Where to go from a D3100...?

Started Apr 23, 2013 | Questions
SNphotos
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Where to go from a D3100...?
Apr 23, 2013

I currently own a Nikon d31000 with the 18-55mm kit lens and a 35mm 1.8 lens.

I have been doing some amateur photography and the camera has worked great for the past two years, however now I am getting some business and would like to upgrade from the beginner model.

I am definitely on a budget but also don't wish to have to do this again in two years, I would like the camera I pick to be one I can work with for awhile as my work progresses.

However, I don't know what nikon body would be the best deal and work the best for my needs and also hopefully work with at least the 35mm lens so I don't have to buy another portrait lens at the moment.

Hopefully someone can give me some opinions on what I should do and also what lenses you'd recommend to buy along with any camera body I may purchase.

Side note: I mostly use my camera for portrait or model photography right now.

Also I find I don't really use the video capabilities on my camera so that isn't necessary.

Thanks!

DukeCC
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Re: Where to go from a D3100...?
In reply to SNphotos, Apr 23, 2013

Nikon D5200

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whyamihere
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Re: Where to go from a D3100...?
In reply to SNphotos, Apr 23, 2013

SNphotos wrote:

I currently own a Nikon d31000 with the 18-55mm kit lens and a 35mm 1.8 lens.

I have been doing some amateur photography and the camera has worked great for the past two years, however now I am getting some business and would like to upgrade from the beginner model.

I am definitely on a budget but also don't wish to have to do this again in two years, I would like the camera I pick to be one I can work with for awhile as my work progresses.

However, I don't know what nikon body would be the best deal and work the best for my needs and also hopefully work with at least the 35mm lens so I don't have to buy another portrait lens at the moment.

Hopefully someone can give me some opinions on what I should do and also what lenses you'd recommend to buy along with any camera body I may purchase.

Side note: I mostly use my camera for portrait or model photography right now.

Also I find I don't really use the video capabilities on my camera so that isn't necessary.

Thanks!

First, figure out how much cash you can get for your D3100 and the 35mm f/1.8G. Add that amount to however much you have in available funds for an upgrade. That should give you an idea of what kind of camera you can afford. You may want to hold onto the kit lens for now, considering a better zoom will set you back more than a few hundred US dollars (and the 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 VR usually doesn't sell for much cash to be worthwhile).

Secondly, you probably don't want another body that only has one dial and requires menu diving for important settings. You may also want to consider something that will handle more complex studio setups as your business and needs grow. I'm thinking maybe a used D7000 or D300s if your budget supports it.

Thirdly, I see no reason to shoot with a 24MP APS-C camera such as a D7100, D5200, or D3200. To take any advantage of their higher resolution, you'll need lenses that cost more than your entire current setup, which is likely money you don't have at the moment.

Lastly, you may want to consider a 50mm f/1.8G over your current 35mm f/1.8G. I personally don't do a lot of model work, but I've noticed a lot of the pros do full body and head shots mostly with the 85mm (or it's calculated 35mm equivalent) focal length. A 50mm on a 1.5x crop sensor works out to be 75mm (nearly there), and the 50mm f/1.8G costs about as much as your current 35mm f/1.8G. DigitalRev has a useful (albeit cheeky) video illustrating the usefulness of an 85mm for model work.

Hope this helps.

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john Clinch
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Re: Where to go from a D3100...?
In reply to whyamihere, Apr 23, 2013

Yes you need to know what this camera has to do better. In 98% off your shots the next camera will produce identical photographs.

So what's holding you back high iso, dynamic range resolution. Both unlikely for portraits unless its available light. Resolution? At what print size do you start running out of resolution?

Or do you need faster handling or a focus meter so you can buya great value screw focus lens (eg 2 ring 80-200 f2.8)

A camera that can fire a second flash off camera?

You don't have to tell us but if you don't know this could go wrong

My hunch is used D300 or a D7000 (perhaps used)

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golf1982
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Re: Where to go from a D3100...?
In reply to SNphotos, Apr 23, 2013

SNphotos wrote:

I currently own a Nikon d31000 with the 18-55mm kit lens and a 35mm 1.8 lens.

Hopefully someone can give me some opinions on what I should do and also what lenses you'd recommend to buy along with any camera body I may purchase.

Side note: I mostly use my camera for portrait or model photography right now

Thanks!

if you do portrait mostly, I suggest you keep your body and get a better portrait lens. A 50 1.4, 85 1.4, 24-70 2.8 or  70-200 2.8, dependent on your usage.

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golf1982
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Re: Where to go from a D3100...?
In reply to golf1982, Apr 23, 2013

golf1982 wrote:

SNphotos wrote:

I currently own a Nikon d31000 with the 18-55mm kit lens and a 35mm 1.8 lens.

