Nikon D5100

  • 16.1 MP
  • APS-C CMOS
  • 3" LCD
Released April, 2011
Significantly smaller and lighter, it’s also easy to use, offers good performance and is capable of delivering consistently good results, both in stills and movie mode.
Rated 80% by by TrustedReviews (Jan, 2014)

Conclusion Check out the Nikon D5100

77%
79%
62%
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52%
52%
83%
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80%
85%
44%
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82%
82%
85%
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73
First reviewed December, 2011

Features Key features of the Nikon D5100

Angle view of Nikon D5100
However, it gains 1080p video capability (at 30, 25 or 24fps), saved using the efficient H.264/AVC codec, and a 920,000 dot fully articulated LCD panel to help shoot it.
Rated 76% by by DPReview (Apr, 2011)

megapixels

0 MP
24.2 MP

16.1 MP
24.1 MP
30 MP
The Nikon D5100 is a new 16.2 megapixel DSLR camera that can record Full HD movies at 1920x1280 pixels / 25fps with stereo sound.
D5100 by Photography Blog (Apr, 2011)
All of the sample images in this Review were taken using the 16.2 megapixel JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 6Mb.
D5100 by Photography Blog (Apr, 2011)

sensor size

Nikon D5100
Canon EOS 1100D
Canon EOS 450D
At low ISO settings, the D5100 is on a par with the best of the competition, but at the higher ISO settings, it produces some of the best image quality that we've ever seen from an APS-C camera.
D5100 by DPReview (Apr, 2011)
Here we look at the RAW files processed through Adobe Camera Raw (in this case version 6.4 beta).
D5100 by DPReview (Apr, 2011)

viewfinder size

Nikon D5100
Fujifilm X-E1
Nikon D7000
As the viewfinder offers just 95% coverage (standard for a camera of this level), there is scope for a few surprises around the image frame.
D5100 by TechRadar (Jun, 2012)
What this actually means is that a small portion of the captured image doesn't show up in the viewfinder.
D5100 by DPReview (Apr, 2011)

body size

127 x 96.5 x 78.7 mm
129 x 74.9 x 38.3 mm
129 x 98 x 62 mm
All in all, though, the D5100 delivers excellent still and moving pictures with the minimum of fuss in a lightweight package and is a serious rival to the Canon EOS 600D and the Sony A55.
D5100 by Photography Blog (Apr, 2011)

focus points

0
39

11
39
40
Ultimately the Nikon D5100 easily overcomes its few real weak points, offering a compelling mix of great image and movie quality, precise and quick auto-focusing, accurate metering and a fantastic LCD screen, all in a format that most users will find intutive and enjoyable to use.
D5100 by Photography Blog (Apr, 2011)
A few more cross-type sensors would be really helpful too, especially if, like us, you prefer to determine your own point of focus using Single-point AF rather than letting the camera decide via Auto-area AF.
D5100 by TrustedReviews (Jan, 2014)
 

Performance Real world tests of Nikon D5100

DxOMark image quality

Nikon D5100
Canon EOS 450D
Canon EOS 650D
I prefer the Neutral picture style; the others are too contrasty, which results in loss of shadow and dark midtone detail.
D5100 by c|net (Apr, 2011)
At standard settings it measures a total dynamic range of approximately 9 EV which compares well to its direct competitors.
D5100 by DPReview (Apr, 2011)

DxOMark low light performance

Nikon D5100
Canon EOS 450D
Canon EOS 650D
The seven Special Effects on offer are selective colour, miniature, colour sketch, night vision, silhouette, high key and low key.
D5100 by TrustedReviews (May, 2011)
Quite how usable that top setting will be remains to be seen, though as a last resort in near-dark situations where the use of flash isn't an option it's certainly a useful tool to have on board.
D5100 by TrustedReviews (May, 2011)

shutter lag

0 ms
273 ms

438 ms
110 ms
200 ms
The Nikon D5100 lets you dial in shutter speeds of up to 30 seconds and has a Bulb mode as well for exposure times of practically any length, which is very good news if you are seriously interested in night photography.
D5100 by Photography Blog (Apr, 2011)
Simply enter live view to flip the mirror up, then release the shutter a couple of seconds later when any vibrations have died away.
D5100 by DPReview (Apr, 2011)

continuous shooting

Continuous shooting is a claimed 4fps, although we weren't able to verify this during our time with the camera.
D5100 by TrustedReviews (May, 2011)
A 4fps burst shooting mode, 11-point autofocus system with 3D Focus Tracking, High Dynamic Range mode, Active D-Lighting and seven different special effects for stills and movies complete the Nikon D5100’s headline specs.
D5100 by Photography Blog (Apr, 2011)

battery life

660 photos
1,050 photos
350 photos
It's a 7.6Wh battery that the D5100 manages to make last for 660 shots, according to CIPA standard tests (which compares favorably against the 550 achieved by the D3100).
D5100 by DPReview (Apr, 2011)
The D5100 uses the same EN-EL14 battery as the D3100.
D5100 by DPReview (Apr, 2011)
 

