D5100 18-55mm VR Lens Kit
Excellent for a beginner or for a mid level user
Both the D5100 and the new 3200 are very similar in performance. I have both. The D5100 has a host of creative effects that won me over when I was looking to buy my first DSLR last year. Battery life is really good as long as you don't overdue the creative modes too much, otherwise it will start to drain pretty darn fast. Menu is pretty easy to understand. The D5100 does not have a guide mode so if you do not know how to use a DSLR or feel the least bit intimidated, perhaps the D3200 would be a better buy for you. My only complaints about these entry level DSLR's is that they don't have the least bit of protection against humidity or even light rain. My D5100 went kaput on me on a trip to South America. I had kept it sealed and dry for most of my trip and did not switch lenses out in the field in a humid environment. One afternoon a shower popped up, lasted maybe 3-5 minutes and I was stranded with nothing on me to cover it. It was very light though. I did my best to shield the camera but it was too late. Condensation built up around the viewfinder and it began acting haywire. I don't know what else I could have done. Tried drying it out in my hotel room immediately afterwards but no luck. I know these can't be bulletproof like the higher end models but I think it should perform better than this.
Apart from this, the shutter also suffers from a bit of lag. Maybe it is just my camera that I got, but the D3200's shutter is much more crisp and responsive. This has proven problematic in the studio and when trying to shoot on a tripod.
May 3, 2012
Had this camera for 8 months. No problems or anything. Image quality is wonderful.
Hoping this camera would last a long time with me :D
May 3, 2012
Excellent camera for the starting serious amateur photographer
I recently purchased the D5100 as a replacement for an aging Olympus e510. The D5100 offers much more in the way of features and quality. While a bit small for my large hands, it is comfortable to hold and shoot with. The included kit lens that came with it works well, and seems to be of better optical quality than many kit lenses out there.
I haven't had much time to shoot with it yet, but the time I have had has been a joy. I just need to learn where all the important buttons are again.
I highly recommend this camera to those looking to move beyond point-and-shoot, and into more serious photography.
May 2, 2012
Great Camera for Beginner/Intermediates
This is a great camera if you're serious about getting into photography. Looking back, I now wish I got a different one because I feel like DX format and a number of other options that are found on higher end models are holding me back. Perhaps, I'm a fast learner. Perhaps, I don't use the novelty modes such as selective color or night vision, video etc.. That's just me though. I've loved the camera aside from those niggles. For a non-pro, it's a great option!
Camera definitely delivers. It kind of falls in that weird area that's not beginner, yet not pro. Not intermediate, yet not high end..
The image quality is great for the price. Definitely look into faster glass for the camera however. The kit lens is nothing to be sneered at if you know how to work with it (just look at this very blue "break room", wide angle "city steps" sample picture below) but there are better options such as the 35mm f1.8G for it's low light capabilities as seen in the "lighter" picture.
April 17, 2012
Complications with learning all features. Instructions not as clear as would like. Now batter/charger problem, have to send back to facotry repair when it is only 4 months old.
April 1, 2012
Great value for the money
The Nikon D5100 is a light and versatile camera that brings to photography lovers advanced features seen only in expensive professional models. The photo editing functionality is as impressive as the pre-programmed set of scenes and effects.
March 28, 2012
Good camera, but problems with older lenses
I have had Nikon cameras way back when the F2 came out. I must have had at least six of them. I have stayed with the Nikon brand so I could still use the older lenses. I love the D5100 camera body, but I think Nikon has let me down when it comes to the lenes. Up to this point I have been able to use the older lenes with any of the newer bodies. This includes third party lenses Not so with this camera. When I mount my Sigma macro lens, that came off my D50, the camera will not turn on. I realized I was going to have to manually focus with it, but I usually do this with a macro lens. Now if I want to do any macro work I will have to shell out another $1000. When I mounted a non-cpu 50mm Nikon lens the camera says ther is no lens attached. I am very disappointed in this as I enjoyed using these lenses, the 50mm because of it's lower f-stop. Another thing that disappoints me is Nikon seems to have made it so only a Nikon battery will work with it. I would not recomend this camera to anyone who has invested in some older Nikon lenses.
