Nikon D5100 DSLR Camera

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76% Silver Award
The D5100 is without doubt one of the most compelling products in its class, and offers an excellent mixture of straightforward handling, a well-targeted feature set, and excellent video and still image quality.”

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Key Features

  • 16.2MP DX-format CMOS sensor
  • 11-point AF system (with 3D tracking)
  • 4 frames per second continuous shooting
  • 1080p HD video
  • 14-bit Raw shooting
  • 3.0 inch side-articulated LCD with 920,000 dots
  • ISO 100-6400, expandable to 25600
  • Full-time AF in live view
  • In-camera effects

Product Description

The Nikon D5100 sits between entry-level and enthusiast-focused DSLR models in the Nikon lineup. Anyone who shoots video can appreciate the D5100's 1080p video recording with H.264 compression and a fully articulated 3.0 inch LCD with 920,000 dots. The D5100 offers impressive dynamic range capabilities thanks to its 14-bit Raw shooting, a feature it shares with the semi-pro Nikon D7000. Active D-Lighting, Nikon's highlight and shadow detail optimization tool, is available, and enabling the feature doesn't require a significant trade-off in noise performance or continuous shooting speed. In-camera effects like "Color Sketch" and "Miniature Mode" can be applied to stills and videos.


Body type
Body type Compact SLR
Max resolution 4928 x 3264
Other resolutions 3696 x 2448, 2464 x 1632
Image ratio w:h 3:2
Effective pixels 16 megapixels
Sensor size APS-C (23.6 x 15.7 mm)
Sensor type CMOS
Processor Expeed 2
ISO Auto, 100- 6400 (plus 12800, 25600 with boost)
White balance presets 12
Custom white balance Yes (5)
Image stabilization No
Uncompressed format RAW
JPEG quality levels Fine, Normal, Basic
Optics & Focus
  • Contrast Detect (sensor)
  • Phase Detect
  • Multi-area
  • Center
  • Selective single-point
  • Tracking
  • Single
  • Continuous
  • Face Detection
  • Live View
Digital zoom No
Manual focus Yes
Number of focus points 11
Lens mount Nikon F
Focal length multiplier 1.5×
Screen / viewfinder
Articulated LCD Fully articulated
Screen size 3
Screen dots 921,000
Touch screen No
Screen type TFT LCD monitor
Live view Yes (With contrast-detect AF, face detection and subject tracking)
Viewfinder type Optical (pentamirror)
Viewfinder coverage 95%
Viewfinder magnification 0.78×
Photography features
Minimum shutter speed 30 sec
Maximum shutter speed 1/4000 sec
Aperture priority Yes
Shutter priority Yes
Manual exposure mode Yes
Subject / scene modes Yes
Built-in flash Yes (Pop-up)
Flash range 12.00 m (at ISO 100)
External flash Yes (Hot-shoe)
Flash modes Auto, On, Off, Red-eye, Slow sync, Rear curtain
Continuous drive 4 fps
Self-timer Yes (2, 5, 10 or 20 sec)
Metering modes
  • Multi
  • Center-weighted
  • Spot
Exposure compensation ±5 (at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV steps)
AE Bracketing ±2 (3 frames at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV steps)
WB Bracketing Yes (3 frames in either blue/amber or magenta/green axis)
Videography features
Resolutions 1920 x 1080 (30, 25, 24 fps), 1280 x 720 (30, 25, 24 fps), 640 x 424 (30, 25 fps)
Format MPEG-4
Microphone Mono
Storage types SD/SDHC/SDXC
USB USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
HDMI Yes (Mini Type C)
Wireless Eye-Fi Connected
Remote control Yes (Optional ML-L3)
Environmentally sealed No
Battery Battery Pack
Battery description Lithium-Ion EN-EL14 rechargeable battery & charger
Weight (inc. batteries) 560 g (1.23 lb / 19.75 oz)
Dimensions 128 x 97 x 79 mm (5.04 x 3.82 x 3.11)
Other features
Orientation sensor Yes
Timelapse recording Yes
GPS Optional
GPS notes GP-1


DPReview Conclusion

Scoring is relative only to the other cameras in the same category at the time of review.

Score Breakdown
Poor Excellent
Build quality
Ergonomics & handling
Metering & focus accuracy
Image quality (raw)
Image quality (jpeg)
Low light / high ISO performance
Viewfinder / screen rating
Movie / video mode
Silver Award
Silver Award
76 %
Overall Score

The D5100 sits just above the D3100 in Nikon's product lineup and as such, it combines its younger sibling's ease of use with a slightly more advanced feature set. The D5100's trump card, however, is it's advanced 16MP sensor - inherited from the D7000. Judged on its own merits the D5100 is a great camera, but we're concerned that an enthusiastic beginner might outgrow it faster than some of the competition.

Good For

Effective and easy to use features make the D5100 ideal for everyday photography/videography

Not So Good For

Shooting fast action

User Reviews

4.33712 out of 5 stars
  • Tudor Nculaescu, Feb 12, 2013 GMT:

    I own this machine 9-10 months and prefer to leave you to decide: p You can join my site to see some of what I did with it. I have a 18-105 lens

    Continue Reading

  • Paone, Sep 28, 2012 GMT:
    Experimental Photographer.? Good camera to have.