Hopefully someone can give me some opinions on what I should do and also what lenses you'd recommend to buy along with any camera body I may purchase.

Side note: I mostly use my camera for portrait or model photography right now

Thanks!

if you do portrait mostly, I suggest you keep your body and get a better portrait lens. A 50 1.4, 85 1.4, 24-70 2.8 or  70-200 2.8, dependent on your usage.

Ok in fairness perhapse the 70-200 might be somewhat bulky when hung off a 3100, but lens will take amazing portrait shots.

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rubicon
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Re: Where to go from a D3100...?
In reply to SNphotos, Apr 23, 2013

What are your long range plans? stick with the DX system or go to FX? me I'm still shooting both and just for fun, no business intentions at all, but reading your post and those responding, I agree with some, my thoughts are forget any Nikon mid to low level bodies, I'd say the new D7100, would be the lowest camera to consider, you do want duribility? in DX a D300 used or new 300s plenty of staying power and build quality, 5K series forget them, don't rule out a new or used D700, to get into FX and if you can squeeze it a used D3.

A D3 and D5 series cameras are not cameras to work in a photo business, think better Nikon cameras even if you have to but used.

I shoot a D90, for fun, Ad200 for wildlife and to volunteer to our local zoo, and D700 for my own creativity, I can't consider the D800 or D600 for a long time, I don't want to mess with issues, and I'm not ripped about the 7100, so I along with many others set on sidelines waiting for a D400.

As for lenses I only have two DX lenses a Sigma 17 70, and Nikon 10,5, so to go just FX is no problem.

Good luck and this is just my 2 cents.

Rubicon:

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eddyshoots
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Re: Where to go from a D3100...?
In reply to golf1982, Apr 23, 2013

golf1982 wrote:

golf1982 wrote:

SNphotos wrote:

I currently own a Nikon d31000 with the 18-55mm kit lens and a 35mm 1.8 lens.

Hopefully someone can give me some opinions on what I should do and also what lenses you'd recommend to buy along with any camera body I may purchase.

Side note: I mostly use my camera for portrait or model photography right now

Thanks!

if you do portrait mostly, I suggest you keep your body and get a better portrait lens. A 50 1.4, 85 1.4, 24-70 2.8 or  70-200 2.8, dependent on your usage.

Ok in fairness perhapse the 70-200 might be somewhat bulky when hung off a 3100, but lens will take amazing portrait shots.

I have a 70-200 and I once shot an entire weekend karate tournament with it hanging off a D40....worked just fine. Thing is, the center of gravity of a 70-200/D3100 combo won't be much different than the center of gravity than that of a 70-200/D300 combo. I think your first assertion was just fine.

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rubicon
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Re: Where to go from a D3100...?
In reply to rubicon, Apr 23, 2013

rubicon wrote:

What are your long range plans? stick with the DX system or go to FX? me I'm still shooting both and just for fun, no business intentions at all, but reading your post and those responding, I agree with some, my thoughts are forget any Nikon mid to low level bodies, I'd say the new D7100, would be the lowest camera to consider, you do want duribility? in DX a D300 used or new 300s plenty of staying power and build quality, 5K series forget them, don't rule out a new or used D700, to get into FX and if you can squeeze it a used D3.

A D3 and D5 series cameras are not cameras to work in a photo business, think better Nikon cameras even if you have to but used.

I shoot a D90, for fun, Ad200 for wildlife and to volunteer to our local zoo, and D700 for my own creativity, I can't consider the D800 or D600 for a long time, I don't want to mess with issues, and I'm not ripped about the 7100, so I along with many others set on sidelines waiting for a D400.

As for lenses I only have two DX lenses a Sigma 17 70, and Nikon 10,5, so to go just FX is no problem.

Good luck and this is just my 2 cents.

Rubicon:

Sorry I meant D3k and D5k series cameras, stay away from I'd sat too fragile for business purposes,and D7k can't speak of never even held one.

Rubicon:

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SNphotos
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Re: Where to go from a D3100...?
In reply to whyamihere, Apr 23, 2013

Yes my mother offered to pay me for the value of my camera if I do in fact upgrade- so I have a budget of roughly somewhere between $800-1300 to purchase either a new body and/or better lenses.

At first, I did think of just getting better lenses instead of a whole new body but considering the d3100 requires AF-S lenses it is pricier.

My issues with the d3100 started out with its overall handling because it can be pretty slow at times as well as storage capabilities when I do large shoots. But I didn't really think about upgrading until a friend of mine bought a Canon T3i and when shooting with his camera I find everything is much smoother and the photos come out much more detailed and overall more dynamic.

I wish to stick with Nikon but this is why I came to this forum to try and get some opinions on which camera body might be a better upgrade to make my photo quality come out better and provide some ease when shooting.

