spoiled the surprise with this one, but we can now enlighten you with the full details of its upcoming midrange (or "advanced beginner" as Nikon calls it) DSLR refresh. The D5100 takes the spot of the venerable D5000, but follows the previous generation's recipe for success pretty closely. The D5000 was a stripped-down D90 in a simpler, smaller package that came with an articulating LCD, and the D5100 just so happens to feature the same mighty 16.2 megapixel sensor as the D7000 (Nikon's current high-end consumer DSLR) augmented with a flipout screen. Having the D7000's internals helps the new shooter churn out 1080p video at 24fps, 25fps, or 30fps, depending on your preference for up to a maximum of 20 minutes. The D5000 is only capable of five-minute bursts of 720/24p video and isn't able to continually autofocus, which the D5100 can. The D5100 also betters its predecessor in terms of physical fitness, coming in at a healthy 10 percent lighter and smaller, while a good number of the physical controls have been repositioned in order to allow for a new horizontal opening mechanism. That'll be a well appreciated tweak for tripod users. The new screen's also 17 percent thinner, we're told, and steps up to a 3-inch diagonal with a 920k-dot resolution. Solid stuff. After the break you'll find a full spec sheet along with some video action with the D5100. Pricing for this camera is set at $800 / €777 / £670 for the body only or $900 / €904 / £780 for the body plus an 18-55mm VR kit lens. The ME-1 external mic introduced alongside it -- did we not mention the D5100 has an external mic input -- will cost $180 / €139 / £120 and both are expected in stores on April 21st.
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Nikon D5100 DSLR and ME-1 external mic hands-on
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Nikon D5100 DSLR and ME-1 external mic
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Nikon D5100 vs Nikon D5000
The New Nikon D5100: Unleash Your Creativity
Body Only - £669.99 / €777
18-55VR Kit - £779.99 / €904
Sales start date: 21st April 2011 (TBC)
London, UK, 5 April 2011: Nikon introduces a new D-SLR to its line-up, the D5100, which is packed with features to make shooting stills or full HD movies more exciting than ever. The D5100 will give you a new creative perspective thanks to its improved Vari-angle screen, special effects mode and full (1080p) HD Movie.
Jordi Brinkman, Product Manager for Nikon Europe, says: "The D5100 is a great camera that allows you to express your artistic side through impressive images and movies. You can shoot with creative effects and unique angles, all at the level of superior image quality seen in the D7000!"
Unique viewing angles
The successor to the popular Nikon D5000, the D5100 features an improved Vari-angle LCD screen. The screen now opens horizontally for greater maneuverability, even when using a tripod. This freedom of movement adds unparalleled creativity when using Live View, allowing shooting from virtually any angle. You can also view pictures and movies in more detail on the high resolution (approximately 921k-dot), 7.5 cm (3-in.) wide-viewing angle monitor.
The Live View function is a simple and intuitive way of taking pictures and with the D5100's dedicated switch it is even more straight-forward to operate. When using Auto mode you don't even need to worry about the scene you are shooting, as Scene Auto Selector chooses the most appropriate settings to give you the best image.
Inspire your creativity
The D5100 has a newly introduced special effects mode to shoot amazingly unique pictures and full (1080p) HD movies. The range of seven effects include selective colour, where you select up to three colours to appear in the still or movie while other areas are monochrome, and miniature effect, which makes an image appear like a view of miniature scale. You can select which special effect to shoot in and they are directly accessible via the mode dial on the top of the camera.
Stunning HD movies
The Nikon D5100 makes it effortless to switch between shooting stills and movies as the D-Movie button is located next to the shutter release. This position gives a more stable grip on the camera when starting or stopping filming, or switching between shooting stills and movies. You can record all the action in full (1080p) HD at 24 / 25 / 30 fps whilst using the unique range of special effects and the AF-F will ensure your subject is always in focus. When you have finished you can use the in-camera-movie editing functions and it can all be viewed on HD television.
Nikon is also pleased to introduce an optional stereo microphone, the ME-1. Specifically designed for D-SLRs, it lets you record movie clips in high-quality stereo sound with no AF-noise.
Superior image quality
The D5100 makes it easy to achieve superior image quality, even in low-light conditions, with features inherited from the D7000. The DX-format 16.2 megapixel CMOS sensor, delivers rich colours and fine detail for both pictures and movies, whilst the powerful image-processing engine, EXPEED 2, maximizes the performance of the sensor for exceptional quality. Adding to this the D5100 has an expanded sensitivity range to further help capture brilliant images in challenging light conditions – the ISO ranges from 100 to 6400 and can be raised to ISO 25600 at Hi 2, for low-noise images that do not lose the details. Furthermore, there are a wide range of NIKKOR lenses which contribute to the D5100's impressive image quality.
Nikon's new High Dynamic Range (HDR) function and Active D-Lighting retain the detail when there are extreme contrasts in light. HDR takes two images at varying exposures in a single release, which are combined to produce a single image with a wider dynamic range.
Razor-sharp 11-point AutoFocus system
The 11-point AF system offers fast and precise autofocus coverage across the frame.
Four AF-area modes, including 3D-tracking AF, keeps your main subject in focus even if the composition changes quickly in action scenes. This can be accompanied with continuous shooting up to 4 fps to really capture fast moving subjects.
Vari-angle LCD monitor: View life at a unique angle with high resolution 921k dot wide-viewing angle screen
Live View with AF modes: Live View is a straight-forward way of taking pictures and AF modes keep the subject in focus
Special effects mode: New to the D-SLR range, effects including selective colour and miniature effect for more creative expression when taking stills or movies
DX-format, 16.2 megapixel CMOS image sensor with EXPEED 2: Inherited from the D7000 for exceptional quality even in poor lighting conditions
High ISO (100-6400) extendable to Hi 2 (ISO 25600 equivalent): Keeps the detail with low noise in low-light situations
D-Movie: Full (1080p) HD movies can be taken at up to 30fps. Simple edits can be made in-camera and movies can be watched on HDTV using the HDMI connectivity
High dynamic range (HDR): Gives detailed shots of high-contrast scenes by combining two shots taken within a single shutter release
Active D-Lighting: Retains details in highlights and shadows for well balanced images, even if the subject is moving
Continuous shooting at 4fps: You will not miss that all important fast-moving action shot
Retouch menu: Gives a range of post editing effects in-camera including movie edits and image resizing
Picture controls: Lets you set the look and mood of your images before you shoot. Choose from six settings: Standard, Vivid, Neutral, Monochrome, Portrait and Landscape
Scene modes: Automatically adjusts camera settings, including Picture Controls and Active D-Lighting, for optimal results. Sample photos appear on the display to help select the right mode
Front and back infrared receivers: ensure maximum usability of the optional ML-L3 remote control when taking self portraits or close-ups
GPS compatible: Records the exact location of the camera when a picture is taken by using the optional GP-1 unit
Dual integrated dust reduction system: Image Sensor Cleaning and Airflow Control systems keep dust away from the camera's image sensor for clear, spot-free images
Stereo sound: Designed specifically for D-SLRs, Nikon's optional Stereo Microphone, ME-1, lets you record movie clips in high-quality stereo sound, with no AF noise. Comes with windscreen and soft case accessories.