Nikon D5100 in action
• 16.2 megapixel DX-format CMOS sensor
• Side-articulated 3.0" LCD monitor (920,000 dots)
• 11 AF points (with 3D tracking)
• IS0 100-6400 range (Up to 25,600 equivalent when expanded)
• HD movies (1080p, 720p or WVGA)
• 4 fps continuous shooting
• In-camera effects filters in both stills and video modes
- - excellent image quality
- noise reduction feature which actually works
- sophisticated AF system for the price
- Much improved continuous shooting performance with Active D-Lighting turned on
- Lots of in-camera raw conversion and post-processing options
- low noise at high ISO
- continuous focus in video mode
- ease to operate
- articulated LCD monitor for hard to get shots and video recording
- lack AF motor in the camera body
- slow focusing in Live View
- will not focus all Nikon lenses
I recently took a trip to Israel and decided to take my latest toy on a true test. I mostly shot in Manual mode, which means a lot of quick aperture and ISO switching from indoors to bright sunshine.
I found the D5100 to be quick and responsive in general use. At around 4 fps, continuous shooting is superior to its predecessor D3100 (which tops out at 3fps). This should keep the vast majority of users perfectly happy. As with all Nikon DSLRs that lack an internal AF motor, autofocus speed is very much lens dependent, but my 18-55mm kit zoom did an overall decent job. This also means the camera won't automatically focus with non-AF-S Nikkor lenses, or third party designs which lack an in-built motor; something you need to bear in mind if you choose to expand your lens collection.
With the standard AF-S Nikkor 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 VR kit zoom, the focus speed is perfectly acceptable, but not spectacular.
Overall this is a satisfying camera, and as far as image quality is concerned it is most definitely in the top of its class. Both in still pictures and video, the detail resolution and noise performance are up there with the best of its competition, and the high-resolution, articulated screen makes composition easy in both modes.
Price range: $550-800