Nikon’s D5100 DSLR is a step up from the company’s entry-level D3100 model and as such competes directly with Canon’s very similar EOS 600D.

In addition to delivering superb image quality, both aim to strike a balance between ease of use for the beginner and sophisticated controls for the more advanced photographer.

We found the D5100 very easy to use: Its bright 3-inch articulated screen flips out and rotates to allow shooting from all manner of awkward angles – a boon to those wishing to take advantage of the Full HD video recording features.

Nikon has done a great job of using this display to provide information in a helpful, accessible and, dare we say, ‘pretty’ way. If you find the prospect of a full-sized DSRL daunting, think again. The D5100 provides hints and help every step of the way. If Plain English remarks such as ‘subject is too dark’ aren’t clear enough for you, pressing the help button will bring up further explanation as well as a tip such as, ‘use the flash’.

The D5100 incorporates automatic digital correction of common lens flaws such as chromatic aberration and barrel distortion. Ideal for consumer-grade lenses more commonly used with this type of camera.

Seasoned shooters may bemoan the lack of some of the discrete buttons provided on the Canon camera for controlling settings such as ISO and white balance on the fly. Furthermore, the D5100 relies on a limited selection of motorised lenses to be able to use autofocus mode.

Nikon D5100

 If you’re not too keen on editing your photos on a PC, you can take advantage of the D5100’s advanced in-camera editing features which allow you to crop and tweak your pictures as well as adding special effects filters without the need for a computer.

The D5100’s 16.2 Megapixel CMOS image sensor offers slightly fewer pixels than the Canon EOS 600D, but it’s also slightly larger. This helps reduce image noise, especially using high ISO settings at which the camera excels, producing the best low-light shots of the group and offering ISO values up extendable up to 25,600 if needs must. Image quality from this camera is generally excellent.

With burst shooting of up to 100 shots at 4 fps and a massive 660-shot battery life, the D5100 provides excellent speed and stamina for shooting outdoor events.

The D5100 is an excellent entry point for the keen amateur who wants to discover more and take their camera with them as they learn.

See full review from 14/6/11 on next page >>


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