Just got a Sony a57 (name changed)

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Just got a Sony a57 (name changed)

Postposted on Sat Mar 23, 2013 12:48 pm

So I'm going to do it - buy a D5100 today - unless anyone's post convinces me to go with something else. Purchase must be from BestBuy because I've got a $250 gift cert. Price of a D5100 is $600. Sadly that's my budget limit, so I can't go for anything nicer.

Down the road I plan on grabbing a wide angle lens (for architectural interiors).

My main photography subject will be architecture and family pictures.


Edit: yeah, so things started off looking at the Nikon D5100 and clearly changed direction and I ended up with a Sony a57 thanks to this thread. First pictures taken with the a57 can be seen later in the thread here viewtopic.php?f=37&t=87261&start=60#p1162389
Last edited by flip-mode on Fri Apr 19, 2013 6:56 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Buying a D5100 Today

Postposted on Sat Mar 23, 2013 12:51 pm

Do you already have lenses and accessories in the Nikon line?
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Re: Buying a D5100 Today

Postposted on Sat Mar 23, 2013 12:53 pm

Tell us how it works out. I've never owned a DSLR, but I've always been curious about getting one for outdoor shots & potentially doing some HDR shots.
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Re: Buying a D5100 Today

Postposted on Sat Mar 23, 2013 12:54 pm

JustAnEngineer wrote:Do you already have lenses and accessories in the Nikon line?


Nope. I have an old Pentax 35mm SLR film camera. Not sure if those lenses will be compatible with the D5100, but I'm not counting on it at all.

....

chuckula, I have used this camera before (my office owns this camera) and it is excellent. It's just really, really excellent. But I haven't used any other DSLR's so I can't make any first hand direct comparison.

Ken Rockwell (whoever he is) seems really big on the Nikons and the D5100 is one of his recommendations.

(4th edit) chucula, FWIW, the D5100 does automatic HDR (lesser models you have to do it manually). Kinda crazy that every model doesn't do it automatically since even an iPhone 4 and bunches of Android phones will do HDR, but of course these are totally different products. Still, in the future I'd expect even bottom-barrel DSLR(s) will do automatic HDR.
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Re: Buying a D5100 Today

Postposted on Sat Mar 23, 2013 1:04 pm

flip-mode wrote: Ken Rockwell (whoever he is) seems really big on the Nikons.
He's the #1 Nikon fanboy on the web. You could check out the Canon or Sony fanboys and find reasons to choose either of those systems, as well.

A great large-aperture wide-normal zoom lens like the Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 VC or Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 OS HSM would eat up your budget by itself, but you're going to keep lenses for a lot longer than you'll end up keeping camera bodies.
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Re: Buying a D5100 Today

Postposted on Sat Mar 23, 2013 1:35 pm

JustAnEngineer wrote:He's the #1 Nikon fanboy on the web.
Yeah, I was getting that vibe. Honestly, I'm not a fanboy at all. From what I've heard, it's the lens that really matters more than the camera, most of the time.

A great large-aperture wide-normal zoom lens like the Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 VC or Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 OS HSM would eat up your budget by itself, but you're going to keep lenses for a lot longer than you'll end up keeping camera bodies.
Yep. Again, that purchase will be made down the road, i.e. at least a few months from now.

OK, well, I didn't give much time for anyone to respond, but I'm about to head out the door. Thanks for the responses!
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Re: Buying a D5100 Today

Postposted on Sat Mar 23, 2013 1:36 pm

flip-mode wrote:(4th edit) chucula, FWIW, the D5100 does automatic HDR (lesser models you have to do it manually). Kinda crazy that every model doesn't do it automatically since even an iPhone 4 and bunches of Android phones will do HDR, but of course these are totally different products. Still, in the future I'd expect even bottom-barrel DSLR(s) will do automatic HDR.


That's interesting. I remember reading an article years ago about the process for manual HDR shooting at different exposure levels + photo editing to merge the different images together into the final product... I won't lie, the camera would probably do a massively better job than I could manually.
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Re: Buying a D5100 Today

Postposted on Sat Mar 23, 2013 2:07 pm

It's not terribly tough these days even if you're using an older camera. Shoot a burst of 3 or 5 exposure-bracketed shots (AEB) and let the post-processing software handle the HDR merging once you've downloaded them to your PC.
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Re: Buying a D5100 Today

Postposted on Sat Mar 23, 2013 2:11 pm

JustAnEngineer wrote:
flip-mode wrote: Ken Rockwell (whoever he is) seems really big on the Nikons.
He's the #1 Nikon fanboy on the web. You could check out the Canon or Sony fanboys and find reasons to choose either of those systems, as well.

A great large-aperture wide-normal zoom lens like the Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 VC or Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 OS HSM would eat up your budget by itself, but you're going to keep lenses for a lot longer than you'll end up keeping camera bodies.


