First SLR, 3200 or 3100 - ISO performance?
Hi, this is probably a somewhat typical first post. I've read quite a bit about SLRs and photography, trying to learn the ins and outs before I buy something. I've even read the entire d3100 manual, nearly every section, and even skimmed the d3200 manual (nearly the same manual). So I believe I have a fair grasp on most concepts, at least at a basic level.
So my main thing is, I need to decide between buying a d3100 or a d3200. (I'm not considering a higher/pricier model due to my budget. Even the 5100 is a bit too high for the feature value at this point.)
At first I was thinking that the upgrades for the 3200 that were most intriguing were (in order of importance to me):
- Higher ISO range (one stop higher)
- 4 fps instead of 3 fps in continuous shooting
- 24 megapixels instead of 16 (I'm guessing I'll be doing a lot of cropping, right?)
- Larger LCD (minor bonus)
Really I considered the higher ISO range and extra shot-per-second to be the biggest selling point... However, I then read the following article, which seems to imply that the 3200 is actually a worse performer at the higher ISO in low light.
This was troubling to me, particularly because it was my #1 reason to buy the 3200 over the 3100. I've read that higher density sensors tend to have more artifact problems with higher ISO speeds. And it's kind of surprising that Nikon would give a larger ISO range like that, knowing that the image quality would be worse. The article says it's worse even at ISO 800.
What do you all think? If you were a newbie like me, would you pay the extra $150 for a 3200 versus the 3100?
Oh, and how soon do people tend to want to upgrade from their first entry level dSLR? Three years? Six years?
#1. "RE: First SLR, 3200 or 3100 - ISO performance?" | In response to Reply # 0
jpFoto Registered since 25th Jun 2010Fri 11-May-12 07:18 AM | edited Fri 11-May-12 07:42 AM by jpFoto
Welcome to Nikonians. This is a terrific site with lots of information and help for both novices and pros alike.
Both the D3100 and D3200 are excellent choices for your entry into the world of DSLR cameras. I have owned the D3100 and now own the D3200 and can recommend both. The D3100 is an excellent camera and a real bargain at current prices so you can't possibly go wrong if you buy one. The kit lens, the 18-55, is extremely sharp and a bargain when paired with either of the camera bodies.
Contrary to what the fellow in your referenced article has said, and I suspect that he hasn't even handled the camera, the D3200 has higher ISO capabilities and better resolution. I've owned mine for about 10 days and have been very impressed with its performance and actually find it hard to believe that Nikon can offer so much camera for such a relatively low price. Since the camera is new there aren't too many reviews available yet, so you may want to wait until some of the credible and respected sources have had a chance to do their "hands on" reviews before you make your choice.
As for your question about how long of a time you would own a camera before upgrading, there is really no answer. Technology always gets better, but for now the sensor in the D3200 is "state of the art" for a DX camera so it could be a long time before you felt the need to move on.
Good luck with your decision.
#2. "RE: First SLR, 3200 or 3100 - ISO performance?" | In response to Reply # 0
WD4MLA Nikonian since 10th Nov 2002Fri 11-May-12 01:09 PM
Welcome to the Nikonians.
I do not own either camera so I will not attempt to answer the first part of your question.
As to how soon do people want to upgrade just depends on the individual. The D3100 & D3200, even though they are "entry level" cameras are far more advanced than the best cameras of a few years back. Some folks just always want the newest model out regardless of need and will buy based on want rather than need.
I still shoot with a D80 which was replaced with the D90 which was replaced with the D7000. I buy based on need. I get much better results with my D80 today than I did when it was new. Why? Because I have learned how to use it. When my D80 will not achieve what I am trying to do, I will feel a need to look at other cameras and will upgrade. So it is up to you, enjoy your new camera for years to come or upgrade as the new models come out. Your camera will take the same quality of photographs the day you upgrade as it did new. (Providing no problems developed)
Great Smoky Mountains
of North Carolina
#3. "RE: First SLR, 3200 or 3100 - ISO performance?" | In response to Reply # 2
coolmom42 Nikonian since 30th Nov 2011Fri 11-May-12 02:10 PM
I have a D3100 and it is an excellent camera. The single thing that I would wish for in it is better high ISO performance. Having that higher ISO will let you get hand-held shots that would not otherwise be possible. So if the D3200 has better ISO performance, it is worth a reasonable price premium.
Check at places like Costco for best pricing. I got the D3100, 18-55 lens, a 55-200 lens, a nice bag, and a decent size SD card, for the price many places were getting for the body alone.
