would appreciate input on camera purchase

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Bonita's picture
Joined: 02/11/02
Posts: 1066
would appreciate input on camera purchase

I should introduce myself. I'm Bonnie (or Bonita) I used to frequent this board a few years ago, as well as the scrapbooking board, but life took a turn, and I had to put everything on hold. I'm getting back into wanting to work on photography and scrapbooking again, but my 7+ yr old rebel just isn't what I want to spend time learning on right now, so I'm looking at upgrading my dslr. I've been doing research on line & at the camera stores, and I'm having trouble deciding.

Costco has a great deal on the Nikon D5100 with dual lens 18-55 and 55-200 as a kit. I was trying to figure out if that will do what I need, or what the difference ins between the 5100 and the 7000. The owner at the camera store said they are basically the same camera as the glass is the same in both and I will get the same ISO settings out of both. For $700 difference between the 2, I'm wondering if the main difference is the cost of the lens (as the D7000 comes with a 18-200 mm lens instead of 2 separate), or if there is significant difference between 2 cameras worth the increased cost, does anyone know?

Although I have the rebel, I just have the kit lens, so I'm not locked into either canon or nikon at this point. I was leaning towards the t3i, but then started comparing ISO quality between the t3i and the Nikon D5100, so I'm leaning that way.

Any input would be appreciated. I know if I buy at costco, and I'm not happy with the camera, I can return or exchange it. The $250 rebate is only until 10/1, so I don't have a lot of time to decide. thanks for any help. I know this is a struggle. Once I get the new camera I'll be out shooting and working through tutorials (again)- I can't wait to get snapping and get some great pictures of all the fall colors!!

I was considering a more expensive body, but I'm wondering if this will be what I need for my needs as I don't plan on going pro with it- but I do want to eventually do that level of photos. I just really want it to be a hobby and a way to document my child's life. Time is the issue that I don't have to spend on working on photos for others.

I've been reading reviews online and just am getting overwhelmed. I think any choice I pick is going to be an upgrade from what I have. I plan to keep this for a long time, so more money spent now, if it's going to be a benefit in the future is okay.

I hope to be around more once I get my new camera! thanks so much, Bonnie

eta= I looked at the sticky with different camera bodies and "levels" of cameras, and I don't see the Nikon D5100 or D7000 listed, so I don't know where this one fits in the "range" of cameras-

and also, the reason I'm considering this one is that I want the video 1080P capability on it as well. I plan to use it for both video and stills. My video camera got "fried" (long story) last year, and I haven't replaced it yet. It makes no sense for me to go out and spend money on a video camera when I can put that money instead into a dslr that will do both.

Joined: 10/26/01
Posts: 3398

Welcome back Bonita!!! We're glad to have you!

As for camera comparisons, why don't you start here ...


that is a side-by-side comparison of the 2 models you mention here. Also, click on the link at the top (the model name of the camera) to read reviews on each as well.

From what I saw in just my quick look, the D5100 is a slightly scaled down version of the D7000. I don't htink you will really go wrong with either one, but it looks like you might be more apt to outgrow the D5100 more quickly than the D7000. They both have the same sensor and the same ISO settings you were looking for. However, I believe I read that the D5100 does not have the built-in AF motor, which means you will be more limited in the lenses you can put on it versus the D7000.

For my $0.02, I would probably go with the D7000 if I had to pick one of these two models.

Go hold each of them, if you can. Sometimes that will be the tipping point. I know when I was first looking that I liked the heavier, more 'sturdy' feel of the D80 vs the D50 (you see how long I've had my current body?). I was very glad in the end to have made the extra investment in the D80. Now, if only I could save up for the D700. Wink

Best of luck and I hope we'll see a lot more of you around the board.

Take care,

Bonita's picture
Joined: 02/11/02
Posts: 1066

thanks Gigi, that's what I'm seeing too from the reviews (they are giving me headaches thinking about this)

the thing I was looking at, was getting a video camera capability as well out of it- but now reading they are saying that the autofocus doesn't work, and only runs as manual focus, and you should plan on getting a separate video camera to photograph the stuff that I would use it for like kids sports, and plays etc. Which is kind annoying because the prices on the better video cameras are upwards of $400.

The feature I think I like about the D7000 is the ability to use wireless flash remote off the camera. Maybe I'm looking at the wrong series. The body is pricey enough at $700 (ETA for the 5100) that I don't want to spend the money on that camera and in short time "outgrow" it and need to buy a new one. If that's the case maybe I should really just work my rebel until I get better with that, and then get the D7000? or just "bite the bullet" now and start off with the D7000.

I've been looking on the dpreviews site, and maybe I just don't know how to use it yet, so thanks for the link Smile

ETA- do you have any preference for video camera?
My son has a play performance on Saturday and I want to get something before then- either at best buy or Coscto is where I'm thinking I'll head at this time.

Joined: 03/18/06
Posts: 391

I absolutely agree with GiGi here. The D5100 is an entry level DSLR, and if you're wanting an upgrade to your rebel, you aren't getting much of an upgrade. The D7000 looks like it is a great midlevel camera, and to me, the fact that you aren't limited in lens choice is worth the extra money right there, not to mention some of the other factors that make it a midlevel over the entry level. If I were you, and I was wanting to upgrade as a hobbyist, I'd be looking at the D7000 and D300s, not the D5100.
One other thing..if you're serious about wanting professional level pictures, I'd skip on the kit lenses and go straight to something else. A lot of people here love the 35mm 1.8 and 50mm 1.8 which are both very economical, but you can't beat the clarity and ability to open up your aperture for the price.

Joined: 10/26/01
Posts: 3398

Lisa and I are obviously on the same wavelength and I'm so glad she mentioned the prime lenses. I splurged for the 50mm f/1.4, but the f/1.8 is also an exception lens and at 1/4 the price!

I'm not much help on the video camera. I let DH handle that part (though somehow I still do all the editing). Wink We have a Canon Vixia something or another HD camera. And it IS incredible - takes fantastic HD videos! but it was pricey (DH got it after I got a new lens for my D80 Blum 3 )

I actually have used the video recorder on my iPod nano with pretty darn good results, but never in low light situations (like a play might be).

Good luck to you!


rlcummings1223's picture
Joined: 09/19/11
Posts: 320

I would agree with everyone here on the better camera, the D7000 since the 5100 wouldn't be much of an upgrade. If you aren't looking to go PRO though and just want it for personal use the 5100 would work just fine, but you are restricted on lenses. It's a big price difference so it's a toughie. I use a D3100 because i had never shot a 'good' picture in my life, never took a class, never read anything about photography...just wanted to give it a shot. I love my camera but i do wish that I hadn't gotten the kit lenses. I think that the basic lens, the 18-55 is a great lens, but the 55-200mm i just sold because i never used it. I bought a 35mm 1.8 and LOVE LOVE LOVE it! I wish i had saved the money and bought it originally. 18-55 is great for portrait and basic everyday shots, but really the 55-200 is just not needed. So that's my 2cents. If I knew that i would have a skill for photography i'd have gotten a better camera myself. My D3100 has the full HD video too though and that is a great perk of the entry level Nikon DSLRs VS the Canons.