Selecting a new DSLR can be truly mind-boggling, especially if you’re a first-time buyer.

Not only do you need to determine between brands, but you have to decide between models, lenses, and accessories – all of which can lead to a daunting experience.

That said, the aim of this post would be to help make that choice a bit more easy.

Why Nikon?

I’ve been shooting Nikon since I got into DSLR photography about 5 years ago. as soon as I purchased my first camera (a D5000), the decision was a comparatively simple one: my father had some Nikon lenses and I didn’t have much money!

Now a few years later I’m not as unhappy with that conclusion as ever. Nikon’s consistent lens mount size over the years allows you to use lenses going back to the 70s and 80s on many of Nikon’s latest DSLR bodies – meaning you'll be able to get quality used glass, at a comparatively inexpensive cost.

That’s a dialog for another day, nevertheless.

The bottom line is, you’re going to get a camera that is great with an excellent range of lenses with Canon or Nikon. If you've got family or friends that shoot one or the other, and you’ll be around them frequently, that’s a good enough reason for me to pick either brand.

But since I shoot Nikon, now’s post is all about just how to choose the best Nikon camera for you!

Get Past the Hype: Things that Don’t Matter

At the time of this writing Nikon has 4 cameras that you just may be deciding between: The D3200, D90, D5200 or D7100. These are the most up thus far versions, and in some situations you might be considering one that’s a generation elderly in order to save cash – we’ll talk about that.

I’d rather start out by listing a couple things that you just should definitely cease paying attention to – by doing so however before we start going into the individual versions, you’ll make your decision a lot easier.


Odds are if you'ven’t purchased a camera in some time, the very first thing you look at when selecting a camera is the megapixel count.

Discontinue. Please.

These days any new camera will have more than enough megapixels for what you need. Even one on the lower range that has 10-12 will have enough detail for you to blow up your pictures to poster size with no major problems, and seriously, how frequently are you doing that?

It may be nice to have the flexibility, but once you reach on 24 megapixels the files sizes arehuge. On my D7100, I seldom, if ever, shoot at the maximum quality degree, merely because it just isn’t practical.

Complete Frame Vs. Cropped Frame

New to photography? Then you don’t even look at a full frame sensor. To put it differently, for a Nikon camera you can instantly cease paying attention to the D600, D800, or D4.


They’re big. They’re not cheap. And unless you’re a professional shooter, they’ll be overkill for what you’re looking for.

Save your cash for some new lenses and quit thinking about those entirely.

To help set your mind at ease you should know that Nikon’s cheapest DSLR the D3200 has image quality that in most shooting scenarios will be close to as great as that on their most expensive camera, the D4. Most of what you’re getting with more high-priced cameras is more options, on camera controls, and other things professionals want and you likely don’t.


This may matter for a select few of you, but for most of you, it should be a non-issue.

Bottom line, have you ever actually shot video on a DSLR? Most beginners haven’t. It’s not simple.

The sound is awful, the auto focus doesn’t operate in a manner that is usable, and it’s nothing like using your phone or a camcorder.

Check out a pocket camera like the Canon S110 – which is easy to use and shoots exceptional video if you need an excellent camera that does video.

Once you learn what you’re doing and have some extra tools, then a DSLR can be a great way to break into a more professional video setup. But if all you need to do is picture your kids, you’d be best searching elsewhere.

Does that all make sense? Nikon DX-format Digital SLR Camera , happy we’ve got that cleared up. Now, let’s get you a camera!

Finding the Best Camera for Your Needs

Instead of regurgitate all the technical specs of each camera for you, I’m going to look at the various type of users of Nikon cameras and allow you to locate a camera based on what you identify with the most.

Best Photograph Quality at the Cheapest Price Possible?

As I mentioned earlier, in great light, for most uses, the quality from an entry level DSLR will match that of their more expensive counterparts. So all you really need is good image quality and aren’t wanting to break the bank if, then pick up the Nikon D3200.

You can probably find refurbished versions, or the old D3100 that is still an excellent camera if you’re extremely worried about cost. You’re giving quality is built by some from the higher end cameras, if you go with that, and the screen is a reduced resolution than the newer version.

Don’t get the D3000, there was quite remarkable about it.

