Nikon D5100 review

16.2 megapixels, articulated screen, fun Special Effects modes and intuitive controls

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Nikon is aiming the D5100 at relatively novice photographers who want to take their hobby more seriously and want a versatile camera that will enable them to take more creative images.

The Nikon D5100 is a great choice for these users, but it is worthy of consideration by more experienced photographers as well. There's plenty of control available over the appearance of images and the 16.2MP sensor is a higher performer in average low lighting conditions.

We liked

Having a high resolution articulated LCD screen is a bonus, because it actively encourages shooting from unusual angles, which makes for more interesting pictures. Those who rubbish the idea of such a device on a DSLR should try using one for a few hours while taking macro or still life images.

We disliked

Although the Special Effects are fun, and in some cases very effective, it's a shame that you don't have the opportunity to take some control over the exposure or record simultaneous raw files without the effects.

Final verdict

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Nikon D5100 review
Read our hands on Canon 650D review

The only real downside for enthusiast photographers is that there are few direct controls over image parameters. However, most features such as the white balance, drive mode and sensitivity settings are just a couple of clicks away via the Information Display system.

Great for both enthusiasts and novices looking to take the next step forward, the Nikon D5100 offers a lot of versatility, opportunity for creativity and quality results. However, the bar appears to have been raised by the Canon 650D which has a touch-sensitive articulated screen, 18-million effective pixels and a new hybrid AF system that enables faster focusing in Live View and Video mode.

Tech Specs

Product TypeDigital SLR Camera Body Only
Battery Size SupportedProprietary Battery Size
Maximum Video Resolution1920 x 1080
Effective Camera Resolution16.2 Megapixel
HD Movie ModeYes
Memory Card SupportedSecure Digital (SD) Card, Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) Card, Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC)
Digital ZoomNo
Brand NameNikon
FeaturesLive View, Continuous Shooting Mode, Manual White Balance, Aperture Priority
Screen Size7.6 cm (3")
Video FormatsQuickTime MOV, MPEG-4
Viewfinder TypeSLR
Weight (Approximate)510 g
Image Sensor Size23.60 mm x 15.60 mm
Maximum Image Resolution4928 x 3264
Display Screen TypeLCD
Height97 mm
Width128 mm
Depth79 mm
Image FormatsJPEG, RAW
Focus ModesAuto, Manual
ManufacturerNikon Corporation
Product ModelD5100
Product NameD5100 Digital SLR Camera
Exposure Control
  • Program (P)
  • Shutter Priority Auto (S)
  • Aperture Priority Auto (A)
  • Manual (M)
Manufacturer Part NumberVBA310AE
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing Information

The D5100 is a high-performance D-SLR designed to stimulate your creative side and help you create still images and movies like no other.

The swing-out vari-angle monitor combines with the camera's D-movie function to enable unique shots from any angle. Still images or movies can be shot using a special effect to add a sense of magic.

Package Contents
  • D5100 Digital SLR Camera
  • EN-EL14 Rechargeable Li-Ion Battery (with Terminal Cover)
  • MH-24 Battery Charger
  • AN-DC3 Strap
  • EG-CP14 Audio/Video Cable
  • UC-E6 USB Cable
  • DK-5 Eyepiece Cap
  • BS-1 Accessory Shoe Cover
  • DK-20 Rubber Eyecup
  • BF-1B Body Cap
  • Software CD
  • User's Manual
Limited Warranty1 Year