The advantage of youth
When it comes to choosing a DX camera, you have three main options
It’s a sign of true quality that the oldest cameras in Nikon’s DX line-up, the D90 and D300s, still have so much to offer. Even so, there’s no holding back the tide of progress. With full-frame cameras now all but filling the professional sector and creeping into the consumer market as well, it’s most sensible to regard DX bodies as consumer items with either entry-level, midrange or enthusiast aspirations.
Starting with entry-level cameras, the D3100 and D3200 are both wonderfully beginner-friendly, but the D3200 offers a significant upgrade in terms of features and specifications, making it a better value buy and well worth the extra money.
Moving up to mid-range models, we have a few question marks over the D5200’s colour accuracy in tricky lighting conditions, as well as its over-exuberance in vibrancy for green hues in landscapes. The D5300 puts these issues to rights while delivering exemplary all-round image quality. Bonuses include built-in Wi-Fi and GPS, making it better connected to the world at large.
It’s a tricky call at the top end of the scale. The D300s, D7000 and D7100 all have a lot to offer enthusiast photographers. All have excellent handling and easy-access controls that literally put important adjustments under your thumb. The D300s loses out when it comes to retaining low image noise and strong dynamic range at high sensitivity settings, but the D7000 holds up well and is very good value. On balance, the D7100 takes the accolades for an enthusiast-level camera. Our only reservation is that the buffer is a tight squeeze for rapid-fire bursts of shots in RAW quality mode. As a speed merchant with professional build quality for sports and wildlife photography, the D300s is excellent, even after all these years.