He seems to like the Canon's pretty well too-it really just depends on the intended audience. With that, I'll second JAE's suggestion for a constant wide-aperture (f/2.8 ) image-stabilized standard zoom (~18mm-55mm). I love my 15-85 f/3.5 IS on my 60D, but it loses itself in darker areas, so I end up swapping in the nifty fifty (50mm f/1.8, ~$100) just to get something faster/brighter. Nikon should have an equivalent 50mm lens as well, makes a good first purchase to go along with a kit lens, and 50mm makes a good portrait lens on crop bodies (everything cheaper than Nikon D600/Canon 6D, with a smaller than full-frame sensor). With a 1.5x Nikon crop factor, 50mm gives you (50x1.5) a 75mm full-frame equivalent, which is close to the recommended 85mm focal length for portraits.

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Re: Buying a D5100 Today

Postposted on Sat Mar 23, 2013 2:41 pm

The lens that stays on my EOS 7D most of the time is the EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM. I agree that this a very useful focal length range for an APS-C size "crop" sensor (what Nikon calls "DX"). The Tamron and Sigma lenses that I linked get very good reviews, and they are much less expensive than the Nikon AF-S DX 17-55mm f/2.8G, even though they have advanced optical image stabilization (what Nikon calls "VR", Tamron calls "VC" and Sigma calls "OS").

If you want to start out with just a single fixed-focal length ("prime") lens, something in the 28 to 40 mm range may be more appropriate for the crop sensor than a 50mm lens would be.

P.S.: Like the Nikon AF-S DX 35mm f/1.8G.
Last edited by JustAnEngineer on Sat Mar 23, 2013 3:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Buying a D5100 Today

Postposted on Sat Mar 23, 2013 3:18 pm

I'd throw in a look at Sony if I were you. Sony glass is ridiculously cheap for good, quality Minolta Maxxum stuff. Plus, Sony has made video a priority for every price point, moving to DSLT tech to do so. For your budget, I'd look at a Sony a37 w/18-135mm lens. That lens is just magnificently fast on the AF. Also, the electronic viewfinder on the new alphas is simply stunning. Plus every Sony body has Image Stabilization in the body, so you don't need to pay extra for the lenses.
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Re: Buying a D5100 Today

Postposted on Sat Mar 23, 2013 4:12 pm

TheEmrys wrote:I'd throw in a look at Sony if I were you. Sony glass is ridiculously cheap for good, quality Minolta Maxxum stuff. Plus, Sony has made video a priority for every price point, moving to DSLT tech to do so. For your budget, I'd look at a Sony a37 w/18-135mm lens. That lens is just magnificently fast on the AF. Also, the electronic viewfinder on the new alphas is simply stunning. Plus every Sony body has Image Stabilization in the body, so you don't need to pay extra for the lenses.

Best Buy doesn't have the a37 but it does have the a57 for about the same price as the D5100.

For the same price, Best Buy has:
Nikon D5100
Canon Rebel T3i
Sony a57
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Re: Buying a D5100 Today

Postposted on Sat Mar 23, 2013 4:31 pm

flip-mode wrote:
TheEmrys wrote:I'd throw in a look at Sony if I were you. Sony glass is ridiculously cheap for good, quality Minolta Maxxum stuff. Plus, Sony has made video a priority for every price point, moving to DSLT tech to do so. For your budget, I'd look at a Sony a37 w/18-135mm lens. That lens is just magnificently fast on the AF. Also, the electronic viewfinder on the new alphas is simply stunning. Plus every Sony body has Image Stabilization in the body, so you don't need to pay extra for the lenses.

Best Buy doesn't have the a37 but it does have the a57 for about the same price as the D5100.

For the same price, Best Buy has:
Nikon D5100
Canon Rebel T3i
Sony a57


Odd. I see 3 online.... but the a57 is a better body. But I show an 18-55 and 55-300 kit for $700.
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Re: Buying a D5100 Today

Postposted on Sat Mar 23, 2013 4:38 pm

http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Sony+-+Alph ... Id=5044529

Says $599 "on sale". :shrug:

Well, shoot. I was convinced the D5100 was the right buy. Now I'm not. That's a bummer in a way.
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Re: Buying a D5100 Today

Postposted on Sat Mar 23, 2013 4:39 pm

I almost bought a D5100. I thought it would be a good deal at this point. I went ahead and bit the bullet for a Fuji X-E1 and a 60mm lens. I could not be happier, I come from large format and these are the first digital files I have liked outside of my scanned 10,000x10,000 + pixel images from my 4x5..

Dig, click on the pic then select COWs full size. Untouched straight from the camera.

