8/13/2015

Fast Forward to the Nikon D5500 from the D3100 - Part II

Fast Forward to the Nikon D5500 from the D3100 - Part II

Motivation

In the previous part of this series, I mentioned several features that were not available that I wanted to have on my camera, but were not on the Nikon D3100:

  • Bracketing of Exposure and Shutter Speed
  • Wireless remote control
  • Intervalometer
  • Advanced Flash integration
  • GPS
  • Wi-Fi
Another motivating factor was that I really wanted a new lens!  Between my 18-55mm AF-S f/3.5-5.6G lens and my 55-300mm AF-S f/3.5-5.6G ED, I would need to keep switching lenses to go from a wide-angle shot to a telephoto shot.  I wanted just one lens that I could just keep on my camera and be able to get both shots.




As I shopped for the camera upgrade, I noticed that the D5500 was often bundled with a 18-140mm AF-S f/3.5-5.6G ED.  So far, this new lens has been almost perfect for all my needs.  Occasionally, I still reach for the 55-300mm AF-S f/3.5-5.6G ED for a real up-close shot, but most of the time I'm happy with the range provided by the 18-140mm lens.

Comparable Specifications

The following table compares the specifications of the two cameras where a quantitative comparison can be made:

FeatureD5500D3100
ProcessorExpeed 4Expeed 3
Megapixels
24.2
14.2
Format
DX
DX
Photo Frames Per Second 
5
3
Movie 1920x1080 Frames Per Second6024
ISO100 to 25600100 to 12800

The Biggest Difference 

The most noticeable difference between the Nikon D5500 and the D3100 is that the D5500 has an articulating (movable) touch screen monitor.  Congratulations to Nikon for having the first serious DSLR camera to have a touch screen.


I know it's not just me!  If I'm shown a TFT display, I want to touch it to control it.  On the Nikon D3100, I often would catch myself trying to pinch to zoom in on a picture that was displayed on it's fixed 3.0" diagonal monitor.  

Not only do I appreciate the pinch to zoom for a detailed look at shots in the field, but it's nice to flick through photos quickly on the D5500.  The D5500 also presents an excellent touch screen interface for configuring the settings of the camera. 

When put into LiveView mode, the D5500 touch screen can also be used to select a focus point and take a photo.  Since the D5500 monitor screen can be articulated, whereas the D3100 could not, you can turn it 180 degrees, so you can take selfies too!

The one thing that frustrates me about the touch screen interface is that double-tap is not implemented except for a few places.  I really would want it to be able to zoom all the way back out of a picture that I had zoomed all the way in on.

Get a Grip

The grip on the newer Nikon D5500 feels deeper than that of the D3100, so I feel as if I have a better, stronger grip on the camera while just holding it in my right hand.  Surprisingly, the D5500 is slightly smaller and about one ounce lighter (14.9 oz) than the D3100 (16 oz).

More To Come

I'll write more about the Nikon D5500 soon!  I've got to spend a bit more time with it to really get to know its pros and cons, but I thought I'd share my first impressions with everyone for now.

Upgrading to Windows 10 (and how an SSD really matters)

Upgrading to Windows 10 


Right now I am wondering why I did it.  I started an upgrade to Windows 10 last night, and my primary work laptop is stuck in a boot loop.  I hadn't even received a notification yet, even though I had "reserved" my upgrade a long time ago.  Since I decided I couldn't wait, I searched and found the MediaCreationToolx64.exe from Microsoft at: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10.

I know I must be good at finding bugs, or them me.  On my first attempt at using the MediaCreationToolx64.exe tool, I didn't choose to upgrade and was just letting it do a download to a USB key.  I was busy doing other things at the same time, and one of them required that I reboot my system.  The tool was reporting a status of about 50% complete at the time I executed:

shutdown /r /f

After restarting, the MediaCreationToolx64 kept reporting that it wasn't able to start properly, and suggesting rebooting to solve the problem.  That recommendation was not helpful, but I was able to use information in this link to fix the problem I created: https://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/insider/wiki/insider_wintp-insider_install/how-to-troubleshoot-common-setup-and-stop-errors/324d5a5f-d658-456c-bb82-b1201f735683


