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Thread: Nikon D3200 vs Nikon D5100 for HDR Landscape/Architecture Photos??

  1. #1

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    Nikon D3200 vs Nikon D5100 for HDR Landscape/Architecture Photos??

    Dear Folks,

    I was going to purchase a Nikon D5100 for landscape/architecture photos. Now I'm wondering if I should instead purchase the Nikon D3200 with 24mp instead of the 16mp for the 5100. (My first lens will be a quality wide angle). Any advice? I don't think the 3200 does exposure bracketing but is that something I could do manually? (I'm not interested in the in-camera HDR feature).

    Thanks to all who respond.

    Dave

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    Re: Nikon D3200 vs Nikon D5100 for HDR Landscape/Architecture Photos??

    Dave,

    It all depends IMHO on how deep you care to get into HDR. If this is a serious focus of yours then the Nikons don't have an uber good bracketing function until you get into bodies that are well up there in price. The new D800 would be my choice and a body I am looking at with great envy for this specific reason.

    There is software that does a fair, and I mean "fair" job, of creating HDR out of one exposure.

    Can you adjust exposure manually... yes you can. But it is a real pain and may not work in all situations. It takes time to do so and sometimes time is the enemy if the light or scene is changing quickly, for instance.


    I would check out this site http://www.stuckincustoms.com/ Trey Ratcliff is pretty amazing and has a bunch of reviews on cameras and software. Basically it is a site that will give you everything you need to know about HDR. I don't think there are any reviews on the D5100 and I don't expect a review on the D3200 based on its lack of exposure bracketing (if I am not mistaken).

    The additional pixels don't necessarily mean better images. I do promise you they mean you need more computer memory and processing speed however.

    I don't think it is as simple a choice as a little exposure bracketing v. a few extra mpixels. Get more camera and make adjustments from there. I think you will find the number of focus points, overall performace, etc. important moving forward. Nikon puts numbers on the cameras for a reason... marketing, price or otherwise. The 3000 series simply is not quite the camera the 5000 series is and so on, regardless of how many mpixles they pack in there. I recently upgraded from a D5000 to D7000 and it is a huge jump!

    My gut says go with the D5100 but most folks on this site will rightly say that you have more to do with the quality of photos than any equipment you put in your hands or software on your computer.

    My 2 cents...

    -S

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    Re: Nikon D3200 vs Nikon D5100 for HDR Landscape/Architecture Photos??

    Quote Originally Posted by epmi314 View Post
    There is software that does a fair, and I mean "fair" job, of creating HDR out of one exposure.
    Grrr. You can't create an HDR image from a single exposure. You can however create an ultra tone-mapped image (which is what a lot of people mistakenly refer to as the "HDR Look) from a single exposure (basically just an image with the vibrance and clarity maxed out).

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    Re: Nikon D3200 vs Nikon D5100 for HDR Landscape/Architecture Photos??

    Hi Dave,

    The big question is "what will you be doing with the images"? If they're just for internet display then even at a generous 1200 x 800px resolution you'll still literally be throwing away around 97% of your 36MP. For a typical print (say 12 x 8") you'll still be throwing away around 75%.

    Also, with architecture and landscape, don't automatically assume that wider is better -- often they distort distance so badly (turning a broom closed into a bowling alley) that the results just aren't that appealing. At a minimum, I'd suggest making your WA lens a zoom lens (prob in the region of 16-35mm) (Canon's offering anyway -- I'm sure Nikon have an equivalent).

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    Re: Nikon D3200 vs Nikon D5100 for HDR Landscape/Architecture Photos??

    Hi.

    You can bracket exposure manually by applying exposure compensation in semi-automatic modes or changing aperture or shutter speed in manual mode (The latter is generally preferably as you will probably shoot at the aperture where you or others have determined the lens resolution to be the best or else you have a target DOF which requires a particular aperture).

    I have no argument on this choice for one or the another side, given I haven't used either. As far as I know dynamic range is very important for single shoot landscape photography, so maybe you want to take that into account. I don't know how the DR of these Nikons compare, if I were to choose, I would wait ImagingResource to publish a full review for the D3200 (D3200, D5100) to check this.

    I suggest you consider whether you want the camera only for HDR photography. By "HDR" photography most people mean that which regards tone-mapped images. Maybe you also want to consider other characteristics, ergonomics is a point usually suggested as important on this forum. In my opinion you should chose carefully not based on any single feature.

