Upgrade D3100 to D7000 or wait?

MichelleMichelle Posts: 20Member
edited January 2013 in D90/D7x00
My D3100 that I've had for 18 months is my first DSLR, since then I've become addicted to photography and currently am the photographer for a cat shelter, so my camera is used a lot in not so easy shooting situations. The D3100 struggles.  I feel now my skills and understanding have improved dramatically I've out grown the entry level D3100 and am looking to upgrade.  

My budget is tight.  My question is should I buy a d7000,which looks like everything I would ever need, or wait until it's, supposedly imminent, upgrade?  If I wait for the upgrade I will be waiting for quiet a while as the price differences are going to be huge.  

My current thoughts are buy the D7000 now as it's a lot of camera for the money but I hate to buy yesterday's technology :(

Any thoughts on this appreciated.  

x


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Comments

  • PB_PMPB_PM Posts: 4,493Member
    Just a few questions. How does the D3100 struggle? Auto focus? Low light performance? If it is a lighting issue have you considered using an external flash? To me that would be the most logical solution, since I'm assuming that light is the biggest issue you are facing. Having used both the D7000 and the D3100, the low light performance isn't much different, so a flash might be a better purchase.
    If I take a good photo it's not my camera's fault.
  • MichelleMichelle Posts: 20Member
    Yes, you're correct, mostly Auto focus and light.  I have a hot shoe flash which I can bounce off the walls etc but I would only use it if I had to because of time constraints, as flash with animals is not good.  I find the d3100 quite slow to focus and am told the d7000 would be quicker.  Generally I'm using prime lenses, which has helped.  I would like to maybe try using an off camera flash and I don't believe I can do this with the d3100 without purchasing additional kit.  Also I like the 100% view finder on the d7000.  It's much bigger and brighter than the d3100.  

    I've learnt that speed is key when photographing cats!

    Also, in addition to the work I do I'm keen to branch out to other areas of photography.  I initially bought the cheapest entry level camera as I was unsure of how much I would get into the hobby..  Now I'm hooked I would like a better camera.  I will have the money to buy the d7000 next month so I'm getting itchy!!

    Thanks for your reply

    Michelle x
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,398Moderator
    Speed, cats....how about waiting for ever....But, your reason for why flash is not good with animals...can you give some more information?
    Msmoto, mod
  • ChromiumPrimeChromiumPrime Posts: 84Member
    Even as yesterday's technology, the D7000 is way ahead of the D3100 when it comes to AF and ease of use. Shortly after I bought my D7000 two years ago, I also bought my sister a D3100 which is a really good camera on its own but one of the first things I noticed about it was how clunky the its AF system was compared to the D7000.

    IMO, if the camera you have right now is limiting you then there is no need to wait longer for upgrade to come out or not. My advice is to buy a used D7000 ($650 to $750) and offset the cost by selling your D3100 ($250 to $300). This should put your cost for the D7000 somewhere around $500 to $350 depending on the deal you get. If later you decide you really want to buy the D7000 replacement then just do the same and resell your D7000 then.
    Way too much gear & way too few photos :-O
  • MichelleMichelle Posts: 20Member
    Speed, cats....how about waiting for ever....But, your reason for why flash is not good with animals...can you give some more information?
    The cats hate the flash!  Direct Flash is a huge no no and even bounce flash does not give the best results.  I do my best to utilize natural light from the windows.  The environment I work in is extremely basic, it's a building that probably should be knocked down.  We don't have electricity or even running water!  My aim is to produce natural looking photos that will promote the cat.  I've taken thousands of photos over the last 18 months and learnt that NO flash is by far the best way to go.  
  • MichelleMichelle Posts: 20Member
    Even as yesterday's technology, the D7000 is way ahead of the D3100 when it comes to AF and ease of use. Shortly after I bought my D7000 two years ago, I also bought my sister a D3100 which is a really good camera on its own but one of the first things I noticed about it was how clunky the its AF system was compared to the D7000.

