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

Product Overview

Overall rating:

Nikon D5100

AWB Colour:
LCD viewfinder:
Dynamic Range:


Nikon D5100 review


Price as reviewed:



Image: The D-Lighting control manages to lift detail in the shadow areas of the image without causing the result to look artificial

The 3D Color Matrix Metering II system employed by the D5100 does an impressive job and, despite having a lower pixel count on its sensor compared to the D7000, appears no less able. Highlights are maintained in all but the most extreme scenes, and in many cases the tone curve will fall into the shadows rather than peak at the highlights, making the retrieval of detail far easier.

This means that for most scenes it is possible to leave the exposure compensation untouched. For extra control the Active D-Lighting system will automatically bring out those shadow details without causing the image to appear fake.

For selective metering, centreweighted places a 75% weighting on the central 8mm circle, making it more suited for portraits or objects with bright backgrounds; for precision use, the spot mode meters from the central 2.5% of the frame.

  1. 1. Introduction
  2. 2. Features
  3. 3. Build and Handling
  4. 4. White balance and Colour
  5. 5. Metering
  6. 6. Autofocus
  7. 7. Noise, Resolution and Sensitivity
  8. 8. Dynamic range
  9. 9. Viewfinder, LCD, Live View and Video
  10. 10. Our verdict
  11. 11. The competition
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