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Nikon D5100 Overview

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D5100 Abstract

Nikon’s followup to the D5000 digital SLR brings a higher-resolution picture sensor with improved noise efficiency and dynamic vary, in addition to the corporate’s latest-generation picture processing algorithms. It additionally replaces the sooner digicam’s bottom-mounted LCD articulation mechanism with a side-mounted design that is way more versatile, and brings an expanded number of consumer-friendly in-camera filter results, plus a two-shot HDR mode–a first for Nikon’s DSLR lineup.


Aspect-mounted tilt / swivel LCD display screen; similar sensor and processing because the Nikon D7000; good pace and battery life; in-camera HDR and filter results; Full HD video seize with aperture management; audio ranges management and exterior microphone jack.


AF-S lens mount does not provide autofocus with screw-drive lenses; popup flash is not the best; no built-in wi-fi flash management; HDR operate does not microalign supply pictures.

Worth and availability

The Nikon D5100 shipped within the US market from mid-April 2011, priced at round $800 body-only, or $900 in a bundle with the AF-S DX Zoom-NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR lens.

Imaging Useful resource score

out of 5.0

Nikon D5100 Overview

Reviewed by Shawn Barnett, Mike Tomkins, and Zig Weidelich
Fingers-on Preview Posted: 4/5/2011
Preliminary Check: 05/30/2011
Full Overview Posted: 07/14/2011

Based mostly across the similar 16.2-megapixel DX-format CMOS picture sensor and EXPEED 2 picture processing as featured within the prosumer D7000, the D5100 provides equally good picture high quality in a extra inexpensive, approachable physique. ISO sensitivity ranges from 100 to six,400 equivalents by default, however might be prolonged as excessive as 25,600 equal if desired.

In comparison with its predecessor, the Nikon D5100 makes plenty of essential adjustments, and it additionally contains a number of options that are distinctive among the many firm’s DSLR lineup. Regardless of being the corporate’s first SLR to function a side-swiveling LCD show, the D5100 has a smaller total physique design than that of the D5000. In contrast to the sooner digicam’s bottom-swivel show, the side-swivel is a flexible design that permits the stay view feed to be seen when framing self-portraits.

The D5100 can also be Nikon’s first SLR to incorporate in-camera excessive dynamic vary (HDR) imaging functionality. A single press of the shutter launch captures two pictures, with the primary deliberately underexposed, and the second overexposed. The 2 are then mixed in-camera to yield a closing publicity with a lot wider dynamic vary than is feasible in a single publicity.

Additionally new for the D5100 is a Particular Results mode relevant to each nonetheless and film seize. The number of results out there contains what Nikon is looking Evening Imaginative and prescient mode, which permits capturing at ISO sensitivities as much as 102,400 equal, with a limitation that the ensuing picture or film is monochromatic.

In addition to capturing nonetheless pictures at a price of 4 frames per second, the Nikon D5100 can document excessive definition video at resolutions as much as 1,920 x 1,080 pixels, utilizing MPEG-4 AVCHD / H.264 compression. Full-time autofocus is obtainable within the D5100’s stay view and video modes, together with a face detection operate which may find as much as 35 faces in a scene concurrently. Notice, although, that the D5100 options an AF-S lens mount, and therefore cannot autofocus with screw-drive lenses.

Nikon D5100 Overview

by Shawn Barnett and Mike Tomkins

The Nikon D5100 is a little bit late to the market, however it’s fairly welcome. Whereas we appreciated the previous D5000 mannequin, its bigger dimension and particularly the bottom-hinged swivel display screen did not make it our favourite, amongst an amazing variety of current Nikon digital SLRs that pretty knocked our socks off. That is modified with the Nikon D5100, because it pushes most all the appropriate buttons. It is also higher aimed on the Canon T3i, its main competitor.

Walkaround. In contrast to the T3i, the Nikon D5100 is smaller than its predecessor, about the identical width and thickness, however noticeably shorter, which makes a pleasant, tight bundle, paying homage to the Nikon D40, one in every of our favourite digital SLRs. Measuring 5.0 x 3.8 x 3.1 inches (127 x 97 x 79mm), the Nikon D5100 is bigger than the D3100’s 4.9 x 3.8 x 2.9 inches (125 x 97 x 74mm), and smaller than the D5000’s 5.0 x 4.1 x 3.1 inches (127 x 104 x 80mm). Weight is barely diminished in comparison with the D5000: 19.9 ounces (565g) for the brand new digicam, 20.7 ounces (588g) for the previous (with battery and card, with out lens).

The grip, whereas properly sculpted inside for the pads of the fingers, is not fairly as deep as we might like, inflicting our fingers to backside out earlier than they’ve a superb maintain on the digicam. I can usually alter my grip by wrapping the heel of my thumb across the again, however the 3-inch articulating display screen makes that harder, because it’s pushed a lot of the controls far to the appropriate on the again, leaving little room for that maneuver. In consequence, I maintain it extra loosely than most SLRs. The Nikon D5100’s grip is made for smaller arms, as my medium arms are typically capable of alter to virtually any dimension grip.

Discover additionally within the three-quarter shot above the position of the Perform (Fn) button simply left of the D5100 brand, the mic and speaker holes simply above the brand, and the massive rubber port door on the appropriate. This door covers the Accent, AV Out/USB, HDMI, and Microphone ports, and opens as simply because it closes snugly.

Nestled within the grip of the Nikon D5100 is the infrared port, to be used with a wi-fi distant management. Excellent of the shutter button is the AF-assist lamp, which additionally serves as a Self-timer lamp. Our equipment lens was the Nikkor AF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR.

The highest deck higher exhibits the speaker holes left of the pop-up flash. Simply left and behind the Energy swap and Shutter button is the brand new Film Report button. The Data button strikes a little bit additional again, and serves to show the rear LCD on and off. The place there was a Drive mode swap on the D5000, the D5100 has a brand new Stay view activation momentary swap. It is disappointing that they could not put it in the identical place it’s on the Nikon D7000 and D3100, however the articulating LCD is definitely worth the sacrifice. By the way, when you’re used to utilizing the ability swap on a Insurgent, the Lv swap might initially confuse you.

The Mode dial has a number of new gadgets, particularly the Scene and Results menu gadgets. In contrast to the D3100, there isn’t a Information mode on the Nikon D5100.

