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Nikon D5100

Nikon_D5100_variNikon D5100 review. There are many who compare this D5100 with D7000. Of course, D5100 doesn’t have a chance to beat D7000. But for the bucks you pay on this Nikon’s DSLR, you’ll get it as the nearly best camera in its class. D5100 is considered a "high-end enthusiast" DSLR. It uses the same image sensor as the high-end D7000, but without some of the higher-end features. Very few of the D7000's features justify its extra cost and weight.
So, if you want to have nearly the same image quality as D7000 will give you in a less-expensive and smaller package, Nikon D5100 will be the best DSLR camera for you.
D5100 comes with the 18-55VR (3x) f3.5-f5.6 kit lens that provides surprisingly good performance and image quality. When you need to upgrade the lens that include an AF-S autofocus motor, the Nikon 55-200VR is an outstanding value with excellent image quality, or consider the Nikon 18-105VR (5.8x) lens that is included with the D7000. If some distortion and image softness won’t bother you, the 18-200 VRII (18x) lens may be your perfect "walkabout" lens.
Nikon D5100 has an outstanding low-light performance. It can capture excellent detail, even at higher ISOs. Nikon also offers "Active D-Lighting" which is a highly effective method to improve dynamic range of a photo to equalize the difference between high and low-light areas of a photo.
Does the LiveView works well?
In LiveView mode, the D5100 tracks faces and subjects quickly and accurately, although still nowhere near fast enough for sports events or that "quick shot" like you might be used to with a compact camera. It takes about half a second for the LiveView’s autofocus to work in lower-light conditions, which is no match for the viewfinder, but a huge improvement from the D5000.
If you are now having D5000 with you and considering to replace it with D5100, here are things that made them ‘different’;
  • 10% smaller and 10% lighter
  • 16.2 megapixel CMOS DX-format image sensor, captures 14-bit RAW images, offers +1fs greater low-light sensitivity
  • ISO 100-6400 range with expansion to 25,600 ISO (D5000 minimum is 200 and expansion to 12,300)
  • high resolution (920k pixel) display for greater detail in image previews
  • side-mounted articulating display no longer interferes with tripod (the D5000 display is inconveniently hinged at the bottom)
  • dramatically improved and usable LiveView mode with continuous autofocus even in HD video mode
  • full HD 1080p movie capture without the "jelly effect", in more standard H.264 mode up to 22 min (D5000 is AVI format 720p up to 5min)
  • slightly better control position
  • significantly quieter shutter release
  • faster performance (4 frames per second)
  • SDXC compliant supports higher capacity cards
  • remote control sensor on rear now in addition to front-mounted sensor
  • improved battery life, and an improved battery release
  • battery charger now has built-in collapsable plug instead of requiring separate power cord
  • MUCH better eyecap design no longer comes off in my small Nikon camera bag; also an improved diopter (eyeglass) control
  • additional in-camera editing capabilities, including ability to trim video
  • new "gimmick" special effects: in-camera HDR, selective color, night vision, etc.
Do you want to compare D5100 with D7000? Here are things to consider:
  • same 16.2 megapixel image sensor with 14-bit RAW image capture for outstanding dynamic range, low-light performance, and detail
  • ruggedized plastic body lacks weather seal (it's also smaller and lighter weight)
  • no built in focus motor for older lenses (you'll need to buy an AF-S lens if you want autofocus)
  • fewer autofocus zones (11 vs 39) and lower-resolution matrix meter
  • pentamirror viewfinder (smaller, not as bright, 95% coverage) vs pentaprism viewfinder (100% coverage)
  • no flash commander mode (unless you buy an external flash with TTL triggering)
  • slower continuous performance (4 vs 6fps)
  • 1 SD card slot instead of 2
  • no top-mounted LCD display
  • fewer dedicated controls for advanced settings (you must use the menu system more frequently)
In summary, it provides the optimal balance of top image quality (even in low light), lightweight and compact (for a D-SLR) body, articulating display (the only D-SLR from Nikon to have this), and HD video (not perfect) that can leverage the outstanding collection of Nikon lenses (understanding that only AF-S lenses will autofocus).
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