Gear Purchase Advice (D5500 v. D7100 v. ???)

turnthedarncranksturnthedarncranks Posts: 116Member
edited May 2015 in Nikon DSLR cameras
"Lost" all of my gear recently (D7K, SB400, Nikkor 18-105, 55-300, G series 35 mm 1.8, and S series 50 mm 1.8). Long story, but it may well have been stolen; there's also a chance it simply got lost, however. Regardless, I have virtually no hope of finding it and will have to replace it over the weekend. Therein lies my dilemma.

My best option to replace the camera and the two kit lenses is Costco, both because they have some incredible deals and because I have a credit card rebate check that will cover much of the cost. So my options are a D5500 or a D7100. Both come with two kit lenses -- the 18-55 and 55-300. The D5500 has an extra battery and the D7100 comes with the wifi adapter. They both come with some other nonsense that I don't consider particularly relevant -- primarily an SD card and a Nikon bag. The D5500 is $1100, the D7100 is $1250. I think at those prices the D7100 is the clear winner as having the screw drive will allow me to replace my 50 mm with another S series instead of a G, which will cover almost the entire $150 difference.

So why am I bothering all of you? Two reasons. The first is that typing this out helps me clarify my thinking. But if that was the only purpose, I could just hit delete instead of posting. So that takes me to the second reason -- I may well be over-buying.

Although I like to just go out and shoot, I rarely get to do so. My primary use is taking pictures of my kids, both "portraits" and action shots -- particularly baseball, basketball, and horseback riding. If I am being honest with myself, I rarely used most of the features of my D7K. Not once did I use the AEB, never did I do anything with the flash other than attach the SB400 and fire, and rarely if ever did I change the AF setting from the default of center. I usually shoot in A mode, although I sometimes use S if I am trying to freeze action. And on occasion I play with the scene options to try to learn from what the camera recommends. I'd also be lying if I didn't say that hauling around all of my gear (even though it all fit in one sling bag) wasn't sometimes a pain when doing kid stuff and didn't sometimes cause family strife. On the other hand,

This all leaves me wondering if I should be thinking about completely different options. Maybe mirrorless? Should I save a ton of cash and get the D3300 package ($600 with the wifi adapter, 18-55 and 18-200)? (And then maybe upgrade again in a few years when my kids are out of the house.) Go with the D5500 because it's smaller? Buy one of these, sell the kit lenses, and get a super-zoom?

In closing, there's a part of me that feels like this is a very long way of asking for support in going with the D7100, particularly as I think the D3300/5500 will drive me insane if for no other reason than because it doesn't have separate wheels for aperture and shutter speed and because I will want more reach than the 55-200mm provides, which will have me spending more money right away. Not to mention that -- undersized buffer and all -- I like to be able to shoot 6 fps for sports (although considering the buffer I am not sure the D5500's 5 fps is any less useful). But there's a part of me that feels like I really should be considering a mirrorless option -- smaller and plenty quick for most uses (but maybe not for sports . . .).

All thoughts, as always, appreciated.

Thanks!
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Comments

  • WestEndFotoWestEndFoto Posts: 3,043Member
    Beware of mirrorless if you are shooting sports. The biggest disadvantage of mirrorless is auto-focus and sports is where auto-focus is most critical.

    You are more advanced than most users if you are using A and S mode. Combined with your auto-focus requirements, I am also inclined to suggest the D7100.
  • KnockKnockKnockKnock Posts: 372Member
    Hmmm. There's no doubt the D7100 is "better" but it seems like the D5500 is the realistic choice. Super light and small with the kit lens (kicks ass over most mirrorless), excellent reach with the long one. All the features you use/need.

    There are plenty of AF-S lens options. If you don't already have a collection of screw-needful lenses it seems like reaching into the past unnecessarily.

