Nikon D5100

Nikon D5100 front

Nikon D5100 summary

Nikon D5100 is Nikon's Entry-Level DSLR digital camera initially revealed on April of 2011. It uses a 16 MegaPixel, CMOS APS-C sized sensor and has a max resolution of 4928 x 3264.

Nikon released this model to update the earlier Nikon D5000 (Read Full Comparison) & afterwards launched the newer Nikon D5200 (Read Full Comparison) to replace this model.

The D5100 is placed #26 out of 80 in Entry-Level DSLR cameras & over all #220 out of 1465 for digital cameras in our list. You should try out our Smart camera finder to find camera rankings based on your personal requirements.

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The following is a diagram of multiple factors used in the rating system.

Nikon D5100 history

The Nikon D5100 is part of a family of products. You can view the full range underneath.

ModelVisualizeResolutionSensor SizeMax fpsReleased
Nikon-D3500 front thumbnailNikon D3500
D5100 vs D3500
24MPAPS-C5.0 fps2018
Nikon-D5600 front thumbnailNikon D5600
D5100 vs D5600
24MPAPS-C5.0 fps2016
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Nikon-D3400 front thumbnailNikon D3400
D5100 vs D3400
24MPAPS-C5.0 fps2016
Nikon-D5500 front thumbnailNikon D5500
D5100 vs D5500
24MPAPS-C5.0 fps2015
Nikon-D3300 front thumbnailNikon D3300
D5100 vs D3300
24MPAPS-C5.0 fps2014
Nikon-D5300 front thumbnailNikon D5300
D5100 vs D5300
24MPAPS-C5.0 fps2014
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Nikon-D5200 front thumbnailNikon D5200
D5100 vs D5200
24MPAPS-C5.0 fps2013
Nikon-D3200 front thumbnailNikon D3200
D5100 vs D3200
24MPAPS-C4.0 fps2012
Nikon-D5100 front thumbnailNikon D510016MPAPS-C4.0 fps2011
Nikon-D3100 front thumbnailNikon D3100
D5100 vs D3100
14MPAPS-C3.0 fps2010
Nikon-D3000 front thumbnailNikon D3000
D5100 vs D3000
10MPAPS-C3.0 fps2009
Japan-exclusive Leica Leitz Phone 3 features big sensor and new modes
Nikon-D5000 front thumbnailNikon D5000
D5100 vs D5000
12MPAPS-C4.0 fps2009
Nikon-D60 front thumbnailNikon D60
D5100 vs D60
10MPAPS-C3.0 fps2008
Nikon-D40X front thumbnailNikon D40X
D5100 vs D40X
10MPAPS-C3.0 fps2007
Nikon-D40 front thumbnailNikon D40
D5100 vs D40
6MPAPS-C3.0 fps2006
Nikon-D50 front thumbnailNikon D50
D5100 vs D50
6MPAPS-C3.0 fps2005

Nikon D5100 Pros and Cons

Below is a checklist of advantages and disadvantages of the Nikon D5100 based on factors which are typically considered crucial in a digital camera.

built-in flash
change lenses (Nikon F mount)
comes with phase detect autofocus
does have HDMI out
does have microphone support
features face detect autofocus
features tracking focus
great battery pack (660 CIPA)
great minimum ISO (100)
great video quality (1920 x 1080 pxls)
megapixel count decent (16MP)
nice clear screen (921 k dots)
nice sensor size (APS-C)
screen can move to multiple angles
screen size is decent (3 inches)
selfie friendly screen
supports RAW files
you can focus manually
lack of headphone support
no image stabilization
slow continuous shooting (4.0 frames per second)
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Nikon D5100 Sensor specifications

The Nikon D5100 is powered by the Expeed 2 processor chip. The specification of the sensor on the Nikon D5100 is 23.6mm x 15.7mm (APS-C). The 371 mm² sensor is able to capture 4928 x 3264 pixels at aspect ratios of 3:2.

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The CMOS sensor has 16MP and supports a standard ISO range of 100 to 6400. This ISO can be widened electronically to a high of 25600. RAW format is saved therefore you have wider room to maneuver in post.

The graphic underneath shows the D5100's sensor dimensions when compared to other popular sizes. The D5100 sensor has a crop factor of 1.5 and is pointed out in green.

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To get a sense of various aspect ratios, you can refer to the graphic below.

Camera sensor aspect ratios

Nikon D5100 dimensions

Nikon D5100 has a weight of 1.23 pounds (560g or 19.75 ounces) & the over all size of the camera is 128mm x 97mm x 79mm (5.0" x 3.8" x 3.1"). The weight of typical Entry-Level DSLR camera is 540g and the Nikon D5100 is very much the same compared with other competitors.

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Down below is a picture of the Nikon D5100 beside a softdrink so you can get a feel for its scale.

