Nikon Equipment Advice

jbevers

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Help please! I've owned a Nikon d3000 for three years. It's my first dslr, and I've learned a lot on it but am ready for more. I'm a mom who just wants to get great pics of her kids, and sometimes I struggle to get something good in the house in low light because I hate using the flash. Here's what I prioritize:


1. fast
2. great blur when I take portrait-type shots
3. works well in low, indoor light


I'd rather not go over $800ish for the body, but would if necessary. I don't need the latest model, and I'm happy to buy used.


I own a 35mm f/1.8 lens and just love it. I want more like this. What's the next best thing if I like that?


I have learned in shoot in manual mode, but really don't have time for too much fiddling when it doesn't turn out so then I just switch to the no-flash mode or aperture priority. All the technical jargon I read as I research cameras and lenses is stressing me out. I don't want more camera than I need, I want just enough. I'm sure I'll have time again one day to improve my skills, but for now I just want to get great pictures of adorable, fast toddlers. What Nikon camera and lens would you recommend? I've been reading a lot about a d3200, d5100, d7000, and d71000. Thanks for your help!

I've been reading here for awhile, but this is my very first post. Let me know if there's a better place to discuss this.
 

tirediron

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I think both the D7000 and 7100 turn in decent low-light performance (but the lens you use also has a significant impact). The "blur" to which you refer is known as "Bokeh" or the way the LENS renders the unfocused elements of an image. That is [almost] exclusively to do with your lens and NOT your body. In general faster (large maximum aperture] lenses have more pleasing bokeh. I would look to Adorama or B&H for deals on refurb'd D7000 & 7100s. You will save yourself a bit of money that way.

For your next lens, you might want to consider the 18-55; it's a bit slower in terms of aperture, but would be very useful out of doors, and allow you more compositional flexibility than a prime lens.
 

Derrel

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The D3000 needs AF-S type lenses in order to autofocus. If you like the 35mm 1.8, then the next lens I would say is the 50mm f/1.8 AF-S G Nikkor prime lens. It has more background blur potential than anything else in its price class; used at f/2.8 to f/3.5, it will defocus the background on kid pics, as well as give you fast shutter speeds, and sharp photos. Also, in poor light, it focuses well, and the wide f/stop can be used to good advantage.

Another option is a long-ish zoom, like the 55-200 zoomed out well, OR the even better 70-300mm AF-S VR-G Nikkor zoom lens.

Here's an old shot from 2005 on a 12 MP Nikon; Shot at 70mm at f/4.5

150477520.v1wpW4dj.RecentTPFU_ca92_o.jpg


And here's another tele-zoom shot, this one done at the ocean, with the 70-300 VR-G, shot wide-open at f/5.6, at 210mm, also on 12 megapixel Nikon.
150477612.jpg
 
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goodguy

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Up to 800$ I am thinking of one camera the Nikon D5200.
Low light performance is equal to the D7100 and overall its a great camera.
I just got the D7100 and honestly I was almost tempted to get the D5200 instead of the D7000 that I had.
The D5200 got excellent reviews and is priced very resonably.
Since you own only the 35mm 1.8 I would say get the 18-105mm VR lens and the 50mm 1.8G.
For 800$ you should be able to get the D5200 with the 18-105mm VR and the 50mm 1.8G is around 200$ new,.

Good luck.
 

PaulWog

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Up to 800$ I am thinking of one camera the Nikon D5200.
Low light performance is equal to the D7100 and overall its a great camera.
I just got the D7100 and honestly I was almost tempted to get the D5200 instead of the D7000 that I had.
The D5200 got excellent reviews and is priced very resonably.
Since you own only the 35mm 1.8 I would say get the 18-105mm VR lens and the 50mm 1.8G.
For 800$ you should be able to get the D5200 with the 18-105mm VR and the 50mm 1.8G is around 200$ new,.

Good luck.

Agreed.

I think the d5200 would be an outstanding choice. However, the d7100 is worth looking at if shooting above 1/4000 of a second, or if you need commander flash. The built in focus motor could be of use as well.

In my opinion the d5200 sounds like the way to go. Get the d7100 only if you really want a larger more rugged camera with better features for flash photography and wide open shots in sunlight. I somewhat want a d7100 now for the flash and couple features, but i can't help but love the articulated screen and smaller size of the d5200. Both are great choices and you can't go wrong.
 

goodguy

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Agreed.

I think the d5200 would be an outstanding choice. However, the d7100 is worth looking at if shooting above 1/4000 of a second, or if you need commander flash. The built in focus motor could be of use as well.

In my opinion the d5200 sounds like the way to go. Get the d7100 only if you really want a larger more rugged camera with better features for flash photography and wide open shots in sunlight. I somewhat want a d7100 now for the flash and couple features, but i can't help but love the articulated screen and smaller size of the d5200. Both are great choices and you can't go wrong.

I think if I owned a D5200 I wouldnt bother upgrading to the D7100.
I am saying this not because I dont like my D7100, I LOVE my camera but the D5200 from what I read is such an amazing camera that while the D7100 has few advantages I dont think for me they would make ta good reason to upgrade from the D5200 to the D7100.
The lack of AA filter is noticable only if you use pro lenses which I dont and probably will not own one for a LONG time if ever.
The 2 dials is really nice but not something I cant live without and where its important in IQ and low light performance they (from what I understand) very close if not identicle.

All of Nikon new generation 24MP cameras are awesome (for a non pro user), even the D3200, I would be ashamed to used any of them!!!
 
