I practice what I preach. A store here had a D3100 and D3200 on closeout, and I picked up the D3100 kit with 18-55 lens.