Nikon D5100 dimensions scale

The top view just below will show the button arrangement on the D5100.

Nikon D5100 topview buttons dials

Nikon D5100 Lens specifications

The D5100 works with the Nikon F mount and has 315 lenses currently available. Below is some of the lenses we have in our database which will fit the D5100.

ModelVisualizeFocal LengthApertureStabilizedWeight
Nikon-AF-Nikkor-135mm-f2D-DC lensNikon AF Nikkor 135mm f2D DC135mmf/2.0 815g
Sigma-105mm-F2.8-EX-DG-Macro-Nikon-F-FX lensSigma 105mm F2.8 EX DG Macro105mmf/2.8 460g
Photography Glossary
Nikon-AF-S-DX-Nikkor-35mm-f1.8G lensNikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm f1.8G35mmf/1.8 210g
Nikon-AF-S-Nikkor-600mm-f4D-ED-IF-II lensNikon AF-S Nikkor 600mm f4D ED-IF II600mmf/4.0 5900g
Nikon-AF-S-Nikkor-200-400mm-f4G-ED-VR-II lensNikon AF-S Nikkor 200-400mm f4G ED VR II200-400mmf/4.0 3360g
Samyang-20mm-F1.8-ED-AS-UMC-Nikon-F-FX lensSamyang 20mm F1.8 ED AS UMC20mmf/1.8497g
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Sigma-120-300mm-F2.8-DG-OS-HSM-Nikon-F-FX lensSigma 120-300mm F2.8 DG OS HSM120-300mmf/2.8 2950g
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Nikon D5100 Connectivity

The D5100 has the following connectivity:

  • USB Yes
  • Wireless Yes
  • HDMI Yes
  • GPS Yes

Digital cameras that feature NFC or Bluetooth compatibility can easily be used wirelessly via smartphones. You are able to send images and usually alter camera settings without connecting straight to the camera.

A few applications even stream a Liveview and hit the shutter if you are not close to the camera. If the camera boasts a HDMI port, it could be attached to an external monitor. Nearly all cameras enable you to charge the battery pack with the USB port.

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Nikon D5100 Video specifications

The max video resolution on the Nikon D5100 is 1920 x 1080 and you can capture in MPEG-4 file format. 1080p resolution can provide a good balance in video quality versus file sizes but 1080p will not leave you with any room to downsample. Even though the camera has a microphone jack, it is sadly missing a headphone jack which means you won't be able to check your audio levels.

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Nikon D5100 Weather Sealing

There is no environment proofing for the Nikon D5100 so you need to be careful in wet and dusty situations.

Nikon D5100 Screen and Viewfinder

The Nikon D5100 houses a 3" fully articulated screen boasting a resolution of 921k dots.

The screen is selfie friendly for self portraits and even group shots if necessary. Unfortunately the screen isn't a touch screen.

Nikon D5100 screen and viewfinder Sora from OpenAI releases its first ever music video

The View Finder specs for Nikon D5100 are below:

  • ViewFinder Optical (pentamirror)
  • Coverage 95 percent
  • Magnification 0.52x

For sunny outdoor situations which make the camera displays washed out and hard to see, viewfinders are rather useful.

Nikon D5100 Shutter specifications

Nikon D5100 is able to shoot continuously at 4.0 frames per second. The highest shutter speed is 1/4000s.

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Nikon D5100 Flash and Hot shoe specifications

Nikon D5100 has both built in flash together with external flash support. The highest flash sync is 1/200s.

Nikon D5100 Autofocus specifications

Nikon D5100 has both Phase Detect Auto Focus plus Contrast Detect Auto Focus. Phase Detection autofocusing is a lot faster and precise compared with Contrast Detect autofocusing. The camera boasts Face detection which makes it useful for people photography.

It boasts 11 focus points to pick from. It also comes with Tracking Auto Focus for moving objects. Nikon D5100 comes with manual focus if needed in low light situations or you want to have more precise focus control.

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Nikon D5100 Battery life

The battery pack (EN-EL14) for the Nikon D5100 is designed to last for 660 images based on the CIPA standards which is higher than standard ın comparison with its class. The usual Entry-Level DSLR camera battery life is 589. Pentax K-x has got the maximum (1900) battery life in this class of cameras.

Listed below is a number of Entry-Level DSLR cameras having the best battery life:

Nikon D5100 for specific styles of photography

The following bar chart presents a summary of the Nikon D5100 for specific styles of photography. To read more, have a look at the specific section underneath.

Nikon D5100 as a Portrait photography camera

The Nikon D5100 gets a points total of 73 which is very good, and means the camera is a fine choice to use for portrait photography. Shooting portrait images favors greatly towards sensor dimensions, support for RAW files & ability to work with external flash.