I am not upgrading at this point, since I've only had my D3100 about a year. I don't plan to upgrade until I feel that my skills have outgrown the camera, which is going to be quite a while, LOL. When I do upgrade, it will be to whatever is the next big step up.
Of course "800E" is calling my name, LOL... but not going to happen.
working on it in Middle TN
35 mm 1.8 Nikkor
18-55 mm Nikkor VR
55-200 mm Nikkor VR
55-300 mm Nikkor VR
150-500 mm Sigma OS
Feisol CT3471 & Markins M20 ballhead
Visit my Nikonians gallery.
Visit my Nikonians gallery.
#4. "RE: First SLR, 3200 or 3100 - ISO performance?" | In response to Reply # 0
I have had my D3100 for almost a year and a ½ and am very pleased with it. I cant comment about the higher ISO performance compared to the D3200.
In general I am satisfied with my photos at 800 or 1600. Very rarely have I ventured above 1600. I think a lot of this is subjective and more about managing expectations rather that being critical of performance.
The only two features I dont have and wish I did are a depth of field preview and bracketing. But in an entry level package I am not complaining and have no plans to upgrade for the foreseeable future. I am pleased with my photos and have a whole lot of learning to do before the D3100 is not enough camera for me.
#5. "RE: First SLR, 3200 or 3100 - ISO performance?" | In response to Reply # 4
jimmills Nikonian since 01st Dec 2010Sat 12-May-12 01:49 PM
Don't have a 3100 or a 3200 but can answer the question about how long before you want to upgrade. Three days is a good figure. Bought a D5000 and within a couple of weeks the D7000 came out. Fought the NAS for about 3 months but caved in and bought the D7000. Along comes the D5100 and I thought it would make a much better back-up than the D5000. Fought the NAS for a couple of months but again caved in and bought the D5100. Still have all three cameras. Now the D800 is calling my name pitifully. However, at this point, if I bought it, the wife would reach into my chest and rip out my by-passes. What a shame.
Visit my Nikonians gallery.
#6. "RE: First SLR, 3200 or 3100 - ISO performance?" | In response to Reply # 5
Mon 14-May-12 06:04 PM
Well, I'm taking another look at the d5100 now. It seems that people really like it because it has the same sensor and processing as the d7000, so very good IQ for the price. Other advantages of the d5100 over the 3100/3200 would be exposure bracketing, on-camera HDR, and the pop-out screen, which I think might be nice for tripod shots, especially down low so you could angle it upwards.
Also, I don't know why I thought the 5100 cost more than the 3200 - it's about the same price.
#7. "RE: First SLR, 3200 or 3100 - ISO performance?" | In response to Reply # 6
jpFoto Registered since 25th Jun 2010Mon 14-May-12 10:14 PM | edited Mon 14-May-12 11:14 PM by jpFoto
I think that you've done your homework and that your reasoning is well thought out. The new price on the D5100 is certainly enticing, and as you have said, it is almost exactly the same as the D3200.
That's the problem with almost all products from a single manufacturer, you have to decide which features are most important to you. In this case, both cameras have advantages and disadvantages. For me, I plan to take a trip to Europe this summer and I wanted small and light, and I don't want to carry too many lenses. The D3200 gives me the opportunity to leave a long zoom lens at home since the larger pixel count translates into the ability to crop deeper than I would be able to do with a D3100 or even the D5100. I also am not interested in HDR and probably wouldn't use the articulating screen. I know how to bracket manually, if needed, and since I don't expect to be taking fast action shots manual bracketing will work. I also have other cameras that fill my needs. You, on the other hand, have other requirements and wants, so the D5100 makes good sense.
Either way you can't go wrong.
#8. "RE: First SLR, 3200 or 3100 - ISO performance?" | In response to Reply # 0
#10. "RE: First SLR, 3200 or 3100 - ISO performance?" | In response to Reply # 9
Mon 21-May-12 07:23 PM
I ended up getting the d5100 bundle from Costco. It comes with two lenses - the usual 18-55 zoom and also a 55-300mm zoom. I'm impressed with the latter so far (then again I'm new so everything seems awesome!)
Thanks for the advice, everyone!
#11. "RE: First SLR, 3200 or 3100 - ISO performance?" | In response to Reply # 0
I was like you and did alot of research. I bought the 3100 and the 3100 for Dummies to make sure I would learn all the uses of my camera.
I had a SLR from the school I was teaching in so I knew some of the basics. The 3100 will be a challange to learn all I need and to save for the extra lenses I want to purchase. You can research forever or just go for something and start using it. The learning process is fun.