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Thread: Confused about which camera for my first DSLR D5100 or D7000

  1. #1

    Confused about which camera for my first DSLR D5100 or D7000

    Hi, I am new here (found you today while searching around) and new to the DSLR world. I am stepping out ready to learn all about this new 'world' and wanting to not start so small that I 'outgrow' the camera to swiftly and become bored or wish I would would have went with a larger camera. For this reason the D3100 is not even an option for me to purchase at this point.

    However, I have been agonizing for weeks over whether to get the Nikon D5100 or the D7000. As I said, I am new to the dslr world, so I will be learning the layouts, how to use manual controls, hopefully I can use the Auto for just a big until I get it under my belt and find some dvd's and books to help me learn all this.

    I am wanting to take this camera on vacations, and then around home I have a 3 year old daughter who is always on the move and I have lost a lot of time in taking pictures and want to not lose any more memories.
    I want to learn to do her portraits at home here rather then spending $250 twice a year on pictures from Sears where she sits and cries because she is scared and I end up not having the 'fabulous' pictures some people get right at home.
    In addition to that, I used to shoot a lot of wildlife photos with my old Nikon 35MM camera and would love to be able to start doing that again.
    I make crochet hats and would like to start taking pictures of my own products I make for my little Facebook shop and most of my photos are taken in my trailer at night - so quite low and uneven lighting.

    If you all could give me an idea of what would be the better camera for a beginner and a couple good lenses to start with I would appreciate it! I am headed to Best Buy this evening or tomorrow to pick one up I think, so I'd love to get some feedback from people who have owned these cameras.

    I like the D5100, but am a bit nervous about the fact that it doesn't have the auto focus motor inside it's body like the D7000... but for $500 less or more - it is hard to not take a look at it. If I went with the D5100 I would have enough to buy another lens or two from Nikon.

    Which is a whole different conversation - I was told that it is better to get a 'lesser' camera and buy the best lenses then to buy a huge camera and cheapo offbrand lenses...true or false?

    Thanks in advance for any info you all can lend to me! I appreciate it!


  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    Jul 2010
    Sacramento, CA
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    Re: Confused about which camera for my first DSLR D5100 or D7000

    Amanda, it sounds that you need simplicity coupled with expansion capability. I think what might be best is this. Buy either camera,but, the 5100 is way more camera then you need for a goodly bit, the 7000 is Nikon's top of the line dx sensor, it is quite a sophisticated "prosumer" camera, easy enough, no more complicated then the 5100 but it is $500 more. What I think is for you to buy the 5100 and also invest in one lens. I reccomend a50mm f/1.4 g SIC SW prime lens. It will act like a small telephoto on your camera, perfect for portraits. Eye tearingly sharp, light, simple, and it will focus at 18 inches. So your portraits of your daughter and pictures of your crochet will be easy. At f/1.4 low light will be a snap. Also, because it is a prime and not a zoom you will not be fussing with the lens at all. It will teach you how to take a picture without the camera getting in the way. When you are ready you can either invest in some kind of zoom or invest in a more sophisticated camera. Also if you buy full frame lenses now, if and when you want to trade up to a full frame sensor you already have the lenses, if you only buy half frame lenses then you are kind of stuck. Either way, good luck. By the way there are a host of micro sensored cameras, Nikon, Fuji and Kodak all make really nice one piece cameras at remarkable prices. Nikon P100 or the L110 or Kodak's 900 series or the Fuji equivalent, very nice under 500, close focusing and really every thing you might want. Joe

  3. #3
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    Jan 2008
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    Re: Confused about which camera for my first DSLR D5100 or D7000

    A warm welcome to GetDPI Amanda.

    Do not get confused by the various camera brands out there. All are equally good for you.

    You said Nikon. Stick to it.

    Hold both the Nikons in your hands with a lens attached ( the 50mm Joe mentioned ).

    See which one feels good to you. Comfortable. Easy to hold. Put it to your eye.
    Your camera shall become a part of you. So it is critical you get the one that
    feels ' right ' in your hands.

    Folk here, way more experienced than me, shall definitely offer you further

    Relax, you are in good hands here at GetDPI.

