Nikon D5100 vs. D7000

Jesse11

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Hey guys.

Been poking around a bit looking at some new cameras and these 2 have caught my attention. Although I know the D7000 does offer more features, fps, focus points etc., I'm really wondering if there is enough of a difference to justify the price. In Canada it's about a $400 difference.

So I'm looking for some input from people that own either one and their impressions on it. Or even better someone that was looking at these same two and what made them choose one of the other.
 

greybeard

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I have a d5100 it will not auto focus with older af lenses. The d7000 will focus with the older lenses, has a bigger brighter view finder. The d5100 does have a articulated monitor which the d7000 does not. These are (imho) the biggest differences.
 

jdag

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I think you'll find that this is 1 of the most common questions brought up on this forum, so do some searching and I am sure you'll find tons of responses. Also, be sure to search on the D5000 (predecessor to D5100) for more details.

That being said, you will also likely find a large number of recommendations for the D7000 over the D5100. Here are a handful of reasons to support the D7000:

Focus motor built into body
Top mount LCD screen (huge advantage in my opinion)
Dual control wheels
More dedicated buttons
Larger and more robust build
Flash commander mode (I do not believe the D5100 offers this, but could be wrong)
Faster frame rate
Dual memory card slots

Personal opinion is that it is well worth the cost difference.
 

Heitz

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I have the D5100 and I really wish I had gone with the 7000. Here's one simple reason. Suppose you want to do off camera flash without SU-4 optical trigger. With SU-4 mode, you can trigger off camera speed lights with the pop-up flash, but the pop-up flash will become part of the exposure. The way around this is to have 2 (or more) speed lights, one of which stays mounted on the hot shoe and acts as commander for the rest. In this way, you can trigger them without the master flash becoming part of the exposure (if you so desire). In this scenario, you would need to buy one extra speed light to act as the commander. So, that $400 difference may not be as big as you think.
Other notable lack of features include auto FP sync, lack of an internal motor, and fewer focus points. So if you are into photography and think you will advance, you will likely outgrow the D5100 more quickly.
 

DY3VERSITY

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I have the D5100 and I really wish I had gone with the 7000. Here's one simple reason. Suppose you want to do off camera flash without SU-4 optical trigger. With SU-4 mode, you can trigger off camera speed lights with the pop-up flash, but the pop-up flash will become part of the exposure. The way around this is to have 2 (or more) speed lights, one of which stays mounted on the hot shoe and acts as commander for the rest. In this way, you can trigger them without the master flash becoming part of the exposure (if you so desire). In this scenario, you would need to buy one extra speed light to act as the commander. So, that $400 difference may not be as big as you think.
Other notable lack of features include auto FP sync, lack of an internal motor, and fewer focus points. So if you are into photography and think you will advance, you will likely outgrow the D5100 more quickly.

This is exactly how I am feeling. After 7 months of owning my 5100. I really should of gone with the 7000, especially with the price difference. Having to buy a speedlight commander already makes up for the price.
 

jriepe

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I totally agree with the above advice. I am into macro and have a macro flash bracket with two SB600 speedlights mounted on the bracket with one on each side of the lens. These speedlights are triggered with the built flash from my D7000 or one of my D80's. My first DSLR was a D40X and never again will I want a camera body without a lens focusing motor or a commander flash. The D7000 also has a menu function that will adjust the focus of a lens that may not be focusing precisely. If you buy the D7000 I recommend a very good book called "Mastering the Nikon D7000" by Darrel Young that explains all the menu items in detail. I recently purchased the book even though I've had my D7000 for a year and have no regrets.

Jerry
 

KmH

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I have the D5100 and I really wish I had gone with the 7000. Here's one simple reason. Suppose you want to do off camera flash without SU-4 optical trigger. With SU-4 mode, you can trigger off camera speed lights with the pop-up flash, but the pop-up flash will become part of the exposure. The way around this is to have 2 (or more) speed lights, one of which stays mounted on the hot shoe and acts as commander for the rest. In this way, you can trigger them without the master flash becoming part of the exposure (if you so desire). In this scenario, you would need to buy one extra speed light to act as the commander. So, that $400 difference may not be as big as you think.
Other notable lack of features include auto FP sync, lack of an internal motor, and fewer focus points. So if you are into photography and think you will advance, you will likely outgrow the D5100 more quickly.

