Nikon D5100 Review

 
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Nikon D5100 Design


(Illustration courtesy Nikon USA)

1
Mode dial
14
Speaker
2
Live view switch
15
Focal plane mark
3
Info button
16
Eyelet for camera strap
4
Movie-record button
17
Microphone
5
Exposure compensation button
18
Connector cover
Aperture button
19
Self-timer button
Flash compensation button
Function button
6
Shutter-release button
20
Mounting mark
7
Power switch
21
Lens release button
8
AF-assist illuminator
22
Mirror
Self-timer lamp
23
Lens mount
Red-eye reduction lamp
24
Accessory shoe cover
9
Infrared receiver (front)
25
Accessory shoe
10
Body cap
26
Accessory terminal
11
CPU contacts
27
USB and AV connector
12
Built-in flash
28
HDMI mini-pin connector
13
Flash mode button
29
External microphone connector
Flash compensation button

Seen from the front, the Nikon D5100's new body looks quite similar to that of the D5000, although it's a completely new design that is noticeably less tall than its predecessor, and has a more rounded hand grip which is comfortable for smaller hands, but can feel a little cramped if you have medium to large hands. Seen from this angle, the only obvious control / layout differences from the earlier camera are to be found on the top and left panels. Up top, the D5100 now features a switch beneath the Mode dial which enables or disables Live View mode, in place of the rear-panel Lv button from the D5000. The position previously occupied by the Info button is now taken up by dedicated Movie Record button, intuitively placed right next to the still image Shutter-release button. The relocated Info button is still found on the top deck, but moves behind the Exposure Compensation and Movie Record buttons.

The only other significant differences in the diagram above are the relocated speaker on the camera's top left, and the addition of a new external microphone jack, one of four ports located under the rubber flap on the camera's left-hand side. This jack accepts a 3.5mm stereo microphone, supplementing the built-in monaural microphone that's retained from the D5000 design.



(Illustration courtesy Nikon USA)

1
Viewfinder eyepiece
11
Playback button
2
Rubber eyecup
12
Memory card slot cover
3
Menu button
13
Multi selector
Two-button reset button
14
OK button
4
Infrared receiver (rear)
15
Playback zoom-in button
5
Monitor
16
Memory card access lamp
6
Tripod socket
17
Delete button
7
Diopter adjustment control
18
Power connector cover for optional power connector
8
Information edit button
19
Battery-chamber cover latch
Two-button reset button
20
Battery-chamber cover
9
AE-L / AF-L button
21
Thumbnail / playback zoom out button
Protect button
22
Battery latch
10
Command dial

Unlike the front view, the D5100's rear is quite radically changed from that of its predecessor. Most of the changes are dictated by a switch in the LCD monitor's tilt / swivel articulation mechanism. Previously bottom-mounted in the D5000, the D5100's LCD mechanism now has a much more useful side mount, making it possible to view the LCD from in front of the camera. (With the D5000's mechanism, you couldn't see the LCD from in front of the camera when tripod-mounted or placed on a convenient flat surface.)

To accommodate the new swivel mechanism, the column of buttons at camera left on the D5000 have all migrated around the rear of the D5100. The Menu button jumps to the top left corner of the rear panel, adjacent to a new, secondary infrared receiver that complements the one located in the front-panel handgrip. The Info button, meanwhile, now sits between the viewfinder eyepiece and the AE-L / AF-L button. With Live View control now moved to the top panel as discussed previously, the location previously occupied by the Lv button is taken over by the Playback button. Finally, the Delete, Playback Zoom In, and Playback Zoom Out / Thumbnail buttons have all moved to a cluster beneath the four-way controller, a location that was occupied by the speaker in the D5000.


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Note: For details, test results, and analysis of the many tests done with this camera, please click on the tabs at the beginning of the review or below.

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