Nikon D5100

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Nikon D5100

Postposted on Thu Aug 25, 2011 11:18 am

Any recommendations for or against this? Costco has a kit selling for 999.00 in store, comes with 2 lenses (I'm assuming they are pretty standard, I think 18mm to something and I forget the other one).
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Re: Nikon D5100

Postposted on Thu Aug 25, 2011 12:55 pm

What do you want a DSLR for? Do you have any previous experience with a DSLR, and are you upgrading, or is this your first system camera?

If you simply want better image quality than a P&S, and are shooting mainly static subjects, consider getting a mirrorless system camera for portability. Image quality is similar (though not quite as good as) to an APS-C DSLR, but in a much more portable package. m43 cameras like the Panasonic G3, GF2/GF3 or Olympus E-PL3 are in the $500-700 range, and can produce stunning image quality (especially compared to compact P&S cameras).

If you want to shoot action or intend to shoot in low light settings, a DSLR will do better than a mirrorless camera, at the cost of being bulkier and heavier than a mirrorless or compact camera.

The Nikon D5100 is a decent camera, but its Renesas sensor is not as good in low light as competing APS-C DSLRs using Sony sensors. The D5100 is not much better in low light than the Panny G3. You can get much better low light performance from the Nikon D7000 ($1,000 body only) or Pentax K-r ($600 with lens, but Pentax has a smaller lens range than Nikon).

In between the mirrorless cameras and the DSLRs are Sony's SLT (Single Lens Transflective) cameras. The A-65 is $999 MSRP (street price may be lower) and is smaller than a DSLR but larger than a m43 or NEX mirrorless camera.

In closing, there is nothing wrong with the D5100, but it neither represents the best of the DSLR crop nor is necessarily the camera most suited to your photographic needs. If you can provide more information on your needs, we might be able to suggest a camera tailored to your requirements.
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Re: Nikon D5100

Postposted on Thu Aug 25, 2011 1:09 pm

PS If you decide to go Nikon (any body), consider getting the Tamron 17-50/2.8 SP XR Di II LD Aspherical (phew, long name), which is a better lens and will allow for more photographic control than the standard kit zoom. It's in the $300+ range (don't get the more expensive VC version, which is not as good optically).
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Re: Nikon D5100

Postposted on Thu Aug 25, 2011 3:03 pm

druidcent wrote:Any recommendations for or against this? Costco has a kit selling for 999.00 in store, comes with 2 lenses (I'm assuming they are pretty standard, I think 18mm to something and I forget the other one).

It's a great camera for a lot of uses. Image quality is excellent, speed is pretty good for a mid-range DSLR.

Voldenuit is right to ask you what you want to do. If you intend to buy the camera and the two-lens kit (it probably includes Nikon's 70-300 non-VR, which is good for a budget telephoto zoom) and then nothing else, you'll be okay. It will be a camera that continues to take great pictures with excellent responsiveness for many many years, unless you drop it or leave your battery out in the heat (shortens its life).

However, Vold is also correct that there are other cameras that may be better for your needs. Even as a smaller example of a DSLR, the D5100 is still bigger than m43 cameras, much more so than top-shelf P&S's. This bothers some people, but others have no qualms carrying a big camera 'round their neck or in a bag. If you want to slip the camera into any but the hugest of pockets, it's not for you.

If you intend to expand your lens lineup over the years, there's a caveat with the D5100: It will only autofocus with lenses that have the "AF-S" suffix, not "AF-D" or such. Nikon's latest lenses have been coming out AF-S, and there are dozens of them and you're not likely to find any lens range or aperture you need that doesn't have an AF-S option, but it's something to be mindful of (maybe you know a buddy that sells you some of his old lenses, well, make sure they say AF-S on them, or at least be ready to accept manual focusing only). If you only intend to expand a little, well, you can't go very wrong dropping $200 on Nikon's 35mm f/1.8 DX lens (it's an incredibly solid performer and gives you access to a wide-aperture lens for low-light situations). And with that telephoto lens probably lacking Vibration Reduction, a good fairly sturdy tripod would also be a wise decision (getting all zoomed-in makes the slightest twitches of your hands greatly magnified, which means your pictures are more likely to exhibit some motion blur).
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Re: Nikon D5100

Postposted on Thu Aug 25, 2011 8:01 pm

To answer a couple points, this will be my first DSLR, I've had a decent P&S (Panasonic Lumix FMZ(?)) and I don't mind carrying a bag.

