Please help a noobie: why should I upgrade my camera?

cinnamonroll

TPF Noob!
Joined
May 22, 2022
Messages
4
Reaction score
1
Location
Norway
Can others edit my Photos
Photos NOT OK to edit
Ok, so I have a pretty outdated camera (Nikon D3200) and a micro lense. That's it.

I've just recently started learning the basics, and I plan on getting a lot better and hopefully be able to work somewhat professionally in a few years.

I mostly enjoy people and portrait photography, but also a bit of landscape/city life.

I keep reading about cameras and optics, and I feel myself getting more and more confused.

I think I am interested in a mirrorless camera. And I don't have a big budget. That's all I know. I want something that's sensible (it seems sensible to buy a body that fits "all" sorts of optics) and not too advanced, but I want great quality in different light settings (maybe my current camera isn't the best in that regard). In time I would like to take wedding pictures.

1. Could someone please tell me the limitations my current camera body has? I now know that getting better images is not necessarily solved by just getting a new camera body, but I would love to learn more about my current camera from you guys. How much can I expect if I upgraded a bit? What's "wrong" with Nikon D3200?

2. What would you do in my situation? Just buy some good optics or get a whole new body and optics? If so, what camera?

Thank you so much.
 

Overread

has a hat around here somewhere
Staff member
Supporting Member
Joined
May 1, 2008
Messages
25,373
Reaction score
4,943
Location
UK - England
Website
www.deviantart.com
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
I feel like you're more in the "I want to spend money" category. Ideally when you the user want to be upgrading its you who should be telling us what is wrong with your current setup and what you are looking to expand into, rather than us telling you.

Honestly your camera has nothing "wrong" with it at all. It's a very fine camera and will produce some outstanding photos if you use it right. The biggest limit right now is going to be yourself, unless you can identify an area of photography that you are interested in and working in that has very specific requirements.


A macro lens is likely your most limiting factor right now and honestly I'd be looking to address that first and foremost by looking at what you've done, showing your photos, talking about what your limits and restrictions are and seeing what can be done to best fit your chosen interests. A standard shorter focal length zoom or higher end prime could well be a big thing for your landscape and portrait work and general city life stuff.
 
OP
C

cinnamonroll

TPF Noob!
Joined
May 22, 2022
Messages
4
Reaction score
1
Location
Norway
Can others edit my Photos
Photos NOT OK to edit
I feel like you're more in the "I want to spend money" category. Ideally when you the user want to be upgrading its you who should be telling us what is wrong with your current setup and what you are looking to expand into, rather than us telling you.

Honestly your camera has nothing "wrong" with it at all. It's a very fine camera and will produce some outstanding photos if you use it right. The biggest limit right now is going to be yourself, unless you can identify an area of photography that you are interested in and working in that has very specific requirements.


A macro lens is likely your most limiting factor right now and honestly I'd be looking to address that first and foremost by looking at what you've done, showing your photos, talking about what your limits and restrictions are and seeing what can be done to best fit your chosen interests. A standard shorter focal length zoom or higher end prime could well be a big thing for your landscape and portrait work and general city life stuff.
Thank you so much for your reply!
I see your point. I should be the one telling you what I'm missing, that makes sense.

I don't feel like I want to spend money, haha, it's more like "I want really good quality photos" and I feel like my photos don't have that pro look that I really want. (In lack of a better word. Maybe crisp is more accurate?) I also feel like my camera is struggling too much in low light conditions.
But I want to be sure that this is accurate, so I don't spend money and end up disappointed.

A friend of mine who is a working photographer and film maker understood this, based on the photos he took with my camera, and he told me I would probably be much happier with a Sony A7. Maybe I should have mentioned this earlier, that I am considering buying it, but I am curious as to what you guys think. What are the main differences in terms of picture quality?
 

