Beginner First DSLR advice please - Nikon

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#1
Hi

I am new to the site, but was recommended by friend who is keen photographer

I am looking to buy my first DSLR and having played around with a Nikon, like the operating system etc, but inevitably have a few questions:

The Nikon range is a little confusing, but I am a beginner who doesn't want or need anything top of the range, but equally would like a camera I can grow into (I have some very basic knowledge from talking to friends and reading a little, but am def a beginner). I was thinking the D5000, 5100, 5200 etc - any advice appreciated?

Should I stick with Nikon or confuse myself even further by looking at others?

Should I buy new or second hand

Should I go for FX or DX sensor?

I appreciate you get lots of beginners asking the same, but all replies will be most appreciated

Thanks
 
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1,547
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Brian
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#2
What kind of photography do you want to do?
What budget do you have?


Answers to these questions will help to provide a more informed answer.
Personally :nikon:

But actually all the main brands have something to offer, your best bet is to try them out at a shop before deciding. Ergonomics are important and all main brands will give acceptable IQ (image quality) for most.
Don't forget lenses are as, or possibly more, important.

I would buy secondhand.
 
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Mike1970
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#3
At the risk of sounding a little general - landscapes, seascapes, family portrait and would love to do some wildlife zoom stuff - i would also use it for general family snapping as well.

Budget is not really a problem but i must admit that since speaking to a few friends who have more knowledge than me, I was surprised that there were so few problems with buying second hand (I thought it would not be recommended) - they of course educated me on things like shutter count.

The hardest thing I was finding with Nikon is there are so many models and the numbers make little sense to me

Thanks for the advice so far
 
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Brian
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#4
At the risk of sounding a little general - landscapes, seascapes, family portrait and would love to do some wildlife zoom stuff - i would also use it for general family snapping as well.

Budget is not really a problem but i must admit that since speaking to a few friends who have more knowledge than me, I was surprised that there were so few problems with buying second hand (I thought it would not be recommended) - they of course educated me on things like shutter count.

The hardest thing I was finding with Nikon is there are so many models and the numbers make little sense to me

Thanks for the advice so far
I would suggest a seconhand Nikon D90 and a kit lens 18 -105 vr and maybe a 70-300 vr zoom. This is basic kit but easily capable of getting you started and taking good images. You should be able to get the whole lot from somewhere like MPB for around £5-600. After you have used this for awhile you will be able to decide whether you want to upgrade. However at the end of the day there isn't really any right or wrong answers, except that even if budget is not an issue, I would avoid the highest end cameras like Nikon D3s or D4 until you get a good idea of what you are doing and what you want to do.
 
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Mike1970
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#5
Thanks

What I'm trying to understand though is what makes you elect the D90 over say a D 5000 series or D 7000 - I'm trying to understand the various model numbers and what user they are all designed to fit - I'm probably missing something obvious but there are so many cameras on the Nikon site it is a little confusing - I clearly do not want a D3 or 4 as it would be wasted but there are so many other models available

Also should I not consider an FX sensor or is that too advanced?
 
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Steve
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#7
The Dthousand vs the Ddouble digit really diffier only in handling.

A D5000 has the same sensor as a D90 but the controls are more user friendly and more photographer friendly on the D90. More control based on the D90 as opposed to menue based on the D5000
 
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Mike1970
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#8
Thanks ST4

That's exactly what I was getting at. I would guess the D90 is easier and faster to navigate the settings rather than the menu system on the 5000. Sounds like I definitely need to get into a store and see whether I prefer menus or controls!

Would you have a view on DX vs FX?

Thanks
 
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Andy
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#9
As far as i'm aware the D90 has more physical buttons on the outside so you don't have to go delving into menus all the time :) I can't say for certain though, i've never used either :)

The cameras you've mentioned at DX cameras, FX is the more expensive ones, just as D600, D610, D700, D800 as well as the beasts that are D3 and D4 in their varying guises. Looking at the latest models of FX like the D600 and D610 they have the same modes as their smaller counterparts so should "technically" be as easy to handle. The older D700 for example is minus an automatic mode, but realistically i'm not convinced a lot of people spend very long in auto anyway!

Second hand hasn't been a problem for me, i've bought from on here and online. Many online retailers offer 6 month-12 month warranties which you can't argue with!


That's all Nikon talk, Canon, Sony, Pentax all do fantastic pieces of kit too, you tend to get similar items for similar money give or take so it's down to which one you get along with the most :)
 
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Mike1970
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#10
Thanks Andy

My understanding is the FX is a larger (full size) sensor and the DX is a smaller cropped version so giving slightly less quality. I'm just wondering if the difference is beyond my level of ability at this stage?

Good to know about second hand and very surprised to hear about warranties

I'm slightly nervous of looking at other makes a the confusion will really set in!
 
