a57 v d5100 for first DSLR

Started Apr 6, 2013 | Questions
123Mike Veteran Member • Posts: 4,643
Re: a57 v d5100 for first DSLR

I'll try again. The Sony has 1080 60p with continuous AF. It does 10 fps full res and 12 fps cropped bursting. The competition does not even come close. These are facts. They're not likes, they're not opinions, they're facts.

123Mike Veteran Member • Posts: 4,643
Re: a57 v d5100 for first DSLR

You can believe those results and that's fine. I also believe the results I'm seeing else, like right here on DP, where the A57 isn't as far behind as you suggest. In fact, in some places, I see the A57 produce better results. Sensor same schmame. There are other factors, like revisions, voltages, and noise reduction, who knows. Just because it "takes like away" does not mean it is that much worse. Evidence shows that that isn't the case, at least, no to the extent as you insist that other must believe.

End of day, I think that people are perfectly capable of running the comparisons here on DP, and then select different settings, choose a range. I'm seeing that, yes, in some place, the Nikon is less noisy. but I'm also seeing that the A57 will do a littlle better in some other image areas. See it's not simply cut and dry. Also, I'm not seeing anywhere where the A57 produces noise and the Nikon does not at any same setting.

It seems it's pretty clear that one should not pick the camera purely for low light performance. The two simply aren't as far apart as what you insist others have to believe.

And that brings us back to all those features that the Nikon does not have. How about that.

Bjorn_L
Bjorn_L Veteran Member • Posts: 5,770
Re: a57 v d5100 for first DSLR

I'm sorry I'm just not interested in continuing a dialog with someone who maintains that their personal beliefs trump science.  Fanboys like you are simply not worth talking to, it is not as if you would listen and you are entirely unconcerned about the facts.

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123Mike Veteran Member • Posts: 4,643
Re: a57 v d5100 for first DSLR

I'm sorry I'm just not interested in continuing a dialog with someone who maintains that their personal beliefs trump science.  Fanboys like you are simply not worth talking to, it is not as if you would listen and you are entirely unconcerned about the facts.

Temper tantrum... We had a dialog? Anyway, I'm sticking with my observations. And that, in the end, is what counts. Features count too, but I think you believe they're not real.

baloo_buc Veteran Member • Posts: 9,741
Re: a57 v d5100 for first DSLR
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Fat Dragon Regular Member • Posts: 192
Re: a57 v d5100 for first DSLR

123Mike wrote:

I'll try again. The Sony has 1080 60p with continuous AF. It does 10 fps full res and 12 fps cropped bursting. The competition does not even come close. These are facts. They're not likes, they're not opinions, they're facts.

You're missing the point. The facts about a product and its capabilities are balanced against many other things, and in the end the deciding factor is often pure preference or opinion.

Besides, plenty of people don't need video modes, with or without continuous AF, or burst mode. Those were two selling points when my girlfriend and I bought our A57 but we've taken less than ten videos since we bought it (and viewed one or two of them since filming), and the only time I used the burst mode was to drain the battery so I could give it a couple deep charges when we first got the camera.

NowHearThis
NowHearThis Veteran Member • Posts: 3,692
Re: a57 v d5100 for first DSLR
4

baloo_buc wrote:

We understand it. That's why you bought it. That doesn't make it the best thing since sliced bread.

No it doesn't, but the OP was asking for opinions on which is better and why.  I think the previous poster looked at what each offered and made a decision based on that.  He, myself and others see the A57 as offering as good of IQ at lower ISOs and IQ that's not too far off at higher ISOs.  But the A57 offers many other useful features not found in the low end Nikon cameras.