Overread

has a hat around here somewhere
Staff member
Supporting Member
Joined
May 1, 2008
Messages
25,373
Reaction score
4,943
Location
UK - England
Website
www.deviantart.com
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
I'd be willing to bet that the "pro look" you're after is 100% much more you than the camera unless you are working in some extreme low light situations. Even then you could consider investing in lighting equipment over a new camera body. Sometimes even a high ISO range isn't all you need in difficult lighting and being able to do something even so simple as use fill lighting from a flash or reflector can give a much quicker and more pleasing result than having to muck around in editing.

I can't speak for the A7 and note that there are several A7 bodies at a range of prices. It's certainly a very capable camera, however the camera you have right now is more than capable.

I would encourage you to share a few photos and tell us your situation, settings and thoughts. It could be a few minor changes there could well improve your photography in leaps and bounds and even if you do decide to upgrade; the understandings you take with you will continue to help.
 
OP
C

cinnamonroll

TPF Noob!
Joined
May 22, 2022
Messages
4
Reaction score
1
Location
Norway
Can others edit my Photos
Photos NOT OK to edit
I'd be willing to bet that the "pro look" you're after is 100% much more you than the camera unless you are working in some extreme low light situations. Even then you could consider investing in lighting equipment over a new camera body. Sometimes even a high ISO range isn't all you need in difficult lighting and being able to do something even so simple as use fill lighting from a flash or reflector can give a much quicker and more pleasing result than having to muck around in editing.

I can't speak for the A7 and note that there are several A7 bodies at a range of prices. It's certainly a very capable camera, however the camera you have right now is more than capable.

I would encourage you to share a few photos and tell us your situation, settings and thoughts. It could be a few minor changes there could well improve your photography in leaps and bounds and even if you do decide to upgrade; the understandings you take with you will continue to help.
Thank you again, maybe I'll wait a while before upgrading the body and rather focus on getting some new optics. I bet it's me, I have a long way to go. I just wanted to know if it was at all possible to get that look with my current camera, and if it is, - it's 100% me!

I looked at some of your photos of animal life, and it looks stunning. Are you telling me you could get the same pictures using my camera? If so I am shocked.
 

Overread

has a hat around here somewhere
Staff member
Supporting Member
Joined
May 1, 2008
Messages
25,373
Reaction score
4,943
Location
UK - England
Website
www.deviantart.com
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
dbhcmjg-dcc989ef-8a25-414d-8ba7-06693b4e16ef.jpg


This is one of my better macro shots and was taken on a Canon 400D - entry level from 2006 with a 70mm macro lens. So an older camera than yours. The right settings, situation, setup, focusing, lighting and all combined to get the shot. In general I'd expect you can easily get to that standard with the right pointers and advice.
 
OP
C

cinnamonroll

TPF Noob!
Joined
May 22, 2022
Messages
4
Reaction score
1
Location
Norway
Can others edit my Photos
Photos NOT OK to edit
Wow. That's very encouraging! Such a relief to know I don't have to buy an expensive camera.

Would you say I could use my camera as a wedding photographer as well?
 

Overread

has a hat around here somewhere
Staff member
Supporting Member
Joined
May 1, 2008
Messages
25,373
Reaction score
4,943
Location
UK - England
Website
www.deviantart.com
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
The camera body would certainly suffice, the operator might need some more learning and you'd likely want a different lens. A single micro lens is very limiting in that regard. Your camera is also a "crop" camera. So the frame coverage at a set focal length is less than if you were using a fullframe body. That can be a tricky point at times for things like weddings where you might be fairly close to the subject. Nothing you can't often work around with the right lens(es).

So there may well be room to upgrade in the future for such work. However I wouldn't run before I could walk. I would 100% use your current body for now to get more experience, more practice and more feedback. Then you'll not only achieve better and unlock more potential of this camera and any future camera; but also be in a better position yourself to make purchase choices and be able to filter feedback and advice people give you.
 

SquarePeg

hear me roar
Staff member
Supporting Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2013
Messages
13,689
Reaction score
11,553
Location
Boston
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
Shoot with what you have until you run into a clear limitation with the technology, mechanics or image quality from your current gear. That’s when you know it’s time to upgrade and what to look for in your next body or lens.
 

greybeard

Been spending a lot of time on here!
Joined
Dec 30, 2011
Messages
4,161
Reaction score
1,277
Location
WV
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
Ok, so I have a pretty outdated camera (Nikon D3200) and a micro lense. That's it.

