Overview of the Nikon D5100 DSLR Camera
The D5100 is the Nikon’s latest generation to its consumer DLSR product line. Replacing the D5000, this camera is positioned closely between the D3100 which is aimed at beginners and the high-end D7000 for experienced photographers. The main targeted consumers of the D5100 are those who are attempting to outgrow their basic entry-level DSLRs, and this camera directly competes with the Canon’s T3i.
The following detailed review will show you how it competes with its rivals!
Brief review of the Nikon D5100 DSLR Camera
- The resolution is 16.2 megapixels with the CMOS sensor
- The ISO settings range from 100 to 6400, plus H1 and H2 settings equivalent to 12,800 and 25,600
- There is a 11-AF point focusing system
- The popup flash is built-in the camera
- The 3-inch LCD Screen has the resolution of 921,000 pixels
- The camera uses a LiIon EN-EL14 battery which is rechargeable
- The dimensions are 128 x 97 x 79 mm (5.0 x 3.8 x 3.1 in.)
- The camera weighs 560 g (1.4 lbs.) (with the battery compartment included)
- The maximum image size is 4928 x 3264 pixels (you can shoot photos in the RAW and JPEG formats)
- A HD movie mode is supported
- The image quality is excellent
- The LCD screen is articulated
- It has a sophisticated AF system for the price
- Odd arrangement of some controls
- Sluggish AF in Live View and Movie Mode
- Movie mode is inconsistent, and prone to “bugs”
Detailed Review of Nikon D5100 DSLR Camera
The Nikon D5100 DSLR has offered much more than its previous generation, the D5000. Its image sensor has inherited the 16.2MP sensor of the D7000, but of couse, there will be a lack of some high-end features of that advanced camera. You will see no magnesium alloy body and the number of AF points are fewer, but the image quality is still very good. The images are excellent. Now, let’s see other aspects of this camera!
Body and Controls
The D5100 is a neat and small model, and you can easily hold it in your hand. Although it is lighter than its predecessor (because its body is made by plastic), the camera still brings the substantial feel. One strong point is that the LCD screen with a side hinge is very articulated. Thanks to this screen, you will find the camera very easy to use. However, the side hinge has resulted in a pretty significant reshuffling of buttons.
You won’t see any buttons at all on the left hand side of the screen, which is different from other Nikon models. And the manufacturer has located the buttons for controlling the menu and playback options on the right hand side of the LCD screen, which sits alongside the four-way dial for setting up exposure parameters. There is a convenient switch which is positioned on the top of the camera and next to the mode dial, which help quickly push the camera into Live View mode in cases that you want to fast record videos.
And there is not any direct access button for you to adjust the ISO as well. Instead, this needs to be assigned to the function button, which is located on the front of the camera. This button is next to the flash activation button, and be careful because you can easily get these two buttons mixed up.
Similar to the D3100, don’t expect to have an in-body autofocus motor with this camera. This means that the accuracy and speed of the autofocus mechanism largely depend on the lens that you are choosing. This also means that the D5100 will not focus with a third-party lens that does not have a built-in focusing motor or the one with non-AF-S Nikkor lenses.
When you shoot still images, the autofocus is accurate and acceptably fast, even in cases that you use the 18-55 mm kit lens. However, the speed of the autofocus is very slow when you select the Live View and Movie Mode. During the recording time with those modes, it even drifts in and out of focus.
Unlike higher spec models, you cannot use the D5100 camera as a wireless flash controller. However, you can use the flash activation button to boat several useful features. To get access to different flash modes, you just need to hold the button and spin the control dial. And just hold down the button in conjunction with the exposure compensation button to apply the flash exposure compensation.
The image quality with the Nikon D5100 camera is fantastic and you can shoot photos in both RAW and JPEG formats. It has the same sensor as the image sensor of the D7000. But you will not have to concern about the overexposure problems in high contrast situations as with the D7000.
Especially, you will be very surprised with the low noise levels, even with the higher ISO settings. The camera does a great job of preserving details with the automatic noise reduction function. With this feature, the D5100 has probably become one of the best APS-C models which is great for shooting photos at high ISOs.
In general, the images shot with the D5100 are outstanding and there is just a minimum of difficulty.
In terms of the list of good features and the excellent image quality, this is a great model. The star rating is lowered a bit, though, for the organization of the function buttons which is not really well organized. This complicated organization may drive users to consider the D3100 for simpler usage or the D7000 with more advance features.