Nikon D5100 Review

Overall 43
Imaging 17
Features 47
Size 72
Price 1

Main Features

  • 16.0 MP APS-C CMOS sensor
  • ISO 100 - 6400 (Expands to 25600)
  • Image Stabilization: No
  • 3″ Fully Articulated Screen
  • ViewFinder: Yes
  • 4.0 fps Continuous Shooting
  • Video: 1920 x 1080 (30, 25, 24 fps), 1280 x 720 (30, 25, 24 fps), 640 x 424 (30, 25 fps)
  • Built-in Wireless: Yes
  • Dimensions: 128 x 97 x 79 mm
  • Weight: 560 g
  • Environmental Sealing: No
  • Built-in GPS: Yes
  • Replaced Nikon D5000. Compare
  • Replaced by Nikon D5200. Compare

Nikon D5100 Summary

This review is devoted to D5100 that Nikon has first introduced to the public in Apr 26, 2011. This model is a Entry-Level DSLR camera with a resolution of 16.0 MP and a APS-C (23.6 x 15.7 mm) sized CMOS sensor.

Initially, Nikon developed this model to replace their older product D5000 and, after some time, Nikon has replaced this upgraded model with their most recent one D5000. To learn more about the specs and difference between these models, check our complete comparison by following these links:
Nikon D5100 vs. D5200
Nikon D5100 vs. D5000

In Entry-Level DSLR cameras (Top 10 DSLR Cameras) this model has taken rank #84 out of 200. Its Overall Score has reached 43/100 and it takes a rank of #594 out of 1174 in all Cameras.

Nikon D5100 Compared to other DSLR Cameras

Now let's delve into more details of our Nikon D5100 review by assessing its features and specs, as well as checking what pros and cons it has compared to other average products in this category.

PROs

  • Built-In Flash: Yes
  • Dxo Dynamic Range: 13.6
  • Microphone Port: Yes
  • Weight: 560 g
  • Battery Life: 660 shots
  • Timelapse Recording: Yes

CONs

  • Screen Type: Fully Articulated
  • Number Of Focus Points: 11

Complete Comparison of Nikon D5100 With Other Cameras in Entry-Level DSLR Category

In this part of our review, we are going to take a closer look at the technical specs and features presented in Nikon D5100. In addition, we are going to define the main pros and cons of this model and, based on this info, compare it to other average Entry-Level DSLR cameras.

Physical Characteristics Of Nikon D5100

Nikon D5100 has the following external dimensions 128 x 128 x 79 mm (50.39 x 38.19 x 31.1″) with the weight of 560 g.

The typical weight for average Entry-Level DSLR type cameras is 539g. If we compare the average indicator to the weight of Nikon D5100, we can conclude that this model is heavier than many other similar products.

Talking about the camera’s thickness, it is worth saying that Nikon D5100 is wider than other average cameras from this class. Its thickness is 79mm.

Look at the pictures below to see the front and top view of Nikon D5100 with the indication of this model’s dimensions:

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If you want to have a better idea of how big the Nikon D5100 is, look at the pictures below to see how big it is compared to a credit card and a AA type battery.

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Finally, let's check how different are the weight and thickness of the Nikon D5100 compared to other models from this class of cameras presented by the brand’s competitors:

Battery

Nikon D5100 — 660 shots
Min: 230 shots
Average: 588 shots
Max: 1900 shots

Thickness

Nikon D5100 — 79 mm
Min: 53 mm
Average: 73 mm
Max: 86 mm

Weight

Nikon D5100 — 560 g
Min: 365 g
Average: 539 g
Max: 690 g

Unfortunately, Nikon D5100 comes without a waterproof feature, so if you want it to serve well and last longer, you will have to use it very carefully and avoid water.

Unfortunately, Nikon D5100 comes without a dustproof feature, so if you want it to serve well and last longer, you will have to use it very carefully and protect your camera from external threats such as dust.

Nikon D5100 Photo and Sensor Features

Nikon D5100 boasts of a resolution of 16.0 MP and is equipped with a APS-C (23.6 x 15.7 mm) sized CMOS sensor.

The base of Nikon D5100 has the following ISO range 100 - 6400 and it also comes with a possibility of extending this indicator to 25600.

Also, this model comes with the support of the RAW file. This gives you more opportunities in terms of further processing of your files as you can pick to save them in a RAW format.

Nikon D5100 features a 16.0 MP APS-C sensor, which is not a good pick for high-quality and detailed pictures. However, we have an alternative option for you if you were looking for higher resolution.

