Is this a good Entry Level DSLR?

Started Dec 12, 2017 | Discussions thread
NCB Contributing Member • Posts: 661
Re: Is this a good Entry Level DSLR?

Don't hesitate. It's a dream of a camera for producing quality pics. I bought mine 6 years ago and it's been my goto camera ever since, although I use a Df for particular shots. If you need to fiddle with the settings a lot, more dedicated buttons would help; I don't, I take mainly landscapes and often do a day's shooting on the same settings.

I bought a D5500 mainly to see what 24mp + no AA filter would do for me. The answer was not a lot. I can happily produce A3 prints from the D3100 and the lack of AA filter was more trouble than it was worth. Also, like some other cameras, the D5500 seemed to have increased noise reduction compared to the D3100; in landscape shots where you need the detail the D3100 held it better on distant objects. No doubt you can avoid the noise reduction by using raw, but the D3100 produces great out of camera jpegs, so why bother? Also, I preferred the handling of the D3100 (better grip, better viewfinder). I sold the D5500.

One qualification. I always shove everything through a simple photo editor (Photoshop Elements) to tweak things to my liking after taking the shots. It's mainly altering contrast; I always have very effective Nikon's Adaptive Dynamic Lighting (ADL) turned on for preserving Highlights and Shadows, but it can result in slightly flat tones so increasing the contrast for example can be a good idea. Also, the default in-camera sharpening is lowish, as Nikon tends to do this (a good idea), so I tweak sharpening in Elements.

The default lens I usually use is the 16-85 zoom, an excellent match for the camera. The usual 18-55 kit lens is OK but the 16-85 noticeably better. I have the 70-300 for wildlife shots. and a 35mm for when I want something light.

 NCB's gear list:NCB's gear list
Nikon Coolpix 8400 Nikon Coolpix P7100 Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 Nikon D3100 Nikon Df +1 more
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