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I am currently in the process of gathering data about Nikon as I will be getting my very first DSLR soon! On nikon Japan, D90 has been added to the discontinued category. I was thinking of getting D90, but now I am in dilemma as this has been discontinued in Japan, and soon it will be discontinued in Canada as well. So, should I wait or is there any other option for good SLR camera. I was also considering D3100 but it does not support auto-bracketing, and so will not be too useful for HDR photos. Now I am considering D5100. This seems like a nice camera as well. Based on the description, I see that it supports auto bracketing as well as it has a dedicated button for HDR. So, my question is considering my status of being relatively new in the world of DSLR, and aim of being able to master HDR as well as be able to take nice pictures, what is the best option for me.

(I am pretty sure questions like this have been posted before, so if this annoys you, I am sorry but I didn't find much)

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here's one place this has been covered before: photo.stackexchange.com/questions/2876/… –  chuqui Jun 5 '11 at 18:33
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I don't really follow where you start to talk about "your review on stuckincustoms..." did you originally write this question for another website and just copy it here? –  dpollitt Jun 5 '11 at 18:47
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@mattdm I didn't want to be rude man. Honestly, when I was writing my questions and started looking, I wasn't even sure of stack-exchange dedicated to this subject. It certainly has been really helpful resource for me so far. As this was my first question, I will be much more careful, in future. –  user634 Jun 5 '11 at 21:28
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Hello @user634, and welcome to PhotoSE. Sorry for the tone of response, its not generally how we are. I think your question is fine, however the bit about stuckincustoms.com was a bit confusing. For future reference, its probably best if you tune your questions for our forum, and that should help garner the most useful responses and get you the information you need. That said...do you have any specific budgetary requirements? You seemed to balk at the price of the D7000, in which case there may be alternatives that would meet your needs and stay in budget. –  jrista Jun 6 '11 at 4:05
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@user634: and I'm not meaning to just jump on you, and I'm glad you've found the site useful. It's just that the cut and paste from the other site without even bothering to try to make it make sense here isn't the best. But I see you've cleaned it up, which is awesome — thanks. –  mattdm Jun 6 '11 at 13:26

3 Answers 3

The Nikon D7000 is usually seen as the replacement for the now-discontinued D90.

Compared to the D90, the D7000 offers:

  • more focus points
  • better high-ISO performance with a higher ISO range
  • 1080p video (compared with 720p)
  • autofocus during video
  • external mic input

The D5100 mentioned above does have a dedicated HDR button, but that's about all that it has going for it over the D7000. The D7000 is a more advanced camera due to:

  • larger viewfinder
  • built-in autofocus motor - you won't be restricted to lenses which have their own AF motor
  • more focus points (39 instead of 11)
  • faster frame rate (6fps compared to 4fps)

The D90 was a great camera, but the D7000 is even better.

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"built-in autofocus motor" - huge deal. –  rfusca Jun 5 '11 at 19:41
    
Thanks! I did look at this before as well but the only thing about this camera that stopped me is the difference in price. In Canada, it is about $500 more than D90. –  user634 Jun 5 '11 at 19:51
    
@user634 - That price difference is clearly justified for what are getting. The 100% viewfinder is a huge deal and the D7000 is the most affordable way to get one. Plus, the ISO performance if you do low-light photography is awesome. –  Itai Jun 5 '11 at 20:14
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@Itai: Even if the price for the D7000 is "justified", that doesn't necessarily change any limitations on ones budget. While some of us may see $500 as a meager amount to spend on a camera, others may see $500 as a significant amount and a prime deal breaker. –  jrista Jun 6 '11 at 4:09

Get a used (or new and now discounted) D90 and spend the large wads of cash you save on some really nice glass. The D90 is a fantastic camera that is still very competitive in the DSLR market. You can get an almost-new used D90 on Amazon for around $600. It's got good high-iso performance, exposure bracketing, a really lovely and bright viewfinder live view, video recording, and the ergonomics on it are some of the best I've experienced. I could not shoot without the dual external control wheels.

Right after a camera has been discontinued is one of the best times to buy with regard to price. The d90 is a great camera.

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Remember, you are marrying the lens family, not the camera body. Get a D90 today, and when you need to upgrade later the lenses you've bought in the mean time are still all useful. I started with a D70s, and upgraded to a D90 a couple of years ago. I am not disappointed, and haven't begun to think about what body will be next as I have not personally hit any limits of the D90 that hurt my ability to take the pictures I want to take. –  RBerteig Jun 6 '11 at 7:09
    
I agree, the D90 is certainly still relevant. Check out the DxOMark comparison between the D90 and the D3100; the D90's sensor still beats the D3100's sensor in basically every way except pixel count. –  Evan Krall Jun 6 '11 at 8:11
    
@Evan Krall: D90 does look like a nice camera. Using the same site, when I compare D90 vs D5100, I get the score of 73 and 80 respectively. As I stated before, I am no expert in this field. So, just wondering, if do you agree with the scores. Comparison Page –  user634 Jun 6 '11 at 14:19

If you are set on Nikon I wouldn't completely take the cameras off of the list that do not have an exposure bracketing feature. If you have not done this before, it is actually very easy to do. Simply put your camera into a mode like aperture or shutter priority, then switch the aperture or shutter a 1-3 stops under exposed, then properly exposed, then 1-3 stops over exposed. This can be done very quickly. I have not had problems doing it handheld, and typical software will auto align the images very well to the point that any tiny bit of camera movement is really not an issue. If you want the images perfectly lined up, you will always want to use a tripod anyways, even if you do have an exposure bracketing feature of the camera.

Yes the Nikon D5100 does have an HDR specific button which might be something you are interested in. Pentax has also offered this feature for a few years on quite a few of its cameras, so if you are not set on Nikon, I would take a look at Pentax as well. Even if you are using the Nikon D5100 with the HDR button, Nikon still recommends that you use a tripod to take images. If you consider this, you see that having a dedicated button or auto exposure bracketing is really just a feature that is nice to have, and not really necessary for HDR images.

Beyond what I have said above, you will find many, many resources already on this site about how to choose a new DSLR as a first time buyer. The first link in the comments should point you in the right direction. Have fun!

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Thanks! I have a preference for Nikon as the point and shoot camera that I had before was coolpix and I also had Nikon F55. I liked both of them. So, when I started looking for new SLR, I looked into Nikon first. Basically, the most important thing for me is best value for money and my budget is ~$800 to $900. –  user634 Jun 5 '11 at 19:49
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While the D5100 is probably a good camera (so I read). Someone choosing a D90 would feel really limited by its lack of external controls. Going down in DSLR-level is a sure way to be frustrated. –  Itai Jun 5 '11 at 20:15

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