The left-mounted hinge on the Nikon D5100’s Vari-angle LCD has moved the left-side buttons most Nikon shooters are used to above and proper of the show. I am unsure they bought all of the placements proper. I am fantastic with the Menu button higher left, however the i-Menu button might be higher positioned for simpler thumb entry, maybe the place the Playback button is now. I am keen on the short menu that it launches, which is superior to the one on the D7000, by the best way, with a superb set of generally modified gadgets. The zoom buttons are most likely higher positioned than any of the opposite buttons, as you typically drop your maintain on the appropriate aspect of the digicam anyway to permit others to see your pictures, leaving your thumb ideally positioned to actuate these buttons, in addition to the trash button. A double-press on this button deletes any picture you want.

The left-articulating LCD is best than the bottom-mounted hinge in a number of methods. First, you need to use it whereas the Nikon D5100 is mounted on a tripod, whereas the D5000’s hinge was usually blocked by parts of the tripod’s mounting plate, if not the plate itself. You can too face this LCD ahead to raised monitor your self-portraits, whereas the previous design was often blocked by the tripod head. The three-inch LCD itself has 921,000 dots, and is claimed to have a 1,000:1 distinction ratio.

Another factor, simply decrease left of the Menu button you may see a barely darker dot: That is the rear infrared sensor, a function that can also be discovered on the Nikon D7000 and P7000. It is glorious for macro and studio capturing, since you not have to succeed in round along with your ML-L3 infrared distant to activate the grip-mounted infrared sensor. Bravo, Nikon. In case you’ve a desire for cabled remotes, notice that the D5100 additionally accepts an MC-DC2 distant by way of its Accent port.

See under for our Discipline Check, and take a look at our full suite of Check Pictures and Gallery pictures!

Nikon D5100 Discipline Check

by Shawn Barnett

We have been handled to so many glorious SLRs previously few years that after we see one thing just like the Nikon D5100 it is easy to overlook its worth. Actually, the Nikon D5100 integrates so lots of the stand-out options we have loved in different cameras that whereas I argue we should not say “So what?” we should always certainly say, “It is about time!” Not solely was it excessive time for a extra superior and inexpensive Nikon with a greater-than-12-megapixel sensor, we have additionally wanted a Nikon with a left-mounted swivel display screen and options like built-in HDR and Full HD film functionality.

Whereas the D300S (nonetheless at 12-megapixels) is the intense photographer’s digicam, and the D7000 is for the superior beginner, it is exhausting to know the place to put the Nikon D5100. In case you recall the times when everybody had a Swiss Military knife, there was one known as a Tinker, which had simply the appropriate parts for many wants (two blades, two screwdrivers, an axe, bottle and might openers, and even a toothpick and tweezers) and took up little or no area. That is about the place the D5100 matches. It is not simply an SLR, it is a digital digicam with further capabilities, capabilities that transcend simply interchangeable lenses. I am not saying different cameras do not match into the identical class, I am simply saying the D5100 actually serves the needs of its target market nicely, and all in a fairly small bundle.

Grip. Although we have already talked about that the grip is a little bit small for excellent consolation, it is nonetheless not unhealthy, and after I exit to take photos, I do not give it some thought a lot. The grip is sweet and cheesy, which is excellent. I admire the Nikon D5100’s small dimension, noticeably smaller than the brand new Canon T3i, and would like to strive it with a number of small primes. The 18-55mm lens appears a little bit lengthy, bodily, and is a little bit softer than I might like at telephoto, however it serves for normal function pictures.

I like the brand new management format, all however the place of the i-Menu button, which requires me to regulate my grip to succeed in it. A number of the buttons click on very loudly, others extra quietly. The OK button particularly clacks reasonably than clicks, and the AE-L/AF-L button makes no noise in any respect. I’ve seen different cameras with totally different button sounds, however that is the loudest I recall listening to, so I could not assist however point out it. The shutter sound does not appear as quiet as different Nikon fashions, however it’s quieter than Rebels and manages to nonetheless make a slight winding sound fairly typical of how cameras sound in movies–which is the way it appears folks count on cameras to sound.

HDR. Above is the shot with out HDR, then with excessive smoothing and low smoothing. I just like the elevated shadow element in each pictures, however the low smoothing leaves fairly a little bit of glow round some parts, and each modes rework a blue sky right into a dingy, grey, reasonably foreboding sky.

For customers, I actually most well-liked the Nikon D40’s restricted management set, however I discover the Nikon D5100’s larger variety of buttons and controls makes me wish to seize the digicam and exit to play. It is not fairly as inspiring to pictures because the Nikon D7000, however it’s nonetheless attractive. As one who’s used to capturing Rebels, I stored flipping the digicam into Stay view mode after I thought I used to be accomplished capturing, due to its location proper subsequent to the Mode dial, which is the place the ability swap is positioned on Rebels. However I actually choose the ability swap the place it’s on the Nikon design: proper across the shutter button. It is a lot simpler to flip on and shoot.

Perform. I used to be additionally happy to see Nikon combine a Perform (Fn) button, even whether it is oddly positioned. By default, it prompts the Self-timer, however it may additionally set the Launch mode, set Picture high quality, ISO sensitivity, White Steadiness, Lively D-Lighting, activate HDR mode for the following shot, add RAW to the following shot, or activate an Auto Bracketing sequence.

HDR. I used to be actually joyful to search out I might set the Perform button to activate the Nikon D5100’s HDR mode, as a result of I used to be in any other case going to complain about how the digicam turns off HDR mode after every shot. It is a nuisance. It’s important to drill again down by way of the menu system to re-activate it, too. Not enjoyable. I get why they’d do this, to stop newbies from taking all their pictures as HDRs, however making auto-deactivation an choice would have made sense. As long as you do not thoughts dedicating your Fn button to it, HDR mode might be very helpful certainly.

HDR to the max. This is a pattern of probably the most dramatic impact with low smoothing.