This is exactly how I am feeling. After 7 months of owning my 5100. I really should of gone with the 7000, especially with the price difference. Having to buy a speedlight commander already makes up for the price.
However, the irony is that using flash TTL modes is very much more complex, difficult to learn, and delivers much more inconsistant results than just using an inexpensive radio trigger and manual modes for OCF (off camera flash) use.

StudioHut 4 channel Wireless Radio Hot Shoe Flash Trigger Kit for Canon EOS, Nikon, Olympus & Pentax Flashes with 2 Receivers
 

greybeard

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There are several things about the d7000 that I like better. If the d7000 had an articulated screen, it would be perfect.
 

Zembonez

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Not exactly what you are looking for, but so far I am quite impressed with my D7000. I didn't have the 5100 though. I upgraded from my trusty D80.
 

Heitz

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I have the D5100 and I really wish I had gone with the 7000. Here's one simple reason. Suppose you want to do off camera flash without SU-4 optical trigger. With SU-4 mode, you can trigger off camera speed lights with the pop-up flash, but the pop-up flash will become part of the exposure. The way around this is to have 2 (or more) speed lights, one of which stays mounted on the hot shoe and acts as commander for the rest. In this way, you can trigger them without the master flash becoming part of the exposure (if you so desire). In this scenario, you would need to buy one extra speed light to act as the commander. So, that $400 difference may not be as big as you think.
Other notable lack of features include auto FP sync, lack of an internal motor, and fewer focus points. So if you are into photography and think you will advance, you will likely outgrow the D5100 more quickly.

You just inspired me to take out my credit card. So thanks for that!

This is exactly how I am feeling. After 7 months of owning my 5100. I really should of gone with the 7000, especially with the price difference. Having to buy a speedlight commander already makes up for the price.
However, the irony is that using flash TTL modes is very much more complex, difficult to learn, and delivers much more inconsistant results than just using an inexpensive radio trigger and manual modes for OCF (off camera flash) use.

StudioHut 4 channel Wireless Radio Hot Shoe Flash Trigger Kit for Canon EOS, Nikon, Olympus & Pentax Flashes with 2 Receivers

You just inspired me to take out my credit card. So thanks for that!
 

xj0hnx

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I love my D5100, but I would really love to have all the manual controls the D7000 has instead of just being able to assign a single function button. Though if you get a remote for the shutter, program the Fn to ISO, and set WB to auto it's not too bad. The on the body AF motor could come in handy also.
 

greybeard

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Like they have told you, the d5100 is a stripped down d7000. Same sensor and picture quality but, the d7000 has more pro features and is built a bit sturdier. I'm using a d5100 right now but if I were to buy a crop frame Nikon it would be the d7000 for sure. Big question, can you find one?
 

KmH

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Yes the D7000 has a metal top panel and back panel the D5100 doesn't have, but those plates aren't there to make the camera body stronger. They are there to help disipate heat and to help shield the electronics from outside RF interference.
 

nickzou

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Yes the D7000 has a metal top panel and back panel the D5100 doesn't have, but those plates aren't there to make the camera body stronger. They are there to help disipate heat and to help shield the electronics from outside RF interference.

I'm wondering if that is really an issue of concern. I was out with my photography class on the Canal for Winterlude (in Ottawa) and my HANDS were freezing! I kept snapping shots in RAW of everything, in burst mode only to remember that I have these metal plates that were supposed to dissipate heat. At one point I actually switched cameras with a girl in my class who had a D5100. She jumped at the chance to shoot my gripped D7000 and I really wanted to warm up my hands. So I tried the same thing with my D5100 to warm up my hands. Maybe the extreme cold was an issue (although it really wasn't that cold a day) but the camera did not seem to get any warmer than my D7000 not even a bit.

There are advantages to the D7000 I think, how it fits in your hand, the dual dials are worth it alone... I can't think of too much now but basically how the camera operates and feels in your hand is worth a lot more than beginners realize. Yeah you'll get the same image quality and honestly I think the meter in the D5100 is better but that usability quality of a camera is huge. There are a lot of superfluous features as well to be sure, but whenever I talk about cameras, it usually comes down to two things, usability and image quality. Everything else is kinda of BS.

P.S. Yes, I know I should've warn gloves, hindsight is 20/20.
 

Netskimmer

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I had a D5100 but returned it in favor of the D7000 in less than a month. I do miss the swivel screen from time to time but the faster FPS, dual dials, dedicated buttons, top LCD and better viewfinder more than make up for that and the extra cost.
 

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