Looking for Advice for the Best Problem Ever

Joined
Apr 23, 2008
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88
Location
Buffalo, New York
I have a one-time "supplies" funding stream at work, and after talking it over with the staff at the camera shop I've decided to replace my D40 and Flip video camera with a Nikon DSLR that shoots HD video.

I'm looking at the D3100 ($650), D90 ($1100) and D7000 ($1500). Other than the fancier sensor on the D7000 I'm not seeing all that much to explain the price differences, so I'm wondering if people have good/bad experiences with any of these cameras? I have to spend the money no matter what, so if the D7000 is the best choice I'll gladly pay the higher price, but if it's only slightly better than the others I'll spend the rest of the money on other things.

No matter which I get, I'm moving up in quality, but this is a one-time opportunity and I want to make the most of it. What would you get? Thanks for any input!
 
Joined
Oct 11, 2007
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2,483
Location
Missouri
All I can tell you is that the D7000 is a much better camera than all. The sensor is really pretty great if you use good glass...on the flip side you HAVE to use good glass to get good quality images. Example....throw a mediocre lens like the 18-105 VR on a D90 and D7000 and the D90 images will probably consistently look better. Throw a 35mm f1.8 on both and the D7000 will trump.

D7000 has better video too w/ autofocus (D90 will not AF during video). D7000 has a magnesium body vs. plastic of the D90, better weather sealing. 2 programmable User Modes, killer high ISO performance, etc, etc....

As much as I would like to say the D7000 isn't that much better than my D90, I really can't. The D90 is only better if you only plan to put subpar glass and kit lenses in front of it. If the budget allows, D7000 would be the way to go without a doubt.
 
Joined
Oct 11, 2007
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Missouri
If you dont know why you need a higher end camera, then you don't need it. :biggrin:

I know you're probably joking because of the smiley, but...just because somebody doesn't know specs of all the new stuff doesn't mean they don't know how to use those things. I got out of detailing cars for about 2 years and recently got back into it. I started researching and asking on autopia about new products in the past 2 years that I didn't know about. That doesn't mean that I can't buff a car or know how to use the products that I asked about. (This is addressed more toward the people that make your comment wihtout the :biggrin:
 
Joined
Mar 18, 2008
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Miami, Florida, USA.
We are all different and obviously we all have different opinions. Mine is the D7000 is a better camera than the D90, especially for low light performance but it does not have a magnesium body. Part of the frame is magnesium, not the whole body.
My experience using kit lenses has been different to yours and I have used them with professional bodies. I do not call the 18-105 VR a mediocre lens when it comes to the quality of its images. I know the lens does its part when I do mine. Portraits in the studio with the 18-105 look awesome to me and they do not look shabby either when I have done environmental portraits with it.
The 35mm f1.8 is a lens I have heard a lot of and I have seen many of its images, which are fine images. It is a great lens for low light photography. I prefer the zoom for its versatility and I am not a low light shooter, rather a landscape photographer that uses a tripod.
I was skeptical before buying the 18-105 because of its plastic mount but a professional wedding photographer I know has used the lens extensively without any issues and he is very happy with it. Thom Hogan addressed my concerns just by advising me that I should change my mind about those plastic lens mounts and I respect his opinions.
I am going to put it this way, in my more than 45 years using Nikkor lenses I never found one that did not do its job when I did mine. Kit lenses are not professional lenses, neither is the 35mm f1.8, but they do the job. When nothing but a professional lens will do then I am in full agreement that there is no substitute.
Coming back to the question posed by the gentleman who originated the post, I guess his best choice is the D7000.
Just my opinion.

William Rodriguez
Miami, Florida.
 
Joined
Apr 23, 2008
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Buffalo, New York
Thank you Camerapapi and Nate for your replies - your insight has been a great help. I probably can't afford good glass right off the bat but I'm going to go with the D7000 and start saving my pennies. Thanks again!
 
Joined
Jun 8, 2011
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College Station, Texas
I frequently shoot with my D7000/35mm 1.8G. Great combo. It's a good body to expand with better quality lenses. Spend the extra cash now and I think it will have a longer shelf life.
 
Joined
Mar 15, 2009
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7,500
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Los Angeles, CA
You seem to hold on to one body for a long time... if that's the case, then get the D7000 and you'll be set for a while :wink:

The main differences are:
-D3100 has no built-in AF motor, D90/D7K do
-D90 is a little outdated, D3100/D7K have newer sensors
-D3100/D7K have higher resolution, D90 only has 12MP
-D7K (and to some extent, the D3100 as well) have good high ISO capability. D90 not bad but the newer bodies seem to be better in this regard
-D3100 is like a "D40 on steroids". Much less direct controls compared to the D90's and D7K's controls (2 knobs, etc)

My suggestion is -- D7000.

