Well, after continuous whinging, my better half caved in and gave me the go ahead to get a D610 a couple of weeks ago. Yay!
Had a film camera back in the, ooh late 80's I guess. A reasonably priced Praktica - can't remember the model. Always wanted a 'proper' camera again and at the beginning of the year got a D3100. Now, I do love the D3100, but I did get frustrated with lack of controls (i.e. menu diving), high ISO noise (hey, 'cheap' f5.6 zoom etc), no motor drive (no cheap 2nd hand D lenses) etc.
So, got the D610 a couple of weeks ago and I soooo love it. Initial thoughts:
1) dynamic range!! Wow - didn't expect that! I read it had great dynamic range, but didn't really expect it to have an 'every day' difference. But no more blown skies etc. Before getting it, I was looking forward to the HDR feature on the D610. Used it once, for fun. With the D3100 I struggled with skies, shadows etc and so wished it had HDR facility. Little did I know I just needed a D610 and it's dynamic range. Awesome.
2) High ISO is great, as expected, esp compared to the D3100. On the D3100 with the f5.6 zoom, going to iso1600 or 3200 was upsetting 'cos of the noise - which to be fair is pretty good when the image is viewed as a whole but cropping heavily is out of the question (birds). Even with the D610, it's important to expose properly ('to the right' I think is the phrase!) to keep noise down.
3) Colours. I can't quantify this, but the colours look so good. Maybe its the increased d.r.? Dunno, but I like it! I know I like it as I hardly touch the photos in post now!
4) Forum ####. It gets described so much on forums with words such as 'crippled', entry level, 'consumer' that if I didn't know better it would put me right off! Every other post is saying how crippled it is compared to a D8x0/D4.
4a) Nothing wrong with 'consumer' - I am one 4b) I wouldn't expect it to be 'as good as' a D8x0/D4 as they cost £1000, £4000 more..! 4c) Focus points. Grouped. In the middle. Yes, I wish the world would just get over it. It's not that bad... And if it does cause you a problem, yes, get a D8x0, D7100 etc. But, it does get rather tedious. 4d) Oh, the D7100 comparisons... I understand, I had the dilemma the other week - 51point focus + extra 'reach' or FF, so I do understand, but it seems sometimes that owners of the D**** do get rather defensive. Note I haven't mentioned the D7100 just now, I don't want to cause offence to anyone esp in my first post.
5) lens fine tuning. Found my 50mm 1.8g is a bit out, by a long way. Now I'm obsessed with fine tuning, but too lazy to test properly.
6) U1 and U2 seemed useful when I got the camera, but didn't know what to use them for. Now I have loads of uses and wish there were U1,2,3...
7) Don't miss the 'extra' DX reach - the extra resolution etc allows cropping to get better results anyway (yes, I'm sure that wouldn't hold up against a D7100, but this is my experiences coming from the D3100)
8) it's not too heavy. And it's not too small. For me. It seems for some, the extra few grams is a deal breaker.
9) I do wish it had an AF-ON button - I find it a reach to the (reassigned) AFlock button. But I'm sure I'll get used to it if I persevere.
10) having the extra dial over the D3100 is great - I have it as exp comp when in aperture priority.
11) the ISO button placement isn't that bad. But then I often use auto ISO
12) dust, oil... not even going to say anything.
I seem to be slipping into inconsequential trivia, so I'll stop before it gets even worse.
I should say though, that this forum looks like a nice (and very useful) place to be after lurking on some others.