    Good luck!.
    Last edited by Photon Hacker; 17th May 2012 at 01:59 AM.

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    Re: Nikon D3200 vs Nikon D5100 for HDR Landscape/Architecture Photos??

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    Grrr. You can't create an HDR image from a single exposure. You can however create an ultra tone-mapped image (which is what a lot of people mistakenly refer to as the "HDR Look) from a single exposure (basically just an image with the vibrance and clarity maxed out).

    Colin you are perfectly correct.

    I was just trying to point out there is software out there that will help come close to the "net" effect and give the guy some legit options on the lower end. I realize it is an unpure shortcut. Didn't mean mislead or offend...

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    Re: Nikon D3200 vs Nikon D5100 for HDR Landscape/Architecture Photos??

    Quote Originally Posted by epmi314 View Post
    Colin you are perfectly correct.

    I was just trying to point out there is software out there that will help come close to the "net" effect and give the guy some legit options on the lower end. I realize it is an unpure shortcut. Didn't mean mislead or offend...
    Hi Scott,

    No "offence" taken

    I'm just trying hard to dis-associate (in peoples minds) ultra tone-mapped images from HDR, since the two really aren't related.

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    Re: Nikon D3200 vs Nikon D5100 for HDR Landscape/Architecture Photos??

    I absolutely love my D5100 and I use it mainly for HDR and landscapes.

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    Re: Nikon D3200 vs Nikon D5100 for HDR Landscape/Architecture Photos??

    I would just get the D3200 and put the extra couple hundred towards a better lens. Better yet, see if you can track down a new d3000. It'll do more than you need it to with the quality glass in front of it, and that's a great way to save some cash. Last I checked it retailed for 400 with the 18-55 non VR lens.

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    Re: Nikon D3200 vs Nikon D5100 for HDR Landscape/Architecture Photos??

    Quote Originally Posted by blakemcguire View Post
    I would just get the D3200 and put the extra couple hundred towards a better lens. Better yet, see if you can track down a new d3000. It'll do more than you need it to with the quality glass in front of it, and that's a great way to save some cash. Last I checked it retailed for 400 with the 18-55 non VR lens.
    Acroreef suggests he wants to do some HDR with exposure bracketing. To the best of my knowledge, the D3200 has no such feature. One of the reasons I went with a D5100 was for the simple 3 brackets it provides. I have cheats to get more than three if needed. I used to do it manually with my old Sony a-100 and it drove me nuts. The D5100 has amazing image quality for a 16.2MP sensor. The pixel density on that D3200 is going to be much higher, as the sensor is a bit smaller than the D5100. FWIW, the D5100 has the same sensor as the D7000. Anyway, enough about sensors... the D5100 has come down in price enough to where I think it's quite affordable and will provide the features acroreef is looking for.

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    Re: Nikon D3200 vs Nikon D5100 for HDR Landscape/Architecture Photos??

    Quote Originally Posted by Momo View Post
    Acroreef suggests he wants to do some HDR with exposure bracketing. To the best of my knowledge, the D3200 has no such feature. One of the reasons I went with a D5100 was for the simple 3 brackets it provides.
    Exactly. The OP asked which camera made more sense for a specific task. The D5100 actually does that task, and the D3200 doesn't. This is a no-brainer.
    Last edited by tclune; 17th May 2012 at 01:50 PM.

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    Re: Nikon D3200 vs Nikon D5100 for HDR Landscape/Architecture Photos??

    A couple of thoughts for you. The D3200 camera is brand new and will have the latest technology (Expeed 3 image processor - same as the D4 and D800 cameras), while the D5100 is very much based on the slightly older technology found in the D7000 (Expeed 2 image processor). The D3200 is entry level and the D5100 is a mid-range amateur camera. The sensors are more or less the same size, and frankly the extra MP in the D3200 really is neither here nor there (16MP vs 24MP).

    I don't do a lot of HDR work, but when I do, I ususally use a tripod and manually adjust the shutter speed, so I could use either camera. I have done some hand-held HDR work with my D90 using the ±1 stop bracketing feature, but have never gotten the results I liked. I find that the exposures are too close together, so I've tended to have to shoot manually to get the highlight and shadow detail I was after and generally go ±2 or ±3 stops. I haven't tried any HDR on the D800, but I think I can get up to 9 shots on autobracket, so I'll have to try things one of these days.

