What accessories do I need for my D3100?

edited April 2015 Posted in » Nikon D3100 Forum
Hey guys, I just ordered my D3100 and I was wondering what are the must have accessories to buy apart from the case and tripod.


  • edited April 2015
    Spare memory, spare battery if possible, and if you can find one, a functional lens hood. That latter, not strictly necessary, will help reduce flare and contrast loss in difficult light.
  • edited April 2015
    Ok, I bought a 64g sd card, an extra battery, and I'm getting my lens hood and UV lens protector soon. Thanks @bruto.
  • edited April 2015
    Hello. I purchased my D3100 camera about two years ago. I'm just starting out and because of real life, I haven't been able to be very serious about photography. I need some advice. I bought the camera that had the 18-55mm lens. I just keep thinking that I need another lens. All I'm interested in taking pictures of is old houses, barns, old windmills, old retro signs etc. You get the general idea. Do I even need another lens, especially since I'm just beginning? If so, which one? Something that doesn't cost an arm and a leg. Also, I'm not in this for the money, just for my personal enjoyment. So, does anyone like me need to use a light room or photo shop? I would appreciate any advice.
  • edited April 2015
    My advice would be to look at what you've gotten so far, and try to determine what, if anything, is lacking or in need of improvement. New equipment is great fun, and if you're a gadget lover there's something to be said for having lots of gadgets, but from the creative standpoint, it won't do a lick of good unless it actually does something you want to do but can't.

    The 18-55mm kit lens is decently sharp, and covers a pretty good range of focal lengths, and can deliver very good pictures when what you want is within its range.

    If you find that you wish you'd been able to get closer to distant objects without cropping, it may be time for a telephoto lens. Check out the telephoto zooms that complement your kit lens, such as the 55-200mm and 55-300mm, both relatively cheap and reasonably sharp. I have the latter and like it.

    If you find that you wish you could have included more but couldn't get back far enough, it may be time for a wider angle. Bigger bucks involved here for a good one.

    If you wish you could control depth of field better and shoot in dimmer light without a flash, you might want to look at a fast prime lens such as the 35mm f/1.8 or the 50mm f/1.8. Both are good lenses with excellent optics at a good price. The 35mm is what would be considered "normal" in perspective, and the 50mm a bit narrower and into the short telephoto range. Since both lengths are found in the kit zoom, your experience with that may tell you which would suit you better. A prime lens will tend to be nice and sharp, focus well owing to its large aperture, have better contrast and better out of focus appearance (bokeh), and some people find the fixed focal length helps them to think more about what they're doing and why.

    And finally, if you find yourself wishing you could get closer to small objects, it might be time to look for a true macro lens, or, for starters to get a clip on diopter such as the Raynox 250 which adds some macro capability to the kit lens.

    As for post processing, a little ability in this is often useful. I don't have Photoshop or Lightroom, but do use the View NX2 program that came with the camera, which includes some useful post processing options especially for Raw images, and can usually do all I need. I also have a couple of other free programs that do resizing and minor adjustments. If you like to send copies of pictures to others, it's handy to be able to downsize them into small JPG images, and to crop and so forth. For this there are several options, including View NX2, which comes with the camera, Capture NXD, a free program from Nikon much like it, with a few more sophisticated sharpening and noise reduction features. For quick viewing and resizing, there are a couple of good free programs. Irfanview is one, and Faststone Image Viewer another. Both can read Raw files if the computer has the correct Codec installed, and can make quick work of resizing, format changes, and just simple viewing. They also include some rudimentary image processing.

    How much image processing you need will depend a bit, of course, on what you're getting out of the camera. A good picture is good whether you took it out of the camera or spent six hours in Lightroom agonizing over every pixel.

    If you feel a great urge to go out and buy some equipment, splurge on a really good tripod. Spend as much on a good tripod as you would on a fancy lens, and you'll have a friend for life.
  • edited April 2015
    Thank you so much for all of your advice, it was just what I was needing to know. It helped so much. Thank you again.
  • Can you recommend a good tripod?
  • edited June 2015
    On tripods it depends a little on how much weight you want to carry, but for starters I'd look at what B&H has to offer. They sell just about everything, and their web site is well set up for information. The heavy hitters like Manfrotto and Gitzo are quite expensive, but there are some more recent brands like Benro, Vanguard and Induro that look good. Some Slik tripods are also good bargains. Remember that not all tripods you look at will come with heads included. Most of the Slik DX tripods come with a pretty nice three way head.
    Although I've gone to something a bit fancier now, I had for some years a Slik 400DX, which was a good basic tripod, sturdy enough, quite versatile, and one of the better buys.

    As a general guideline, I'd look for something with independent legs (no center brace) that can be adjusted to more than one position, and a good sturdy head with a quick release. If most of your work is scenery and buildings, a three way head works well. That allows you to make precise adjustment of horizon as well as tilt and pan. Avoid "video" tilt/pan heads that do not give you a way to adjust horizontally. If you want quick movement, a ball head works well if it's a good one. Ball heads can follow action and allow considerable freedom, but when you loosen one, it moves on all axes at once.

    If you expect to do a lot of macro work, a tripod such as the Manfrotto "pro" series with a column that can be set horizontally is very nice.

    I like big Manfrottos (my D3200 is small, but its predecessor, a Nikon F4 was decidedly not), but have had good luck in used bargains. If buying new I'd probably look at slightly less expensive brands, and not go quite as large.
  • edited June 2015
    Polarizing filters are nice for brightening up a blue sky, if you haven't already. They can add a lot to your landscapes for just a few bucks.
    Happy Shooting!
  • edited June 2015
    You should be aware, though, that the kit lens has a front element that rotates when it focuses. For this reason, although you can use a polarizing filter, it is not effective unless you adjust it after you've focused and stopped the focus from changing.

    For the 50mm and 35mm primes and some others this is not a problem, and a polarizing filter helps the sky, and also cuts down reflected glare in other circumstances. If you're shooting at water, it makes a huge difference.

    If you are using auto focus, make sure you get a circular polarizing filter (if rummaging in used bins, look for "CPL" in the label). If you are going manually, a linear polarizer works fine, but it will confuse the AF and may confuse the meter as well.

    The polarizer is unique in that its effect can never be duplicated by any post processing.
  • edited June 2015
    Hi, I am new here. Can I ask for tips using a Nikon D3100 for taking the best portraits to shoot inside a house?
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