Thoughts on Nikon D5100?

Discussion in 'Other Systems' started by phrenic, Sep 13, 2011.

  1. phrenic

    phrenic Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 13, 2010
    So my wife is not as passionate about the m43 benefits as me.. :eek:

    And would like to look at a dslr. She's very much an amateur, not much into tinkering, but likes taking photos with good IQ. The G1 is decent in that regard..but noisy and slow to focus. Our other camera, the E-P1 refuses to obey her..and with less controls, I understand the frustration when you're trying to make it do something.

    So I think there are 3 things that she (and I suppose we!) would like to get out of having another camera:
    -Improved low-light IQ/less noisy sensor
    -Decent controls (physical is better)
    -OVF (she's not sold on EVF)
    -Fast AF..tired of missing shots when there's action or candid snapshots.

    Price seems to be dipping on the D5100..around 750$ in Canada with kit lens. I don't know if the 18-55 is any good. I know just about nothing of the Canikon systems. I've also kept my eye on the T3i/600D. A bit of an investment on just the body (and yes, I'll inevitably pick up another lens or two), so not sure how much I want to spend. Can't help but think the lower end models like the T3/XSi or D3100 would not be worth it to save the money..perhaps not enough of an "upgrade" from the m43 bodies we have? I'll be sad to give up one of my m43 bodies though.

    (For the record, I've advocated for a GH2/G3/E-P3 to make use of our 4-5 lens but I don't seem to have her convinced it'll tick off enough of the boxes)

  2. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    G3 definitely ticks all the boxes (except OVF obviously).

    Put her in a dark auditorium for a school play and give her a dim, tiny entry-level DSLR OVF and a bright, large EVF and see her change her mind in a hurry.

    The Canikon kit lenses are average at best - nothing like the lens quality you are used to with m43, although obviously with a much more extensive (and expensive) upgrade path.
  3. stratokaster

    stratokaster Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 4, 2011
    Kyiv, Ukraine
    Real Name:
    If your wife would like better controls, Nikon D5100 is definitely not for her. It's probably the worst DSLR on the market in terms of handling — even Nikon's own D3100 is superior, and Canon EOS 600D/T3i is far superior in terms of external controls and UI. Another strength of EOS 600D is its slightly bigger OVF (although both are quite small and dim compared to G2's EVF).
  4. stratokaster

    stratokaster Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 4, 2011
    Kyiv, Ukraine
    Real Name:
    Except that its AF can't really track moving objects.
  5. Armanius

    Armanius Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 23, 2010
    Real Name:
    Time to show her who's the boss!!! Don't let her push you around like that! :)

    All kidding aside, the D5100 seems like a great camera. Never used one, but I've read some reviews and looked at samples. It uses the same excellent Sony sensor found on the Pentax K5, Nikon D7000, Sony A55, A65, A580, NEX3C and NEX5N. All of these cameras have good low light IQ.

    If she wants an OVF, then scratch out the A55, A65, and the NEX's.

    Both the D5100 and Sony A580 have articulated LCD screens. The K5 and D7000 don't. The K5 and D7000 are weather resistent, but also heavier and more expensive than the D5100 and A580. The auto focus on the K5 is fast, but not always accurate. The auto focus on the A580 seems pretty good when I was playing with it at the local store. Its implementation of live view auto focus using the LCD is super fast, and the fastest of any phase detect DSLR's I've ever seen.

    As for the OVF's, I never used a D5100. But the D7000 has a slightly better OVF than the K5, and both are definitely better than the OVF of the A580.

    I guess I really didn't answer your question eh? I say, show her who's the boss!! ;)
  6. Pap

    Pap Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 16, 2010
    Fleetwood, PA
    The D5100 has an excellent IQ, very quick focusing, the kit lens is quite good, and the viewfinder in dim light is fine. Obviously the faster the lens the better the light in the viewfinder. But it is bigger, though small for a DSLR. Matched with the 55-200 Nikon VR lens at around $200.00 your range would extend from 27mm to 350mm. The high ISO is good to 3200 and it can be used either eye level or live view.
    The menu is not very difficult to learn for anyone taking the time to do so and the camera will produce high quality images in auto if that is her preference.
    But doe she want to carry a bigger camera?
  7. MichaelShea

    MichaelShea Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 27, 2011
    Algarve, Portugal
    By all accounts it's an excellent camera. Not merely the low light performance, but the dynamic range in general. Bear in mind that you wouldn't be confined to Nikon lenses, but have the choice of numerous third party manufacturers as well. Money well spent I reckon. To be honest, I was thinking of buying one myself and considering the pros and cons in exactly the same way as you are.
  8. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    Towards or away from the shooter, I agree with you, however, side-to-side, it tracks as well or better than PDAF, and side-to-side is a far more common scenario than towards/away - soccer games, school plays, etc.

    If the OP didn't already have a bunch of lenses, it would be different, but it seems financially foolish to go any way other than m43 at this point.
  9. Jorge Ledesma

    Jorge Ledesma Mu-43 Veteran

    Aug 27, 2011
    18-55, I have this lens the VR one and I never ever use it, its slow as molasses and but I suppose in bright sunny skies it would work. The IQ is going to be great, no doubt, but for that go for a 3100, unless she wants the articulated screen.