Our analysis How does it stack up against its top 10 competitors

pros

  • Contrast detection focusing system
  • 1920 x 1080 @ 30 fps
  • Generic
  • APS-C
  • Yes
  • 80.0
  • Great for recording movies
  • Opaque
  • 1,183 ISO
  • 500 ms
  • 23.5 bits
  • 660
  • 3.5mm
  • For that film look

cons

  • Apr, 2011
  • 4 fps
  • 1
  • None
  • 16.1 MP
  • 95%
  • 1920 x 1080 @ 30 fps
  • Use buttons to access features and menus
  • 273 ms
  • You'll have to protect your camera from the elements
  • 82.15%
  • No automatic stitching
  • 1/4000 s
  • 78.7 mm

Reviews Word on the street

Rated 76%
Read the review (Apr, 2011)
Having said that, even at the HI1.0 (ISO 12,800) setting high contrast detail is still acceptable and, despite the visible luminance noise, images are perfectly usable at smaller print sizes.
Rated 90%
Read the review (Apr, 2011)
In addition to the excellent image sensor, the free-angle, tilting and folding LCD screen is the real highlight of the D5100, opening up lots of creative possibilities for both stills and video.
Rated 80%
Read the review (Jan, 2014)
Read the review (May, 2011)
Another clear improvement over the D5100 is the addition of a 3in, high-resolution, tilt-and-swivel LCD monitor that displays at a resolution of 920k dots a huge upgrade over the 230k-dots offered by the D3100 and D5000.
Rated 80%
Read the review (Jun, 2012)
It would also be nice to have control over the exposure or at least exposure compensation when these modes are selected.
Rated 77%
Read the review (Apr, 2011)
Despite the higher-resolution sensor, the D5100 delivers visibly better image quality at all ISO sensitivities than the D5000, although the D5000 has slightly better white balance.

Lens

This shot was taken handheld, at the long end of the new Tamron SP 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Di Vc lens.
Nikon D5100 | Rated 76% by by DPReview (Apr, 2011)
When you enter Live View, the camera will stop down to the currently set or metered value (offering an undocumented depth-of-field preview in the process), but what it won't then do is readjust the diaphragm 'live' if you change the aperture setting.
Nikon D5100 | Rated 76% by by DPReview (Apr, 2011)
Whereas all other brands program Auto ISO in a fashion that's designed to combat camera shake (or blur from relatively slowly-moving subjects) by automatically increasing the ISO at a shutter speed determined by the focal length of the lens, Nikon's approach uses a single, user-specified minimum shutter speed, which has to be carefully selected for the specific situation and focal length being used.
Nikon D5100 | Rated 76% by by DPReview (Apr, 2011)

Sensor

We found that measured ISO from the D5100 is roughly 1/3EV higher than indicated - so ISO 100 = ISO 125 (approx).
Nikon D5100 | Rated 76% by by DPReview (Apr, 2011)
Until Adobe delivers a D5100 codec for Camera Raw I can't do any raw-processing comparisons.
Nikon D5100 | Rated 77% by by c|net (Apr, 2011)
We've also added a new sensitivity sequence of raw and JPEG images and the video below.
Nikon D5100 | Rated 80% by by TechRadar (Jun, 2012)

Video

Although there's a lot packed into the D5100, including full HD (1080p) video and multiple exposure capability, Nikon seems proudest of its Effects modes.
Nikon D5100 | Rated 80% by by TechRadar (Jun, 2012)
As we'll see later, this bug has a curious knock-on effect when shooting movies too.
Nikon D5100 | Rated 76% by by DPReview (Apr, 2011)
25 p is available when PAL is selected for video mode.
Nikon D5100 | Rated 90% by by Photography Blog (Apr, 2011)

Photography

Shooting with the Nikon D5100's Landscape Picture Control mode boosted the green of the grass and the blue of the hazy sky.
Nikon D5100 | Rated 80% by by TechRadar (Jun, 2012)
The new Effects modes can be used to add a creative flair to your images, although the inability to manually control the camera's key settings means that applying the effect during image playback is often the better route to take.
Nikon D5100 | Rated 90% by by Photography Blog (Apr, 2011)
Although the family resemblance is obvious, the D5100 does not share the same body shell as its predecessor the D5000.
Nikon D5100 | Rated 76% by by DPReview (Apr, 2011)

Focus

When combined with the 'Subject Tracking AF' mode, it will even do so while following the subject as it moves across the frame.
Nikon D5100 | Rated 76% by by DPReview (Apr, 2011)
Autofocus only works in Live View mode.
Nikon D5100 | Rated 77% by by c|net (Apr, 2011)
As with all Nikon DSLRs that lack an internal AF motor, autofocus speed is very much lens dependent, and the 18-55mm kit zoom isn't a speed demon, and it's likely to satisfy most potential buyers.
Nikon D5100 | Rated 76% by by DPReview (Apr, 2011)

Competition What else you should consider

1
Nikon D7000 Is weather sealed D7000 vs D5100
2
Fujifilm X-E1 OK benchmarked shot to shot times Fujifilm X-E1 vs Nikon D5100
3
Nikon D3200 Quite high resolution D3200 vs D5100
4
Nikon D5200 Best image quality as rated by DXOMark D5200 vs D5100
7
Canon EOS 600D 2-way tie: Highest resolution screen Canon EOS 600D vs Nikon D5100
8
Canon EOS 450D 7-way tie: Largest screen Canon EOS 450D vs Nikon D5100
Front view of Nikon D5100

New duel?