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jbevers

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Thanks so much, especially for the recommendation on where to get the refurbished cameras. This is all new to me.
I'm leaning towards the d5200 and will look into each of those lenses.
 

PaulWog

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Thanks so much, especially for the recommendation on where to get the refurbished cameras. This is all new to me.
I'm leaning towards the d5200 and will look into each of those lenses.

If you have a local dealer you might be able to find a package deal. I got my d5200 new for 560 since I bought it with a lens, case, and memory card. Nothing was really overpriced, got a discount on the lens and the case too.
 

shadowlands

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used or refurbished D7000. It would allow you to use a battery grip... it's built better than those plastic small body cameras... and it has an AF motor for future, non AF-S glass.
 

orb9220

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+1 shadowlands suggestion. Been there Done That!

Started with an entry camera and grew out of it in about 9months. Give me a more feature rich and more dedicated buttons for making changes without my eye leaving the Bigger,Brighter Penta-prism viewfinder vs. the smaller,darker penta-mirror viewfinders of the entry cameras.

Built in Motor for more outstanding choices in lenses like many of the AF and AF-D lenses out there. Built in flash commander mode for operating flashes off shoe. Dual command wheels and dedicated buttons for instant setting changes without the need to lower my camera to go menu digging and missing the shot.

Top LCD for Night & Tripod work coupled with faster AF and more FPS. And true integrated grip for easier vertical compositions.

Yep would take a D200,D80,D90 before any of the newer entry cameras. Yep I may need that High 3200 iso from time to time and my D90 gives acceptable tho not outstanding lower light shots. But that is a small percentage of my shots. But the added Features & Controls of a more capable camera I use every time I click the shutter.
.
 

nycphotography

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I know this is from off in left field, but bear with me... I think a new camera will not help you out much. You have a good camera. You have a great lens.

I'd really suggest something like a REMOTE TTL speedlight (and 2 sets of rechargeable batteries) as perhaps the biggest bang for your buck. I know you said you "don't like messing with the flash". But hear me out.

With a little practice and guidance, you can learn to set up the flash really quickly. 4 or 5 buttons, set +1 +2, etc, stick it on a stand, and put it in a corner of the room.

It would be off camera so you wouldn't have to "mess with it" while you shoot. Set it up in a corner and forget about it. It will light up the entire room, and you can just shoot shoot shoot your kids to your hearts content.

I think THIS will give you the most bang for your buck in terms of photographic results.

Plus maybe a 50mm lens and a 85mm lens to go with your excellent 35. ;-)

What does the peanut gallery think. Am I nuts to suggest this?
 

Derrel

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nycphotography said:
SNIP>>>a REMOTE TTL speedlight (and 2 sets of rechargeable batteries) >>SNIP>>off camera>SNIP>Set it up in a corner and forget about it. It will light up the entire room, and you can just shoot shoot shoot your kids to your hearts content. >SNIP>

Plus maybe a 50mm lens and a 85mm lens to go with your excellent 35. ;-)

What does the peanut gallery think. Am I nuts to suggest this?

Well, yeah, an off-camera flash set up for remote triggering? And a 50mm lens? And an 85mm lens???

Now THAT would be one heck of a nice set-up. It really,really would.
 

Patrice

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... I think a new camera will not help you out much.

......flash.....


.......What does the peanut gallery think. Am I nuts to suggest this?


I'll be a peanut and agree with you.

OP,

I'll suggest, as others have, to get a speed light. However, as a first flash spend a bit and get one that plays well with your camera. A second hand SB600 or a new SB700 would both be my suggestion. As for trying to figure out how to set it up for remote firing and such ... don't bother with that yet. Put it on your camera, set it to TTL, aim anywhere in the room but not at your subjects and start photographing. Play with the +/- button on the flash and in no time you'll start seeing remarkable improvements in your indoor kid pictures. You can learn about off camera flash, multiple flash and flash modifiers later.
 

astroNikon

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... I think a new camera will not help you out much.

......flash.....


.......What does the peanut gallery think. Am I nuts to suggest this?


I'll be a peanut and agree with you.

OP,

I'll suggest, as others have, to get a speed light. However, as a first flash spend a bit and get one that plays well with your camera. A second hand SB600 or a new SB700 would both be my suggestion. As for trying to figure out how to set it up for remote firing and such ... don't bother with that yet. Put it on your camera, set it to TTL, aim anywhere in the room but not at your subjects and start photographing. Play with the +/- button on the flash and in no time you'll start seeing remarkable improvements in your indoor kid pictures. You can learn about off camera flash, multiple flash and flash modifiers later.

Can't agree more. That's exactly the route that I went. A new SB700 .. worked with it on camera and bounce off the ceiling. A great indoor improvement. Then worked with it off camera. Did some makeshift softbox photos.

Added a 2nd flash - SB600 .... then started using the flash outdoor to lighten heavy shadows.
Alot to learn, incrementally.
Now I use a SU800 to the mix for remote control, and use alot of manual control now.

next step a 3rd flash and softboxs / umbrellas.
 

goodguy

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I bought a speedlight and just like you I really don't like using a flash but I thought that once I have a flash I will start using it more.
I still don't use it, don't like flashes!!!
I use it only when I do very close shots like taking pictures of my watches or fountain pens, when I shoot in low light I will strap on my 50mm 1.8 and let my camera high ISO do the work.
I think the D3000 is an old camera and needs to be replaced.
I do need to add I am nut about tech stuff and always love the new boy on the block.
 

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