1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Nikon D90 - or D3100?

Discussion in 'Help Team' started by CollieSlave, Feb 7, 2019.

  1. CollieSlave

    CollieSlave Active Member

    I am, essentially, a film based photographer. I regularly use my Leica IIIg, Leica IIIf, Nikon F3 and Nikon FM. But I rather fancy getting a fairly basic digital camera to play around with. I am not interested in the all-singing, all-dancing features on latest models (I would never use them!). I want to buy a reasonably priced camera and have been looking at D90 or D3100 models, both of which are available in good condition in large numbers! I would welcome any recommendations or suggestions. I have been offered a D90 that seems in first-class condition with a shutter count of about 28,000: is this too high? D3100 models are available with counts of around 2,000. So, any suggestions or advice would be most welcome.
     
  2. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    Unless you have a lot of lenses to reuse I'd suggest to also look at something mirrorless from Fuji. They rapidly went through three generations of model range over the last 5 years during which the handling (responsiveness) of the cameras improved but as a consequence there are a lot of used models around. If you want to stay with Nikon the compatibility with older lenses is a bit of a minefield (non-Nikon user view).
     
    CollieSlave likes this.
  3. nimbus

    nimbus Well-Known Member

    The D90 is a heavier camera with a more robust feel than the D3100. Any Nikon lenses you have may well fit, but the compatibility is likely to be variably limited. The D3100 will only autofocus with lenses with built-in motors, the D90 will focus with AF & AF-D lenses, as it has a focus motor in the body. Any lens which does not have the contact set in the mount will not provide any exposure metering or automation with either of these cameras, if you want to use manual focus lenses you might be better considering a D200 or D300 which can provide some metering.

    Alternatively as PeteRob has suggested consider a Fujifilm CSC, your Leica and/or Nikon lenses can be fitted using an adaptor and it will provide exposure automation at the working aperture, the view in the screen or finder is pretty accurate. If you fancy that, my suggestion would be either an X-E1 or X-T1, as both are plentiful and perform well (16mp), also they have the choice of using the EVF or the camera rear screen for viewing.
     
    CollieSlave likes this.
  4. El_Sid

    El_Sid Well-Known Member

    Of the two I'd go for the D90 though I'd maybe try to find a slightly lower shutter count... One advantage of the D90 is that it has two control wheels which does make it easier to adjust aperture and shutter speeds individually in manual mode, it also simplifies adjustment of exposure compensation in the auto modes. The D3100 has only one control which means a combination of button pressing and wheel turning - not onerous but less convenient.

    One point to note is that with manual lenses, I guess you have a few, is that neither camera allows TTL metering with most manual lenses (the AI-P type are the exception), If you are good at the sunny-16 rule or regularly use an external meter this may not be an issue for you. If you definitely want TTL metering then you need to look at later, higher spec, cameras such as the D300 or D7000 series as these have the aperture indexing ring & lug that connects with the AI ridge on the lens. With these cameras TTL metering is available in both manual and aperture priority modes. I originally bought a cheapish D50 to use with my manual lenses but TBH I found the lack of metering a drawback so eventfully I bought a D7000 which makes life a whole lot easier...

    By and large manual focusing with digital SLRs is not as easy as old manual cameras. There is no split screen/microprism focusing aid and because the screen is not intended for focusing manual they have a less fine texture which improves brightness but makes the image a bit less well defined. Fortunately the AF system does still function as a rangefinder and can be used as a focusing aid - this is true of all models.

    One last point on lens compatibility; pre-AI lenses, those without the indexing ridge on the aperture ring, generally don't fit the digital models and any lens requiring mirror lock-up aren't usable at all.
     
    CollieSlave likes this.
  5. nimbus

    nimbus Well-Known Member

    ! wouldn't worry unduly about a shutter count of 28k on a D90, it is likely good for four times that. I suspect that within reason we get hung-up about shutter counts in a similar way to car milage readings.
     
    CollieSlave and Andrew Flannigan like this.
  6. Learning

    Learning Ethelred the Ill-Named

    Difficult choice. It comes down to compatible lenses and battery availability.
    Given that you use a Nikon F3 and Nikon FM I suspect that you would be better of with a D90 , or D300 (provided it did not have a fogged screen).
     
    CollieSlave likes this.
  7. Chester AP

    Chester AP Well-Known Member

    Having gone from an 'all manual' SLR to a DSLR 12 years ago, my question would be 'how do you plan to use the DSLR'?
    If in manual mode, then having TWO control dials on the camera body is very useful (my Pentax does), so that one dial can be set to aperture control and the other to shutter speed. The lower end models from Canon and Nikon only have ONE, so you cannot adjust both things simultaneously but need to switch from one the the other by using a button somewhere on the camera body. Presumably you can get used to this, but two dials are simpler.

    Definitely a case of needing to get some 'hands on' time with both bodies before deciding.
     
    CollieSlave likes this.
  8. GeoffR

    GeoffR Well-Known Member

    It is quite clear from your original post that you use manual focus film cameras. That rather limits the range of Nikon digital bodies that are suitable for use with your lenses and will offer metering. You can safely ignore any mention of in-lens or in-body AF as you probably don't have any AF lenses anyway. If you want metering with your manual focus lenses the D2 series, D200, D300, D300s, D500 and D7000 series all offer it in a DX (cropped sensor body). If you want a full frame body the D3, D4, D5, D600, D610, D700, D750, D800, D810, D850 and Df allow metering with your lenses. You may find this site useful https://www.nikonians.org/reviews/nikon-slr-camera-and-lens-compatibility

    You will note that neither of the bodies you suggest allows metering with your lenses.

