If it matters, I have plenty of years experience in using Photoshop to correct the flaws in photos taken with PaS cameras, so I'm knowledgeable in that. But I'm a newbie when it comes to DSLRs. I know how to compose photos that incorporate four of the five elements (texture, pattern, symmetry, and lines), but depth of field has always been a mystery. I'll work on that with my new Nikon.
I'm working with a budget of $2,000 and I hope to spend it on gear that will give me excellent results when taking photos of:
- electronic equipment (usually the size of a pizza box or a paperback book) for use in data sheets and such at my job (the equipment has small connectors and labels that would need to be clear and sharp when enlarged);
- animals at the National Zoo in Washington DC;
- landmarks in DC;
- exhibits in the Smithsonian museums (they don't allow flash photography or tripods at most of them);
- national parks like Yosemite;
- sunsets and dawns;
- birds on the wing;
Also, portrait shots of family and friends. And I really want to pursue HDR photography.
First, given all that, would it make sense for me to get a D5100 or D7000? My major concern about the D5100 is that it's not as easy to do HDR as with the D7000 (I know the D5100 does them automatically, but I'm not interested in that feature, I'm looking for wide ranging auto bracketing capabilities such as the D7000 has). And I'm concerned that the D5100 isn't as rugged as the D7000. Otherwise I understand they both take excellent photos.
Next, I know a couple grand isn't that much money to budget for a good camera and lenses (especially when I'll also need to buy a camera case or backpack, lens hoods and UV filters, flash and extra battery), so can you please recommend one or two lenses that will give me the best results for the bucks?
I plan to buy everything from Amazon.com.
 My budget shrank from $2,500 to $2,000.
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