Average review score based on 56 user reviews
of customers recommend this product
I've always wanted to get deeper into photography, but I was never willing to cough up the money for a real DSLR. I wanted to have a decent camera for my upcoming honeymoon so I did my research and ended up buying the Nikon D5100, and I'm glad I did. I am nowhere near a professional photographer, so there was no need to spend a ton of money on a pro-level camera. The Nikon D5100 has been reviewed as the best upper-tier entry level camera on the market, and although I have not physically tried other cameras, I would have to agree. The D5100 has many features that higher end cameras have, yet at quite a lower price point.
The picture quality is really impressive IMHO, I have not taken a bad picture (the ones I put effort into)as of yet. The noise level has been very low from the start, and only gets a bit fuzzy with a lot of zoom, or lack of light. All other pictures are crystal clear, and for this, I give the D5100 four stars. On a side note, I have played with the F-stop, aperture, and ISO settings and have managed to reduce noise even more, but still have a lot of learning to do.
The D5100 comes in a nice compact package, and is fairly light weight. Even with a decent sized zoom lens the D5100 has a good balance to it, and doesn't feel front-heavy. The size itself is really nice, yet I have fairly large hands, and had to get used to holding on to the camera so it was fully secure in my grip. I gave this category three stars because of this. On a side note, I recently purchased a battery grip and have no issues at all holding the D5100 now. Some people may prefer the D5100 without the battery grip, but I think this is the way to go for comfort, plus extended battery life.
With all of the features that the D5100 has, I feel I couldn't go wrong with the money. For those who simply enjoy a point and shoot type of camera, the basic settings are perfect and produce quality results. For those who want to make adjustments themselves, this camera totally rocks. I still haven't tried every setting to maximum potential, but the hours I have spent tweaking this and that have produced some truly awesome results. I bought the D5100 body only, and purchased lenses of my own choice which I think is the best way to go about it if you want to get the best out of this camera. I am definitely not throwing the kit lens (18mm-55mm) under the bus, it just was not for me.
All in all, I would recommend this camera to anyone looking to enter the world of photography as well as seasoned pros who might want a less expensive camera that takes really good shots.
Excellent Nikon DSLR with most of the features of the much higher priced D7000. The body is plastic so not as rugged as the more advanced models and like other "consumer" Nikons, you can only auto-focus with lenses having built-in motors. Virtually all the non-pro lenses have motors so this is not a major concern to most novice and casual photographers. You don't get the more advanced focusing system and the more sophisticated flash capabilities of the more expensive models, but again the target audience won't miss these features that much. However, you do get the same sensor and LCD panel as the D7000 so picture taking quality is just as superb. The articulated LCD panel comes in handy in some situations as I found out in framing a difficult shot in the woods. And I love the HDR setting for helping exposure in high-contrast situations though the need to reset every time is somewhat bothersome . The camera can take 1080p movies and the interface is sophisticated for a consumer model. Live View is excellent for a DSLR. Controls and menus are not as smooth as the larger cameras but functional. As numerous reviews have pointed out, the lack of ISO and White Balance buttons are annoying, but again for the target consumer not a big negative.
I have been a Nikon photographer, part time pro and full time enthusiast, for most of my life, and I am surprised to find that the D5100 is the best camera I have ever owned! I was really reluctant to buy it because of the lack of a top screen, buttons and focus motor, but I have never been happier. It has a seemingly endless list of features including HDR, which no other Nikon has. I read the reviews and did not think I would use HDR much, but I was wrong. I put in on my function button! The low light capability is nothing short of astounding! I used to work so hard with my monopod to get good twilight shots, but now I can handhold and get better results. The exposure has probably surprised me the most. It is always correct, 99.9%. This is the first Nikon I have not had to bracket with. Battery life is better than advertised too, but I always use an external flash when I need one. So bottom line, if you are like me and afraid to "move down," take the reviews with a grain of salt. This is an incredible camera, better in every way that matters to me, and you quickly get used to working the menus and learning to not look at the top of the camera. My only wish is that it was a little bigger, but that is just my preference.
I have been shooting with the Nikon D60 for a year and a half and have been more than satisfied with the results. It originally came with the 18-55 lens and I also got a 55-200 but those were upgraded to a 18-105 and a 70-300 over the past year. I have now had the D5100 for four weeks, received for a milestone birthday, and I absolutely love it. For me it provided everything I needed without having to reach up to the D7000.
The image captures from the D5100 using either the 105 or the 300 are very very high quality. The D5100 has the same image sensor as the D7000, which is a nice benefit. When I go out to shoot, I shoot. It is nothing to snap two or three hundred clicks in very short order. And very few of them do I ever have to delete while still on the memory card in the camera or discard later once downloaded to my pc or laptop.
The settings and functions are easy to learn and easy to use. The additional "Scenes" and "Effects" I am still playing with but the ones I have used have delivered as Nikon promises. I still do an awful lot of landscape photography, as well as sunrise and sunset images, and the D5100 executes exceedingly well with both the 105 and 300. Very rarely do I ever end up with an under- or over-exposed image regardless of the setting or function that I use.