    The D3300 kit doesn't make much sense for someone who understands the concept of interchangeable lenses, redundant coverage. D7100 is great, again. But no better in picture quality. If you master the interface and the touchscreen, the D5500 will do everything you need.
    D7100, D60, 35mm f/1.8 DX, 50mm f/1.4, 18-105mm DX, 18-55mm VR II, Sony RX-100 ii
  • IronheartIronheart Posts: 3,017Moderator
    D7100. I have a D5100, a D7000 amongst others. I love the 5xxx series flippy screen for macro, and just tripod work in general, but for any kind of dynamic sitch, the second wheel is needed. Mirrorless is a good second (5th in my case) camera, but not there for primary use.
  • henrik1963henrik1963 Posts: 559Member
    You want a camera you are happy to use. All else is secondary. No use in having the best camera sitting at home because you find it to heavy to carry around.

    You can do a lot with a mirrorless camera.

    I love the big bright viewfinder on my D800 - I like to take pictures with it. But to be honest I could do most of the things I want to do with a camera with a good mirrorless camera.
  • turnthedarncranksturnthedarncranks Posts: 116Member
    Thanks. I am going to keep mulling it a bit and likely will pull the trigger over the weekend. I can get a heck of a deal on the Sony A6000 with two lenses -- about $650. It seems to have fast auto-focus (for a mirrorless), but I am not at all sure I want to go down that road. Likely I will try to play with one before I decide.
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,070Moderator
    edited May 2015
    Just a quick point - the two lenses in those deals are quite modest quality so you may find you aren't really saving money in the long run. If you can try the camera and lenses to decide if they are good enough before you buy, you may want to buy body only with a better lens as it will make you happier in the long run. I hesitate to suggest this as it is not my place to spend your money, only suggest alternative ways of thinking.

    Do you know if the lenses are the latest iteration? The new 18-55 is pretty good and I think the 55-200 was updated recently too. If the included lenses are the new versions, it is probably worth it, but if they are the old versions, I would swerve them.
    Post edited by spraynpray on
    Always learning.
  • turnthedarncranksturnthedarncranks Posts: 116Member
    Thanks, spraynpray -- it certainly is your place to tell me how to spend my money -- that's exactly what I asked you to do!

    As best I can tell, the package includes the newer 18-55 (it has a "II" designation). The 55-300 is AF-S and appears to be the same one I had with my D7K. I found it acceptable, although I'd really like a faster long lens. Can I afford one right now, even used? Nope! So this may be my best bet for getting reach and something that's somewhat wide. Then I'll fill in again with the 1.8 primes and, as I did in the past, will use them as much as possible. I will really miss the 18-105 kit lens as, imho, it was excellent for what it was and the long end was just long enough to be of great help if I didn't have time to switch lenses. Sigh. Still can't believe my gear went awol.

    Knockknock has a good argument in favor of the 5500. I have access to quite a few older lenses (my dad has decades worth of F mount glass) and would like to be able to use them if possible. Then again, he doesn't live in town so that's not a huge driver. On the other other hand, the difference in cost between the 50 mm G Series and the D Series almost eats up the difference between the two cameras, so although I think with normal pricing the 5500 might be the way to go, I think in this scenario it's the 7100 or a radical shift to something mirrorless. Then again, if I play with the 5500 and love it . . .
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,070Moderator
    edited May 2015
    Ah, I misread your post, I thought the two lens kit was the 55-200 not the 55-300. Sounds good, go for it. Having had the D7000 and the D7100, I can tell you that you will be happy with the D7100 for its low light, AF and controls but if you are happy with fiddling with buttons and menus, one of the single wheelers may suit you well enough.
    Post edited by spraynpray on
    Always learning.
  • BVSBVS Posts: 427Member
    Don't discount the weight difference between the 7100 and 5500 which is pretty substantial. The 5500 is a tiny little thing at only 14.9 ounces and fits well in the hand with it's deeper grip. The 7100 is kind of a brick by contrast at 23.8 ounces.