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Re: Buying a D5100 Today

Postposted on Sat Mar 23, 2013 4:56 pm

$600 for the Nikon D5100 with AF-S DX 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR kit lens looks normal (since Thanksgiving).
http://www.nikonpricewatch.com/

Here are the prices on Canon EOS models:
http://www.canonpricewatch.com/

There's no corresponding site for Sony Alpha cameras.
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Re: Buying a D5100 Today

Postposted on Sat Mar 23, 2013 5:10 pm

Far, Far, Far out of my price range, PenGun. $600 is absolutely all I can muster and the wife is cringing at that.

I am looking very hard at the Songy a57 thought. I've already bought the D5100 but it's unopened and I can run it back and make an exchange.
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Re: Buying a D5100 Today

Postposted on Sat Mar 23, 2013 5:25 pm

flip-mode wrote:Far, Far, Far out of my price range, PenGun. $600 is absolutely all I can muster and the wife is cringing at that.

I am looking very hard at the Songy a57 thought. I've already bought the D5100 but it's unopened and I can run it back and make an exchange.

Mine too really but I'm by myself and just don't eat all that well for a while when I do stuff like this.

Nikon makes good cameras and very good lenses. I'm not sure I'd go with anything else for a DSLR at that price point.

Disclaimer: I did shoot Nikons for years back in the film era on a semi pro basis and I do like their stuff. That was long ago though.
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Re: Buying a D5100 Today

Postposted on Sat Mar 23, 2013 5:28 pm

That Rockwell guy really took a dump on the Sony a55 (predecessor to the a57?):

http://www.kenrockwell.com/sony/a55.htm

While all the whizzy features impress gadget hounds, the fundamental picture-taking ability of the Sony A55 is flawed in several very important ways. I wouldn't buy one of these things.


I guess the thing that seems most lacking about the Nikon D5100 are the complaints regarding "handling" i.e. the ability to make adjustments easily on the fly. However, the probability that I will dig that deep is pretty low. I dunno.
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Re: Buying a D5100 Today

Postposted on Sat Mar 23, 2013 5:35 pm

Ken Rockwell is the same guy that swore as late as mid-2009 that the mostly-manual Nikon D40 was the best camera ever made. I don't believe that you can put any faith in his objectivity.

I do believe that Nikon, Canon and Sony all make good digital cameras with interchangeable lenses.
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Re: Buying a D5100 Today

Postposted on Sat Mar 23, 2013 5:40 pm

Alright, I'll have to quite referencing Rockwell. DPReview seemed pretty conflicted about the D5100, but not so with the a57....

I guess I'll sleep on it or something. :sigh:
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Re: Buying a D5100 Today

Postposted on Sat Mar 23, 2013 5:42 pm

Indeed Ken Rockwell is useful only for amusement. He reviews stuff by inference sometimes, it can be pretty lame.
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Re: Buying a D5100 Today

Postposted on Sat Mar 23, 2013 6:09 pm

Yeah Rockwell is.... well, if he were posting in the TR comments section, he'd be a troll. He is very good at what he does and very good at driving hits to his own site. Check out some of the more unbiased reviews. DPReview is always pretty solid.

Also, if you are going to be doing the family thing and if you want to do movies, make sure whatever body you get will autofocus.
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Re: Buying a D5100 Today

Postposted on Sat Mar 23, 2013 6:12 pm

I'll be curious to see what you end up doing. I'm looking at finally replacing my old D70s with something a bit newer. It still works great, though it needs a good cleaning, but it struggles a bit in low light situations. My daughter is a cheerleader and I was having real trouble taking decent shots in a well lit high school gym.

I'm looking mainly at the either the D7000 or D5100. After shooting with one last summer, I'd love a D800 but I have no way to justify the cost and investment in new glass. I'll just rent it when I can really use it. The D7100 is nice for the higher resolution, but I found shooting with the D80 that I was setting the image size in the 15MP range anyway. Larger than that, the files are so big they become cumbersom and for what I do, I don't really need the extra pixels. The ability to have two different setups on easy recall (the U1 and U2 modes that Ken goes on and on about) is very usefull and something I used when shooting Warbirds Over Texas last summer.

As far as Ken's site goes, yep he's a fanboy! I wouldn't use his site to compare Nikon gear to something else, but for comparing Nikon to itself, there are some good nuggets to be had.
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Re: Buying a D5100 Today

Postposted on Sat Mar 23, 2013 8:24 pm

One thing to keep in mind with SLT's (any Sony AXX, such as the A57 up to the A99) is that there's a translucent mirror in front of the sensor that blocks ~%30 of the incoming light. While Sony's sensors rock as do their processing and autofocus, the effect that the mirror in SLTs have is a matter of physics. You'd be just as good, or better, with one of their NEX cameras (like the Fuji mentioned above) that has no mirror at all. Lighter, and Sony has the sensor-only autofocus down, unlike Nikon and Canon.

