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Upgrading from a Nikon D70

post #1 of 10
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Hey guys, even a Corsair rep has questions now and again....

Six years ago I bought a Nikon D70 and started taking photos as a hobby. I quickly realized that I have no eye for it (but I have a love for the hardware!) and kind of fell out of the hobby within a couple of years.

My wife, however, is a fantastic photographer. She's got a great eye for composition and has won a few small awards when she was in college for her photographs. However, my D70 isn't up to snuff for a lot of the sized prints she wants to do. With a paltry 6.1 megapixels, it really means an 8 x 10 is the largest we can print out before you start noticing some of the differences. We'd like to be able to print out some larger pieces for family and friends, especially since we have a new daughter.

I have the following gear:
D70 body
Nikon 18-200mm VR lens
Nikon 50mm prime 1.8 (AF, not AF-S)


I'd like to not have to re-buy a nice VR 18-200mm lens, so I plan to stick with Nikon. I'm looking at the D5100 and the D7000. The D5100 is very attractive as the price point is nice, and the video capabilities would be good for my wife to use for quick videos of my daughter learning to do stuff like walking, talking, and playing six hours of Counter-Strike: Source while drinking scotch. That last one might have been me, it's sometimes hard to remember.

So can somebody give me some real-world differences between the D5100 and the D7000? I know the D7000 is the better camera - but would it even be worth it? Is the ruggedness of the metal body and weather sealing worth the cost? We don't do any skiing or anything.

Suggestions appreciated. Thanks guys.
post #2 of 10
The big difference is that the D5100 does not have the built in screw-drive focus motor, so only AF-S lenses will auto focus, which means that your 50/1.8 AF-D will be manual focus only. The D7000, however, does have the in-body motor.

What else...they have the same sensor and resolution. D5100 has an articulating LCD and the D7000 doesn't. Superb build quality on the D7000. I've gotten quite a bit of face time with it and it's truly a great body. The D7000 also has a 100% coverage VF, something that is very nice to have.
Edited by GoneTomorrow - 5/24/11 at 5:34pm
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post #3 of 10
    
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post #4 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by CorsairGeorge View Post
Hey guys, even a Corsair rep has questions now and again....

Six years ago I bought a Nikon D70 and started taking photos as a hobby. I quickly realized that I have no eye for it (but I have a love for the hardware!) and kind of fell out of the hobby within a couple of years.

My wife, however, is a fantastic photographer. She's got a great eye for composition and has won a few small awards when she was in college for her photographs. However, my D70 isn't up to snuff for a lot of the sized prints she wants to do. With a paltry 6.1 megapixels, it really means an 8 x 10 is the largest we can print out before you start noticing some of the differences. We'd like to be able to print out some larger pieces for family and friends, especially since we have a new daughter.

I have the following gear:
D70 body
Nikon 18-200mm VR lens
Nikon 50mm prime 1.8 (AF, not AF-S)


I'd like to not have to re-buy a nice VR 18-200mm lens, so I plan to stick with Nikon. I'm looking at the D5100 and the D7000. The D5100 is very attractive as the price point is nice, and the video capabilities would be good for my wife to use for quick videos of my daughter learning to do stuff like walking, talking, and playing six hours of Counter-Strike: Source while drinking scotch. That last one might have been me, it's sometimes hard to remember.

So can somebody give me some real-world differences between the D5100 and the D7000? I know the D7000 is the better camera - but would it even be worth it? Is the ruggedness of the metal body and weather sealing worth the cost? We don't do any skiing or anything.

Suggestions appreciated. Thanks guys.
Glad you came to us for help

First, good news: Your 18-200mm VR is an AF-S lens, so it will be able to autofocus on any Nikon DSLR. No need to rebuy.

Bad news: Your 50mm is an AF lens, so it will not be able to autofocus on entry-level Nikon bodies (as they lack an in-body motor).

Between the D5100 and D7000:
  • Both have the exact same image sensor. This means there is virtually no IQ difference between the two.
  • The D7000 can autofocus with AF lenses, as it does have a built-in motor, whereas the D5100 does not have a motor and will not be able to autofocus with AF lenses. This pretains to your 50mm.
  • The D7000 has better ergonomics, a larger body (possibly a con for your wife), easy-access photo option buttons, and a larger/brighter pentaprism viewfinder. These are usually not noticed by beginners, but are things that experienced photographers find hard to live without.
  • The D5100 has a swivel screen and a smaller/lighter body.
  • Weather sealing also has to do with rain, not just extreme weather like snow. That said, even cameras with partial weather sealing like my Canon 50D do well in rain. I've taken it in San Francisco downpours on multiple occasions and never once encountered water damage.

What sort of photography does your wife do? Personally, I'd go for the Nikon D5100. It has the same image sensor (=> Same IQ and resolution) as the D7000, but for cheaper. The lighter/smaller body is something I've noticed women find more desirable (I've a few complaints about my mag alloy 50D being too heavy/bulky). The only problem is your 50mm will not be able to autofocus on the D5100, but that said I'd consider selling it for the AF-S 35mm f/1.8. It has the same large aperture goodness as the 50mm, but is an AF-S lens so it can autofocus on the D5100 and the 35mm focal length is something I feel is much easier to work with, especially indoors (If you noticed, my camera gear has shrunk to exclusively use the Sigma 30mm. It's that great of a focal length to me).

Hope that helps
post #5 of 10
D90/D7000 gets my vote
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post #6 of 10
Both great cameras. I have the D7000 and my girlfriend has the D5100, since everyone already explained the similarities and differences the only thing I don't like about the D5100 is it's shutter sounds very mechanical.
     
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post #7 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by BlankThis View Post
D90/D7000 gets my vote
I just went up (sideways?) from a D5000 to a D90 because of the price drop with the D7000 coming out. It was murder getting hold of just the body-retailers seem to have loads of kits-but I absolutely love the grip, amongst other things.
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post #8 of 10
I vote D7000 as well. Also the for the 18-200 lens, I have never used it but from what I hear, the focus can be pretty soft sometimes. I wanted to get that lens but asked some people on NikonCafe.com and they said its a soft lens and I would be better off getting a different lens so I went with a used Sigma 70-200 2.8.....great lens.
post #9 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by liljoejoe54 View Post
I vote D7000 as well. Also the for the 18-200 lens, I have never used it but from what I hear, the focus can be pretty soft sometimes. I wanted to get that lens but asked some people on NikonCafe.com and they said its a soft lens and I would be better off getting a different lens so I went with a used Sigma 70-200 2.8.....great lens.
They were probably speaking in absolute terms. The Nikon 18-200 is as good as any "vacation lens" gets, and probably among the better. However, such lenses, even the best ones, pale in comparison to prime lenses or high-end standard zooms.
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post #10 of 10
I think you'll be happier with the D7000. I've been shooting with SLRs for about 10 yrs and the D7000 is likely my favorite yet. As far as weatherized, don't knock it. It's nice to know when you have a cloud burst when you're out for the day, your equipment is not dead. Let alone, going to Niagara Falls on vacation or some such place where you have mist. Also, you have a little one in the house now. Cross your fingers she'll never get ahold of your camera. But she might. A little extra protection might help (coming from a father of a 17 month old girl).

Also have you held both of them yet? when I picked them up (along with about a dozen other bodies at the time), I found the D7000 sat the best in my hand. This is the quality that matter the most IMO hands down. Specs are fun to banter back and forth about, but if you don't like how it feels, you wont use it.

Go to a good shop and play around with both for a while. Take your own SD card to take pictures with and then take them back to your PC to check.
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