    You'll have to decide what's more important to you - portability/ergonomics or features (double wheels, top info display, dual card slots, etc.).
    D7100, 85 1.8G, 50 1.8G, 35 1.8G DX, Tokina 12-28 F4, 18-140, 55-200 VR DX
  • henrik1963henrik1963 Posts: 559Member
    In 1991 I had to let go of 2 Leica cameras - M2 and M4P - and 3 Leica lenses - 35, 50 and 90mm. Not because the Leicas did not work - they did. I got my first kid. A MF-no light meter Leica was not the best tool for taking pictures of kids.

    Get the camera that works best for what you want to do. For me the best camera was a Nikon F801s + a Nikon 85 1.8 pre D lens. As fast and easy to use as a point and shoot - well that was in 1991 :-)
  • turnthedarncranksturnthedarncranks Posts: 116Member
    All good thoughts. I think the question I have to wrestle with is whether I want to carry a DSLR bag on the go at all. If so, the relative difference between the D5500 and D7100 won't matter too much to me -- it's the lenses that lead to needing a backpack or other large bag. (I guess the D5500 and a super-zoom may qualify as a light all-in-one solution but I don't think I've got the cash for the super-zoom right now -- or at least I'm not willing to spend what I've got on that solution instead of one of the ones we've already discussed.) So I think, unless the D5500 blows me away in person, that I am at the point at which it's the D7100 or the A6000, depending upon what i think of the Sony when I play with it. (As well as whether I can get over my knee-jerk negative reaction to a Sony camera and my less knee-jerk concern about the (relative) lack of E-mount lenses, particularly as compared to m4/3). Any other suggestion welcome. I'm a bit surprised, for example, that no one is suggesting a Nikon mirrorless.

    Thanks again for all the advice. Much appreciated.
  • RyukyuRyukyu Posts: 30Member
    If you decide to go mirrorless, I would take a hard look at Fuji cameras. Sounds like the newly announced X-T10 would be great for you, but they won't be available until next month. The X-T1 is due for a firmware update that is supposed to make the autofocus faster.
    And they have a decent lens selection.
    Just something to think about.
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,070Moderator
    Agreed on Fuji and also Olympus - if I were switching they would get close scrutiny from me.
    Always learning.
  • turnthedarncranksturnthedarncranks Posts: 116Member
    Thanks. Olympus is definitely on the radar, particularly as I have a child who owns a PEN so I can borrow lenses (and vice-versa). But I am not sold on the speed of the Olympus autofocus system as compared to the Nikon, Sony, and Fuji. (This brings me full circle to the need to photograph kids playing basketball and baseball.)
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,070Moderator
    Aye, I can only say that I have seen some lovely IQ out of the current Olympi (Olympuseses?)
    Always learning.
  • turnthedarncranksturnthedarncranks Posts: 116Member
    I am not sure which is correct, but definitely vote for Olympi -- or maybe Olympians? :)
  • IronheartIronheart Posts: 3,017Moderator
    edited May 2015
    I would only do the oly or the others as a second camera. Even a modest DSLR still whack the heck out of the mirrorless, all IMHO of course.
    Post edited by Ironheart on
  • henrik1963henrik1963 Posts: 559Member
    edited May 2015
    All your problems would go away if you would buy two cameras :-)

    One "the best I can afford camera" for when you have the time to take the pictures you want.
    And one smaller camera that is always there when you need it.

    The first could be a D7100 and a few primes. The second could be a mirrorless with a good zoom.
    Post edited by henrik1963 on
  • turnthedarncranksturnthedarncranks Posts: 116Member
    Henrik -- I think you have found the solution! Too bad I don't have the necessary cash around to pull it off. :)

    Kidding aside, I definitely am going to play with them a bit before I decide. Costco has a 90 day return policy, so if I get buyer's remorse I can return it no questions asked after almost three full months of use. I am glad they happen to currently have in stock several of the few cameras I would want to consider. (They also have several good deals on Canons, but I don't want my Nikon Rumors membership revoked! ;)

    Thanks again, everyone.
  • WestEndFotoWestEndFoto Posts: 3,043Member
    All your problems would go away if you would buy two cameras :-)

    One "the best I can afford camera" for when you have the time to take the pictures you want.
    And one smaller camera that is always there when you need it.

