D5100 vs D3200

Started May 28, 2012 | Discussions
LtThompsonCS
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D5100 vs D3200
May 28, 2012

Hi guys ... yes I know - another one of these threads created right??

Anyways, I wanted to open up this thread because as all photographers, we all have our preferences - hence the variety of choices ... anyways, I've done some researching, and I've been contemplating between the 5100 and the 3200 - hoping you guys can help me make my decision.

I've come from the "compact" world - started with auto, switched to manual - but you and I both know that goes only so far ...

So, for me photography will always be my main priority for any DSLR. However, I also want to emphasize video recording as well - mainly for action (track/cross country).

Besides that, I also like silhouette photography. I've read that the 5100 performs better in low light than the 3200 ~ does this mean that the 5100 would be better for silhouette photography?

Another nice feature of the 5100 that I like is the articulating screen which will definitely come in handy.

... I've read enough to figure out that 10+ MP is more than sufficient and that it's really just a marketing ploy for people who don't know what their buying ... so I'll leave that at that.

I like how the 5100 has AEB/HDR - however I'm not necessarily to crazy about that if I don't get that with whatever body I get.

Now for the video part. Comparing stats between the two, they are almost the same (minus the fact that the 3200 can shoot 720 @ 60fps). would there be a significant video quality between the 5100 & 3200? But I've read that there's actual manual control (what all settings can be controlled? all? or just certain ones like ISO, f stop, etc??_

But I also like the 3200 since there's a dedicated LV button ...

So I'm stuck between the 5100 since it's a higher up model; vs the 3200 since apparently video possibilities seem to be better/greater. Is there any other information that you guys would like me to provide to better answer my question?

... and as in many other similiar posts - the D90. From just one article I've found, I think I actually perfer the 5100 over the D90 ( http://snapsort.com/compare/Nikon-D5100-vs-Nikon_D90 )

By the way, for budgeting's sake, my budget's at about $1200 - I want to try to keep the body price max @ $800 - and spend a good $400 on everything else (tripod, lenses, filters, memory card, backpack).

I also have a lens question. If I were to go down the 5100 path, I've done some numbers calculating and found this to be reasonably priced. Best Buy has an online deal for a 5100 + 55-300mm for $800 (no standard 18-55mm). I was then thinking about getting the 18-105mm lens since it appears to be a pretty good zoom lense (quality wise).

I've been reading everywhere that it's always much better to get a cheaper priced body and spend the rest on a higher quality lens, vs getting a higher priced body and cheaper quality lens.

I really like the 18-105 because, from what I've read, it appears to better a really nice lens for video recording - which is good for me because the bulk of my videos will be of runners. But the thing I'm wondering is, is it still worthwhile to have the 55-300mm as well? I fear that since the 105 is higher quality I wont use much of the 300mm and it will just sit around. But I also want the 300mm for things such as wildlife and photography from a distance (for track/cross country). Should I still buy both 55-300 & 18-105? Or should I do 18-105 and something else? Or 2 completely different lenses?? According to Ken Rockwell, I should not have overlapping ranges. (Agree? Disagree?)

Any questions feel free to ask!

Let me know what you guys think! Thanks in advance!

Nikon D3200 Nikon D5100 Nikon D90
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Barry Fitzgerald
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Re: D5100 vs D3200
In reply to LtThompsonCS, May 28, 2012

LtThompsonCS wrote:

... and as in many other similiar posts - the D90. From just one article I've found, I think I actually perfer the 5100 over the D90 ( http://snapsort.com/compare/Nikon-D5100-vs-Nikon_D90 )

If you're doing video yes then the D90 is far from your first choice (it does it but whilst not bad it's not ideal either)

For a stills photographer the D90 tears the D3200 and D5100 a new one (IMO that is) unless you go for the headline big MP number that is.

By the way, for budgeting's sake, my budget's at about $1200 - I want to try to keep the body price max @ $800 - and spend a good $400 on everything else (tripod, lenses, filters, memory card, backpack).

Don't go mad buying filters and other stuff not at this stage

I really like the 18-105 because, from what I've read, it appears to better a really nice lens for video recording - which is good for me because the bulk of my videos will be of runners. But the thing I'm wondering is, is it still worthwhile to have the 55-300mm as well? I fear that since the 105 is higher quality I wont use much of the 300mm and it will just sit around. But I also want the 300mm for things such as wildlife and photography from a distance (for track/cross country). Should I still buy both 55-300 & 18-105? Or should I do 18-105 and something else? Or 2 completely different lenses?? According to Ken Rockwell, I should not have overlapping ranges. (Agree? Disagree?)

