nikon d5100 zoom lens, or buy new camera?

Started Nov 24, 2012 | Discussions thread
RobSouthOz Regular Member • Posts: 252
Re: nikon d5100 zoom lens, or buy new camera?

You pose a very open question that depends on you and your approach to photography more than the equipment you ask about. If you are unwilling/unable to put time, understanding and money into a DSLR system, you will not be able to get good dance shots indoors for example and maybe a DSLR is not for you. HOWEVER now that you have used a fast prime, you may end up disappointed with a point and shoot.

The [big]x zooms of P&S cameras are slow (meaning they don't let much light through) making quality indoor shots (especially sports) impossible - you'll end up with very high ISO (grainy) images and motion blur. A DSLR with consumer zoom is a lot better - but will also really struggle. At least the high ISO images are going to be better from the larger sensor. The ideal lens for indoor action costs around $2400 USD (70-200VR f2.8).

On a tight budget your best bets in adding a zoom to the D5100 is:

  • Nikon 55-200 VR - $250ish USD
  • Nikon 55-300 VR - $400ish USD
  • Nikon 70-300 VR - $500ish USD
  • 3rd party 70-300 with stabilization - $350ish USD

Non-stabilized versions are significantly cheaper - but less effective indoors. This may not matter if shutter speeds have to be high due to subject movement (1/250 or faster). All the above are slow (f5.6 at the long end), so you'll still have to push ISO to 3200 for indoors, so don't expect clear crisp images like you get from the prime you have. If you want to share them on the web - it may be fine when down sized to around 1000px in size.

If you can't afford these, then try a P&S option - just don't sell the D5100 until you've seen what you can't get out of it. The above difficulties will only get worse with the much smaller sensor.

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