If you’ve been keeping up on Instagram, you know I got a new camera!

For graduation my senior year of high school, my uncle gifted me a Nikon D3300. It was an incredible camera that served its exact purpose (i.e. learning to shoot in manual mode).

I asked you for questions regarding beginner and pro cameras, and you delivered. I summarized in my Insta Stories last week, but I thought those answers and wonderful questions deserved a permanent spot here… Especially since I had the weekend to play with the new camera, and really compare old and new.

Brief vocabulary references just in case you’re new to this (it’s ok we all start somewhere!):

  • Beginner camera = Nikon D3300; Pro camera = Nikon D780
  • Shutter speed, aperture, and ISO = settings that alter the amount of light let in, and the speed a photo is taken
  • Crop sensor (D3300) vs. full-frame camera (D780) = smaller, compressed final images vs. larger raw images (see this article for more in depth)
  • Double exposure = two photos taken one after the other; one becomes the base photo, the other is an overlay (example here)
  • Presets = Lightroom’s form of filters essentially (read more in my blog post)
  • Body vs. lens = the camera itself vs. the lens you attach, unfortunately they are not a package deal lol
  • DX mount vs. FX mount = the lens type that fits on the D3300 vs. the lens type that fits on the D780 (if you’re ever wondering if a lens will fit your camera, you can usually contact the company, Google the lens and body type together, otherwise most sites will tell you which bodies the lens is compatible with)

Question #1

What are you most excited to do with the new camera that you couldn’t with the old one?

This was my first and one of my favorite questions. The beginner camera was great for teaching basics, allowed me to find my shooting style, and understand how the settings work together. But when I got the hang of the manual settings, I was itching for a camera with settings like Bluetooth/WiFi capability to use my phone as a shutter remote. Other features I’m looking forward to:

  • Two SD card slots for backup OR overflow images, and the ability to decide what the second SD card’s job is
  • Playing with double exposure
  • More low-light capability (since a lot of what I do is indoors)
  • Touch screen shutter release/touch screen in general for easier auto focus
  • Eye detection to ALWAYS make sure the subject’s face is in focus (if the subject is human that is lol)
  • A screen that flips out for better visual angles (no more laying on the ground for THE shot)

Question #2

I don’t have a full-frame camera. Is it worth it?

I’ve only been using a full-frame for the last week. Because I went from using a 35 mm lens on a crop, to a 24 mm on a full-frame, it’s hard to tell the major differences. So far, I really like the full-frame, but it is an adjustment. Overall, the quality seems much higher, especially for those low-light settings.

Question #3

As a new photographer, do you recommend buying “pro” gear right away, or starting with a “beginner” camera?

First of all, this was another favorite question, because it’s a really, really great question.

Before I got the pro camera, I wished I was gifted a pro to begin with, not a beginner model. Now that I have the pro I am SO happy I learned on the D3300. Learning manual settings and how shutter speed, ISO, aperture, etc work together on the beginner was hard on its own; its a lot of moving parts. Experimentation and practice were my best friends.

The D780 has even more moving parts, and one of the most difficult learning curves so far has been re-learning how ISO, aperture, and shutter speed work together (it’s a little different on the D780), and which buttons do what since they’re not in the same places as the D3300.

Long story short, I would hate to be starting my knowledge from scratch with a pro model. I’m so happy those factors I was excited about in Question #1 didn’t serve as distractions when learning the basics, but that’s my personal opinion.

Most beginner cameras come with a “lens kit” which makes you look like you’re getting your money’s worth, but the kit lenses are usually not great. I would highly suggest trying out a 35 mm or 50 mm lens compatible with your beginner body. Yongnuo has budget-friendly options that work well for learning. I had the 35 mm and 50 mm lenses from Yongnuo each for about 4+ years before I needed to replace them with something higher quality/long-lasting!

Question #4

Have you ever thought about creating presets?

I’ve gotten some feedback on presets, but honestly, I am super nervous about releasing my own presets.

There’s a common misconception that presets are a one-click edit, but that is NOT true.

Presets make a great base on images, to ensure images stay consistent in color and style. However, no photo ever has the same lighting or color EVER. So oftentimes you’ll have to adjust the color mix wheels, the shadows, and the exposure after applying a preset (if not maybe more).

That being said, I do have one preset available as a test to see how it performs. You can get access to it for FREE by subscribing to my email list on my home page or at the bottom of this post!

Look for this image on my home page!

Question #5

Can you get an adaptor that allows you to use the old lenses on the new camera body?

So my D3300 is DX mount with a crop sensor, and the D780 is an FX mount full-frame camera. I recently learned there are attachments I can purchase so that my DX mount lenses fit my FX camera. It sounds like the attachment would inhibit the full-frame capability, and slightly lower the quality, but not so much so that users who shared their experience wouldn’t recommend it.

Question #6

What is the main difference between the D750 and the D780?

When I was doing research on new cameras over the last year, the D780 essentially replaced the D750. Same concept, more updated features. For specific, side-by-side specs check out this article.

Question #7

What are your favorite lenses to shoot with?

I personally prefer fixed lenses over zoom lenses. I purchased a 35mm lens in October 2020, and it has not come off my D3300 yet. It’s by far my favorite lens. I did get a 24mm with the D780, and so far I really like it for my indoor images in small spaces.

Question #8

Is there a reason you chose Nikon over other brands like Canon, Sony, etc?

In high school I shot with Canon because it’s what the school provided for yearbook and event photos, but I only shot in auto settings and JPEG (cringe).

My senior year at graduation, my uncle gifted me a Nikon, so I learned manual and everything with Nikon and decided to stick with it since I knew it. I also didn’t think it made sense to switch from Nikon to a brand like Canon for something like a name because it’s expensive, and they’re all great brands.

Nikon is just what I learned on.

I SO enjoyed answering your questions, and am always happy to answer more. DM me on Instagram, or email me with other questions or comments. Be the first to know about new posts and tips by subscribing to my email list below.

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