Nikon has just released details of its latest DX-format DSLR camera, the D5100.


April 5, 2011: Nikon has just released details of its latest DX-format DSLR camera, the D5100.
Replacing the D5000 and sitting between the D3100 and D7000, the new camera is 10% smaller than its predecessor. It shares the same 16.2-megapixel sensor as the D700 and boasts the next-generation EXPEED 2 image processing engine. The shutter mechanism is rated for 100,000 cycles. It’s targeted at entry-level photographers who want a higher-featured camera than the D3100. The D5100 boasts a new vari-angle monitor with a side hinge that provides greater flexibility for shooting from different angles.


Front view of the Nikon D5100 with the 18-55mm kit lens. (Source: Nikon.)


Rear view of the D5100 showing some of the positions for the vari-angle monitor. (Source: Nikon.)
It’s also the first Nikon DSLR to include a Special Effects mode. This mode joins the Auto, P, S. A and M modes on the shooting mode dial and are available for shooting stills and video clips. Seven effects are provided: selective colour, colour sketch, miniature mode, silhouette, high key, low key and night vision mode. Selective colour is also available for post capture adjustments. Night vision uses an ISO equivalent 102,400 and outputs images in black and white to minimise noise.
The camera is also equipped with the D-Movie function that supports recording of Full-HD (1080p, 30 fps) movies. Auto-focusing is supported during movie recording using contrast-detect AF. Focus tracking is available when the focus mode is set to full-time-servo AF (AF-F) and the AF-area mode to subject-tracking AF. The D5100 also offers in-camera movie editing and users can save a single frame as a still JPEG image or trim the beginning and/or end of movie files. An external port is provided for the new optional the Stereo Microphone ME-1.
Standard sensitivity settings range from ISO 100 to ISO 6400 and additional increases up to Hi 2 (ISO 25600 equivalent) are available. The HDR function captures two shots of varying exposure when the shutter-release button is pressed and combines them into a single image with a broad dynamic range. A Quiet Shutter-Release mode is provided, along with support for high-speed burst shooting at up to four frames/second.
Sixteen Scene pre-sets are included for novice users. Infrared receivers for remote control operation on the front and back of the camera enable wireless control of the shutter from both in front of and behind the camera (optional ML-L3 wireless remote control supported). Built-in HDMI-CEC compatibility enables control over playback of still images and movies using the television’s remote control when the camera is connected to a high-definition TV via the HDMI connector.

Nikon Australia hasn’t released details of when the D5100 will go on sale in Australia or its RRP. We’ll add this information when it is available.



Type of Camera

Single-lens reflex digital camera

Effective Pixels

16.2 million

Image Sensor

23.6 x 15.6 mm CMOS sensor

Image Size (Pixels)

4,928 x 3,264 (L), 3,696 x 2,448 (M), 2,464 x 1,632 (S)

File Format

NEF (RAW): 14 bit, compressed JPEG: JPEG-Baseline compliant with fine (approx. 1 : 4), normal (approx. 1 : 8), or basic (approx. 1 : 16) compression NEF (RAW)+JPEG: Single photograph recorded in both NEF (RAW) and JPEG formats

ISO Sensitivity

ISO 100 – 6400 in steps of 1/3 EV. Can also be set to approx. 0.3, 0.7, 1, or 2 EV (ISO 25600 equivalent) above ISO 6400; auto ISO sensitivity control available

Picture Control System

Standard, Neutral, Vivid, Monochrome, Portrait, Landscape; selected Picture Control can be modified; storage for custom Picture Controls

Storage Media

SD (Secure Digital), SDHC, and SDXC memory cards

File system

DCF (Design Rule for Camera File System) 2.0, DPOF (Digital Print Order Format), Exif 2.3 (Exchangeable Image File Format for Digital Still Cameras), PictBridge


Eye-level pentamirror single-lens reflex viewfinder

Frame coverage

Approx. 95% horizontal and 95% vertical


Approx. 0.78 x (50 mm f/1.4 lens at infinity, -1.0m-1)


17.9 mm (-1.0m-1)

Diopter adjustment

-1.7-+0.7 m-1

Focusing screen

Type B BriteView Clear Matte Mark VII screen

Reflex mirror

Quick return

Lens aperture

Instant return, electronically controlled

Compatible lenses

Autofocus is available with AF-S and AF-I lenses.