Otherwise, while I'm a Canon guy (a dice roll really), for a Consumer model Nikon has a great package, and they're generally smaller bodies, while both systems have access to amazing first and third party lenses.
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Re: Buying a D5100 Today

Postposted on Sat Mar 23, 2013 9:03 pm

Airmantharp wrote:One thing to keep in mind with SLT's (any Sony AXX, such as the A57 up to the A99) is that there's a translucent mirror in front of the sensor that blocks ~%30 of the incoming light. While Sony's sensors rock as do their processing and autofocus, the effect that the mirror in SLTs have is a matter of physics. You'd be just as good, or better, with one of their NEX cameras (like the Fuji mentioned above) that has no mirror at all. Lighter, and Sony has the sensor-only autofocus down, unlike Nikon and Canon.


This is completely true, but I keep forgetting that it can be an issue for other shooters. It doesn't affect me because I rarely shoot above ISO 400, and rarely at 800. And if I am doing low light portraits or what not, it it has multiple exposure noise reduction that works well for me. Depending on what you want to use, this can be a problem. But for me, all I get is benefit-side of things with the AF.
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Re: Buying a D5100 Today

Postposted on Sat Mar 23, 2013 9:26 pm

TheEmrys wrote:
Airmantharp wrote:One thing to keep in mind with SLT's (any Sony AXX, such as the A57 up to the A99) is that there's a translucent mirror in front of the sensor that blocks ~%30 of the incoming light. While Sony's sensors rock as do their processing and autofocus, the effect that the mirror in SLTs have is a matter of physics. You'd be just as good, or better, with one of their NEX cameras (like the Fuji mentioned above) that has no mirror at all. Lighter, and Sony has the sensor-only autofocus down, unlike Nikon and Canon.


This is completely true, but I keep forgetting that it can be an issue for other shooters. It doesn't affect me because I rarely shoot above ISO 400, and rarely at 800. And if I am doing low light portraits or what not, it it has multiple exposure noise reduction that works well for me. Depending on what you want to use, this can be a problem. But for me, all I get is benefit-side of things with the AF.


It's just a reduction of utility that may affect some. With the same focal length and aperture, you're relying on Sony's sensor and processing to make better use of less light, or deal with a longer exposure time. Sony does make up for it most of the time, but it is there. For the OP's budget, a Sony SLT does make sense, though there's more guaranteed flexibility (new lenses etc.) with Nikon and Canon than any other system, and the D5100 is definitely a great start in DSLR photography.
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Re: Buying a D5100 Today

Postposted on Sun Mar 24, 2013 6:02 pm

Snapsort recommends the D5100 (http://snapsort.com/compare/Nikon-D5100-vs-Sony-SLT-A57).

Not sure how much stock to put in that comparison.

If you have good quality old lenses, you can get adapters to use them with newer mounts. You'll likely lose auto-focus with Nikon or Canon, but it's a good way to save a lot of money. Sony has in-body IS, so this could be a reason to go with the a57, and an internal AF motor to work with all AF lenses. I've been picking up MF prime lenses on e-Bay for <$30 each. It's worked out well so far, as some of the older Pentax SMC lenses are still really good glass, for not a lot at all.

EDIT: Fixed some facts, possibly.
Last edited by lonleyppl on Mon Mar 25, 2013 1:01 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Buying a D5100 Today

Postposted on Sun Mar 24, 2013 6:59 pm

Used lenses are usually okay. However, I would argue in favor of at least sticking with electronic auto-focus auto-aperture lenses produced from the mid-80s (Canon, Minolta) or mid-90s (Nikon) onward. That still covers millions of lenses.

Every one of the more than 80 million Canon EF lens produced and sold since 1987 is fully-functional (auto-focus and auto-aperture) with all current Canon EOS cameras.

Nikon made a more gradual transition to electronic lenses and still produces more than a dozen of the older mechanical auto-focus type and a handful of manual-focus lenses along with a full range of modern AF-S lenses. Nikon AF-I lenses produced from 1992 to 1996 and AF-S lenses produced since 1996 will work with current Nikon DSLR cameras. Older Nikon F-mount lenses going as far back as 1959 may be usable with manual focus, manual aperture rings and manual metering.

Sony's A-mount system was purchased with Minolta (devoloped for the Minolta Maxxum/α cameras). All of the the Minolta Maxxum auto-focus lenses from 1985 onward and current Sony α lenses are compatible with current Sony α DSLR cameras. The number of Sony lenses available is less than half as many as are available from Canon and Nikon, but there are more than enough lenses for hobbyists and for many professionals to choose the Sony brand.

Once you add in the strong third-party support from Sigma, Tamron and a handful of smaller lens manufacturers, all three camera systems are viable.


P.S.: Here's a Used Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 VC for Nikon for 3/4 the price of a new one.
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Re: Buying a D5100 Today

Postposted on Sun Mar 31, 2013 9:44 pm

Any update? Would love to hear what happened.
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