Customer Review

1,134 of 1,151 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nikon d5100 gives the results I want. Let me share my 50,000 hours of research!, 27 Jun 2011
This review is from: Nikon D5100 Digital SLR Camera Body Only (16.2MP) 3 inch LCD (Electronics)
I suppose like many people, when I decided I was going to buy a new camera I researched various models online to the point of going mad. I swear it was such a relief to finally purchase the Nikon d5100, first of all I am so happy with it, but almost as important was being able to move on with my life and leave camera research behind!

The reason I sold my Nikon d5000 and upgraded was mainly because I need to use an external microphone, which the d5000 doesn't allow, as I record interviews and DSLR video is perfect for this.

I bought a SLR camera because I photograph bands, and the low-light capability of an SLR is necessary. The d5000 was good. The d5100 is even better. Really pleased with the results when combined with the 35mm f1.8.

The d5000 took very good photo's for me, but I believe that the d5100 is slightly better. I suppose it is natural for technology to provide better tools over time, combined with what i've learned about photography over the past 18 months (the d5000 was the first SLR I had owned).

As for the video element of this camera, like most SLR's video is still new but evolving at an impressive rate. Yes certain camera's will make it easier to film, but they normally come with a more hefty price tag. You'll also probably need to learn one or two workarounds with whichever SLR you choose to film with, but if you look at the work of guys like Philip Bloom or Chase Jarvis you will see that filming quality work with SLR's is possible. Obviously that have flexibility with their budgets, but if you're wondering if you can get decent footage from an SLR - yes you can.

When I record video interviews, once I put the d5100 on a small tripod, get all of my settings the way I like them and adjust the focus on the subject (literally takes about two minutes), once I'm into live view mode I just hit the record button on the top of the camera and I'm away. Very easy and the HD footage is outstanding. So pleased with the video side of things from the d5100.

On a quick side note: Editing video. I've read so many horror stories from people saying the couldn't open their video footage in various software editing programs, and this was the camera's fault or that they need editing software costing several hundred pounds, or need to convert the video format before editing. Not the case! I record in the highest HD setting on the d5100 for up to 20 minutes for each piece and luckily it works 100% perfectly with iMovie '09! I open and save the video footage with iPhoto (a useful workaround I picked up during my 7,000 hours of camera research!), and then import the video from iPhoto into iMovie. I am a novice and it is very simple. Believe me.

Again it's just down to your preference but I like the flip screen with this camera (I was used to it from the d5000). I don't see myself snapping it off as it is very sturdy and I am never tempted to play cricket with the camera. It protects the back LCD screen from scratches, and a damaged screen would seriously make any camera less useful.

I was also considering the Nikon d7000. It is roughly 300 more expensive and is certainly a more capable camera. But I didn't NEED it. The ability to save favorite user settings (U1 and U2 on the dial) are nice but I don't mind setting the camera when I use it. I also don't own any other lenses, certainly not the older Nikon lenses, so the built in autofocus capability wasn't important to me. If you have invested in lenses over the years, then it will probably be an important feature for you. If you've invested in lenses over the years, you are probably a fairly serious photographer so you'll most be considering the d7000 or even more sophisticated cameras. The LCD screen on the top of the camera is what I like a lot about the d7000, but again it wasn't that important to me. When I'm at a gig I read my settings by using either the flip out screen on the camera or through the viewfinder. No doubt the d7000 is more advanced than the d5100 and has a few extra features, but if you want to take good photographs and some video, their is not much (if anything) between the two cameras as far as the final product is concerned.

Personally I would recommend buying the d5100 body only and buying one lens which will aid you as much as possible depending on what type of photography you are most interested in. I already have the lens which is perfect for me, the 35mm f1.8. It feels right for this size of camera, the quality is produces and the flexibility it allows compared to the kit lens is noticeable (my opinion). You can save about 50-100 just buying the camera body, and put that money towards buying a lens of your choice.

As for the Canon/Nikon debate, it honestly makes me laugh how much time some people have to go on camera forum's or YouTube and tell people how rubbish one brand or camera model is. I am still very much a keen novice, but one thing I'm convinced of is that in the hands of a capable photographer either brand will give outstanding results.