Seasoned DSLR User Desiring to Upgrade, Without Breaking the Bank?

Let’s confront it, price is an issue for most people. Thus let’s say you’re ready to move past your D3100 or D5000 you’ve had for a couple years, to something more representative of your experience degree. You’ve got a couple of lenses, but still don’t need to overspend.

Consider a D7000. The image quality will be comparable to the D7100, and many of the upgrades that were made will be negligible to the typical user, although it’s not the latest camera on the block.

I’ve seen body only D7000 going for as low as $649, which is almost half the cost of a new D7100.

The D7000 is a huge step up in relation to features and build quality from any one of the cameras in the 5000 or 3000 line, so don’t shy away from this merely because it’s a couple years old.

It ’s also worth noting that while it’s 5 years old, the D90 is widely available and is a great camera for the cost. It lacks some of the features of the newer D7000 line, but is an excellent step up from Nikon’s entry level cameras in terms of controls.

Starting HDR Photographer?

You can do HDR with any camera which allows manual controls to be set by you, yet you’re going to desire something that has bracketing constructed in if you’re serious about it.

This means your camera can automatically shoot 3 images at varying exposures, generally one at normal exposure, then one underexposed, and finally one over exposed.

You can then use HDR software to create one perfectly exposed image.

The D3200 doesn’t do bracketing, thus for the start HDR photographer you’ll if cash is more of a concern a D5100 or want to pick up a D5200. A few years ago I learned HDR on my D5000 while and it was a great intro camera. It had a menu system that I was used to with a point and shoot, but a customizable function button that let me easily turn on bracketing.

Seasoned HDR Photographer?

Then you should only pick up the D7100 if you’re a more experienced HDR photographer.

There are a couple key attributes that make this a better camera for HDR.

First, you can take 5 shot brackets. You’ll learn that 3 brackets frequently is to get the range of light you'll need, as you get better at HDR. The D7100 makes it simple to add two more shots.

Additionally, it shoots at up to 7 frames per second, so if you’re attempting to shoot brackets on the fly and don’t have a tripod – this will get you much better results (although you still ought to use a tripod).

The plethora of on customization abilities and camera controls will make setting up shots easier and suits itself to a more experienced photographer.

Worth noting that the D7000 just does 3 exposure brackets, so in this case I believe it’s worth checking out the D7100.

Updating from Shoot and Point to first DSLR?

If you shoot at your whole life and ’ve been using a point, updating to a DSLR can be a little daunting task. Don’t stress though, it doesn’t need to be!

The best part about the D3200 for beginners is that it’s quite menu. The camera can do much of what it’s bigger siblings can, but much of it's still in your point and shoot just like in easy to navigate menus –. There’s even a question button that'll describe what different characteristics of the camera do if you’re unsure.

Then the D5200 is worth taking a look at if you’re wanting to have a little more control, but still keep the familiarity of a menu based camera. It'll definitely give you more room.

Have a Lot of Nikon Lenses from Your Film Days 20 Years Ago?

For instance my aunt has an old 50mm f/1.2 that I’ve been trying to get on “long duration loan” for awhile now. This lens wouldn’t have metered on either my old D5000or D90. With either the D7000 or D7100 nonetheless, just about any lens autofocus and from 1977 or newer will both meter.

So if you've got a plethora of old lenses, don’t sell them away just yet, you may just need a fresh camera body.

Need Professional Attributes, but On a Budget?

Here you have a couple options. Maybe you are tempted to snag D300 that was used for less than the cost of some of the newer cameras. On the surface this appears like a great thought. You’re getting incredible build quality, more manual features, and a more affordable price – but I’d think about doing this.

The D300 is an old camera. You’ll get better photographs, and many advancements in camera technology have been made and many more usable characteristics in a D7100 than one of Nikon’s older cameras.

Stick with the D7100 which is still nearly half the price of the most affordable complete frame camera the D600 – and they ’re essentially the same in terms of features.

Appearing to Do Photography and More Serious Video?

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If you’re truly seriously interested in video, I hate to say this, but contemplate changing to Canon. I’m a Nikon man through and through, and I also do a lot of video. The video quality on even D5200 or a D7100 is unbelievable. But there are certain features that become a bit of a deal breaker.