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  1. #1
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    Looking at a Nikon D5100

    I'm considering a DSLR upgrade to my point and shoot. I'm seriously considering the D5100 that comes bundled with the 18-55 lens (best buy has them for about $750 right now).

    Does anybody have an good/bad experience with that body?

    Would that lens be suitable for shooting side of trail shots at MTB races?

    I looked at the Micro 4/3rds cameras but it seems like they're big enough to not be pocketable. I figure if you're going to carry something that size you might as well carry something with a real shutter and view finder. That plus they're almost as expensive and I gather the lens availability/compatibility is much more limited.

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    That's a tough choice, starting off with no investment in to a lens system I would say you have some great options. For the traditional DSLR body I try to get everyone into the D7000, its a much nicer camera(built better and better performance) however you just can't find them now due to the flooding at the manufacturing plant. With that being said tho, you can get the D5100 and start investing into lenses.. I love the Nikon system, the ergonomics of it just seem so much better than Canon stuff. And in the DSLR market, I would stick with Canon or Nikon. I haven't heard anything bad about the 5100, in fact I'm going to be getting a 5100 for my mother to upgrade her D50. Should be a world of difference for her.

    Remember kit lenses are usually junk, Tamron makes a great 17-50 f2.8 that is way cheaper than the nikon version and I would recommend replacing your kit lens with that. Its what I use and many other photographers I know use.

  3. #3
    saddlemeat
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    I have enjoyed my D5000 for a couple of years, I got it for the flip out LCD screen and small size. Sort of limited to DX lenses, not necessarily a bad thing. The kit lens is great, if not so durable. I use the 18-70DX or the 35DX on mine and feel pretty good about it. The multi position screen allows for a wider range of camera angles and is self protecting.
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  4. #4
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    IIRC you can use FX lenses on it but you can't use DX on FX due to crop (you will have a black border around the image and a smaller capture area. I think what you are referring to is that the camera will not work with older lenses(non computerized ones).

    HERE is a link explaining it.

  5. #5
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    I have the Nikon D7000 and D70. I live in the east where there are lots of trees that shade the trails and block shots. If you aren't going to shoot in heavily forested areas, your needs may be different from mine. For the kind of shooting I do, a 17-55 lens would cover the focal lengths I use. I have a 20mm lens that is useful when shooting someone from the side and a 50mm lens that is useful for shooting someone farther down the trail.

    When there is a heavy leaf canopy in the summer, I am often pushing the light limits of my camera so a faster lens (i.e. f2.8) and a camera that does well at higher ISOs comes in very handy. If you're in the desert, I imagine that wouldn't be as much of a concern and the extra weight of a fast lens might not be worth it.

    Also, consider the size and weight of the lenses. Faster lenses are often bigger and heavier. That may be an issue to you (especially if you want to bike with your camera), or it may not be an issue.

  6. #6
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    I mostly shoot from trail side. I've never had much luck getting crisp shots with long lenses.

    WRT to the tamron lens: It looks like passing on the kit lens saves me about $150-$200. The Tamron lens runs about $350. So it would end up costing $150 $200 to buy separately. Is the upgrade from 3.5 to 2.8 that big a deal? I know its faster, and will shoot better in low light, but I'm not sure of what a good dollar/f-stop exchange rate is.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Metamorphic View Post
    I mostly shoot from trail side. I've never had much luck getting crisp shots with long lenses.

    WRT to the tamron lens: It looks like passing on the kit lens saves me about $150-$200. The Tamron lens runs about $350. So it would end up costing $150 $200 to buy separately. Is the upgrade from 3.5 to 2.8 that big a deal? I know its faster, and will shoot better in low light, but I'm not sure of what a good dollar/f-stop exchange rate is.
    My bet is that you are looking at the older version(that is still really good) but the price is lower because its an older version. (the new version of the lens is about $600). I have the old version myself. The difference is not only from 2.8 to 3.5. Its only that at the wide end 17mm/18mm. On the long end its 2 stops (f2.8 compared to f5.6) THAT alone would be worth it. Think would you rather have an action photo at 125th or 500th of a second? (to freeze action I would shoot 1/500 or faster)

    If you can't get good sharp images with a long lens, but you can with a short lens, its most likely that your shutter speed is too slow(and an aperture that opens to f2.8, generally has sharper glass and is faster allowing for a faster shutter speed) My 70-200 2.8 is one of my sharpest lenses, BUT I don't use it that often for mountain biking, I use my 17-50.

    The "VR" is pointless for action shooters, your shutter speeds will need to be fast enough to freeze the motion it will be fast enough to freeze camera shake. It may help in panning, but mine is always set to off (it impacts focusing time too)

  8. #8
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    If you shoot in low light, the upgrade to an f2.8 is a huge deal. As nine22 said, you can only get f3.5 on the Nikon when it is at 18mm. At 55mm, the best you can do is f5.6.

    When shooting mountain bikers in the woods, I give up the ability to zoom and choose my 20mm f2.8 lens over my 15-30mm f3.5 - f4.5 lens any day.