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Stephen
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#11
FX cameras are better, however you can take amazing photos with the Nikon DX range. The issue with going FX is that the lenses are WAY more expensive. If you get any Nikon DSLR, even the entry level ones it will be a long time before it's the camera holding you back rather than your talent.
The D90 recommendation is a good one. It's a nice size to handle and has a good user interface with all the buttons in the right place to access settings quickly rather than struggling with menus on the LCD screen on the back.
 
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Mike1970
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#12
"If you get any Nikon DSLR, even the entry level ones it will be a long time before it's the camera holding you back rather than your talent."

Good advice, thanks Stephen
 
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Adrian
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#13
....
Should I go for FX or DX sensor?
.....

Thanks
If you can afford FX then I'd say you will not regret it but you are looking at about £1300 after cashback. As used D700 can be had for less than £1k but it a bit heavier and bulkier than the "entry level fx" that nikon call the d610, although they are both excellent bodies.
 
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Mike1970
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#14
If you can afford FX then I'd say you will not regret it but you are looking at about £1300 after cashback. As used D700 can be had for less than £1k but it a bit heavier and bulkier than the "entry level fx" that nikon call the d610, although they are both excellent bodies.
Ddouble digits, Dthousands and now Dhundreds - :help:
 
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Andy
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#15
You're correct on the sensor size thing by the way, the extra size sensor lends itself to extra size costs though :)

I agree with Stephen regarding the camera holding you back too. If i could talk to myself 4-5 years ago when i was first buying a DSLR, i would tell myself to do careful research and seriously consider buying second hand from a reputable dealer. If you do end up with a D90 for a year or two and you get the itch to upgrade you'll not have lost hundreds of pounds in depreciation, that is my only regret about buying new. Having said that, piece of mind and the thought of having something shiny and new all to yourself goes a long way. I think we can all relate to that :)

The other piece of advice would be to think hard about lenses, as they tend to stick around when bodies come and go :)

If you wanted to post links to any you'd had your eye on myself and i guess a lot of people on here would be more than willing to look things over for you. You also mentioned friends that had guided you, get opinions from them too :)
 
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Andy
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#16
The numbers are confusing as Nikon change the way they structure their cameras. I've just typed out a really long reply and by the end it didn't make a jot of sense because it's so confusing. So that said i've copied and pasted the list from Wikipedia that explains which cameras are where really simply :LOL:

High-end (Professional - Intended for professional use, heavy duty and weather resistance)

  • Nikon D1, DX sensor, June 15, 1999 - Discontinued
  • Nikon D1X, DX sensor, February 5, 2001 - Discontinued
  • Nikon D1H, DX sensor, high speed, February 5, 2001 - Discontinued
  • Nikon D2H, DX sensor, high speed, July 22, 2003 - Discontinued
  • Nikon D2X, DX sensor, September 16, 2004 - Discontinued
  • Nikon D2HS, DX sensor, high speed, February 16, 2005 - Discontinued
  • Nikon D2XS, DX sensor, June 1, 2006 - Discontinued
  • Nikon D3, FX/Full Frame sensor, August 23, 2007 - Discontinued
  • Nikon D3X, FX/Full Frame sensor, December 1, 2008 - Discontinued
  • Nikon D3S, FX/Full Frame sensor, October 14, 2009 - Discontinued
  • Nikon D4, FX/Full Frame sensor, January 6, 2012[52]
  • Nikon D4S, FX/Full Frame sensor


D700 with AF-S 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5 G
High-end (Prosumer - Intended for pro-consumers who want the main mechanical/weather resistance and electronic features of the professional line but don't need the same heavy duty)

Midrange - DX sensor

Upper-entry-level (Consumer) - DX sensor

This are the only Nikon DSLR's with articulated (tilt-and-swivel) display.

Entry-level (Consumer) - DX sensor

 
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Dan
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#17
I'm a Canon man, but as others have stated, all the big companies make decent cameras. If you like the feel of a Nikon, understand the controls, and have a friend you can 'borrow' kit off, then get a Nikon.
Digital cameras don't hold their value well (like PCs)- so I'd buy a camera 2nd hand and spend more on lenses than the camera. Lenses tend to hold their value better, and have more moving parts than cameras- so there's something to be said for buying new.
FX cameras lend themselves better to landscapes and low light photography, DX cameras are often preferred for wildlife- but both can be used for anything.
 
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#18
The numbers are confusing as Nikon change the way they structure their cameras. I've just typed out a really long reply and by the end it didn't make a jot of sense because it's so confusing. So that said i've copied and pasted the list from Wikipedia that explains which cameras are where really simply :LOL:....
I would say that the d600/d610 are actually a completely "new" category in that it is the first time ever than nikon have put an fx sensor in a consumer body.
 