Ken Rockwell falls into 2 categories: Not bad advice and on target, and fluffy nonsense that should be ignored. The 18-105mm is good, my only criticism is the plastic mount. It's not a small lens either so it might dwarf the smaller bodies (it's more suited to the larger D90/D7k bodies. Maybe he got a bad one.

But you have to decide what type of shooting you are doing do you need speed? Longer reach? Low light work or landscape stuff?

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josephsiu
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Re: D5100 vs D3200
In reply to LtThompsonCS, May 28, 2012

The D5100 has a dedicated live view switch; I have not done a lot of research on the 3200's live view button but it sounds like the same thing?

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Cobber55
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Re: D5100 vs D3200
In reply to LtThompsonCS, May 29, 2012

I'd suggest, if you can, taking an empty SD card and get some sample shots under the same conditions with both cameras to compare your own photos on your PC at home. I did this at the recent Melbourne digital imaging show at the Nikon and Olympus stands, after asking permission to do so. I compared the D5100 with the D3200 and also the Olympus OM-D. I added the Olympus in my sample as it is an interesting camera. This is a simple test of my photography under very similar conditions. It told me the D5100, in my hands, gives excellent results that I am pleased with. The D3200 was the second I had tried and both were below the D5100 in image quality. I suspect it will not do as well as some are predicting. The extra megapixels does not translate into better image quality. The Olympus, despite some very favourable reviews, also was well below the D5100 in my samples.

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The Skipper
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Re: D5100 vs D3200
In reply to Cobber55, May 29, 2012

Cobber55 wrote:

It told me the D5100, in my hands, gives excellent results that I am pleased with. The D3200 was the second I had tried and both were below the D5100 in image quality. I suspect it will not do as well as some are predicting. The extra megapixels does not translate into better image quality. The Olympus, despite some very favourable reviews, also was well below the D5100 in my samples.

Thank you for your post. How did the OM-D compared to the D3200?

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Cobber55
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Re: D5100 vs D3200
In reply to The Skipper, May 29, 2012

The Skipper wrote:

Thank you for your post. How did the OM-D compared to the D3200?

The OM-D has a very appealing size and user interface but the image quality in my samples was just not there. Perhaps on a par with the D3200 or a little less. They looked great on the OM-D's screen but when viewed at 100% on my PC were not as sharp as I would have expected. Perhaps they need a fair bit of post processing but the D5100 samples I took were virtually all sharp and usable straight out of the camera. The D3200 much less so.

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LtThompsonCS
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Re: D5100 vs D3200
In reply to Barry Fitzgerald, May 29, 2012

Barry Fitzgerald wrote:

But you have to decide what type of shooting you are doing do you need speed? Longer reach? Low light work or landscape stuff?

Well that's pretty much what I'm looking for (action shooting by the way - track/cross country)

josephsiu wrote:

The D5100 has a dedicated live view switch; I have not done a lot of research on the 3200's live view button but it sounds like the same thing?

Nope; the 3200 actually has it's own dedicated button; whereas the 3100/5100 are "levers".

So; in terms of lenses, I'm looking at the following 3 (also, I shouldn't have any issues with theses lenses on either 5100/3200 right? like autofocusing?):
35mm f/1.8
18-105mm f/3.5-5.6
55-300mm f/4.5-5.6

... now I'd much rather get the higher quality 70-300mm ... but that's kinda out of my budget reach ... I already kinda went into the hole just for these 3 lenses as is ...

Cobber55 wrote:

I'd suggest, if you can, taking an empty SD card and get some sample shots under the same conditions with both cameras to compare your own photos on your PC at home.

... do you think if I went to Best Buy and asked, do you think they'd let me do that? Wouldn't really know where else to go and ask someone ...

Also, when you did a comparison of the pictures, were they RAW or JPEG files?

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The Skipper
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Re: D5100 vs D3200
In reply to Cobber55, May 30, 2012

Cobber55 wrote:

The Skipper wrote:

Thank you for your post. How did the OM-D compared to the D3200?

The OM-D has a very appealing size and user interface but the image quality in my samples was just not there. Perhaps on a par with the D3200 or a little less. They looked great on the OM-D's screen but when viewed at 100% on my PC were not as sharp as I would have expected. Perhaps they need a fair bit of post processing but the D5100 samples I took were virtually all sharp and usable straight out of the camera. The D3200 much less so.

