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Old Jan 30, 2005, 2:51 AM   #1
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Join Date: Jan 2005
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Hi all,
I am new to posting in this forum though I've been intensely reading Steve's reviews and the forums here for the past few months.

To start, I am writing this as a person who has purchased the Nikon 5100 and wants to put some impressions of it out there for anyone else interested in this versus the 5200. Please keep in mind I am just a hobby photographer, by no means professional and also still fairly new to the game - so take my views with a grain of salt!

The provided NiMH batteries that come with the 5100 are 2000mAh, so they last a substantial period of time, but remember you must cycle them a few times before they can hold a full charge. I like them though, I've had no difficulty taking a days worth of photos on the one set. The camera also comes with a nice little NiMH charger - though it can only charge two AAs at a time. I have yet to run it with a CRV3 - though I expect better results over the NiMH.

From what I can tell of the major differences between the 5200 and the 5100 - the CCD is smaller on the 5100, so more noise is present, although I have very few complaints about the noise thus far - I'd say it's just as good as my father's FZ20 for that. The lens is also slower than the 5200, and I don't think it's nearly of the same quality.

I looked good and hard at the 5200 and even took test photos at a nice local photography shop to compare the cameras, and the 5200 was noticably better. That is not to say the image quality is bad on the 5100 though. I also looked at the Panasonic FX7, Canon SD300, Pentax s5i, and Panasonic LC80, and I'd argue the 5100 easily held its own against all of them.

Other differences of the 5100 include movie mode only capturing 15FPS as opposed to 30. The mode dial is on the back of the camera instead of on the top - which I personally prefer. The LCD is larger but has a lower resolution - though I'd like to point out that the review mode on the 5100 is fantastic, it really allows you to check for a lot of detail. If the image is even slightly blurred you can easily tell simply from reviewing the LCD - I don't know if the 5200 is similar but I'd assume it's just as good if not slightly better because of the higher resolution.

I really enjoy this camera so far, and I only have one major complaint about it. When taking a photo with the flash, the LCD will pause momentarily like just about any other digital camera, and then go back to the regular display as though it's ready to take another photo. But about a half a second later the LCD turns off and the flash charges. This is very disorienting because every time I think it's good to take another photo and then it goes and charges the flash - which I also think puts the shot to shot time with flash to something very high. It seems quite needless too because I dont understand what the camera is doing during that half second when the LCD seems to be working.

I also am not terribly impressed by the night photo capabilities of the camera. It has a night landscape mode but the noise gets pretty objectionable, and without a tripod it's absolutely impossible to take a photo that isn't hideously blurred.

Believe me, I tried over and over to get a shot of a fairly brightly lit building last night, and no matter how I tried to prop myself against steady objects or hold myself still, it came out blurred every time. However, even with my dad's FZ20, taking a good night photo is nearly impossible without a tripod, so I can't really complain about that. I just wish it had a faster lens or possibly image stabilization to help the process. Admittedly the FX7 from Panasonic seems tempting for that reason now.

So to shortly sum up a really long post - I see the 5100 as the traveller's best point-and-shoot friend. It has got good enough image quality to please most people, it is small and light, has some great features like Best Shot Selector and the multitude of scene modes, and best of all takes regular AAs or CRV3s. I'm taking this with me to New Zealand in February and Europe in the summer, so I will follow this up eventually with a link to photographs I took using the camera.

Feel free to email me with any further questions about the camera!

Wayans is offline   Reply With Quote
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