Looking at getting a DSLR, specifically the D3100

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  • Looking at getting a DSLR, specifically the D3100
  • Three_Fish
    Member

    I’d just go with the kit from Argos (or some other retailer). That said, I’d also recommend going to a camera shop and having a bit of a play around. Check out other manufacturers at the same price range and see what to feel most comfortable with. Some people find Canon menus/settings/dials more usable than Nikon’s, and vice versa. Whatever some fanboys say, there’s very little significant difference in performance/features across manufactures at any given price point.

    As title really, any experiences? The D3100 came recommended from a friend who is a photographer and I’m hoping to keep it cheap (unlike biking).

    I spotted some refurbed bodies here: http://www.mpbphotographic.co.uk/used-equipment/used-digital-slr-cameras/used-nikon-digital-slr-cameras/nikon-d3100-1

    Then thought I could just pick up a cheap 18-55 lens?

    Or they have the kit for £280 from Argos.

    Any recommendations?

    There are some differences – last time I was camera shopping, Nikon felt more robust and Canon a bit plasticky, but Canon had more clever tech at the same price. Nikon were also slightly bigger and felt a bit more comfortable in my hands – so I’d definitely say handle a couple to see what you think

    Premier Icon ahwiles
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    ryderredman – Member

    I’m hoping to keep it cheap (unlike biking).

    Any recommendations?

    don’t get an slr.

    there’s no point (at all) getting an slr if you’re not going to spend £££ or even ££££ on extra lenses.

    (the whole point of an slr is the ability to change the lens)

    but if you insist, and

    …pick up a cheap 18-55 lens…

    your photo’s will probably be worse than if you just bought a good compact/bridge.

    those cheap 18-55 lenses are the camera equivalent of the crap plastic pedals you get with a new bike. Good for little more than getting you home (taking a few photo’s on the way).

    rocketman
    Member

    mrs rocket has a 5100 we looked at the 3100 for some time and although its features are kind of appealing if you’ve never owned an SLR before I think you would soon get the hang of the basics and regret not getting a better body.

    Because as said above the kit lens is a complete cowpat of a lens it is really, really difficult to take pin-sharp pictures with it even on a tripod with a remote release, Of course the pictures might be better than your old compact but ultimately disappointing because you have x million slightly blurred slightly distorted pixels. It doesn’t matter so much with a compact but it gets quite irritating with an SLR

    Would recommend getting the best body you can afford and then looking at decent lenses afterwards. Sadly this is the way it works with SLRs they are like MTBs the 3100 is just enough to get you out of the shop and take some picjers but you will spend £££££ upgrading it and then buy a better one

    Premier Icon AlexSimon
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    I agree with ahwiles a little.
    You should definitely be clear about your goals for this kit.
    The cheaper Nikons limit the lenses to ones with built-in motors, and they aren’t cheap either.

    Possibly better off with a cheap 35mm or 50mm prime lens if you can get one.

    Having said all that, I’ve seen plenty of people with D40s get really into photography and continue it as a hobby – but it still doesn’t end up cheap.

    Premier Icon seadog101
    Subscriber

    I’ve got the 3100. While not being a photography boffin, I would gladly recommend it as a starter DSLR. It’s for the features you’ll need, but does lack a few of the nice to have things of the slightly more expensive ones.

    Mine came as a kit with the 18-55 and the 55-200 lenses. They are fine lenses, but when I put on the 50mm AFS lens I could see a marked improvement. The 50mm is a FX lens, and the 3100 is a DX body, so actually is more like a 80mm, but functions perfectly.

    Premier Icon Cougar
    Subscriber

    Some people find Canon menus/settings/dials more usable than Nikon’s, and vice versa. Whatever some fanboys say, there’s very little significant difference in performance/features across manufactures at any given price point.

    This, and

    (the whole point of an slr is the ability to change the lens)

    What do you want to do with it? Do you want to “learn photography” or do you want to “take better pictures”? A dSLR won’t necessarily take better photos(*) if you’re intending to simply shove it in Automatic and squeeze the trigger.

    A dSLR will give you more easily-accessible control over what you’re doing, but is relatively large and heavy; you will need to make a conscious decision to take it out with you when you want to use it, rather than stuff it in a jacket pocket / rucksack and forget about it. The best camera is the one you have with you.

    (* – they will have a larger sensor, but that won’t compensate if everything else is wrong)

    Premier Icon footflaps
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    I don’t have any problems taking a DSLR (D7000) with me everywhere in my Camelbak.

    The Dx models are positively tiny compared to a pro FX body (D4 / D4s).

    IanW
    Member

    The very popular 35mm prime for a Nikon is £130, the kit lens isn’t going to get the geeks drooling but it won’t stop you taking good pictures and A basic slr will help you get used to setting speeds apature etc.

    Got myself a Canon 1100D on Thursday. Was £247 with 18-55mm lens and next day before 0900 delivery. Been taking pictures of my Pythons and Corn snake and really happy with the quality compared to my old Fujifilm S1500.