I was looking at the Nikon, because most of my friends have Nikon's, and I thought it would be easier to borrow the lenses.

I'm mostly into nature photos (landscapes, animals, and water). I'd like to bring a little more depth to my pictures, most of my pictures are decent, but look kind of flat. I may want to take a photo class in the near future. Also, I'm planning on a safari to Africa later this year, and I want to try and do better than with my current Panasonic.
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Re: Nikon D5100

Postposted on Thu Aug 25, 2011 8:45 pm

druidcent wrote:I was looking at the Nikon, because most of my friends have Nikon's, and I thought it would be easier to borrow the lenses.


Access to friends with lenses you can try out is a very good reason to buy into a system.

I'd still recommend the Tokina 17-50/2.8 over the standard Nikon kit zoom, though. That lens should cover most of your current photographic needs and a lot of your growth as a photographer for a while.

Later, you may want to get some nice primes, an ultra wide zoom, or a long telephoto (for safari needs) as the need arises.
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Re: Nikon D5100

Postposted on Fri Aug 26, 2011 2:34 pm

Eh, I'd hold off on any 2.8 zooms, especially if this is your first DSLR. Best thing to do is stick with a kit lens and borrow other lenses until you get a better sense of what focal length you like to use. System cameras offer a lot of options, and while there are certain options that are more popular than others, you may find yourself as the sort of person that, say, prefers to take more telephoto shots than anything else. Or maybe you only take pictures outdoors during the day, in which case wide apertures aren't terribly necessary. Or maybe you want exclusively narrow depth of field, in which case even a 2.8 aperture might not be wide enough.

Options and choices galore. Just shoot and see if you like the results; shoot some more, and then some more. Come home after an hour with three hundred pictures, even, if you want. A little spray can help you get comfortable with your gear quicker, even if you initially wind up with a pile of pictures with only a few keepers in there (this also can be a big help in training your eye to instantly recognize those keepers, too).
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Re: Nikon D5100

Postposted on Mon Aug 29, 2011 5:35 am

Voldenuit wrote:The Nikon D5100 is a decent camera, but its Renesas sensor is not as good in low light as competing APS-C DSLRs using Sony sensors. The D5100 is not much better in low light than the Panny G3. You can get much better low light performance from the Nikon D7000 ($1,000 body only) or Pentax K-r ($600 with lens, but Pentax has a smaller lens range than Nikon).


D5100 has the same sensor as D7000. Your post makes no sense at all.
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Re: Nikon D5100

Postposted on Mon Aug 29, 2011 6:18 am

Doesn't Nikon use their own sensors?
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Re: Nikon D5100

Postposted on Mon Aug 29, 2011 8:58 am

tokan wrote:D5100 has the same sensor as D7000. Your post makes no sense at all.


Oops. You're right.

I was looking at a review on DPR, and misread one of their noise performance graphs. You're right that the D5100 does use the same sensor as the D7000.

@fubbhead: Nikon uses a mix of Sony and Renesas sensors in their cameras. The models with the Sony sensors have better noise characteristics.
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Re: Nikon D5100

Postposted on Mon Aug 29, 2011 9:43 am

Voldenuit wrote:
druidcent wrote:I was looking at the Nikon, because most of my friends have Nikon's, and I thought it would be easier to borrow the lenses.


Access to friends with lenses you can try out is a very good reason to buy into a system.

I'd still recommend the Tokina 17-50/2.8 over the standard Nikon kit zoom, though. That lens should cover most of your current photographic needs and a lot of your growth as a photographer for a while.

Later, you may want to get some nice primes, an ultra wide zoom, or a long telephoto (for safari needs) as the need arises.


I've never heard of a Tokina 17-50 f/2.8. Could you possibly be talking about the Tamron 17-50 f/2.8? A fine lens in its own right.
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Re: Nikon D5100

Postposted on Mon Aug 29, 2011 10:19 am

apertur3 wrote:
Voldenuit wrote:
druidcent wrote:I was looking at the Nikon, because most of my friends have Nikon's, and I thought it would be easier to borrow the lenses.


