New Nikon dSLR: The Nikon D5100

New SLR from Nikon!

This one came a little bit out of nowhere, but Nikon is adding a new dSLR to its arsenal - the D5100. It's got a nifty swivel screen (that Nikon loves to call 'Vari-angle'), and a full 1080p HD movie mode.

The D5100 replaces the rather fabulous D5000. The big thing Nikon are shouting about in this launch is the Vari-Angle screen, and continues the march of making SLR cameras more useable when using the increasingly useful Live View mode. The screen has nearly 1 megapixel worth of resolution (921k, if you wanna get picky), and is a whopping 3 inches across. Groovetastic.

A newbie-magnet?

It seems as Nikon are pandering to the n00bs with the D5100 - they've added a special effects mode to shoot "amazingly unique pictures" and HD movies. ("Amazingly unique?" Really? I thought they hired proper PR people these days...). The special effects mode are a choice of seven different effects, including 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" (so, basically, a digital approximation of a tilt-shift link). You can select which special effect to shoot in and they are directly accessible via the mode dial on the top of the camera. Personally, I think it's a load of wank, but hey - it may float your boat.

Built-in HDR function

The D5100 inherits a whole load of features from its bigger brother, the Nikon D7000, including a wicked 16.2 megapixel CMOS sensor, and the new(ish), image-processing engine, EXPEED 2. Adding to this the D5100 has an expanded sensitivity range to further help capture better images in challenging light conditions – the ISO ranges from 100 to 6400 and can be raised to ISO 25600 at Hi 2. Pretty cool - and a strong sign to Canon that they really need to step up their game.

The D5100 also introduces a built-in 2-shot High Dynamic Range (HDR) function, which are combined to produce a single image with a wider dynamic range. Pretty cool!

I don't think D5000 owners should run to the shops quite yet, but if you're looking to upgrade an older entry-level Nikon camera and you've got a decent array of lenses already... This does look like a pretty damn attractive piece of kit!

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