Customer Review

2,035 of 2,071 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Review Written for Beginner Photographers, October 11, 2011
This review is from: Nikon D7000 DSLR (Body Only) (Camera)
I am a photography teacher in NYC and online. (See my Amazon profile for my website.) I teach beginner and intermediate photography students every week. I've also been a professional photographer for the last five years with images published in The New York Times, GQ, New York Magazine, Women's Wear Daily, The New York Observer, The Village Voice and Time Out New York.

(This review is for beginner photographers.)

If you're a beginner, you're most likely asking yourself: Nikon or Canon? Really, I feel confident in saying that you can't go wrong with either. I've used both brand's cameras extensively and find that they both offer amazing image quality with well-built, solid cameras that, if taken care of, will last decades. There are two differences between the cameras, though, that can be taken into consideration.

The user-interface: If cameras were computers, Nikons would be PCs and Canons would be MACs. PCs are built for people not afraid of technology whereas Macs are built for people who want things super-easy. Nikons excel at customization options which means you'll see so many more options with the Advanced features of a Nikon than you will with a Canon. Canons, on the other hand, excel at ease-of-use for beginners. Canons offer less advanced options and can be easier to learn on. This can be frustrating down the line, though, once you've learned a lot about photography. At that point you may want all of the options that Nikon offers and be frustrated with your Canon. If you're someone who really likes to delve deep into your hobbies or if you're intent on becoming a professional photographer, I'd say a Nikon would be your best bet. If you're someone who wants to learn the basics of photography and only imagine yourself being a hobbyist, Canon would be a better option for you.

Where Nikon excels: Flash photography. I often find myself in situations where I'm shooting event photography (weddings, movie premiers, benefits and galas) where I need to use a lot of flash. For this kind of photography, I'll always prefer to be shooting with a Nikon. Nikon's flash metering (how the camera magically decides how much light to fire out of the flash) is much more consistent than Canon's. You can take a Canon and shoot the same scene three times in a row with flash and all three images will be at different brightness levels. You can do the same thing with a Nikon and all three images will be wonderfully the same. If you're somebody who plans on shooting a lot with flash (indoor photography, event photography, etc.) you'll want to consider going with Nikon.

Where Canon excels: Richness of colors. I've been in numerous situations where I've been on the red carpet taking the exact same picture as the photographer next to me. I'll have a Canon and the person next to me will have a Nikon. This has provided quite a few opportunities to compare the images side-by-side. What I've found is that the colors on the Canon's images look richer and make the image pop more. If I'm doing fine art photography (anything I'd like to someday hang in a gallery), I'll always want to be shooting with a Canon for this reason.

If you're set on Nikon, there are three cameras you should be considering and it all comes down to what your budget is:

D7000 $1,400 without lens
D5100 $750 without lens
D3100 $600 only available with lens
(current prices as of 2/19/11)

Here's what you get for spending extra money (each camera compared to the one below it):

D3100 vs. D5100:

The D3100 is an EXCELLENT camera so if you only have $550 to spend total on camera and lens then go out and buy this camera. You won't regret it. If you're considering spending more money, here's what you'll get from the D5100 in comparison:

-Better performance in low light situations.
-A higher resolution screen on the back of the camera so you can see your images more clearly and make out if they actually turned out well.
-An external mic jack. (If you're planning on shooting video with an external mic, you'll want the D5100 over the D3100.)
-A flip out screen (handy if you want to put your camera anywhere but at your eye level and be able to see what your camera is about to capture before you shoot it)
-Faster continuous shooting. If you're often shooting sports or any fast moving subject, continuous shooting allows you to capture multiple images in a single second. The D3100 shoots at three frames per second whereas the D5100 shoots at four frames per second.
-Higher ISO options. The D5100 offers one more stop of ISO than the D3100 does. If you don't know what ISO means (or what a stop is) just know that this allows you to more easily shoot images in low-light situations.
-Longer battery life. The D5100's battery will last 20% longer than the D3100

The two advantages of the D3100 over the D5100 are: less expensive and less weight. Whenever a camera is less expensive, it means you'll have more in your budget for the lens. The D3100 weighs 10% lighter and is 10% smaller than the D5100.

D5100 vs. D7000:

The D5100 is Nikon's latest and greatest and is even newer than the D7000. Phenomenal camera! If you're stuck, though, between the D5100 and the D7000, here's what you'll get by spending more money on the D7000:

-More focus points. When using auto-focus, the D7000 will have an easier time focusing on what you want it to focus on.
-60% longer lasting batteries.
-Faster continuous shooting. If you're often shooting sports or any fast moving subject, continuous shooting allows you to capture multiple images in a single second. The D5100 shoots at four frames per second whereas the D7000 shoots at six frames per second.
-Weather sealed. This means you can shoot with the D7000 in the rain.
-Two memory card slots. This is really a cool feature. The D7000 has two memory card slots which means you'll be less likely to find yourself standing in front of a gorgeous scene with no more memory left.
-Faster shutter speed. The fastest shutter speed on the D5100 is 1/4000th of a second; on the D7000: 1/8000th of a second. To be honest, I can't think of any practical reason why this would benefit you unless you're planning on shooting some really bright scenes like directly into the sun.

