23 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
First dslr for me., 23 July 2012
I went with Nikon for my first dslr as I was given an old Nikon lens and this product was released right at the same time.
I used to take pictures years ago, but uni got in the way and now i have time to start again a bit more seriously.
I know a fair bit about tech and liked the face that the canon 550 is basically a 600d without the flippy screen, so was available for less money. The new 650 looks like a major improvement with touch being added in. However, I love the build quality and image quality I am getting with the Nikon kit lens and indeed old manual lenses.
I shoot raw and use lightroom 4 to develop the images and the detail retained is impressive.
Had the camera for less than a month and used it when the weather allows, so im over 1000 shots and the learning curve for me has been non existent.
Live view is a must have for me, its not always better than the viewfinder, but its a great feature for low angles, landscapes or any situation where you want to frame the shot precisely. The old springy switch on the 3100 is replaced with a regular button, which I was down about to begin with, but i like the button just as much (having held a 3100 about twice) and its still in the best location for it.
I have yet to use the video mode for any real purpose. The creative possibilities there are good. The few times i have tried it is during a consort (in a marquee) and an acoustic set (in a barn, my musical settings have been obscure recently) and the audio was clear and true. The record button is on the top behind the shutter button, and its easy to get at, I prefer that to it being where the live view button is placed, as I use video much less.
Also 24mp might be a trick to get people excited about the high count, but I like having the high resolution. As a last resort, I can crop without worrying too much and pick out the composition I was trying to get at the time. Noise and grain are dealt with extremely well and even at high ISO - up to and sometimes beyond 3200 - the results are pleasing, or at least mild enough to be easily recoverable in lightroom.
Holding the camera is comfortable for me, the only flaw I could pick in the design is the aperture/exposure button location. Its behind the shutter release and to the right slightly. Its not horrible, but I would prefer it on the other side of the camera near the fn button (used to change ISO). I am left handed, and that might be the cause of that issue. The camera is not particularly heavy, I could carry this all day happily, whereas thats not true with bulkier pro dslrs.
Battery life hasn't been as issue for me either, but make sure it is fully charged before you intend to use, as it may not last a full days intensive use!
Everything else is well thought out and just works. All the menus are straight forward enough, and there are options available to setup the camera pretty much to whatever way you find it works best for you. Guide mode is not something I intend to use, but its very good at taking a step back and explaining all the controls and when or why to use them. Sample images are even used to explain the concepts further.
Overall, if you are looking for a new dslr, want fantastic images, the ability to record quality video and perhaps learn to improve your photography after using a compact or bridge camera, this is for you. Nikon has a huge range of available lenses, some of which are affordable, but many of the better quality ones easily exceed the price of the camera. It is important to note that this is a dx format camera.
There are two types of Nikon dslr. The smaller dx and the full frame fx. dx cameras have lenses designed specifically for them and are identified by the term af-s.
Older af lenses will fit this camera but auto focus will not work. The focus motor is built into the lens on the af-s lenses whereas the bigger cameras have a built in motor and can accept any lens. This is not a major issue as many af-s lenses are widely available - and amazon tend to have good prices on each of them!
Finally the camera has a crop factor of 1.5x. So every lens' focal length is multiplied by 1.5.
For example the kit 18-55mm is approximately equiv to a 27 - 82mm lens in 35mm terms.
Hope this helps as its way more complicated than it needs to be. If you get the camera, thankfully most of the details don't matter so much.
I found these reviews from Jared Polin to be helpful before I bought the camera.
Enjoy taking pictures!