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Nikon D3100 or D5100?

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In reply to an earlier post on 1 May 2012 23:41:12 BDT
Last edited by the author on 1 May 2012 23:47:23 BDT
17-50mm means the lens zooms between those two focal lengths.
35mm means it is a fixed focal length or 'prime' - so no they are not equivalent.
In answer to your question:
Tamron - make
AF = auto focus
17-50mm = range of focal lengths of this zoom
f2.8 = is the aperture (equivalent to the light gathering ability of the lens)
XR = model range
Di = for digital use with APSc sensor size
II = mark 2
LD = low dispersion - meaning advanced coatings on the lens surfaces for better light transmission
Aspherical = refers to the use of aspherical lens elements which offer certain advantages
IF = means internal focus - where the focus motor is in the camera body (like the older Nikons)
Nikon = the lens mounting - what camera it fits. (but may not auto focus with if the motor is not in the body)
All that really matters out of that lot is 17-50mm and f2.8. The rest is like the initials you see on the tailgate of a car.
I think you need to find out something about photography before you go chucking your money about. If you bought 3 of the lenses in your list you'd end up with at least one which duplicated the role of another.
For instance, going back to your lens list, the 55-300, 70-300 and the other 70-300 (which you thought would be good for architecture!) are all roughly the same spec. They are all telephotos - for taking pics of objects long way away. They are bulky and have high f numbers - which equates to low light gathering power.
Since you are new to photography what makes you think that a dSLR is right for you? Do you own a camera just now? and what is it? Have you held a dSLR, in a shop for instance?
Do you want video capability? Everyone on this forum is disinterested in video so you may not get much help there.
As I said before I'd get a camera with a standard lens - like the kit lens, and take some pics to start learning about photography. This will cover you for building interiors, portraits, the kids and general views and landscapes. It will get you fairly close up (18", say) but it won't do macro - but a true macro lens is an expensive and specialised piece of kit and needs a tripod and focussing rack at the very least. It won't do bird shots either, but lets not run before we can walk. My sister in law got some great wildlife shots in the Kruger with just a standard zoom.
Most people start with a compact - a Panasonic TZ8 or TZ10 would be a good start. If you later get a more advanced camera that TZ8 will still be good as a back up and can be taken anywhere in a pocket - so it will still get used.
If your heart is set on a dSLR well satisfy yourself that the bulk will not put you off taking it everywhere with you.
Get a good book - like Understanding Exposure by Petersen and find out about the basics before buying kit you don't understand the first thing about.
I don't think this forum is the best place to teach you enough about photography - try Googling 'getting started in photography' or similar. There are plenty of good articles out there.

In reply to an earlier post on 1 May 2012 23:49:12 BDT
Thank you X

Im currently using an Nikon COOLPIX P500 and im on a photography course to learn about the techniques
iv got
Basics Photography: Lighting
Basics Photography: Exposure: 7
Basics Photography: Composition
Scott Kelby's Digital Photography Boxed Set: v. 1, 2 & 3
Langford's Starting Photography: The guide to creating great images
The Betterphoto Guide to Exposure (BetterPhoto Series)

What about if i got the standard kit and one of these?
Nikon AF-S DX 35mm f1.8G Lens
Nikon 50mm F/1.4D Af Nikkor Lens

I understand what you are saying regarding the kit and the skills and experience that comes from using a camera daily and understanding the limitations and capabilities of a camera but i am researching this as this is not my field of expertise.
My understanding of my current camera has now lead me onto the next stage...but this is not something im ready to do yet as my current camera still has live in the old dog yet but now i am getting frustrated by what i cant do so im researching into the pros and cons of the DLSR and their accessories.

In reply to an earlier post on 1 May 2012 23:53:01 BDT
Thank you all for your comments.
One of the reasons why i didn't buy a DSLR was because i did not know anything about them and i felt i could have wasted time and money on something that was not appropriate for me.
Im happy with my bridge camera but it does not have the artistic flair the DSLR have. :-(

In reply to an earlier post on 2 May 2012 00:04:29 BDT
My apology for being dense.
Lets scrap the 55-300, 70-300 and the other 70-300
Since you are new to photography what makes you think that a dSLR is right for you? There have been times when ive wished iv had a camera capable of capturing my life around me and my family and my superbridge cannot work quick enough to do that.
Do you own a camera just now? and what is it? Nikon Coolpix p500
including my photos
Have you held a dSLR, in a shop for instance? yes i have so im not linked to any particular brand as yet
They only let me hold it, iv not had the opportunity to play properly as of yet but there is time on my course to do so.
Do you want video capability? yes for 2-5mins videos
If your heart is set on a dSLR well satisfy yourself that the bulk will not put you off taking it everywhere with you.
lol im strong lad, i carry my daughter daily and she insist i must carry mummy first then her then put my nephew and niece on my shoulders :-)
Got the books, doing the photos, just about ready to start walking after crawling for past year.