Advantages of the D5100 over the D7000:

-A flip out screen (handy if you want to put your camera anywhere but at your eye level and be able to see what your camera is about to capture before you shoot it)
-Smaller and lighter: The D5100 is 10% smaller and 30% lighter than the D7000. This is something to consider if you plan on carrying your camera around with you a lot.
-Less expensive so you can spend more on your lens!

If I can clarify any of this, please email me!

-JP Pullos, photography teacher, NYC and online (see my Amazon profile for my website)
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Comments

Tracked by 25 customers

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Showing 31-40 of 100 posts in this discussion
In reply to an earlier post on Oct 8, 2012 7:08:49 PM PDT
jpullos says:
Nelsia,

Check out this blog post. http://jpcameraexpert.wordpress.com/2012/09/19/buying-refurbished-equipment/

Best Regards,
Jerimiah Self
Camera Expert
JP Teaches Photo

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 11, 2012 9:20:26 PM PDT
jpullos says:
So glad the review was helpful for you!!

Thank you!

Best,
JP
http://jpcolors.com/online.html

Posted on Oct 20, 2012 9:54:37 AM PDT
Suresh Nair says:
Excellent narration by JP Pullos. This indeed helps someone like me that has very little knowledge and always gets confused which camera to choose from. Thank you very much for the detailed comparison on Nikon and Cannon especially point by point comparison on different models of Nikon.

Posted on Nov 2, 2012 10:52:51 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Nov 2, 2012 11:10:48 PM PDT
Absolutely the best review I've ever read, and you answered all the questions before I even asked. However, from a durability standpoint, do you feel that the D7000 is more durable than the D5100 or the D3100? I would hate to buy the cheaper cameras if they would fail to function sooner than the D7000.

Posted on Nov 3, 2012 6:58:44 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Nov 3, 2012 7:27:12 PM PDT
kevin says:
OK, so here we all are in Novemebr 2012. After 480,000 files, I finally dropped my D80 and most likely damaged it substantially( Fell off bus seat to floor and snapped off the 18-300 lens from camera). Lens looks OK but the connector ring was ripped from cam body along with lens. So I am wondering after two years if you would still recommend the 5100, 7100 or maybe a later model to replace the D80 instead of getting it repaired. The prices have dropped quite a bit and used 5100's are down right cheap. Just wondering what you think. Thanks Kevin

Posted on Nov 13, 2012 11:14:40 AM PST
Zach says:
I was able to borrow a friends Nikon D7000 on a hike to north dome in Yosemite National Park. Here is a link to a slideshow I made with photos taken with it http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W-8OT7-IbOE&feature=plcp.
I have never owned my own pro-grade camera (just a cell phone). I am definitely a beginner but I am a creative person in general though. I loved using this camera. I'd like to get the D7000 but I want to get into doing time lapse videos and I would like to know how easy it is to do it with this one. How friendly is this camera for that?

Every step of the way it got the shots I wanted. The weather seal on the D7000 is what would sell me over the new D5100 though.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 20, 2012 2:30:41 PM PST
Ardvaark1965 says:
Thank you for your constructive and entertaining review. I would like to see a review of the D7000 and the D3200? Have you considered that the D3100 was updated by the D3200 and what is your opinion of that?
Thanks

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 20, 2012 8:00:08 PM PST
T. Irwin says:
For beginners and value focused photographers the D3100, D3200 and D5100 offer the same image and are easier to learn/use and are lower in cost than the D7000 (the D7000 is the better camera but does not take better photos). The Nikon refurbished D3100 +18-55 is $368 at Adorama and is clearly the best value. The D5100 takes indistinguishable images from the others but the "body only" is a better camera than the D3100 or D3200 because it offers a better feature set- flip screen and in camera HDR (limited). Lens choice will make a much bigger difference in results than the choice of camera. If I were new to DSLR photography the best start point is the D5100 body and look for a used 18-105VR on Craigslist. If $368 is your budget the refurb D3100 kicks serious butt.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 21, 2012 3:10:46 AM PST
[Deleted by the author on Nov 21, 2012 3:12:15 AM PST]

Posted on Nov 22, 2012 10:39:56 AM PST
M. Smith says:
Thank you so much for your very informative and helpful comments - extremely well done and very much appreciated. I am a (retired dentist) and senior and have been involved with photography for 60+ years, have seen tremendous technology changes, have enjoyed my photography 'journey' and still enjoy it. I have owned Canons, Nikons and others and presently shoot a Nikon D5000 with the Tamron 18-270mm 'VC' lens + others and I have been very pleased with my equipment, but will eventually upgrade again.

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