DLSRs are not quite what they used to be, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The extra bulk that sometimes made them a little too hefty to bring with you everywhere has started to erode with better form factors. Despite micro four-thirds cameras and other DSLR-style designs, a camera like Nikon’s D5100 is a classic DSLR that pretty much anyone can use.
The D5100 has a 16.2-megapixel image sensor, an ISO range of 100-6400, shooting at 4 fps, 1080p HD video capture, special effects mode, 12 scene modes and a 3-inch live view display that flips out for angled shooting. On paper, the D5100 isn’t the absolute best, but it does have an impressive set of features.
One good move Nikon made was to put the special effects on the dial, making it much easier to toggle through them using the scroll wheel. There are seven in total, and they’re all pretty good. The Night Vision one actually allows you to shoot and get a monochrome image in almost complete darkness — a private investigator’s dream. No, but seriously, they are nice, though I found Selective Color (keeping a colour or two while making the rest of the image monochrome) and Color Sketch to be the two best, though Miniature Effect and Silhouette are cool too.
Generally speaking, the D5100 takes crisp and vibrant photos in just about any situation. I wasn’t all that thrilled with macro performance on the kit 18-55mm lens, and shooting good shots at night still needed a tripod or flat surface in most cases, but it handled itself well in just about every situation. Outdoors, indoors, sunny, cloudy, dark, light — there was either a semi-manual option to deal with it, or a preset mode that did the heavy lifting… Read More [via futureshop]