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Thread: Low-end Nikon question

  1. #1
    DanK's Avatar
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    Low-end Nikon question

    I shoot Canon and have no knowledge of Nikon bodies. A relative wants an entry level DSLR and is looking at a used D3100. I know that some entry-level Nikons can only use certain lenses--something to do with where the AF motor is located. Is this one of those models? If so, what would he have to buy to avoid that problem?

    thanks

    Dan

  2. #2
    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Manfred Mueller

    Re: Low-end Nikon question

    Dan you are correct - these cameras do not have focus motors built into them and cannot autofocus the older "D" type lenses. These have a screw type focus connection; when I bought my D90 about four years ago, this was the least expensive body that had the in-camera motor.

    All of the newer "G" type lenses will work on it, as they have the internal focus motors. These are easy to identify as they have no aperture adjustment ring on the lens.

    There are still a few current lenses in the Nikon catalogue that require the screw motor, but these tend to be speciality lenses and tend to be fairly expensive (over $1000) and specialized lenses. If your relative is looking at the used market or third-party lenses, they will have to do their homework.

  3. #3

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    Tom

    Re: Low-end Nikon question

    Dan, this is one of the real non-issues in the Nikon line-up. If you want to know which lenses come with a focusing motor, http://dpanswers.com/roztr/lens_finder.php will allow you to list them (check the lenses with built-in focus motor (Nikon only) box. You will see about a hundred current lenses you can choose from, with all focal lengths and price-ranges well represented.) The only time this is worth thinking about at all is if you already have a large number of old Nikon lenses that you are too attached to to sell for better ones. Even then, any AF lens can use the rangefinder option to auto-focus -- it just requires you to use your wrist as the focusing motor. But the viewfinder will show you whether the focus point is too far, too near, or in-focus. Most folks can figure out the focus from that subtle hint, and the resulting focus will be just what the camera would have given you if you'd had a focusing motor.

    There are many reasons to consider skipping over the low-end Nikons, but this in-body focusing motor is way overdone by fanboys of other cameras. Personally, I would make sure that I was OK with the D3100 not supporting high-speed synch flash, not having Commander mode support for off-camera flash, not supporting exposure bracketing, having limited ability to adjust the controls without using the menu system, not being weather-sealed, and even lacking the intervalometer before I would worry about support for discontinued glass. FWIW

  4. #4
    inkista's Avatar
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    Re: Low-end Nikon question

    The "needing AF-S to autofocus" issue is much smaller now than it was a few years ago. Nikon has been updating a lot of the AF D lenses in the last few years, so the 50/1.8, 85/1.8, and 80-400--which were the standout "problematic" lenses--now all have AF-S/G versions. And it's not like Canon makes an EF-S 35/1.8 USM lens for $200. (sigh).

    However, Nikon's consumer-grade cameras do tend to still be missing some gracenote features Canon shooters take for granted as being in all cameras, even dRebels. The D3100 has no auto-exposure bracketing feature, no DoF preview button, no true mirror-lock-up, cannot meter accurately with a non-CPU (unchipped) lens (i.e., stop-down metering), and cannot perform high-speed sync with an external flash.

    OTOH, a D3100 can trap focus.
    Last edited by inkista; 20th March 2013 at 10:37 PM.

  5. #5
    DanK's Avatar
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    Re: Low-end Nikon question

    Thanks, all. Very helpful.

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    Victor Nimitz

    Re: Low-end Nikon question

    Hi,

    I have a D3100 ( since May 2011. 25K actuations ) and it takes good pictures with kit lens: 18 - 55mm and 55-200mm. It's ok for travel( lighweight)/landscapes, portrait and I guess for the majority of photographers .

    How about the "cons", maybe it's better if we let them chime in.
    ( I do wonder why some love to expect so much when its category " entry-level" is quite clear. )

    Very satisfied Nikon D3100 user here.



    HTH
    Last edited by nimitzbenedicto; 21st March 2013 at 07:11 AM. Reason: correction: 2010 - 2011

  7. #7
    DanK's Avatar
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    Re: Low-end Nikon question

    Thanks folks. have already sent the feedback on, so no need for more

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