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Nikon D5100 Digital SLR First Look

Nikon D5100 SLR with AF-S DX 18-55mm VR lens
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April 5th, 2011:
Nikon has today announced the mid range Nikon D5100 digital SLR camera, an update to the popular Nikon D5000. The Nikon D5100 fits between the entry level Nikon D3100 and the upper end Nikon D7000 SLR in the Nikon lineup. The D5100 is geared towards being more user-friendly like the D3100 while offering a range of more advanced features like the ones found in the D7000.

The Nikon D5100 incorporates a 16.2 megapixel CMOS sensor, similar to the one found in the D7000, and offers a versatile 3-inch high-resolution 921K dot swivel and tilt LCD screen for shooting stills or capturing movies at unusual angles. The camera also offers an airflow control system and a sensor cleaning system to minimize the effects of potential dust.

The D5100 can capture 1080p HD movies at 30 frames per second in the AVCHD format (MOV file), and offers a built-in mono microphone, while also providing a connection for an external stereo microphone like the new Nikon ME-1 (optional) announced today.

Additional headline features of the Nikon D5100 include; a 420-segment 3D Matrix metering system, 11-point 3D autofocus tracking, up to 4 frames per second continuous shooting, ISO boost up to 25,600 ISO, full manual or user-friendly 'Scene' modes, new in-camera Image Effects, in-camera image editing and the inclusion of Nikon's Scene Recognition System. The camera comes supplied with a Nikon EN-EL14 rechargeable battery and charger.

The Nikon D5100 SLR will be available in mid-April for an estimated retail price of $769.99 Canadian for the body only and $899 for the D5100 kit with the Nikkor AF-S 18-55mm F/3.5-5.6G VR zoom lens.

Nikon D5100 Major Features
D5100 Digital SLR Press Release and Prices
Nikon D5100 SLR Specifications and Product Tour Video

Nikon D5100 SLR back LCD view

Nikon D5100 Digital SLR Camera Major Features:

  •  16.2 effective megapixel DX format CMOS image sensor (similar to Nikon D7000)

  •  Incorporates Nikon's new image processing engine EXPEED 2

  •  Pentamirror viewfinder provides 95% coverage and 78% magnification (similar to D5000)

  •  3.0-inch swivel / tilt LCD monitor with 921,000 dot resolution which supports Live View shooting, wide viewing angle and brightness adjustment

  •  Live View with Scene Auto Selector: makes it easy to compose images using the vari-angle LCD monitor. Scene Auto Selector will select the best mode for the scene and subject you want to capture. Boasts easily selectable AF modes, including Face Priority AF that detects and tracks faces within the frame.

  •  11-point AutoFocus system: offers fast and precise autofocus coverage across the frame. Four AF-area modes, including 3D-tracking AF, deliver sharp results, whether your subject is off-center, moving fast or completely unpredictable.

  •  Full manual exposure control (P,S,A,M) modes for creative control or Easy Auto (Green mode) and user-friendly 'Scene' shooting modes for point and shoot simplicity

  •  Scene Modes automatically adjust camera settings, including Picture Controls and active D-Lighting, to take the guesswork out of tricky photo situations and deliver optimal results. Simply turn the mode dial to SCENE to access the most commonly used modes. Sample photos appear on the display to help you select the right mode.

  •  The D5100 utilizes Nikon’s exclusive Scene Recognition System to analyze subject information from a database containing more than 30,000 images to optimize focus, exposure, i-TTL flash exposure and white balance. The Scene Recognition System reads data from the 420-pixel 3D Color Matrix Meter RGB sensor that examines the scene’s brightness and color data then optimizes the camera’s performance prior to the actual exposure

  •  ISO sensitivity range from 100-6400 (expandable to ISO 25,600 equivalent)

  •  HDR (High Dynamic Range) imaging: delivers exquisitely detailed shots of high-contrast scenes. Takes two shots within a single shutter release to create an image with an extremely wide dynamic range, low noise and rich color gradation.

  •  Up to 1/200 sec flash sync speed and 1/4000 sec maximum shutter speed

  •  Two user defined settings can be assigned to the shooting mode dial (U1, U2) for personal preference

  •  420 pixel RGB 3D Matrix metering system for accurate exposure control

  •  Up to 4 frames per second continuous shooting up to 100 jpeg's to help capture the action

  •  Full HD (1080p) movie clips: a dedicated movie-record button right next to the shutter-release makes it easy to keep the camera steady when you switch between recording stills and movies. AF-F mode keeps everything in focus, and the camera's vari-angle monitor and Special Effects mode enable unique shots. The camera supports use of an external microphone and offers 30p, 25p and 24p frame rates.

