Where to go from a D3100...?

Started Apr 23, 2013 | Questions thread
eddyshoots Senior Member • Posts: 2,176
Barking up the wrong tree....

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.


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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