Access to friends with lenses you can try out is a very good reason to buy into a system.

I'd still recommend the Tokina 17-50/2.8 over the standard Nikon kit zoom, though. That lens should cover most of your current photographic needs and a lot of your growth as a photographer for a while.

Later, you may want to get some nice primes, an ultra wide zoom, or a long telephoto (for safari needs) as the need arises.


I've never heard of a Tokina 17-50 f/2.8. Could you possibly be talking about the Tamron 17-50 f/2.8? A fine lens in its own right.


Yeah, you're right, I was talking about the Tamron. Sheesh, I must be having a total brain-fart with this thread :p.

There is a Tokina 16-50/2.8, though it's not as good as the Tamron 17-50 in the corners.
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Re: Nikon D5100

Postposted on Mon Aug 29, 2011 10:46 am

For the money, the Tamron 17-50 is an excellent way to get introduced to wide-aperture photography on APS-C cameras.

Save the receipt, though. Tamron's warranty service is excellent IME, which is to say, if you own one of these lenses long enough you might need to file a claim. Great optics and feel, but apparently the internal structure has some weaknesses.
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Re: Nikon D5100

Postposted on Mon Aug 29, 2011 11:31 am

Just wondering before I go to Costco and pull the trigger, any idea how a deal like this would stack up:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/BRAND-NEW-NIKON ... 20bc110871

It's about 75 dollars more... but it counts a fisheye and zoom booster as lenses.. Also instead of the 55-300mm it's 70-300mm for the zoom lens.

Thanks for all the advice by the way...
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Re: Nikon D5100

Postposted on Mon Aug 29, 2011 12:13 pm

Thanks for listening - and for putting up with my screwups. :oops:

Fisheye and teleconverter addons are usually rubbish, so I don't recommend spending any extra money on that kit.
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Re: Nikon D5100

Postposted on Mon Aug 29, 2011 12:43 pm

just few more thoughts. i have the d7000. it has a great sensor and using nikon capture nx2 to process raw will give you control you never had with a P&S. if you want to use old manual focus lenses then get the d7000, not the d5100.

lenses:
the kit lenses are a fast cheap way to get started. they are not f2.8 constant so they need more light. you also cant get as good a separation or boca on the subject (that is the sharp focus on the subject and blurry background and foreground).

i love the tamron 17-50 (non-vc) and their 70-300 vc. VC is their vibration control. for some reason the vc version of the 17-50 is no where near as good as the original non-vc.

if you want image stabilization on that camera then look at the sigma 17-50 f2.8 OS (optical stabilization on sigma, same as VC on tamron and VR on nikon). the sigma is slightly nicer and the OS works but now you are approaching $600 to $650 for the lens
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Re: Nikon D5100

Postposted on Thu Jan 05, 2012 3:24 am

Just received a d5100 for christmas (yay). Fun to play with but it only came with a af-s dx 18-55mm. It would be nice to pick up a couple reasonably priced lenses; perhaps one for landscapes and one for people/indoors? Not really sure what to use for shooting what.
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Re: Nikon D5100

Postposted on Thu Jan 05, 2012 3:44 am

Mr. Bamboo Head wrote:Just received a d5100 for christmas (yay). Fun to play with but it only came with a af-s dx 18-55mm. It would be nice to pick up a couple reasonably priced lenses; perhaps one for landscapes and one for people/indoors? Not really sure what to use for shooting what.


Congrats. My brother-in-law has a D5100 (after years with a D50), and I got a D7000 (very similar; after years with a D40).

If you want a good lens for shooting people, the 35mm f/1.8 AF-S lens is fantastic for $200 (http://www.amazon.com/Nikon-35mm-AF-S-Digital-Cameras/dp/B001S2PPT0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1325752656&sr=8-1).