I am researching the D7000 because that seems like it might be the best step- any more thoughts?

And also- where would be the best place to find one used?

Thanks again!

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SNphotos
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Re: Where to go from a D3100...?
In reply to rubicon, Apr 23, 2013

At first, I did think of just getting better lenses instead of a whole new body but considering the d3100 requires AF-S lenses it is pricier.

My issues with the d3100 started out with its overall handling because it can be pretty slow at times as well as storage capabilities when I do large shoots. But I didn't really think about upgrading until a friend of mine bought a Canon T3i and when shooting with his camera I find everything is much smoother and the photos come out much more detailed and overall more dynamic.

I wish to stick with Nikon but this is why I came to this forum to try and get some opinions on which camera body might be a better upgrade to make my photo quality come out better and provide some ease when shooting.

I am researching the D7000 and d300 because that seems like it might be the best step- any more thoughts?

And also- where would be the best place to find one used?

Thanks again

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rubicon
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Re: Where to go from a D3100...?
In reply to SNphotos, Apr 23, 2013

SNphotos wrote:

At first, I did think of just getting better lenses instead of a whole new body but considering the d3100 requires AF-S lenses it is pricier.

My issues with the d3100 started out with its overall handling because it can be pretty slow at times as well as storage capabilities when I do large shoots. But I didn't really think about upgrading until a friend of mine bought a Canon T3i and when shooting with his camera I find everything is much smoother and the photos come out much more detailed and overall more dynamic.

I wish to stick with Nikon but this is why I came to this forum to try and get some opinions on which camera body might be a better upgrade to make my photo quality come out better and provide some ease when shooting.

I am researching the D7000 and d300 because that seems like it might be the best step- any more thoughts?

And also- where would be the best place to find one used?

Thanks again

SNphotos:

I have done business over the last several years with KEH, I have every confidence in their rating system, and never a problem in buying or selling to them.

I have a friend she shoots a Canon 60D with a 17 40 L lens, and a 70 300 L lens and I think most of hers have more dynamic color and contrast than my D90, but! she is much better in PP than me.

So as they say "the grass always looks greener on the other side of the fence" but when you get there "looks pretty much the same" as before.

Hope this helps in some small way, cameras and equipment is too expensive to buy and sell at a whim.

Rubicon:

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whyamihere
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Re: Where to go from a D3100...?
In reply to SNphotos, Apr 23, 2013

SNphotos wrote:

Yes my mother offered to pay me for the value of my camera if I do in fact upgrade- so I have a budget of roughly somewhere between $800-1300 to purchase either a new body and/or better lenses.

At first, I did think of just getting better lenses instead of a whole new body but considering the d3100 requires AF-S lenses it is pricier.

My issues with the d3100 started out with its overall handling because it can be pretty slow at times as well as storage capabilities when I do large shoots. But I didn't really think about upgrading until a friend of mine bought a Canon T3i and when shooting with his camera I find everything is much smoother and the photos come out much more detailed and overall more dynamic.

I wish to stick with Nikon but this is why I came to this forum to try and get some opinions on which camera body might be a better upgrade to make my photo quality come out better and provide some ease when shooting.

I am researching the D7000 because that seems like it might be the best step- any more thoughts?

And also- where would be the best place to find one used?

Thanks again!

Ah, so my assumption was correct: You're starting to feel the limitations of the D3100 because of its market positioning, especially since you have a live subject in front of you. It's inhibiting your workflow rather than helping it along.

If you're looking for detailed and dynamic, the D7000 is a good camera to go for. I see it going for as little as $700 used in excellent condition on Adorama and B&H. Again, I'd go for a prime lens better suited to model photography for now (the 50mm f/1.8G) and continue to build a lens collection from there (maybe a decent DX zoom with a constant f/2.8 aperture, or the other f/1.8G primes from Nikon like the 85mm and the 105mm). You can always take those with you when you upgrade again, be it another DX camera or an FX camera.

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john Clinch
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Re: Where to go from a D3100...?
In reply to whyamihere, Apr 23, 2013

Detailed and dynamic

That's lighting and image processing. Unless you mate was passing you prints over 20 inches on one edge

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eddyshoots
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Barking up the wrong tree....
In reply to SNphotos, Apr 23, 2013

SNphotos wrote:

I currently own a Nikon d31000 with the 18-55mm kit lens and a 35mm 1.8 lens.

I have been doing some amateur photography and the camera has worked great for the past two years, however now I am getting some business and would like to upgrade from the beginner model.

I am definitely on a budget but also don't wish to have to do this again in two years, I would like the camera I pick to be one I can work with for awhile as my work progresses.

However, I don't know what nikon body would be the best deal and work the best for my needs and also hopefully work with at least the 35mm lens so I don't have to buy another portrait lens at the moment.