March 26, 2012
I was very please with everything about the camera. I'm a semi-professional and thought very long and hard about what camera I was going to invest in for my side business. I was very pleased with my choice regarding everything about the camera from an semi-pro's point of view. My biggest disappointment was the battery life. On my very first wedding gig the fully charged battery didn't even make it through the wedding! I was even more disappointed with Nikon's response to my complaint. The battery isn't covered under the warranty. THEREFORE (if you have the money and I don't) I advise you buy TWO batteries and have them fully charged before any important professional gig. Otherwise...I recommend this camera wholeheartedly.
March 21, 2012
Battery Life for D5100
Love the Nikon D5100 with a couple exceptions. Having the menu button on the upper left side is rather uncomfortable. Really a miner issue though. The major problem I have is the battery life while using live view. I get about 80 photo's using live view which is completely unacceptable as I seldom use the view finder. Given the price of the battery it is expensive to have extra's on hand. The upside is that it takes 90 minutes to recharge this battery. As much as I love the camera I did return it because of the battery life.
Would have been nicer if Nikon included more info in the basic manual supplied with the camera. The complete reference manual is on their website to download.
March 4, 2012
First time DSLR User
My husband and I were undecided between the D5100, D90 and D7000.....we went to a Ritz Camera store and spent almost 3 hours with an extremely knowledgable guy who helped us to see that for what we wanted to do, which is learn how to use a DSLR camera and take beautiful pictures, the D5100 was the way to go. The D90 and D7000 are fabulous cameras; however, have so many options we would probably never use. So for the price of the D90, we got the D5100, a 55-300 lense and a flash! Even with less options, I am still so confused on what to use and when to use them!! We have experimented with several of the options already, and no matter which one we use, the pictures turn out beautiful!! I will add, we have ordered the book, D5100 for dummies!!! So our recommendation is......If you are looking to get in to photography as a hobby, this camera is for you!!
February 28, 2012
Low battery power
This model has significantly low battery power compared to other Nikon DSLR cameras.
This is my 4th Nikon DSLR cameras (D50, D70s, D300s, & D5100), and I've never had any worries about battery life prior to this new model.
February 16, 2012
A great buy for beginners to advanced SLR users
I have been a camera geek for many years and finally made the jump to SLRs, its ability to take pictures in low light is amazing this is one thing that really amazed me versus typical point-n-shoot cameras. I wish it had the full frame sensor but beyond that this camera at this price point makes it an unbeatable catch.
February 16, 2012
great control over pictures
i like every thing about the camera except the grip my hand keeps moving the control and focus points away from where i want them
February 1, 2012
Excellent pics, but hardware not sturdy!
Pics are excellent, but with a light jerk the mirror inside broke. It's under warranty period, and I sent it for repair though.
January 25, 2012
Great Kit for this new enthusiest!
Looking to get into photography with a camera that would last for a long - long time. There are great features and special effects that are included. The kit-lens is a great starter.
The only downside is that - in my short time with this camera - is that you will want to add more and more lens for this body - be sure that you do your research, you'll need the right lens for this body.
My only other wish is a feature that would allow settings to be saved to a profile which could be quickly loaded for a quick changing environment.
Overall - This is a great camera - very happy with this decision.
January 16, 2012
top image quality for its sensor size, but quirky controls
Let me be clear about what I was looking for in a camera:
1) Excellent image quality in low light situations (I have kids, so most of my pictures are of them indoors, and I don't like the image quality produced when using flash)
2) Durability (It will be a long time before I'll have room in my budget to buy another camera)
3) Viewfinder, preferably an optical one.
4) All of this for under $700 (I bought mine refurbished).
5) I should add that I don't care too much about video capabilities. I prefer still photos.
I have been very happy with this camera. I enjoy taking photos with it. And I enjoy the end results. BUT it has it's shortcomings. There are always tradeoffs.
WHAT I LIKE ABOUT THE D5100:
- AWESOME IMAGE QUALITY, especially at higher ISO's. Indeed, I've read from professional reviewers that the D5100 has the best image quality of practically any APS-C camera and my experience backs this up. Photos are very usable at ISO 3200 and even ISO 6400. And when there is noise, it's more of the grainy type (which I prefer) than the blotchy, JPG artifact kind. Being able to use photos taken at higher ISO's means faster shutter speeds at lower lights, which is essential for someone like me who has kids and wants to be able to take photos indoors without using the flash.
