Nikon D5100


A new model of DSLR from Nikon

Canon and Nikon have always been powerful competitors. Nikon’s D5100 camera may not be among the top-notch devices out there, but it nonetheless offers good performance, image quality and design, all at an affordable price. Find out more about the gadget from our review.

3.0″ LCD display

The Nikon D5100 was thought as a replacement for its predecessor, the Nikon D5000. At first look, the device appears solid. One of the improvements from previous models is the more prominent slope on the left side. Another important enhancement is the 3.0″ LCD display, which is larger; also, its resolution is much higher.

During our test for this review we noticed that the screen was upgraded to flip-out-and-twist. What we didn’t like about it was the fact that it made us think that exposures were off. When we took the gadget outside, the display was hard to view in direct sunlight; changing the angle didn’t improve things. The viewfinder on this camera was dim and had tiny autofocus points which we couldn’t see unless we lighted them up during the pre-focus phase. Nikon-D5100

Some small problems

On the plus side, the D5100 DSLR camera comes with larger AF area markers than other models. The back controls include a navigation switch (which we couldn’t lock), an information edit key, AF mode, mode dial and many more. The mode dial features various shooting effects and the information edit button opens an interactive info display with which users can adjust shooting settings; moreover, it toggles between Live View, Video and regular modes. A frustrating thing we discovered when testing the device was the AF point: when shooting in this mode we always moved it by accidentally pressing the switch. Near the shutter sits the recording key which is very easy to reach with the forefinger.

ISO up to 102.400 !

In the features department, the D5100 gadget offers numerous and varied ones. The most interesting of the group were the integrated intervalometer and the Night Vision mode; the latter took advantage of the sensor’s capability to increase gain up to ISO 102.400. It offered the possibility to turn color images into black and white ones which gave us, in turn, the possibility to take photos in dark lighting; results were fairly good. The Autofocus didn’t work with anything except the View mode. The two-shot HDR auto combine function was one of the least interesting and functional features; it didn’t give a high dynamic range and it didn’t bring down highlights that well. And, in order to access it, we had to open the menus and re-enable it after every shot. All in all, the Nikon D5100 doesn’t provide impressive HDR capabilities. The camera also boasts 9 custom Picture Style setting slots and users have the possibility to share them between multiple cameras; unfortunately, you can’t save and recall custom settings.

Good quality image

Now let’s see the product’s overall performance. The image quality at all ISOs is better than the one on its predecessor. Also, the noise is very clean up to ISO 400; up to ISO 1600, photos are usable. But at ISO 6400 or higher quality begins to suffer. Pictures were sharp, detailed and had beautiful colors. Results were much better in the Neutral Picture Style.
Video quality was good: content looked sharp and had a decent exposure.
In terms of speed, the Nikon D5100 powers on and starts shooting in under 0.3 seconds, focuses and snaps a picture in 0.3 seconds when the light is good and in 0.6 seconds when the lighting is low. Time between shots was slower: 0.6 seconds (0.8 seconds for raw stills). The burst rate was 3.8 fps.

Review conclusion

To sum it up the test results, the Nikon D5100 doesn’t do too well in the shooting speed department, but it’s a good camera nonetheless.

Technical specifications

CMOS: 23.6 x 15.6 mm – 16.9 million pixels
Compatible Lenses: Nikon mount AF – Coeff. 1.5 x
Max Resolution: 4928 x 3264
Recording format: RAW – JPEG – MOV H-264/MPEG-4
VIEWFINDER: 95% coverage – 0.78 x Magnification – Eye Relief 17.9 mm
Exposure Compensation: + / – 5 EV in 1 / 2 or 1 / 3 value
SHUTTER: 30 s to 1 / 4000 sec – Bulb – Burst up to 4 im / s
Autofocus: TTL 11 zone
MEASUREMENT OF EXPOSURE: Dot-matrix – 420 Sensor zones
SENSITIVITY: Auto – Manual 100 to 6400 ISO in increments of 1 / 3 IL
WHITE BALANCE: Auto – Manual (7 modes)
SHOOTING MODE: Auto – Scene Modes – Program – Shutter Priority – Aperture Priority – Manual – 2 user settings
VIDEO MODE: 1920×1080 (30-25-24p)
EXTERNAL FLASH: I-TTL Measure – Synchro 1 / 250 s
BATTERY: Lithium-ion Battery EN-EL 14
CONNECTIONS: USB 2.0 – Mini HDMI – Mini-jack Microphone – Video – GPS
SCREEN: 7.6 cm – adjustable – 921,000 pixels – 170 ° viewing angle
DIMENSIONS (W x H x D): 128 x 97 x 79 mm
WEIGHT: 560 g with battery and card
ACCESSORIES: EN-EL14 Battery – Charger – Strap – USB Cable – Video cable – CD-ROM ViewNX2