Need a Camera Recommendation Please!

edited August 2019 Posted in » Nikon D3200 Forum
Hi Folks,

I have had the Nikon D3200 camera for 4 years now. Have enjoyed it immensely. But now I think it's time to move up. Have noticed other cameras having a better picture quality. Usually those cameras are Nikon's with higher price tags. Could someone make a recommendation of what I could look into moving up too? Would like to keep using the 3 lenses that I use with the D3200. What is the minimum that I could move up to and see a difference in picture quality? What is the maximum that I could move up to and still use the same lenses? I am not a professional photographer and cannot afford the big prices.

Thank you in advance,



  • Any DX (crop sensor) camera will happily work with your D3200 lenses, even if at a later date you find you want to upgrade.

    You'll get some improvement in quality from any newer generation of the D3x00 and D5x00 series, but I think you'd do better to jump up to the D7x00 series now.

    I went from D3200 to D7100, and the increase in quality is pretty noticeable, although it is not huge. The image is sharper (because no anti-aliasing filter) and the high ISO is somewhere between a stop and two stops better. What I notice most here is that although high ISO is still pretty noisy, it is not so damaging. The 3200 noise seems to nibble away the edges in a way that is bothersome when doing wildlife and the like, especially when cropping hard. My wife had the 7100 and I the 3200, and the difference really showed up when shooting animals in the low light of the Amazon jungle.

    She found the small shot buffer of the D7100 annoying, and upgraded to a d7200, and I ended up with the 7100, which I still use.

    If circumstances had been a little different, I'd have jumped straight to the D7200, which is very capable and has yet another stop or two of high ISO, as well as a somewhat faster processor and better AF. Between it and the 7100 the difference is not huge, but it's there, and if you do a lot of sequence shooting, the bigger buffer is a plus. Every generation gets a little improvement in high ISO. If the D7100 conks out I'll likely go for a D7200.

    The D7100 also has a slight problem with shadow banding in extreme conditions, which I've never found to be an issue, but some people do, and it is eliminated in the D7200.

    Another advantage of the D7200, and the 7100 to a lesser degree, is that the D7200 is what is called "ISO invariant." What this means, in short, is that the noise added by increasing ISO in the camera is the same as the noise added by increasing exposure in post processing. Some cameras (the D3200 among them) cannot do this well, and if you underexpose, the resulting post processing is noisier, so you're always better off cranking the ISO up when you need to. While this doesn't mean much in normal use it can allow you, in high contrast situations, to purposely underexpose at lower ISO and save critical highlights, opening shadows later. In difficult low light, it also allows you to raise shutter speed by underexposing, while leaving other settings optimal.

    In current models, there are the D7500 and the D500. The 7500 is the next generation of the D7x00 series, with added processing speed and high ISO, and a few other features, but it has dropped a couple of features from the 7200. It now will not meter with manual lenses, and it has only one memory card slot. Whether that matters is up to you. It adds an articulated rear screen, and has a 20 megapixel sensor instead of 24, which makes little difference in practice but does apparently make the image quality a little less noisy. Some people have badmouthed this model for its dropped features, but from all I hear, there is no complaint about image quality.

    The D500 is the flagship crop-sensor model, also with a 20 megapixel sensor, big buffer, super high ISO performance, focus, etc., and all the bells and whistles. And of course more cost too. This is the "pro" DX camera, what you'd want if you do a lot of sports and wildlife.

    Of the various models available, my inclination would be to go with the D7200, which can still be had new or lightly used, or refurbished, for a very decent price. You'll see a significant improvement in picture quality, especially at higher ISO, faster auto focus, and a host of convenient features, including a much improved view screen, and a number of functions that can be accessed without going to the menu. In addition, if you're so inclined, it will meter with manual lenses, and auto focus with older screw-drive AF lenses.

    I see that the big name dealers no longer have the D7200 new. Adorama has Nikon refurbs for $565. That's a lot of camera for the price. "Refurbished" in this case will usually be checked out and good as new, but a short warranty.
  • Thank you for the advice. I will consider the D7200 now.
  • Have been checking out the prices of the Nikon D500. Not sure what the big deal is. But the price of the body alone is over $1000.00. I have seen Nikon D610 and the D750 for the same price or less. Why would someone choose to pay more for a crop sensor camera? Maybe it's because they already have money invested in lenses etc...

  • The D 500 is considered a "Pro" camera despite the crop sensor, because it has very fast and sophisticated AF, a very big buffer, very high usable ISO, and some other pro features, basically making it a crop sensor D5, which make it a good choice for sports and wildlife photography. It has some niceties like group focus, a dedicated AF-On button, has two memory slots one of which takes an XQD card (I think that's an option, the other being two SD).

    While it's undoubtedly a killer camera, and likely the last of its breed, I'm not convinced it's the best deal if you don't need its added features.

    The D7500 has inherited some of its advances including group focus and the 20 megapixel sensor, but in the process has lost its ability to meter with manual lenses, present on the D500 as well as the older D7200.
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