My feelings, too. After a few recent vacations where wifey was always pointing out "look at the camera THAT person has!", she asked if I would like one for my birthday (which is coming up in March). We have been using point-and-shoots, as mentioned above, and I can't stand them. You can't see the LCD screens in bright sunlight and I'm always correcting the level ("straightening") the photo in post because I can't tell how level I'm holding the little camera. I've always been a "Nikon man" and so I'm only looking at Nikon DSLRs.
Yes, if it were MY money, I'd agree, let's go for the D7000. I presume that the "kit" lens (hate that term, but that's how they refer to it), the 18-105, is a decent lens and apparently better quality than the lenses that come with the D5100? The D5100 just feels too small and "plasticky" to me, although it does have most of the features of the D7000 at a significant cost savings. If I had smaller hands and fingers, I'd say no problem, get the D5100.
But, coming from the Nikon F, I like big bulky cameras. On the D5100, my "pinky" would have nowhere to go.
As for the viewfinder, the product description for the D7000 shows "100%" as "viewfinder coverage". Is this not the case? I think I can live with a 4-5% reduction in that area.
Too bad I don't have my old lenses, which included the 105 f2.5 and 300 f.4.5. Used the 105 about 98% of the time. Beautiful lens and sharp as a tack.
But back on point... money. MY money, I'd go for it and just get the D7000. All of the features of the D90 and then some. But it'll be HER money, I don't think she's quite used to just how much more DSLRs cost (for decent ones, anyway), than the point-and-shoots. She also does not know the difference between, say, the P100 and the D3100. She'll say, "How about THIS one? It's only $300!". She doesn't "get" why I need at least a D90. Still, she asked me if I'd want one, I said sure I would, so hopefully she'll come through. If not, I'll live with the point-and-shoot until such time as I can get what I want later on.
The only thing I'm not happy at all about is that I won't be able to use my old trusty Sunpak 555 "potato masher" flash with any of the new cameras. That's a real disappointment. It's a shame to have to buy an expensive Speedlight. But what can you do?
One final comment... video is a nice feature, but it's not my priority. If it was, I'd get a camcorder. Since most, if not all, DSLRs seem to have "video" of one type or another, it's not a deal-breaker that one model is 24 fps and other 30 fps, if one is 720p or 1080p. Our little Canon 3300is does 720p video and it looks great.
About the video, though... is there that much of a difference between 24 fps and 30 fps? Is 30 fps that much smoother that the average person will notice? After all, we won't be making blockbuster films with it, just the occasional vacation video clip or some cute thing the kids are doing.
Thanks for the advice, and also in advance for any that post following this.