Originally Posted by Shipbuilder
It is all academic now, as I took it back this morning, and got a full refund. It happened to be the manager who served me. After we had gone through the usual "it works perfectly, you are just not setting it up correctly" routine, I said I still wanted a refund, and he agreed without argument. We had an interesting talk about it, and he actually said that I had been sold the wrong camera for what I wanted. That was to photograph small to medium sized items (up to about two feet long) on a table. I said that the images from the Pentax X90 were far superior to the Nikon D5100, and he agreed that they would be for that sort of thing. He said that what I actually needed was a "bridge camera," but I have decided to stay with my X90 until such a time as it conks out! After the refund, it was like having a great weight lifted off my shoulders, as I can go back to simple, but efficient photography.
A Nikon D5100 is very similar to my D3100, with a 18-55mm lens you can take a photo of the Imperial Star quite easily, I have taken much closer images such as a strawberry flower in which you can see the wet pollen that the bee picks up.
That manager was was trying to tell you what you want to hear.
It is the lens that dictates the photograph, not the camera body.
If you are buying a DSLR you buy it so you can use it on manual to enable you to adjust the camera to suit the conditions, such as 20sec exposures or 1/2000 sec exposures, this you probably cannot do with a bridge and certainly not pocket cameras.
I never used the camera on automatic when I got it, but Aperture priority or manual.
You can set it on auto focus which is ok.
If you again decide to go for a DSLR it is worth buying a new one as it comes with the software for converting Raw to jpeg after tinkering with all the sliders to adjust the image to your liking.
Try googling Mike Browne , he is a photographer who has many short jargon free instructional videos to explain very many points of digital photography, taking each function of your camera and explains how it works and howand when to use it.
There are some good books written on particular camera models which teaches you how to use the camera, unlike the booklet or leaflet supplied with the camera and even the video supplied.
I borrowed many books from the local library on DSLR photography to educate myself on how to use it.
PM me if you have any more questions.