    This camera is a complete package for those who is looking for a very good camera now and wants to upgrade with additional lenses in future. Cannot say 649$ is cheap but its definitely worth every cent. Pros: Proper keys in place makes it easy to handle. When compared to canon 550d this is really fast even with flash and i never saw it showing "Busy" because of flash getting heated up. Auto-focus is just awesome than any other cameras in this range. 11 dots. Fast enough. Cons: Max shutter ...

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  • ushibaba, Jun 10, 2012 GMT:
    Nikon D5100 for starters

    Switching over to a DSLR from Point and shoot can be a bit difficult, lets face it; you have to learn to crawl before you stand up and walk. This is my First DSLR Camera, Before this Camera I was Using some Sony and Olympus Point and Shoot camera's for any kind of family event or gatherings and even before that I used a Minolta SLR XG-9 Camera, which My dad gave as a gift to me.. So before switching over to a Canon EOS 550D (Rebel T2i / Kiss X4) or Nikon D5100, I had the chance to use a Canon ...

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  • Gidenkidenk, Jun 1, 2012 GMT:
    Great for a beginner, also a great value

    As a replacement, this camera shines. As for the price, you can't beat it. Having the same sensor as the D7000, image quality is excellent everywhere from bright light to low light without flash. You get very clear and perfectly colored images, and the effects are also fun to play with. Full HD is very good for a camera that costs $700. Recommended for any beginner starting out on Nikon. The lens you get with it (18-55mm DX) is a great value and manages some good macro. All in all, a perfect ...

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D5100 by Nikon

Questions & Answers


Anyone tried Toshiba Exceria™ SD Cards ?

I am looking for a high speed SD card and finally shortlisted two brands, 1 .SanDisk Extreme 32GB 45MB/s (Up to 45/45MB/s read/write speed) 2. Toshiba Exceria 32GB Type 2 (Up to 90/60MB/s read/write speed) Prices are almost same for both cards. I'm inclined to buy Toshiba because of better speeds but I couldn't find a single review about Toshiba Exceria. Maybe it's because their exceria series is fairly new. Anyone tried it? and recommend it over the SanDisk Extreme 45MB/s?

Cyrax asked
6 months ago


hotdog321 wrote: I can't say how good the Toshiba is, but I strongly suggest spending a few bucks more and getting an established brand. There are 4 major players in the NAND flash memory manufacturing (fab) business: (1) Sandisk (co-owns fab plants with Toshiba) (2) Toshiba (co-owns fab plants with Sandisk) (3) Samsung (4) Hynix Note that Micron (which owns Lexar) is not in the ranks of the top 4. Considering the relationship between Toshiba and Sandisk, I'm not sure Toshiba should be considered less established than the others. Continue Reading

bob elkind answered
6 months ago

Cyrax wrote: I am looking for a high speed SD card and finally shortlisted two brands, 1 .SanDisk Extreme 32GB 45MB/s (Up to 45/45MB/s read/write speed) 2. Toshiba Exceria 32GB Type 2 (Up to 90/60MB/s read/write speed) Prices are almost same for both cards. I'm inclined to buy Toshiba because of better speeds but I couldn't find a single review about Toshiba Exceria. Maybe it's because their exceria series is fairly new. Anyone tried it? and recommend it over the SanDisk Extreme 45MB/s? I have the Toshiba Exceria Pro 64Gb CF card which I got in a deal for ~$200, I have been using this card for over 6 weeks now, and I really like it so far, I use it in my D800 for 14bit compressed pictures and for video in 1080p24fps best quality, so far I have not had any issues and there is actually a video on youtube comparing the performance with the Lexar 1000x cards, in which this card is more or less comparable, given its a good amount cheaper, I think I found a great deal. During the videos I ... Continue Reading

imax2k2 answered
6 months ago

I would also look at the Lexar Professional x600 32GB. I think that two 16GB cards would be safer. Continue Reading

Cliff Fujii answered
6 months ago


Getting into DSLR world

For sometime, I've been reading reviews and going through the spces of DSLRs to pick the right one for me. After some careful selection, it has narrowed down to these three, Nikon 5200, Nikon 5100, Canon 650D * Even though there is the new Canon 700D, I've simply taken it out of consideration due to lack of improvement from the predecessor. * The question is between these three cameras. Since I'm getting into DSLR world, there is no issue in selecting either one of them. (like lenses, build of cameras, GUI & etc.) * According to many reviews, the Nikon duo stands ahead of the Canon 650D. And also, I'm not a big fan of the touch screen. It's only going to leave marks on the screen after using the touch screen. * I'm more of a travel photographer (that includes both day and night shots with low light). Therefore, I feel that the Nikkor 18-105mm lens would suit me as the kit lens. And also, it's cheaper compared to Canon 18-135mm STM. * The biggest question remains between the Nikon ...