- KIT LENS. I like how the kit lens feels and operates in my hands. I've been impressed with image quality it produces. This is important since it will be a while before I start buying more lenses
- FEELS NICE IN HANDS. This is very subjective, but the D5100 felt nicer in my hands than the competition, but this is something you'll have to decide on your own.
- SHUTTER DURABILITY. The D5100's shutter is tested at 100,000 cycles. That doesn't mean that every D5100 will last that long, but at least they provide evidence that it should.
- J-PEG PROCESSING/POST-EDITING. I like how much I'm able to customize the J-PEG processing in the camera (such as the color, sharpness, contrast, etc. of the image). There are also a lot of options for editing photos in the camera after taking them, such as correcting for chromatic aberration and barrel distortion. Having these in camera editing options might be important if you don't have other software to do it later.
WHAT I DON'T LIKE AS MUCH
- AUTO FOCUS. The auto focus is a bit slower than I was expecting, especially in low light conditions. If one the auto focus points aren't on something with contrast, they won't be able to focus. The D5100 does have an AF lamp, but it's so bright that it would be obnoxious to use when photographing people. I'm also surprised some times by what the camera decides to focus on when using the auto focus area modes. Supposedly, it's accessing a database of photos to determine what would most likely be the best thing to focus on given what's in the field of view, but I find that my point and shoot was better able to figure out what was best, especially in photos of people.
- ACCESS TO SETTINGS. Although the D5100 is very customizable, it can take several clicks to change the most basic settings, such as ISO, White Balance, Auto focus area mode, etc. If you set your camera to auto-ISO (and the parameters you can set on the auto-ISO are awesome), you can't override the auto-ISO without going deep into one of the menus and turning it off. You have to delve even deeper if you want to change the parameters of the auto-ISO. This can be obnoxious since you might want to have a lower maximum threshold if shooting in the sun light than when shooting in the shade or indoors.
- INFO IN VIEWFINDER. It's nearly impossible to tell what the ISO is in the D5100 looking in your optical viewfinder. The best I can get it to do is to show me what the ISO is before I push the shutter release button half way down to auto focus. Once you do that, it then shows you how many images can fit into the buffer (this affects how many photos you can take in a row in continuous shooting mode) instead of what the ISO is set at. There's plenty of room in the view finder to always show the ISO and the amount of space left in the buffer. It didn't need to be an either/or choice.
- ASPECT RATIO OF SCREEN. The screen is quite good, but it 1) smudges very easily (which can make it hard to review photos and make sure everything is in focus) and 2) could maximize use of the screen by having it be the same aspect ratio (3:2) as the sensor. Instead, there's always space just above and below the image on the screen which essentially makes the screen functionally less than 3" wide.
- PLACEMENT OF SPIN DIAL or control wheel or whatever you call it. If you're going to only have one spin dial, it might make more sense for it to be by the shutter release button where you can turn it with your forefinger rather than being on the back where you turn it with your thumb. The reason for this is that there's much more room for buttons on the back, so with a spin dial by the shutter release button, you can hold down a bunch of different buttons on the back with your thumb while spinning the spin dial with your forefinger. The reverse isn't true when the spin dial is on the back (there's not as much room for buttons on the top plate).
THINGS I'M AMBIVALENT ABOUT, but might be important to you
- FLIP OUT SCREEN. I almost consider this a gimmick. I realize it's useful for video work and there's a convenience factor to it when taking photos of objects down low or from up above, but it seems like it could be more of a liability than a benefit--by having the flip out screen, you've just added an additional joint to your machine that could easily break if pressure were applied the wrong way when the screen is extended out. On the other hand, maybe being able to store your camera with the screen facing in might protect it, but the screen is most vulnerable when you're using the camera, and usually, you'll have the screen facing out when using it.
- LIVE VIEW. I don't use live view when taking photos with DSLR's unless I'm shooting a still life and want to manual focus using the zoom-in feature on live view (which is a nice feature). For shooting photos of moving objects, I think live view would be difficult to work with. First, the auto focus is kind of slow. Second, the shutter lag is quite long. It takes a half second or more for the camera to take the photo once you push the shutter release button in live mode, so whatever you focused on might have moved by the time it finally takes the photo. Plus, it makes an initial sound like it took the photo, but it actually won't take it until you hear the second set of shutter sounds. When I used live view on a demo camera in the store, I kept getting blurry pictures because I thought the first shutter sounds meant that the photo had been taken.
