Need advice please..

rivera

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I'm interested in purchasing the d3100 I know it's an entry level dslr camera and I'm ok with that.. I need it mostly to take pictures of my kids and the house family parties.. I also own an etsy shop so I would love to be able to get up close to my items and take detail shots of them.. I currently own an Olympus sp510-uz bought it a few years ago, i like it for what it is a point & shoot.. I've been experimenting on it and I have just recently got out of the auto mode but it has very limited options. I want to upgrade to a dslr. I've been eyeing the Nikon d3100 because it's on my price range. I was at the store yesterday and almost bought it but then I decided to come back here and ask you all for your advice.

Do I need the 55-200mm lense to take indoor shots.. I was thinking I can omit the lense and buy an external flash I was looking at the Nikon sb-700 since it has been recommended in a few threads I've read.

Another alternative I was looking at is to buy a lightscoop which is cheaper than the flash and buy the lense. Like I said it's mostly for family pictures but I still want it to grow me with me. I won't be able to change my camera again for a couple of years.. or buy a lense or anything else for a few months.. more like a lot of months..lol..(we're a family of 6) I'm willing to learn how to use my camera so that's not a problem.
Please help me I'm so confused right now.. what do you think?
thank you so much for your help in advance.
Diana

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KmH

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MReid

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Start out with a 50 1.8.....make sure to buy one that will focus on your camera. Inexpensive lens good photos.
Take a lot of pictures...then decide where/if the lens is limiting you and then upgrade to the "right" lens.

You will be surprised how much you can do with just the 50 1.8.

Don't get the 55-200 for indoor shooting.

Hold off on the flash until you see what you can do with the 50 1.8 and until you gain more knowledge and start to get an idea of what type of lighting you will need for your application...if any.
 
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rivera

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I also own an etsy shop so I would love to be able to get up close to my items and take detail shots of them..
Then you'll need to learn about photographic lighting and other technical details:

http://www.thephotoforum.com/forum/...allery/267492-info-those-new-photography.html

http://www.thephotoforum.com/forum/...o-gallery/270090-most-common-problem-dof.html

How Do I Use My Digital SLR?: How to Get Sharply Focused Images

Thank you so much for the links.

Start out with a 50 1.8.....make sure to buy one that will focus on your camera. Inexpensive lens good photos.
Take a lot of pictures...then decide where/if the lens is limiting you and then upgrade to the "right" lens.

You will be surprised how much you can do with just the 50 1.8.

Don't get the 55-200 for indoor shooting.

Hold off on the flash until you see what you can do with the 50 1.8 and until you gain more knowledge and start to get an idea of what type of lighting you will need for your application...if any.

Thank you I'm going to research the 50 1.8 right now.
 

KmH

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Virtually all Nikon lenses will focus on any Nikon camera, but older lenses may not auto focus on all Nikon cameras. Nikon's D40/D40x/D60/D3000/D3100/D5000/D5100 do not have an auto focus motor in them. Nikon did that to make the cameras more compact/lighter so they would appeal to more women.

For your Etsy stuff you will need a tripod. A tripod makes manually focusing a lens a lot easier. Plus, the D3100 has an electronic manual focusing aid called Rangefinder mode. You just have to turn the focus ring on the lens.

Nikon's inexpensive Nikon 50mm f/1.8D AF Nikkor Lens for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras is one of those older lens designs (AF, instead of AF-S) that does not have an auto focus motor in it and would be manual focus only on a D3100.
 

MLeeK

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The kicker is that the D3100 kit alone isn't going to create awesome photos. NO DSLR kit alone is going to create amazing photos. You'll need a little knowledge-that's easy. Keith gave you some great starter links up there and I'll give you one more: Digital Photography Tips and Tutorials

As for the 55-200 lens the first thing you will discover about the 18-55 is that there is no zoom what-so-ever to it. You'll get to one of your kids' sports games or events of some sort and they will be a speck out there on the field or stage or whatever. The 55mm end of that lens is roughly the same (a little more) as what the eye sees. There's no zooming in on something.

The close up of items will require a macro setup. You can go cheap on that and use a set of extension tubes. That's $179. Depending on what your etsy items are you will probably need a light tent-you can get a cheapie for $25 for small items-and some lights for it. You can also "engineer" the lighting for about $25.
Inside your home you will find that your new camera gives you the exact same results as any point and shoot. To take good photos inside a home you will need a good, fixed aperture lens of f/2.8 or better and a speedlight. That's $220 for the 50mm f/1.8G (you have to buy the G because of the no focus motor in the D3100) and $200 for a cheap, fairly decent flash.

