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Nikon D5100 Camera Review – Nikon’s Top Entry Level DSLRs

Nikon D5100 Camera Review

Entry Level DSLR - nikon-d5100

Nikon have done it again with the Nikon D5100 DSLR, similar to Canon, Nikon believe that an entry level DSLR should be something that you can grow into; that as you learn and your photographic skills progress then the camera should be able to grow with you, and as you will see in this Nikon D5100 Camera Review they have not failed.

The Nikon D5100 comes loaded with tech and features that you will find on their professional level cameras meaning that this camera will be a sound investment for the near future. You will have great fun exploring the creative modes, artistic and creative filters.

You are unique, one-of-a-kind, special – so your photographs should be, too. This DSLR camera offers several modes that allow you to be creative with your photographs as you take them. Traditional modes include. Each of these automatic modes optimizes the available settings to make sure lighting and colour levels are ideal for the situation. The sports mode chooses a fast shutter speed to capture quick movement.

Entry Level DSLR - nikon-d5100 top view


The Nikon D5100 offers all the traditional pre-set modes including:

  • Portrait
  • Landscape
  • Sports
  • Children
  • Macro

As usual these modes are designed to select the appropriate settings for any particular scene; what I recommend that you do as you learn is to look at what the camera is suggesting in relation to what you are looking at shooting; eventually you will start to understand why it is making certain choices and then begin to hazard your own guesses as to the required settings.

If this wasn’t enough try turning the mode dial to Scene and flick through the command dial, it will bring up over 10 different scene settings including:

Night Landscape – This mode is different from the typical night portrait mode, as the Nikon D5100 DSLR camera reduces the noise and irrelevant colours.

Sunset – Those gorgeous oranges, reds, purples and yellows found in a sunset usually do not translate well from what you see to the printed image. Not anymore. This DSLR camera turns off the built-in flash and auto focus illuminator and captures the richest hues.

Beach/Snow – these types of shot are traditionally tricky to get the correct exposure settings but this Nikon D5100 preserves the blues of the waters, the whites of both drifting clouds and snow whilst exposing the image perfectly.

Candlelight – how many birthday cake images get ruined by flash? If you are in full auto there is no choice but for the flash to pop-up, however in Candlelight mode you get the correct exposure and subjects lit by natural light, perfect.

Food – I love food, it’s fascinating and you can do so many things with the images. This example cutesy of Food Escapades is a fantastic example of using ordinary food and using it in a completely different way. The Food mode is a great way to capture food to its best advantage.

Entry Level DSLR - nikon-d5100 rear view

I must admit I am not a fan of applying effects to my images whether that be in camera or during post shoot editing, but as they are available on the Nikon D5100 I had better mention them. So in addition to all of the above modes you can also add special effects to your images in camera. There are several, and they are:

  • Selective Colour – this is supposed to isolate specific colours within the scene, colour popping in other words.
  • Night Vision – allows you to take photographs of subjects that are silhouetted against a setting sun.
  • Miniature Effect – not sure when I would ever use this but if you like to push the envelope the ability to create a miniature scale model of your subject then this is the mode for you.
  • Colour Sketch – does as you would imagine and makes a sketched outline of your subject

Right let’s move on from all the pink fluffy artistic stuff and talk about the guts of the Nikon D5100. It comes with a 16.2 megapixel CMOS Sensor which will gather loads of information into your images and give them that pro feel. It has a great ISO range of 100 to 6,400; this allows the camera to use a higher shutter speed in low light or fast moving scenarios whilst keeping digital noise and image blur to a minimum. This is a boon for wedding photographers who like me are always faced with gloomy church interiors.

The Nikon D5100 also comes with High Dynamic Range (HDR) that will take two versions of the same scene, one exposed for the highlights and one exposed for the shadows; these are then combined to produce a perfectly balanced image.

The Nikon D5100 come with the ability to shoot HD video that can be hooked dup to your TV via an HDMI cable.


The Nikon D5100 is definitely one of the best entry-level DSLR’s and even as an entry level photographer there will be no excuses for taking poor images. I think it will take you some time to discover and utilise the large variety of creative modes and artistic filters that you can apply to your images. The Nikon D5100 is a very good investment as it will last you some time before you need to move onto a more professional level camera, if indeed you ever need to.

Check out this DSLR on Amazon

Before we get started; the images and button at the bottom of the screen are affiliate links to amazon; if you decide to buy the camera and use my link, it doesn't cost you anything extra but I do get a small percentage of your purchase for the "referral".


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