- Nikon D5100 Specs
- Nikon D5100 Design
- Nikon D5100 Autofocus System
- Nikon D5100 Lenses
- Nikon D5100 Price
- 16.2-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor
- EXPEED 2 image processor
- 11-point autofocus system
- ISO range of 100-6400 (and up to 25600 in extended range)
- 1080p HD video at 30 fps
- 4fps continuous shooting
- Pentamirror viewfinder with 95% coverage
- 3-inch variable-angle LCD with 921k dots
- Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-300mm F3.5-6.3G ED VR - An excellent all-around lens with wide-angle to telephoto capabilities (shown above).
- Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f1.4G - The ideal standard lens for beginner photographers.
- Nikon 24-70mm f2.8G ED - A large aperture lens with wide application for all kinds of photography.
Looking for a solid upgrade from your smartphone or point-and-shoot camera? The Nikon camera D5100 might be it.
With a bevy of features and an inexpensive price tag, this camera represents an excellent entry point for beginner photographers into the world of DSLR photo-taking.
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Nikon D5100 Specs
Sure, the D5100 was released way back in 2011, but that doesn’t mean that it’s an obsolete camera. In fact, it’s specs are still pretty good even by 2019 standards:
For starters, the 16.2-megapixel sensor in this camera still beats many brand-new entry-level cameras in terms of resolution. It’s actually the same sensor that was in the Nikon D7000, a higher-end camera that won many accolades. In other words, it’s a great sensor!
And while resolution isn’t the end-all, be-all of camera specs, it’s nice to have those extra pixels in case you have some photos you’d like to have turned into large prints. Image quality is actually quite excellent with good color and contrast.
The other surprising feature for an eight-year-old camera is the variable-angle LCD. Having the ability to rotate the screen up and down aids in taking photos from interesting angles, and is not something that was hugely common back in 2011.
Now, no one should get excited about 4fps shooting or an 11-point autofocus system. However, so long as you aren’t into sports photography or wildlife photography, 4fps is sufficiently fast for most situations.
Likewise, though the autofocus system isn’t crammed full of AF points, it’s still quick, responsive, and accurate, and that’s what matters.
Nikon D5100 Design
As noted above, the variable-angle LCD is a nice touch, and at 3-inches wide with 921K dots, it’s big, bright, and surprisingly sharp for an LCD this old.
Since it’s hinged on the side, it can flip out away from the camera up to 180-degrees and rotate 270-degrees to accommodate difficult shooting angles.
Though it doesn’t have the touchscreen capabilities that modern LCDs have, it will still get the job done in terms of functionality and ease of use.
Paired with the LCD is a pentamirror optical viewfinder that offers a generous 95% coverage with a magnification of 0.78x.
The top of the camera has a mode selection dial that gives you the full complement of shooting modes, including full auto, full manual, aperture priority, shutter priority and program. There are also a variety of scene modes and specialty modes for sports, portraits, landscapes and so forth.
Nikon even included a range of special effects - digital filters that you can apply in-camera to give your photos a special look. Though these are somewhat gimmicky, they can also be fun to play around with without having to download images and process them in a program like photoshop.
Regarding the size of the camera, it’s quite small for a fully-featured DSLR.
It weighs just 1.23 pounds (body only) and measures 5.04 x 3.11 x 3.82 inches in size, so it’s certainly a lightweight camera with a small form factor that’s ideal for everyday shooting.
The body is encased in a polycarbonate shell that has a nice matte finish, though it isn’t the strongest material on earth. Care should be taken with any camera, but particularly cameras like this that cater to beginner photographers. And since this camera is not weather-sealed, additional care is advised when shooting in adverse weather conditions.
Nikon D5100 Autofocus System
As noted earlier, the 11-point autofocus system isn’t anything to write home about, but it also isn’t terrible either.
The AF points are arranged in a diamond-shaped pattern and includes a center cross-type point for accuracy. Autofocus speed is decent, with good performance when acquiring focus on still targets.
What’s more, the autofocus system on this camera has face-detection technology that makes focusing for portraits an easier and quicker task.
Behind the autofocus system is a metering 420-pixel metering system that has garnered praise over the years for its accurate performance.
The two systems combine to create very good image quality, both in terms of in-camera results (i.e., JPG files that can be immediately shared) and RAW files (14-bit) that can be downloaded and processed to one’s liking in programs like Photoshop or Lightroom.
Get more details on the D5100’s capabilities in the video above by Jared Polin.
Nikon D5100 Lenses
The D5100 has a Nikon F-mount, which means there are hundreds of compatible lenses for this camera.
In fact, the F-mount system is backward compatible, so you could use lenses dating all the way back to the 1960s with this camera. There are many third-party options available as well.
One small issue with the D5100 is that it does not feature an internal focusing motor. This means that it will not provide autofocus capabilities with older lenses.
However, when paired with modern Nikon lenses like those from the G and AF-S lines, you can reap the benefits of the fast and accurate autofocus system in this camera.
When looking for compatible lenses, look for ones with built-in optical image stabilization. Since the D5100 doesn’t have in-body image stabilization, having stabilized lenses will help ensure that you can take photos handheld at slower shutter speeds with less likelihood of getting blurry photos.
Here’s a few lenses you might consider to pair with the Nikon D5100:
Nikon D5100 Price
Being eight years old, you can pick up a new Nikon D5100 on the cheap - less than $500. But with so many pre-owned D5100s floating around out there, buying used is a great way to save even more money.
Just be sure that when you buy used that you buy through a reputable outfit, like Lensfinder.
With built-in fraud protections, Lensfinder has your back when you choose to purchase a camera (or lens or filter) through their platform. Plus, with fees less than what you find on eBay and dedicated listings only for photography gear, you can save more money without having to search through tons of non-related items as you often do on other platforms.
Besides, with a good selection of lenses, you can find a great lens to go with your D5100 and have a new-to-you-kit on the cheap.
Sure, there are newer and fancier entry-level cameras on the market, but for my money, the D5100 represents a great balance of quality, features, and price.