Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Refurb Nikon D5100 Under $500

Some sellers are now selling refurbished Nikon D5100 cameras (body only) for under $500 (B&H through eBay, KEH).  As you know the Nikon D5100 is no slouch and uses the same sensor as the best Nikon APS-C sensor used in the Nikon D7000.
In case you're thinking about getting a D5100, here is a brief comparison between the D5100 and D7000.  First, the similarities:
  • Same kick-ass 16mp sensor with very low noise and wide dynamic range
  • Same ISO range (100 to 25,600).
  • 3" 921k pixel LCD screen.
  • Both capable of 1080p video at 24fps.
  • external microphone jack
Here are some of what you're missing with the D5100 compared to the D7000:
  • D5100 has only one command dial.  D7000 has two.
  • D5100 doesn't have direct access buttons for ISO, White balance or file quality (JPEG, RAW, etc.).  You need to go through the menus to change those settings.
  • D5100 has only one memory card slot.  D7000 has two (the second can be used as backup or overflow or for video).
  • 95% viewfinder vs. 100% viewfinder
  • 11 AF points vs 39 AF points
  • The D7000 has a more advanced AF module.
  • 420-pixel Matrix Metering vs. 2016-pixel Matrix Metering.
  • 1/200 sync speed vs 1/250 or 1/320 sync speed
  • D5100 doesn't have a commander mode
  • D5100 can't do HSS.
  • D5100 has no built-in AF motor.  Some older lenses will not autofocus on the D5100 (although there may be focus confirmation through the electronic rangefinder).
  • 4fps vs. 6fps continuous shooting
  • 16 scene modes vs. 20 scene modes
On the other hand the D5100 has a few advantages over the D7000:
  • Swivel/tilt LCD screen.  Can be used for unusual angles or for self-portraits.
  • D5100 can do 1080p at 30fps.  D7000 maxes out at 24fps.
  • HDR mode.  The D5100 can take 2 shots and automatically generate an HDR shot.
Although the D5100 is missing some features from the D7000, it is still a pretty good camera.  It's hard to beat for $500.  Note however that the price may have decreased because the D5200 could be coming soon.