Thanks. If the OM-D images are close to or equal to the D3200, that is quite an achievement. I am shying away from the 5100 because it is noticeably larger than the D3200, but if I can get D3200 quality from a much smaller camera, I would rather go for the OM-D (or some future Olympus M4/3 camera using that same sensor).

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Cobber55
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Re: D5100 vs D3200
In reply to The Skipper, May 30, 2012

The Skipper wrote:

Thanks. If the OM-D images are close to or equal to the D3200, that is quite an achievement. I am shying away from the 5100 because it is noticeably larger than the D3200, but if I can get D3200 quality from a much smaller camera, I would rather go for the OM-D (or some future Olympus M4/3 camera using that same sensor).

Hi Skipper, If you are happy with the OM-Ds image quality then it would indeed be the better choice, albeit at a higher price point. It is a lovely, retro design with some nifty features. However, please check the images it produces and don't rely on promotional images. Test it yourself if you can.

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digitalman4242
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Re: D5100 vs D3200
In reply to Barry Fitzgerald, Jun 1, 2012

If you're doing video yes then the D90 is far from your first choice (it does it but whilst not bad it's not ideal either)

For a stills photographer the D90 tears the D3200 and D5100 a new one (IMO that is) unless you go for the headline big MP number that is.

I would have to disagree. Image quality is the most important factor. And the D5100's sensor is superios to the D90. Buy a filter if you need to take outdoor shots and want to open the aperture larger than 4.... Check out this thread.

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/readflat.asp?forum=1034&thread=41629495

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Mako2011
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Check size
In reply to digitalman4242, Jun 1, 2012

digitalman4242 wrote:

D5100 destroys the D3200. The D3200 has way too much noise at iso 800 or above. Very salt and pepper. The D5100 grain is 10x better.

Did you look at what happens if you down-sample the D3200 image to the D5100 size? Did you compare the D5100 to the D3200 when you up-sample to the same size? Did you compare Side by Side prints of the same size.? Do that and you may change you impression in terms of who might be salt and who might be pepper

Also note there is a slight exposure dif in the D3200 image you linked.

At 6400 ISO I feel the Nikon D5100 is slightly ahead. Downsampling the D3200 image gives pretty close results. The 16mp sensor has a VERY low read noise. Shoot ISO 100 & you can push the shadow or even the overall exposure 5 stops and still have a clear, not too grainy image. With that sort of abuse the D3200 can’t keep up. But, you really have to be a pixel peeper to see this kind of thing. In the 8x10 world, it will not matter IMO

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Mark Buckley
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Re: D5100 vs D3200 - re noise I disagree
In reply to digitalman4242, Jun 1, 2012

digitalman4242 wrote:

D5100 destroys the D3200. The D3200 has way too much noise at iso 800 or above. Very salt and pepper. The D5100 grain is 10x better.

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/studiocompare.asp#baseDir=%2Freviews_data&cameraDataSubdir=boxshot&indexFileName=boxshotindex.xml&presetsFileName=boxshotpresets.xml&showDescriptions=false&headerTitle=Studio%20scene&headerSubTitle=Standard%20studio%20scene%20comparison&masterCamera=nikon_d3200&masterSample=dsc_0018.acr&slotsCount=4&slot0Camera=nikon_d3200&slot0Sample=dsc_0018.acr&slot0DisableCameraSelection=true&slot0DisableSampleSelection=true&slot0LinkWithMaster=true&slot1Camera=nikon_d5100&slot1Sample=dsc_0066.acr&x=0.05706407635239965&y=0.6872042670082653&extraCameraCount=0

sorry I have to disagree with that - yes the D3200 has a bit more noise - but to me its a preferable less "colour" orientated grain ... also you can see - that the D3200 is definately resolving more detail than the D5100

in fact I also just compared vs my NEX 5n and looks cleaner than that

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digitalman4242
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Re: Check size
In reply to Mako2011, Jun 1, 2012

Mako2011 wrote:

digitalman4242 wrote:

D5100 destroys the D3200. The D3200 has way too much noise at iso 800 or above. Very salt and pepper. The D5100 grain is 10x better.

Did you look at what happens if you down-sample the D3200 image to the D5100 size? Did you compare the D5100 to the D3200 when you up-sample to the same size? Did you compare Side by Side prints of the same size.? Do that and you may change you impression in terms of who might be salt and who might be pepper

Also note there is a slight exposure dif in the D3200 image you linked.