Lastly you said you want your camera to grow with you. I am not so sure the D3100 is one to grow with you for a few years. The D5100 I'd say go for it, but the D3100 is kind of like a step between a bridge and a full fledged DSLR. It's a great camera and allows you to utilize the nikon lineup of lenses, but it's pretty crippled as far as it's features go compared to even the D5100. Will it LAST you a few years? ABSOLUTELY! It's a great camera to learn and grow on.

A DSLR is an expensive habit.
Other options? A bridge camera that will allow you to use an external flash would cover most of the camera/lens needs.

The lightscoop-you can fashion one of your own. There are a million DIY's out there. Try it with whatever camera you have now. It kind of works. Definitely improves the images by not giving you that harsh flash in the face and hard shadow.
 
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rivera

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Virtually all Nikon lenses will focus on any Nikon camera, but older lenses may not auto focus on all Nikon cameras. Nikon's D40/D40x/D60/D3000/D3100/D5000/D5100 do not have an auto focus motor in them. Nikon did that to make the cameras more compact/lighter so they would appeal to more women.

For your Etsy stuff you will need a tripod. A tripod makes manually focusing a lens a lot easier. Plus, the D3100 has an electronic manual focusing aid called Rangefinder mode. You just have to turn the focus ring on the lens.

Nikon's inexpensive Nikon 50mm f/1.8D AF Nikkor Lens for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras is one of those older lens designs (AF, instead of AF-S) that does not have an auto focus motor in it and would be manual focus only on a D3100.

The kicker is that the D3100 kit alone isn't going to create awesome photos. NO DSLR kit alone is going to create amazing photos. You'll need a little knowledge-that's easy. Keith gave you some great starter links up there and I'll give you one more: Digital Photography Tips and Tutorials

As for the 55-200 lens the first thing you will discover about the 18-55 is that there is no zoom what-so-ever to it. You'll get to one of your kids' sports games or events of some sort and they will be a speck out there on the field or stage or whatever. The 55mm end of that lens is roughly the same (a little more) as what the eye sees. There's no zooming in on something.

The close up of items will require a macro setup. You can go cheap on that and use a set of extension tubes. That's $179. Depending on what your etsy items are you will probably need a light tent-you can get a cheapie for $25 for small items-and some lights for it. You can also "engineer" the lighting for about $25.
Inside your home you will find that your new camera gives you the exact same results as any point and shoot. To take good photos inside a home you will need a good, fixed aperture lens of f/2.8 or better and a speedlight. That's $220 for the 50mm f/1.8G (you have to buy the G because of the no focus motor in the D3100) and $200 for a cheap, fairly decent flash.

Lastly you said you want your camera to grow with you. I am not so sure the D3100 is one to grow with you for a few years. The D5100 I'd say go for it, but the D3100 is kind of like a step between a bridge and a full fledged DSLR. It's a great camera and allows you to utilize the nikon lineup of lenses, but it's pretty crippled as far as it's features go compared to even the D5100. Will it LAST you a few years? ABSOLUTELY! It's a great camera to learn and grow on.

A DSLR is an expensive habit.
Other options? A bridge camera that will allow you to use an external flash would cover most of the camera/lens needs.

The lightscoop-you can fashion one of your own. There are a million DIY's out there. Try it with whatever camera you have now. It kind of works. Definitely improves the images by not giving you that harsh flash in the face and hard shadow.

Thank you both for the detailed explanations.. I really appreciated. I'll be doing some research now. I was looking at the d5100 but wasn't sure if the extra $200 was worth it.. I guess it is. On to research the d5100 now.

Thank you
Diana
 

CCericola

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Hi Diana,

Dpreview.com has detailed reviews of the cameras including sample images and side by side comparisons to help you out. I'm not a Nikon user but I find the website very helpfull.
 

MLeeK

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What are you REALLY wanting out of the camera? Is a good, bridge camera an option for you?
If you went with a bridge you'd be shelling out a bit less $ in the camera. You'll have a macro feature all of the way thru a mega zoom. I'd still want one with a hotshoe for an external flash as they go pretty wide in aperture, but at some point with every camera you have to add light or flash.
You wouldn't need to be buying the extra zoom lens or the nifty fifty.
You would be able to control it just like you could the DSLR-they have all of the assisted and manual modes of a DSLR. You also get all of the fun features of a point and shoot in them that you don't get on a DSLR.
 

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You dont need a 55-200mm lens for indoor or portrait photography. Owning a store, you would probably get more usage from the flash. Get a 50mm prime to go with it. Either a 1.8 or 1.4.
 

KmH

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For your Etsy stuff you may do better with a good lightbox and constant lights instead of using strobed light (flash).
 
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rivera

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Thank you everyone I'm going over all of your suggestions.. I truly appreciate all of your advice.
 

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