I’ve been the happy owner of a Nikon D3200 since 2012. On the whole, it does what I need, is easy to adjust, and I’ve taken some splendid photos with it.
A few years ago, I bought a used D7000 from a friend (who was upgrading to a D500). Until then, I’d never had 2 SLR bodies, both in good working order. The D7000 is more of a professional-level camera with more focus points and settings available in the menus. Honestly, I didn’t use it much and never got truly comfortable with how to adjust the settings quickly and easily. I use the D3200 regularly in my classes and it’s usually the one I grab when I go out to shoot.
I took both cameras to Hawaii in 2016 and challenged myself to use the D7000 more than the D3200 during the photo workshops I attended. That helped me become more familiar with it. But when it froze during a session on Maui, I was very happy to have the D3200 nearby.
I didn’t give much thought as to WHY it froze at the time. Back at the condo for the evening, I was able to set it right just by pushing the shutter button. It never froze again during that trip. However, the same thing happened in Utah in May, 2019. I unlocked it with the push of the shutter button a minute or so later.
Back at home, I started to research why the camera was freezing. It turns out, I was quickly filling the buffer while shooting RAW in burst mode. The camera couldn’t handle the data fast enough. If I shot in JPG, this wouldn’t be an issue. Or if I shot RAW while not in burst. Maybe it was time for an upgrade.
I asked my friend about his D500 and he suggested I borrow it. We met at a local park about a week later. I brought a lens and attached it to his D500 while he shot with a D850 (full frame sensor). Off we went.
One of the first things I tested was burst and RAW. The subject didn’t matter. I quickly got 10+ photos of a robin in the grass. No seizing issues and the sound of that fast shutter click instantly made me giddy. I love that shutter noise in burst. And when there’s a whole group of photographers shooting at once — heaven to my ears!
It didn’t take long to convince me that I needed this camera. By the end of the week I asked my local camera store to order one for me (they don’t carry pro equipment). And a week later, it had arrived.
Let me be clear that this level of camera equipment really isn’t needed by all photographers. If I shot strictly landscape and never used burst mode, I would never have encountered a problem. I admit that going from 13 focus points on the D3200 to 153 with the D500 is a welcome change, too.
These are a few photos I took at the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum, near the Philadelphia International Airport. I was playing around with a Nikon 200-500mm lens. (Click the images to enlarge.)
I’m still learning how to use the camera and will likely notice other differences between my two cameras as I experiment.