Nikon announced the D5100 and the stereo ME-1 microphone this week. So far I like what I’m seeing. In my previous comparison of the D3100 and D5000 I found it hard to recommend the D5000. The D5100 ups the ante just enough to help differentiate it from the D3100 while increasing the price point for a better fit between the D3100 and D7000.
Price Comparison as of 08/06/11 from reputable dealers:
- Amazon – $800 free shipping
- B&H Photo – $800 free shipping
- Adorama – $800 free shipping
- Best Buy – $800 free shipping
Rundown of the key changes from the D5000:
- 16.2 MP sensor (vs 12.3 MP)
- 1080p video at 24/25/30 fps (vs 720p24)
- H.264/AVC codec (vs Motion JPEG, big improvement)
- 3″ 921k pixel LCD (vs 2.7″ 230k pixel)
- LCD hinge on left of body (vs bottom edge)
- 14-bit processing (vs 12-bit)
- Default to ISO 100 (vs ISO 200)
- Autofocus during video
- Stereo microphone input
- Dual IR sensors (no reaching around to the front)
- Live view switch and record button moved to top
- Slightly smaller and lighter
The improvements to video and the higher resolution LCD are nice upgrades. The sensor is likely the same or very close to that of the D7000 which means it will produce very nice images with great high ISO performance.
If your budget for a camera is under $1000 then the main deciding factor between the D5100 and D3100 will be the video. If you aren’t going to use video then the D5100 might not be worth the extra $300.
The D5100 is competitively priced at Amazon: