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

User Reviews

  • 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


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!

4 months 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
4 months 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
4 months 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
4 months 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
7 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
6 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
7 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
6 months ago


If I make my D5100 my back up then where to next?

I'm shooting for NGO's and only have one body the D5100. I've got 3 lenses, an 18-200DX, the 1.8 50mm (which I'm in love with) but its too tight for a lot of indoor work so I'm now looking at the 1.8 35mm… here is my dilemma, as I really want a second body so I have a back up do I get an FX body and a 35mm that'll be compatible or do I just stick with DX and if so which model is the best option? BTW, I am really happy with my D5100 and the 50mm, and a lot of reviews I have read say FX is not essential… surely that can't be right?? am i ready to step up to the big league? I"m so undecided! These are some shots with the 50mm on the D5100 - what advantages am i going to see going full frame?

Years2come asked
2 months ago


I shoot a D5100 and bought a D750 last week. My D5100 will be on ebay this week. FX, IMO, in a lot of ways, falls into the "diminishing returns" category. To me, it feels like you get 90% of the performance with DX for well less than half the cost of FX. I bought into FX because I can afford it and I wanted to treat myself to something nice (I don't splurge for much for myself). That said, now I have to spend a bit more to get my lens arsenal filled out (which I'm not going to do all at once). One of the big reasons I'm going FX is because I want to shoot wide & fast, family photojournalism type stuff: I have a few favorite types of photography and this is one of them. It's just harder to get the look of say a FX camera with the Sigma 35mm f1.4 on DX. It's not impossible to get kind of close, but it's certainly not a strength for DX. Especially when you add high ISO into the equation. FX also shines at shallow depth of field and ... Continue Reading

Nexu1 answered
2 months ago

The advantages you will see are: (1) Better dynamic range. (2) Better noise. (3) Better subject isolation. But you pay a penalty with price and weight for both lenses and body. My opinion a DX is good enough for my shooting style. Yours, you have to decide. If you get a FF you will need a new walk around also. For your next camera suggest a D7100 but wait a bit, two months, the mythical D400 may be announced and that should push the D7100 prices down. Good luck. Continue Reading

six34sigma answered
2 months ago

The D7100 is the natural progression in better controls and later sensor/processor technology, with the ability to use your current lenses (which it seems you described positively). Continue Reading

Lightpath48 answered
2 months 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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