Which Camera Body?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by jean_barrell, Jun 8, 2014.

  1. I have been using a D3200 for 2 years and am thinking about upgrading. My main dissatisfaction with the D3200 stems from the time it takes for me to switch focus modes--from single point auto focus to auto area. I have to hit the info button, scroll down to the focus points, click, then select a focus point. My research leads me to believe that I could change focus points more quickly by using the function button on the D5300. Am I correct and do any of you have other suggestions for me? Weight is a consideration so I prefer the cropped sensor cameras.
  2. Yes, you can assign the Func button to AF-Area mode. It's under Controls menu f1. I just tried with mine and FAILED...nothing happened after I'd changed the fn function key. Press the fn button and move the control wheel?? You have to have the lens set on AF! I'd been doing MF bug shots on my 105vr macro.....Doh! No worries, it works a treat in AF!
    You can also assign the AE-L/AF-L button (to the right of the i button) to AF-ON if you want to separate focus activation from shutter.
    The D5300's internal WiFi can be fun. The Nikon App is Android and iOS (I think?) but if you want to run from a Windows netbook it can be done with DSLR Dashboard. Wireless tethering is a novelty, but may be handy to you.
  3. I would point out that - other than frame rate, perhaps - the D5300 is a relatively minor update on the D5200. I'd check your budget carefully before going for the latest model: depending what you shoot, it may not gain you much. Though if you're switching AF modes, maybe you do care about frame rate.

    Alternatively, there's the D7000 - or D7100 if you can afford it. That'll give you better autofocus and relatively fast mode switching (though I hate the AF switch being on the left hand), but obviously it's a bigger and heavier camera.
  4. Before buying something else, try AF-ON as Mike has suggested. This way you will not have to switch the focus points all the time which is time consuming. This is sometimes called "Back Button Focusing." Do a Google search on this term and you will learn about its many benefits. John Gerlach has a good article on it at his website.
    Joe Smith
  5. D5200 v D5300...upgrades. The D5300 has Expeed 4, No OLPF, both do 5fps, bigger hi-res back screen, 1080p 60, GPS and WiFi. Maybe not worth an upgrade from a D5200, but never-the-less nice product progression.
    The D7000 series main plus point is the ability to AF with non-AFS lenses, there's a focus motor in the camera body. It does have better AF and a nicer penta-prism viewfinder. It is bigger and heavier than the entry/mid level DX cameras. It is still very expensive and as you can guess from the numbering* due for an upgrade soon. The D7000's and D7100's price may drop then.
    I haven't done a 'dark-church comparison' yet, but I think they've somehow changed the LV (internal) aperture control. If you wanted to LV a shot you're about to take @ f22, the D5200 shut the aperture down and, surprise surprise, it can't auto-focus in a dark room. The D5300 doesn't seem to have the same difficulty. I'm surely happy about this, but not sure what different behaviour is going on inside....maybe the amount of aperture stop-down in LV is dynamic until the moment of exposure, ie lots in bright conditions and non in dim conditions?
    * the other DX cameras are on their 4th generation evolution pattern, whereas the D7000 series is still in 2nd Gen. The D7100 is still one heck of a camera, but lacks the latest bells and whistles.
  6. pge


    (though I hate the AF switch being on the left hand)​
    I had to get used to this when I changed from a D700 to D800 but I actually ended up preferring it. To each his own.
  7. Just curious Jean, but how useful and reliable do you find Auto-area AF? Every time I've tried it the camera selects some random focus point that's absolutely nowhere near where I'd want it to be.
    Wouldn't Dynamic-area AF or 3D tracking suit your purpose a little better? Since you can manually select the focus point and the camera will then track it if you recompose or the subject moves. That way you wouldn't have any need to switch modes.
    " My research leads me to believe that I could change focus points more quickly by using the function button on the D5300." - Not focus points, but focus modes. You'd still have to use the joystick control to position the focus point. It might be easier to get into the habit of just manually selecting the focus point, rather than swapping modes all the time. I'm not sure that a change of camera body would actually make focus mode selection that much quicker or easier. It certainly won't make Auto-area AF any more reliable.
  8. I had to get used to this when I changed from a D700 to D800 but I actually ended up preferring it. To each his own.​
    Just for reference, my objection is that I tend to use big lenses hand-held, which means that I can't easily do anything with my left hand except support the lens, focus and zoom because my hand is several inches in front of the camera. Without growing an extra thumb roughly half way down my forearm, I have nothing in the right place to reach the focus mode selector. If I mostly used the lenses on a tripod or if I mostly used smaller lenses, it wouldn't be a problem. I suspect most people using a D3200 and considering a 5-series are unlikely to have been sufficiently cursed with Nikon Acquisition Syndrome to have the same problem. The 5 series actually has the advantage, when using a big lens, that most of the controls are right-handed - just not this one.
  9. The D5200 and D5300 do what you want. The D7x00 make it even easier as they have a lot more external controls. The real question is how much money you want to spend on this convenience. Reselling your D3200 will give quite a bit of loss now that it's on sale often; a D5300 is still full price in most places. So it is a rather costly proposition for an otherwise rather minor step up.
    Personally, as Joe, I wonder about the usefulness of the auto-area AF; even if the camera does get it right where you want focus more or less, it is often just plain slower as the camera has to figure out what to do. Moving the single point around with the cursor-wheel on the back to select the right plane of focus is probably an easier solution that keeps you in control, and saves money for a minor upgrade now.
    P.S. "back button focussing" has nothing to do with any of this, frankly; some people prefer it that way, others prefer the default half-press of the shutter release - you can experiment with it, but it's not some miracle cure.

Share This Page