I have had a Nikon D3100 for some time and I think that it's time to upgrade :)

I have looked at Nikon DSLRs (because I have Nikon lenses) and I need help.

  • Firstly I thought about D5100, but it doesn't have built-in AF motor, which irritates me with D3100.
  • Secondly I thought about D90, which has built-in AF motor and it completely looks nice with its features (when I look for example here). I could also buy an old one instead of new one, so it would be cheaper. But I don't know if its age isn't limiting.
  • The last option would be D7000, but it's really expensive. So I would need to wait more time and save more money.

So wouldn't it be downgrade instead of upgrade if I buy D90 and sell D3100?

Thanks for any help.


2 Answers 2


Despite the D90 being a full two years older than the D3100 I think it still holds up against the newer model.

The D90 does exposure and white balance bracketing, not achievable with the D3100. Also the screen on the D90 is superior, with 920,000 dot resolution vs the 230,000 of the D3100.

One area the D90 falls down is in video - if you want to use that. The D3100 offers full 1080 HD in motion MPEG-4 format, vs the D90 which offers 720p in motion JPEG format which isn't as good. Also the D3100 appears to support AF tracking which the D90 doesn't. The D90 also has a max ISO of 3200 vs the D3100's max ISO of 12,800.

Overall for the price, and being that the D90 is an older camera - but still perfectly adequate for most tasks, I'd recommend it, but not if you want to do video. You can take the money you save on the body and put it towards either the D7000 at some point in the future, or invest in some good glass.

See this comparison site for more details...

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you. I almost never use video, so I don't care about this apect. \$\endgroup\$
    – zacharmarz
    Aug 8, 2012 at 8:05
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Spot on Mike. I would like to add that I upgraded a D5000 to a D90 and feel as though it was the best thing I could have done for a number of reasons. The most obvious thing is the additional controls, like flash +/-, WB, shutter mode, QUAL, metering, focus, etc... Using a camera creatively requires much fiddling with these parameters, and the D90 exposes them without the need for navigating a menu. The old style AF motor allows one to use the excellent D series of lenses, like the 50mm f1.4D, and finally the DOF preview button. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 8, 2012 at 21:14

I really wouldn't call that an upgrade - the D3100 is technically a superior camera - faster processor, higher pixel count, better sensor tech, the only things in the (quite old) D90 are the AF motor and the screen resolution.

So assuming you dont want to use older lenses without internal AF drive, then yes, this would be a downgrade.



Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.