With the Sony you get:

1080/60p/24p vs 1080/30p/24p
Fast AF in Video vs None
Stereo Mics vs Mono Mic
15 Point AF vs 11 Pt AF
Faster AF vs Slower AF (See charts below - and yes, I've tested both of these cameras and found the results to be the same)
12/10 FPS vs 4fps
Wireles Flash Commander vs None
High Speed Flash Snyc vs None
Peaking Focus vs None
Kelvin WB Adjustment vs None
HDR vs None
Sweep Panorama vs None
Lens Correction for CAs, Distortion, Vignetting vs CAs and Distortion only
IBIS (Every lens Stabilized) vs Lens Based
100%/1.04x EVF vs 95%/.78x OVF

According to DPR (see chart at the bottom)
RAW IQ is equal and JPEG IQ is too close to really see any difference.

Yes the Nikon has better high ISO performance, but High ISO performance isn't everything.

I've owned Nikon (and I loved it), I had Canon (and didn't like it), I now shoot Sony and love shooting with it, same as when I had my Nikon - but now I have more features and options available to me.  Does that make me a "fanboy", no just an educated and experienced buyer.

Both cameras take great pictures in capable hands.  So given that, (and that there are tons of lenses for each - 85+ for Sony [Not including older Minolta lenses], 100+ for Nikon), I'll choose the camera with more features.

From Popular Photography's test of the A55

From Popular Photography's Test of the D5100

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baloo_buc Veteran Member • Posts: 9,741
Re: a57 v d5100 for first DSLR

I agree with you. Most of the pluses (with the exception of flash commander) are irrelevant.

I shoot RAW and 11 AF points is plenty for me since I use just one at a time and the coverage is pretty good.

I use the camera where low light capability is mandatory so half a stop matters. The difference between crop sensors and full frame sensors is about 1.3 stops.

Regarding IBIS at least in Romania no-stabilized good Sony lenses are much more expensive as the VR versions of Nikon lenses.

Each camera has its strengths and weaknesses so the OP must decide which compromise is acceptable or not.

For a beginner there will be little difference and Sony may be more appealing since it has increased default contrast, saturation and sharpening.

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NowHearThis
NowHearThis Veteran Member • Posts: 3,692
Re: a57 v d5100 for first DSLR

baloo_buc wrote:

I agree with you. Most of the pluses (with the exception of flash commander) are irrelevant.

I shoot RAW ...

The thing is the OP is looking at purchasing an entry level interchangeable lens camera.  If the OP is like most people, then he'll probably shoot JPGs almost exclusively for quite some time. The points I was trying to make were directed to that kind of buyer; not to the RAW shooter using a FF camera.  And I do think you understood that intent.

and 11 AF points is plenty for me since I use just one at a time and the coverage is pretty good.

I use the camera where low light capability is mandatory so half a stop matters. The difference between crop sensors and full frame sensors is about 1.3 stops.

Regarding IBIS at least in Romania no-stabilized good Sony lenses are much more expensive as the VR versions of Nikon lenses.

Each camera has its strengths and weaknesses so the OP must decide which compromise is acceptable or not.

Exactly.  My first post spoke more to this point.

For a beginner there will be little difference and Sony may be more appealing since it has increased default contrast, saturation and sharpening.

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123Mike Veteran Member • Posts: 4,643
Re: a57 v d5100 for first DSLR

An excellent post, filled with facts.

But, as always, people with a vested belief in something, will reject evidence, and will deny and avoid anything that works against them, and desperately clutch to anything they think helps them, and they'll wriggle and fantasize their way around to make their choice feel better. Thing is, instead of keeping that to themselves, they try to convince others that have not yet made a choice, and that is disingenuous.

Fat Dragon Regular Member • Posts: 192
Re: a57 v d5100 for first DSLR

123Mike wrote:

An excellent post, filled with facts.

But, as always, people with a vested belief in something, will reject evidence, and will deny and avoid anything that works against them, and desperately clutch to anything they think helps them, and they'll wriggle and fantasize their way around to make their choice feel better. Thing is, instead of keeping that to themselves, they try to convince others that have not yet made a choice, and that is disingenuous.

From the perspective of a Nikon owner, this comment could be directed at yourself. You keep trying to prove that the A57 is the superior camera, hands-down, but that's purely an opinion based on the things that you consider important. Don't get me wrong, it's the camera I chose to buy for my girlfriend last Christmas, but to pretend that your perception of its superiority is in any way absolute is just silly.