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David
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#19
If I had the option to go FF and the budget to back it up for lenses then I would do. BUT a crop sensor camera will be a great starting point and will allow you to learn photography cheaper as it may not ve for you.

The D7000/7100 is a nice camera to grow into and includes better user controls which nake navigation and setting changes a breeze.

Most of all, I'd recommend a trip to your local camera shop and have a feel of some cameras as buying blind may be more trouble than it's worth.

Enjoy!
 
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#20
If I ever went back to Nikon I would go for the D700 FX great camera, but I am now sold on Sony mirrorless, I love it and I am saving as we speak for the A7r
 
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Mike1970
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#21
The numbers are confusing as Nikon change the way they structure their cameras. I've just typed out a really long reply and by the end it didn't make a jot of sense because it's so confusing. So that said i've copied and pasted the list from Wikipedia that explains which cameras are where really simply :LOL:
Thanks Andy - that really does put it into perspective for me (slightly embarrassed to see it all there on Wikipedia - would never have thought of looking there)

What it does show is the full size sensor FX only features on the very top end of the range (and price) - not sure i could justify that - does it make that much difference at the ambitious beginner level?
 
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Mike1970
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#22
I'm a Canon man, but as others have stated, all the big companies make decent cameras. If you like the feel of a Nikon, understand the controls, and have a friend you can 'borrow' kit off, then get a Nikon.
Digital cameras don't hold their value well (like PCs)- so I'd buy a camera 2nd hand and spend more on lenses than the camera. Lenses tend to hold their value better, and have more moving parts than cameras- so there's something to be said for buying new.
FX cameras lend themselves better to landscapes and low light photography, DX cameras are often preferred for wildlife- but both can be used for anything.
Thanks Dan

I'm definitely starting to form the same opinion re 2nd hand is the way ahead for the housing (seems similar to a car - nice to have new, but you save a hell of a lot with good condition 2nd hand)

There seems to be a significant price difference between FX and DX which may unfortunately be the decider!
 
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Mike1970
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#23
If I had the option to go FF and the budget to back it up for lenses then I would do. BUT a crop sensor camera will be a great starting point and will allow you to learn photography cheaper as it may not ve for you.

The D7000/7100 is a nice camera to grow into and includes better user controls which nake navigation and setting changes a breeze.

Most of all, I'd recommend a trip to your local camera shop and have a feel of some cameras as buying blind may be more trouble than it's worth.

Enjoy!
Thanks David

My wife does not like your post - shops + kit = danger!
 
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#24
Thanks Andy - that really does put it into perspective for me (slightly embarrassed to see it all there on Wikipedia - would never have thought of looking there)

What it does show is the full size sensor FX only features on the very top end of the range (and price) - not sure i could justify that - does it make that much difference at the ambitious beginner level?
At a entry beginners level DX is more than enough.

Id recommend a D7000, can be had at a good price second hand. Lots of choice for lenses. Its not the newest but not old either. Search on here or flickr and see the images the different cameras can produce.
Really is up to you what you go for, go have a look and a play.
 
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Mike1970
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#25
At a entry beginners level DX is more than enough.

Id recommend a D7000, can be had at a good price second hand. Lots of choice for lenses. Its not the newest but not old either. Search on here or flickr and see the images the different cameras can produce.
Really is up to you what you go for, go have a look and a play.
Thanks

I have used a friend's D7000 before and certainly liked it so that is encouraging. I have an interest in land and seascapes hence the attraction/interest in an FX sensor, but as mentioned earlier in the thread wonder whether i would notice at this stage

If i got a DX would probably try and get FX lenses as i understand they work on both
 
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#26
One nice thing about the D7000/D7100 series is they will work fine with older manual focus nikon lenses wheras other consumer DX bodies will not meter with them. There are some real bargains and of course as they were disigned for film cameras they are ideal for FX cameras as well.
 
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Biff
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#29
Mike1970 is a mate of mine from work and borrowed my then almost new D7000 whilst we overseas on assignment. Before he tells you, some of the frames taken by him were better than mine but I put that down to sheer luck ;).
I will endeavor to show him the difference between FX and DX as I have since moved to a D600 then a D800 myself.
Welcome to the board Mike.:beer:
 
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17,449
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Steve
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#30
D7000 and a Sigma 10-20 for landscapes.
I know of one guy making a living off this rig. He knows what he is doing and gets the best out of it.

The OP has a generous budget. the controls of the Ddoube digit and Dtrible digits are easier the Dquadrouple digits.

I've had the D5000, D80 and now on a D610 and D800. The simple things like a dedicated aperature wheel (D4digits dont have this bar a D7000/D7100) and the bottons for WB, ISO on the D800 are really nice touches.
 
