I am in the market for a camera to take pictures of the family. I will be doing the normal group photos (inside and outside), school recitals, sporting events both outside and inside(i.e.soccer, baseball, gymnastics, dance rectials, etc). I was wondering what camera and lenses do you guys recommend? Any help would be appreciated!
The D3100 is a better "Point & Shoot" camera, but I found it too small and too light to hold steady.
The D5100 will give you superior images and Video, but you will need a MonoPod, TriPod, or good hand holding technique. Because the extra pixels reveal user error much more better. The D5100 is also more difficult to setup.
I would go down to the camera store and have them line up the D3100, D5100, and D7000 for you to get "Hands On". I would also bring a SDHC card so I could compare pictures at home.
Nikkor DX kit lens are actually quite good. I prefer the 10-24, 28-300, and 35f/1.8 but find myself using the 18-55 more than I thought I would. At any rate, you will need AF-S lens because the D3100 and D5100 have no focus motor. You might check the EXIF on pictures you have taken to see what focal lengths you use most.
The D90 is easier to learn and use. The D90 12mp Sensor is more forgiving. The D90 has a focus motor.
The D5100 has a lot more capability. This articulating LCD is very sturdy and nice to use. The D5100 16mp Sensor can produce better images, but shows user errors mo beta too. The D5100 can use all the newer Nikkors that have AF-S or you can manually focus the older ones like the 80-400.
I prefer the D5100 over other cameras for trips, hikes, and Video.
The D90 is a discontinued camera body. It is older technology and while still a good camera, if you can stretch your budget, the D7000 would be a much better choice. It has a state of the art sensor, two card slots, better video (if that's important to you) and a host of other improvement that you can read about in the various reviews. It too has the autofocus motor so that you can use non-Af-S lenses.
I ventured into the world of DSLR's 2 years ago with the D5000, 18-55mm lens and 70-300mm lens. With hindsight, I would have chosen the same combination if had the opportunity. I started doing more or less what you plan to do, but the photography bug has bitten me, and apart from a macro lens that I added, I find that this combination worked well for novice and still has lots to offer now that I am learning more and more and growing in experience every day.
Enjoy making the decision and enjoy getting to know your camera!
Sat 17-Sep-11 11:21 AM | edited Sat 17-Sep-11 11:23 AM by jodylud
I would go with the D7000 as well.
The built-in Command flash mode is a real benefit. The D5100 doesn't have this feature and is a huge disappointment when you need to use your SBxxx flash off-camera for that special and subtle effect.
A Nikon battery grip is also available for the D7000 and not the D5100 (doesn't look like it's going to be either). Very convenient to be able to use AA batteries when you are out camping without electricity.
The D7000 body with both the 18-200mm f/3.5 and 35mm f/1.8 (for indoor) lenses and you're good to go.
Sat 17-Sep-11 01:56 PM | edited Sat 17-Sep-11 02:01 PM by RRRoger
The D5100 is still my choice for Travel, Hikes, and Video.
I do not need a battery grip for this nor the extra weight. The flash has only been used a couple times until I learned how to keep it from popping up on it's own.
We will continue to use our D7000 bodies for Event Photography, due to the dual card slots, locking multiselector, and bigger battery.
I picked up my D7000 yesterday to take pictures in my Nursery because it had the lens I wanted to use on it. Afterwards, I compared to the D5100 images I took a week earlier. Because of the light weight handling advantage with the MonoPod, I liked the D5100 better for that too.