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you can focus manually
decent MP (16MP)
good sensor size (APS-C)
has face detection autofocus
delivers RAW files

Nikon D5100 as a Street photography camera

Getting a very good points tally of 67, the Nikon D5100 is a fine option to buy for street photography. A decent street photography camera provides a perfect balance of picture quality and portability.

Photography Glossary
screen can move to multiple angles
sensor size is nice (APS-C)
exports RAW formats
lack of image stabilization

Sports photography with Nikon D5100

A above average sports photography score of 63 means the Nikon D5100 is a fine option for taking photos of sports. A camera should have excellent autofocus plus fast shutter speeds for sports photography.

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resolution is good (16MP)
sensor size is nice (APS-C)
features tracking focus
good battery life (660 per charge)
comes with phase detect AF
painfully slow continuous shooting (4.0 frames per second)
does not have image stabilization

Nikon D5100 Travel photography information

Weight is very critical when buying a camera for travel. Over-all, the Nikon D5100 gets a wonderful 77 as a travel camera which is a wonderful pick to take on your journeys.

Body cameras now worn by bakery staff to deter stealing
great battery power (660 per charge)
sensor resolution is decent (16MP)
has built in flash
display is selfie friendly

Nikon D5100 as a Landscape photography camera

For anybody planning to choose a camera for landscape photos, the most essential aspect is going to be image quality. The Nikon D5100 at it's above average rating of 72 as a landscape camera is a fine fit within the current market.

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manual focus
switch lenses (Nikon F mount)
good sized screen (3 inches)
megapixel count good (16MP)
decent sensor size (APS-C)
saves RAW files
better than average battery (660 CIPA)
no image stabilization

Vlogging with Nikon D5100

A vlogging camera ought to posses a articulating display, microphone input and if possible IBIS. Considering everything, the Nikon D5100 is a good option for vlogging as it delivers a nice score of 69.

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screen is selfie friendly
supports face detect focus
video resolution high (1920 x 1080 pixels)
has mic support
no image stabilization

Nikon D5100 Alternatives

If you are looking for alternatives to the D5100, below is a collection of the top scored cameras which fall within the family of Entry-Level DSLR.

The diagram underneath provides you a bird's eye view of the D5100 compared to it's top rated rivals listed above.

Following are additional cameras you might look at as alternate options. To read through a complete comparison, go to the "compare" link.

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General Information
Brand Name
Nikon D5100
Entry-Level DSLR
Physical type
Compact SLR
Sensor Information
Sensor type
Processor Chip
Expeed 2
Sensor size
Sensor measurements
23.6 x 15.7mm
Sensor area
Sensor resolution
16 megapixel
Anti aliasing filter
Aspect ratio
Peak resolution
4928 x 3264
RAW pictures
Highest native ISO
Highest enhanced ISO
Lowest native ISO
Manual focus
AF touch
Continuous AF
Single AF
AF tracking
Selective AF
AF center weighted
AF multi area
AF live view
Face detection focusing
Contract detection focusing
Phase detection focusing
Number of focus points
Cross focus points
Lens mount
Nikon F
Total lenses
Focal length multiplier
Type of screen
Fully Articulated
Screen diagonal
3 inches
Screen resolution
921k dots
Selfie friendly
Touch display
Screen tech
TFT LCD monitor
Viewfinder Information
Viewfinder type
Optical (pentamirror)
Viewfinder coverage
95 percent
Viewfinder magnification
DXO scores
DXO Overall score
DXO Color Depth score
DXO Dynamic range score
DXO Low light score
Min shutter speed
30 secs
Max shutter speed
1/4000 secs
Continuous shutter rate
4.0 frames per second
Shutter priority
Aperture priority
Manually set exposure
Exposure compensation
Custom WB
Image stabilization
Integrated flash
Flash range
12.00 m (at ISO 100)
Flash options
Auto, On, Off, Red-eye, Slow sync, Rear curtain
Hot shoe
Auto exposure bracketing
White balance bracketing
Max flash synchronize
1/200 secs
Multisegment exposure
Average exposure
Spot exposure
Partial exposure
AF area exposure
Center weighted exposure
Video features
Video resolutions
1920 x 1080 (30, 25, 24 fps), 1280 x 720 (30, 25, 24 fps), 640 x 424 (30, 25 fps)
Highest video resolution
Video format
Microphone support
Headphone support
Eye-Fi Connected
USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
Environmental sealing
Water proof
Dust proof
Shock proof
Crush proof
Freeze proof
560g (1.23 pounds)
Physical dimensions
128 x 97 x 79mm (5.0" x 3.8" x 3.1")
Battery life
660 photos
Battery style
Battery Pack
Battery model
Self timer
Yes (2, 5, 10 or 20 sec)
Time lapse feature
Type of storage
Card slots
Price at release