D3100 or D5100

txcajun77

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I'm planning to buy one of the 2 listed above. Wanted some insight on what would be the best one to get. Not planning to use any video so that isn't an issue for me. What I want is the quickest shutter speed and something that will take good pics indoors. I have a friend who wants me to shoot some wedding pics and need to make sure that I don't have crappy pics because of the lighting. Any insight would be super appreciated!
 

MLeeK

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The D5100 is a VAST improvement over the D3100. The D3100 is kind of like a step between a bridge camera and a full blown DSLR. It's really a bit stripped down.
Your photos won't be any better with either one of them than they would with a point and shoot camera unless you intend to invest in an education as to how to use the camera, excellent lenses and some extra lighting. Neither one is able to just do those things by themselves. You have to know what you are doing for something like that.
 

captvizcenzo

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If you have a tight budget, I guess a D3100 plus a speedlight would be the best choice for indoors.
 

greybeard

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So you are buying a camera specifically to take pictures at a friends wedding? What would you say is your skill level right now? Do you have any interest in pursuing photography professionally or as a hobby after the wedding is over? Hope I'm not sounding condescending as I don't really mean to. It is just the way you have worded your post that makes me think that you might be buying this camera for a one time type thing.
 

Joel_W

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So you are buying a camera specifically to take pictures at a friends wedding? What would you say is your skill level right now? Do you have any interest in pursuing photography professionally or as a hobby after the wedding is over? Hope I'm not sounding condescending as I don't really mean to. It is just the way you have worded your post that makes me think that you might be buying this camera for a one time type thing.

I got the same sense from your post. Both cameras come with the same exact kit lens, so the final pictures would be identical in terms of lens definition. Both cameras have the same pop up flash, so you're not getting a better/stronger flash with the D5100. Both cameras offer from full manual to completely auto settings.

Lighting is strictly a function of the flash unit you will be using. As others have already said, go with the D3100, as it's a easier camera to learn the basics on, and has a on board help option, and spend the rest of your funds on a good speed light.

You'll still have to spend some time learning how to use the camera and speed light.
 

EchoingWhisper

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It really depends... What do you expect from these cameras?
 

JohnS.

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Seems like what I was going to say has been said multiple times.

I have a friend who wants me to shoot some wedding pics and need to make sure that I don't have crappy pics because of the lighting.

You're going to have crappy pics with no external flash. Especially when the lights get more dim for when the partying starts. You'll definitely want a speedlight.
 
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txcajun77

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I plan on using it much more than just the wedding, just needed opinions on which would be a better investment. I'm using a fujifilm s2950 now and have taken some excellent pics outdoors, but it's time to move up and start going further. I've taken some classes for beginning photography and plan to do dslr classes once I purchase my camera. I'm going to get a sb700 external flash for the dslr. I was told to get a diffuser for the flash but not sure yet what that will do. I'm new to all this but learning alot from reading threads. This will be my hobby for now unless I can somehow turn it into professional. I'm confident I can do it, just need to learn more.
 

MLeeK

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If you intend to truly USE the camera and want the best you can get out of the two its the d5100. If you are remotely serious I would even go so far as to skip the d5100 in favor of the d7000.
Both of the entry levels have no AF motor in the body. That will force you to buy lenses with the motor in them. They cost a little more and there are some that just don't have a motor in them. Legacy lenses are much loved by Nikon lovers and many of them will not be compatible with the d5100 or 3100. The d7000 does have the motor in the body. No compatibility issues.
And lastly the d5100 just isn't made for professional use. You will find yourself upgrading very quickly when you bit the limits of the d5100
 

greybeard

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I plan on using it much more than just the wedding, just needed opinions on which would be a better investment. I'm using a fujifilm s2950 now and have taken some excellent pics outdoors, but it's time to move up and start going further. I've taken some classes for beginning photography and plan to do dslr classes once I purchase my camera. I'm going to get a sb700 external flash for the dslr. I was told to get a diffuser for the flash but not sure yet what that will do. I'm new to all this but learning alot from reading threads. This will be my hobby for now unless I can somehow turn it into professional. I'm confident I can do it, just need to learn more.
OK...............I'm using a D5100 with the 18-55 kit lens and it takes excellent pictures. Match with the sb700 flash it will more than meet your current needs. For roughly double the cost of a D5100 you can get a D7000 with 18-105..........It is weather protected.........has a better focusing system.........has a bigger brighter viewfinder......has roughly the same sensor and same image quality as the 5100.
 

Holydeath

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I'd also look at D90, it's better than both but not as expensive as D7000.
 

KmH

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.....unless I can somehow turn it into professional.
No sweat. The general consensus seems to be that to turn into a professional photographer all you have to do is charge money for your photos - regardless the consistancy of their quality.

I subscribe to the notion a professional photographer is an expert at doing photography, which takes a bit more effort and time.

According to this: DxOMark - Compare cameras side by side
from a Raw image quality perspective:

#1 - D5100
#2 - D90
#3 - D3100
 

thephotochick

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I have a D3100 that is our "family" camera. I've used it as a second camera at weddings before, and I'm not all that impressed with its low-light abilities. I've checked out the guide mode on it for giggles, and it seems pretty pointless to me. You're better off buying a book about how to use manual camera settings. It's not really that hard. Especially once you figure out what the little "+__________ -" thing means. ;) Granted, it can take years to get the stuff down pat, but i took a crash course before my first wedding on how to use an external flash with my Canon EOS 620 going all manual... and it wasnt a disaster as far as how bad it could have turned out for my 17-year-old self. heh.

If you plan on being serious about photography, try to invest as much as you can. If you can't afford the best, go a step cheaper. The D3100 is capable of some really great photos - any camera is, really. It just depends on how skilled the person behind the camera is. Educate yourself, practice, and you'll be fine. Hopefully. lol. ;)
 

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