    I don't see either camera having a significant advantage / disadvantage for landscape or architectural photography. What it really comes down to is whether you want to go with newer technology on an entry level camera or technology that is a couple of years old on a slightly more advanced camera. After all, it's not about the hardware, it's what the photographer ends up doing with it...

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    Re: Nikon D3200 vs Nikon D5100 for HDR Landscape/Architecture Photos??

    Quote Originally Posted by GrumpyDiver View Post
    I have done some hand-held HDR work with my D90 using the ±1 stop bracketing feature, but have never gotten the results I liked. I find that the exposures are too close together, so I've tended to have to shoot manually to get the highlight and shadow detail I was after and generally go ±2 or ±3 stops.
    If I'm not mistaken, your D90 will do up to +/-2EV increments for up to 3 image bursts. FWIW.

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    Re: Nikon D3200 vs Nikon D5100 for HDR Landscape/Architecture Photos??

    Quote Originally Posted by tclune View Post
    If I'm not mistaken, your D90 will do up to +/-2EV increments for up to 3 image bursts. FWIW.
    I believe you are right. I think I can adjust bracketing exposure in 1/3 EV increments up to 2 stops on the D90 using one of the menu selections. It's not a feature I tend to use for this. I'm someone who tends to look at my histograms between shots and makes adjustments based on that data I see there. I only use bracketing for fine-tuning shots usually 1/3 EV)

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    Re: Nikon D3200 vs Nikon D5100 for HDR Landscape/Architecture Photos??

    D5100 all the way.

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    Re: Nikon D3200 vs Nikon D5100 for HDR Landscape/Architecture Photos??

    I do 3-5 shot bracketed HDR all the time with my D3100. For my budget, I can press the shutter button two more times with no problem at all. If you have the cash, go for the D5100 or even the D7000. If not, the D3200 will do the job quite nicely and you can save the difference to buy better lenses.

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    Re: Nikon D3200 vs Nikon D5100 for HDR Landscape/Architecture Photos??

    Quote Originally Posted by GrumpyDiver View Post
    A couple of thoughts for you. The D3200 camera is brand new and will have the latest technology (Expeed 3 image processor - same as the D4 and D800 cameras), while the D5100 is very much based on the slightly older technology found in the D7000 (Expeed 2 image processor). The D3200 is entry level and the D5100 is a mid-range amateur camera. The sensors are more or less the same size, and frankly the extra MP in the D3200 really is neither here nor there (16MP vs 24MP).
    As far as I know advertising a image processor chip technology with a name is just a gimmick. The fact than new Nikons use "Expeed 3" rather than "Expeed 2" means nothing per se to me, since I don't know what are the differences, or whether there is any. It would, if Nikon specified the noise levels of these chips, for instance.

    I think the extra pixel count could be useful for landscapes where you have details to very fine levels when the camera is used with a good enough lens.
    Last edited by Photon Hacker; 17th May 2012 at 08:13 PM. Reason: Minor redaction correction.

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    Re: Nikon D3200 vs Nikon D5100 for HDR Landscape/Architecture Photos??

    Quote Originally Posted by Photon Hacker View Post
    As far as I know advertising a image processor chip technology with a name is just a gimmick. The fact than new Nikons use "Expeed 3" rather than "Expeed 2" means nothing per se to me, since I don't know what are the differences, or whether there is any. It would, if Nikon specified the noise levels of these chips, for instance.
    Sometimes Canon will say things like "Digic 5+ - which is 3 times faster than a Digic 5" for example. Perhaps they're assuming that most folks are non-technical and that they'll just assume that Expeed 3 is better than Exspped 2?

  19. #19

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    Re: Nikon D3200 vs Nikon D5100 for HDR Landscape/Architecture Photos??

    I wasn't aware the D3xxx didn't bracket.

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    Re: Nikon D3200 vs Nikon D5100 for HDR Landscape/Architecture Photos??

    Quote Originally Posted by blakemcguire View Post
    I wasn't aware the D3xxx didn't bracket.
    Hi Blake, here is a list of the common digital cameras that offer Auto Exposure Bracketing:

    http://www.hdr-photography.com/aeb.html

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