As mentioned in my D60 review I enjoy the use of a viewfinder and even though the D5100 has liveview I still now prefer the viewfinder. Of course, using the built-in "Selective Color" function means I have to use liveview and that is fine. And, speaking of which, selective color works just great. I have experimented with it on various types of scenes, all hand-held without a tripod, and the results are quite remarkable considering the unit snaps two photos. That, in itself, says much about Nikon’s VR capabilities.
I greatly enjoy the 3" display, over my D60's smaller one. Not just for the size, but the color clarity is superb. The addition of the articulating display was brilliant on Nikon’s part as it assists framing difficult shots with relative ease.
The performance of the D5100 in low-light situations, with either the 105 or 300, is outstanding. I have not yet experimented with the "Active D-Lighting" function that works to improve the dynamic range between low and high light, so cannot address that. Once I have done so, I shall update my review.
As a final note, I am, at this point, keeping my D60, and have the 105 on one of the cameras and the 300 on the other because I just hate to take the time to change a lens and I do still get great images from the D60. However, depending on what I plan to shoot the D5100 gets first choice of lens and the D60 takes the backseat.
For the money I do not think the D5100 can be beat for quality of performance.
Have been shooting digital for years using my old reliable (and still reliable) D70. Have amassed a small but premium lens collection so transition to Canon was not an option. Furthermore, I am loyal to Nikon and Nikkor build and optics.
I was looking to upgrade my D70 and looking at the D90 and D700 but did not have the ready reserve of cash for that kind of outlay.
Though is my have been a technical step back to go to the 5100 I felt it could be a good bridge buy just to get my hands on some of the advances in digital photography over the years. The paradigm of “technology gets cheeper over time” is correct.
Overall, the advancement and features of the 5100 have come as a more than pleasant surprise.
Image quality and video or outstanding. The 5100’s built in intervalometer now means I do not have to use a PC to control my camera for time lapse or extended bulb shots.
I am pleased with the camera.
A note on the con. If you have a Nikkor lens collection of any size - you know it has been an investment.
One drawback to the 5100 is that it does not have a focus drive motor in the body - read, must use AF-I/S lenses if you want autofocus. If you have some older lenses you may be limited to manual focus. Not a big deal with Nikkor AF-S range of lenses.
There is a small learning curve with the back plane buttons and trick-wheels. The placement is not the traditional Nikon DSLR setup - so you will have to do some muscle memory retraining.
Feel is subjective - but to my hand the smaller and lighter body just feels off and a bit too plastic/toylike in the hand. If you do much shooting you may find the light weight a plus.
Over all - the 5100 is a good value and should be a good bridge DSLR to all but advanced and professional shooters.
Great entry level DSLR! great for video and learning photography. My daughter loves her D5100 because she can get great results on automatic while learning all about aperture, shutter speeds and ISO configurations.Very lightweight and even works well with my pro lenses.
My girl is having a ball with this camera and I've used it - great for candid photos.
Excellent camera for those who want to take their personal photography to the next level and strengthen their photo skills!
I had my D5100 for 5 months when it suddenly stopped working. Over taking around 270 in a photo session the remaining photos came out black. I've done research online and several other D5100 owners have reported the same thing and when getting it fixed was using a faulty shutter. I've owned and used Nikon SLR's for over 3 decades and never have had a problem. I take very good care of my cameras and didn't drop it, misuesit, no temperature or climate extremes, exposure to sand, water etc. I'm very displeased this happened and that the 90 day warranty I got won't cover this. Read Nikon Rumors and some other reviews and you'll find I'm not the only one this has happenmed to.
I upgraded from a Nikon D70. This camera is a dream. Still not very used to all the display on the rear LCD, as I'm used to looking on the top of the camera for my settings. My only complaint is the white balance and ISO are only changeable through a menu. Granted in my real life I play a professional photographer using $3,000-$9,000 cameras, this is a great camera for the price that has all the fun features I was looking for.
The D5100 is FAST and takes amazing pictures. I have been very happy with the results so far (2 days of shooting with it.) I'm excited to see how I can push the creative capabilities to their limits.
I bought this camera body as an upgrade from my D3000, I now use that as a second camera. There are many features (I knew this prior to my purchase) I doubt that I will ever find occasion to use, but I like knowing I have that option. As I investigated different camera bodies, Nikon was my only choice, so that made selection somewhat easier, it came to between the D7000 and the D5100. Price was a major factor, but the clincher for me is the rotating live view monitor. This is the only Nikon body with that feature, so no matter what else I looked at, I was always drawn back to the D5100. And I'm very pleased so far with my choice. I had no idea how much I would use or like live view, but this camera has shown me how invaluable this feature can be. So far I've not had to charge the battery beyond the initial charge, but, so far, so good.