  •  During movie shooting, you can record monaural sound with the built-in microphone, or stereo recording is available using the new optional ME-1 external microphone. You can also select the sensitivity level for either the built-in or the external microphone.

  • Nikon D5100 SLR mode dial
    Nikon D5100 connections side

  •  NEW the D5100 provides a range of in-camera image effects that are accessible directly from the mode dial. Effects include; Night Vision, Color Sketch, Miniature effect, Selective color, High key, Low key and Silhouette

  •  The Nikon D5100 also provides a range of in-camera image and movie editing functions. In Movie Edit you can delete unwanted parts by choosing the start or end point by frame, and save a selected movie frame as a JPEG image

  •  NEW HDR Function: the D5100 will automatically expose two consecutive images in rapid succession – one over and one underexposed up to 3EV stops to produce a finished photo with an amazing range of midtones and highlights that wouldn’t otherwise be possible in a single shot

  •  Compatible with Secure Digital (SD) type memory cards (SD / SD HC / SDXC)

  •  HDMI output (cable optional) to connect the camera to an HD TV or monitor

  •  Active D-Lighting automatically balances the exposure between dark and bright areas of the image

  •  Picture Control settings allow users to customize the look of the image before taking the picture

  •  i-TTL built-in flash: Guide number approx. 12 at ISO 100

  •  Supports optional Eye-Fi memory cards allowing for wireless transfer of images and movies

    Nikon D5100 SLR battery EN-EL14

  •  Comes supplied with a Nikon EN-EL14 rechargeable lithium-ion battery and multi-voltage charger. The EN-EL14 will provide up to 660 shots per full charge

  •  The Nikon D5100 provides for unobtrusive shooting with a Quiet release mode

  •  Incorporates an airflow control system and sensor cleaning system designed to prevent dust from impacting your photos

  •  The Nikon D5100 kit with AF-S DX 18-55mm VR zoom is now available for order in the US from Amazon

  • Nikon D5100 top view

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    Press Release: April 5th, 2011
    – Today, Nikon announced the new 16.2-megapixel Nikon D5100 Digital SLR designed for those ready to artistically express themselves and need a versatile camera that can keep pace creatively. The Nikon D5100 D-SLR houses a host of new and innovative features aimed at giving photographers the tools to shatter creative constraints and tell stories with amazing image quality and stunning HD movies.

    The Nikon D5100 includes features designed to enhance the shooting experience, including an impressive new 3-inch, super sharp 921,000-dot Vari-angle LCD screen and full HD (1080p) movie recording with full-time autofocus. The 16.2-megapixel D5100 is also the first Nikon D-SLR to provide in-camera effects that can be applied to both photos and movies to deliver even more creative expression.

    “Now more than ever, consumers want to pack only one device with them when traveling on excursions both far away and close to home,” said Lisa Osorio, general manager of marketing at Nikon Inc. “By providing consumers with a simple path to creative freedom for both stills and movies, the Nikon D5100 is designed to become an essential camera for capturing all of life’s occasions.”

    Ready for the Adventure of Life
    The D5100 allows photographers of all levels to confidently execute new and creative ways to tell stories with amazing color and clarity. Whether shooting high over crowds or down low to a toddler’s point of view, the swing out style Vari-angle LCD screen makes it easy to compose and share great images. Displaying even the most subtle details with clarity, the super sharp LCD has a 1000:1 contrast ratio and 921,000-dot resolution, with the ability to rotate 180 degrees horizontally and vertically.

    Nikon D5100 with tilt swivel  LCD monitor

    To further test creative boundaries, photographers can take advantage of the D5100’s in-camera Special Effects Mode. Applied to either stills or D-Movies, these innovative effects are easy to apply and add a high level of creativity and fun to the photo experience.

    By selecting the Effects position on the mode dial located on top of the camera, photographers can easily apply effects such as Selective Color and choose up to three different colors in a scene while the remainder of the scene is converted to monochrome.

    Color Sketch creates photos and a stop motion movie in a colorful sketched drawing style, while the Miniature effect records photos and high speed movies to bestow a feeling of a mini-scale scene.

    To record photos in extreme lighting conditions or to produce movies with a gritty appearance , the new Night Vision mode calls upon Nikon’s pro D-SLR performance to offer extreme low-light capability by enabling the camera to shoot up to a super-high 102,400 ISO.

