I’m look­ing for my first D-SLR and don’t have much budget. Should I go for a D3100 or a D3200?

NPhoto - - Over To You… - An­nie Pet­tit, Michi­gan, USA

Chris says… You ask if there is a huge dif­fer­ence in pic­ture qual­ity be­tween these two cam­eras. As you are trad­ing up from a Ko­dak point-and-shoot, you are go­ing to no­tice a phenom­e­nal jump in cre­ative po­ten­tial and in over­all im­age qual­ity whichever of the two you pick. Both are sen­si­ble first SLR choices for a school stu­dent like you.

How­ever, there are sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ences be­tween these two. The spec of the sen­sor is the big one – the D3100 of­fers a 14-megapixel sen­sor, whereas the D3200 uses the 24-megapixel CMOS sen­sor found on most of Nikon’s re­cent SLRs. That is a big jump in de­tail.

The mo­tor­drive also gets a boost when you go a step up, max­ing out at four frames per sec­ond, rather than three frames per sec­ond. And there is a small boost in max­i­mum ISO sen­si­tiv­ity too, from ISO3200 to ISO6400. Per­haps the big­gest dif­fer­ence is in the screen on the back, with the res­o­lu­tion jump­ing four­fold from 230,000 dots to a very rea­son­able 921,000 dots.

The D3200 is slightly more ex­pen­sive than the D3100 – al­though the dif­fer­en­tial has got less as the D3100 starts to dis­ap­pear from more stores. If you can af­ford to, I’d buy the D3200, though the D3100 is still a de­cent cam­era that’s ca­pa­ble of tak­ing ex­cel­lent pho­to­graphs.

If you had to choose be­tween these two cam­eras, which would you choose?

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