DxOMark Sensor Scores

DxOMark gives us a possibility to make a clear and scientific assessment of the quality of camera sensors’ image. Nikon D5100, in its turn, features a sensor that was already studied and assessed by DxO Mark. After a complete evaluation, this type of sensor has received a score of 80 for the image quality. If you are looking to see how DxO Mark has tested and evaluated the Nikon D5100’s sensor.

Anti-Aliasing Filter

Nikon D5100 is known for the lack of anti-alias (Low-pass) filter. It is one of its essential features of the sensor built in this model. The absence of this filter contributes to a higher level of details and sharpness in the pictures you take. Yet, the lack of an anti-alias filter also enhances the possibility of more occurring in certain conditions.

Now let’s check how we can compare the size of APS-C sensor featured in Nikon D5100 with other standard sensor sizes.

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Other Characteristics And Features of Nikon D5100

LCD and ViewFinder

Nikon D5100 is equipped with a Fully Articulated 3" LCD screen. The resolution of this model’s screen reaches 921k dots.

In addition, this model comes with a built-in Optical (pentamirror) ViewFinder.

The ViewFinder in D5100 has quite nice characteristic. Its magnification ratio is 0.52x and it also provides a coverage of 95%.

Some of the main reasons why the OVF presented in this model is a handy tool are that it allows you to see a scene without any time lag or resolution limits. Besides, it also ensures the highest level of clarity that can be elaborated by the lens and the human eye. Who can benefit from this feature? The OVF is especially handy when shooting sports events. This smart system will allow photographers to see action instantly and figure out what is the right timing for capturing a specific moment.

Max Shutter speed

Some of the other highlights of Nikon D5100 are its 4.0 fps max speed and 1/4000 sec max shutter speed, which allow you to shoot continuously.

Flash

D5100 features both an embedded flash and a flash shoe, which means that you can use both built-in and external flashes depending on your needs.

Focusing

One more highlight that makes Nikon D5100 stand out is the fact that it features two smart AutoFocusing systems. One of these systems is called Phase Detection and the other one is Contrast Detection. Both features stand for higher accuracy and focus speed in different situations. With the smart AutoFocus system presented in this model, photographers can choose from 11 points.

In addition, D5100 has a Face detection AF feature that quickly finds the faces that appear within the frame range and locks the focus on them automatically.

Video Features

As for the video quality characteristics of Nikon D5100, it gives you a possibility to shoot videos at the highest resolution of 1920 x 1080 You also have enough flexibility in terms of how you can save your files. Namely, Nikon D5100 allows you to save files in MPEG-4 formats.

Nikon D5100 provides full HD resolution, which means that this model shows decent performance in most situations.

In addition, Nikon D5100 is equipped with a special port that you can use to connect an external microphone for recording high-quality sound with its help.

Connectivity and Storage

You can connect D5100 to compatible devices via its USB 2.0 or HDMI ports.

Battery Life

In concordance with generally accepted CIPA standards, the battery featured in Nikon D5100 provides a shooting life of 660, while the average battery life of cameras in this class is 588 shots.

Compared to all models in the Entry-Level DSLR category, Nikon D5100 offers the highest battery life that reaches 660 shots.

How Good is Nikon D5100 for Different Types of Photography?

In this part of our review, we are going to focus on Nikon D5100’s performance in various fields of photography. Each sub-section stands for a specific photography area. In every part, we will review Nikon D5100’s name performance and give it an overall score. This first spider web graph indicates how we can compare the D5100 to the average DSLR camera.

Hover your mouse over the points to see the score details for each photography type.

Nikon D5100 for Portrait Photography

After carefully reviewing how well Nikon D5100 performs Portrait Photography, we gave it a score of 62. Compared to scores of other cameras from the same class, Nikon D5100 can be called a Strong model for this type of photography.

If the score of this model doesn’t impress you and you are still looking for a model that is better suited for Portrait Photography, we recommend you to check out our Top 10 Cameras for Portrait Photography.

Advantages:

  • Large APS-C (23.6 x 15.7 mm) sensor
  • Face Detection Focusing

Disadvantages:

  • You might not like Nikon skintone
  • No Image Stabilization

Nikon D5100 for Street Photography

After carefully reviewing how well Nikon D5100 performs Street Photography, we gave it a score of 74. Compared to scores of other cameras from the same class, Nikon D5100 can be called a Strong model for this type of photography.

Advantages:

  • Built-in View Finder
  • Live View
  • Fully Articulated Screen
  • Large APS-C(23.6 x 15.7 mm) sensor

Disadvantages:

  • Big size (128 x 97 x 79 mm)
  • No Image Stabilization
  • Small Number of autofocus Points (11)

Nikon D5100 for Sports Photography

After carefully reviewing how well Nikon D5100 performs Sports Photography, we gave it a score of 57. Compared to scores of other cameras from the same class, Nikon D5100 can be called a 57 model for this type of photography.