This was the procedure that was successful for me:
a. Press Windows key + X on the desktop screen of the computer.
b. Select Command Prompt (Admin)
c. On the open Command Prompt window copy and paste the commands (all at once).
net stop wuauserv
net stop cryptSvc
net stop bits
net stop msiserver
ren C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution
C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution.old
ren C:\Windows\System32\catroot2
C:\Windows\System32\catroot2.old
net start wuauserv
net start cryptSvc
net start bits
net start msiserver

 Next, I tried to Upgrade this PC, instead of making a USB disk for installation on another computer.  The first stage of the installation went successfully to 100% and then my computer rebooted.  I am now stuck with it continually rebooting.  There seems to be a phantom entry in the UEFI, as there are two choices to boot the system, one that is still labeled Windows 8.1 and another one without a label.  Neither one will boot my system, and none of the choices on the boot menu are helpful either.

As I write, I am now downloading Windows 10 for installation on another computer from my spare laptop.  According to the information found at the site of the last link, I should be able to boot the USB to repair the start up of the system.  I hope so!

My download just finished.  The MediaCreationToolx64 first verified the download, and now it is creating the Windows 10 Media.  Creating the media seems to take a long time... about as long as the download!  For the first 50% of the time it is preparing the media, and then for the second 50% it writes it out to the USB drive.

No luck using the Windows 10 setup program booting off the USB drive. I was not able to repair the start up of the system, despite that option being available within the Windows 10 setup program.  I was also unable to restore any previous system restore points that I had created.  

In order to upgrade, the setup program told me that I had to boot that version of Windows, which was still not happening.  When I tried to do a fresh install I was told that I was not allowed because the only partition big enough to hold the new Windows was a "reserved OEM partition".  

The Good News

One option that was available in the Windows 10 setup program was helpful.  It at least allowed me to open a command prompt.  This setup mode of Windows also allowed me to have access to not only the internal hard drive partitions, but also to any external hard drives or USB flash drives.

After connecting my Western Digital "My Passport Ultra" 2 TB external hard drive, it was recognized as the G: drive.  Oddly, what was normally my C: drive showed up as the D:.  To backup all of my users data, I used the following commands:

mkdir g:\users
robocopy /r:0 /w:0 /s d:\users  g:\users

The /r:0 option is to attempt 0 retries on a failed copy, the /w:0 option is to wait 0 seconds between retries, and the /s option is to make it act recursively on the source directory d:\users.
When I saw it was copying a very deep and unwanted directory, I used CTRL-C to stop the copying.  I then used the following command to prune a directory and all of its contents:

rmdir /s d:\users\Keith\Documents\Github

The Best News

Since I don't have time to spend backing up other parts of the original drive outside of the "users" directory, I ran out and got a new Toshiba Q Series Pro SSD.  Best Buy had a great deal on them for the same price I'd pay for it on Amazon, so I jumped on it.  

It will be a bit hard to say I suppose whether I get a boost in speed from the new Solid State Drive, from Windows 10 versus Windows 8.1, or by just having a fresh clean install.  If it is slower than before, then I'd be really surprised. 

The setup of Windows 10 was so fast I was really surprised.  It was done in less than ten minutes with what it had to do from the USB drive.  Then, it took about another 20 minutes of running of the hard drive to set up the apps and the updates.  

The best news:  My work laptop is now booting Windows 10!  It would be better news if it wasn't running Windows, but it's my work laptop, so it must!

Update - SSD is a MUST Upgrade

The speed of my system is dramatically improved! There is no way I can attribute the speed increase to more than anything the Toshiba Q Series Pro SSD replacing a 5400 RPM Toshiba traditional hard drive.  Applications with exactly the same code that was running a couple of days ago on Windows 8.1 now load so much faster, it is unbelievable to me!  If you are a person who swears at your computer for being slow, then you MUST upgrade to a SSD drive!


About Me - WrightRocket

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I've worked with computers for over 30 years, programming, administering, using and building them from scratch.

I'm an instructor for technical computer courses, an editor and developer of training manuals, and an Android developer.