First Camera. Nikon D3300 or D5500? Or?

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by Nucky, Feb 22, 2016.

  1. Nucky

    Nucky TPF Noob!

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    Hey guy/gals,

    I've been saving and selling a few odds and ends for what I consider a decent camera. I know there are many Nikon fans and non fans but based on my limited knowledge and Google searches Ive chosen to go with Nikon.

    The question I have is...... Should I go with :
    A Nikon D3300 bundle from eBay (Tripod/bad/flash/etc) or spend a little more and go with a D5500?

    For context:
    - I like the idea of the swivel and touch screen but I have no serious experience in photography.
    - Im looking to stay in this price bracket.
    - I'm not opposed to buying used but I don't have the experience to make an educated purchase.
    - Since the features on the D5500 are new should I wait and upgrade in the next generation or two?
    - Are both wrong for a newbie looking to get into amateur photography?


    Thanks for any advice or suggestions in advance.
    -Jeremy


     
  2. IronMaskDuval

    IronMaskDuval Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    All you need is a lens and a shutter button. Either will work fine. You just have to decide on which bells and whistles you'd like.
     
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  3. Solarflare

    Solarflare No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Err ... there AFAIK really is absolutely no point in getting a D3300. Its very clearly the worst offer of Nikon in the whole lineup of entry level cameras. Its just hopelessy overpriced for what it actually does.

    Because the D5200 is CHEAPER than the D3300, but BETTER. Before you consider the D3300, get the cheaper camera with the superior autofocus and 14 bit recording (the D3x00 line only records 12 bit, and only the D7x00 line finally records 14 bit lossless).

    The D5500 is a camera I instantly fell in love with when I picked it up in the shop. It just "falls" into your hand so beautifully, and then theres the touchscreen. I really had to make a strong effort not to buy one, haha. But purely from what it can do photographically, its not much better than the D5200.

    The D7100 refurbished is another much better offer. Thats a so-called semi-pro camera. That means you get advanced features like HSS, a second command dial and a couple more buttons that speed up your photographic process, a builtin monitor, a second card slot for instant backup, etc.

    And for the record, if you really want top image quality and build quality to last for ages for dirt cheap: D700 (or D3, I've seen some insane deals recently on that one, too) with low shutter count and Nikon AI / AI-S manual focus prime lenses. I know you wont listen to that tip, but I feel compelled to give it anyway, just to be truthful. Yes, I've been too stupid to get that, either, and spend a lot more than that.
     
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  4. goodguy

    goodguy Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    First I wouldn't buy a camera with a bundle, in most cases the stuff you get there with the camera is total crap and in the future you will find yourself buying better stuff anyways.
    D3300 vs D5500
    Both good capable cameras, I own the D3300 which is my second camera, I use it as a second body for event and portrait and trust me it can get the job done, whats going for it is its very good sensor, excellent low light performance but its pretty naked in features, Nikon made it this way to make you want to go and get the more expensive models, here in Canada its half the value of the D5500 and its 50% cheaper then the D5200 (if you can still find it new).

    On the other hand the D5500 is better then the D3300 in every way, its got an amazing sensor, some say best current APS-C sensor in the market, swivel touch screen, better AF system and many more features.

    So if I had the cash for my first camera I would absolutely want the D5500 but it is much more expensive, the D3300 is more then capable to get the job done and with the difference you can get a good lens which is really much more important then the camera itself.

    Its up to you how much more you want to spend and on what.

    Good luck
     
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  5. Solarflare

    Solarflare No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Oh. Then the D3300 of course would be worth it.
     
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  6. goodguy

    goodguy Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Bought mine for 280$ USD, not sale price, that's regular price.
     
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  7. jcdeboever

    jcdeboever TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    You never mentioned the intended use. D3300 is what I own and it is a very capable camera. I shoot a lot of candid photo's and abstracts so it works well. I will be shooting birds when it warms so will see about it. I think if I was knowing that bird photography was going to be my gig, then a D7xxx would be better. However, don't get sucked into bundles that offer worthless junk. Spend money on the best glass you can afford. By a body only, then pick your glass with direction from here.

    Sent from my XT1254 using Tapatalk
     
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  8. Designer

    Designer Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    There are some deals on e-bay that any of us would recommend that you avoid. Some dealers are selling "gray market" equipment, which means that it does not come with a U.S. warranty. Now the lack of warranty might not matter if the camera never needs repairs, but if it does, you will not get Nikon USA to repair it.

    Aside from that; the bundle may or may not include quality accessories, and I think you know where I'm going with that.

    Please post a link to the e-bay deal so we can see what it is.

    BTW: I have owned my Nikon D5000 for several years, and I still love it.
     
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  9. JoeW

    JoeW Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    First, of all, welcome to the addiction, er, ah, world of photography and jumping in more seriously by investing in a DSLR. To answer your last question first, no you are not wrong. There are all levels of practitioners with photography...you can be as good as you set out to be and work at. It's an art. And great artists work at their craft. And there are lots of people who are great and that's okay with them. So you decide what level of photographer you want to be and then be realistic about it--do the things you need to do to achieve that. I know plenty of beginners who aspire to be nothing more than that and have a blast. Or they want only to take good vacation photos--and they do that. Or pictures of the kids on their sports teams. Or product photography for their eBay and Etsy jewelry that they sell.

