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Subject: "D5100 as an unobtrusive travel camera?" Previous topic | Next topic
Nikon32250 Silver Member Nikonian since 16th Mar 2004Tue 24-Jul-12 01:34 AM
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"D5100 as an unobtrusive travel camera?"


St. Augustine, US
          

I am taking a couple of trips later this year and would like to have a camera that is not as bulky as my D3 or D300 with grip. I have been looking at the Nikon V1 and a Fuji X100. However, it has been suggested to me that since I already own a 28-70 AF-S and 80-200 AF-S that perhaps I should buy a D5100. Needless to say I would buy a couple of less conspicuous lenses when going walk-about.

My question is whether or not D5100 users felt that their camera was discreet enough as to not draw undue attention. The V1 and X100 definitely fall into that category. I'll probably run by a BestBuy or Ritz to compare the two.

Thanks

Graham
From St. Augustine, FL. "I like photographers, you don't ask questions." Ronald Reagan to White House Press Photogs

<http://www.ancientcityphotography.com/>

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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jpFoto Registered since 25th Jun 2010Tue 24-Jul-12 07:21 AM
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#1. "RE: D5100 as an unobtrusive travel camera?"
In response to Reply # 0


US
          

Graham

I bought a D3200 for similar reasons and couldn't be happier. I've never tried the D5100, but it's supposed to be an excellent camera with a tad more high ISO capabilities and auto-bracketing. The nice thing about the D3200 is that with the 24 mp sensor I can crop so tight that I can leave my long lenses at home. I bought the Nikkor 10-24 & 24-120 f/4 which will be the only two lenses that I am going to take on my trip. They are both stellar lenses and relatively light weight. Bring an SD card with you and take a few shots at BB. Even the kit lens, the 18-55, is remarkable for the price. And, if you buy the 55-300 with either camera, you get $150 off. It's not a 70-200, but it's a pretty good lens for the price. The 55-300 might be better on the D5100 since the sensor resolution is lower. Take a look at DxOMark's sensor tests.

jP

  

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Covey22 Moderator Expert in various fields including aviation photography Awarded for his contributions to the Resources and The Nikonian eZine Charter MemberTue 24-Jul-12 04:07 PM
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#2. "RE: D5100 as an unobtrusive travel camera?"
In response to Reply # 0


US
          

I have a D3100 and a Nikon J1. See my review for a comparison photo of the two side-by-side (50mm on the SLR, kit 10-30 on the CSC). A direct link to the photo is below:

http://www.seriouscompacts.com/gallery/showphoto.php?photo=6264&title=j1-unbox-006-web&cat=670

Honestly, even with the very discreet 35mm f1.8 DX on the larger camera, it's hands down with the Nikon 1 for every day carry. It's so light and unobtrusive. The camera is immediately discounted as just another P&S, which helps keep people from staring or reacting. The focus performance is as advertised, and in low light, I find that face detection helps contrast detect AF operation. It's quite fast compared to previous compacts I've owned. The smaller sensor does impose restrictions on available light operations, but upcoming faster lenses (or use of the FT-1 with FX or DX lenses) addresses that. Even at it's slowest, the kit lens exhibits fine grain characteristics like film, so it's not objectionable luminanance noise, and all current NR software can tone that down adequately.

"Toodle-loo from Covey22!"

-Armando
Nikonians Team
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Get out of the car.
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Pick the right mid-tone this time.

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cwils02 Gold Member Nikonian since 19th Apr 2012Tue 24-Jul-12 04:08 PM
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#3. "RE: D5100 as an unobtrusive travel camera?"
In response to Reply # 0


HIXSON, US
          

I spent last summer shooting with a D5100. I mostly shot with the 18-200 VRII. Not so sure that the lens made it look inconspicuous. It is one heck of a lot lighter than the D300. Since I recently broke my collarbone, I have started using it again.

The D5100 is "SO" different from the D300. With the articulating monitor, many controls that Nikon users depend on are not available. Since I was also shooting video intermittently, I found it most convenient to shoot Aperture Priority. There is only one control wheel. Shooting in A, the wheel controls Aperture. Then I made sure the Fn button (in an awkward--for me--location on the left) was set to control ISO. I did get a lot of good shots. The higher MP count made up a little for the lack of longer glass.

As far as unobtrusive is concerned... One thing that I noticed was that the shutter sound irritated certain wildlife like Black Bears, and Bald Eagles. It helped me get a good shot of a Bald Eagle, causing it to look right at me before flying off. I got a lot of mean looks from bears. One actually took a few steps toward me. The locals moved away from me, with keys in their hands. The bears finally decided they were more interested in the Sockeye Salmon than me.