123Mike Veteran Member • Posts: 4,643
Re: a57 v d5100 for first DSLR

Fat Dragon wrote:

123Mike wrote:

An excellent post, filled with facts.

But, as always, people with a vested belief in something, will reject evidence, and will deny and avoid anything that works against them, and desperately clutch to anything they think helps them, and they'll wriggle and fantasize their way around to make their choice feel better. Thing is, instead of keeping that to themselves, they try to convince others that have not yet made a choice, and that is disingenuous.

From the perspective of a Nikon owner, this comment could be directed at yourself. You keep trying to prove that the A57 is the superior camera, hands-down, but that's purely an opinion based on the things that you consider important. Don't get me wrong, it's the camera I chose to buy for my girlfriend last Christmas, but to pretend that your perception of its superiority is in any way absolute is just silly.

You can side with opinions all you want. I'll stick with the facts.

Bjorn_L
Bjorn_L Veteran Member • Posts: 5,770
Re: a57 v d5100 for first DSLR

123Mike wrote:

You can side with opinions all you want. I'll stick with the facts.

Says the person who has multiple times in this very thread maintained that his opinions trumps all scientific facts.

Amusing.

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123Mike Veteran Member • Posts: 4,643
Re: a57 v d5100 for first DSLR

What part of these facts do you not understand?

1080/60p/24p vs 1080/30p/24p
Fast AF in Video vs None
Stereo Mics vs Mono Mic
15 Point AF vs 11 Pt AF
Faster AF vs Slower AF (See charts below - and yes, I've tested both of these cameras and found the results to be the same)
12/10 FPS vs 4fps
Wireles Flash Commander vs None
High Speed Flash Snyc vs None
Peaking Focus vs None
Kelvin WB Adjustment vs None
HDR vs None
Sweep Panorama vs None
Lens Correction for CAs, Distortion, Vignetting vs CAs and Distortion only
IBIS (Every lens Stabilized) vs Lens Based
100%/1.04x EVF vs 95%/.78x OVF

According to DPR (see chart at the bottom)
RAW IQ is equal and JPEG IQ is too close to really see any difference.

Fat Dragon Regular Member • Posts: 192
Re: a57 v d5100 for first DSLR

123Mike wrote:

What part of these facts do you not understand?

1080/60p/24p vs 1080/30p/24p
Fast AF in Video vs None
Stereo Mics vs Mono Mic
15 Point AF vs 11 Pt AF
Faster AF vs Slower AF (See charts below - and yes, I've tested both of these cameras and found the results to be the same)
12/10 FPS vs 4fps
Wireles Flash Commander vs None
High Speed Flash Snyc vs None
Peaking Focus vs None
Kelvin WB Adjustment vs None
HDR vs None
Sweep Panorama vs None
Lens Correction for CAs, Distortion, Vignetting vs CAs and Distortion only
IBIS (Every lens Stabilized) vs Lens Based
100%/1.04x EVF vs 95%/.78x OVF

According to DPR (see chart at the bottom)
RAW IQ is equal and JPEG IQ is too close to really see any difference.

But what if I need better low-light performance, don't need fast autofocus or burst modes, and prefer optical viewfinders (as many here do)? In that case, the D5100 would be the better camera for me. Others just prefer the ergonomics or button and menu layout of one system or another. When I used my friend's EOS 550D, I liked the feel, layout, and shutter feedback quite a bit more than the A57, and though I still prefer the A57 because of certain features, those aren't negligible aspects of owning and using a camera. I give an example of a Canon, but many people could say the same thing about the Nikon.

In regards to my girlfriend's A57, we have taken very few videos, in which I prefer to use manual focus anyway. We have never used burst mode for actual shooting (only draining the battery), don't have external flashes, and have never used (and may never use) in-camera HDR or sweep panorama. That cuts out half of your list of ways in which the A57 is apparently superior (which is purely a feature list, by the way, and biased by only listing the advantages of the A57, ignoring that the D5100 has its good points as well).

