The equipment

After 6 years and over 15K photo’s the picture quality of our Canon Powershot was decreasing. Also the children ran faster than the camera could focus and take the shot so it was time for something new. My wife always said that the next camera would have to be a digital SLR while I was not convinced at all. I wanted a real pocket camera for my comfort (she mostly shot the pictures and I dragged it the rest of the time).  On the other hand I knew that we would have more possibilities with a D-SLR. So the search began, we had a Canon and we really liked it  but it had no lenses so we didn’t have to stay with the brand.

The Body

Looking around most people we know had a Nikon or a Canon, so if we wanted to use somebody’s special lenses we had to stick to those 2 brands. The options were limited to the Canon Eos 1100d or the Nikon d3100. The Nikon d3200 was about to be released but in my opinion the surcharge to the Nikon d3100 wasn’t value for my money.

First I went to a shop in the neighborhood, to get some information. They told me the Nikon d3100 would be a better choice because of the bigger sensor and the video capabilities (keep in mind that the camera will be used as a family camera). Concerning the price, there was a difference but the Nikon d3100 was offered in a kit with a camera bag. Buying a separate bag would even out the price gap.

The next stop was the internet off course. The first google search showed me the snapsort website where both camera’s were standing next to each other with their features, pro’s and con’s. Next stop was the Digital Photography Review website where you can find in-depth information and articles about all kinds of digital camera’s.

The lens

The decision was tending to the Nikon d3100 but while reading and talking to others another question rose. Would we buy the camera body and lens separated, the body with the default kit lens (18-55) or the 18-105 kit? In the shop, they already told me that the default kit lens was made from plastic, good enough to get us started, but not as high in quality as the 18-105 lens.

More important, talking to some friends who all started with a 18-55 kit lens (Canon and Nikon), they told me that their first disillusion with the kit lens was the lack of zoom. They took their camera with the kit lens on a vacation with the family and realised they couldn’t zoom enough.  So they all bought a second lens after a couple of weeks. Typically a 55 – … lens. Off course they now had a big range but had to carry 2 lenses with them and even worse. If they wanted to shoot a normal picture of the family they used the 18-55 lens but from the moment they wanted to shoot a landscape or the environment they needed to switch to the other lens. Since the first purpose of our camera was a family camera and I didn’t want to switch lenses every 2 shots, the 18-105 was chosen.

Conclusion

After some reflection and discussion we chose the Nikon d3100 in a kit with the 18-105 lens. In the shop, they also advised me to take a filter to protect the pictures against UV-flares and the lens itself against dust and scratches. The final listing is:

  • Nikon d3100 body
  • 18-105mm f3.5-5.6G ED-IF AF-S VR DX Zoom-NIKKOR lens
  • Nikon CF-EU04 SLR System Bag
  • Marumi DHG UV Filter
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