The Nikon D5100 has been outed by Nikon Romania – oops.  I have the knows specs listed along with the other Nikon and Canon models in this price range

 

Nikon D5100 (NEW) Nikon D5000 Nikon D3100 Canon T3i/600D
16.2 MP 12.3 14.2 18.0
Auto, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, 6400, (102400 w/ night vision mode) Auto, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200 (6400 w/ boost) Auto, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200 (12800 w/ boost) Auto, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, 6400, (12800 w/ boost)
Side Articulated LCD 921,000 dots 2.7″ Bottom Articulated LCD 230,000 dots 3″ Fixed LCD 230,000 dots 3″ Articulated LCD 1,040,000 dots
4 fps 4 3 3.4
(1920 x 1080 (30, 25, 24fps), 1280 x 720 (30, 25, 24 fps), 640 x 424 (24 fps)) (1280 x 720 (24 fps), 640 x 424 (24 fps), 320 x 216 (24 fps)) (1920 x 1080 (24 fps), 1280 x 720 (30, 25, 24 fps), 640 x 424 (24 fps)) (1920 x 1080 (30, 25, 24 fps), 1280 x 720 (60, 50 fps), 640 x 480 (60, 50 fps))
HDR Feature
Quiet Shutter Feature
Special Effects during video Picture styles useable during video
EN-EL14 battery (Same battery used by Nikon D3100)
$899 [Amazon] $699 $599 [Amazon] $899 [Amazon]

The D5100 will likely best the T3i in high ISO/low light performance, the D5000 did a better job over the T2i and these newer sensors that Nikon is using look to be quite excellent in lowlight.  Despite this I still have trouble recommending the D5000 and now the D5100.  They are excellent cameras, beginner friendly,  and most folks find them pleasingly ergonomic.  My Reasons for picking the entry level Canons over Nikon?  The LCD screen, the wireless flash controls of the T3i and the ability to auto focus with a cheap lens like the nifty-fifty (canon 50mm).  The LCD screen on the Canon T2i/T3i is gorgeous and you can really get a good sense of your shots just glancing at that screen. UPDATE: It looks like the Nikon is going to have a very similar LCD screen. If you are serious about photography but on a limited budget the ability to AF with cheap lenses and have the ability to wirelessly control a flash(es) gives the Canon T2i/T3i shooter loads of room to grow as a photographer.   That all said, if you want a DSLR but don’t have plans or dreams of professional photography the D5100 may be perfect for you. One point worth mentioning – the Nikon does have full time autofocus during video, I have been fairly critical of the usefulness of this feature, it is still on the slow slide and serious videographers manually focus but for parents just trying to capture their child in a play or sporting event this can be a lifesaver. So parents, if you want one device that is going to give you excellent video and still quality I think you will be very happy with this camera.

I have added the full press release below that includes information about a new external mic that will retail for $150 and give you nice stereo sound quality with any camera that has the 3.5mm mic jack.  Looks like a slightly smaller version of the Rode.

The nikon D3000, D5000 and now D5100 do not have an in-body focus motor, this limits the number of lenses that will allow autofocusing when attached to one of those three cameras.  Sometimes I feel like I make a bigger deal out of this than necessary.  You can still find a lens in just about every focal length you want, in a few cases you do have to pay a bit more than otherwise but it really is in just a few cases.

As always find me on twitter @camerarec or use the chat link on the right to ask questions, advice or just share your thoughts.

 

FULL Press release

Ready for the Adventure of Life

The D5100 allows photographers of all levels to confidently execute newand creative ways to tell stories with amazing colour and clarity.Whether shooting over crowds or down low from a toddlers point of view,the swing-out style, Vari-angle LCD screen makes it easy to compose andshare great images. Displaying even the most subtle details withclarity, the super sharp LCD has a 1000:1 contrast ratio and 921,000-dotresolution with the ability to pivot 180 degrees horizontally andvertically.

To further test creative boundaries, photographers can take advantageof the D5100s in-camera Special Effects Mode. Applied to either stillsor D-Movies, these innovative effects are easy to implement and add ahigh level of creativity. By selecting the Effects position on the modedial located on top of the camera, photographers can easily applyeffects such as Selective Colour and choose up to three differentcolours while the remainder of the scene is converted to monochrome.Colour Sketch creates photos and a stop-motion movie in a colourfulsketched drawing style, while the Miniature effect records photos andhigh-speed movies to bestow a feeling of a mini-scale scene.

To record photos in extreme lighting conditions or to produce movieswith a gritty appearance, the new Night Vision mode calls upon Nikonspro digital SLR low-light technology to offer extreme low-lightcapability by enabling the camera to shoot up to a super-high 102,400ISO. In addition to the Effects mode, users can create photos withamazing tonal range by selecting the high dynamic range (HDR) functionwithin the camera. With this selected, the D5100 will automaticallybracket up to three exposure stops with two images in rapid successionto produce a finished photo with an amazing range of midtones andhighlights that wouldnt otherwise be possible in a single shot.Additionally, Active D-Lighting can be selected and combined with HDRfor even more dramatic effects.

