I’m quite new to digital photography though I did, back in the day, do a lot of photography with film.
I have recently bought myself a Nikon D5100 and though I do like the camera I am feeling I should maybe take it back (while I can) and exchange it for a better model. I have a few queries and am hoping people on here might be able to help me out.
1. There is no “B” setting. I like to take shots in minimal lighting and I like to experiment. I would like to be able to take exposures of a few seconds or even, in some cases, a few minutes. So I would like something with a “B” setting.
2. Looking on various sites at lenses to buy I discovered I have to buy a lens compatible for “DX,” while some other Nikon cameras had a different type of lens requirement. Does this signify a step in quality? Would I be better getting a different camera with a better lens selection is what I am really asking. (bearing in mind I do intend to kit myself out with a full range of lenses eventually)
3. After quite a bit of researching I have discovered the meaning of “bpp” and that my D5100 is 14 bpp while the optimum to go for it would seem is 24 bpp. Is this a bit over the top? Is the quality between the two significantly different? I have spent a fare bit of cash on photography equipment over the years but never had top grade stuff, always middle of the range. I have a little put by at the moment and have decided I should go for something top of the range while I can.
I do like Nikon but don’t feel I have to stick in the Nikon range.
Any advice, suggestions or links to good comparison sites will be very welcome.
#1 On the 5100, bulb is available in manual mode (only). Spin the shutter speed (command dial) all the way slow and you'll see "bulb" appear. (I don't get why you can't get to bulb in shutter mode, but that's a different question.)
#2 You can mount non-DX lenses on the 5100. The lens capability will vary depending on what kind of lens (AF-S, AF-I, G, D, etc.) But, you can mount the lenses. However, DX lenses won't fill the sensor on full-frame cameras (so there's a future consideration about investing into the DX series). The 5100 cannot drive the older AF lenses (but *can* drive the AF-S lenses). Everything new, and going forward will work on the 5100.
#3 14-bit color depth is actually pretty good, and probably more than most mere mortals will ever need.
I don't imagine that point #3 is going to be a factor. But, #1 and #2 will probably stick in your mind, if not create real limits to what you might be used to.
Reading into your comment about having done a lot in the past (and knowing nothing else about your experience), I'm going to guess that the 7000 might have been more attractive to you. You'd have to drop another $300 bucks or so, but I'm suspecting that if you're already feeling disappointment now, that you'll get over the $300 difference.
I should add: I'm a Canon shooter, but my mom has the 5100. I've used it several times and it feels ... "somewhat constrained". I've also used the 7000 and while I get lost in the menus from time to time, it can do anything that I've wanted.
3. After quite a bit of researching I have discovered the meaning of “bpp” and that my D5100 is 14 bpp while the optimum to go for it would seem is 24 bpp. Is this a bit over the top?
Don't quote me on this, but there's some confusion about bpp depths. Normal .JPG images are usually called 24 bit images because they have 8 bits per colour channel, red green and blue, for a total of 16 million possible colours. RAW images, and some TIFFs and others, are often called 16bit images but that means 16 bits per channel. Of those 16, two are often padding and 14 contain real colour information as well as transparency etc.
The Nikon D5100 produces 14-bit (per channel) RAW files, and 24-bit per pixel JPG files.
Because S mode is auto-exposure. What aperture should the AE system pick for a shutter speed of B?
When you're using Bulb setting, you're doing manual exposure: setting both the shutter speed and the aperture yourself.
Huh! That's absolutely right (and I hadn't stopped to think about that one). Now I'm curious and need to go back and check a few of my older bodies. I know that in one case, on my Canon 60D, I have a dedicated mode setting for bulb (separate from even Manual mode). I know that there are differences with some of my other bodies, but don't remember without checking...