All I'm trying to say here is that you're out to prove something that can't be proven, and you might do well to calm down a bit and accept that not everybody is going to be swayed by your opinion, even if there are facts that helped you come to that opinion.

NowHearThis
NowHearThis Veteran Member • Posts: 3,692
Back to the Original Poster...

Fat Dragon wrote:

123Mike wrote:

What part of these facts do you not understand?

1080/60p/24p vs 1080/30p/24p
Fast AF in Video vs None
Stereo Mics vs Mono Mic
15 Point AF vs 11 Pt AF
Faster AF vs Slower AF (See charts below - and yes, I've tested both of these cameras and found the results to be the same)
12/10 FPS vs 4fps
Wireles Flash Commander vs None
High Speed Flash Snyc vs None
Peaking Focus vs None
Kelvin WB Adjustment vs None
HDR vs None
Sweep Panorama vs None
Lens Correction for CAs, Distortion, Vignetting vs CAs and Distortion only
IBIS (Every lens Stabilized) vs Lens Based
100%/1.04x EVF vs 95%/.78x OVF

I forgot to add Live Histogram or Level in the EVF (I use both quite often).

According to DPR (see chart at the bottom)
RAW IQ is equal and JPEG IQ is too close to really see any difference.

But what if I need better low-light performance, don't need fast autofocus or burst modes, and prefer optical viewfinders (as many here do)? In that case, the D5100 would be the better camera for me.

If you flat out will not use an Electronic Viewfinder, fine, pick up the D5100. As a stills camera it's really good. Simple to use, not a lot of fuss needed to make nice pictures. The OP will enjoy it.

Where I'd disagree with your camera choice is on the "better low-light performance", "don't need fast autofocus or burst modes". Lets look at them in reverse order:

"don't need fast autofocus or burst modes": This tells me you're not shooting anything that moves or that hardly moves, in which case a fast stabilized prime would allow you to shoot at lower ISOs and deliver better pictures. Other than the $6,000 200mm F/2 the fastest prime with VR that Nikon makes is an F2.8. With Sony every prime is stabilized, you could shoot with the any of 8 Sony Primes from 35 to 135mm that are F2 or faster. Sony claims 3-4 stops IS, for the sake of argument, lets call it 2 stops. I'll even give you a full 1/2 stop light loss due to the pellicle mirror. So you're now able to shoot at ISOs 1 & 1/2 stops lower than the Nikon.....and you can use this option because you "don't need fast autofocus"

Others just prefer the ergonomics or button and menu layout of one system or another. When I used my friend's EOS 550D, I liked the feel, layout, and shutter feedback quite a bit more than the A57, and though I still prefer the A57 because of certain features, those aren't negligible aspects of owning and using a camera.

Agreed, I have always said people need to go and try out the cameras, this means spending more then 5 minutes listening to a sales pitch.  Definately check out the ergonomics, definately bring memory cards to test out the cameras.

In regards to my girlfriend's A57, we have taken very few videos, in which I prefer to use manual focus anyway. We have never used burst mode for actual shooting (only draining the battery), don't have external flashes, and have never used (and may never use) in-camera HDR or sweep panorama. That cuts out half of your list of ways in which the A57 is apparently superior (which is purely a feature list, by the way, and biased by only listing the advantages of the A57, ignoring that the D5100 has its good points as well).

But not everybody doesn't use them (pardon the double negative). I shoot with a NEX7, I use the Sweep Panorama often.  [EDIT: I had images but they wouldn't load - sorry, The pictures at Arches are in my Gallery page.]

I use a flash all the time too, it put nice catch lights in peoples eyes.

I use HDR often too. Being a landscape shooter (mostly) I like that I can significantly increase my DR in my outdoor shots. It works much better than Nikon's Active D-Lighting or Canon's Highlight Tone Priority modes. I get an expanded DR with ZERO increase in noise.  [EDIT: I had images but they wouldn't load - sorry; same issue as above.]