Let the battle continue or dare to compare.


Editions Editions of the Nikon D5100

Price Edition Max light sensitivity Resolution Area Max continuous shooting Compare
25,600 ISO 920 k dots APS-C 4 fps
 
Compare

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August 20, 2012
Nikon D5100 vs Canon Rebel T3i Vs Sony SLT-A57

Please can any unbiased expert tell me which is better : Canon T3i, Sony Slt A57 or Nikon D5100.. I want the best picture and Video.. Thanks

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April 12, 2012
My 4th grade friends and I are looking for a good film camera.

I have been acting in videos for years, but I want to direct in this. I consider my self a definite beginner.I was thinking about the canon Rebel T2i, but if possible, we don't have any money our...

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July 26, 2012
Which camera i have to choose as i am Beginner?

I am going to buy my first ever DSLR camera but after reading lots of entries i am totally confused to select the right one. mainly i would like to take portriat (faces), nature things. and after...

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Latest Questions

August 31, 2012
Best camera to film interviews with?

I'm conducting a series of lengthy one-on-one interviews, and am looking for the best camera to film these interviews with.  Things like a flipout lcd screen and auto-focus are probably not to...

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May 3, 2012
Always on the go, soccer, travel, school concerts, playing at the beach

I am a beginner that will never be an expert.  My life is busy as a single mom and we are always on the run.  I want to be able to always have the camera for picutes and movies, yet I also want I...

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April 18, 2012
I will use it for Child playing.

I am going to start photography school and I will going to use on my children too. I like the canon 60D idea of having semi pro so I dont have to upgrade right away but most of my friend I to...

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Unanswered Questions

January 19, 2013
Best camera for sport shots?

I'm intrested in taking a lot of sport shots, specifically shots of swimmers and during water polo games, what camera is better for these types of shots? Also I am going to need a high zoom...

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January 14, 2013
Cinematic look videos, short films

I will make short films, prefer video mostly vacation trip and house hold functions

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January 14, 2013
Low light.

I like my Canon SX110 IS, but indoors with flash the colors seem a little washed out. Without flash, for example a Christmas tree, just about impossible. My smartphone takes a better picture.

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Community Find out what the Sortable community is saying about the Nikon D5100

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Top Nikon D5100 experts at Sortable
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Intermediate III
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Intermediate II
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blargh
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Nikon D7000
  • 16.1 MP
  • APS-C CMOS
  • 3" LCD
Nikon D5100
Nikon D7000
5 more Sortable users recommended the D5100 over the D7000.
View all discussions | View comparison
Intermediate III
10
votes

If you can score a gently used/refurbished D7000 for little more than D5100, go for it.  Not sure where you live, but most reputable vendors have  D7000 priced nearly twice as much as D7000 is in...

Beginner I
4
votes

You should get this straight first. what you need to think about when you choose your first set of gear is "WHAT YOU CAN EXPERIENCE WITH YOUR BUDGET" if your budget is the amount that you can a...

Expert I
2
votes

D7000 for a serious photography business; d5100 if u do not have old lenses and do not require cls as image quality for both of these are v close

Sony SLT A57
  • 16 MP
  • APS-C CMOS
  • 3" LCD
Nikon D5100
Sony SLT A57
14 more Sortable users recommended the Sony SLT A57 over the Nikon D5100.
View all discussions | View comparison
Beginner I
7
votes

The best price, ease of use, great pictures, good high iso performance, relatively small as for dslr, i was considering t3i and d5100 (it took me almost 3 months to choose ) and i picked d5100....

Intermediate II
2
votes

Most cameras in this class have the same size sensor and about the same number of pixels, resulting in similar pixel density.  There are factors that will have an effect on the amount of noise in...

Beginner I
1
vote

If you are not going to use video o lot, I'd recommend Nikon D5100, cause of it's awesome low light performance. If you are intending to buy lenses they will become actually cheaper then Sony's,...

Canon Rebel T3i
  • 17.9 MP
  • APS-C CMOS
  • 3" LCD
Nikon D5100
Canon Rebel T3i
25 more Sortable users recommended the Nikon D5100 over the Canon Rebel T3i.
View all discussions | View comparison
Beginner I
7
votes

The best price, ease of use, great pictures, good high iso performance, relatively small as for dslr, i was considering t3i and d5100 (it took me almost 3 months to choose ) and i picked d5100....

Intermediate III
4
votes

When getting a DSLR, you'll be getting into picking a "system", not just a camera. That means not just one but possibly more lenses depending on your shooting needs, flashes and other Both Canon...

Intermediate III
3
votes

When getting a DSLR, you'll be getting into picking a "system", not just a camera. That means not just one but possibly more lenses depending on your shooting needs, flashes and other Both Canon...