Am a amateur photographer with point & shoot camera . Now i would like to buy an SLR camera. I have 2 questions:

  1. Should I choose the Nikon D3100 or D5100?
  2. Should I buy the kit lens available with the camera, or the body only and then buy another lens separately?

These cameras are extremely similar both inside and out. The D5100 is slightly more advanced but the D3100 has better ergonomics. The biggest difference is certainly price unless you plan to shoot video.

Given this, I would favor the D3100 and use the money left to buy a better lens. In any case, avoid the kit-lens as it is neither versatile nor of good quality. The question will be which lens to buy and that is a personal one, depending on the type of photography you do and your vision. There is nothing much to suggest without further information from you.


Both of these cameras are great. Get the 5100 if you're looking for video.

BUT if you enjoy photography and are looking to ever pass the amateur stage, the Nikon D7000 will run you a much, much longer time:

  • It is the best DX (cropped sensor) camera right now (Canon's close with the 7D, which is better for outdoor sports and fast action with it's 8fps, but it is on the expensive side and lacks in ISO performance).

  • It has more controls with the top-LCD screen, which all semi-pro and up cameras have. It's excellent in low light - you can bump the ISO up to about 1250 and expect very little noise. It works with the cheaper lenses (like the 50mm 1.8D), as it has a built-in autofocus motor.

  • It has a better build and is weather-proof. The shutter sounds and camera feels much more developed and professional. Plus dual SD card slots!

  • It shoots at 6fps on continuous high (holding down the shutter for rapid burst shooting). Under $4000, I believe only the 7D tops this.

  • The image quality is stellar on the D7000. Many love this camera, ask around.

  • You can get it, body only, for $700. Get some prime lenses (35mm and 50mm) to start with; they're cheap (sub $200) and offer wide apertures (f/1.8), and they have really nice clarity and performance. Pro's use these lenses.

If you're still set on the 3100 or 5100, Google the two you want to compare (e.g. Google "D3100 vs D7000" or "D5100 vs D3100.") Click the link for snapsort.com.

I made the mistake of buying an entry level T2i first; it's a great camera, but as I learned photography and started shooting more, I felt limited by it's lack of controls, as well as poor performance in low light and continuous burst speeds. I sold that camera and went for the D7000.

Hope I helped!


As you are apparently moving to your first SLR, I sincerely think it won't make much of a difference which one you choose (cost aside, of course).

Both are excellent cameras and you will have a great time learning all the nuances that a more capable equipment (compared to a point and shoot) offer.

In my opinion, what you may want to consider are ergonomic factors, not so much picture quality. Since you are moving from a point and shoot, the biggest differences in this respect are going to be the weight and size of the new camera.

Try handling both cameras before you decide, you may find that one of them fits better your hands and this could be the deciding factor. Keep in mind that you may need to carry the camera all day long and there's a lot of difference between carrying a P&S and a SLR.

After you choose one, enjoy a whole new world of photographic possibilities that only a SLR can offer. You will certainly appreciate the super fast focus speed and the capability to give more impact to your subjects using shallower depth of field (DoF) than you current P&S could ever offer.

Considering the lens choice, I'd recommend you going with the kit lens for now. After you have learned how to handle the new camera and noticed any situations where the kit lens weren't enough, then you may want to add a second lens to your setup.

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