Budget D3100 upgrade: D5500 or D7100?

Started 6 months ago | Questions thread
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miss_shutterbug New Member • Posts: 4
Budget D3100 upgrade: D5500 or D7100?


I've used a D3100 for the past 7 years, and am looking at an upgrade. I got it at the beginning of my photography craze, and it's served me wonderfully well. Nowadays, I principally shoot events at my work (a local museum, events are indoor/outdoor), and while the D3100 has worked all right, I have a few reasons to upgrade:

- Better low-light performance (I have visible grain at ISO 100, and have taken to shooting exclusively in RAW just to more easily manage the noise, particularly when bumping it higher. This makes my indoor event shooting challenging!)

- Quicker autofocus, especially in low light

- Larger MP count (my main job is graphic design/marketing, and sometimes we end up cropping tight to a very small portion of an image in a marketing piece)

...Those are the main reasons. I got excited recently looking at a new lens, but realized that no number of beautiful lenses would fix my ISO issues or slow AF.

I'm on a small budget, and after much comparison and forum-combing, I've settled (mostly) on a used D5500 or D7100, which both run about $400 on Amazon for a decent specimen. They both sound like very good cameras, and would probably meet my requirements for ISO, AF speed, and more MPs.

The problem is, they both have such compelling pros and cons! While I like the professional features of the D7100, I also like the newness of the D5500 and the lighter build (and it sounds like the touchscreen is pretty nice). So here's my question: Would the D7100's pro features like AF fine-tuning, AF motor, LCD screen, more controls, etc. be enough to sway you to the older model? Or would the D5500's comparable IQ, lighter build, more recent release, and improved D-lighting/flat picture control/other features be preferrable...especially considering they're the same price used?

This camera purchase is one I'd like to last me another several years. Regarding the oft-recommend D7200, it sounds wonderful, but would require I save for it. Not totally ruling it out, but I like the lower prices of the other two!

 miss_shutterbug's gear list:miss_shutterbug's gear list
Nikon D200 Nikon D3100 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 55-200mm f/4-5.6G VR Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm F1.8G +1 more
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Nikon D3100 Nikon D5500 Nikon D7100 Nikon D7200
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