Charlie

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cwils02 Gold Member Nikonian since 19th Apr 2012Tue 24-Jul-12 04:14 PM
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#4. "RE: D5100 as an unobtrusive travel camera?"
In response to Reply # 0


HIXSON, US
          

BTW, if you buy either a D5100 or D3200, and you buy other lenses as you suggest you might, just be sure to get autofocus lenses for these cameras.

I have a Canon S95 as my unobtrusive camera. In my opinion it's better than the S100.

Charlie

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Andy47 Registered since 20th Aug 2011Sun 29-Jul-12 02:43 AM
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#5. "RE: D5100 as an unobtrusive travel camera?"
In response to Reply # 0


Albuquerque, US
          

I have both a D90 and a D5100, which I use exclusively for travel and 'walk-about' with a 16-85mm nikkor lens. I've used it in Europe and the US and find the articulated screen and live-view a big help if you really want to be unobtrusive, at least in street scenes. As for quality, I really can't see the difference in a RAW image between the D90 and the D5100; yes, the D5100 does lack some of the controls the D90 has, but for walk-about/travel, it's been adequate for me.

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Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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cwils02 Gold Member Nikonian since 19th Apr 2012Mon 30-Jul-12 12:51 AM
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#6. "RE: D5100 as an unobtrusive travel camera?"
In response to Reply # 3


HIXSON, US
          

Just for fun, here is that Bald Eagle giving me the "eagle eye" right after hearing the D5100 shutter & about 1 second before flying off.

Lots of cropping since the Eagle was about 70-75 feet away.


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Attachment #1, (jpg file)

  

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parch2k Silver Member Charter MemberWed 01-Aug-12 01:34 AM
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#7. "RE: D5100 as an unobtrusive travel camera?"
In response to Reply # 5


Toronto, CA
          

I picked up a D5100 recently having tried and quickly returned the D3200! The idea was the same as yours: for travel and being unobtrusive.

The D5100 is one of Nikon's best kept secrets and surprisingly, so is the 18-55 kit lens (which I almost didn't get, because of the 'big guns' I already have (24-70 & 70-200 VR). This neat little camera is compact, produces amazing resolution with a magnificent LCD and if you shoot video (I currently don't!)you will love the ability of the LCD to pop out -- allowing you to get great angles. You can get those great angles on stills too.

I have even been enjoying the 'effects' mode possibilities for the fun images you can get. Its important to know its limitations regarding lens options, but that is minor compared to the quality of images you can get with this gem.

A definite Nikon home run!

- Paul
- A Toronto Nikonian
Still loving my D700!

  

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Nikon32250 Silver Member Nikonian since 16th Mar 2004Wed 01-Aug-12 02:16 AM
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#8. "RE: D5100 as an unobtrusive travel camera?"
In response to Reply # 7


St. Augustine, US
          

I don't know if this is a viable option or nor, but I have just started looking at the Coolpix P7100. It has a rangefinder look, and lots of buttons and dials to make changes on the fly. It also does video. It has a flip down LCD but it doesn't rotate.

Graham
From St. Augustine, FL. "I like photographers, you don't ask questions." Ronald Reagan to White House Press Photogs

<http://www.ancientcityphotography.com/>

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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John Bertotti Gold Member Nikonian since 01st Jul 2012Thu 02-Aug-12 02:44 AM
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#9. "RE: D5100 as an unobtrusive travel camera?"
In response to Reply # 7


Garretson, US
          

I'm glad there are som many choices in camera! I always find it interesting how people take to something. You love your 5100 and the screen, you couldn't give me a pop out screen and I will never give up the resolution of the 3200 even if it means I have to push a button and navigate with a dial a bit to do a few extra settings. And yet others would rather have something else then our beloved 5100 or 3200 or etc. truly a wondrous and diverse world we live in, good and bad! Bertotti

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NTexNikonian Registered since 27th Jul 2012Mon 06-Aug-12 03:52 AM
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#10. "RE: D5100 as an unobtrusive travel camera?"
In response to Reply # 6


US
          

Nice picture Charlie. I guess that answers a question I had about how the 18-200 VR II matches up with the D5100.

  

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rizzos Registered since 21st Mar 2006Wed 15-Aug-12 07:31 PM
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#11. "RE: D5100 as an unobtrusive travel camera?"
In response to Reply # 9


