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 4.0 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 its advanced 16 MP 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

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  • 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


What is the best DX Nikon for noise?

I'll admit this is a bit of a long shot, as it's a very technical question, but here we go... Which is the best Nikon DX camera for low-light performance? That is, which performs best in terms of noise? It's time to upgrade my D60, and it's a great time to do it because Nikon has so many models on the market, past models are an absolute steal on ebay. It's a choice between the D3100, D3200, D3300, D5100, D5200, D5300. Although the D7000 is lovely, I don't want a camera that big and heavy - the small size and weight of the smaller models is important for me. I've scoured and there doesn't seem to be much difference between these models. Higher resolution = more noise BUT = more detail which kind of makes up for the increased noise. Very confusing!

4 months ago


The D3200, D3300, D5200 and D5300 all have very similar noise levels at the same ISO. The D5300 and D5200 do 14 bit in the camera for the image processing pipeline, so they are a bit better than the D3200 and D3300, but only at the very, very extremes. As for even older models, the D3000 has the same 10 MP sensor that is found in your D60, but without the old Nikon colors so skip it, so matter how cheap it is. The D3100 is 14 MP and a decent camera, but the D3200 and D3300 are better. The D5000 has the same sensor as the D90 and is a slight step up regarding noise and White Balance in incandescent light, however the D5100, D5200 and D5300 are even better. The D5100 is a fine camera at 16 MP and the first camera (in this series) that you can get decent results at ISO 6400 if you are careful with exposure and if you are shooting in light near 5000-5600 Kelvin (sunlight). So I would put the D5000 as very marginal unless bought for a song, the D3100 and D5100 are only worth looking into ... Continue Reading

Catallaxy answered
4 months ago

You are correct! It used to be bad... Here is a shot I took last week at ISO 1600 using my D200: I applied some Topaz Denoise and its usable: So yes, the older cameras are BAD for high ISO. However, they type of noise they create does clean up very easily.  I don't shoot high ISO much so I still use the D200. Continue Reading

Retzius answered
4 months ago

Once you hit the 12Mp pixels sensors the sensors all about the same for noise (but not dynamic range) Continue Reading

john Clinch answered
4 months ago


Please suggest a shoulder bag for Nikon D5100 plus 2-3 lenses

Hi guys, Can you please suggest a compact camera bag (preferably a shoulder bag) to carry my Nikon D5100 with Nikkor 18-55mm kit, 35mm f/1.8g prime and 55-300mm telephoto lenses along with other small accessories such as spare battery, memory card, filters etc. I've shortlisted the followings, but not so sure about whether my gears will fit into them nicely - Lowepro Nova 160 AW Lowepro Nova 170 AW Lowepro Nova 180 AW Lowepro Adventura 170 Please help me choose one. Many Thanks!

1 month ago


I have the Nova 180AW for my D7100 with 16-85, 35mm 1.8g, Tamron 70-300, Sigma 70 2.8 One lens attached to the camera. Also on board the SB700 flash and one spare battery. It just fits. I find a camera bag is never big enough, because I also want to put in other stuff: wallet, phone, keys...... The Lowepro bags are nice and affordable, but if I want to get my camera quickly, I'm always too late.  Now I have one of these small camera holster bags for the body + attached lens. That works better (faster) Continue Reading

Theo_J answered
1 month ago

Just to add another option, I really like my Tamrac rally 6, I searched a long time to find a inconspicuous shoulder bag that sits flat to the body but also has plenty of protection & pockets & the Tamrac was the best I could find for around £35.00 & it should suit your kit perfectly. Continue Reading

bluemoonman answered
1 month ago

I have a Tamrac 5534 Messenger bag for a set of equipment similar to yours. It fits the D5100 with a 70-300 lens, plus additional lenses and flash, plus some small stuff like filters, etc. I haven't looked at bags for over 3 years, so I can't comment on recent stuff, but at the time the Tamrac was a good bag for the price. It is well made and has held up well. Continue Reading

GeoffH answered
1 month ago


Suggestions on Nikon Lens Setup

I would like to get some suggestions about improving/adjusting my lens set-up. I put together a lens set-up on need basis without too much planning. So what I have is a set-up I ended up with over time. So there is certainly room to adjust this line-up to make it more practical setup. My original motivation was family photography: family portraits, indoor and outdoor friends-family events/get together, group shots and most importantly, photographing activities of my 6 year old son. Later I discovered a passion for shooting nature and still life. My current lens setup for my Nikon D5100 body is as follows: (1) Nikon 12-24mm f/4G (2) Nikon 35mm f/1.8G (3) Nikon 85mm f/1.8G (4) Tamron SP 70-300mm VC I ended with setup as I felt need for a focal length. So this was not a well planned set-up. I initially started with a D5100 and the 35mm prime as a all-purpose lens. Then for portraits, I got the 85mm prime. Then for ...

babubangla asked
4 months ago


To the OP:  You are just restless.  Your lens set is fine.   Adding lenses as a need arises is the best way to expand your capabilities, rather than ad hoc assumptions. Some folks are recommending a mid range zoom but I wouldn't overspend on one. The 2.8 3rd party midrange zooms eventually evoke dissatisfaction from many posters when used wide open so why bother with them?  Perhaps the Nikon 16-85 would be the most useful. Continue Reading

PSCL1 answered
4 months ago

Looks good to me. Over the last 11 years, since my daughter was born, I tweaked my lineup to the point where I was happy enough with it that when I switched to Nikon a couple years ago, I basically duplicated the same lineup. Basically, it's two zooms and two primes, like yours, and my primes are the 35 & 85 f/1.8s. Instead of the 12-24, I have the 16-85. I'm pretty happy having 16mm as my widest and really love a lens that covers WA into portrait range. I'd previously used a 28-75/2.8 and enjoyed that, but needed a separate WA, and discovered that I preferred a wider range zoom paired with faster primes. Then, instead of 70-300, I have 70-200/2.8 which comes in handy for all the school age indoor events (concerts, plays, recitals, hockey). It's a bit short for softball - I did have a 70-300 in addition to 70-200 in my previous system, but haven't felt compelled to buy one (or a TC) yet. It's big for travel, but I find I don't often need a tele when I travel. I took it to Cape Cod ... Continue Reading

Dennis answered
4 months ago

You could consider adding a zoom in the 16/17/18 to 50/85/140 range just for convenience. There are several good alternatives. Nikon 16-85, Nikon or Sigma 17-50, Sigma 17-70. Shooting kids with the 35mm will probably leave you with a lot of footwork and you need the space/distance with the 85mm (which is very nice when possible). Continue Reading

9ck answered
4 months ago

Compatible Products

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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