Very like Sony’s HDR implementation, the Nikon D5100 shoots two photographs at totally different settings, exposing for highlights and shadows, and integrates the 2 pictures. HDR is usually overdone, however it may be helpful for conserving the sky from going completely white whereas exposing for the foreground, or for sustaining element within the shadows. Digital cameras simply do not have the power to seize as vast a variety as our eyes can see, so we want tips like this to seize all that we see. Sadly, the outcomes usually look odd. Whereas your eye is seeing a stay picture and might alter as you go searching a scene, {a photograph} is a static picture, and has to point out it , therefore the surreal look of actually broad high-dynamic-range pictures. Happily, you may alter the publicity differential from 1, 2, or 3 EV, or go away it as much as the digicam by deciding on Auto. You can too set how aggressively the digicam smooths the boundaries between pictures. If you’d like the very radical look, select low smoothing; if you would like a extra life like look, select excessive smoothing. Since I had a short while, I shot principally 3EV pictures with low smoothing for extra drama. I made that call partly as a result of I could not actually see the impact on the digicam’s LCD in vibrant mild, so I simply cranked it up. That brings up some extent when judging photographs on the Nikon D5100’s LCD that I am going to get to shortly.

Evening imaginative and prescient. There are two different pictures within the gallery, one in Evening imaginative and prescient, the opposite at ISO 6,400, however they had been made with a lightweight on within the room; that is barely sufficient mild to border the shot.

Although I am unsure why they’re cut up into two separate areas on the Mode dial, Scene and Results provide a number of fascinating settings as nicely. Of the out there Results, solely Silhouette and Evening imaginative and prescient can be value operating to in a pinch, at the least for me. In each positions, although, you simply flip the rear Management dial, and a digital dial seems within the higher left nook of the display screen, permitting you to pick out from among the many modes that seem there. The textual content title seems in addition to a pattern picture to provide the concept of what every mode does.

Evening imaginative and prescient is an apparent selection for the photographer dad eager to get photographs of his youngsters once they’re at their most great, which is after all once they’re sleeping. It is shocking that they did not emulate the basic inexperienced glow of an evening imaginative and prescient scope, however it additionally exhibits common sense, as a result of ultimately, all of us admire a black and white {photograph}. I used it in low mild earlier within the week, however gave it extra of a check in actual “night time imaginative and prescient” mild. No pleasure. So I turned on the toilet mild and it was dim sufficient that I might barely see nicely sufficient to border the picture within the viewfinder. The Nikon D5100 did not autofocus on this mode, so I needed to concentrate on one thing in higher mild utilizing one other mode at about the identical distance, then reframe my shot. It is fairly darn grainy, however it appears to be like respectable.

Colour sketch. I am certain others will be capable of make higher use of this mode than I.

Colour sketch. I attempted my finest to provide you with a good photographic excuse for Colour sketch impact, however I got here up brief. It is simply not my factor, and I might hate to waste a body on it. I might see making an attempt to use it to save lots of a boring image, however why hassle saving a boring image? Simply delete it.

Miniature impact. It is exhausting to see on this thumbnail, however the impact is extra noticeable at bigger sizes.

Miniature impact. I labored making an attempt to make a convincing Miniature picture, however it’s vital the place the blur lands, and that is not at all times conducive to good composition when you even discover a vantage level. In Stay view mode, you do have an opportunity to border it with the blur-effect current, however body price slows to 2 or three frames per second, making it tougher to compose the picture. I did higher by way of the optical viewfinder. In the long run I made a shot of youngsters on a swing that appears okay. The secret’s to shoot from a excessive angle to assist the phantasm that you are looking right into a diorama or set of toys. I discover the mode helpful for demonstrating the function in digicam opinions, however have not used it past that.

Mode dial. I’ve to take a second to reward the Mode dial. As I shot with it, paying extra consideration to my children than the digicam, it was straightforward to vary among the many modes I needed to strive for the overview, and returning to Program or Aperture modes was as straightforward as might be, simpler than most cameras I take advantage of. The dial has simply the appropriate resistance to show simply, however not by accident. What’s extra, it strikes into every setting with confidence, not stopping midway between. If you deal with as many cameras as I do, that is not the norm.

Shutter lag. Half a second earlier, she was dealing with the digicam for a cute shot.

Swivel display screen. I’ve used a number of cameras with left-hinged swivel screens recently, however for some motive I’ve remembered that I might and may use this yet another usually than I’ve with others. It is most helpful when you’ve gotten toddlers, or when capturing at occasions with a lot of different folks, like faculty occasions and sporting occasions. Once more, the Nikon D5100 is right for folks particularly. I need to say, although, that whereas having a swivel display screen means you may get a superb low angle on toddlers, I seen a major lag even when prefocused. The lab exams say its about 0.49 second. Almost half a second is a very long time when photographing toddlers, let me let you know. In that point, the mirror goes down, the display screen goes clean, after which the mirror goes again as much as make the publicity. Sadly what you noticed when that display screen went clean is just too usually not what you captured. That is Stay view for many SLRs, sadly, and also you simply have to regulate your timing accordingly. It needs to be famous that the majority swivel-screen digicams common a half-second shutter lag, so all that is lacking is the same old sooner shutter lag that we affiliate with SLRs.

It is not an ideal resolution for toddlers, particularly very lively ones, however for a lot of different conditions, it helps you get pictures from uncommon angles, and even self-portraits, that you simply would not get in any other case.

Higher. The Nikon D5100 really did do fairly nicely on this flash shot, particularly contemplating the darkish garments and darkish inexperienced goal.

LCD in vibrant mild. Whereas photographing the youngsters at an area playground, I steadily noticed picture alternatives with the youngsters faces in shadow. After the publicity, it appeared their faces had been manner too darkish, so I made a decision to pop up the flash. This appeared to do the trick, brightening their faces. Later, after I seen the images on the pc, although, it was these first pictures I made with out the flash that had been correctly uncovered, whereas lots of the flash pictures had been overexposed; precisely the other of what the digicam’s LCD had advised me. So the excellent news is that the Nikon D5100’s publicity system bought it proper. The unhealthy information is that when the flash was employed, the publicity system typically overdid it. I feel I might make use of flash publicity compensation sooner or later to dial it again, and look to the histogram greater than the LCD sooner or later. I feel the highest glass on the LCD is manner too reflective, which makes it tougher to correctly choose publicity in vibrant sunlit circumstances.

Velocity. Noticed these guys developing the ramp, switched out of Stay view, and crouched all the way down to catch them by way of the sooner viewfinder.

