D5100 vs D3100


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Jul 4, 2011
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Europe, Romania, Miercurea Ciuc
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I want to by my first dslr. I want the best camera for the buck. I should buy the Nikon D5100 or the D3100? I don't need the tilty swively screen, the filters and effects and the full hd movie capability from the D5100. But I want the beter image quality, the higher resolution screen, the better color depth, the larger sensor, the longer battery life, 1/3 stop increments, more dynamic range...
I want a DSLR which will grow with me as I learn to get more and more out of it. I want to get something pretty decent, because I'm not planning on replacing this one for years. Should I buy the 27% more expensive camera or I should invest in a 50mm f/1.8G lens?
Wait for a D7000. I've got a D5100 and while there is truely nothing wrong with it, the menu diving you have to do to set little things is starting to drive me nuts.
The D3100, D5100, D90, and D7000 all have the same size image sensor (APS-C), though how many MP they have may differ.

The D5100 and the D7000 share essentially the same image sensor.

The D3100 and D5100 share the Multi-CAM1000 11 focus point autofocus module and the 420 pixel metering sensor, while the D7000 has a 2014 pixel mertering sensor, and the Multi-CAM 4800 39 focus point auto focus module.
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I have the 3100 it's good camera but I should have gotten the 5100. If had to do over I'd find a used d90 first learn with that buy good glass and upgrade to 7000 later on but 3100 is good for me but will out grow soon
If you're asking the question, then you'll probably take advantage of the benefits of the Nikon D5100 over the Nikon D3100. If you can't justify the cost of the Nikon D7000, then maybe the Nikon D5100 will be a good fit for the next few years.

I just went through the same questioning last year. I ended up deciding I wanted more than the Nikon D3100, but wasn't quite sure I was ready to spend the premium on a Nikon D7000. After getting the Nikon D5100 and playing with it for a while, I'm really getting happy with the pictures I'm getting from this thing.

Do you have a BestBuy near you? Why not do what my buddies do. Buy the camera that you don't think you'll be happy with. Use it for a week. Then return it. And then go buy the camera that you want. Then realize how much more happy you will be with it and at least you've made the decision with knowing the other camera. <grin> Even the guys working at BestBuy tell you to do this. They may get a return, but the they just turn around and sell it as a used item.
From your post, I think the D5100 would suit you better. If my memory serves me right, the D3100 can't do 1/3 stop adjustments unlike the D5100. Also as others have mentioned, it uses the same sensor as the D7000.

If you can, the D90 is the best bet. I only went for the D5100 from the D3100 in the fear that I wouldn't be able to properly use the upper-mid range DSLR's and be frustrated about it. It's a similar feel to the D7000 which is truly a step up from entry level when you've become used to photography.

EDIT: Missed the part where you said you wanted it to be with you for a while (years). In that case, the D7000 is an excellent choice providing you would be patient and diligent with it.

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