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Camera Review: Nikon D5100

Nikon D5100 I’ve owned a Nikon D5100 digital camera since September of 2011. It’s my primary camera for experimentation and serious, even commercial expeditions. Even after 10+ years, the camera captures excellent 16-MP photos and crisp, clear 1080p video. This post provides a quick review of the Nikon D5100, along with some example photos and lens information.

Camera Features

The Nikon D5100 is considered a “mid-range” D-SLR camera. It is easy to use, versatile, and capable. Some features you need to dig around for in the menu, but the functionality is there if/when you need it. With the following features, the D5100 is a powerful tool.

  • 16.2 MP photos
  • 1080p HD video
  • DX-format CMOS sensor
  • RAW (14-bit) & JPEG formats
  • ISO 100-6400 (expandable to 25600)
  • 4 frames per second continuous shooting
  • 11-point AF system (with 3D tracking)
  • 3-inch side-articulated LCD screen
  • In-camera effects mode

For complete specifications, check out the Nikon D5100 User’s Manual. Overall, I have found the 5100 to be a solid, multipurpose D-SLR camera that delivers consistent, quality results.

Select Photos

For a mid-range D-SLR, the D5100 does everything I need and tons more. To give you an idea of the possibilities, here are a few select photos that show how I’ve used the camera over the past six years. I’ve taken thousands of photos with the D5100, but these are some of my favorites.

Macro photograph of cow skull teethMacro photograph of cow skull
Photo of Seattle skyline at dawnPhoto of Seattle skyline at DuskPhoto of Dry Falls, WA
Top row: macro shots of animal bones (2014). Bottom row: landscape shots of Seattle (2011) and Dry Falls, WA (2013). Note: images are optimized for Web and may be a bit blurry.

Lenses & Kit

With the Nikon D5100, I use a 18-55mm (or 55-200mm) lens for general photography, and a 40mm lens for macro and portrait shots. More specifically:

Nikon D5100 Lens 18-55mmNikon D5100 Lens 40mmNikon D5100 Lens 55-200mm
From left to right: Nikon D5100 Lens 18-55mm, Nikon D5100 Lens 40mm, Nikon D5100 Lens 55-200mm. Stock lens photos courtesy of

This simple combo suits me fine for most of my photography work. On occasion, I’ll make use of other tools, like tripod/remote, lens filters, remote flash, lighting umbrellas, and so forth. It’s a relatively minimal amount of kit that serves an optimal range of utility. Even today it’s a huge step up from my previous trusty camera, a Sony Cybershot DSC-V1, which served me well for a number of years.

Price & Availablity

When I purchased the Nikon D5100 back in 2011, I think it was $799. Plus the lenses and kit were another several hundred dollars. It was a big investment, but this tool has greatly benefitted my work. In my experience, the D5100 is an excellent camera that continues to deliver quality results.

Nikon discontinued the D5100, but the camera remains available from various 3rd-party dealers from around $500 (new) to $250 (used).

About the Author
Jeff Starr = Designer. Developer. Producer. Writer. Editor. Etc.
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Perishable Press is operated by Jeff Starr, a professional web developer and book author with two decades of experience. Here you will find posts about web development, WordPress, security, and more »
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