Viewfinder. I discovered the best success utilizing the optical viewfinder to border my pictures, as is often the case. The viewfinder is extra like a Insurgent’s, to place it merely. AF factors are bracketed by slim black traces, with black dots within the middle which mild up pink when focus is achieved. The brilliant pink dots are simpler to pick towards most backgrounds, whereas the dim pink squares of previous designs had been tougher to see towards sure backgrounds, particularly in shadow areas. Arrayed in a horizontal diamond sample, the Nikon D5100’s eleven AF factors are extra plentiful than on the Insurgent, which has solely 9.

The optical viewfinder additionally provides a return to framing pictures on the pace of sunshine, in addition to the sooner shutter lag. It is a disgrace it is not a little bit sooner to reacquire focus, taking 0.41 second in wide-area mode, however I discovered it quick sufficient most often. Switching to single-point AF removes among the guesswork, and quite a lot of the lag, which fits all the way down to 0.27 second.

Full HD. 1080p at 30fps. The film begins out barely out of focus, however I half-press the shutter a number of seconds in so you may hear the main target motor on the equipment lens. (Click on picture to obtain 31.4MB .MOV file.)

Film. Capturing motion pictures with the Nikon D5100 is nearly so simple as you possibly can make it. You first have to change to Stay view mode, then simply press the pink Report button simply behind and left of the shutter button. The one complication is that when capturing in one of many many HD film modes, it’s a must to do not forget that when you begin recording, the highest and backside of the show might be cropped off to suit the 16:9 format. Two of the Data shows have small horizontal traces close to the corners that present the place the 16:9 crop will happen, which is pretty much as good an answer as I’ve seen. You simply need to press the Data button as soon as to get to one in every of these screens.

You may autofocus whereas recording with a half-press on the shutter button. With the equipment lens, you may hear the main target motor adjusting the lens to verify focus. You can too activate AF-F (Full-time servo AF) mode, solely out there in Stay view mode, which provides steady autofocus whereas in Stay view and Film modes.

The Nikon D5100 was succesful and enjoyable to make use of. I’d not hesitate to take it to any main household occasion, although I might most likely wish to get a extra succesful small lens, just like the Nikkor 18-105mm. The D5100 is Nikon’s most versatile providing at this value level and is simple to get good ends in a rush, making it very best for these new to SLR pictures.

Nikon D5100 Tech Data

by Mike Tomkins

Sensor. On the within, the Nikon D5100 relies across the similar 16.2-megapixel, DX-format (23.6 x 15.6mm), CMOS picture sensor that beforehand featured within the D7000. The Nikon D5100’s imager has a complete pixel depend of 16.9 megapixels, a pixel dimension of 4.78µm, and yields most picture dimensions of 4,928 x 3,264 pixels. Two lower-resolution choices are additionally available–either 3,696 x 2,448, or 2,464 x 1,632 pixels. The Nikon D5100 can seize nonetheless pictures as .NEF-format compressed RAW information, JPEG compressed information, or as each sorts concurrently. In contrast to the prosumer D7000 mannequin, the Nikon D5100 does not present an choice for uncompressed RAW information.

Processor. The Nikon D5100 makes use of 14-bit analog/digital conversion, and output from the CMOS sensor is dealt with by an EXPEED 2 picture processor, as featured beforehand within the D3100 and D7000. In comparison with the earlier technology EXPEED, the newest technology EXPEED 2 provides enhancements in processing pace, picture high quality, and energy consumption. (Notice that Nikon repeatedly tells us that EXPEED 2 is not essentially the identical processor in every digicam; it is a processing set that is utilized by way of varied configurations of processors, which varies by digicam.)

Though the Nikon D5100 options the identical sensor and nominally the identical EXPEED model as within the D7000, its burst capturing price of 4 frames per second is a 3rd slower than the D7000’s six frames per second, as you would possibly count on given its extra inexpensive pricing.

Lens mount. Just like the D3000 earlier than it, the Nikon D5100 sports activities an AF-S lens mount that lacks an in-body autofocus motor, which might assist older AF lenses whose focus mechanisms had been pushed from the digicam. These lenses have what appears to be like like a little bit screwdriver slot on their mounting flange that {couples} with a protruding, screwdriver-looking shaft on the digicam physique, pushed by a motor within the digicam physique to regulate focus.

Newer Nikkor lenses have motors constructed into the lens physique, which are usually each sooner and quieter than the old-style drive system, in addition to permitting the digicam physique to be lighter, smaller and cheaper. These newer lenses–of which there at the moment are over 40 types–carry an AF-S or AF-I designation of their title, and they’re the one sorts of lenses the D5100 can autofocus with. CPU-equipped lenses missing built-in focus motors can be utilized in handbook focus mode, and kind G or D lens sorts may also assist full 3D colour matrix metering for extra correct exposures, notably when flash is getting used. (You may inform CPU-equipped lenses by the set of 5 electrical contacts arrayed on the highest aspect of the lens flange.)

Helpfully, the Nikon D5100 can mechanically right for lens distortion in-camera.

Viewfinder. The Nikon D5100’s pentamirror viewfinder has the identical 17.9mm eyepoint as that of the D5000, however mirrors that of the D3100 by dropping the on-demand grid show operate of its predecessor, as a substitute choosing a extra conventional show with pink LED indication of AF factors. Magnification is approx. 0.78x and body protection is approx. 95% horizontal and vertical. The diopter is adjustable from -1.7 to +0.7m, and the D5100 makes use of a Kind B BriteView Clear Matte Mark VII focusing display screen.

Autofocus is unchanged from the system used within the Nikon D5000, though the viewfinder indication differs. The D5100’s autofocus system relies round an 11-point Multi-CAM 1000 phase-detection sensor module that is beforehand appeared within the D3000 and D5000, amongst others. The Multi-CAM 1000 module provides 11 focusing factors, of which the middle level is a cross-type sensor. Detection vary for the D5100’s AF system is -1 to +19 EV (ISO 100, 68°F / 20°C). Whereas the AF sensor itself is unchanged, Nikon has up to date the viewfinder level show. Within the D5000, the approximate AF level places had been indicated with dense black marks within the viewfinder. For the Nikon D5100, these have been changed with a lot fainter markings, every illuminated by pink LEDs within the middle. Like its predecessor, the Nikon D5100 contains 3D monitoring functionality that follows shifting topics from level to level as they traverse the body.

