Hi everyone! Enthusiast here looking for feedback, to learn and also get advice!


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Jun 4, 2013
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Hi guys! :wave:

About Me

I'm Ben, 23 from Northern Ireland.

Believe it or not, before the age of 20, I never really actually owned an actual standalone camera (apart from a very early Polaroid digital which I kind of bought as a "toy" in my youth!). After a number of years taking all my photos on my various phones and always wanting a bit more, and ahead of a 3 month trip to Belgium, I went about looking for a decent camera.

I didn't want to be one of these people who go from using their iPhone thinking they're David Attenborough and then jumping over to a £1000 DSLR, so I went with something that I thought would enable me to learn with the intention of moving to more serious stuff later if I wanted to, and also that in the event that I couldn't be bothered going any further, it was still a decent point and shoot.

After hours (probably weeks) of research, I finally settled on the Fuji HS20.

That was just over a year ago.

I've taken a LOT of photos in that time - every time I go on a trip, the camera comes with me in its own little bag and honestly it has been a fantastic servant. Has been a joy to use and with the manual controls I don't think I could have chosen a better camera on which to learn the basics.

Alas, however, I feel the time has come for me to think about moving on to bigger and better things. I love what my HS20 produces, but for me they're ALWAYS lacking detail. Always "blurry" if you like, except for perhaps macro mode. I'm still learning all the time, but just last week I feel I had my best day out with my camera yet and produced what I feel are some of my best shots in the last 14 months.

I shot said pictures in 8MP, but I still think they're very blurry and I will definitely try full 16MP next time I'm out with similar settings depending on conditions.

I would really appreciate it if you guys could take a look at my photos and honestly let me know what you think. My family and friends all tell me they're great but I guess it's kind of like X Factor where all manner of eejits show up because they've been told they're good by family and friends I'd like the opinions of some real enthusiasts like yourselves!

Everything I've ever shot and kept on my camera is right here:

Flickr: djbenny10's Photostream


So guys, I currently use solely my HS20 - my first real camera and I feel like I'm kind of reaching the limits of what I'm able to do with it (hopefully by looking at my photos on my Flickr above you will be able to either agree or disagree. I follow the Flickr group for the particular camera pretty closely and I feel like the shortcomings I experience are pretty much there in all the photos that I consider to be great shots. Those are:

1) A general lack of detail at 100%

2) Pretty bad in general at long focal lengths making it not really worth using

3) Dull colours (though this can be tackled by increasing the DR in settings)

4) Inability to play around with focus outside of macro

So, my question is.... would upgrading to a Nikon D5100 solve all these problems for me?

I've done a fair bit of research on the SLRs and feel that for the money I would have available, the D5100 is the best I could get (currently £400 all in including an 18-55mm VR lens - I've already got a good bag and memory cards). I would probably look to get at least 1 more lens 55-???mm in the future, but certainly for the period after purchase I could make do with just the one as I think I use that range most.

I'm particularly interested to hear from anyone who has upgraded from a similar bridge camera to a similar DSLR and what differences you noticed!

Thanks in advance,
Welcome to TPF Ben! A D5100 (or indeed pretty much any DSLR) is going to allow you to overcome most of those problems to a large degree. Remember though that you will not have the flexibility of going from macro to super-telephoto without changing lenses, and while the 18-55 is a versatile lens, it's not an all in one by any stretch.

Now, I'm NOT trying dissuade you, just make sure you've thought about all the aspects of this pending purchase. One of the problems with buying a DSLR is almost all who do, develop G.A.S.* and have a virtually incurable need to buy more lenses and accessories.

With respect to your previous work, I seem some very nice images there, but I also see many that would have benefitted from a better understanding of the basics. There are far, far too many images for which to provide meaningful critique. One of the best ways to learn is to post images in the galleries below (preferably no more than four, and numbered) and ask for "C&C" or "comments and critique". You may not like to hear some of the comments, but virtually all of them, even if harsh sounding are meant to help.

*Gear Acquisition Syndrome
Haha thanks tirediron.

Yea I'm definitely aware of the lens limitations but in all honesty I don't use the telephoto range very often so I think I could do without.

I'm absolutely open to feedback as I've only been doing this for just over a year and am under no illusions of being an expert at anything lol. I will post some photos right away and look forward to comments!


