How well does the Nikon D5100 walk the line between beginner and mid-level enthusiasts? The What Digital Camera Nikon D5100 review finds out…

Product Overview

Overall rating:


Nikon D5100

Overall score:89%
Image Quality:90%


  • Good image quality, improved live view mode, responsive AF, impressive movie options


  • Non-customiseable Effects, no AF-point lock, no remote commander, no DoF preview


Nikon D5100 Review


Price as reviewed:



Nikon D5100 review – Design

Nikon D5100 product image front angle

The fundamental difference between the D5100 and any other Nikon DSLR is that the vari-angle screen depends on a left-aligned bracket that renders it impossible for the usual four or five button array featured in other Nikon models to rest in its usual place. The result is more or less for the control buttons to be staggered towards the right hand side, but this does make for a busier layout that will seem less immediate to existing Nikon users – though nothing to worry about for those new to the system.

Unlike the D90, the D5100, as per its D5000 predecessor, has no top LCD panel for reviewing settings. Instead you’ll need to toggle the rear LCD’s display on using the ‘Info’ button and access the Quick Menu using the ‘i’ button. A better naming system could have been employed here to avoid two apparent ‘Info’ buttons in close proximity (though the design and naming is the same as in other Nikon models).

The Quick Menu itself is easy to navigate to change options and includes a short worded prompt to the top of the screen to detail what each mode is for.

When outside of this Quick Menu the d-pad adjusts the single-point AF position (if this mode is selected) to target any of the 11 AF-points. It’s easy to use, but if the rear display isn’t on and the d-pad is knocked then the AF-point can be accidentally adjusted as there’s no lock or visual prompt.

Also lacking is a Depth of Field Preview button to the front of the camera, something competitor models such as the Canon EOS 600D feature.

  1. 1. Nikon D5100 review - Features
  2. 2. Design
  3. 3. Performance
  4. 4. Image Quality
  5. 5. Value & Verdict
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