D5100 or D3200

MrT

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Firstly apologies for asking a question I'm sure has been asked a thousand times, but looks like this is a very helpful forum!

I've spent past week trying to decide between D5100 and D3200 and change my mind on a daily basis...I appreciate D7000 may be even better than these, but as a beginner looking to get into photography, I've had to rule that out.

My main concerns are:

1) Have heard noise at higher ISO/low light for D3200 is worse than D5100 - is this a real concern? From excellent book I've been reading (Landscape Photography Workshop), all picture are taken at 100 or 200 ISO. How often do photographers really need 1600 ISO when starting out?
2) I'd like to get best quality pictures possible. Video doesn't concern me.
3) Cropping photos is something I can see myself doing - therefore thought D3200 may be better for this? Although 16MP still does seem a lot on D5100, especially if quality is better and there is less noise.
4) Again if I take a good photo, I'd potentially like to blow it up to put on my wall at home - thinking to 60x40cm size. Are both cameras equally suitable for this, or would D3200 have the edge at this size? Obviously I won't be doing this on a daily basis though!
5) Heard D5100 has HDR but only for JPG - therefore is this neglible as heard RAW is the way to go!
6) The D3200 weighs slightly less which is always appealing to someone who's used to a point and shoot.

Apologies for amount of points - if someone says D5100 is far better quality, that'll definitely sway me. Contrary to a lot of opinion on here, local indepent camera shop recommended D3200 as said "who wants older sensor - newer D3200 will be better as a year more recent" They also said HDR was better done on Photoshop rather than on camera.

I've handled both and they feel pretty identical, although D3200 is slightly slightly lighter...

Many thanks for those who've read my points! As you can tell, I'm pretty confused and can see pro's and cons of both...slightly swaying towards D3200 body and maybe better lens - any recommendations gratefully appreciated from sunny Salisbury!
 

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D7000 is only getting cheaper. Look at that too.

-Hunt
 
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MrT

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Thanks Patriot - I had a look and held that...felt it would be an excellent camera in 12 months, but as a beginner, was a little overwelmed and at present out of my price range (although I do appreciate price is falling...)
 

apvm

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My worthless newbie 2 cents...IMO, both the D3200 and D5100 are [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]very competent camera in their own right. It comes down to which is more comfortable in your hands and how much budget you have and how much you want to leave in reserves for your next lens.[/FONT]
 

CaptainNapalm

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I really think you're putting a bit too much thought in to this. Either camera will be excellent for you, but as I have suggested last week (not sure if to you or someone else) I'd get the d5100. This was the camera I bought six months ago when I was in your same shoes deciding between the exact same models. I haven't regretted my decision between the TWO. I soon found the itch to upgrade to a d7000 though so if you're planning on learning manual photography I'd suggest the d7000. If not, d5100.
 
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MrT

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Thanks - was feeling that the D3200 was best option after shop recommendation, but from everything I've read online, appears D5100 is preferred. Was wondering if this means D5100 had better image quality.

DXO-Mark seems to suggest D3200 is actually better but I've a lot to learn!
DxOMark - List view
 

apvm

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My worthless 2 cents again. You won't able to tell the different in Image quality with the 18-55 kit lens for the D3100, D3200 and D5100 and I think not much either with the D7000. I am a beginner and a slow learner, I think by the time I have out grown my D3100, I'll looking at a used D7100 instead of the D7000
 

CaptainNapalm

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My worthless 2 cents again. You won't able to tell the different in Image quality with the 18-55 kit lens for the D3100, D3200 and D5100 and I think not much either with the D7000. I am a beginner and a slow learner, I think by the time I have out grown my D3100, I'll looking at a used D7100 instead of the D7000

That's exactly right. Your image quality for all three cameras will be the same, however the d7000 stands out in therms of controls and ease of use in manual mode. Could make the difference of taking that picture in 3 seconds or 20 seconds and potentially missing the shot. I've shot with both the d5100 and d7000, the image quality is identical but the d7000 is a pleasure to use in comparison to the d5100.
 

brunerww

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Surprised no one has recommended the D5200. Best of both the D5100 and the D3200. Not that much more if you get it from Big Value via eBay.
 

chirantha7777

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D5100 is good compared to D3200...

Why would I recommend the D5100??

1. Active D-lighting (Unless you plan to post images taken in the sun... trust me Active D-lighting is an ANGEL)
2. 1/3 ISO control
3. Flip out screen
4. More custom control
 
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MrT

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Thank you Chirantha - very helpful. How large can I print 16MP pixels for indoor use? Would be looking to print them at a minimum of 200dpi
 

chirantha7777

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Thank you Chirantha - very helpful. How large can I print 16MP pixels for indoor use? Would be looking to print them at a minimum of 200dpi

Nikon D3200 vs D5100 - Our Analysis <- This outta give you an idea.

However, if your target is to print large photo's your better off with the 24mpix sensor (actually, the results above show its got tiny bit more noise than the 16mpix).

From http://www.owlsweb.info/ce/past/bestshot/megapixelchart.pdf

You can print 24.60" x 16.32" on 16M.... 24mpix you can go far beyond that. But really, just remember on the Entry level series of DSLR the Nikon D3XXX is the lowest of the class while D5xxx stands middle! and high being D7xxx....
 
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MrT

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Thank you again - very helpful. D5100 is looking like a good option. I guess D5200 would be best of both worlds but think I'd rather spend extra £200 on a lens
 

CaptainNapalm

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Surprised no one has recommended the D5200. Best of both the D5100 and the D3200. Not that much more if you get it from Big Value via eBay.

Last i checked the d5200 was the same price as the d7000, which is not very cost effective and given the choice I'd go with the d7000.
 

Solarflare

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Um.

Next lens ?

What kind of lenses do you want to get anyway ?

I currently work with 35mm f1.8 (on my camera 90% of the time), 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 VR and 55-200mm f4-5.6 VR. These are the really cheap lenses for DX. One can also get the 50mm f1.8, but thats an FX lens and frankly its an portrait lens, being the 75mm equivalent on DX, and doesnt offer the Bokeh I would want from a portrait lens (while the 55-200mm offers great Bokeh at 55mm).

And the D5200 is basically an unfortunate mix of the D7000 (but AF and Metering only) and the D5100 (the rest) plus a new sensor (much better than the D3200 one, by the way, and also slightly superior to the D5100/D7000 one). I'd go with the D7000 over the D5200 anytime. There is of course also the issue that 16 Megapixel on a APS-C Sensor is already the pixel tightness of the 36 Megapixel D800, and if you have read about how professionals have a problem to find optics that actually resolve these 36 Megapixels, you can imagine how much worse it will be for a 24 Megapixel Sensor for APS-C. Basically with every increased resolution of the sensor, more and more one gets the errors of the lens instead of more details in the photograph.

For example I remember reading a test recently Leica M Type 240 with the fantastic APO-Summicron 50mm f/2 (an extremely expensive lens for ca 5000$) against the D800E with the AF-S micro 60mm f/2.8, the probably sharpest lens for the Nikon F lens mount. And guess what, the 24 Megapixel Leica outresolved the 36 Megapixel D800E. Thats how demanding the sensors are now on the optics.
 

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