Nikon D5100 review

May 28, 2011

Overall Rating:


Nikon D5100

  • Build/Handling:
  • Autofocus:
  • Noise/resolution:
  • Metering:
  • Features:
  • AWB Colour:
  • LCD viewfinder:
  • Dynamic Range:



Price as Reviewed:


When DSLRs are this small, do you really need a compact system camera? We put the diminutive Nikon D5100 through its paces in our comprehensive AP test


White balance and Colour

Image: Images appear bright and naturally coloured rather than overly punchy in the standard colour setting, which is much more pleasing for most users

The D5100 offers a range of six main presets for white balance alongside an auto and a manual setting.

The fluorescent setting has a submenu of seven variations to include the differing temperatures of fluorescent lights, from sodium to daylight and mercury vapour.

The manual setting can be defined by taking a picture of a grey or white card, or using data from a previous image.

There is also fine adjustment of each preset using a dual-axis colour chart. Under almost all conditions, however, the auto setting produces accurate results, whether in direct sunlight, shade or even indoors under tungsten lights. Occasionally, images just require a little more warmth to produce more natural results, but always appear neutral.

Colours are bright but natural rather than overly punchy in the standard setting. The picture control settings allow five other colour settings, from vivid to monochrome, should you prefer your images to appear more saturated, more neutral or even devoid of colour completely.

Each mode contains a series of fine adjustment sliders to alter sharpening, contrast, brightness, saturation and hue, or in the case of the monochrome mode, filter effects and toning. This allows you to produce images ready to print straight from the camera, should you wish.

  • Video: Full HD, 1080p, 30/25/24fps, MOV (H.264)
  • External mic: Yes
  • White Balance: Auto, 6 presets, manual with fine-tuning
  • Dioptre Adjustment: -1.7 to +0.7 dioptre
  • Built-in Flash: Yes, GN 13m @ ISO 100
  • Shutter Type: Focal-plane shutter
  • Memory Card: SD/SDHC/SDXC
  • Viewfinder Type: Pentaprism mirror
  • Output Size: 4928x3264 pixels
  • LCD: 3in, 921,000-dot vari-angle LCD
  • Field of View: 95% coverage
  • AF Points: 11-point system
  • White Balance Bracket: Yes
  • Sensor: 16.2-million-effective pixel CMOS
  • Max Flash Sync: 1/200sec
  • Exposure Modes: PASM, auto, 16 scene modes, 7 special effects modes
  • Connectivity / Interface: USB, HDMI
  • Weight: 560g (with battery and card)
  • Power: Rechargeable EN-EL 14 Li-Ion battery
  • File Format: JPEG, NEF (raw), MOV
  • Shutter Speeds: 30-1/4000sec plus bulb
  • Drive Mode: 4fps
  • Colour Space: Adobe RGB, sRGB
  • Lens Mount: Nikon F
  • ISO: 100-6400 (25,600 expanded setting)
  • Focusing Modes: Single, continuous, manual
  • DoF Preview: Yes
  • Dimensions: 128x97x79mm
  • Compression: 3-stage JPEG
  • Metering System: 420-pixel TTL 3D Color Matrix Metering II, spot, centreweighted
  • Exposure Comp: ±5EV
  • Tested as: Enthusiast DSLR

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