    It's also important because you usually get better quality shots (i.e. sharper) when you aren't at the f-stop limit of the camera, so in theory (i.e. if lens quality is equal), you'll get a sharper image using an f2.8 lens at f3.5 than using an f3.5 lens at f3.5. Reviews on these specific lenses may indicate whether the sharpness decreases significantly when you shoot wide open. If possible, I try to shoot one or 2 f-stops above the minimum.

  9. #9
    jsg
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    You may want something other than the kit lens for action shots. Other affordable options are the 50mm 1.8 or the 35 mm 1.8. You will have to use a little more care in where you stand since they don't zoom, but much faster aperture and faster focus, and just better overall image quality.

    Best solution is the 17-55, but it is really expensive.

  10. #10
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    I have the D7000 since almost a year now and with the included Nikkor DX 18-105, and i'ts a great combo so far. Prior to this, I had the D50 with a Nikkor DX 18-70, and while the D50 was great, the D7000 is amazing. You have a lot of options, settings, presets and features, plus many posometers and 39 auto-focus points. The body is solid, with a good grip and a nice large display. The video function is nice too, but still tricky if you want to use a continuous auto-focus or tracking a focus point.

    Even if the body and lense of the D7000 is bigger then my D50 with a 18-70, it amazingly fit into the same case with about only a quarter inch longer. I also use it for professional shooting.

    IMO, get the D7000 if you can. You be having way more fun. Unless you don't like tweaking around the settings and enjoying a full 16,2Mp DX sensor.
    Quote Originally Posted by NicoleB28 View Post
    topless. that's what all mtb girls do. we go ride, get topless, have pillow fights in the woods, scissor, then ride home!

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by miatagal96 View Post
    When shooting mountain bikers in the woods, I give up the ability to zoom and choose my 20mm f2.8 lens over my 15-30mm f3.5 - f4.5 lens any day.
    See, that's interesting, because one of the things I've been finding with my PnS is that its better to not frame the shots close at all, and count on having enough picture density when editing to get the photo cropped where you want it. Sometimes you loose a shot because it fuzzes out before you get it cropped tight enough, but you end up saving more shots with ideal framing than you loose with not enough "zoom".

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by David C View Post
    I have the D7000 since almost a year now and with the included Nikkor DX 18-105, and i'ts a great combo so far. Prior to this, I had the D50 with a Nikkor DX 18-70, and while the D50 was great, the D7000 is amazing. You have a lot of options, settings, presets and features, plus many posometers and 39 auto-focus points. The body is solid, with a good grip and a nice large display. The video function is nice too, but still tricky if you want to use a continuous auto-focus or tracking a focus point.

    Even if the body and lense of the D7000 is bigger then my D50 with a 18-70, it amazingly fit into the same case with about only a quarter inch longer. I also use it for professional shooting.

    IMO, get the D7000 if you can. You be having way more fun. Unless you don't like tweaking around the settings and enjoying a full 16,2Mp DX sensor.
    At 3.5 to 5.6, that lens would seem to be a more versatile one than the 18-55 that comes with the kit. Its not all that expensive either. I wonder why they dont bundle that lens.

  13. #13
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    All those pics were taken with my D7000, mostly using preset settings, like the scene modes, for examples, the high key for the one at the shooting range, or the macro for the bike. A big custom settings work for the bottles. All using the 18-105 lens.

    Only exception is the one at night with the big wheel. That was using the D50 on full manual mode. With a tripod.

    The last ones were shot in Morocco this summer.
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    Quote Originally Posted by NicoleB28 View Post
    topless. that's what all mtb girls do. we go ride, get topless, have pillow fights in the woods, scissor, then ride home!

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Metamorphic View Post
    At 3.5 to 5.6, that lens would seem to be a more versatile one than the 18-55 that comes with the kit. Its not all that expensive either. I wonder why they dont bundle that lens.
    Well, if you look at Nikon's website, you'll see that the DX 18-70 is priced higher then the DX 18-105... After trying both lenses (on both D7000 and D50), I find the 18-105 to simply be a way more polyvalent lens, since it acted almost exactly as the 18-70, but extends up to 105 to allow better perspectives and focus zones. In the Canada, they are selling the camera in bundle with the lens, but in the US they sell the body only, and then you can buy whatever lens you want.
    Quote Originally Posted by NicoleB28 View Post
    topless. that's what all mtb girls do. we go ride, get topless, have pillow fights in the woods, scissor, then ride home!

  15. #15
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    Nice shots. Although you should be rolling your shoulders foreword into that 44 not swaying back like that.

    I need to spend some time hunting for used lenses. I bet those kit 18-55's can be had for cheep as cast offs after people upgrade. Might make more sense to buy body only and buy a used lens as a starter.

  16. #16
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    Well for what it's worth, I sold my D50 $300 and the 18-70 lens $300 too. We did a package deal for $500 for the kit.

