>There is a definite learning curve if you are upgrading from another Nikon. Set the left hand dial to P, the ISO to 800 - and shoot For someone coming from say a D70 there is a huge culture shock no longer having a keyhole size viewfinder, auto focus several generations ahead, colour and resolution obviously better etc - but the first step is take some good pictures. Then explore all the options. Digressing to birds in flight this is advanced technique work ideally requiring advanced AF settings together with plenty of experience using advanced equipment. Going from a D70 with an 18-55 to say a D7000 with a 300mm and expecting your purchase to instantly make you an excellent bird photographer is unrealistic. Whichever camera and lens (or golf club) you use becoming an expert photographer, like becoming an expert golfer, requires practice. Usually the learning curve has more to do with wanting to use new and better equipment to do more advanced photography than basic photography.
Photography is a bit like archery. A technically better camera, lens or arrow may not hit the target as often as it could if the photographer or archer does not practice enough.