9 months ago


There has always been, and will always be greener grass on the other side of the fence. I am not all that familiar with the D5100/5200, and know nothing about Canon offerings. It sounds like the D5100/5200 is pretty much like the D7000/7100. Rather than the 18-105, I would recommend the 16-85. It costs a little more, but is a better lens. Later I would add a 70-300. Check this link to the D5200/70-300. He may have a better opinion than I do. Continue Reading

Cope answered
9 months ago

I just bought my first DSLR a few months ago. Previously I had been using an Olympus EPL-3. I went with the D5100, 18-105 and 35 1.8g and I could not be happier. The better AF of the D5200 would be nice, but when you factor in price, I don't think you can beat the D5100 right now. There is always something that is a little better and little more expensive, but the D5100 does everything I need and more, and my whole kit cost less than $800. ETA: the Sensor in the D5100 is excellent. I think you'd need really expensive glass, or real pro level talent to pull anything noticeably better out of the D5200 in that regard. Continue Reading

DaveInPhilly answered
9 months ago

I started with a factory refurbished Nikon D3100 and 18-55 kit lens a few months ago. It was around $350 which I feel was a real bargain. The D3100 was my first DSLR and made an excellent learning platform IMO. I wanted the additional features like 39 focus points, auto bracketing, better video, articulating screen, 24 megapixels and more of the D5200. But as the knowledgable and generous members of this forum suggested, I could do fine with the D3100 body and better lenses. So for $200 I bought the Nikon 35mm f/1.8G lens and it was a BIG jump in image quality. The next lens I wanted for the D3100 would be the 70-300 VR. Then in June Nikon ran a "buy more and save" promotion and I could buy the D5200 body with 70-300 VR lens and save $200 off the individual purchase prices. I went for it. No regrets. I love the camera and lens. My 35mm f/1.8 lens works beautifully on the D5200 and I recently bought a wide angle lens. I'm going to do my best to make this a "three lens kit" and stop ... Continue Reading

BlueJakester answered
9 months ago


Snowclad mountain landscape: Tripod / ND filter /Polariser

I am a beginner and am planning a trek to the Himalayas where I hope to take some decent pictures of green hills as well as snow clad mountains. Now I am in a tight financial budget , I have bought a D5100 and hardly got any money left for accessories so I have to prioritize. I don't have a tripod or any kind of filter. Now say I have only the money to pay for a tripod (cheap one) or a cheap ND filter or a polariser, which one should I go for? I know the question seems stupid but I am facing this problem. Please help. PS: If you need to know anything else let me know and if I am breaking any rule of this forum warn me beforehand (I have read the rules at a glance)

7 days ago


You cannot duplicate the effect of a polarizing filters in any other way. It's the only filter you cannot photoshop your way around. An ND filter is no real use to you and in a pinch a polarizer can be used as an two stop ND filter - not idea, but usable. A cheap tripod is a waste, IMO. Unless you expect to shoot long exposures I think it's completely pointless, especially if your lenses are stabilized - while a tripod is optimal, it's something you can live without in most situations. You might consider a Joby Gorillapod as a lightweight support. It won;t do exactly what a tripod will, but it can be useful sometimes. Continue Reading

darklamp answered
6 days ago

If you are taking just the kit lens or anything 18mm or longer I'd put CPL first, then tripod, with ND a long way last. If you are taking an ultra-wide lens (10-xx or 8-xx zoom) using a CPL can be tricky sip I'd bump tripod to first choice. One important point: in bright, snowy conditions the dynamic range (DR, the range from darkest to brightest) can be very wide.  Your camera's sensor can catch a DR of up to about 13 stops: if you shoot raw, you can make full use of that range.  However, if you shoot JPG the camera's converter trims the DR to about 9 stops (even if you use DR expansion). Put crudely, that means either losing all detail in the snow or a lot of the detail in the shadows. So you really should learn to shoot raw and how to process to catch the full DR. Continue Reading

6 days ago

Forget the tripod.  Cheap tripods are a waste of money and if you're going trekking I can't imagine you will want to carry it or stop to set it up all the time. If you expect blue skies and sunshine with light reflecting off the snow them a polariser will be very useful. You mention an ND filter - I think you really mean an ND Grad which had one half dark and the bottom half clear in order to stop the sky from being over exposed. In normal use this is one of the most useful types of filter but the effect can be replicated in pp to some degree, provided the highlights haven't been completely blown out. Other things you need to think about: Spare batteries/power supply - what are you going to do when the camera battery runs out half way up a Nepalese mountain? File storage & backups - I'd be nervous going on a trip of a lifetime like this without having some means of backing up your images. Continue Reading

6 days ago

Warranty Information

"No registration or "warranty" card is included or needed with a Nikon D-SLR or Coolpix camera. Keep your original, dated proof of purchase from the Authorized Nikon Inc. dealer in case warranty service is ever needed. These products do include either a mail-in form or a paper with a web link to our registration page:
It's advised to register your product with Nikon so that we can send you information about future updates or service issues that may arise.

Nikkor lenses come with a standard one year warranty and Nikon Inc. lenses sold by authorized Nikon Inc. dealers will have a Nikon Inc. Five Year Extension. To register for the five year extension, one copy of the included form must be mailed in as indicated. Keep the Customer copy of the form as well as the original proof of purchase (sales receipt)."

Read the full warranty.

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