I fully acknowledge that I bought WAY too much camera. One does not need an FEI-trained horse when one is learning to sit the trot.
My crack IT staff had researched the question thoroughly and settled on the Nikon D5300 or D5500. While I have sold the occasion photo with an article, my skill level remains that of an interested amateur. I know colleagues who liked their D5100s, so the 5000 series made sense.
If I have any hope of ever shooting off auto, I find buttons more amenable that menu-driven selections. Buttons = 7000s. I saved (Ha!) a good bit (Double ha!) with the earlier model. The D7200 has a bigger buffer and wifi. The buffer of 12 will suit me fine and I can’t figure out why I would need wifi.
As soon as I picked the camera up, it said, “Hello. Take me home.” I love the heft. The D5500 has a plastic shell rather than a steel one. Light is lovely, until one adds a long lens. I felt as if the whole works was about to drop forward out of my hand. The D5300 has a shallower handgrip that people apparently find annoying.
Plus, I loathed the D5500/D5300 swivel screen on sight. It may be the most practical of features. It may expand my picture-taking range. It may be the toughest feature of the camera. I don’t care. To me it was one more thing to break off or go wrong. To be clear, I have no supporting data. This is simply my gut response to the mechanism.
I never entertained the idea of mirrorless. I’m too old school, or curmudgeon, if you prefer. Let the early-adopters sort out the features of the new technologies.
Props to Eva Claborn of Showcase Camera. She calmly answered my questions and didn’t laugh when I walked away to hyperventilate. She did not upsell me. The D7100 is entirely on me, given my anti-menu fetish.
Unlike an FEI horse, the camera will not devolve over time. It will wait patiently until I learn what white balance is and why I might need to adjust it.
The view through the viewfinder is beautiful. It’s been years since I looked through a real camera.