Publicity modes within the Nikon D5100 embrace Auto, Program, Shutter-priority, Aperture-priority, Handbook, Flash Off, Scene, Portrait, Panorama, Baby, Sports activities, Shut-Up, and Results. The Scene mode place on the digicam’s Mode dial teams the D5100’s scene modes collectively, reasonably than their meriting particular person positions on the dial. Scene mode decisions have been pared down simply barely, and now embrace Evening Panorama, Occasion / Indoor, Seaside / Snow, Sundown, Nightfall / Daybreak, Pet Portrait, Candlelight, Blossom, Autumn Colours, Meals, and Evening Portrait.

Stay view. Notice that the above display screen pictures are captured by way of HDMI connection; this isn’t how the show appears to be like on the D5100’s LCD.

The D5000’s Silhouette, Excessive key and Low key scene modes have now been relocated to the brand new Results place on the Mode dial, which applies to each nonetheless pictures and films. The Results mode additionally contains new Evening Imaginative and prescient, Colour Sketch, Miniature Impact, and Selective Colour choices. We have seen related capabilities to all of those on previous DSLRs from Nikon or opponents, apart from the Evening Imaginative and prescient mode, which particularly bears a little bit rationalization. This uncommon mode raises the ISO sensitivity restrict from its expanded most of 25,600 equivalents, all the best way as much as a whopping ISO 102,400 equal, however with a catch: you may solely shoot monochromatic pictures in Evening Imaginative and prescient mode. The Selective Colour choice is much like that on Pentax’s DSLRs, and desaturates all however chosen colour ranges. The place Pentax’s operate permits number of two colours with a five-step management over how vast a range round this colour needs to be retained, the Nikon D5100 can choose three separate colours, with seven-step choice management. Colour Sketch gives a drawing-like impact, whereas Miniature Impact creates a graduated blur close to opposing edges of the picture body, simulating a shallow depth of subject and (if used nicely) making a notion that the picture is of a mannequin. This final impact slows the recording body price on motion pictures, and so causes them to seem sped-up on playback.

Obtainable shutter speeds vary from 1/4,000 to 30 seconds in 1/3 or 1/2EV steps, plus a bulb place for longer exposures. The Nikon D5100’s shutter mechanism has a rated lifetime of some 100,000 cycles. Publicity compensation is obtainable inside a +/-5.0 EV vary, in 1/3 or 1/2 EV steps. The Nikon D5100 additionally provides three body publicity bracketing, with a step dimension between exposures of as much as 2 EV.

Metering. Nikon’s 3D Colour Matrix Metering system employs a 420-pixel RGB mild meter that covers a lot of the Nikon D5100’s picture space. By means of comparability, higher-end Nikon fashions use a 1,005-pixel RGB sensor that simply barely greater than doubles the metering sensor decision, so the Nikon D5100’s much less subtle sensor cannot at all times present the identical stage of publicity metering accuracy as within the D7000 and different fashions utilizing the newer 1,005 pixel sensor.

In addition to Matrix metering, the Nikon D5100 gives middle weighted (75% weight for circle) and spot modes. The middle-weighted circle defaults to 8mm. The spot metering circle is 3.5mm, or about 2.5% of the picture body, and meters on the middle of the body when the main target level is mechanically chosen, or from the manually chosen focus level in any other case. Working vary for the D5100’s metering system is from 0 to twenty EV for matrix and center-weighted metering, or 2 to twenty EV for spot metering (ISO 100, f/1.4 lens, 68°F / 20°C).

Scene Recognition System. With the identical AF and metering association because the Nikon D5000, the D5100 likewise retains Nikon’s Scene Recognition System, which makes use of info from the 3D Colour Matrix Metering system to match what it sees within the picture to a database of 30,000 photographs. Particulars on related pictures within the database are then used when figuring out focus, publicity, i-TTL flash publicity, and white stability, permitting the Nikon D5100 to make higher choices total.

The autofocus sensors are one other piece of the Nikon D5100’s SRS puzzle, every side informing and tuning the opposite. Discovering and specializing in eyes reasonably than foreground objects, and even foreheads and noses, is one specific good thing about the general integration. One other is improved 3D monitoring of objects as they transfer throughout the picture space. The RGB sensor might not be capable of assist concentrate on an object, however it may add a set of knowledge for the Nikon D5100 to make use of whereas monitoring a topic with the autofocus system. For instance, if a pink object is traversing the body from left to proper, and rising in dimension because it does so, the Nikon D5100’s SRS would add this info to the AF-sensor information to assist it tune the main target extra shortly.

Sensitivity. The Nikon D5100’s sensitivity vary is significantly expanded since its predecessor, with commonplace limits of ISO 100 to six,400 equivalents, whereas ISO 12,800 and 25,600 equivalents can be found when ISO growth is enabled. By comparability, the Nikon D5000 provides a typical vary of ISO 200 to three,200, whereas its expanded vary was ISO 100 to six,400. As talked about beforehand, this higher restrict might be prolonged even additional to ISO 102,400 equal in Evening Imaginative and prescient mode, however with a catch: this mode is restricted solely to monochromatic seize, so if you wish to shoot in colour, you will want to remain at ISO 25,600 or under. An Auto ISO choice can also be out there, when you choose to depart the choices as much as the digicam.

White stability. The Nikon D5100 gives a minimum of 14 white stability modes, together with an Auto mode, 12 presets, and a handbook place. Presets embrace Incandescent, Fluorescent (Sodium-vapor, Heat-white, White, Cool-white, Day White, Daylight, and Excessive Temp. Mercury-vapor), Direct Daylight, Flash, Cloudy, and Shade. As well as, the D5100 can bracket white stability when capturing in JPEG mode. With bracketing enabled, the digicam saves three copies of every image–the default, plus one with a hotter tint, and one with a cooler tint.

Image Management. As you’d count on, Nikon has included its standardized Image Management system within the D5100, in order that digicam settings for sharpening, distinction, brightness, saturation, and hue might be finely adjusted and ported to different Nikon digital SLRs that assist the system. The D3 was the primary digicam appropriate with the choice, and all Nikon SLRs since, together with the D5100 observe the usual. The Nikon D5100 has six presets known as Normal, Impartial, Vivid, Monochrome, Portrait, and Panorama, and as much as 9 customized presets might be outlined, named, saved, and copied. Sharpness might be adjusted in ten steps, together with an Auto setting; distinction, saturation, and hue might be adjusted in seven steps, whereas hue is adjustable in three steps. There’s additionally a five-step “Fast Regulate” setting, which exaggerates or mutes the impact with out having to regulate every slider individually. When Monochrome Image Management is chosen, Hue and Saturation are changed by Filter Results and Firming respectively. Filter Results provides Off, Yellow, Orange, Crimson, and Inexperienced settings, whereas Firming provides B&W, Sepia, Cyanotype, Crimson, Yellow, Inexperienced, Blue Inexperienced, Blue, Purple Blue and Crimson Purple settings. Notice that Image Controls are solely lively in Program, Aperture-priority or Shutter-priority and Handbook publicity modes, because the Scene modes already apply preset picture changes. In fact, the Nikon D5100 additionally provides sRGB and Adobe RGB settings, in a separate Colour House menu.

