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Nikon D5100 Review now posted, Complete D5100 Guide now available for order (ships 9/17). See www.bythom.com/nikond5100review.htm.
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Miguel Martinez's profile photoharold yun's profile photoRob P's profile photoYead Ahmed's profile photo
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Don't I wish. But get this: my mother programs in LaTeX.
Rob P
 
Not LaTex, not Word, and I can't imagine it's Pages. Could be InDesign, but you said, "new word processor" and InDesign isn't a word processor. Um... OpenOffice?
 
By any chance, Thom, did you forego LaTeX in order to improve compatibility with ebook readers?
 
"My mother programs in LaTeX" should be a T-shirt.
 
+Robert Pearson NisusWriter Pro, though I'm right at its limits memory-wise, which is proving to be an issue (why don't we really have any 64-bit word processors?).
+miguel martinez Definitely have to think eReaders these days, though I've been thinking of them since 1981 when I wrote my first one ;~). Seriously, the future of WP is HTML5 in a slightly different form than people are thinking of it. And where the heck is the Pagemaker for HTML5?
 
Nice review, Thom!
It has all the basic information for the potential users.
The only thing i may suggest is ... you can add the d3100 in the side-by-side table.
 
See the current dslrs table for that, I think.
 
Its probably different shooting styles, but I find the info screen implementation on the D 5000 and (presumably) the D5100 far nicer than the D7000. I am suspect that it is feature not appreciated until its use becomes routine.
 
+Tim McEnroe The difference is buttons. The D7000 has them, the D5000/D5100 don't. Thus, the Shooting Information display on a D3000/D3100/D5000/D5100 has quick access to a 14-16 iconized settings via the double info button press while the D7000/D300/D700/D3 series only give you access to 10-12 buried settings for which there are no buttons. For novice and consumer shooters, the D3000/D3100/D5000/D5100 approach is fine. But to force a serious shooter to double button press just to get to an autofocus setting menu slows things down. D7000: hold the focus button down dial a wheel. D5100: press Info, press Info, five down presses on Direction pad, Ok button, navigate with Direction pad to choice, OK button, down button on Direction pad, OK button, navigate with Direction pad to choice, OK button. There's just a wee bit of difference there, no?
 
Unfortunately, many of the D7000 info button items are more or less useless. Well not exactly useless but they are things that rarely get changed. Especially the "color space" option. It would be best if they were customizable but alas they are not.
 
+Marian Kostadinov Why would you be constantly setting Color Space? Your workflow is complicated by changing Color Space all the time.
 
I meant the opposite. I don't change the color space often. I never change it :) That's why I am curious for the reason Nikon put it in this menu.
 
I will plead to not being a serious shooter. The single screen with all the information I need speeds up changes for me compared to hunting for the button and wheel approach. A good part of this comes from 98% of my shooting is done with a standard setup and the other 2% is not enough to build muscle/reflex memory.
 
+Tim McEnroe I'm of the belief that systems that cater to amateurs and casual users like yourself need to have the ability for natural learning and growth into the more sophisticated system. If moving from a consumer product (Photoshop Elements, say) to a professional one (Photoshop CS5) is a giant game of "who moved my cheese," then there's no benefit with starting with the lower end product. If you ever get to the stage where you aren't casual any more, you end up having to learn from scratch. Now, moving from a D5100 to a D7000 (or even a D3x) isn't all that bad in that respect. The menu systems and controls are similar, though buttons move around on the camera, new ones appear, menu items move around, new ones appear; it's workable and you don't lose all the knowledge you built at the low end. But it could be better than it is. There appears to be a lot of randomness and whimsy in naming and positioning of some items between low and high end for Nikon. Why is it Interval Shooting on one camera and Intervalometer on another? But then there are some really silly decisions, too: the D3100 and D5100 don't set File Number Sequence to On by default. Why Nikon thinks that amateurs always want DSC_0001.JPG to appear on every shoot is beyond me. All it does is add to lost shots when they accidentally copy over shots or can't find what they want in all the DSC_0001.JPGs they end up creating and strewing across their drives.
 
This is slightly off-topic but I completely agree with you that the lack of a good line-up of basic DX lenses is preventing a camera like the D5100 from becoming a preferred choice. My m43 kit with the newly announced 24mm, 50mm, and 90mm lenses will be far more compact and sufficiently competent than anything Nikon provides. I still like shooting with an optical viewfinder and would have bought a D5100 if Nikon had fleshed out their DX lenses line up.
 
+Jaladhi Pujara True. But you also currently give up a lot in achieving compactness. The D5100 really has to be evaluated as a DSLR, because it's clear to me that's where Nikon wants it to compete (and it will be clearer to others when Nikon eventually releases their small system camera). And as a DSLR, it's a strong contender and has near state-of-the-art image performance (for anything less than an FX camera). The size/quality conundrum has always been a problem for photographers, and my mentor was right at the forefront of that discussion. In terms of DSLRs, the D5100 is near the bottom in size and near the top in performance.
 
Sony could really shakeup that size/quality conundrum with the NEX-7 and a few lenses... August will be an interesting month!
 
In your intro you wrote: "The D5100 book took a bit longer than expected because I've moved away from using Microsoft Word."
Care to tell us what you changed to?

Edit:
Sorry! I am new to this and didn't realize my question was already answered earlier. Please disregard.
 
off topic, but re: portability. I don't think it's size as much as ease of uploading that has people going for iPhones over compacts/small DSLRs. why can't anyone make a wifi reader that takes SD/CF cards, connects to the internet and allows you to upload pics on the spot? Looking at my kindle, it doesn't seem all that hard to pack 3G even.
 
+Jeff Thompson Perhaps, but Sony isn't going anywhere without a lot of good NEX lenses. The current cameras underperform because of lenses, so adding pixels is just going to make the problem worse. It's as if the camera makers keep forgetting that they make "systems" not cameras.
+Johan Grahn NisusWriter Pro
+harold yun When you go that far off topic, I won't respond here. I still respond to email, you know.
 
Agreed, for my 'keep with me always' camera I'm still on the sidelines with my S95 in my jeans pocket waiting for the right mirrorless system to come along. I don't think m43 gives enough of a difference to justify having to carry a pouch or something and the other options aren't full enough systems yet. If I need to carry something, my small dslr kit isn't that much bigger than a m43 kit, yet big enough I don't want to always lug it around. Size/Quality conundrum indeed!
 
@Harold yun -as an 85% family snapshot and 15% shooter, I like how the eyefi memory cards work for me. Maybe as a OOC jpeg user, working pros like Thom may not have use for it, but it serves as my" communicating slr "solution in the mean time.
@Thom I finally finished your d90 guide. I dont pretend I got every nugget of insight, but I do appreciate it's value. I am not doing P mode and sb600 combo anymore =) The D5100 sounds very good, as size really matters to me chasing 2 kids. I am visualizing a downgrade from d90 when the d90 conks out, but am doubtful of the net weight loss is enough to justify it. Especially concerns with handling and button layout of d90 vs d5100. I figure at 20k shots, do you have any idea of official Nikon or anecdotal shutter click life span of the d90?
 
+Ben Aguila PT Nikon says 100k tested, IIRC. But some people are well above that. I also doubt that the net weight loss would be enough to justify a D5100 just on that criteria.
 
+Manish Hemnani Depends upon if you shoot JPEG or NEF. With JPEG, a D5100 is essentially a D7000. With NEF, the D7000 has options that the D5100 doesn't (e.g. 14-bit, lossless compression).
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