Shutter Type

Electronically-controlled vertical-travel focal-plane shutter

Shutter Speed

1/4000 – 30 s in steps of 1/3 or 1/2 EV; Bulb; Time (requires optional ML-L3 remote control)

Flash sync speed

X=1/200 s; synchronizes with shutter at 1/200 s or slower

Release mode

Single frame, continuous, self-timer, delayed remote, quick-response remote, quiet shutter release

Frame advance rate

Up to 4 fps (manual focus, mode M or S, shutter speed 1/250 s or faster, and other settings at default values)

Release Self-timer

2 s, 5 s, 10 s, 20 s; 1-9 exposures

Exposure Metering

TTL exposure metering using 420-pixel RGB sensor

Exposure Metering method

Matrix: 3D colour matrix metering II (type G and D lenses); colour matrix metering II (other CPU lenses) Centre-weighted: Weight of 75% given to 8-mm circle in centre of frame Spot: Meters 3.5-mm circle (about 2.5% of frame) centred on selected focus point

Exposure Range (ISO 100, f/1.4 lens, 20 °C/68 °F)

Matrix or centre-weighted metering: 0-20 EV; Spot metering: 2-20 EV

Exposure meter coupling


Exposure Mode

Auto modes (auto; auto, flash off ); programmed auto with flexible program (P); shutter-priority auto (S); aperture-priority auto (A); manual (M); scene modes (portrait; landscape; child; sports; close up; night portrait; night landscape; party/indoor; beach/snow; sunset; dusk/dawn; pet portrait; candlelight; blossom; autumn colours; food); special effects modes (night vision; colour sketch; miniature effect; selective colour; silhouette; high key; low key)

Exposure compensation

-5 – +5 EV in increments of 1/3 or 1/2 EV


Exposure bracketing: 3 frames in steps of 1/3 or 1/2 EV; White balance bracketing: 3 frames in steps of 1; Active D-Lighting bracketing: 2 frames

Exposure lock

Luminosity locked at detected value with AE-L/AF-L button

ISO sensitivity (Recommended Exposure Index)

ISO 100 – 6400 in steps of 1/3 EV. Can also be set to approx. 0.3, 0.7, 1, or 2 EV (ISO 25600 equivalent) above ISO 6400; auto ISO sensitivity control available

Active D-Lighting

Auto, extra high, high, normal, low, off


Nikon Multi-CAM 1000 autofocus sensor module with TTL phase detection, 11 focus points (including one cross-type sensor), and AF-assist illuminator (range approx. 0.5-3 m/1 ft. 8 in.-9 ft. 10 in.)

Detection range

-1 – +19 EV (ISO 100, 20 °C/68 °F)

Lens servo

Autofocus (AF): Single-servo AF (AF-S); continuous-servo AF (AF-C); auto AF-S/AF-C selection (AF-A); predictive focus tracking activated automatically according to subject status Manual focus (MF): Electronic rangefinder can be used

Focus point

Can be selected from 11 focus points

AF-area mode

Single-point AF, dynamic-area AF, auto-area AF, 3D-tracking (11 points)

Focus lock

Focus can be locked by pressing shutter-release button halfway (single-servo AF) or by pressing AE-L/AF-L button

Built-in flash

Auto, portrait, child, close up, night portrait, party/indoor, pet portrait, colour sketch: Auto flash with auto pop-up P, S, A, M, food: Manual pop-up with button release

Guide Number

Approx. 12/39, 13/43 with manual flash (m/ft, ISO 100, 20 °C/68 °F)