HDR Imaging. The Nikon D5100 marks a primary for the corporate by providing an in-camera excessive dynamic vary imaging operate, one thing we have seen in a number of DSLRs from rivals, beginning with Pentax’s flagship Okay-7 again in early 2009. The Nikon D5100’s HDR mode mechanically captures two pictures, with the primary deliberately underexposed by wherever from 0.5 to 1.5 stops, and the second overexposed by the identical quantity, for a complete distinction between pictures of 1 to three EV. Mid-tone info is used from each pictures, whereas spotlight info is taken from the underexposed shot, and shadow info from the overexposed shot. The result’s saved as a single picture with elevated dynamic vary, at which level the person supply pictures are discarded. The D5100’s HDR mode does not seem to incorporate any microalignment functionality, though it does carry out what the corporate phrases as “smoothing” of the 2 pictures, which might be set to function at low, regular, or excessive ranges. Nikon notes that it recommends capturing on a tripod, and like all multi-shot mode, it is solely appropriate to be used with comparatively static topics (similar to related capabilities from opponents).

Lively D-Lighting. The Nikon D5100 retains its predecessor’s elective Lively D-Lighting mode, which provides an auto mode plus 4 preset ranges that add progressively extra punch to shadow element. Notice that JPEG information are modified as they’re captured with Lively D-Lighting, so there is not any unaltered “unique” to refer again to: contemplate whether or not you wish to shoot RAW + JPEG to again up these information, or maybe use D-Lighting after seize when you’re unsure whether or not a picture would profit from the assistance. Curiously, the Lively D-Lighting operate can be utilized in live performance with high-dynamic-range imaging.

Flash. For capturing in tough lighting circumstances, the Nikon D5100 contains each a built-in popup flash strobe, and an ISO 518 clever sizzling shoe for exterior strobes. Flash X-sync is at 1/200 second. There isn’t any built-in PC sync connector, however Nikon provides an elective hot-shoe-mounted sync connector adapter to be used with studio strobes. The built-in flash has at the least 18mm protection, and can pop up mechanically as wanted in Auto and most Scene modes, whereas in different modes it may be deployed manually. The Information quantity is 12 meters / 39 toes at ISO 100, 68°F / 20°C, which will increase to 13 meters / 43 toes when managed manually. Flash metering modes embrace i-TTL, auto-aperture, non-TTL auto, and distance-priority handbook, with availability of those modes relying on the flash mannequin. -3 to +1 EV of flash publicity compensation is obtainable in 1/3 or 1/2 EV increments. The Nikon D5100’s inner flash provides assist for the Nikon Inventive Lighting System, however cannot act as a wi-fi commander.

Stay view capturing. There is a new technique of activating Stay view on the Nikon D5100: a devoted Stay view lever on the highest panel, jutting out from beneath the appropriate of the Mode dial, and simply reached with the flick of a fingertip. Upon tapping the Lv lever, the mirror flips up and Stay-view framing begins. As with Nikon’s different current DSLRs, you may solely focus in Distinction-detect mode, as Section-detect AF is not out there. Section-detect AF in Stay View-capable SLRs is at all times a loud affair, because it includes dropping and elevating the mirror twice (as soon as to focus and as soon as to take the shot), however it’s typically sooner than contrast-detect focusing.

Stay view focus modes within the Nikon D5100 embrace Regular, Large space, Face Precedence, Topic Monitoring, AF-S (single servo), AF-F (full-time), and handbook focus. If face detection is activated, the Nikon D5100 shortly begins monitoring faces, inserting a yellow field round each, as much as 35 at a time. As soon as focus is achieved, the field turns inexperienced on the level the place the main target lock was achieved.

D-Film mode. Recording motion pictures on the Nikon D5100 is simple: Whereas in Stay view mode, simply press the devoted, top-panel Film button to start out recording. Motion pictures might be captured at resolutions as much as 1,920 x 1,080 pixels, or what’s generally often known as 1080p / “Full HD” video, in addition to 1,280 x 720 pixels (720p), and commonplace definition 640 x 424 pixels (a non-standard decision). There is a selection of 25 or 30 frames per second, no matter decision, and for high-def seize you can too go for a 24 frames per second mode.

The Nikon D5100’s motion pictures are captured utilizing MPEG-4 AVCHD / H.264 compression, with the file format being .MOV. Every video clip has a most size of twenty minutes, and the Nikon D5100 does present for fundamental in-camera modifying of movies, with the power to trim undesirable content material from each the beginning and finish of every clip. You can too save a JPEG from a body of video. The Nikon D5100’s inner microphone is monaural, and it contains connectivity for an exterior stereo microphone.

Considerably for client videographers, the Nikon D5100 provides full-time contrast-detection autofocus throughout film seize, together with assist for the face detection and monitoring performance, although the variety of faces that may be tracked concurrently is diminished in comparison with the 35 face restrict in nonetheless seize mode. With Nikon F-mount lenses having been designed for nonetheless picture capturing, it is probably that autofocus drive noise might be picked up on the audio monitor when utilizing the Nikon D5100’s inner microphone, however that is probably a worthwhile tradeoff for a lot of customers, given the problem of studying to drag focus manually.

Shutter pace and ISO sensitivity are at all times mechanically managed whereas recording motion pictures, nevertheless lens aperture might be chosen earlier than getting into Stay view mode in Aperture Precedence or Handbook publicity mode. Publicity Compensation and AE Lock can be found in PASM modes, however Matrix metering is at all times used whatever the metering mode chosen.

