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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2013 1:52 am 
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I've narrowed down my first DSLR purchase to a Nikon, either the D3100 or the D5100. I will mainly be using the camera to photography my daughter (not even a year old), as well as taking pictures on vacations. I've held both in my hands (Sony A-57 was nice too, Canon T3i was awkward), menus make sense to me, I could see myself with either.

Being new to a DSLR, I'm wondering if I'm better off...

1) Getting the D3100, saving some money upfront for a nicer lens or two down the road (and/or Photoshop), and then when the day comes that I upgrade I'll have some nicer lenses already. I'm concerned I'd outgrow this camera, but then again it's taken me 5 years to outgrown a $200 Sony Cyber-shot.

2) Getting the D5100, which I'm not going to outgrow so easily, has some neat filters, a better screen, and a better sensor. However, I'm spending more up front and that would mean just the kit lens for now.

Here's what's important to me - a year from now, after I've spent time learning how to take better shots, will I be happier with the D3100, Photoshop, and an extra lens like a 35mm f/1.8? Or will I be happier I bought the better body with built-in effects and a better screen? I'm not sure I'd actually outgrow - whatever this truly means - a D3100 quickly, or that I'd take better shots with a D5100. That's why I'm putting it out there, because I've searched this forum and a number of people bought the D3100 and traded it in quickly for a D5100, and many others didn't. It doesn't give me enough confidence to pull the trigger either way.

Between these two, what's your recommendation and why?

More than happy to answer questions. And to answer in advance - I'm not considering the D3200 or D5200.

Thanks!

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Nikon D3100
Nikkor 18-55mm VR, 55-200mm VR, 35mm f/1.8
iPhone 5 for snapshots


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2013 2:29 am 
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As I mentioned in the other thread, since you'll be taking mostly indoor candids, I think a faster/brighter lens will be very useful. So, although I'm not sure 35mm will be wide enough on a crop frame (which is why I suggested a 28mm in the other thread), between just these two cameras, I would definitely recommend the D3100 since it allows you to get something faster than the kit lens.

Mark


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2013 10:31 am 
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Location: Scotland
As well as the cameras you have mentioned you might want to consider the D90, even though this camera is coming up for 5 years old (released in 2008) it is still in the current Nikon product range and allows you to use older lenses with auto focus. None of the new generation 31,32,51,52 00's let you do this (you have to go up to a D7000). With the release of the 3200 and the 5200 you may find some clearance prices on the 3100 and the 5100.

As other people have mentioned I would certainly budget in a lens which lets you get below f3.5 for low light indoor shots without having to use flash. The Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G being a good example for relatively low cost.

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Nikon D90
Nikkor AF-S DX; 18-105 f/3.5-5.6G VR, 55-300 f/4.5-5.6G VR, 35mm f/1.8G
Speedlight SB-700

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2013 2:36 pm 
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I should add this - budget is $800ish, and I'd need a bag and memory card as part of that budget.

Mark - that's exactly why I'm considering getting a D3100. The 28mm is what you suggest? When I do get a camera I'll see what settings I lean towards and I'll definitely keep that in mind.

Keystrokesuk - the issue with getting a D90 is that it basically taps out my budget, even more than the D5100 would. Now, if I could find a miracle deal on a new one w/kit lens (for me I need some kind of kit lens with whatever I buy) then sure. Otherwise it looks like I'd start above $700 for D90 + kit lens, leaving me with just enough for a memory card and a bag but not a brighter lens. I found the D7000 to fit my hands the best of Nikon's current entry-level DSLR lineup, and the D90 looks similar in size, so that's very appealing.

How much of an advantage would I gain, if any, if I COULD find an amazing deal on a D90?

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Nikon D3100
Nikkor 18-55mm VR, 55-200mm VR, 35mm f/1.8
iPhone 5 for snapshots


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2013 11:23 am 
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Quote:
How much of an advantage would I gain, if any, if I COULD find an amazing deal on a D90?
For me the advantage would be the LCD screen on the top of the camera which shows you most of your settings, as well as the number of buttons to enable quick modification of things. With the lower end cameras more things are done on the main screen with menus and sub menus. The fact you have the option to use auto focus with older lenses could be an advantage as you have access to a much broader range of lenses. You also get a better viewfinder (see more of what you are shooting and it is brighter)

With the D90 you don't have the latest sensor, processor, AF system, or articulated screen and the video shooting is relatively basic other than that I think it does the job for most occasions.

I have had my D90 since 2009 and still find it a great camera to use, not outgrown it or thought I need to replace it. The fact Nikon have not removed it from the range also tells you how the balance of features seem to work for a lot of people.

If you can find a camera store where you can try the models on your shortlist then this is a good way to see how easy it easy to navigate controls and settings menus. As well as feeling the camera in YOUR hands (we are all different in this respect). Maybe even find a hire company who will let you try before you buy, some refund the hire cost if you purchase the kit.

_________________
Nikon D90
Nikkor AF-S DX; 18-105 f/3.5-5.6G VR, 55-300 f/4.5-5.6G VR, 35mm f/1.8G
Speedlight SB-700

http://keystrokesukimages.com


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2013 6:54 pm 
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Thanks for the insight into the D90.

If I manage to find an amazing deal on the D90 I'll pull the trigger. The three things that stood out for me are that it's a little larger and easier to hold, it's a little more advanced, and I can use more lenses w/autofocus. If I can't find a deal I'm still leaning towards the D3100 so I have enough budget leftover to buy a prime lens in the near future, once I determine what focal length I'm finding ideal.

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Nikon D3100
Nikkor 18-55mm VR, 55-200mm VR, 35mm f/1.8
iPhone 5 for snapshots


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 3:50 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jan 11, 2013 4:10 am
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Picked up a D3100 over the weekend with plenty of budget left over for another lens or two.

Thanks for the advice - I'm realizing buying the least expensive body I was considering was smart, as I have a ton to learn for now.

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Nikon D3100
Nikkor 18-55mm VR, 55-200mm VR, 35mm f/1.8
iPhone 5 for snapshots


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 8:27 pm 
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Have fun JV & post a few pics. 8)

You'll be saving hard now, if you get bitten by the bug :lol: It aint a cheap pastime/hobby :wink:

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Image btw,He who dies with the most toys, WINS!
Nikon D800E & D700 bodies + Nikon 200-400mm F4 VR1, 50mm F1.4G, 16-35mm f/4G VR, 105 F2.8 VR macro, 70-300mm lenses. A couple of filters, Giotto tripod & ballhead. Lowepro Slingshot 302 AW
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