I've just recently started learning the basics, and I plan on getting a lot better and hopefully be able to work somewhat professionally in a few years.

I mostly enjoy people and portrait photography, but also a bit of landscape/city life.

I keep reading about cameras and optics, and I feel myself getting more and more confused.

I think I am interested in a mirrorless camera. And I don't have a big budget. That's all I know. I want something that's sensible (it seems sensible to buy a body that fits "all" sorts of optics) and not too advanced, but I want great quality in different light settings (maybe my current camera isn't the best in that regard). In time I would like to take wedding pictures.

1. Could someone please tell me the limitations my current camera body has? I now know that getting better images is not necessarily solved by just getting a new camera body, but I would love to learn more about my current camera from you guys. How much can I expect if I upgraded a bit? What's "wrong" with Nikon D3200?

2. What would you do in my situation? Just buy some good optics or get a whole new body and optics? If so, what camera?

Thank you so much.
If you haven't found the limitations of your current equipment, then you don't need to upgrade. Your d3200 is head and shoulders better than cameras from 15 years ago that people were paying big bucks for. Don't get caught up in that GAS rabbit hole.
 

ac12

Been spending a lot of time on here!
Joined
Dec 5, 2017
Messages
2,463
Reaction score
814
Location
SF Bay Area, California, USA
Can others edit my Photos
Photos NOT OK to edit
Ok, so I have a pretty outdated camera (Nikon D3200) and a micro lense. That's it.

I've just recently started learning the basics, and I plan on getting a lot better and hopefully be able to work somewhat professionally in a few years.

I mostly enjoy people and portrait photography, but also a bit of landscape/city life.

I keep reading about cameras and optics, and I feel myself getting more and more confused.

I think I am interested in a mirrorless camera. And I don't have a big budget. That's all I know. I want something that's sensible (it seems sensible to buy a body that fits "all" sorts of optics) and not too advanced, but I want great quality in different light settings (maybe my current camera isn't the best in that regard). In time I would like to take wedding pictures.

1. Could someone please tell me the limitations my current camera body has? I now know that getting better images is not necessarily solved by just getting a new camera body, but I would love to learn more about my current camera from you guys. How much can I expect if I upgraded a bit? What's "wrong" with Nikon D3200?

2. What would you do in my situation? Just buy some good optics or get a whole new body and optics? If so, what camera?

Thank you so much.


#1 There is NOTHING wrong with your D3200.
If I was not shooting high school sports, I would be perfectly fine with your D3200.
In fact I almost got a D3200 to use for a travel camera. For travel, the primary difference between my D7200 and your D3200 is size and weight, that is it.

As others have said. As you use your camera, you may run into limitations.
But you need to be think about those limitations.
- It could be situational, and you may never see it again.
- It could be specific to what you are shooting.
- - You may have a 40mm macro, but you want to shoot a buffalo 200 yards away. The camera is fine. But, the 40mm lens is not the lens for that subject that far away. You need a long telephoto lens.
- It could be you, not the camera. Maybe it is a technique that you have to learn.

The flip side of limitations, is what CAN you shoot
- You can shoot a macro of a bug that I cannot, if I do not have a macro lens.
- Back when I started (decades ago), my friend's first and only lens was a macro lens. He did just fine shooting almost anything he wanted to.

Some limitations may be education related.
- It is too dark to take a pic of a snail. Bring a light, even a flashlight.
- You can't hold the camera steady when you are trying to take a macro picture. Brace the camera; tripod, sandbag, rolled up towel, etc.
- Why is my picture blah looking. Maybe you need better lighting. Shoot with the sun ON the subject, rather than the subject in the shade.
- Why is the pic of my dog always burry? Maybe your shutter speed is too low.

Which leads to my answer to #2


#2. What would I do is LEARN.
Take classes, read books, look for GOOD internet learning sites, join a camera club, find a mentor, go to an art museum and study the drawings/paintings/photos.
And go out and practice what you learn. Take a LOT of pictures.

