best camera for photography compare nikon dslr cameras

Compare Nikon DSLR Cameras for Beginners [GO]

So you are considering taking the plunge? Good for you! Today we are going to compare Nikon DSLR cameras for beginners.  We will keep the jargon user friendly and give you as much information as we can in a short post.  

Keep in mind, the best camera for photography depends on the person using it. Always consider what you are trying to achieve with your camera.  If you are ready to go, I present our easy to follow guide, ” Nikon DSLR cameras for beginners”.  

First, why megapixels don’t matter!

best camera for photography compare nikon dslr cameras

Ok well, they do.  But once you dive into DSLRs the quality of the parts matters a lot more than the megapixels.  Then lens you choose will have a greater impact on your photos than the MP count.  Megapixels after 12-16mp are really only useful for printing poster sized images and are often used by pros. The best starter DSLR is the one you chose to use!

Do you want to print poster sized picture?  If not, the best starter DSLR will have anywhere from 8-16 megapixels.  Honest.

Great read: Best Cell Phone Cases for the Savvy Traveler

Why Nikon ?

The best camera for photography has always been a hot debate. For a long time Cannon led the pack in technology and quality. However in recent years Nikon has caught up, and in some areas, surpassed Cannon.  Of course it still comes down to personal preference.  I have owned both and I prefer Nikon.

No matter which you chose, when it comes to Canon vs Nikon you can’t lose.

I chose Nikon DLSR cameras over Canon because I feel that the images are more accurate to what I see with my own eye.  I may be wrong, maybe my eyes are poor, but this is art isn’t it?  Nikon DSLR cameras are great because they are easy to use one handed.

My Nikon D5100 has an LCD screen that rotates out so I can hold it above a crowd and still see what I am shooting with one hand.  I know it is not ideal, but sometimes you have no choice.  After all, I travel the world with two small boys, I need my hands free!

A few shots with my Nikon D5100 – none have been edited:

Abu Dhabi best camera for photography DSLR Nikon
©Marc Molloy – Bird at the beach in Abu Dhabi
Camel best camera for photography DSLR Nikon
Camels in Al AIn, UAE
Egypt pyramids best camera for photography DSLR Nikon
View from my room at Meena House hotel in Egypt

Ok let’s do it! Let’s compare Nikon DSLR Cameras for Beginners!

Nikon D3100

The 3100 was a solid DSLR for a very long time.  Many still hold onto them as a trusted companion.  I loved mine so much that when I upgraded to the D5100, I could’t sell my D3100 so I gave it to my dad.

The camera body is always a fair price, but lenses are expensive!.  This package is worth it for the lens combo alone!

  • 14 MP CMOS sensor
  • Bright LCD screen monitor
  • ISO up to 12800 – good for low light shots
  • 86 various lens compatibility
  • F mount
  • Good for low light
  • Great at everything but average at landscapes

This Nikon D3100 package ($419) on Amazon comes with 2 lenses so you can shoot accurately at quite a long distance, or get those perfect portraits.

best camera for photography compare nikon dslr cameras
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Nikon D3200

  • 24 MP CMOS sensor (78% more than 3100)
  • 300% higher resolution LCD screen
  • ISO up to 12800 – better for low light shots
  • 86 various lens compatibility
  • F mount
  • Excels at low light
  • 4 frames per second shooting vs 3 fps on the D3100
  • Great at everything and excellent for sports

This Nikon D3200 package ($563) on Amazon.  I chose a package with the same two lenses mentioned above. 18-55mm is standard for day to day.  55-200mm will let you reach out an touch someone!

nikon d3200 best camera for photography compare nikon dslr cameras
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The best starter DSLR ?

I am not going to review every model out there.  I am only going to cover the best starter DSLR cameras for beginners.  What is the best camera for photography on the road?  There is no real answer.  The two above are the best for a beginner to get their minds wrapped around using a DSLR.

However….. another model that still caters to a beginner but offers more perks is the Nikon D5100.  This is my personal camera as well.  I use it with a Nikor 18-140mm lens so I can shoot both close and medium-long shots.  I use a UV filter and a sling strap for ease and comfort.

Also Read: Battle for Best Camera: DSLR vs Phone [Overview]

Nikon 5100 Series

  • 16 MP CMOS sensor (mp isn’t everything)
  • FLIP OUT SCREEN  MUST HAVE FEATURE!
  • ISO up to 25,600 – outstanding low light shooter
  • 86 various lens compatibility
  • Time lapse and High Dynamic Range processing built in
  • 4 frames per second shooting vs 3 fps on the D3100
  • Great at everything and excellent for sports
  • WiFi built in!
    • This is the game changer for me as a traveler.
nikon d5100 best camera for photography compare nikon dslr cameras
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This Nikon D5100 package ($624) on Amazon also comes with the same two lenses, 18-55mm is standard for day to day and 55-200mm for shots across the park.

The flip out LCD lets you get shots you wouldn’t otherwise be able to.  Take HD video over the crowd’s heads, or shoot a building from ground level looking at the sky!  The other game changing feature is the built in WiFi. Integrated WiFi let’s you share pictures to your phone OR take pictures from your phone.  Set up the camera anywhere you want and use your phone to take the picture.  Perfect for selfies or night shots where you can’t shake the camera even a little bit.

nikon d5100 best camera for photography compare nikon dslr cameras
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Options

One item I cannot recommend enough, is a quick release shoulder strap.  You already know that I need to keep my hands free, but who doesn’t?  Also consider long days on vacations, straps like this one have a wide padded area.  Without it your neck with get sore! Plus you can easily move the camera out of the way when you need to hug someone or pay for a snack.

Even better, these sling straps are usually quick release.  When someone asks to use your camera for a second, you can simply click and hand it to them without removing the whole strap!

A sling strap with quick release has made all the difference in my long trips.

fast sling strap best camera for photography DSLR Nikon
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