    In addition to the Effects mode, users can create photos with amazing tonal range by selecting the high dynamic range (HDR) function within the camera. With this selected, the D5100 will automatically expose two consecutive images in rapid succession – one over and one underexposed up to 3EV stops to produce a finished photo with an amazing range of midtones and highlights that wouldn’t otherwise be possible in a single shot. Additionally, Active D-Lighting can be selected by itself or combined with HDR for an even more dramatic effect.

    The versatile Nikon D5100 D-SLR will motivate shooters to further explore creatively with its advanced camera features including full manual controls (P,S,A,M on the mode dial) offering the ability to manage the camera’s aperture and shutter speeds. Once the photo is captured, photographers have the flexible retouch menu at their disposal to apply additional in-camera effects and editing options including color and filter effects, red eye correction and NEF (RAW) processing.

    The remarkably wide ISO range of 100-6400 (expandable to a staggering 25,600 ISO), allows photographers to shoot confidently in outdoor and indoor low-light situations, even handheld with low noise. In challenging lighting conditions such as when a subject is backlit, Nikon’s Active D-lighting feature helps to keep shadows and highlights consistent for even exposures.

    To further unleash creativity, the Picture Control system also affords users the choice for Standard, Neutral, Vivid, Monochrome, Portrait, or Landscape settings to apply a personal look and feel to their pictures. Additionally, the versatile Scene Modes let them choose from Portrait, Landscape, Child, Sports, Close-up or Night Portrait and more for stunning results in just about all possible lighting conditions.

    Create Full HD Movies
    The Nikon D5100 captures 1080p full HD movies with full-time autofocus and manual exposure control. Users can quickly switch focus modes to stay with the action through a variety of AF functions, including face priority which can track up to 35 human faces, subject-tracking and normal or wide-area autofocus. To activate D-Movie mode and Live-view, a new switch is ergonomically located on the top of the camera near the shutter button for easy access.

    The D5100 D-SLR offers variable frame rates and resolutions for movies, and can record 1080p at a cinema-like 24 or 30fps, or a web-friendly 720p resolution at either 24 or 30 fps for up to 20 minutes per clip, in the AVC-HD H.264 codec. Once recorded, movie clips can be edited and trimmed in the camera to save time in post production. Whether utilizing a wireless or hot shoe mounted microphone such as the new ME-1, sound can be recorded via the stereo microphone input for professional audio results. Captured movies can be easily shared using the HDMI output, and controlled remotely with HDMI CEC compatibility.

    Nikon D5100 side view

    Superior Image Quality
    The 16.2-megapixel DX-format CMOS sensor is capable of capturing images that erupt with color and offer amazing sharpness and clarity to create images and full HD movies even in low-light conditions. Coupled with Nikon’s exclusive EXPEED 2 image processing engine, images are brought to life with vivid colors and amazing contrast, accurate exposure, and low noise levels resulting in brilliant image quality.

    The EXPEED 2 engine also drives the quick 11-point AF system on the D5100 to provide rapid focus acquisition even on fast moving subjects. When shooting action, split second shutter response and four frames per second burst rate make sure no moment is missed, forever putting to rest the story of “the one that got away.”

    Whether shooting lush wilderness landscapes or an urban skyline, the D5100 utilizes Nikon’s exclusive Scene Recognition System to analyze subject information from a database containing more than 30,000 images to optimize focus, exposure, i-TTL flash exposure and white balance. To assist in creating amazing imagery, the Scene Recognition System reads data from the 420-pixel 3D Color Matrix Meter RGB sensor that examines the scene’s brightness and color data then optimizes the camera’s performance prior to the actual exposure.

    An entirely greater world of creativity will open up to photographers when adding versatile AF-S NIKKOR lenses to the equation. With a wide range of focal lengths and versatile features, AF-S NIKKOR lenses help to create a variety of photo perspectives to images and movies such as the ability to isolate subjects with a shallow depth of field or zoom close to the action from afar. Combining the D5100 D-SLR with NIKKOR lenses also delivers the sharpness essential for HD movies, and Nikon’s innovative Vibration Reduction (VR) II technology helps to eliminate the effects of camera shake.

    Optional Nikon ME-1 stereo microphone

    New ME-1 Microphone
    To address the needs of the ever growing community of shooters abandoning their video cameras for the versatility of a D-SLR, Nikon now offers the ME-1 stereo microphone. Engineered specifically for a D-SLR, the new ME-1 microphone attaches to the hot shoe and has noise dampening components designed to minimize noise resulting from AF operation.

    The microphone also has a low-cut filter to reduce wind and other noise not already blocked by the wind screen. Designed with D-SLR users in mind, the ME-1 is powered through the camera, and also features a cable stop to keep the cable out of the way when using the camera, and reduce instances of noise from unintentional contact.