The versatile Nikon D5100 digital SLR will motivate shooters to furtherexplore creativity with its advanced camera features including fullmanual controls (P,S,A,M on the mode dial) offering the ability tomanage the cameras aperture and shutter speeds. Once a photo iscaptured, photographers have the flexible retouch menu at their disposalto apply additional in-camera effects and editing options includingcolour and filter effects, red eye correction and NEF (RAW) processing.

The remarkably wide ISO range of 100-6,400 (expandable to a staggering25,600 ISO) allows photographers to shoot confidently in outdoor andindoor low-light situations, even handheld with low noise. Inchallenging lighting conditions such as when a subject is backlit,Nikons Active D-Lighting feature keeps shadows and highlights consistentfor even exposures.

To further unleash creativity, the Picture Control system allows thechoice of Standard, Neutral, Vivid, Monochrome, Portrait, or Landscapesettings to apply a personal look and feel to pictures, and theversatile Scene Modes let photographers choose from Portrait, Landscape,Child, Sports, Close-up or Night Portrait for stunning results in justabout all possible lighting conditions.

Create Full HD Movies

The Nikon D5100 captures full 1080p HD movies with full-time autofocus.Users can quickly switch focus modes to stay with the action through avariety of AF functions, including Face Priority which can track up to35 human faces, Subject Tracking and normal or wide-area autofocus. Toactivate movie mode and Live View, a new switch is positioned on the topof the camera near the shutter button for improved ergonomics and easieraccess.

The D5100 digital SLR offers variable frame rates and resolutions, andcan record 1080p at a cinema-like 24 frames per second (fps).Alternatively, for playback on HD devices, it can record at 30 fps or aweb-friendly 720p at either 24 or 30 fps. All clips can record for up to20 minutes in the AVC-HD H.264 codec. Once recorded, movie clips can betrimmed in the camera to save time in post-production. Whether utilizinga wireless or hot shoe-mounted microphone such as the new ME-1, soundcan be recorded via the stereo microphone input for professional audioresults. Captured movies can be easily shared via HDMI output, andcontrolled remotely with HDMI CEC compatibility.

Superior Image Quality

The 16.2 megapixel DX-format CMOS sensor is capable of capturing imagesthat erupt with colour, offering amazing sharpness and clarity to createimages and full HD movies even in low-light conditions. Coupled withNikons exclusive EXPEED 2 TM image-processing engine, images are broughtto life with vivid colours and amazing contrast, accurate exposure andlow noise levels resulting in brilliant image quality. The EXPEED 2 TMengine also drives the quick 11-point AF system on the D5100 to providefor rapid focus acquisition even on fast-moving subjects. When shootingaction, split-second shutter response and four frames per second burstrate make sure no moment is missed, forever putting to rest the story ofthe one that got away.

Whether shooting lush wilderness landscapes or an urban skyline, theD5100 utilizes Nikons exclusive Scene Recognition System to analyzesubject information from a database containing more than 30,000 imagesto optimize focus, exposure, i-TTL flash exposure and white balance. Toassist in creating amazing imagery, the Scene Recognition System readsdata from the 420-pixel 3D Colour Matrix Meter RGB sensor that examinesthe scenes brightness and colour data then optimizes the camerasperformance prior to the actual exposure.

An entirely greater world of creativity will open up to photographerswhen adding versatile AF-S NIKKOR lenses to the equation. With a widerange of focal lengths and versatile features, AF-S NIKKOR lenses helpto create a variety of photo perspectives to images and movies such asthe ability to isolate subjects with a shallow depth of field or zoomclose to the action from afar. Combining the D5100 digital SLR withNIKKOR lenses also delivers the sharpness essential for HD movies, andNikons innovative Vibration Reduction (VR) II technology helps toeliminate the effects of camera shake.

New ME-1 microphone

To address the needs of the ever growing community of shootersabandoning their video cameras for the versatility of a digital SLR,Nikon now offers the ME-1 stereo microphone. Engineered specifically fora digital SLR, the new ME-1 microphone attaches to the hot shoe and hasnoise dampening components designed to minimize noise resulting from AFoperation. The microphone also has a low-cut filter to reduce wind noisenot already blocked by the wind screen. Designed with digital SLR usersin mind, the ME-1 also features a cable stop to keep the cable out ofthe way when using the camera, and reduce instances of noise fromunintentional contact. Because it utilizes a standard 3.5mm stereo jack,the ME-1 is ideal for the D5100 and other Nikon HD movie capable digitalSLRs such as the D3s, D300s, D7000 and the COOLPIX P7000.

 

 

 

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