    IMO, if the camera you have right now is limiting you then there is no need to wait longer for upgrade to come out or not. My advice is to buy a used D7000 ($650 to $750) and offset the cost by selling your D3100 ($250 to $300). This should put your cost for the D7000 somewhere around $500 to $350 depending on the deal you get. If later you decide you really want to buy the D7000 replacement then just do the same and resell your D7000 then.
    This is my thinking.  
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,398Moderator
  • shawninoshawnino Posts: 453Member
    What about waiting for the upgrade, and then picking up a D7000 as they flood the market instead of buying the upgrade body? Might be the least expensive move of all.

    Aside: congratulations, Michelle, on finding a noble cause for your photographic pursuit. I don't mean to sound cranky but I'm rather weary of the cliche of people upgrading to the latest-greatest to take pictures of their cat. You've managed to dump that scenario on its head exactly, and I'd like to applaud you for it.  
  • MichelleMichelle Posts: 20Member
    @shawnino

    Thank you.  My work is voluntary but I take it very seriously and it's allowed me to pursue my love for photography and cats!!  I've learnt a lot and am keen to expand my subject matter and knowledge.  I will say though I think the cat photography will always be my little niche!

    I'm waiting to see if anything is announced about a d7000 upgrade.  However, I do not think that I will be able to afford it. 
  • MichelleMichelle Posts: 20Member
    I'm currently also keeping track of the other forum post regarding buying the d7000 and I think that I will buy the D7000 next month.  At today's prices coupled with my low budget it's seeming to be a no-brainer.  

    I think it will be a big upgrade from my D3100 especially with regards to focusing, speed. build, and functionality.  If you disagree please shout!

    Thanks for your comments.  It's been fun

    Michelle xxx
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,481Moderator
    I can't help but feel you just want to buy a new camera and are saying the good work you do, the speed of the D3100 autofocus and the lack of electricity are just reasons to justify it in your mind.  People have been taking EXCELLENT picture of animals for oh, about a hundred years so why is it that a camera as advanced as the D3100 isn't up to it but the Dwhatever is?

    Maybe if you set a background and a sheet to reflect the light from the windows you will find your pictures are better?

    No offense intended, I think of weak reasons to buy stuff all the time!
    Always learning.
  • MichelleMichelle Posts: 20Member

    There are many reasons and the top being are: I'm getting far more serious about my photography and what I want out of my camera and also my birthday is coming up and I have 50% the cost of the D7000 as a birthday present!  on a more technical note:  D7000 - Weather sealed, better focus system, larger 100% view finder, built in focus motor, twin card slots, more functionality.  to name only a few plus points over the D3100.  I want my camera to last me.  I will not be purchasing another for many years.  I bought the D3100 to get me started, it's done a fabulous job of that but now I want something better.  Simple!  (Also the D3100 is going to a good home - I'm giving it to my niece who is just about to start studying photography this year :)
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,481Moderator
    Ah, you want to upgrade your camera?  The D7000 is an excellent upgrade at the prices around right now.  You will be very happy with it.

    Try a background and reflector for the cats though - it could be all you need.
    Always learning.
  • MichelleMichelle Posts: 20Member
    @spraynpray

    Yes, upgrade! 

    I'm working on collecting some pleasant coloured sheets for use as backgrounds.  I'm still working out how I would pin them up when I have kittens that are in cages for example.  I don't know anything about reflectors other than seeing them used.  I think they maybe a bit cumbersome for me to use under the circumstances.  My spare hand is normally used for attracting the cats attention so I can get them to look into the camera. I favor my 35mm lens when working with the cats because it's very up close and personal and I definitely get the best shots that way.  Can you buy small budget reflectors? 

    I'm learning all the time with this work, i'll give anything a go as long as it doesn't require me getting pro kit for a job I don't get paid for! 
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,481Moderator
    You don't need pro kit.  I have seen some really (£10) cheap kits on eBay, but perhaps best is when you get your D7000 you will be able to use off camera flash to fill for you by mounting it on a tripod the other side of the subject from the window.  One of the great things about the higher models is the flexibility of the flash system when used with other Nikon flashes.
    Always learning.
  • MichelleMichelle Posts: 20Member
    Unfortunately I only have the Nikon Speedlight SB 400.  It's very basic.  Maybe when I get the D7000 I could find a cheap second hand flash on ebay to use off camera,  
  • IronheartIronheart Posts: 3,017Moderator