    Because it utilizes a standard 3.5mm stereo jack, the ME-1 is ideal for the D5100 and other Nikon HD movie capable D-SLR’s such as the D3s, D300s, D7000, as well as the COOLPIX P7000 and any other camera with a 3.5mm stereo input jack.

    Price and Availability
    The D5100 D-SLR camera will be available throughout the United States beginning mid April 2011 at an estimated selling price of $799.95 for the body only, and $899.95 for the body and lens outfit that includes the AF-S DX Zoom-NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR lens. The new Nikon ME-1 microphone will be available in April 2011, and will retail at an estimated selling price of $179.95 US.

    Nikon D5100 with built-in flash up

    Nikon D5100 Product Tour Video

    Nikon D5100 SLR Specifications

    Image Sensor 23.6 x 15.6mm
    Effective Resolution Approx. 16.2 megapixels
    Dust-Reduction Airflow control system and sensor cleaning system
    Image Processing EXPEED 2
    Still Image File Format and Size JPEG, Compressed 14-bit NEF (RAW) and JPEG + RAW

    Image Size:

    (L) 4928 x 3264
    (M) 3696 x 2448
    (S) 2464 x 1632
    35mm Equivalent Focal Length Equivalent to 1.5x the focal length of the lens
    Exposure Modes Advanced Scene Modes
    Aperture-Priority (A)
    Auto (flash off)
    Manual (M) Programmed Auto with flexible Program (P)
    Shutter-Priority Auto (S)
    Special Effects Mode
    Advanced Scene Modes Autumn Colors
    Beach / Snow
    Dusk / Dawn
    Night Landscape
    Night Portrait
    Party / Indoor
    Pet Portrait
    Nikon Scene Recognition System Analyzes subject information from a database containing more than 30,000 images to optimize focus, exposure, i-TTL flash exposure and white balance. The Scene Recognition System reads data from the 420-pixel 3D Color Matrix Meter RGB sensor that examines the scene’s brightness and color data and then optimizes the camera’s performance prior to the actual exposure
    Movie Recording Resolution HD 1,920x1,080 / 30 fps
    HD 1,920Χ1,080 / 24 fps
    HD 1,280Χ720 / 30 fps
    HD 1,280Χ720 / 24 fps
    VGA 640Χ424 / 30 fps
    Movie Recording Resolution HD 1,920x1,080 / 30 fps
    HD 1,920Χ1,080 / 24 fps
    HD 1,280Χ720 / 30 fps
    HD 1,280Χ720 / 24 fps
    VGA 640Χ424 / 30 fps
    Movie and Audio File Format H.264/MPEG-4 Advanced Video Coding

    Built-in microphone, monaural (Linear PCM format)
    Optional external stereo mini-pin jack (3.5mm diameter)
    Movie Recording Length Up to 20 min recording per clip
    LCD Monitor 3-inch Vari angle approx. 921K dots

    • Coverage: Approx. 100%
    • Viewing Angle: Approx 170°
    • Coatings: Anti-reflection
    • Brightness: Adjustable to one of seven levels
    Live View Function Live View Focus:

    Face-priority AF
    Wide-area AF
    Normal-area AF
    Subject-tracking AF

    Live View Auto 'Scene' Exposure Selector
    Playback Functions Auto image rotation
    Full-frame and thumbnail (4, 9, or 72 images or calendar)
    Histogram display
    Image Comment
    Movie Playback
    Playback with zoom
    Focusing System Nikon Multi-CAM 1000 autofocus sensor module with TTL phase detection
    AF Points 11 AF points
    AF Working Range -1 to +19 EV (ISO 100, 20°C/68°F)
    AF Modes Auto AF-S/AF-C selection (AF-A)
    Continuous-servo (AF-C)
    Face-Priority AF available in Live View only and D-Movie only
    Full-time Servo (AF-A) available in Live View only
    Manual focus (M): Electronic rangefinder can be used
    Normal area
    Single-servo AF (AF-S)
    Wide area
    Focus Modes AF Modes:

    Single-point AF Mode
    Dynamic AF Mode with 11 point 3D Subject Tracking
    Auto-area AF Mode
    AF Lock Focus can be locked by pressing shutter-release button halfway (single-servo AF)
    AF Assist Beam Yes dedicated bulb
    Drive Modes Continuous
    Delayed remote
    Quick Response Remote Mode
    Quiet shutter-release
    Self-timer mode (2, 5, 10, 20 sec.)
    Single-frame [S] mode
    Continuous Shooting Max. Approx. 4 frames per second
    Metering Type TTL exposure metering using 420-pixel RGB sensor

    Metering Method:

    Matrix: 3D color matrix metering II (type G and D lenses); color matrix metering II (other CPU lenses)
    Metering Modes 3D color matrix, center-weighted metering and spot metering
    Metering Range 0 to 20 EV (3D color matrix or center-weighted metering)
    2 to 20 EV (spot metering)
    AE Lock Available
    Exposure Compensation ±5 EV in increments of 1/3 or 1/2 EV
    Auto Exposure Bracketing (AEB) 3 frames ±2EV in 1/3 steps
    ISO Range AUTO (100-6400)
    Manual: ISO 100 - 6400
    Hi-1 (ISO 12,800)
    Hi-2 (ISO 25,600)
    High ISO Noise Reduction Low
    Shutter Speed 1/4000 to 30 sec. in steps of 1/3 EV
    White Balance Auto
    Direct Sunlight
    Fluorescent (7 types)
    Preset Manual
    White Balance Bracketing 2 or 3 exposures
    Viewfinder Pentamirror
    Coverage: Approx. 95%
    Magnification: Approx: 78%
    Eye-Point: Approx. 17.9mm (from eyepiece lens centre)
    Dioptre: -1.7 to +0.7 m―Ή
    Viewfinder Mirror Quick-return type
    Built-in Flash GN (ISO 100, meters) 12
    Built-in Flash Modes Front-curtain sync (normal)
    Slow sync
    Rear-curtain sync
    Red-eye reduction
    Redeye reduction with slow sync
    Red eye Reduction Yes - with red eye reduction bulb
    Flash Sync 1/200sec
    Flash Exposure Compensation -3 to +1 EV in increments of 1/3 EV
    External Flash Compatibility Auto aperture: Available with SB-900/SB-800 and CPU lens
    Distance priority manual: Available with SB-900, SB-800 and SB-700
    i-TTL Balanced fill-flash, standard i-TTL flash for digital SLR
    Non-TTL auto: Supported flash units include SB-900, SB-800, SB-80DX, SB-28DX, SB-28, SB-27, and SB-22S
    Picture Control Landscape
    User-customizable Settings
    Lens Compatibility AF-S, AF-I: All functions supported
    AI-P NIKKOR: All functions supported except 3D color matrix metering II
    IX NIKKOR lenses can not be used
    Non-CPU: Can be used in mode M, but exposure meter does not function; Electronic Rangefinder can be used if maximum aperture is f/5.6 or faster
    Other AF NIKKOR (Excluding lenses for F3AF): All functions supported except 3D color matrix metering II
    Type G or D AF NIKKOR not equipped with an autofocus motor: All functions supported except autofocus
    Type D PC NIKKOR: All functions supported except autofocus and some shooting modes.
    In-Camera Image Editing • Color Balance
    • Color Outline
    • Color Sketch
    • D-Lighting
    • Distortion Control
    • Edit Movie
    • Filter Effects
    • Fisheye
    • Image Overlay
    • Miniature Effect
    • Monochrome
    • NEF (RAW) Processing
    • Perspective Control
    • Quick Retouch
    • Redeye Correction
    • Resize
    • Side-by-Side Comparison
    • Straighten
    • Trim
    Custom Functions 20 Custom Settings and My Menu option
    Image Comment Add a comment or User copyright information (can be set in camera)
    GPS Compatibility Optional GP-1 GPs unit
    Menu Languages Arabic, Chinese (Simplified and Traditional, Danish, Dutch, English, Spanish, Finnish, French, Italian, German, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Czech, Norweigan, Thai, Turkish
    Interface Audio/Video out
    HDMI output: Type C mini-pin HDMI connector
    Hi-speed USB
    Stereo Microphone Input
    Removable Media SD card, SDHC card or SDXC card
    Supplied Software Nikon ViewNX 2
    Battery 1 x Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL14

    Battery Life:

    Approx. 660 shots
    Dimensions (W x H x D) 127 x 96.5 x 78.7 mm
    Weight Approx. 560g
    Optional Vertical Battery Grip No
    Optional Remote Control Shutter Release Yes
    Supplied in the Nikon D5100 SLR Kit • Nikon D5100 SLR Body
    • AF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 VR Lens (In standard kit)
    • EN-EL14 Rechargeable Li-ion Battery
    • MH-24 Quick Charger
    • DK-20 Rubber Eyecup
    • UC-E6 USB Cable
    • EG-CP14 Audio Video Cable
    • AN-DC3 Camera Strap
    • DK-5 Eyepiece Cap
    • BF-1B Body Cap
    • BS-1 Accessory Shoe Cover
    • Nikon ViewNX 2 CD-ROM

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