Great camera for the most part...
I would agree with ALL the positive things said about picture quality, ease of use, image manipulation, features, etc. It takes superb pictures and is easy to use. I love it... except for two issues.
One, I bought the SB500 with the understanding you could use the flash or multiple flashes, wirelessly, off camera on its supplied stand without buying anything else. Well, at this point you can't even though the manual, Page E-1, and Nikon's picture PDF examples seem to show you can. You have to buy the commander add on thing for $300+ if I recall correctly. So, I bought the $60 sync cord and use it wired.
Secondly, WiFi and wireless picture transfer, at this point, is NOT available to use UNLESS you transmit by WiFi to a cell phone, etc. with an Android or iOS operating system. In other words, your 'smart' Windows 8.1 computer at home with a 28" digital monitor and your image processing/storage software on it is not available for wireless transfer - but a phone with a mostly useless playing-card-sized screen is... go figure.
This is 2014, not 1979. How hard can it be? Why does the manual on Page 48 even show a laptop? As far as I can tell, you wirelessly transmit a picture to a cell phone then from the cell phone you send the pictures via WiFi to your computer. Tether yourself to the supplied USB cord and forget the cell phone... unless that feature somehow has use to you.
By the way, you have to first download an app to the cell phone so the cell phone can accept the pictures from your camera. It isn't like you are just going to send a bunch of pictures wirelessly to a group of cell phone holders at the beach or something without some first downloading an app and configuring things.
I haven't tried the video or sound recording.
That said, the camera does take great pictures. It is easy to use. It does have great features. It can do special things like easily make HDR images IN camera. It does have great lenses available. Nikon Image Space is cool.The free image software is great. It feels good. It looks well made. Everything feels right and is designed intelligently and ergonomically as far as I am concerned. It is an amazing piece of technology for the most part.
If you are on a trip with your laptop, however, and don't want or need an Android or iOS phone, just don't forget to bring your USB cable, or two, to transfer your pictures. If you need or want off camera flash then buy a camera with built in commander mode or buy the pricey add on. Still... highly recommended.
November 7, 2014
Superb camera, even for an experienced novice.
I am completely satisfied with this purchase. I have added a few extras including a 18-140 zoom lense, 55-300 zoom lense, a SB-700 speed light, etc. I find the WiFi and GPS very useful. I shoot a lot of genealogy projects such as gravestones, etc. Until now my SLR experience was with a film camera several years back. With more free time these days I decided to return to amature photography and learn to use digital cameras. I am impressed. Even as a novice, I take my equipment seriously. If it doesn't perform, I will return it. Not this kit, it's definitely a keeper.
August 3, 2014
Way better than Canon Cameras. Love clicking pictures with it.
June 27, 2014
Absolutely stellar camera
I bought this camera a few months ago and all I can say about it are positive things. All of the image sensor specs are exactly identical to the prosumer camera D7100 except for the image processor which is an Expeed 4, the best that Nikon currently offers, so if you're worried about not getting a great sensor, this is definitely top notch (for mid-range cameras at least). I guess I'll break down this review into a few categories to make it easy to read.
The body of this camera feels very high quality, and the fact that it's made in one single piece not only means that it's lighter, but there is less of a chance of any kind of foreign debris to get inside of it. Compared to similar cameras like the D3200, the construction feels leagues ahead and it looks and feels very professional. The only suggestion that I'd have to you is to make sure you get the BLACK version of the camera. The reason why is because most, if not all of the other colors come with a very poor and plasticky construction that feels fake and just doesn't look very good, if looks matter to you at all.
The 24MP sensor is on par with many of the prosumer cameras like the D7x00 line. There's nothing here to complain about, and coupled with the right lens, you can get some fantastically sharp pictures. However, you must be aware that you can only take full advantage of the sensor if you shoot in RAW format. If you are serious about taking excellent shots but you haven't a clue as to what RAW is, you need to learn it. If you tell your camera to shoot in JPG format, it ends up processing the image in ways that might not always be desirable because the software makes assumptions about what kind of settings you want the final picture to look like. For most average photographers, this is absolutely fine but if you truly want to learn how to take full advantage of the sensor and all that it can offer you, you need to shoot in RAW format and learn how to process (or develop) the picture. It's really no different than developing pictures in the age of film. Everyone back then had to learn how to develop an image, and if you want your images to look good in this digital age, you need to as well.
Here is where you can see how the developers were really trying to capture both the aspects of ease of use and customization/utility. The camera gives you options as to how you want your user interface to look. You can make it have nice little animations that remind you what number is your aperture, which is your shutter speed and which is your ISO. If you are only wanting to shoot in auto mode, you don't need to worry about this but if you want to shoot in Aperture or Shutter priority modes (which says to the camera "Hey, if I'm wanting to decrease the aperture/shutter, I want you to automatically adjust the shutter/aperture to keep the same exposure of the shot"), or even manual mode (which is what I use the most), the animations are a nice reminder of what number means what. Personally, I set the user interface to where the animations don't come up because it's just unnecessary clutter on my screen, but you certainly have that option which is nice. So basically, you can choose between a user-friendly screen or a utilitarian screen, whichever suits your need.