Advantages:

  • Big size (128 x 97 x 79 mm)

Disadvantages:

  • Slow Continuous Shooting (4.0 fps)
  • No Environmental Sealing
  • Slow Max Shutter Speed (1/4000s)
  • Smal Number of autofocus Points (11)
  • Small Number of CrossFocus Points (1)
  • Bad Low Light ISO (1183)
  • Small battery life (660 shots)

Nikon D5100 for Daily Photography

After carefully reviewing how well Nikon D5100 performs Daily Photography, we gave it a score of 49. Compared to scores of other cameras from the same class, Nikon D5100 can be called a Intermediate model for this type of photography.

Advantages:

  • Large APS-C (23.6 x 15.7 mm) sensor
  • Built-in Flash
  • Built-in View Finder
  • Live View
  • Wireless Connectivity
  • Video is available

Disadvantages:

  • Big weight (560 g)
  • Big size (128 x 97 x 79 mm)

Nikon D5100 for Landscape Photography

After carefully reviewing how well Nikon D5100 performs Landscape Photography, we gave it a score of 92. Compared to scores of other cameras from the same class, Nikon D5100 can be called a 92 model for this type of photography.

If the score of this model doesn’t impress you and you are still looking for a model that is better suited for Landscape Photography, we recommend you to check out our Top 10 Cameras for Landscape Photography.

Advantages:

  • Large APS-C (23.6 x 15.7 mm) sensor
  • Good Dynamic Range (13.6)
  • Live View
  • RAW Support

Disadvantages:

  • Low resolution sensor (16 MP)
  • No Environmental Sealing
  • Bad Low Light ISO (1183)

Nikon D5100 Detailed Specs

General
Brand Nikon
Model D5100
Announced Apr 26, 2011
Body Type Compact SLR
Lens
Manual Focus Yes
Lens Mount Nikon F
Number of Lenses 287
Focal Length Multiplier 1.5x
Macro Focus Range
Screen
Screen Type Fully Articulated
Screen Size 3″
Screen Resolution 921k dots
Live View Yes
Touch Screen No
ViewFinder
ViewFinder Optical (pentamirror)
ViewFinder Resolution 0k dots
ViewFinder Coverage 95%
ViewFinder Magnification 0.52
Photography Features
Min Shutter Speed 30 s
Max Shutter Speed 1/4000 s
Continuous Shooting 4.0 fps
Shutter Priority Yes
Aperture Priority Yes
Manual Exposure Mode Yes
Exposure Compensation Yes
Custom White Balance Yes
Image Stabilization No
Built-in Flash Yes
Flash Range 12
Flash Modes Auto, Red-eye, Slow sync, Rear curtain
External Flash Yes
AE Bracketing Yes
WB Bracketing Yes
Exposure Modes
Multi-Segment Yes
Average No
Spot Yes
Partial No
AF-Area No
Center Weighted Yes
DxO Sensor Scores
DxO Sensor Scores 80
DxO Color Depth 23.5
DxO Dynamic Range 13.6
DxO Low Light ISO 1183
Sensor
Sensor Type CMOS
Sensor Size APS-C
Sensor Dimensions 23.6 x 15.7 mm
Sensor Area 370.52 mm2
Sensor Resolution 16.0 MP
Max Image Resolution 4928 x 3264
Max Native ISO 6,400
Max Boosted ISO 25,600
Min Native ISO 100
RAW Support Yes
AutoFocus
AF Touch No
AF Continuous Yes
AF Single Yes
AF Tracking Yes
AF Selective Yes
AF Center Yes
AF Multi Area Yes
AF Live View Yes
AF Face Detection Yes
AF Contrast Detection Yes
AF Phase Detection Yes
Number of Focus Points 11
Number of Cross Focus Points 1
Video Features
Video Resolutions 1920 x 1080 (30, 25, 24 fps), 1280 x 720 (30, 25, 24 fps), 640 x 424 (30, 25 fps)
Max Video Resolution 1920 x 1080
Video Formats MPEG-4
Microphone Port Yes
Headphone Port No
Connectivity
Wireless Connectivity Yes
HDMI Yes
USB USB 2.0
Physical
Environmental Sealing No
Water Proof No
Dust Proof No
Shock Proof No
Crush Proof No
Freeze Proof No
Weight 560 g
Physical Dimensions 128 x 97 x 79 mm
Battery Life 660 shots
Battery Type 660 shots
Battery Model EN-EL14
Other Features
Self Timer Yes
Timelapse Recording Yes
GPS Optional
Storage Type SD/SDHC/SDXC
Storage Slots 1

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