    Second, you'll get a bunch of recommendations about cameras here. Here is something to understand...even the most basic DSLR these days will have capabilities that you will likely never use. It's like a modern laptop or smart phone--capabilities that we just never get to. This is not a race to see who can buy the most sophisticated camera or the one with the most bells and whistles "wins" or takes better photos. It's 90% about the person holding the camera.

    Some details about the models you're looking at:
    --the "swivel and touch" screen is invaluable for macro photography. You put the camera down on the ground to shoot a "ground view" angle of an insect and its' likely too low for you to look in the view finder. Not so with this screen. So if you're really interested in macro photography, this is a big plus. For me, I stayed away from it b/c I think it's easy to snag on clothing and break it. Like any feature on a camera, it can be a strong pro or negative or just "meh" depending upon what you shoot.
    --Both the 3000 series and 5000 series have some nice elements that work for beginners.
    --Skip the package. There are lots of things you can buy cheap on in photography and do fine. For instance, some off-brand lens are superb and will be 1/3rd the price of the brand name. Some used equipment is a great fit. Do NOT skimp on price for a tripod. A kit tripod is useful as a walking stick and that's about it. So don't buy the kit b/c it comes with a tripod...you should assume you're never going to use that particular tripod when it comes time to stabilize your camera. And getting the camera bag that comes with it is a waste of your money. That bag signals "camera" to a thief. You are either going to have your camera out and ready to use or stored in something bigger (like a backpack). Or you're going to acquire more kit (like another lens or two) and the bag won't cut it. For instance, I've got a messenger bag I sometimes use that holds my MacAir, a body, 4 lens, plus a bunch of other stuff (a speed light, batteries, etc.). The kit sounds attractive to a beginner but the tripod and bag are pretty much a waste for your purposes.
    --The 3000 series has no internal autofocus motor. It relies on lens to have an autofocus motor (which shouldn't be a problem if you're buying new kit lens that are Nikkor). How this is relevant is...it's a smaller body (so better for smaller hands), it's lighter (so easier to carry around). Some women and older individuals like the smaller and lighter body for those reasons.

    I'm actually going to recommend that you look at a D7000. It's an older model (about 6 years older but more sophisticated than either the D3000 or D5000 series). Why would I recommend it? You can buy just the body for about $400 these days. That's a great price for a very good DSLR that has a fine reputation and can do everything you'd want it to do. Also, unlike the D3000 or D5000 series, the D7000 has "commander mode." What that means is that you can program the camera to talk to speed lights (either Nikon speed lights or ones configured to work with Nikon--there are plenty of generic models that have this built in) so that you can trigger them using your camera without the pop-up flash firing. Why does this matter? B/c a flash head-on produces red eye and a very flat, unflattering light. For portraits you want the light no head-on but at an angle. And the commander mode allows you to do this without having to acquire flash triggers or pocket wizards. I think the commander mode is a really big advantage and you're not going to get it with the D3000 and D5000 series models but will with the D7000.

    The $400 for a D7000 (if you're buying it new) is just the body. You'd then get a Nikon 35mm f1.8 lens off of Amazon. It's a prime lens which means it's razor sharp. This particular lens is small and light. It's a wide angle lens. It will be useful for landscapes and architecture or group shots. And b/c it's f1.8, combined with the ISO flexibility on the D7000 body, you'll be able to get a lot of great pictures in very low light. It's designed for a crop body (all of the cameras you're looking at plus the D7000 are crop bodies). You will get some lovely results from that.

    A D7000 body with a 35mm f1.8 will give you the ability to shoot a lot of stuff with no other equipment. It won't be good for shooting wildlife or sports (you'll need a lens that has a longer reach for those kinds of activities). But for someone who won't have a speed light and is just starting out, this a pretty straight forward, capable, reliable, versatile setup. And if you decide "damn, I'm addicted" then you can go out and buy an expensive zoom (200mm f2.8). And a really good tripod. And a speed light or two. And a circular polarizer to add punch to your skies and sunsets. And a remote shutter release for doing long exposures of water or light painting. And a Macro lens for shooting water drops or insects. And a sling to hold it all (except for the tripod) or maybe a backpack. But a D7000 body with a 35mm f1.8 lens will be cheaper than what you're looking at and it will be better in terms of capabilities.
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2016
  10. Nucky

    Nucky TPF Noob!

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    I appreciate your comparison of the 5200 vs the 5500. Noted.

    I'll search if there's eBay good deals for a D7100... (Not sure if it'll be in my rice range but that would be nice) I don't know much about the D700 or D3 but I'll do some research.

    Thanks for your reply.
    Jeremy
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2016
  11. Nucky

    Nucky TPF Noob!

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    No bundle it is... Thanks for that bit of advice. I'm sure most of the extras in those kit are cheap and won't last long.
     
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  12. Nucky

    Nucky TPF Noob!

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    Initially, baby/family/amateur photography classes/projects/experiments. This is a big purchase for me so I'm not looking to purchase another camera at least for a couple years.
     

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