Nikon’s D5100 is proof that mid-range SLRs never looked so sweet. With a 16.2 megapixel sensor borrowed from the D7000, ISO speeds of 100 to 6400 (plus Hi1 and Hi2 taking it to ISO 25600), and a new Expeed2 processor that Nikon claims is 50 percent faster than the chip in the D5000, there is a lot to like. The D5100 with an 18-55 VR zoom will lighten your wallet by around $900.
Nikon has also improved the LCD screen on the D5100. It is now the same size and resolution (920k-dot 3-inch) as the screens found on the company’s higher-end products. The LCD now has a proper swivel-tilt joint that allows the screen to swing out to the side of the camera, just like other cameras with articulated displays.
You expect any new camera to support video, and the D5100’s flavour is 1080p H264 at either 30fps or 24fps. Also available is the new ME-1 aux stereo microphone.
Cameras in this market segment come with built-in special effects generators or “filters,” and included with the D5100 are a selective colour filter (you can pick up to three colours to preserve, the rest of the image turns to monochrome); a miniature scene effect which imposes a very shallow depth of field, and built-in HDR with creates a high dynamic range scene from two exposures.