    Google for "reflector mounting bracket"

    For like $60 you can get a reflector and a stand to bounce more light directly on your subject.
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,481Moderator
    Michelle, you may prefer to get an SB700 (can be found for £220 in the UK) as your off camera light source. You set it to Remote and TTL, set the D7000 to matrix or centre-weighted metering and the shutter speed to 1/250th and your aperture to around f5.6. The flash will then balance the fill to the daylight level of the room you are in so if you put it on a tripod to illuminate the dark side of the cat, you are good to go.
    Always learning.
  • shivaswrathshivaswrath Posts: 7Member
    My D3100 that I've had for 18 months is my first DSLR, since then I've become addicted to photography and currently am the photographer for a cat shelter, so my camera is used a lot in not so easy shooting situations. The D3100 struggles.  I feel now my skills and understanding have improved dramatically I've out grown the entry level D3100 and am looking to upgrade.  
    My budget is tight.  My question is should I buy a d7000,which looks like everything I would ever need, or wait until it's, supposedly imminent, upgrade?  If I wait for the upgrade I will be waiting for quiet a while as the price differences are going to be huge.  
    My current thoughts are buy the D7000 now as it's a lot of camera for the money but I hate to buy yesterday's technology :(
    Any thoughts on this appreciated.  
    x

    I'd wait...the new tech will give you some cool networking abilities the D3100 was lacking. Heck, even the D3200 has some slick new features worth considering. Given it'll be a few months, and D7k hasn't been that massively discounted (massive discount in recent memory would be the 50% on the V1)...I'd wait.
    w: www.neilphotos.com
    p: www.suneil.net

    I shoot, therefore I am.
  • JJ_SOJJ_SO Posts: 1,158Member
    I'd clearly buy it now, if I were you. Nobody of us knows, which kind of failures, issues or even less nice details the successor of the D7000 will carry with, how long it takes to get rid of it. After long time and after some mails with increasing sharper tone I got the D800 changed because of the left side focus issue. At the end, Nikon was generous or had a least a pile of bodies to change against, but in the beginning they appeared clueless and were a sample of really bad communication, as "we don't know of any issues", while the news filling up with them.

    The D7000 is ready for use, the quiet mode does what it is called and I still love this cam for feeling solid, reliable and performing well.

    And for the reflector: I don't know if that's worldwide, but a large piece of white insulating foam (in Germany called "styropor") can be used. If you tape some glossy aluminium foil on one side and leave the other white, this reflector is cheaper than anything. I guess, you can leave it in your "cat studio"?
  • MichelleMichelle Posts: 20Member
    @JJ_SO

    Would an A3ish piece of card suffice, foil one side, white paper the other. It would be best to try something out first and see if I can make it work in the conditions I shoot in, rather than spending money on more kit I may not use.

    And....
    Cat Studio
    HAHA what a joke that is.
  • JJ_SOJJ_SO Posts: 1,158Member
    edited January 2013
    Sure. To see the benefits of a reflector, even white cardboard can teach you the advantages. The reflectors for sale are foldable, weatherproof and usually washable, can be placed on stands or whatever. And shooting close to a window, oriented to North, should give you nice and bright light.

    Equipment for lighting has basically the purpose to bring own light in when natural light isn't enough, but with a D7000 and it's lowlight abilities you should benefit from such a DIY reflector - even with the D3100.
    Post edited by JJ_SO on
  • MichelleMichelle Posts: 20Member
    OK, I'll give it a bash.

    Next question. Assume I buy the D7000 next month and I have £50 left over to work with (sorry not giving you much to work on!) What second flash could I buy (second hand fine)?
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,481Moderator
    There are flashes on eBay for around that price new, but you will be working in full manual with no off camera modes. Off camera would require radio triggers which is more cost. I would recommend working with reflectors and available light while you save up for an SB700.
    Always learning.
  • JJ_SOJJ_SO Posts: 1,158Member
    Second hand flashs are always a bit of a surprise because of the condenser can be worn down. Repairing usually costs more than a new flash. If you'd be close, I could give you one of mine for free, but none of them is Nikon. I just don't use them often, but the condenser ages anyway.
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