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Which One? Nikon D7000 or Nikon D5100

by Chris Gampat on 04/05/2011

With the recent announcement of the Nikon D5100′s technical specs, it only makes sense that some consumers may be confused about whether to purchase the Nikon D5100 or D7000. Here’s a quick comparison of the two to help you figure out which one is right for you.

Update: Available with the kit lens or body only on Amazon and also available at B&H in both kit and body only.

Before we begin, you can check out the progress of the Nikon D7000 review in the following links:

Day 1: Our initial impressions

Day 2: High ISOs

Day 3: Tested for product photography

Day 4: Tourist time

Day 5: Leisurely walking around

D5100 Images

The D5100 seems to have a USB port, A/V out, GPS capabilities with Nikon’s units, HDMI out and a port for the newly announced ME-1 microphone as well.

The grip seems to be very standard with the SD card port on the right side.

The top of the camera is what seems to make the difference. The mode dial is on the right side, as opposed to the left with the D7000. Additionally, this mode dial has more modes on it: which is easier for consumers. The D7000 is targeted towards more advanced users and that is why its dial is more clutter-free. Below is the D7000′s top view where you also see a back and front dial for changing apertures and shutter speeds. The D5100 doesn’t have that.

Clearly the D7000 is targeted towards more advanced users and the design harkens to the higher range cameras like the D300s.

Once again though, the D5100 seems to be squarely aimed at cameras like the Canon Rebel T3i which was recently reviewed here.

The new vari-angle LCD screen will make this camera a joy to shoot movies with. This means that Nikon is now taking more serious steps towards shooting video and targeting videographers.

Specs

Specs Nikon D7000 Nikon D5100
Megapixels 16.2 MP CMOS 2.016 pixel RGB sensor (DX) 16.2MP DX-format CMOS sensor
Processor EXPEED 2 EXPEED 2
Video 1080p HD with full time AF MPEG 4, 20min movie recording, 1080 at 24p, AVC, 720 at 24 and 30p. The ability to save individual frames as a JPEG Stunning Full 1080p HD Movies with Full Time Autofocus, 20 mins (30p and 24p)
ISO Range ISO 25,600 at hi2 ISO sensitivity 100-6400, expandable to ISO 25,600 equivalent
Autofocus points 39 AF point, 9 cross type sensors Fast 11-point Autofocus System 

 

FPS 6 4
LCD Screen 3″ fixed LCD screen 3”, 921,000-dot Super-Density horizontal type Vari-Angle LCD
Memory Twin SD card port Single SD card port
Metering 2,016 pixel RGB 3D Matrix Metering System Nikon 420-pixel RGB 3D Color Matrix Metering II
Scene Modes 20 16

D5100 Image Samples

The first thing I thought of when I saw this image was:

- it’s gorgeous

- how many wedding photographers would shoot with a Nikon D5100?

Foodies on the other hand would probably shoot with this camera.

Additionally, I see someone perhaps wanting to photograph their child’s dance performance.

Target Market?

This is where it all comes down to the clear divisions: The Nikon D5100 is targeted more towards HD video enthusiasts and beginners while the D7000 is targeted more towards semi-professionals and advanced amateurs. The D7000 has build quality that is on par with it’s bigger brother, the D300s as well as many more professional  features such as faster FPS shooting, more autofocus points, a more advanced metering system, and twin SD cards.

The vari-angle LCD screen of the Nikon D5100 is much better for shooting videos and for discreet street photography. Additionally, the LCD screen can really come in handy when shooting difficult angles. Indeed, it is more akin to the Nikon D3100 which we reviewed, so you may want to take a look at that.

MSRP on the Nikon D5100 with the kit lens will be $1,012 and MAP is $899.95. Body only will be $900 MSRP and $799.95 MAP. You can see D7000 prices at Amazon at B&H at the according links.

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