Roseville, US
          

I am a little late to this discussion but I am also interested in an unobtrusive travel camera but with a twist. I have both the D300 and D700 and have used both when traveling. My lens travel kit for the D300 includes the 16-85 f3.5-5.6 DX, 12-24 f4.0 DX, 35 f2.0 and a Coolpix S710. On my most recent trip (combination river cruise and city tour) I took my D700 with 24-120 f4.0, 18-35 f3.5-4.5, 35 f2.0 and the Coolpix S710. In both situations I will use the DSLR as the primary camera and use the Coolpix in the evening when taking pictures at dinner time and other snaps. I never liked the Coolpix S710 and it died on this last trip – no tears shed.
I would still use the DSLR as the primary camera but want to replace the Coolpix with a lightweight unobtrusive camera. One of my criteria is that the camera be lightweight, easily portable, and for example could be placed on the dinner table without taking up lots of room. I am considering the Nikon 1 system, a third party cameras such as Fuji X10 but am also considering a D3200 or D5100. My reason for considering the D3200 or D5100 is that I have both DX and FX lenses so the investment would be minimal and the weight of the body would be relatively light. I also like the Nikon 1 system and with the adaptor I could use my existing lenses.
Has anyone used a D3200 or D5100 to complement their larger DSLR camera? Any thoughts would be appreciated.
Gene

  

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Covey22 Moderator Expert in various fields including aviation photography Awarded for his contributions to the Resources and The Nikonian eZine Charter MemberWed 15-Aug-12 07:45 PM
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#12. "RE: D5100 as an unobtrusive travel camera?"
In response to Reply # 11


US
          

Gene,

At the end of the day, is the reduced bulk of a 3200 (I have a 3100, similar footprint) really going to meet your requirement of an "unobtrusive travel camera?" Granted, it's smaller, but it still occupies more weight than I like, and even with a collection of lenses, it still requires me to use a holster case that sticks out. Compare the Nikon 1 to the D3100 in my above post. Then look at my review gallery. I think it will raise some more interesting questions for you about what it really means to size down. SLRs are still SLRs, even with the smaller bodies (I use a D300 for my main body and previously moved from D1s and D2Hs). To me, I can lose the VF as long as I don't sacrifice AF performance, imaging quality and the ability to switch to different focal lengths without compromising using a superzoom. The J1 fits those items to a T.

"Toodle-loo from Covey22!"

-Armando
Nikonians Team
Nikonians News - Fresh Everyday!

The Covey Blog!

My Plan:

Get out of the car.
Get closer to the subject.
Pick the right mid-tone this time.

See My Nikonians Gallery

  

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rizzos Registered since 21st Mar 2006Wed 15-Aug-12 09:09 PM
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#13. "RE: D5100 as an unobtrusive travel camera?"
In response to Reply # 12


Roseville, US
          

Armando. Thanks for your quick response. I went back and re-read your review and it got me re-thinking. One of my quandaries regarding using a D3200 or D5100 with say a 35mm or 50mm is that it would be a relatively small package and would meet my criteria. That said, I could accomplish the same thing using my D300 or D700, albeit at a heavier weight. The J1 or V1 definitely is a smaller package.
I read somewhere Nikon will introduce the J2 – can’t remember dates. I think I will wait until then and then read the reviews to see what improvements, if any, have been made. In the meantime this will give me time to save up my pennies!
Gene

  

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jpFoto Registered since 25th Jun 2010Thu 16-Aug-12 01:55 AM
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#14. "RE: D5100 as an unobtrusive travel camera?"
In response to Reply # 13
Fri 17-Aug-12 12:48 AM by jpFoto

US
          

Armando certainly makes many good points, but once you put a Nikkor lens on the FT-1 everything goes out the window since you now have the same size camera as a D5100 or a D3200. I'm going to use the D3200 as my travel camera, and I have explored all of the other possibilities. If you need a camera that will fit on your butter plate then you should probably consider the Sony RX100 which has the same size sensor as the Nikon 1. How many terrific shots are you going to take at the dinner table? If I am going to carry a camera, then I want a camera, not a camera with a tiny little sensor. You've got all of the lenses, just get yourself a nice little Nikon D3200 and be done. It's really a DX sensor D800 and maybe more.

jP


Edit: Armando, this is the Nikon D3000 though D5100 Forum. I would not have posted this or answered your post in the Nikon 1 forum.

  

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kenjifujiwara Registered since 17th Oct 2012Mon 31-Dec-12 08:55 AM
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#15. "RE: D5100 as an unobtrusive travel camera?"
In response to Reply # 14
Mon 31-Dec-12 08:55 AM by kenjifujiwara

US
          

I favor the P7100 as a discreet cam than D5100 D3200 similar. Has raw format too.

  

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kenjifujiwara Registered since 17th Oct 2012Fri 04-Jan-13 02:24 PM
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#16. "RE: D5100 as an unobtrusive travel camera?"
In response to Reply # 15


US
          

On the D5100, it can be an unobtrusive travel camera. It's also light and easy to pack.

  

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Clarktmc Gold Member Nikonian since 04th Nov 2008Wed 16-Jan-13 11:33 PM
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#17. "RE: D5100 as an unobtrusive travel camera?"
In response to Reply # 2


Killeen, US
          

Does anyone no what the Crop factor is on a D3200?