    The 18-55 are the basic ones. But you'll be stuck with basic zoom and focus zones, which a 18-70 is already better, even more with a 18-105. I also have the basic Nikkor 70-300, and it was funny making sort of close-up "macro" with it...
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Looking at a Nikon D5100-dsc_3243.jpg  

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    Quote Originally Posted by NicoleB28 View Post
    topless. that's what all mtb girls do. we go ride, get topless, have pillow fights in the woods, scissor, then ride home!

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by nine22 View Post
    IIRC you can use FX lenses on it but you can't use DX on FX due to crop (you will have a black border around the image and a smaller capture area. I think what you are referring to is that the camera will not work with older lenses(non computerized ones).

    HERE is a link explaining it.
    Just to be clear about this... yes, you can put FX lenses on the camera. Whether you have auto focus and exposure metering is another matter. In the end the DX lenses are perhaps the better choice. If I were buying right now I would get the D7000 for greater lens versatility. I picked up the D5000 for less than $400 refurbed from the Nikon factory, kind of on a whim, and I've grown quite fond of it. I'll probably pass on the 7000 and go straight to the D700. Did some shooting with a friend's 700 and a 24mm prime last weekend on an xc ski day and have to say the files are impressive. Flip side is he rarely carries that camera on rides unless he's working.
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  18. #18
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    Well, I guess I'll be the first one to respond that actually owns a D5100. Just buy it, it's a great camera. The 18-55 VR is a decent enough kit lens. Yes, you can spend more and get "better" but when you do decide to get another lens the 18-55 VR will make a great backup.

    My favorite all purpose lens is my 18-105 VR. My "low light" lens is a Tamron 17-50 f/2.8, non-VC.

    There are reasons why a photog might want a D7000 (I have one of those as well) but seeing as you're just starting out in DSLRs, you don't need what the D7000 has. And, when you do decide you "need" something different, the D5100 will make a fine backup body,
    A blind man searches in a dark room for a black hat that isn't there. Dashiell Hammett

  19. #19
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    The kit lens isn't a terrible way to start. Shoot with it. A lot. Don't worry about image quality. Concentrate on framing the shots you want. If the lens is too slow and the action blurs, don't worry about it. After you have a body of work... then look over your EXIF data. If you're really nerdy... graph what focal lengths you use the most. You'll likely have strong trends around two focal lengths +/- two steps worth of "foot zooming". There are your fast prime focal lengths. Keep the kit lens as a walkabout or snap shot lens. Done.
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  20. #20
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    I'll be the second with an actual d5100 to chime in. I picked up the bod+.lens (18-55) combo before the holidays. I love it. It does need to be tweaked out of the box to get some really, really nice colors, but it's easy to do. If that's the camera you're looking for, you really need to go to kenrockwell's site. He has an entire user guide for the 5100 that walks you through the entire setup menu. I took before and after shots and there is a distinct difference. As far as the kit lens. Sharp, quite, enjoy it. I picked mine up from ritz camera refurbished (lens included) which currently is running a VDay special of $600 with a 1yr warranty. Good luck beating that deal.

    I have no trailside lens opinion at the moment. I'm just chasing kids with mine for now, and that's hard enough.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by one4teen View Post
    I'll be the second with an actual d5100 to chime in. I picked up the bod+.lens (18-55) combo before the holidays. I love it. It does need to be tweaked out of the box to get some really, really nice colors, but it's easy to do. If that's the camera you're looking for, you really need to go to kenrockwell's site. He has an entire user guide for the 5100 that walks you through the entire setup menu. I took before and after shots and there is a distinct difference. As far as the kit lens. Sharp, quite, enjoy it. I picked mine up from ritz camera refurbished (lens included) which currently is running a VDay special of $600 with a 1yr warranty. Good luck beating that deal.

    I have no trailside lens opinion at the moment. I'm just chasing kids with mine for now, and that's hard enough.
    Thanks!

    That's a great price.

    Do the factor refurbs get new shutters? I'm given to understand that that's a wear limited item.

    Now its time to figure out how to break the news to the wife.

  22. #22
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    Hummm....I just noticed ritz has the 2 lens kit for $100 more. Seems pretty cheap for a 55-200.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Metamorphic View Post
    Thanks!

    That's a great price.

    Do the factor refurbs get new shutters? I'm given to understand that that's a wear limited item.

    Now its time to figure out how to break the news to the wife.
    Not unless they needed one to be refurbed which I seriously doubt. The D5100 is rated for 100k actuations. I buy 90% refurbs, don't worry about it. Break the news to the wifey by taking her picture with the new camera!

    I have a million things I can say about my D5100 but just get one and ask questions after you've got it. If your main question now is "should I get one" the answer is YES.
    A blind man searches in a dark room for a black hat that isn't there. Dashiell Hammett

  24. #24
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    I just got the 55-200 for closeups and wildlife. If I had the coin a couple months ago, I would have snagged the 2 lens combo. For what it's worth, my refurb had less than 600 shutter count. I did that in 2 days.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Metamorphic View Post
    Hummm....I just noticed ritz has the 2 lens kit for $100 more. Seems pretty cheap for a 55-200.
    As long as it's the 55-200 VR, get it. I've had one for three years.
    A blind man searches in a dark room for a black hat that isn't there. Dashiell Hammett

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