Hopefully someone can give me some opinions on what I should do and also what lenses you'd recommend to buy along with any camera body I may purchase.

Side note: I mostly use my camera for portrait or model photography right now.

Also I find I don't really use the video capabilities on my camera so that isn't necessary.

Thanks!

Many people feel the need to "upgrade" as if it's some form of graduation to another level of photography. We often here questions here on the forums where the OP feels he may have outgrown or progressed beyond there current camera. Almost without exception they have not.

The decision to upgrade, especially when budgets are tight, needs to be carefully considered. You need to determine what attributes, features and capabilities you are missing that need to be upgrade. Look at your D3100....what can't it do that you need it to do? And you need to be honest here....not just listing things off of the specification sheet of the new camera you desire. "I think the CAM4500 AF will make better pictures than the CAM3500 AF". What do you really need it to do?

I'm going to make some assumptions based on the needs that you state above. Please forgive me if I begin to stray off the mark. You are a people photographer... portraits and models (really just pretty people portraits). Any interest in sports or bugs or real estate will be secondary at best.

Your D3100 has plenty of resolution for just about any portraiture, so that's a check. You are probably not machine gunning your models so the frames per second are probably adequate. Autofocus isn't going to be up to par compared to the professional models but you aren't shooting sports or birds in flight, so you are probably good there. You've got full manual control control of exposure. The D3100 has a hot shoe for flash so you are set for just about any type of lighting situation (note: lack of high speed sync and commander mode could be a future strike against this camera should you get into flash photography big time). The D3100 can use just about any lens made by Nikon (note: the lack of AF motor and AIS coupling limits the utility of some older style lenses and might be a future consideration when and if you are fully outfitting a multi-lens kit). For portraiture....your camera has all you need. Anything else is really just there to make things easier, maybe tougher. Some might suggest that a larger sensor is ideal for portraiture. That might be true, but that's a very large, very expensive leap. You are almost certainly fine with your current camera.

So you've got some money and you want to upgrade. You have designs on professional portrait photography. You might be better off getting some flash gear (flash, triggers, light stand, softbox...etc.). Your lens selection seems a little restricted to me. First thing I would consider would be an 85mm lens....the 85 1.8 gets good reviews (lots of other choices though). Of course, there are many many lens choices out there....you'll need to determine what lens or lenses will give you the most portraiture bang for the buck. A similar process to picking a camera. Who knows? Maybe your best use of money is getting a good website put together. But in the end, I really doubt that you need a new camera.

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Richy6771
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Re: Barking up the wrong tree....
In reply to eddyshoots, Apr 23, 2013

IMHO eddyshoots hit it right on the head.

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pixd90
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Re: Where to go from a D3100...?
In reply to SNphotos, Apr 23, 2013

If you want to make money in photography than I definetly agree with eddieshoots. Start off with purchasing a starter lighting set and a good lens. ie 85 mm. I have taken classes on lighting and shot models with canon "explorer of light" professional photographers. If you want to exceed you have to learn lighting. There are many wedding photographers (Kevin Kuboto etal)  that have posted instructional vieos on you tube. These are also videos on setting up in-house studios. Since the D3100 does not have commander mode you will also have to purchase a flash wireless trigger system.

good luck.

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GlennW
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Re: Where to go from a D3100...?
In reply to SNphotos, Apr 23, 2013

From a D3100 we will see if nikon upgrades to a 3300 or 3400 in 2 years since the 3200 has already been released. For a DX body, you could skip the evens to go to the next odd number.

You could step up to a D7000 as prices fall, wait for price break on D5200, still a DX

For a DX camera, you could upgrade the 18-55 with a 16-85, but keep the 35 1.8 prime. I'd wait to see how much the new Sigma 1.8 zoom will cost. Only you can decide if you want to pay more for a lens than what the body cost when new.

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admwright
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Re: Where to go from a D3100...?
In reply to pixd90, Apr 24, 2013

As for lighting, flash is not the only option. LED lights are excelent for protraitue and there is no need to worry about sync speeds, multiple off camera etc. Truly what you see is what you get.

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SNphotos
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Re: Where to go from a D3100...?
In reply to SNphotos, May 17, 2013

I really appreciate you giving your thoughts and opinions they made a lot of sense. I am thinking maybe right now I should stick with the 3100 and focus on maybe getting some better lenses or other upgrades.

So now i'm wondering where to go from here..

are there any recommendations for what lenses would be best for portrait work with my 3100?

I hope to do a lot of models, family and children portraits mostly outdoors.

I love the blurry background effect that is definitely not quite there with the 35mm 1.8 I have.

I also find with my current set up a lot is left up to the post processing, is there any way to make this easier? Will the improvement in my lenses help with this? I love editing in Lightroom but it does take up a lot of time.

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