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When Nikon launched the D5100, it won all the awards going and has proved, over the years to be a superb camera for enthusiast and professional alike. It boasted the sort of technology that graced some of Nikon\’s more expensive models. The 16 MegaPixel sensor came from the D7000, for example.
Although the D5100 doesn\’t have an inbuilt motor, making the AF speed dependent on the lens being used, the AutoFocus is generally perfectly acceptable and tracking mode is available which is particularly good for shooting video.
The D5100 controls the contrast extremes with Nikon\’s own Active D-lighting software, which enables the camera to capture fine detail on both the brightest and darkest parts of the image.
Frames per Second is often a good guide the a camera\’s versatility and the D5100 can shoot 4 FPS. More importantly it can do so for up to 100 frames before the buffer gets jammed.
There are some little extra, which make it different from it\’s class mates. The tiltable LCD screen is great for angular shots and the external stereo Mic make shooting high video and credible option.
Many serious cameras have skimped on the Effects Modes that are common in consumer cameras. But Nikon have understood that sometimes even enthusiasts want to have fun with different effects. Color Sketch, which turns your picture into a childish drawing and Night Vision, which lets you shoot a BW image all the way up to 102,400 ISO are particularly good.
The built in flash is good enough to get you out of a hole, keeping the flesh tones really well though, of course, the hotshoe gives the option of as professional flashgun.
The designers at Nikon obviously worked hard on the ergonomics, changing some of the button positions to make things easier. The intuitive menu options make this an ideal camera for expert and beginner alike.
Nobody could fault the image quality produced by the D5100. It is, after all, a Nikon. The only evidence that this is a cheaper camera than, say the D7000, is in the built quality. The technical specs are excellent. The massive improvement between the D3100 and D3200 means that Nikon have raised expectations for the forthcoming D5200. But if you can\’t wait, the D5100 is still a great camera.