As we are asked this question on a daily basis by both amateur and professional photographers alike, we thought it would be useful to put together some of the key features of Nikon’s current DSLRs to make your decision a little easier.
If I want a simple-to-use camera?
The Nikon D3100 is certainly ‘small but mighty’. With a high-resolution sensor and full HD movie mode, the Nikon D3100 allows you to take great photographs and home movies with an intuitive set of controls, perfect for a beginner or someone who wants to learn more about photography. Its small design means that it is ideal for travel and with a variety of pre-programmed ‘Scene Modes’, you’ll never miss a shot again.
It also features a ‘Guide mode’ which cleverly allows you to choose the desired settings for the photography that you are doing, whether it be food photography, holiday snaps or even sleeping faces!
Sample image take using D3100 + 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6G AF-S VR DX at ISO 200
What if I want a high-specification creative camera
without breaking the bank?
The Nikon D5100 has many of the advantages of the new D7000, with a 16.2mp sensor and 1080p full HD video recording, but in a compact design. For the less technically minded that simply means that you can blow pictures up to a bigger size and take professional-grade movies as well, which is ideal for media students or creative families who want a small camera that packs a punch.
Coupled with any AF-S Nikkor lens, you can start shooting immediately, with its simple controls and its ability to shoot many diverse ‘Effect modes’ in-camera.
It also has a vari-angled monitor, which means you can take photographs above the crowds or down amongst the blades of grass without strain. In addition, it is a very handy camera for portraits of family or friends where the photographer wants to be in the action too!
Sample image taken using a D5100 + 60mm f/2.8G AF-S Micro Nikkor
I’m a serious amateur and want a camera that I can grow into
what should I be looking at?
The Nikon D7000 is designed to suit all the needs of a serious amateur photographer. The camera itself sits very well in the hand, with a light polycarbonate casing but its all-important electronics protected with magnesium-alloy.
The sensor boasts 16.2 megapixels, which essentially means that landscape photographers can blow up their images to a very large size and sports and wildlife fans can crop images down with little reduction of resolution.
For film fanatics the camera shoots full 1080p HD movie mode, the same quality as a high-definition video camcorder, and as the entire range of Nikkor F-mount lenses fit onto this body, the possibilities are endless for both stills and video shooting.
Another exciting feature is the dual SD card slot, which takes two SD cards for both video and stills – handy if you would like to separate out how your pictures are saved, and to ensure that you never run out of space while out and about shooting.
The ‘Scene mode’ lets the camera do all the work depending on your shooting situation, but the D7000 also allows you to shoot with your own preset custom settings if you desire, with the flick of a switch.
And last, but certainly not least, the ISO range is perfect for low-light shooting, with promising reports of the ability to shoot at 1600 ISO with virtually no quality drop-off.
These D7000 sample images are courtesy of Grays of Westminster customer, Harry Cruickshank,
using a D7000 + AF-S 300mm f/4D at ISO800
We will conclude our article with the pro-amateur and professional camera bodies next week, but in the meantime please feel free to telephone Grays of Westminster or email us if you have any further questions about our special offers or any of these cameras.