Sent from my HTC One
Hi Ben,
I found myself in a similar situation as you a couple of years ago so I'll tell you my story. Like you I've always been into taking photos and I've always done this over the years with plain and simple inexpensive point and shoot cameras (and my iPhone). A couple of years ago I upgraded to what they call a bridge camera (the Canon Powershot SX40 HS super zoom). Initially i was really happy with this camera however I began to be bothered by it's limitations about half a year in. Some of the things you describe I can relate to. So I decided it was time for me to upgrade to a DSLR and so I spend a solid few weeks of researching before I decided on the Nikon D5100. Initially, I was impressed with this camera and I'll tell you right away that the images it produces are excellent quality (a monumental step up from the bridge camera). Although the D5100 really allowed me to get into photography on another level, I quickly began to be bothered by its limitations, especially after I learned how to shoot in manual mode. The lack of features (such as single command dial, entry level focus system, no focus motor, etc.) really began to get to me the better I got at taking pictures and the more pictures I took. I found myself upgrading from this camera just a few months later to a Nikon D7000 which I've had now for a long while and I'm extremely happy with. I should have listened to people here and they guys at the shop and went with the D7000 right away so I'm trying to give you advice to think also hard about your future goals with photography. Keep in mind that the extra few hundred dollars you spend now (on a model such as the d7000) may prove worthwhile in the long run.
Thanks captain.

That's very interesting that you have had a very similar experience to me.

Can you tell me, just how much photography do you do exactly so I can see if our usage is similar enough for me to justify a similar upgrade?

Also, how do you find the size of the d7000 compared to d5100, I believe the latter is bigger??

A friend of mine is actually selling his d7000 and kit lens!

Sent from my HTC One
One thing to think about when buying Nikon.. They are *wonderful* cameras, and take amazing pictures, but once you have one you are pretty much wedded to the brand. I say this having just purchased a D5200 bundle myself. the thing I forgot to think about is how much the *next* lens or accessory will cost. There are some great brands out there whose price point is a lot lower. If that doesn't scare you though go for the gusto. I LOVE my D5200.
Thanks captain.

That's very interesting that you have had a very similar experience to me.

Can you tell me, just how much photography do you do exactly so I can see if our usage is similar enough for me to justify a similar upgrade?

Also, how do you find the size of the d7000 compared to d5100, I believe the latter is bigger??

A friend of mine is actually selling his d7000 and kit lens!

Sent from my HTC One

I shoot quite a bit of photos. In addition to having my camera on me for all my family functions and outings with friends, I go out once or twice weekly for a few hours at a time just to shoot, be it wildlife, birds, landscapes, street photos or just night photography. The D7000 is bigger than the D5100 which for me is actually a big bonus. One of the things that bothered me about the d5100 was that when I held it I was only able to grab it firmly with my thumb and top three fingers whereas the pinky would always be awkwardly dangling in the air. Simply put the grip was just too small for me. With the D7000 I can actually grip the camera much better with all my fingers. There is a weight difference but I didn't find it to be that noticeable. I'm not saying the D5100 is not right for you but do yourself a favour and go to the store and handle a D7000 and the D5100 and see which feels better to you. As far as feature set, the D7000 has far too many upgrades over the D5100 to list. Well worth the extra few hundred bucks you spend on it in my opinion. The D5100 shares the same sensor as the D7000 so under the right shooting conditions your D5100 would generate the same excellent quality images at the D7000.
does david attenborough actually take pictures? I thought he just creeped behind bushes most of the day until somebody gave him a cue to start talking about stuff.
i'm back!!!

reviving this as i've now been away on holidays using my bridge camera and the desire to upgrade is greater than ever now that i finally have a graduate job and am going on a weekend break to switzerland in a few weeks!

i've now dismissed the D5100, and instead I'm focussing on the D7000 and D5200.

captain, I don't think I would be as heavy a user as you are. having said that, it certainly makes sense to get the best camera now to avoid revisiting this later on.

truth is, i imagine it will take me a good year (with actual shooting taking place for no more than a few hours a week on average) at least to get to grips with a decent DSLR coming from a bridge and while I could afford it now, I think it may be more sensible to get the slightly more entry-level camera now (also bearing in mind it will make for an easier transition from bridge due to simplified controls).

I'm aware of the raft of improvements in the D7100 over the D7000, whether those are actually required by most people or not is a pretty contentious issue it seems but I think at about £590 for a D5200 inc an 18-55 and 55-300 lens it would be a decent use of my current money, again, bearing in mind i could keep both of those lenses, sell the camera (for hopefully not a massive loss as i do look after all my things) and replace it with a body only D7000 or D7100.

new question then is.....

what do you guys make of 18-55 and 55-300 kit lenses, and the D5200! like I say, the camera plus those 2 lenses (new) is £589.


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