Nikon D90 a beginners camera?

Started Aug 9, 2013 | Questions thread
OP Nick Desai Junior Member • Posts: 28
Re: Nikon D90 a beginners camera?

thebustos wrote:

Nick Desai wrote:

Hello, I'm thinking about getting a D90 and was wondering is it too complicated for a beginner?
Also, I've read that it has AF built inside so I don't need to spend extra in the long run for lenses that do have AF. It's also labeled a 'DX' camera which I thought was for cameras that didn't have the AF built in. Any help clarifying? Thanks!

The common misconception with most beginners is that DSLRs are more complicated to operate than other cameras. I'd say the difference is most like the difference between driving a go-cart and driving a sedan. Sure the sedan has more controls, but they both have a gas pedal to go, breaks to stop, and a wheel to go left or right. A DSLR basically gives you the ability to have more control over the final outcome of your image compared to a common point and shoot. Just about every DSLR will have some sort of auto mode so that you don't have to have to know how to adjust your setting right off the bat, but if you aren't willing to learn the basics of photography you won't be able to get the most out of your camera.

A picture is the result of the cameras exposure to light. The three main elements of the exposure are created by the shutter speed (how long the exposure lasts), the aperture (how much light is being let through the lens), and the ISO (how sensitive your sensor is to light). A DSLR gives you the ability to control these settings whereas your average point and shoot doesn't allow you to control these settings. When you put a DSLR into auto, the camera measures the light and adjusts things accordingly. This however, may or may not be ideal for you given the picture you want to have, which is where being able to control things comes in handy.

I suggest that you read up on the relationship between shutter speed, aperture, and ISO, along with what depth of field is before you buy a camera. You don't have to become an expert right away but this will help you to understand the differences between cameras you may become interested in. It shouldn't take you too much time to read up.

here's a link to a good article about exposure:

and depth of field (video):

Hopefully with a little more knowledge you'll see that no camera will be overly complicated. The differences between most DSLRs is closer to the difference between different cars. Some cars will just feel better for you to drive or have different features than another.

Now with DSLRs there are two different sensor sizes: Full-frame (a sensor the size of a frame of 35mm film) and APS-C ( a smaller sensor than full frame, but larger than those in point and shoot cameras. Actual dimensions vary slightly between makers). These are physical sizes and not determined by megapixels. The megapixel count is simply how many pixels are packed onto the sensor.

The DX for Nikon is their designation for APS-C sized sensors and FX for full frame. Full frame sensors perform better in low light than APS-C sized sensors, but are more expensive. Most beginners start with an APS-C sensor camera.

In order to have AF, it has to be in the body and in the lens. But all modern DSLRs have AF built in as well as most all lenses. There are lenses that don't have AF, but they are usually specialty lenses like certain macro primes or telephoto primes.

Perhaps you were thinking of image stabilization? Image stabilization is currently achieved in two ways: In the lens or in the body. Canon and Nikon cameras employ image stabilization in the lens specified as IS for Canon and VR for Nikon. This means that you only get image stabilization when you use lenses with this designation. Lenses with image stabilization tend to cost more than those without it. Sony and Olympus employ image stabilization in the cameras body. This means that you get image stabilization regardless of which lens you are using.

Is there a reason you were looking at the D90?

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Good luck and happy shooting!

Thanks for explaining all of that! I'm on the run so I can't really read it now, but I will later!

I was looking at the D90 because it seems to be a good choice compared with the D3100 or T3i. It seems that I'll be able to take a bit better quality pictures as well. Not to mention it has the AF motor built inside so I won't have to spend the extra $$ for the 'AF-S' lens.

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