    I know I need to improve loads but I’m sure that will come with practice. Just saving up for a telephoto lens now to get some shots at Manchester Airport. Still reading through the manual as I’m still a bit clueless. Been using the Auto modes but am hoping to progress from this.

    Try Amazon for cheap prices.

    +1 for getting a cheap prime lens. The Canon 50mm f1.8 mk2 is a cracking lens and costs peanuts

    jimi
    Member

    I apologize for this being a bit of a long post.

    I was in the same position as you about a year ago. looking to go one further with my MTB photography and looking at either the 3100/3200 or the D5100.

    In the end settled on the 5100 because its low light capability makes it more suitable for use in wooded areas which, although not dark to a human eye, can be difficult for a camera.

    Having since had the chance to have a play with a 3200 I was glad I splashed out the little extra on the 5100’s better specs, the 3200 is a very beginner friendly camera.

    As for lens choice I disagree with people shunning the 18-55mm kit lens. I think you are looking a top level commercial work or printing extremely large then you would need better but for getting started or mostly web and small print (A4) stuff the kit lens is more capable than my photography ability.

    I would also highly recommend the 35mm Nikon DX lens. Good for very low light stuff and I use it a lot for portrait style stuff although difficult to get looking sharp at wide apertures.

    The third lens I have is a 70-300mm sigma only a cheep one and I’ve only used it for kayaking where I cant get close to the subject. Its a little too long for the sort of MTB shots that I get.

    Here are some photos from the D5100 using the various lenses. Click on them to view bigger.

    D5100 : 18-55mm @18mm : F10 : 1/40s : ISO500

    D5100 : 18-55mm @45mm : F8 : 1/400s : ISO100

    D5100 : 35mm @35mm : F1.8 : 1/1000s : ISO1000

    And less relevant to the MTB stuff but one taken with the Sigma

    D5100 : 70mm – 300 @78mm : F11 : 1/1600s : ISO500

    Hope this helps as opposed to making people fall asleep 🙂

    Seriously, there is nothing wrong with the Nikon 18-55 kit lens. Of course it’s not as good as lenses that cost many times as much, but for a start it’s grand. [willy waving] I’ve had up to A0 size prints exhibited in galleries and partly shot weddings using a D60 and kit lens [/willy waving].

    The D3100 will be a fine starter camera. The equivalent Canon will be just as good. A 50mm or 35mm prime would be a great investment too, though bear in mind it probably won’t auto focus on the Nikon – bit sure about the Canon. I’m really enjoying shooting just with a 50mm at the moment.

    To compare it to biking; it would be lovely to start biking on a Bronson Carbon, but you can have a hell of a lot of fun – and see if you develop a taste for it – on an entry level hardtail. You’ll probably end up a better rider too as the hardtail won’t compensate for your mistakes…

    That refurbed 3100 is amazing value. When you say you want to shoot in wooded areas, I assume you want to shoot mtb action? If so, the 35mm DX lens would be a good choice. Lenses focus with their apertures wide open, no matter what settings you’re actually using, so a fast (wide aperture) lens will help enormously with autofocus in dark woods. Especially with fast moving objects.

    The 35mm DX lens gets amazing reviews – quite jealous as I’m all full frame!

    Premier Icon Rusty Spanner
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    ahwiles – Member
    those cheap 18-55 lenses are the camera equivalent of the crap plastic pedals you get with a new bike. Good for little more than getting you home (taking a few photo’s on the way).

    🙂
    They’re a great lens.
    I prefer the 18-70 with the metal mount, but there’s not much in it.

    Premier Icon Cougar
    Subscriber

    bear in mind it probably won’t auto focus on the Nikon – bit sure about the Canon.

    The Canon nifty fifty does, yes.

    As for lens choice I disagree with people shunning the 18-55mm kit lens.

    I’m glad you said this. I can’t comment on the Nikon, but the (Canon) 18-55 kit lens is still my walkabout lens. Sure, compared to lenses aimed at the professional market (“L Series” in Canon parlance) it’s not as good, but you’re not paying four figures for it and as you said, there is absolutely nothing wrong with it, snobbery aside. By the time you’ve outgrown it you’ll know exactly what you need and how much you’re prepared to spend.

    mtbmatt
    Member

    We have the D3100 and its a great starter SLR camera.
    The standard 18-55 lens isn’t up to much, but if you can budget for another couple of lenses – maybe a telephoto and 50mm it will be fine.

    Premier Icon iain1775
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    D3100 relative newbie here
    Specifically this one bought from here for £175 just before Christmas – http://singletrackworld.com/forum/topic/fs-nikon-d3100-dslr-nikon-18-55-sigma-70-300-lens-hoya-filter-175-posted

    It’s fine for me getting (back) into proper photography (used to play around with an SLR about 10 years ago)
    Can’t comment on alternatives but for the price I paid its great, regards the kit lens it’s okay, did notice on a course the other week it’s limitations when playing round with aperture settings
    Only thing it lacks from newer Nikon models that might have been nice for me is the gubbins built in for a wireless remote

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