A great bit of advice which certainly worked for me, is that you should go into the camera shop and hold whichever camera's you are considering. You'll be surprised how one will just feel right.

The same advice is worthwhile for choosing a lens. Most of the shop assistants will give you excellent advice based on what type of photography you're interested in. Investing in one decent lens will make such a difference to your photographs, and make your hobby more enjoyable.

I have only been using a decent camera for about 18 months, so there was quite a bit to learn when making the jump from a point-and-shoot. One useful bit of advice I picked up, was that while you will want to shoot all of you photo's in the manual setting, you can use learn from the automatic settings that the camera chooses before going into manual and working with those settings. That technique allows a beginner to be pointed in the right direction by the great camera you've invested in, and you can make slight adjustments to the aperture or shutter speed and see how it affects the results. It gets you thinking and also means that you don't need to doubt whether or not the SLR was too big a jump. The automatic setting option is always there while you learn.

Another thing to consider is how you feel about carrying a SLR camera with you. When I first got the d5000 I babied that camera too much and it meant that I didn't get as much use from it as I should have. First of all the camera's are very durable, even the lower spec cameras. So having it in your bag most of the time isn't a burden. If you're going to be walking around for several hours you may not want a bigger camera (d7000 or d300s) as they are considerably bigger. Professional photographers are okay with the bigger cameras as they normally have them attached to a tripod which the carries the weight of the camera body. Again, i'd suggest going into your local camera shop to hold every camera you're considering.

A nice tip I picked up was using setting the function button on the front left of the camera to adjust your ISO setting. You can use the function button for a number for features, but as you can easily adjust aperture and shutter speed in manual, and using the function button to adjust your ISO means that you'll not have to go into the camera menu very often, which is what the buttons etc on the d7000 and higher end camera allow.

Sorry if this was a bit long-winded from some of you, but I hope some of this review will benefit a few people who were in a similar situation to me - going loopy researching cameras!
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Tracked by 10 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 42 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 15 Aug 2011 22:32:08 BDT
thank you SO much for this i've been going back and forth since this model came out and this review was absolutely amazing! seriously thank you!

Posted on 4 Sep 2011 11:11:49 BDT
[Deleted by the author on 4 Sep 2011 11:13:32 BDT]

Posted on 4 Sep 2011 11:16:27 BDT
M. Daggasg says:
please where did you sell your d5000? wanna sell mine. Thank you

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Sep 2011 20:23:08 BDT
elP says:
eBay. good luck selling.

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Sep 2011 20:24:45 BDT
elP says:
no worries. i researched to the point of madness! i'm glad you found the review useful and i hope it has helped you with your purchase. i sort of just starting writing and got carried away! still finding out great things about the camera, and still very happy with it.

Posted on 14 Sep 2011 23:23:14 BDT
[Deleted by the author on 14 Sep 2011 23:23:39 BDT]

Posted on 28 Sep 2011 10:16:58 BDT
Clashcity says:
Thank you for the very imformative review. I have narrowed my search down to this camera and will also be using mainly for concert/gig photography. Could you supply more detail about the lens you have please. Thanks.

In reply to an earlier post on 22 Oct 2011 14:31:55 BDT
elP says:
The lens I use, and is the only one I own, is the 35mm f1.8. It costs roughly between 155-190, depending on which day of the week it is (supply/demand).

The 35mm f1.8 is excellent in low-light. You could also look at the 50mm 1.8 (cheaper and not as wide) or the 50mm 1.4 (more expensive).

For me, the 35mm f1.8 is perfect, and it looks/feels right for a camera the size of the D5100. This lens has definitely improved my photography.

Posted on 27 Nov 2011 12:25:02 GMT
hi, what's your opinion on the battery life on this? mainly interested in how many stills from a single charge (without using flash or live view). you mention 20 minute videos which i assume is from the supplied battery rather than any external power source?

Posted on 10 Dec 2011 21:38:35 GMT
Thank you for your very long comment. My husband said you've got a sense of humor. After reading your very helpful tips, it hurt my throat as I read it loudly! My husband has jumped off the bridge now he's found the right camera to buy. heheheheh
thanks again...roselyn and paul
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