Tip: Write down ONE thing you want to learn.
Then go out and take pictures using that idea/technique/etc. If you try to learn too many things at one time, it is VERY easy to get confused. And when you have a problem, you don't know which of the many things you changed/did was the cause of the problem.
Then move on to another thing you want to learn.


Gud Luk
 

Nikon photographer

TPF Noob!
Joined
Apr 15, 2021
Messages
50
Reaction score
40
Location
Solihull, England
Website
geoffbrown63.wixsite.com
Can others edit my Photos
Photos NOT OK to edit
What's "wrong" with Nikon D3200?

What would you do in my situation? Just buy some good optics or get a whole new body
There's absolutely nothing wrong with D3200, OK, it's not a professional camera, or one with the up to date processor, but it's still a perfectly decent camera.

I don't know how long you have been using it, but I suspect you need to look at using different lenses, as a macro lens isn't a good day to day lens.

Just learn what the camera can do, and just learn how to use it, there's no need to upgrade the camera at this stage.

If your goal is wedding photography, try to see if you can tag along with a professional wedding photographer as a second shooter, that way you will get the experience without the pressure.
 

Warhorse

TPF Supporters
Supporting Member
Joined
Mar 5, 2010
Messages
2,360
Reaction score
727
Location
Michigan
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
I started my digital journey with the same D3200 you have and was satisfied with its results. Along the way I found myself thinking an articulated LCD would help me compose my shots better, and easier, so I sold it and bought a D5600. After a few years, I got to where it became apparent all the menu diving to change settings was a hindrance, in that it caused me to miss opportunities in certain situations.

The solution for me was to buy a refurbished D500, as I had more DX lenses than full frame lenses. The D500 made my shooting much more productive with its faster focusing, brighter pentaprism (allowing me to shoot manually easier), and all the major controls on the outside of the camera body. I still use my D5600 mainly with an 18-105mm zoom lens occasionally at things like family gatherings, or on vacations when out sightseeing, when I don't want to lug the D500 with battery grip, and 18-300mm lens around for any length of time.

It all depends on what you want to accomplish with your camera, and of course how much money your able/willing to spend.
 

Warfarin

No longer a newbie, moving up!
Joined
Aug 7, 2021
Messages
128
Reaction score
47
Location
Utah
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
I am so the wrong guy to ask. I am going the other way and looking for older cameras, mainly film. The new ones have to much on them. I have made garbage photos with the best I had and made some of my best what ”lower” end cameras. Like has been said in previous posts it’s the technique that matters most. All my garbage photos were 100% my fault and not the camera or lens. Remember people were making great shots with billows cameras and sheet film. Great photos were made without all the fancy stuff on most modern cameras. Practice practice practice, read study and watch tutorials on how to take great pictures. Once you learn your camera and most importantly how to correctly capture the available light you have I think you will find your camera does just fine. I would suggest getting a few more lenses to open up more options for you. Lenses are never a bad investment as long as you stay with Nikon you will be able to use them on any future cameras you pick up.
 

ac12

Been spending a lot of time on here!
Joined
Dec 5, 2017
Messages
2,463
Reaction score
814
Location
SF Bay Area, California, USA
Can others edit my Photos
Photos NOT OK to edit
I am so the wrong guy to ask. I am going the other way and looking for older cameras, mainly film. The new ones have to much on them. I have made garbage photos with the best I had and made some of my best what ”lower” end cameras. Like has been said in previous posts it’s the technique that matters most. All my garbage photos were 100% my fault and not the camera or lens. Remember people were making great shots with billows cameras and sheet film. Great photos were made without all the fancy stuff on most modern cameras. Practice practice practice, read study and watch tutorials on how to take great pictures. Once you learn your camera and most importantly how to correctly capture the available light you have I think you will find your camera does just fine. I would suggest getting a few more lenses to open up more options for you. Lenses are never a bad investment as long as you stay with Nikon you will be able to use them on any future cameras you pick up.

Except for the DX vs FX issue.
 

Most reactions

Top