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Should I get the D5300 or D3300?

edited May 2016 Posted in » Nikon D5300 Forum
Hey y'all!

I'm wanting to get into photography and start doing photo sessions for locals, once I get comfortable with the camera and its settings. I plan to do family photos, baby portraits, maternity, engagement etc. I love the light, airy look in photos, if you know what I mean. I also want to be able to do sunset photos where the sun is behind them but they aren't super dark. I can't decide if I should just get the D3300 since it's cheaper or spend the extra buck and get the D5300. What do y'all suggest I get?


  • edited May 2016
    I think you will get approximately equal image quality from both, since they use much the same innards and sensor, and both are capable of very good pictures. Where the D5300 will gain is with a few extra features, and a somewhat better auto focus system, and with the added convenience of a swiveling rear screen.

    For most ordinary photographing, the swiveling screen may seem more like a gimmick, but for certain things like macro work and tripod shooting in live view or video, it can be nice. Whether worth the extra, it's a matter of judgment.

    For auto focus, both will work well, but the D5300 is likely to be a little better at grabbing action. For ordinary work, may not be worth the extra, but for birds in flight and the like, might be.

    The D5300 offers a few other amenities, more user controls, a couple of nice menu options, and, I think, HDR and interval shooting, which the 3xxx does not. The D3300 offers a panorama setting, which the D5300 does not. Again, a question of judgment whether you'll miss those. I don't, particularly, since I rather dislike HDR, but some might. I do like panoramas at times, but this is something easily done in the computer, and stitched images end up with much greater pixel density than in-camera pans, so that alone would not be a deal maker or breaker for me.

    Both will take the same lenses. Both meter the same, and allow you to manipulate exposure. I think the ISO range of both is the same or about the same, so for ordinary photographing, you probably will not notice a difference.

    The choice may be complicated if you find a good bargain on a D5300 with the 18-140mm lens as a kit lens. This is more expensive than the 18-55mm, but it's also a really nice lens with good range, a little bit more robust construction, and manual focus override. The regular 18-55mm is a decent lens with good performance, and the 18-140mm a good bit more expensive, but it's worth thinking about. It's a better all-purpose walking-around lens if you travel.

    The 5300 has a somewhat larger and denser rear screen, and the D3300 a very slightly larger optical viewfinder.

    I think you'll find either one answers your needs, and you won't go wrong with either one. If your budget is tight, the D3300 leaves a little more room for added lenses. If your budget is a bit more generous, the D5300 gives you a few nice features that may be handy.

    Disclaimer: I own neither one. I have a D3200, which is, like the D3300 now, at the bottom of the food chain, but which also works very well and makes good pictures.
  • I am awaiting delivery tomorrow of a refurbished D5300 tomorrow. I selected it because I insist on having GPS. I don't believe any of the other comparable models do. And newer cameras definitely don't.
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