Nikon D5100 review

Nikon’s baby-of-the-range D3100 was our Editors’ Choice at the close of 2010, so we have high expectations of 2011’s addition to the range, the D5100. With just £9 separating this from Canon’s EOS 600D, the Nikon fields a lower 16.2-megapixel resolution. This isn’t a deal-breaker however, as the D5100 features the same sensor as the semi-pro D7000 model. This enables it to offer a best-in-class top light sensitivity setting of ISO 25600.

Naturally the D5100 upgrades the D5000, and is the regulation 10 per cent smaller and 17 per cent thinner than its predecessor. Despite this Nikon claims an improved grip, fashioned from an elastic rubber material; we managed to fit three fingers around it, with our forefinger coming to rest on the shutter release button encircled by the power switch. However, the biggest talking point is the fact that this Nikon also features an angle-adjustable 3in, 920k-dot resolution LCD for achieving otherwise awkward framing.

Nikon has, for the first time, added a special effects mode to the large 13-option shooting dial, applicable only when shooting JPEG, and offering seven different creative options. Nikon has also sensibly equipped the standard 18-55mm zoom lens with built-in Vibration Reduction; it’s a good all-encompassing first lens.

You’ll also find a High Dynamic Range option hidden among the menus for use when faced with tricky exposures; the camera takes two shots, one exposed for highlight detail, the other for shadows and combines them into a single frame.

Like the Canon 600D, the D5100 also boasts a flip-out LCD, plus rugged construction and built-in effects modes to broaden appeal

OUR VERDICT

Sitting just behind the shutter release is a dedicated movie record button, with a springy lever for switching on Live View. We get Full HD 1080p too, with frame rates of 24, 25 or 30fps (frames per second). Under the rubber side flap hiding HDMI output there’s a vacant microphone port, and Nikon offers an optional stereo microphone. Manual focusing is required, so it’s not as easy as a compact system camera for spur-of-the-moment filming. Still, this is partly down to the infrastructure of a DSLR. In conclusion, the D5100 packs in just about every feature of the moment without alienating less familiar users.

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