- VIDEO CONTROLS. If you want full manual control of the videos, this camera will be a big let down. For those who are more casual in their video use (i.e., you just want a quick video of your kid saying something silly) and just want the videos to look good, this shouldn't be a problem. I've been happy with the videos I've taken so far. The image quality is really nice. One drawback, is that microphone manages to pick up a lot of sounds from any use of the lens while recording video. It's not much, but if you're recording something quiet, you'll hear the lens if you mess with it during the video. The camera does have an external mic jack if this is a worry for some.
- LACK OF AUTO FOCUS MOTOR. It's a bit of a bummer that it doesn't have a built in auto focus motor so that it can auto focus with almost all Nikon lenses. However, I realize this was likely a trade off to get a well made body with a top notch sensor at this price point. And honestly, many of the most common Nikon lenses have built in auto focus motors, so it's really not that big of a deal.
Overall, I can only give the D5100 4 stars. I would give it 5 stars if it weren't for the auto focus issues (which really aren't that bad) and the difficulty of changing basic parameters quickly (which can be frustrating for enthusiasts who want to be able to change things manually and quickly). Like I said, the image quality is superb. Indeed, it's the best you can ask for at this price (and even at twice the price), especially in low light.
January 10, 2012
First SLR Camera
Bought the camera because it was time to move up to a higher end camera from the point and shoot pocket cameras. So far I have been watching the DVD that came with it and taking shots around the house driving the family crazy, but so far the camera had been pretty easy to work with. I know that I have a learning curve so I look forward to figuring out all the options that this thing can do!
The instructional DVD moves fast for someone that is just learning and isn't up to speed with the high tech stuff. So the pause and rewind comes in handy. The DVD could be more informational but it does an OK job getting you started.
So far I am very happy with the camera and have already recommended it to friends. Time will tell if the camera lives up to what I think a nikon should be.
January 6, 2012
Nice camera for the beginner, but has a few flaws to be worked out.
I purchased this camera in May 2011, by October 2011 it stopped tethering. At this time it was exchanged for the same camera. By Christmas 2011 the new one stopped tethering and the screen went black while shooting. My camera is still in the shop for repairs. Saying all this, I still love this camera. It is a very good camera for the beginning photographer. I have used dozens of other brands of cameras and other Nikons, and this camera is by far the easiest to use. All the buttons are in the right places. The screen is large and easy to read. I shoot in RAW and Manual for my business and this camera takes Awesome shots. My favorite lens is the 70mm to 300mm. I love this camera, it has a great price for the technology it has, it is light weight and easy to use, I just wish the bugs were worked out.
January 4, 2012
I love the D5100. Great performer, more than enough for the average shooter. Images especially in low light were awesome. Shooting with it feels just wonderful. The focus speed on live view is pretty decent making the tilt-and-swivel screen a good addition. :)
Although the grip can be a little uncomfortable at times. It's a bit too small! But I guess that's just me. The video was also great, but apparently I have to preset the settings. I couldn't change them once I start. A shame really. I hope a firmware update or something will fix this. :> The night vision effect also needs a few improvements.
Overall this is a fine piece of equipment especially for it's targeted audience. For it's intended consumers, this will not disappoint. :)
December 25, 2011
nikon d5100 is a MUST HAVE
I have had this camera for 1 month now with the kit lens. i use it mostly for skating video's for youtube. it was a tough decision between the canon t3i. why? cause of AF-F on d5100 and manual controls on the t3i for video. generally speaking controls isn't such a big deal unless you are in bizarre conditions such as low light or when you want to create an artistic video. i have been begging for a firmware update which enables manual video control. if nikon does this, the nikon d5100 will become a godly camera! i am part of an amateur video production group we all had d5100 (mostly cause of the price, the screen and the AF-F) 5 of my friends in the group already changed to either t3i or 60d. i am the only one sticking with the d5100.
the pictures on this baby are just amazing. the batery life is enough bought another battery and it can last me up to 2 hours straight video shoot 1080p the screen is also amazing. compared to the d3100 this screen just destroys the d3100's. also it's fairly light viewfinder is nice but in nightclub's it's just impossible to take a picture.
December 16, 2011
Great investment, superb quality, very happy!
First off, to be fair, I can't give this camera a 5, because I haven't used all cameras from Nikon or all cameras throughout the world. But, a 4 on a "global" scale is pretty solid, and is intended to be a 5 on a mid-level-DSLR range.