In-Digicam Enhancing. The Nikon D5100 provides not solely in-camera RAW file processing, but in addition gives Nikon’s intensive in-camera picture retouching capabilities. These embrace resizing, cropping, post-capture D-Lighting, redeye correction, monochrome and different filter results, colour stability, picture overlay, fast retouch, straighten, distortion management, perspective management, miniature impact, fisheye, colour define, colour sketch, and selective colour.

Ports. The Nikon D5100 features a vary of connectivity choices. For information switch to a pc, there’s a typical USB 2.0 Excessive Velocity port. Movies might be proven on commonplace or high-definition shows utilizing both the NTSC / PAL switchable composite port, or Kind-C Mini HDMI port, respectively. Whereas in use, the standard-def composite port permits the digicam’s LCD to stay lively, however the HDMI port overrides the digicam’s LCD show. It additionally helps the Shopper Electronics Management (HDMI-CEC) commonplace, permitting distant management of sure playback performance by way of the HDMI cable, from an hooked up show’s distant management unit. There’s additionally an adjunct terminal on the Nikon D5100 that is appropriate with the MC-DC2 distant cable launch, and the GP-1 GPS unit, each out there as elective extras.

The Nikon D5100 has the aforementioned 3.5mm stereo microphone enter jack, and so they even provide a brand new accent microphone, the ME-1 Stereo Microphone, that attaches to the digicam by way of the new shoe. Lastly, the Nikon D5100 has two infrared distant launch ports, back and front, to be used with the ML-L3 infrared distant management.

Storage and battery. The Nikon D5100 shops pictures on an SD/SDHC/SDXC reminiscence card, and is appropriate with Eye-Fi playing cards for wi-fi connectivity by way of WiFi. It makes use of an EN-EL14 lithium-ion battery pack, rated for 660 pictures on a cost with 50% of pictures utilizing the flash (CIPA score). No vertical battery grip is obtainable for the Nikon D5100.

Pricing. Obtainable from mid-April 2011, the Nikon D5100 retails for a advised value of US$799.95 physique solely, or US$899.95 for the physique and 18-55mm VR lens.

Nikon D5100 Picture High quality Comparability

Most digital SLRs will produce an affordable ISO 100 shot, so we wish to push them and see what they’ll do at ISO 1,600, at their default noise discount settings. Latest advances in sensor know-how have made ISO 1,600 look much more like ISO 100, however there are nonetheless cameras whose high quality begins to collapse at this setting. I additionally select 1,600 as a result of I like to have the ability to shoot at or above this stage when indoors and at night time. We additionally discover ISO 3,200, and take a look at the high-contrast element of ISO 100 vs 3,200 and 6,400. Make sure to verify our Thumbnails web page for extra picture high quality samples.

Notice that we have reshot our Nikon D5100 Nonetheless Life pictures with the Sigma 70mm f/2.8 EX DG Macro, which is our reference lens for many digicam our bodies. Whereas the Nikkor AF-S 60mm f/2.8G ED Micro we used beforehand is a really sharp lens, it does not have fairly as a lot resolving energy and distinction because the Sigma, which made a slight however noticeable distinction when coupled with the D5100’s high-resolution sensor. The Nikon D5100 crops under have been up to date.

Nikon D5100 versus Canon T3i at ISO 1,600

Nikon D5100 versus Nikon D5000 at ISO 1,600

Nikon D5100 versus Nikon D7000 at ISO 1,600

Nikon D5100 versus Panasonic GH2 at ISO 1,600

Nikon D5100 versus Sony A580 at ISO 1,600

As we speak’s ISO 3,200 is yesterday’s ISO 1,600 (nicely, virtually), so under are the identical crops at ISO 3,200.

Nikon D5100 versus Canon T3i at ISO 3,200

Nikon D5100 versus Nikon D5000 at ISO 3,200

Nikon D5100 versus Nikon D7000 at ISO 3,200

Nikon D5100 versus Panasonic GH2 at ISO 3,200

Nikon D5100 versus Sony A580 at ISO 3,200

Element: Nikon D5100 vs. Canon T3i, Nikon D5000, Nikon D7000, Panasonic GH2 and Sony A580

ISO 100
ISO 3,200
ISO 6,400

ISO 100
ISO 3,200
ISO 6,400

ISO 100
ISO 3,200
ISO 6,400

ISO 100
ISO 3,200
ISO 6,400

ISO 160
ISO 3,200
ISO 6,400

ISO 100
ISO 3,200
ISO 6,400

Element comparability. Excessive-contrast particulars are sometimes sharper as ISO rises, so that they’re value a glance as nicely. As anticipated, the Nikon D5100’s efficiency is similar to the D7000’s with the identical Sigma reference lens, although distinction is a contact decrease whereas white stability is cooler. The Canon T3i’s increased decision places it forward at ISO 100, however the D5100 holds its personal at ISO 3,200 and 6,400. The D5100 outresolves the D5000 as anticipated, however the later may be at a slight drawback optically, because it was shot with a Nikkor AF-S 60mm f/2.8G ED Micro as a substitute of the sharper Sigma 70mm. The Panasonic GH2 does surprisingly nicely with a excessive distinction topic, outresolving the D5100 in any respect ISOs, albeit noise is increased. The GH2 struggles a bit greater than the others with the pink textual content, although. The Sony A580 additionally performs nicely, maybe a hair higher than the D5100 in any respect ISOs, although the Sony together with the Canon present an inclination towards extra seen sharpening halos. For extra choosy photographers, that is worthy of notice, because the D5100’s decrease stage of processing is less complicated to tweak extra fastidiously after seize. There are such a lot of variables to think about, although, together with publicity, tone curve, and others, it is an excessive amount of to get into. Let your eyes do a lot of the work.

Nikon D5100 Print High quality

Makes glorious 24 x 36 inch prints from ISO 100-400; ISO 3,200 pictures nonetheless have nice element at 11 x 14; ISO 12,800 pictures make a superb 4 x 6.

ISO 100 pictures make glorious 24 x 36 inch prints with nice element and colour. That is true at ISO 200 and 400 as nicely. Good wall show prints are attainable as much as 30 x 40 inches.

ISO 800 pictures look good at 16 x 20, with very slight luminance noise within the shadows, however not unhealthy in any respect.

ISO 1,600 prints look fairly good at 13 x 19 inches.

ISO 3,200 makes a pleasant 11 x 14, with minor obvious noise in some shadowy areas.