Flash control

TTL: i-TTL balanced fill-flash and standard i-TTL flash for digital SLR using 420-pixel RGB sensor are available with built-in flash and SB-900, SB-800, SB-700, SB-600, or SB-400 (i-TTL balanced fill-flash is available when matrix or centre-weighted metering is selected); Auto aperture: Available with SB-900/SB-800 and CPU lens; Non-TTL auto: Supported flash units include SB-900, SB-800, SB-80DX, SB-28DX, SB-28, SB-27, and SB-22S; Distance-priority manual: Available with SB-900, SB-800, and SB-700

Flash mode

Auto, auto with red-eye reduction, auto slow sync, auto slow sync with red-eye reduction, fill-flash, red-eye reduction, slow sync, slow sync with red-eye reduction, rear-curtain with slow sync, rear-curtain sync, off

Flash compensation

-3 – +1 EV in increments of 1/3 or 1/2 EV

Flash-ready indicator

Lights when built-in flash or optional flash unit such as SB-900, SB-800, SB-700, SB-600, or SB-400 is fully charged; blinks for 3 s after flash is fired at full output

Accessory shoe

ISO 518 hot-shoe with sync and data contacts and safety lock

Nikon Creative Lighting System (CLS)

Advanced Wireless Lighting supported with SB-900, SB-800, or SB-700 as a master flash, or SU-800 as commander; Flash Colour Information Communication supported with built-in flash and all CLS-compatible flash units

Sync terminal

AS-15 sync terminal adapter (available separately)

White balance

Auto, incandescent, fluorescent (7 types), direct sunlight, flash, cloudy, shade, preset manual, all except preset manual with fine tuning.

Lens servo

Autofocus (AF): Single-servo AF (AF-S); full-time-servo AF (AF-F) Manual focus (MF)

AF-area mode

Face-priority AF, wide-area AF, normal-area AF, subject-tracking AF


Contrast-detect AF anywhere in frame (camera selects focus point automatically when face-priority AF or subject-tracking AF is selected)

Automatic scene selection

Available in auto and flash off modes

Movie Metering

TTL exposure metering using main image sensor

Movie Metering method


Movie Frame size (pixels) and frame rate

1,920 x 1,080, 30 p/25 p/24 p, high/normal 1,280 x 720, 30 p/25 p/24 p, high/normal 640 x 424, 30 p/25 p, high/normal. A frame rate of 30 p (actual frame rate 29.97 fps) is available when NTSC is selected for video mode. 25 p is available when PAL is selected for video mode. Actual frame rate when 24 p is selected is 23.976 fps.

Video compression

H.264/MPEG-4 Advanced Video Coding

Audio recording device

Built-in monaural or external stereo microphone; sensitivity adjustable


7.5-cm/3-in., approx. 921k-dot (VGA), vari-angle low-temperature polysilicon TFT LCD with 170 °; viewing angle, approx. 100% frame coverage, and brightness adjustment


Full-frame and thumbnail (4, 9, or 72 images or calendar) playback with playback zoom, movie playback, slide show, histogram display, highlights, auto image rotation, and image comment (up to 36 characters)


Hi-Speed USB

Video output


HDMI output

Type C mini-pin HDMI connector

Accessory terminal

Remote cord: MC-DC2 (available separately) GPS unit: GP-1 (available separately)

Audio input

Stereo mini-pin jack (3.5mm diameter)

Supported languages

Finnish, French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Thai, Turkish


One rechargeable Li-ion EN-EL14 battery

AC adapter

EH-5b AC adapter; requires EP-5A power connector (available separately)

Tripod socket

1/4 in. (ISO 1222)

Dimensions (W x H x D)

Approx.128 x 97 x 79 mm (5.0 x 3.8 x 3.1 in.)


Approx. 510 g/1 lb. 2 oz. (camera body only); Approx. 560 g (1 lb. 3.7 oz.) with battery and memory card but without body cap


0-40 °C (+32-104 °F)


Less than 85% (no condensation)

Supplied accessories

EN-EL14 rechargeable Li-ion battery (with terminal cover), MH-24 battery charger, AN-DC3 strap, EG-CP14 audio/video cable, UC-E6 USB cable, DK-5 eyepiece cap, BS-1 accessory shoe cover, DK-20 rubber eyecup, BF-1B body cap, ViewNX 2 CD, User’s Manual