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Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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Covey22 Moderator Expert in various fields including aviation photography Awarded for his contributions to the Resources and The Nikonian eZine Charter MemberThu 17-Jan-13 06:06 PM
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#18. "RE: D5100 as an unobtrusive travel camera?"
In response to Reply # 17


US
          

The D3200 is a DX sensor camera, so 1.5 FOV factor.

"Toodle-loo from Covey22!"

-Armando
Nikonians Team
Nikonians News - Fresh Everyday!

The Covey Blog!

My Plan:

Get out of the car.
Get closer to the subject.
Pick the right mid-tone this time.

See My Nikonians Gallery

  

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Photograffiti Silver Member Nikonian since 03rd Apr 2006Tue 05-Feb-13 10:02 PM
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#19. "RE: D5100 as an unobtrusive travel camera?"
In response to Reply # 16


LA (Lower Arkansas), US
          

While this is an older thread, I thought I'd offer my thoughts to those who are contemplating a similar decision.

I use a D5100 as my travel/lightweight camera. I've got the 18-55/55-200VR lenses as an ultralight option. However, I usually shoot it with a Tamron 17-50/Sigma 30 1.4/70-300VR/SB-400 combination. I get fantastic shots with this combination and have rarely found myself needing more than the camera offers.

Additionally, I picked up a Coolpix P7000. With the upgraded firmware, it's practically the same camera as the P7100 mentioned earlier. It also uses the same battery - which is very convenient. I can stick all this gear in a relatively small bag and walk around with it all day with no back strain. And I always have the option of leaving the D5100 kit at home or at a hotel and just going light with the P7000.

Mark
www.markpricephotography.com

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jec6613 Silver Member Nikonian since 12th Feb 2013Wed 13-Feb-13 05:58 AM
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#20. "RE: D5100 as an unobtrusive travel camera?"
In response to Reply # 19


Norwalk, US
          

I'll second the above: when I travel light, I take my 18-55, 55-200 and 35 f/1.8 DX lenses as a lightweight trio that covers 98% of my needs, my D5100 body, a P7100 and an SB-400. The lenses are all surprising performers and sharp, and with a D3x00 or D5x00 body, the entire kit will set you back between $800 and $1600; less than most people spend on one body.

The 18-55, 55-200 and 35 f/1.8 all take the same filter size and caps, which makes things easier when walking around and packing as I don't have to carry multiple filters, and the P7100 takes the same battery as mentioned (so does the P7700, by the way) which simplifies what I have to pack in terms of chargers, and means I don't have to carry two sets of spare batteries with me all day. They can all go in a pretty small bag together (although I have a small shoulder bag for the DSLR and an even smaller LowePro Apex strapped to the side) - it's also about the limit of what I'd throw in a shoulder bag. When I go out, I can go really light with just the P7100 or carry the whole kit if I want to, so it's flexible for anything I want to do when traveling.

Oh, also, for what it's worth, the P7000 and P7100 both have affordable waterproof housings, making it an even better vacation camera than I initially thought.

  

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Tony1337 Registered since 20th Jan 2013Wed 20-Feb-13 10:04 AM
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#21. "RE: D5100 as an unobtrusive travel camera?"
In response to Reply # 0


US
          

What exactly do you mean by "unobtrusive"? If it's appearance only, then a DSLR is a DSLR is a DSLR. The average Joe will not know the difference between a D5100 and a D800; maybe he might notice that the D800 is bigger if he looks carefully. So if you want to do street photography and are concerned that a larger DSLR would be too obtrusive, a D5100 won't help. A mirrorless or premium compact would be your best bet in this case.

On the other hand, if just want to reduce the size and weight of the D3/D300, then go right ahead. The D5100 is very light and a dream to use.

  

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Nikon32250 Silver Member Nikonian since 16th Mar 2004Wed 20-Feb-13 02:15 PM
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#22. "RE: D5100 as an unobtrusive travel camera?"
In response to Reply # 21


St. Augustine, US
          

I don't fully agree with Tony that a D5100 is just as obtrusive as a D800 (especially if the latter has a battery pack attached). If you line up a D5100 against a D3 then the difference in body size is very noticeable. I will grant that if you tack on a 70-200 f/2.8 onto the D5100 then it does become much more bulky. However, most travelers who want to lighten their burden would be using smaller lenses too.

When I went to India last year I carried both the D5100 and a mirrorless camera. There were times when the mirrorless was a better and more practical choice. Most of the time, though, I used the D5100 with a 24-120 f/4. I never experienced anyone paying particular attention to the 5100.

Graham
From St. Augustine, FL. "I like photographers, you don't ask questions." Ronald Reagan to White House Press Photogs

<http://www.ancientcityphotography.com/>

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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Forums Lobby GET TO KNOW YOUR CAMERA & MASTER IT Nikon D5300/D5200/D5100/D5000/D3300/D3200/D3100/D3000 (Public) topic #6397 Previous topic | Next topic