    Welcome and share your photos with us.


  4. #4

    Re: Confused about which camera for my first DSLR D5100 or D7000

    This advice is probably too late, but my advice as a relative novice is to buy the D7000. You'll grow into it soon enough and you won't have to buy a new camera because you've outgrown the other.

    I won't boggle your mind with the details. Just be assured that after some time with the D5100, you'll tire of having to go into the menus to make settings changes that with the D7000 you can do with the buttons on the body.

    This is only my opinion based on my experience with the D3000 and the D7000 and the shared opinion of a D5000 owner whom I know. Should you choose to buy the D5100, you will find it to be a very capable camera.

  5. #5
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    Re: Confused about which camera for my first DSLR D5100 or D7000

    Depends if you see yourself doing much video shooting I'd say. The D5100 has the better video spec and the flip out LCD is very handy for shooting video (or really any unique angles, though is can be slow)

    I really think either would be a good overall camera and unless you specifically know for a fact you need certain features, like the higher frame rate etc of the D7000, theres no reason the 5100 wouldn't work fine for you.

    I shoot with D3's and honestly never change metering modes, AF modes, etc. Just stick the camera in Av mode and dial in some EC as needed and thats about it for 95% of my assignments. This isn't to say its not a good thing all the modes are there, and very accessible, but just that I don't find that needed and for the average shooter, think the 5100 has perfectly useable ergonomics and controls.

    As I said though, it really depends a bit more on what you main see yourself shooting. If you for example, said birds in flight, then I'd say the 7000 would be the better pic for its higher performance, but for basic photography theres nothing a 7000 would really give you the 5100 wouldn't and the flip out screen as mentioned can indeed be handy for low level shooting, video recording etc.

    Both darn fine camera's with some amazing IQ for quite reasonable prices

  6. #6

    Re: Confused about which camera for my first DSLR D5100 or D7000

    Lots of good advice here. I would second what jsf said and get the cheaper 5100, investing the extra in a good lens. The 50 f1.4 is a great choice, but a little long for a DX camera in my opinion. You could also go for 35mm f1.8, which is really affordable and a nice range for DX... I also really like the tamron 17-50 f2.8, a nice zoom lens that is fast enough to get a blurred background. You will get way more use out of those 2 lenses (about $500-600) than the extra features in the 7100 in my opinion. Lens discussions could go on for hours, or days even... good luck!

  7. #7

    Re: Confused about which camera for my first DSLR D5100 or D7000

    To get the most camera equipment for the money.
    I would get the D5100 with 18-55 and 55-300 AF-S Nikkor VR lens.
    The camera is a lot harder to learn to use and less forgiving of user error than a D90, but cheaper than a D7000 if you do not have the extra $500.
    The image quality is noticeably better.
    More than double the high ISO capability
    Much better LCD that also articulates
    Much better Video capability.
    You can use AutoFocus to shoot HD1080 at 30fps.
    Most new lens are AF-S the D5100 can use manual focus for the rest.
    You will need a TriPod or at least a good MonoPod to help hold the camera steady enough.
    If you plane on shooting movies, get a video head. ( use/like SLIK more than my Manfrotto).

  8. #8
    Member RomanJohnston's Avatar
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    Jun 2010
    Hillsboro, Oregon
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    Re: Confused about which camera for my first DSLR D5100 or D7000

    I shoot landscapes professionally. I cant wait to get my D5100. I will have all the controls I need on it. Cant wait to mess around with video as well, and the main reason, that flip out monitor. Most of my work that sells is about perspective. This is a perspective machine. I will have to buy a new Super Wide (probably the Sigma 8-16) but amazing little camera. Has the DR of the D7000 and D3X, 16MP, flip out monitor. This is going to be a very fun camera. If you shoot lots of action, and need more FPS, and a bit better focus tracking the D7000 is the same sensor, just no flip out monitor.


  9. #9

    Re: Confused about which camera for my first DSLR D5100 or D7000

    The D5100 shoots fast enough for action if you use the proper lens.

    I use the D7000 for Event photography instead for three main reasons.
    1. Two card slots.
    2. More than twice the battery life.
    3. Multi-Selector has a lock on it.

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