I had been eyeing the D3100 for quite some time, but being a poor grad student, just didn't have the money at the time. I'd also done a fair bit of research on Nikon vs. Canon, and had used several models from both ends via friends and colleagues over the years. When I saw that D5100 just came out this year, it was a no-brainer investment for my first (perhaps only) DSLR. My point-and-shoot just wasn't cutting it any longer. It's a camera that I will be able to learn on for and use for many years.
Right out of the box with the 18-55 mm VR lens, it takes photos loaded with character. The "auto" setting is perfect for starters, but do yourself a favor and invest time in learning about how to expand your DSLR repertoire by going full manual from time-to-time. Close ups are great with little effort (turntable shot), and the "scene" modes work mostly flawlessly.
I think the real beauty is that it uses the same image sensor as the D7000 which stretches to ISO 3200 with little-to-no-noise. Nikon's lineup can get quite intense with features, but for about 95% of amateur photographers and hobbyists, this camera has more than enough accommodation!
I've taken limited video with the HD recording, but it seems more than satisfactory (if you're really fanatical about video ONLY, maybe just get an HD video camera). The 4 fps actually is noticeable vs the 3 fps in the D3100, FYI. The D5100 also performs exceptionally well in low-light situations, and have yet to take any photo that suffers from terrible point-and-shoot overexposure when using the flash. Also does well in natural light. Autofocus is very responsive to moving targets (see shot of my pup). You do have to take hints from your shooting environment though. Lastly, the interface is nicely configured and feels natural for my personal taste; toggling between to and from live preview is super easy.
When I exhaust the 18-55 mm lens, I look forward to moving up to a 70-300 mm (perhaps when there is snow on the ground or for some live NCAA action in the Spring). I'm completely satisfied with this camera, and if you buy from an authorized Nikon dealer, you can feel 100% confident that you'll be getting the full package as intended (strap, battery, charger, lens cover, etc) . . . I've heard some horror stories about this single detail that people often overlook.
Overall, amazing starter-to-mid-level DSLR and well worth the months of research and hard-earned $$$.
December 10, 2011
Great picture quality
I have been very pleased with the quality of all the pictures I have taken.
December 9, 2011
I am extreemly pleased with my D5100 so far
a very great camera and lens system simple to use and exceptional picture clearity and sharpness menu items are easy to follow to make changes to camera functions and picture quality I am extreemly pleased wit my purchase of this camera
December 6, 2011
turns photography into creative art
a lenses that creates imaginative perspectives whether up close or full panoramas. excellent for wide shots of interior rooms where depth is very limited and capable of extreme close ups. a very solid built small size lens that captures an extremely wide range of view,the pics are very sharp and the distortion can be used to your advantage for emphasizing your focus point. a Nikon favorite lens.
December 6, 2011
great battery life, active D-lighting is very useful, excellent low light camera, lightweight and fast recycle time and intellegent flash compensation.
December 3, 2011
Great Overall BUT ....
Good sensor, ergo, features and other stuff ... BUT ...no focus motor. You have to purchase lenses that are AF-S.
Other than that, it is an excellent camera and would definitely recommend.
November 29, 2011
Wow very surprised
I purchased this camera for my wife who is my partner and the second shooter at weddings. I was very surprised at the picture quality, high ISO capabilities, 24 fps. Just blew me away. OK with that said make sure you update the firmware version to 1.01 this will save you a lot of headaches later when you use certain memory cards. I thought I was having a problem with my sandisk extreme 32 GB card so I returned it to B and H. When I received the new card I got the same error message (no card inserted) so I returned the camera ...... To make a long story short, update the firmware.
November 23, 2011
more then you need for the amateur
love my new camera,for the amateur photographer this is all you will need to take great pictures if possible would recommend taking a class in photography and also purchasing extra lens and warranty for your peace of mind. With a new grand baby and a love for motorcycle racing it was a must have, truely happy with my investment
November 23, 2011
It's a good entry level camera for beginners in photography. Light and I have a good grip. Great Sensor but with some issues in AE-L/AF-L feature and full video control.
November 19, 2011
very nice camera
More features than I imagined. My first slr digital camera and anticipate having some fun with it. I have an old Pentax slr which I used in the service. The D5100 is way beyond that!! Can't wait to get to know it better.
November 18, 2011