I am planning to buy my first DSLR camera and have pinned down on Nikon. However, I am not able to make up my mind between the Nikon D90 and Nikon D5100. While D90 is more expensive, I am not sure if the additional $250 are worth it ? Any suggestions ?
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Tough choice, especially considering the D90 is still more expensive where you are (its actually cheaper than a D5100 in the USA). D90 is typically considered more of a 'prosumer' model and the D5100 would be perhap, 'high end consumer', but they're from different generations - so things get interesting.
The D90 offers a more professional body with more external controls, a in-body focus motor, and a larger, brighter viewfinder.
The D5100 has a newer, better sensor (especially in low light), better video mode, higher resolution, and an articulating LCD.
The pure image quality of the D5100 is much better than the D90, especially at low light, but the D90 is easier to operate and use in the long run.
If you're planning on doing any video, I'd probably go ahead and get the D5100 since its more geared for that.
If lens price is going to be a big factor, the D90 has an inbody focus motor which will allow you to autofocus with AF lenses instead of just AF-S lenses - MUCH cheaper to buy AF lenses, but they're slower on autofocus.
Only you can decide if the points above make it 'worth it' or not to you.
I'll tell you what I wish someone had told me from the start (they did but I didn't listen) Lenses are forever, bodies are transient. I've owned a D40 and went up to D7000, and 6 lenses in between. Whatever anyone says it will always be their 2C, so here's mine:
Buy the cheapest DSLR you can with the most expensive lens you can afford. In my opinion that's the 3100 or the low level canon t3i?. Spend the rest of your money on a NICE lens. If you get a Canon low-end camera buy yourself an L lens... It simply wont disappoint you. Or an equiv Nikon for about $1100-$1400. Its a large initial investment tho.
from my comment on another (similar) thread i posted as a comment to the question:
the d90 belongs to a superior category of cameras (now its price got lower so it's quite a bargain). As a result the build quality is actually higher if compared to the 5100; the sensor is a bit old but still good, the body is sturdy, it handles better being a little havier and bigger, it supports an additional battery pack, it has top backlit lcd screen, DoF preview button, advanced firmware customization, big clear viewfinder w/ customizable hud info, internal AF motor, two (back and front) control dials, buttons to change image quality, ISO, white balance and metering mode w/o using the menu, AF mode switch. This is what a photographer needs more than a lot of pixels, high iso and a flipping screen.