All I'm trying to say here is that you're out to prove something that can't be proven, and you might do well to calm down a bit and accept that not everybody is going to be swayed by your opinion, even if there are facts that helped you come to that opinion.

Maybe not, and that's fine, but there may be someone (or many someones) who says "Yeah I need that". And that's why we post and make a case (albeit it's best if you qualify and make justified reasons for your point) for endorsing any particular product. The biggest problem is we keep forgetting about the ORIGINAL POSTER, he asked:

"Besides the faster frame rate in the a57 i was just wondering if there is much difference in these cameras which would sway you to go one way or the other if you were recommending a DSLR for a first time buyer.."
The answer to his question is YES! I've listed some - tailored to a first time buyer. Many of the features in the Sony will help the OP take better photos:

  • Faster AF (that's just as accurate) means more chance of capturing the moment you want.
  • AF in Video, with Face Detection, might mean better looking videos with less "hunting" or OOF images.
  • Stereo Mics mean the OP doesn't have extra equipment to buy right now.
  • Sweep Panorama and HDR means the first time buyer doesn't have to spend more time on the computer just to make these types of shots and they'll still look good printed upto 36" wide.
  • IBIS, means every lens is stabilized. Now I prefer Lens based OSS myself, but many prefer the stabilizer to be in the body and it can help in low light when using primes as I mentioned above.

Will the Sony beat the Nikon in everything, heck no. And the same would be true in reverse. But, is the A57 a very good option the OP should consider, Yes, and hopefully, I've explained my reasons as to why it is.

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Fat Dragon Regular Member • Posts: 192
Re: Back to the Original Poster...

NowHearThis wrote:

...

Will the Sony beat the Nikon in everything, heck no. And the same would be true in reverse. But, is the A57 a very good option the OP should consider, Yes, and hopefully, I've explained my reasons as to why it is.

I appreciate these points. Some of them are reasons I chose the A57, others are irrelevant to my use, and some of them make me more excited about having an A57 available to me.

My objection wasn't that 123Mike was arguing in favor of one over the other, but that, from my reading, his comments always seemed to close on a, "and if you don't agree, you're stupid," tone. I could have misread his intention in posting, but that was what I got out of his posts. When I infer that kind of dismissiveness in an argument, it leads me to dismiss the argument itself because it often belies an argument built around a preconceived or biased opinion rather than a rational and unbiased comparison. He might have the "right" answer to many readers, but he's going to have a hard time convincing anybody of his argument by telling them they're stupid to even ask the question.

Once again, I might be reading too much dismissiveness into 123Mike's posts, and if that's the case, I apologize, but this is just my assessment of what I read and inferred.

peevee1 Veteran Member • Posts: 6,247
Re: Neither

Fat Dragon wrote:

peevee1 wrote:

Fat Dragon wrote:

Leonard Migliore wrote:

It's not a free lunch. Shots taken with exposures consistent with high ISO's will be noiser than ones with more exposure. It's just that the ISO dial doesn't do much besides change the exposure.

Let's say you're shooting indoors and need 1/2 second at f/2.8 at ISO 100. You know that's no good for motion blur. You want to shoot at 1/125. The standard way to do this is to bump the ISO to 6400. And this is going to be noisy. But with the Sony, you would get the same noise and better highlights if you kept the ISO at 100 and set your exposure manually to 1/125. Your JPG would be just about black but if you bump up the RAW file, you'll get the same result as increasing the ISO because that's all the camera does.

You'll get more noise with low exposure regardless of the ISO setting. So bumping up brightness 6 stops in an ISO 100 shot will show the same noise as if you took it at ISO 6400.

So it's just a software function within the camera. Gotcha. Is that true for all digital cameras or just some?