By the way, the prices you listed seem to be on the high side. I'm sure you can get them cheaper if you look around.
 
Joined
Oct 29, 2008
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Wild, Wonderful, West Virginia
I have a one-time "supplies" funding stream at work, and after talking it over with the staff at the camera shop I've decided to replace my D40 and Flip video camera with a Nikon DSLR that shoots HD video.

I know this is a silly question, but why are you upgrading? For video only?

What is your intended use of your photos? What lenses do you have now?

The D40 with its huge sized pixels is very forgiving, moving to a much higher MP sensor will gather more detail (when printing big or cropping heavy) but requires much better technique and good glass.
 
Joined
Apr 23, 2008
Messages
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Location
Buffalo, New York
I know this is a silly question, but why are you upgrading? For video only?

Video is the larger part of it, but it's not the whole story.

I have spend-down grant money - the only time in 17 years - so I'm using it to purchase some equipment - portable backdrops, lights, etc. I do a lot of portraits and event documentation, and right now I use my personal D40 for photos and the agency's Flip for video. I definitely need better quality video, and I miss a lot by switching back and forth between the D40 and Flip when documenting an event. I'd much rather switch back and forth between photo and video modes on one camera. That's why a DSLR with video seems like it would be ideal or at least better than what I have now.

What is your intended use of your photos? What lenses do you have now?

It's about 60/40 between online stuff (website, blog, Facebook) and our printed materials (a quarterly magazine, posters, brochures, etc). I just have the 18-55 kit lens that came with the D40, and if I really take my time and concentrate on getting a decent shot, I can usually get something good enough for the magazine cover. I don't really "need" an upgrade on the photo end, but I do want to stop putting so much wear on my own camera for work purposes, and the extra MP will come in handy.

And of course I'd be lying if I said I didn't want a new toy. My first digital camera was a first generation Canon Rebel that I bought used from a friend. When it died, I got the D40 based almost entirely on price - it was the cheapest DSLR. I've liked it, but to be honest I've never fallen in love with it the way I did with the Rebel.
 
Joined
Dec 29, 2005
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Bournemouth, UK
if you will be using it much then it's worth picking up each of the different options, could also look at the new rebels like the 600d which do video and have a flip out screen
 
Joined
Oct 29, 2008
Messages
715
Location
Wild, Wonderful, West Virginia
I'd much rather switch back and forth between photo and video modes on one camera. That's why a DSLR with video seems like it would be ideal or at least better than what I have now.

Problem is there is no DSL-R on the market at this moment that will AF well enough to make it worth the effort. Plus if you chose the D7000 (does AF during video) you would pick up the sound of the kit lens's motor in the microphone.

I don't really "need" an upgrade on the photo end, but I do want to stop putting so much wear on my own camera for work purposes, and the extra MP will come in handy.

And of course I'd be lying if I said I didn't want a new toy.

:)

Nothing wrong with that. But with your current situation (one lens), I feel the D7000 might be overkill. Have you looked at the D5100? Same sensor as the D7K but is a similar size as your current D40. Save some $ on the body and buy a nice lens. A 35 1.8 paired with the new 16mp senor would give you a huge leap in ability to shoot in low/dim light.
 
Joined
Apr 23, 2008
Messages
88
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Buffalo, New York
It's funny that you said that because not half an hour ago I took a second look at the D5100 and it seems to make a lot more sense for me, especially since I won't be able to purchase a really good lens for the D7000 for a while, if ever. I could swing the D5100 and a good lens, and the D5100 reviews all seem very positive.

Thank you again to everyone for your help.
 
Joined
Apr 23, 2008
Messages
88
Location
Buffalo, New York
Thanks again for everyone's input. I ended up with the D5100, and though I couldn't afford the good glass right now, the camera shop graciously upgraded me to the 18-105 kit lens that comes with the D7000. Very pleased so far.
 
Joined
Jun 15, 2008
Messages
594
Location
Boynton Beach, FL
I know you're probably joking because of the smiley, but...just because somebody doesn't know specs of all the new stuff doesn't mean they don't know how to use those things. I got out of detailing cars for about 2 years and recently got back into it. I started researching and asking on autopia about new products in the past 2 years that I didn't know about. That doesn't mean that I can't buff a car or know how to use the products that I asked about. (This is addressed more toward the people that make your comment wihtout the :biggrin:

Well it a part joke/part serious comment. I guess I should have gone in more depth. Out of those 3, I would have probably recommended the D5100, since he was used to the smaller D40....which he ended up getting anyway, so all is good.
 

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