ISO 6,400 pictures are fairly good at 8 x 10, higher than usable. There’s a little bit luminance noise within the shadows, however total it is a good efficiency.

ISO 12,800 prints a good 4 x 6.

ISO 25,600 pictures are too muted and noisy to be known as good.

General a really spectacular efficiency from the Nikon D5100, on par with the Nikon D7000 to a big extent.

See under for our conclusion; be sure you verify the opposite tabs for element check outcomes.


Within the Field

The Nikon D5100 equipment comprises the next gadgets:

  • Nikon D5100 digital digicam
  • AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR lens
  • Entrance and rear lens caps
  • Physique mount cap
  • Neck Strap
  • Rechargeable lithium-ion battery EN-EL14
  • Battery charger MH-24
  • USB cable UC-E6
  • Audio / Video Cable EG-CP14
  • Eyecup DK-20
  • Eyepiece cap DK-5
  • Accent shoe cowl
  • Nikon ViewNX 2 CD-ROM
  • Consumer manuals


Really helpful Equipment

  • Further battery pack for prolonged outings
  • Massive capability SDHC/SDXC reminiscence card. Nowadays, 8GB is an efficient tradeoff between price and capability, however when you plan to seize HD film clips, search for bigger playing cards with Class 6 or sooner rankings.
  • SB-900, SB-800, SB-700, SB-600, or SB-400 flash strobe, SU-800 wi-fi flash commander
  • Wi-fi Distant ML-L3 when you like infrared remotes, or Distant Launch MC-DC2 when you choose a tethered distant
  • Energy Provide Connector equipment EP-5A when you do a lot studio capturing
  • GPS unit GP-1 for geotagging
  • Stereo microphone ME-1 to scale back untoward noise pickup throughout video seize
  • Digicam case


Nikon D5100 Conclusion

Professional: Con:
  • Glorious picture high quality and excessive ISO efficiency, similar to the D7000
  • Glorious dynamic vary, particularly from RAW
  • Compact physique
  • Versatile left-hinged swivel LCD with excessive decision
  • Data 1080p motion pictures at as much as 30fps
  • Devoted film document button
  • Chromatic aberration mechanically diminished in JPEGs
  • Non-obligatory Auto Distortion Management
  • In-camera HDR operate with adjustable step dimension
  • Lively D-Lighting (might be mixed with HDR)
  • Attention-grabbing filter results
  • Good battery life for a compact SLR
  • Good burst pace and buffer depths for client mannequin
  • Exterior stereo mic jack
  • Adjustable mic sensitivity
  • Helps GP-1 GPS unit
  • Twin IR distant receivers, plus assist for wired distant
  • Helps new UHS-I playing cards
  • Spectacular print high quality
  • HDMI output
  • No assist for screw-drive autofocus
  • Considerably weak flash with slim protection
  • Constructed-in flash doesn’t assist wi-fi operation
  • No devoted ISO button
  • No management over shutter pace or ISO for motion pictures, although aperture might be set earlier than recording begins
  • Heat Auto and Incandescent WB in tungsten lighting
  • No on-demand grid choice in viewfinder
  • Barely delicate pictures at default settings
  • HDR operate does not auto-align pictures
  • HDR solely takes two picture as a substitute of three or extra from competing implementations
  • No eye detection to mechanically turn-off LCD

Once we reviewed the previous D5000 mannequin two years in the past, we discovered loads to love, with a mixture of nice picture high quality and a reasonably wealthy function set, however we discovered ourselves questioning Nikon’s selection of a bottom-mounted LCD articulation mechanism for a number of causes. Whereas it made capturing over your head or low to the bottom way more possible than in SLRs with a set display screen (even these with vast viewing angles), it was sadly of comparatively little use for self-portraits–and that is one thing of a typical want for customers. Whether or not you had the digicam mounted on a tripod, or just positioned on a conveniently positioned flat floor, the LCD could not be flipped for viewing from in entrance of the digicam. The underside-mounted mechanism most likely additionally contributed, at the least partly, to the D5000’s elevated physique dimension relative to Nikon’s entry-level SLRs.

The swap to a side-mounted articulation mechanism has made the Nikon D5100 a considerably extra versatile digicam than its predecessor. It retains the earlier mechanism’s predominant benefits, together with the power to shut the LCD dealing with inwards for added safety (or simply to assist preserve it smudge-free when not in use), however provides to the vary of capturing conditions during which stay view, immediate overview and film seize can show helpful. It is also allowed Nikon to make a worthwhile financial savings within the D5100’s peak, and as we have usually identified, the smaller and lighter a digicam is, the extra probably you will have it on-hand when an sudden picture alternative arises. Cameras left at dwelling do not get the picture, regardless of how nice their options and picture high quality.

Whereas the brand new tilt/swivel display screen meeting might be extra of an attention-grabber, many customers may also admire the D5100’s new inventive choices. Professionals and fans might choose to tweak pictures to their tastes in post-processing, however not everyone needs to be chained to their desk, and certainly, it may assist get your inventive juices flowing since you may preview among the results within the subject. Whereas the Nikon D5100’s array of pre- and post-capture filters and HDR mode aren’t distinctive, with related capabilities discovered on different current SLRs from the corporate’s opponents, the larger number of choices out there to Nikon shooters are nonetheless welcome. It is a disgrace that the multi-shot HDR mode does not microalign pictures, nevertheless: as is, it is actually solely helpful for static topics with the digicam mounted on a tripod.

When in comparison with its predecessor, the Nikon D5100 additionally makes a really worthwhile step forwards in picture high quality. That is maybe not shocking; the SLR market as an entire has made fairly an enchancment within the final couple of years. It bears noting, although, that the D5100 relies across the similar picture sensor and EXPEED 2 picture processing algorithms that featured within the standard D7000 prosumer SLR. In fact, there are various different factors that differentiate the 2 cameras, however it’s nice to see very related ranges of picture high quality on provide at a way more inexpensive value level, one which’s simply inside attain of many customers.

In fact, this is a digicam geared toward customers, with the design decisions that brings. Notably, Nikon hasn’t included a screw-drive autofocus motor, or in-camera wi-fi flash commander performance within the D5100, and for some photographers, that will trigger them to look elsewhere. For its goal market, although, the Nikon D5100 provides an approachable design that {couples} an amazing function set with glorious picture high quality, and that mixture makes it a straightforward selection for a Dave’s Choose.



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