Now, it is BS. Typically, it is a combination of software and hardware, for example, up to ISO 6400 it is real hardware signal amplification, and after that a software multiplier. The difference is that, say, you have a typical level of noise equal to 0 or 1 at ISO 100. Then if you multiply by 16 digitally (ISO1600), all your noise will be 0 or 16, and if you amplify, it will be in the range 0-16, much smoother, with fewer spikes to 16. And part of the noise will not be even multiplied, leading to even lower noise in practice.

That clarifies a lot about how ISO works and affects IQ, but I'm trying to figure out exactly what you're calling BS. Do you mean that it's BS (as in disappointing) that Sony uses a system that starts the software multiplier at anything above 100, or that it's BS (as in not true) that Sony's cameras have no hardware ISO amplification?

That. Specifically these: "Your JPG would be just about black but if you bump up the RAW file, you'll get the same result as increasing the ISO because that's all the camera does."

and

" So bumping up brightness 6 stops in an ISO 100 shot will show the same noise as if you took it at ISO 6400."

Bjorn_L
Bjorn_L Veteran Member • Posts: 5,770
Re: Neither

peevee1 wrote:

Fat Dragon wrote:

That clarifies a lot about how ISO works and affects IQ, but I'm trying to figure out exactly what you're calling BS. Do you mean that it's BS (as in disappointing) that Sony uses a system that starts the software multiplier at anything above 100, or that it's BS (as in not true) that Sony's cameras have no hardware ISO amplification?

That. Specifically these: "Your JPG would be just about black but if you bump up the RAW file, you'll get the same result as increasing the ISO because that's all the camera does."

and

" So bumping up brightness 6 stops in an ISO 100 shot will show the same noise as if you took it at ISO 6400."

I am fairly certain that is not accurate.  I believe the camera amplifies the signal coming off the sensor rather then mess around within the data-set post-capture.   Were it as you said, then there would not be so much variance between cameras in ISO performance.  Even cameras with the same sensor may select other components to be part of the sensor package (the components other then the actual sensor) these amplifiers, line-filters and so on are what differentiates the different cameras.  This is why, for example, that Nikon (and recently Pentax too) typically gets more out of a Sony sensor then Sony does.  Obviously the sensor Sony is using is just as sensitive... they would not sell off the good stuff and keep just the bottom-bin for themselves.  Obviously there are sensors with more or less sensitivity.  And amplifying a clean signal is probably a simpler affair then starting with a low quality signal.

Also in my own experiments, I have found that shooting in RAW with a d90 and d700 that I can raise the ISO some in post but that I get less noise by being closer in my initial settings in camera.  I have not done a SNR test, but I would eye-ball estimate that the noise from post is in the 1.5x as much as from in camera, maybe 2x.  I could be off by a little bit since I was not specifically checking for this but for how much headroom I had in the various RAW files.

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123Mike Veteran Member • Posts: 4,643
Re: Neither

I am fairly certain that is not accurate.

I'm practically certain you're incorrect.

I believe the camera amplifies the signal coming off the sensor rather then mess around within the data-set post-capture.

That is not at all how it works. The sensor is like a memory chip where cells count incoming light. The *RATE* at which the cells count is analogous to an ISO setting. So, the processor instructs the sensor a counting rate, and then when it is time to take the picture, the memory of the sensor is cleared, counting action is enabled, and the shutter is opened for a duration. During that time, the values on the chip, cell by cell, starting counting, measuring, incoming light. Then the shutter closes, and the sensor is told to stop counting.

It is possible that the sensor never stops counting. But that does not matter. Light is stopped, counting thus stops. It is then time to the copy the values off of the sensor to the in-camera RAM, the same ram as what is used to hold burst images. The transfer of that image memory could be through a DMA mechanism, or could be read by the processor just as if the sensor is a memory chip.

How exactly that works does not matter. What matter here is that there is no "signal" for something off of the chip to "amplify", because that is not how it works.

Were it as you said, then there would not be so much variance between cameras in ISO performance.

Evidence shows that there is not much variance between ISO performance. You insist that others must share your belief that the Nikon has *such* a *huge* advantage for low light, because you keep hammering on it. Evidence shows that is not the case.

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