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Help with choosing camera..Nikon D5100 vs Panasonic FZ200


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Harvrad Registered since 15th Feb 2013
Fri 15-Feb-13 05:04 PM

I will be getting a D5100 or a Panasonic FZ200 for my Birthday this month, I have little experience with digital photography/videography but I'm trying to get the best for my money. One of the main reasons for wanting to choose the D5100 is the photo quality just encase I decide to enlarge any photo's for the house, however I do want great quality video's to go along with it too. Have two daughters 9 and 13, they are growing up fast and I would love to get some good video of them before they get much older, also I love photography and hopefully will take some classes to grow. I have read where the video quality of the D5100 isn't to good?, and that it is too choppy and you have too mainly manual focus...is this true? And if this is true how do you go about videoing without all the hastle?, I work at Walmart and they have the D5100 with the kit lens for 549.00 and with my 10% discount and get the camera with the 18-55 lens for about 550.00 counting tax. The Panasonic is supposed to have excellent video and photo with a f/2.8 lens that goes from 25 to 600 mm. I believe I could grow with either one, and have great photo's or video's with either one but I would appreciate any advise with the one to take. Nikon has the better photo quality and a lot larger sensor, the Panasonic is supposed to have the best video?, with at 12 mp. If the Nikon has good quality video and I'm able to do this without always manually focusing then I'd rather go this route. I'd appreciate any help or advise, Thanks


Norwalk, US
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#1. "RE: Help with choosing camera..Nikon D5100 vs Panasonic FZ200" | In response to Reply # 0

jec6613 Registered since 12th Feb 2013
Fri 15-Feb-13 05:34 PM | edited Fri 15-Feb-13 05:39 PM by jec6613

First, welcome to Nikonians!

Second, I'm going to go out on a limb and say that neither are what you really want. If you want something that's an all-in-one solution, you need something in the middle.

Short version: the D5100 is great for stills of your kids but bad at video, and the FZ200 is bad at stills but good at video. Here's the long version:

The D5100 does autofocus during video, but only has a mono microphone and due to the large sensor, there's a lot of glass to move, so contrast detect autofocus performance is slow in video mode (or live view, for that matter). In video, it will not keep up with your kids running around. However, with stills, the phase detection system will outperform any compact camera at any price point, and let you capture your kids running around.

The FZ200 also uses the same AF system during video, but has a smaller lens with less to move, and uses micromotors that can focus faster with a contrast detect system. Additionally, the smaller sensor means that more is in focus than with the D5100. Unfortunately, when using the sensor's full resolution for stills, the contrast detection system can't keep up with moving children (it relies on the reduced resolution of video and the fact that you don't notice focus as much during video to make that work), so unless they sit still this is good for video but not photos.

As for the aperture, f/2.8 is nice, but the D5100 still easily wins in low light with its larger sensor - and you can always get an f/1.4 lens for the D5100, if you want, but you can't do that with the FZ200: what you get to start with is what you're stuck with forever.

Now for what I actually think you need:

If only there were a camera that had a sensor larger than a compact camera, but smaller than a DSLR, had interchangeable lenses so you could change it up to suit your needs, and would use phase detect autofocus to keep up with your kids running around in both still and video mode. Oh, wait, there is!

(Seriously, that's the thought process I go through whenever I recommend this to someone, it's an in between camera that's perfect for taking photos and videos of children, and is competent both stills and video).

The Nikon 1 system. B&H, if you're in the US, has two great bundles on the V1 right now for $300 and $700 - which is less than just the lenses in the two kits cost, and the $300 two lens kit is less than either will set you back (if you can't find the kits, PM me and I'll send you links). It will easily outperform the FZ200 in every metric, at a lower price, and the only place where the D5100 really beats it is with low light and depth of field isolation due to its larger sensor.

Anyway, that's my two cents! If you're stuck with the two though, get the D5100, it's much more camera for you to grow into and you can always stop down the aperture and shoot at f/16 to get more in focus in video if you need to.


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#2. "RE: Help with choosing camera..Nikon D5100 vs Panasonic FZ200" | In response to Reply # 0

lynell Registered since 03rd Mar 2013
Sun 03-Mar-13 05:03 PM

I got the Panasonic FZ200 for a Christmas gift and I love it so many features. I can't wait for the weather to warm up so I can really have some more fun with it, as far as the Nikon 5100 I have the Nikon D5000 and love it as well I have never had a problem with it and the 5100 is the upgrade to that. I think you will be happy with either of these. I love that the Panasonic offers both a hot shoe (for flash and microphone) and that it has a lens hood not a feature I have seen on many point and shoot cameras. good luck oh and if I was going to get the D5100 I would pay the extra and go for the newer 5200 model just my opinion.