Nikon D5100 DSLR – What’s New and Impressions

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 as of 08/06/11:

  • Amazon – $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:

7 Replies to “Nikon D5100 DSLR – What’s New and Impressions”

  1. I have a Nikon D80. Looking to upgrade. Would you recommend a D90 or something else? Photography is a hobby, but I take alot of pics. Do a lot of weddings but only for friends, nothing prifessional.

  2. Tammy,

    Really the only thing you’ll get going from the D80 to D90 is the newer CMOS sensor. That would translate to slightly better high ISO performance. Besides that the differences are small (built in chromatic aberration correction is a nice addition). I skipped the D80 and went from the D70 to D90. Unless you can get the D90 cheap and sell your D80 for a good price then it might not be worth it.

    The D7000 is a beast and would probably be the next logical upgrade. Body by itself is $1200. If I was on the D80 that’s where I would be looking. It really depends on your budget.

  3. Hello! I am upgrading from bridge camera to my first dslr. The following are my checklist of what I want for a dslr:
    1. I’ll be investing in a lot of lenses so compatibility on lenses (old and new models)
    with a cheaper price is the most important.
    2. compatible with a wireless remote
    3. I’ll mainly used it outdoors, shooting views, beaches, mountains, etc.
    3. Compact Body

    For the meantime, my budget is only $800 for a dslr kit.

    What dslr would you recommend?
    Thank you!

  4. I love my Nikon, luckily it was a gift and I didn’t actually have to buy it myself :) I use a lot of my own photography in my Tucson web design work. Glad there is another geek out there who loves both computers and photography.

  5. hi. im planning to buy my first dslr. which one do you think should i buy, nikon d5100 or d3100? im really confused.

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