No photos for this post, as I have no camera. I have a few really neat lenses and a flash, but I returned the very nice Nikon D5100 to Costco today. I love those guys. They seem to get it that since they don't have experts on the floor to help with choosing merchandise, they'll take returns with very few to no questions asked. I bought the D5100 in a kit with two lenses for a great price of just under 1,000 bucks. It included a bag, a 16GB SD card, a bunch of DVD,s, battery, charger, connectors, and a camera strap- not too bad.
This was my first personal DSLR (we use them at work, but not artistically). It took great photographs and had the versatility my old point and shoot could in no way keep up with. I pushed that point and shoot hard, I learned how to tweak it to it's fullest extent, but it was never going to reach my creative expectations.
The D5100 has a great sensor in it for sure. The first problem I noticed was more the body construction and design, such as in the battery compartment door. It was really hard for me to open and was, to be honest, really cheaply made. The menu was a bit strange as well. But, ultimately, that damn battery compartment door was really eating away at me. I felt that I might break it if I tried to hard to get it to open.
It also had that rarely useful on-board flash that with most cameras seem to ruin a night shot with the harsh shallow lighting. So I got a nice Nikon Speedlight flash that will take me a long while to learn, but also has idiot-proof settings that instantly made my flash pictures lots better. The only problem is that the D5100 can only use the Speedlight when mounted on the camera, not as a remote. I was outgrowing the camera at light speed-fast.
I had checked out the D7000 a bit, but at the kit price, it was almost twice as much. The pros all say to get a good camera body on its own because the kit lenses are usually cheap (I read that last week). Once I got a nifty 35mm 1.8 prime lens and a really cool cheap real fish eye lens, the kit lenses never touched the camera again (I had it for approximately 1 month).
Luckily the lady at Costco understood my dissatisfaction having spent almost 1,000 bucks on a camera with a crappy battery compartment lid and limited functionality with the Nikon flash system, she gave me a full refund. I will remain a loyal Costco customer and buy all my SD cards, and external hard drives there no problem. I will skip their D7000 kit for 1,499.99 though. I ordered a D7000 (body only, but they threw in a bag, and an SD card) from B&H for a bit less than I originally paid for the D5100 kit.
Thank you Costco, I doubt any camera store would have saved my butt like that after having the camera for that long. (I'm sure the local camera store would have explained the features so that I would have understood what I was getting into in the first place.) Why do I have to be so stubborn and not ask for help from qualified experts? It must be the Lithuanian in me:)
All in all, the experience taught me a lot and I'm only out 1 spare battery I bought for the D5100. I can live with that.