Posted on 2 May 2012 00:11:49 BDT
Last edited by the author on 2 May 2012 02:14:32 BDT
Graham H says:
The AF-s DX 35mm F/1.8 is a great choice if you're only going to have one lens. It works superbly in low light, is a good wide-ish angle and focuses quickly. Being a "Prime" lens (Fixed focal length, as Dr G says above) means that it's been builto do one job and to do it well. Rather than trying to be "All things to all men" and having to compromise in some areas to keep the price affordable.
Prime lenses are the best way to get great image quality. I'll always choose a prime in preference to a zoom.

The 50m F/1.4D I wouldn't bother with on a lower-end Nikon DSLR. It was designed for film or full-frame DSLR use.The reason I'd avoid it (Apart from the not inconsiderable expense) is that with the sort of camera you're looking at in terms of budget, it'll have what's called an APS-C sensor. All this means is that it's a smaller sensor than a frame of 35mm film (Which is called "Full Frame").
So, on an APS-C sensor, your 50mm will give you roughly the field of view of a 75mm lens on a full-frame camera. It'll be a bit less versatile than the 35mm which was designed to be used on an APS-C camera (You can tell because it says "DX" on the lens barrel). That 35mm is designed to give you around the same field of view that a 50mm would on a full-frame camera. Which is why you see things like "35mm equivalent" in the spec sheets.

This is all quite technical stuff if you're not familair with DSLRs, but if you're looking at Nikon cameras of an APS-C sensor size (Which is pretty much everything under £1,700) then go for lenses which say "AF-S" (AutoFocus, Silent Wave Motor, ie: it has an inbuilt focus motor). It needs to say "DX" on it too really, which means it has been designed to work on a cropped-sensor DSLR.
A Full-Frame lens will work on a crop-sensor "DX" camera, albeit with a narrower field of view (so a 50mm Full Frame lens will give you about a 75mm equivalent in DX) But a DX lens will not work on a full-frame camera. It'll have dark corners in the pictures because it was designed to focus all its image on a smaller sensor.

Hopefully some of that makes sense!

In reply to an earlier post on 2 May 2012 00:17:47 BDT
Thank you, this is the type of stuff i need to know.
I am not familiar with the technical terms as ive wonder in the past when ive been into Jessops to discuss the merits of their cameras and the different in wording ie the DX etc.
They to be honest were not helpful on that day.
So regarding the Dx what exactly does that refer to?

In reply to an earlier post on 2 May 2012 00:24:39 BDT
Graham H says:

In reply to an earlier post on 2 May 2012 00:37:23 BDT
Last edited by the author on 2 May 2012 00:38:49 BDT
Hi Scott,
For years the most popular size of film was 35mm giving a negative 36mm x 24mm. Professional digital slrs have a sensor this size (full frame).
All affordable dSLRs have a smaller sensor (APSc or 4/3).
Being smaller it doesn't need a lens which covers an area of the full frame sensor or 35mm film. Dx, in Nikon parlance, indicates that the lens is designed for the smaller sensor - and that means it can be smaller and lighter. It won't cover full frame though, as Graham stated above.
You will find that nearly all lenses are given a 35mm equivalent focal length (giving the same field of view). So a 35mm lens on a Nikon D90 would be like a 55mm lens on 35mm.
Since you have some experience of photography with your P500 you will have an idea how often you use the wide angle part of the zoom and what proportion of shots you take with the tele end. That should help you decide which lenses you may like. I'd still buy 1 to start with though. I say this because I have taken all my pics over the last 3 months with the standard 17-50mm lens (kit lens equivalent). I seldom use anything else unless I go to a hillclimb or some such. A prime lens is great for quality - but having been used to a zoom you may find that a fixed focal length of 35mm say, takes some getting used to.

Posted on 2 May 2012 00:45:12 BDT
Last edited by the author on 2 May 2012 00:53:28 BDT
Graham H says:
Good point Doc. There's me championing the 35mm prime... But forgetting that I'm something of an unusual case in this day and age with my dislike of zooms!

So, in short... We're back to what was said earlier. Buy a DSLR with a kit lens and get some time in on the equipment and the books before getting the wallet out again. :-)

In reply to an earlier post on 2 May 2012 18:47:44 BDT
Hi Scott,
This may interest you:
Good Luck in your quest.
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Initial post:  15 May 2011
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