The kit lens is good for landscapes (using the 18mm end and the 55mm end a lot). If you want to go wider, lenses are expensive. Your best options are probably:
Sigma 10-20mm, very popular, only $480 http://www.amazon.com/Sigma-10-20mm-4-5-6-Digital-Cameras/dp/B0007U00XK/
Nikon 10-24mm, $870 http://www.amazon.com/Nikon-10-24mm-3-5-4-5G-Nikkor-Wide-Angle/dp/B0026FCKC8/
Tokina 11-16mm, $700 http://www.amazon.com/Tokina-AT-X116PRDXN-11-16mm-Ultra-wide-Angle/dp/B0014Z5XMK/

I have the Tokina, but I think I might go with one of those others if I was buying today. The Sigma focuses closer, and both are more "usable" since 20mm or 24mm on a DX camera is decent for shooting people and things like that.
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Re: Nikon D5100

Postposted on Thu Jan 05, 2012 12:00 pm

swampfox wrote:Tokina 11-16mm, $700 http://www.amazon.com/Tokina-AT-X116PRDXN-11-16mm-Ultra-wide-Angle/dp/B0014Z5XMK/

I have the Tokina, but I think I might go with one of those others if I was buying today. The Sigma focuses closer, and both are more "usable" since 20mm or 24mm on a DX camera is decent for shooting people and things like that.

Alternately, Tokina also makes a 12-24mm f/4 version of that lens which sells for considerably cheaper in the second-hand market compared to the 11-16 f/2.8, although my experience so far (in a Canon EF mount) is that the zoom range from about 20mm and up is unusable. Which may be why the f/2.8 version has such a narrow zoom range.

The Tokina f/4 seems to have excellent build quality for the money but with one quirk: the front element moves slightly within the lens barrel, exposing a potential dust-access gap around the perimeter. This can be resolved by adding a UV filter, but 77mm with proper multicoating is not cheap.
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Re: Nikon D5100

Postposted on Thu Jan 05, 2012 4:26 pm

I own the 11-16 2.8, and have used the 12-24. Unless you know for a fact that you're going to be using your wide-angle indoors or otherwise poor lighting, I'd go with the 12-24 (ESPECIALLY if you want to do landscapes). The 12-24 reaches a higher sharpness level when stopped down; the 11-16 merely stays "good". It's great for me because I need a "good" f/2.8, but if I were more landscape-in-broad-daylight oriented I'd get the 12-24.

As for people lenses, the AF-S 50mm 1.8 is really good. Optically, not a very significant upgrade from the not-quite-half-priced AF-D, but focusing is definitely better... and, y'know, will autofocus on the D5100. :)

You should also keep an eye out for the up-coming AF-S 85mm 1.8; again, the AF-D version (which I own) is absolutely amazing, and unless the AF-S version is a step back in optical quality it should also be a damn good choice. Great portrait lenses if you really wanna fill the frame with a face.
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Re: Nikon D5100

Postposted on Thu Jan 05, 2012 8:51 pm

So perhaps it may be worth picking up say the 50mm f/1.8g AF-S and the 55-200mm f/4-5.6G ED IF AF-S DX VR? Or perhaps the the 35mm f/1.8G AF-S DX sf linked instead?

I'm no photographer and I have no aspirations to go "pro," but I still like to have the right gadgets to play with.
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Re: Nikon D5100

Postposted on Sat Jan 07, 2012 4:14 pm

All three of those lenses are very good, especially for the price.

There's a good slew of lenses in the few hundred dollars price range that are still optically and mechanically good; the "pro" versions tend to be significantly more expensive (except the 50mm f/1.4, but with that one you don't gain much over the 1.8, in my opinion). For example, Nikon's 35mm f/1.4 is $1600. While it does cover the larger FX sensor, it's also EIGHT TIMES the price of the 35mm f/1.8. Unless you plan on earning some nice scratch from using your gear, I say that's just plain not worth considering (it's also way heavier, too).

As for the 55-200 AF-S VR, it's a good lens, bought one for my girlfriend. It all comes down to how much money you want to, or may want to in the future, devote to the craft. For instance, if you're looking at picking up a few lenses at a couple hundred dollars each, the 55-200 VR is a great choice. If you think you may ever want to devote, say, $500-600 on a lens, and don't necessarily need or want a deep zoom right now, I'd save for a 70-300mm AF-S VR. You lose a (negligible, IMO) bit at the "normal" end, but the telephoto end gains quite a bit, AND that lens is a little sharper at the long end than the 55-200. It's just something to keep in mind; it's not like you'll magically make better pictures with a bit more sharpness. But if that's high on your list of priorities, then it's something to keep in mind.
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