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Mike1970
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#31
I know of one guy making a living off this rig. He knows what he is doing and gets the best out of it.

The OP has a generous budget. the controls of the Ddoube digit and Dtrible digits are easier the Dquadrouple digits.

I've had the D5000, D80 and now on a D610 and D800. The simple things like a dedicated aperature wheel (D4digits dont have this bar a D7000/D7100) and the bottons for WB, ISO on the D800 are really nice touches.
Thanks Steve - all v useful info

I think it's time to get in the shop and play with a few models - I get the impression from what I'm being told on here is a lot depends on what control setup I prefer (and getting good lenses and deciding between FX and DX and...............) I don't dare even start to look at what other makes are like!!:runaway:
 
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Mike1970
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#32
Thanks Steve - all v useful info

I think it's time to get in the shop and play with a few models - I get the impression from what I'm being told on here is a lot depends on what control setup I prefer (and getting good lenses and deciding between FX and DX and...............) I don't dare even start to look at what other makes are like!!:runaway:
I meant models of camera obviously......
 
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#34
You can put FX lens on a DX camera, but not vice versa.

You could get a D7000 and stick a 24-70F2.8 on it or a 14-24F2.8 on it and it would work perfectly, but it wouldn't get the field of view a FF would get, but it would work fine.
You can mount DX only lenses on FX cameras. At default settings the camera will switch into DX mode, if this setting is turned off then most often the image will suffer with heavy vignetting though some DX lenses work surprisingly well on FX (such as the 12-24mm F4 from 16mm onwards). To the best of my knowledge all DX lenses will mount, meter and AF on FX bodies without issue or risk of damage.

Another vote here for the D7000 too.
 
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#35
True, but its really not optimum to use DX glass on FX. Yes the mounts are the same so they'll work, but with the vingetting and on say a D800 do you really want to use anything other than top quality FX glass.

One advantage of using FX glass on DX is that the corners of the glass where the image is softer is cut off so edge to edge sharpness say on a 24-70F2.8 on DX is better than it is on FX.

I often thought a 14-24 or 16-35 would be a really nice rig for a D7000/D71000
 
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Nigel
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#37
Hi

I am new to the site, but was recommended by friend who is keen photographer

I am looking to buy my first DSLR and having played around with a Nikon, like the operating system etc, but inevitably have a few questions:

The Nikon range is a little confusing, but I am a beginner who doesn't want or need anything top of the range, but equally would like a camera I can grow into (I have some very basic knowledge from talking to friends and reading a little, but am def a beginner). I was thinking the D5000, 5100, 5200 etc - any advice appreciated?

Should I stick with Nikon or confuse myself even further by looking at others?

Should I buy new or second hand

Should I go for FX or DX sensor?

I appreciate you get lots of beginners asking the same, but all replies will be most appreciated

Thanks
Hi Mike, like yourself when I got back into photography I was confused over all the models available. I had a budget of £1k (2012) and some of that was for some workshops.. Trawling through a lot of advice on the net I had narrowed It down to about 4 models 2 each of canon and Nikon. I took a day off work so that I could visit a few camera shops in Southampton when it was not so busy. I knew I would get a better deal price wise online, but I was keen to talk to somebody (yes I know a salesperson) also I knew it was important to handle the camera as I have big hands. based on that I liked the "feel" of the Nikon. looking at the specs I went for the D5100 body
and two tamron lenses. Two years on I am looking to upgrade the lenses but am still more than happy with the camera. btw the photography workshops were worth the money as well.
hope that helps Nigel
 
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Mike1970
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#38
Hi Mike, like yourself when I got back into photography I was confused over all the models available. I had a budget of £1k (2012) and some of that was for some workshops.. Trawling through a lot of advice on the net I had narrowed It down to about 4 models 2 each of canon and Nikon. I took a day off work so that I could visit a few camera shops in Southampton when it was not so busy. I knew I would get a better deal price wise online, but I was keen to talk to somebody (yes I know a salesperson) also I knew it was important to handle the camera as I have big hands. based on that I liked the "feel" of the Nikon. looking at the specs I went for the D5100 body
and two tamron lenses. Two years on I am looking to upgrade the lenses but am still more than happy with the camera. btw the photography workshops were worth the money as well.
hope that helps Nigel
Thanks Nigel - it is helpful and more food for thought...:)

I am a beginner but some years ago started to get into photography and by playing around with long exposures and tripods started to teach myself and got some good results and really started getting into land and seascapes at tricky light times - hence the interest in the FX sensor. Having looked at all the advice and the price of an FX body I can see myself following you or the above consensus regarding a D7K series though.

I am definitely heeding the advice re getting into a shop and trying the goods - just buying a house so might have to wait until next months paycheck though!
 
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