Nikon camera upgrade advice


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Oct 6, 2015
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Hi everyone,
I'm on the verge of buying a new camera, and after a long research have narrowed my options down to two cameras. I would love it if anyone who owns one of these or has made a decision between the two could share their thoughts with me.
I currently own a D3000 bought 5 years ago as an entry level camera, and I feel I have "outgrown" it. I'm looking for a camera that would give me more freedom, and will eventually produce sharper, better photographs.
I also own 3 lenses: 18-55, 55-200 and 35mm f/1.8 (all Nikkor), but intending on selling both zoom lenses and buying an 18-140 with the new camera I'll eventually choose.
The cameras I've been looking into are the D7100 and the D5300.
My use of the camera is quite general - a lot of portraits and landscapes (with a three month trip to the far east coming up, another reason to upgrade now), not so much macro, etc.
Budget - I can afford both cameras at the moment, and do not mind paying the difference between the two, as long as it's worth it (but if it's not, I would much rather keeping the money).
I'm leaning towards the D7100 because of the sensor, the AF system, quality of low light photography, and the ability to control everything within the camera with the buttons and the screen on top (also the removal of the AA filter got me interested, though I don't know if I'll be able to tell the difference).
The only things drawing me to the D5300 are the price and the vari-angle screen, which I've never used before.
One last thing to mention - I am not planning on buying another camera in the foreseeable future, so I would like the upgrade to be worth it (so that the new camera is significantly better than the one I currently have).

Thank you so much, sorry if that was too long, I would like to make a good, calculated decision.
I think you need to go an demo the cameras...the D7100 uses a pentaprism system, and has a viewfinder image that is brighter, clearer, and a bit better than what the smaller pentamirror cameras in the 3000- and 5000- series use. Nikon has apparently also released new firmware for the D7100 which apparently has greatly reduced banding on under-exposed and then rescued images; I have not read much about this, but it happened like, last week, as I understand it. Beside the better viewfinder quality in the D7100, it also can use AF-D lenses, so that's another benefit. The 7xxx series also do FP Synch flash!

The D5500 is out, and has been made even smaller than the earlier models in the 5xxx series. Same with the D7200...if you're buying for the long term, you might want to check into those two models. Or, maybe not!
Everything said above makes sense^^.

It's hard to give definite answer. You don't say what the d3000 does not do for you but the very capable d3000 has been bettered by later models so nearly any newer Nikon camera should be an upgrade.

The sensible choice would immediately seem to be the d7100. Having said this I have a d7200 and a d3100 and though the 7200 is a far more specced camera, I often find myself grabbing the small, light d3100.

If you are mostly happy with the d3000 but want a few improvements such as resolution, better iso and like the idea of a tilt screen the d5xxx series could be ideal. If you feel you need a heavier more resilient camera with 2 control wheels and think you will use advanced flash features the d7xxx is your choice.

I will say though that if you think you won't need the d7xxx and go the d5xxx route, if you save money and look at the slightly older d5200, you will see an even bigger difference in your shots if you use saved money and upgrade your kit lens to something like a sigma 17-50mm OS f2.8 lens.
I also have the D3000 and this year bought the D5300.
The D5300 is obviously much better in image quality, ISO performance, dynamic range...
But the great upgrade that I did was on the Lenses.
I bought the D5300 with the Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 OS and the nikon 35mm f/1.8.
I also use the old 55-200mm that came with D3000 kit (I am going to upgrade it this Christmas and buy a 70-200mm f/2.8).

Having said that,
Buy a cheaper body and upgrade your lenses.
A few days ago I took the D3000 to the field and it still does really nice pics with the new lenses I bought.

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Low light performance of D5300 and D7100 is about the same and so is the image quality.
You said one of the reasons to get a new camera is because you want to get better image quality, getting good IQ is a factor of many things, 2 main factors are the glass and the photographers skills, in good lighting condition you will see its hard to tell the difference between good camera and not so good camera.
I would recommend the D7100 over the D5300 for the second dial, better body, weather sealing, faster FPS, in body AF moter,
Better still if you can then go for the D7200 which is the new model, has better AF system (not by much) better low light performance (not by much) and bigger buffer (by much).
f you are going to buy a camera for a long time and want to stay with DX body then get the D7200 I think you will be happy you did, if not the get the D7100 its a great camera, I had one for almost 2 years and loved it.

Good luck
As someone with both a D7100 and D5100 I can say the D7100 was a good upgrade. The 2 dials, better viewfinder, and HSS flash make it easier to use. I still love using my D5100 as a backup, though; Especially with the swivel screen.
Thank you all for the replies, you've mentioned great things I did not think of.
You've definitely convinced me that I should upgrade to the sigma 17-50 f2.8 rather than buying the NIKKOR 18-140, but from what I understand, the lens does not work well with both D7100 and D5300. do you think I should go with their predecessors (d7000/d5200) and this lens? (this lens + d7200 exceeds my budget) or are the problems minor enough to ignore?
And about why upgrade at all - the D3000 was great for me and produced wonderful photographs over the years, but I feel it's missing a lot of things that are quite significant (live view, video, its built-in flash is very poor in my opinion, and the photography in low light is not very good), and that in general, it's time to step it up.
thank you all again, would love to keep hearing your opinions on the question above !
You could upgrade your lens first. Then you can decide later if you need to upgrade your camera.
The new version of the lens works perfectly with the Nikon D5300 (I a referring to the sigma).
It even says so in the box - "compatible with the Nikon D5300".
You just have to ask the vendor if it is the right version of the Lens ;)
Mine works really really well on my D5300.

I would recommend going with the D7100 because it has a better viewfinder and a built in auto-focus motor for AF-D lenses and support for legacy lenses.
Whatever you choose, I'd hold off and wait for the next round of discounts/incentives on bodies and lenses. That should be Dec/Jan.
I can vouch for the sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 ex dc os hsm. Great glass for the money, although I paid nothing for it. It replaced my 18-55mm kit lens and I never regret it. It's a lot heavier but still has good feel and balance on my d3300. Search the lens on Flickr and you can see the potential.

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