Here are some nice features that the more advanced photographers will appreciate:
High dynamic range
Bulb exposure (tell the camera when to release shutter and when to close it again instead of a specified time interval)
Intervalometer with specified starting times, interval times and number of shots
Different shutter release modes (single, continuous low, continuous high, quiet shutter release, self timer, delayed remote, quick-response remote)
The camera provides 13 different shooting modes. I don't have much experience with a lot of the auto modes because I find them to be useless for my needs, but from what I know, it gives you a variety of different situations to choose from so if you don't know much about camera lingo or whatever, you can just set the mode to whatever you want and the camera will optimize the settings for that situation. The "SCENE" mode allows you to choose from things such as night portrait, party, beach, sunset etc. There is also an "EFFECTS" mode that obviously does different effects like night vision, color sketch, miniature effect (my favorite), silhouette etc. The nice thing is that if you took a picture in a different mode, you can always come back to the picture and apply any of these effects by clicking the "i" button and retouching it.
The 39 point (I think) AF system is very effective. I've found that it is able to focus even in fairly difficult situations, although there can be times when the camera will do a bit of tracking before it locks on a focus. You can set the AF to either an auto mode (so you'll use auto auto focus haha) to where the camera automatically decides which part of the scene you're wanting to focus on, or you can do a point AF where you specifically select a point out of the 39 given what you want to focus on. This is selected using the 4-way tracker wheel. There is also an option called 3D tracking where the camera will literally track a certain spot if you pan the camera across the scene and keep the same focus.
Other AF features:
Single point - The camera focuses on a selected single point
Dynamic area AF - The camera focuses on a single selected point but takes into account surrounding AF points so it will track your subject if it gets slightly off-center
Also available is the option to have the camera continuously reevaluate focus so it doesn't lock onto a single focus (good for continuously moving subjects), a normal locking AF, or an auto mode that switches between the two depending on the situation (judged by the camera).
I think this camera is one of the first, if not the first to introduce 60FPS 1080p video shooting. One terrible gripe is that AF is TERRIBLE, whether you're shooting a picture in live view (you look on the screen instead of the viewfinder) or taking a video. Contrary to what some people say, there is a setting to where the camera will continuously auto focus in live view or video, but you have to know where it is. Focus does a lot more tracking and is a lot noisier than using the view finder. This is due to the fact that the camera has to rely on contrast AF rather than phase convergence, a much slower and processor-intensive method.
Video quality I'd say is okay. I'm not much of a videographer but I've definitely seen better quality. Also, since I'm limited to one SD card, I can only get ~20 minutes of 60fps 1080p video with 64gb which might be okay for most things, but nothing extraordinary. 24fps gives me about 30 minutes. If you're looking for a good interchangeable lens video camera, look at the mirrorless micro four-thirds cameras. They can double as a good photography camera as well.
Only problem I have with the camera is I wish it had two memory card slots so that if one gets full, it will automatically switch to another so you don't miss the shot. I have a 64gb SD card in it so I have to be really idiotic to get it full without my knowledge, but still, it would be nice to have.
I also wish that Nikon would have engineered a battery grip connection so that you can use the shutter release button on the grip when shooting in portrait mode. I actually do use a third party grip but the installation of it is a bit clunky because you have to remove the battery cover on the camera body and also attach a small jumper cable on the side of the camera to allow the shutter release on the grip to work. It degrades the camera's weather resistance because the accessory flap has to be opened. Because of this, I give the camera a 4.5 instead of a 5 but this website won't let me do that.
Overall, SUPERB camera for the price. You get a lot in one package. It's literally smack dab in the middle between an entry level camera and a prosumer camera. It's more of a hybrid because it has characteristics of both categories and is certainly capable of being a full-time semi-professional camera, but it does indeed lack some defining traits of a true prosumer camera, but nothing that is a deal breaker for me personally.
OH YES, the camera indeed has TWO programmable buttons. Many people complain like children that it only has one function button, but you can program two buttons. This way you have easy access to the shutter, ISO and aperture. "But wait Landon, 2=3?" No, you have the scroll wheel which is dedicated to shutter, and then when you hold down either button, it allows you to change the other two by scrolling. Some cameras had two scrollers and a function button to do this, but it works just fine with one.
Bottom line, if you're new to photography but know you will be doing more of the sophisticated stuff in the future, GET THIS. It's perfect for you, especially if you're not quite ready to spend the $1100 or something on the D7100, the next step up from this camera. Also, if all you want in a camera is decent auto settings and you'll never want to do the more complex stuff, this is also a "GET IT" camera. The software is more refined than ever and will certainly do good for most situations.
The people who gave this camera a rating from 1-3 are completely full of brown stuff (I wanted to say a stronger word but this website said that's a no-no). They are just sour individuals who are probably mad at the world so don't listen to them. This camera isn't claiming to be anything superior but for the price and what Nikon designed it to do, it's absolutely deserving of a high rating. If you expected complete prosumer DSLR quality, you are mistaken because this camera doesn't claim to be that, but it certainly has aspects of it. It's just a bridge between entry level and prosumer.
Wow, that was a lot more than I intended to write.
May 21, 2014
Like the Camera, Don't Like the Manual
I've only taken the camera out for serious exercise once so far. All of the pictures were overexposed. The manual was no help; I had to just try all the features and functionality I could see. When I found out how to manage the exposure it was so easy - easier than my D40X. So I am happy with the camera, love the GPS feature, think the wi-fi connection to my iPad is a kick but probably of little practical use - but I don't care much for the manual or online help.
March 25, 2014