At 6400 ISO I feel the Nikon D5100 is slightly ahead. Downsampling the D3200 image gives pretty close results. The 16mp sensor has a VERY low read noise. Shoot ISO 100 & you can push the shadow or even the overall exposure 5 stops and still have a clear, not too grainy image. With that sort of abuse the D3200 can’t keep up. But, you really have to be a pixel peeper to see this kind of thing. In the 8x10 world, it will not matter IMO

I am looking at the two small boxes below the full size image. It is on the heart on the card. And it's a HUGE night and day difference in noise.

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Mako2011
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Look again
In reply to digitalman4242, Jun 1, 2012

digitalman4242 wrote:

I am looking at the two small boxes below the full size image. It is on the heart on the card. And it's a HUGE night and day difference in noise.

Yes, and you should also notice that one is brighter than the other and one heart is bigger than the other....what does that mean regards your assessment of the noise?

Not trying to be disrespectful but just pointing out something regards how comparisons might be done.

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digitalman4242
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Re: Look again
In reply to Mako2011, Jun 1, 2012

Mako2011 wrote:

digitalman4242 wrote:

I am looking at the two small boxes below the full size image. It is on the heart on the card. And it's a HUGE night and day difference in noise.

Yes, and you should also notice that one is brighter than the other and one heart is bigger than the other....what does that mean regards your assessment of the noise?

Not trying to be disrespectful but just pointing out something regards how comparisons might be done.

I see what you're saying. I just dont think the little bit of difference in brightness and size would make that huge of a difference in noise. But i'm not a expert maybe you are right. Maybe the difference in noise is minimal once you look at everything.

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thygocanberra
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Re: D5100 vs D3200
In reply to Barry Fitzgerald, Jun 2, 2012

"The 18-105mm is good, my only criticism is the plastic mount. It's not a small lens either so it might dwarf the smaller bodies (it's more suited to the larger D90/D7k bodies. Maybe he got a bad one."

RE the size of the 18-105 and the entry-level bodies - I have the 18-135 (almost identical dimensions and weight) and have found it a nice match with the D60 especially as a walk around combinaton.

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LtThompsonCS
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Re: Look again
In reply to Mako2011, Jun 2, 2012

Mako2011 wrote:

digitalman4242 wrote:

I am looking at the two small boxes below the full size image. It is on the heart on the card. And it's a HUGE night and day difference in noise.

Yes, and you should also notice that one is brighter than the other and one heart is bigger than the other....what does that mean regards your assessment of the noise?

Not trying to be disrespectful but just pointing out something regards how comparisons might be done.

Thanks for this nifty link ... after a brief, initial assessment, you are right - there is a significant difference in noise - and I guess would it be color saturation as well?

Please forgive me for my lack of knowledge, but as I was comparing the 3200,5100, 300S, I noticed that the 3200's picture was "zoomed" in slightly more so to speak (hopefully you can understand what I'm saying by this). Is this because of sensor sizes?

I really like the 5100 because of the better color depth (saturation), lower noise @ higher ISO's, it's articulating screen, and significantly lower price.

However, I like the 3200 because of its much more flexibility of control for recording video. For me, photography will always take priority ~ however, video recording will also display a BIG precedence as well (need video for track/cross country) That's the ONLY thing that's holding me back from getting the 5100 ...

What do you guys think?

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mgd43
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Re: D5100 vs D3200
In reply to Barry Fitzgerald, Jun 2, 2012

I have both a D90 and a D3100. The D3100 and D90 are about equal in IQ until iso 3200 and 6400 where the D3100 is noticeably better. The D3100 has an iso 12,800 which the D90 lacks. It's good for emergencies only, but it's better than not having it at all.

With the D3200 coming out the price on the D3100 has come down. It may be worth considering.

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Barry Fitzgerald
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Re: D5100 vs D3200
In reply to digitalman4242, Jun 2, 2012

digitalman4242 wrote:

I would have to disagree. Image quality is the most important factor. And the D5100's sensor is superios to the D90. Buy a filter if you need to take outdoor shots and want to open the aperture larger than 4.... Check out this thread.

Well it's down to taste on this sure I'd love a D90 16mp CMOS sensor camera (not D7k price either)

IMO it was a mistake for Nikon to move the D90 up to the D6k price (which was a lot higher)

But the D90 remains and affordable "well featured" model
That's why it's been so popular with many folks

There is more to a camera then a sensor

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