    If you have any pre AI lenses, only the Df can be used with them. You may also want to consider whether you want to use the aperture rings on your lenses or control the aperture from the body as only some of the bodies listed allow the use of the aperture ring to set aperture and couple with the metering.
     
    CollieSlave likes this.
  9. CollieSlave

    CollieSlave Active Member

    Thanks very much for this comprehensive post which I much appreciate and will take note of. As far as metering is concerned I do use the internal meters of the F3 and FM but also use a Sekonic spotmeter on a regular basis (even on occasions with the F3 or FM depending on the subject) so conflicts between bodies/lenses/metering can be readily overcome. Thanks also for the link regarding camera and lens compatibility; very interesting and useful. My plans for a digital camera are becoming wider thanks to information from you and other posters!!
     
  10. gray1720

    gray1720 Well-Known Member

    I can vouch for the D200 with older lenses - I have a 28mm f3.5, 55mm f2.8 Micro-Nikkor, a 135mm speed forgotten and a 400mm f5.6, all Nikon lenses, that I use on said D200 (anything taken with the D200 on my Flickr is with one of these, though I don't always remember to reset the lens length so treat that info with caution!)

    D200s I suspect are getting ridiculously cheap now - I paid £129 four or five years ago, but obviously they're also getting long in the tooth. Mine has a couple of buttons that don't always behave and will one day be replaced, probably with a D7000. The main issue with the D200 is that the viewfinder is a bit like peering down a tunnel and finding the focus confirmation light means looking away from your subject. It's a PITA but you get used to it. Can't vouch for any of the others.

    I know Roger Hicks uses a Df, but I think that will be well out of your price range.

    Adrian
     
    CollieSlave likes this.
  11. Learning

    Learning Ethelred the Ill-Named

    I also still use a D200. It will be of no use to anybody when I am finished with it unless I die before the camera. I found that some of the controls were not very intuitive and bought a D300 which I liked very much. I prefered the D7100 which came next but I knew that it wasn't what I really wanted; it seemed too fragile. I looked after it more carefully than I had ever looked after a camera before. When the D500 came out I traded in the D7100 and used the D300 as a second camera. Sadly I killed the D300 accidentally on a wonderful caving trip. The photos survived but the camera gave up a few months later. The D200 came back into use. It is seemingly quite tough. I use it when I am scared of damaging a D500.
    A lightly used, and carefully looked after D200 would be pretty good. But beware. A lot of them were used by wedding photographers, and even photographers operating in war zones who could not afford a single digit pro model. Then there are amateur owned cameras that have spent time on mountains, in sandy game reserves and in caves. I would say the same about the D300. The D500 is likely to earn a similar status.
     
    CollieSlave likes this.
  12. Learning

    Learning Ethelred the Ill-Named

    So what did you buy? Are you going to show us a photograph of a collie taken with the new old camera?
     
    CollieSlave likes this.
  13. CollieSlave

    CollieSlave Active Member

    I bought a Nikon D7000 with DX AF-S Nikkor 16mm-85mm 1:3.5-5.6 GED, after a very great deal of research, meditation, and contemplation. Awaiting delivery - and may well test it on Bryn, my border collie! Thanks to all for advice!
     
  14. nimbus

    nimbus Well-Known Member

    Seems a pretty good choice!
     
    Learning and CollieSlave like this.
  15. gray1720

    gray1720 Well-Known Member

    Let us know how you get on, please. The D7000 is the likeliest replacement when my D200 falls over, so it's be good to get impressions, especially with the old lenses.

    Adrian
     
    CollieSlave likes this.
  16. nimbus

    nimbus Well-Known Member

    I sold my D200 before their values plummeted, it was replaced with a D7000, I must admit I preferred the D7000.
     
  17. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

    I bought my D200 very cheap, used it for a few years then sold it for a good price. Nice piece of kit but I wouldn't want another.
     
  18. gray1720

    gray1720 Well-Known Member

    Mine cost a mighty £119, possibly because of a slightly misaligned piece of grip, so I will have no complaints when it finally carks it. D7000 prices aren't that low yet, but...

    Adrian
     
  19. Learning

    Learning Ethelred the Ill-Named

    On the other hand we would not get a good price for one now. Even as I age I still get out in difficult weather on our fells and more latterly hedging locally. Caving is now sadly history, so is real climbing. I find it useful to have a camera and some old lenses, capable of good results, that is not too expensive to damage, but is tough enough not to be damaged unless I am really stupid or careless. My D200 does not get as much hazardous excercise as it did (like me really) but Is still used and I consider it an important bit of kit. Because of my earlier unease with it and my enthusiasm for the closely subsequent D300,my D200 has a shutter count of only about 5000. I also bought a spare battery for each of those bodies, so have four batteries, two of which are still good, and two of which are so so.
     
  20. Learning

    Learning Ethelred the Ill-Named

    I foolishly traded in a 16-85 with my D7100 when I bought a D500. The newer 16-80 has a higher spec on paper but in my experience is neither better or worse in use. It is not worth the extra money that I paid for it. Unlike the D500 which may be the zenith of the DX DSLR.
    I hope that you get many enjoyable years from your camera and lens. When GAS gets the better of you again then I guess that it is the lens that you keep.
     

Share This Page