    The first could be a D7100 and a few primes. The second could be a mirrorless with a good zoom.
    This is the solution I have with my D800 and Coolpix A. The Coolpix A is a mirrorless camera with a DX sensor. The downside is that it comes with a prime, so you are stuck at 28mm.

    The Coolpix A is not the fastest focusing mirrorless, but it is 90% of the fastest focusing mirrorless. It is great for landscapes and fits in my shirt pocket, but I could not imagine using it for action.
  • henrik1963henrik1963 Posts: 559Member
    There is a deal here on a Fuji X-e1 with a 18-55 F2.8-4 kit lens. I know that it is the old model. But the sensor is more or less the same as on the new one. And you pay very little for the body in that deal.

    That would be one way to go about it on a tight budget - hunt down an old model with a good lens.

    D800 vs D810
    D7100 vs D7200
    Fuji X-e1 vs X-e2
    Sony RX100 v1 vs v2 vs v3 if you want a smaller sensor - even v1 is pretty good.

    I am sure there are other deals around where the final image quality will suffer very little by going with the older model.
  • tcole1983tcole1983 Posts: 981Member
    There have been deals on the d7100 with a lens or two (refurbished) recently in the $700. I wouldn't do the Costco deal....look around. Especially if you aren't really getting the lenses you want. I think either body is a good choice. I like my d5xxx bodies but more because of cost than anything. If I was buying now it would be the d7100.
    D5200, D5000, S31, 18-55 VR, 17-55 F2.8, 35 F1.8G, 105 F2.8 VR, 300 F4 AF-S (Previously owned 18-200 VRI, Tokina 12-24 F4 II)
  • BVSBVS Posts: 427Member
    I'm a bit surprised, for example, that no one is suggesting a Nikon mirrorless.
    For outdoor action shots Nikon 1 is quite excellent in many regards. I rented a V3 for a weekend and it was a fun little camera with awesome FPS and auto-focus. I did a swing test with my son with it at 10fps (which was plenty) and every shot was in focus. The whole kit is nice a light and the lenses are absolutely tiny compared to a DSLR.

    Unfortunately, I wasn't as impressed by the image quality. Nature shots (bugs, animals, flowers) were generally good, but people shots seemed kind of flat or plasticky or something. Also, the small sensor suffers in low light, and my house can be like a tomb at times. However, the new sensor in the J5 sounds promising and I'm curious to give it a try since I also would like a second camera for times when I don't want to lug the 7100 around.

    D7100, 85 1.8G, 50 1.8G, 35 1.8G DX, Tokina 12-28 F4, 18-140, 55-200 VR DX
  • sevencrossingsevencrossing Posts: 2,800Member
    edited May 2015
    I'm a bit surprised, for example, that no one is suggesting a Nikon mirrorless.
    ....
    Unfortunately, I wasn't as impressed by the image quality.

    I think we will have to wait for the rumored Nikon fullframe mirrorless


    Post edited by sevencrossing on
  • turnthedarncranksturnthedarncranks Posts: 116Member
    There have been deals on the d7100 with a lens or two (refurbished) recently in the $700. I wouldn't do the Costco deal....look around. Especially if you aren't really getting the lenses you want. I think either body is a good choice. I like my d5xxx bodies but more because of cost than anything. If I was buying now it would be the d7100.
    Any idea where? Not sure how I feel about refurbished, but haven't been able to find anything close to those numbers anyway. I've checked what I assume are the usual sources -- B&H, Adorama, etc. -- but am open to considering others if someone has a strong recommendation. And I realize stock of refurbs is variable, so will keep my eyes peeled.

    Does anyone have experience with Nikon refurbs? Good or bad?

    Thanks again. You all are giving me lots to think about.

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