Whilst the Nikon D5100 is a superb entry-level camera, there is always room for improvement.
I don’t think there is any doubt that the file size should increase dramatically. Size seems to be everything at the moment and even though few of us could really tell the difference between a 16 MP file and, say the 22 MP file of the Canon 5D MKIII, the new Nikon D800 has blown the opposition away with its 36.3 MP sensor, and so we all expect more from the new cameras that are coming down the production line. The new Nikon D5200 should match the 24Mp chip in the D3200 at least.
The tiltable monitor was a really useful innovation when it came out on the D5100. It is especially useful for shooting video. However we could hope the resolution will be improved. Movie makers might ask for improved AF tracking in live view and a higher frame rate – perhaps up to 50 or 60 FPS for better quality.
I have never had any problems with the speed of the AutoFocus, but I know that others have found it a bit slow in live view mode. Increasing the number of autofocus points from 11 would be useful too – the D7000 has 39, for example, and the new Nikon D800 has 51. The current ISO max of 25,600 is OK, but, again the D800 has shown the way be practically shooting in the pitch black. Being able to push up towards 102,400 would be splendid.
Although we can program a function button to give direct access to ISO control, perhaps the new camera will have a set button for it. And perhaps a Depth of Field preview button too. And whilst we are on functionality, the Effects modes could be positioned better within the menu options.
At the top of the camera, a full 100% frame viewfinder would be good and, although the pop up flash is satisfactory, it isn’t the greatest. Room for improvement here we think – and adding built-in wireless flash control would be a real plus too.
Finally both storage and power could be improved. Two SD memory card slots marks a camera out as Pro kit and the EN-EL14 rechargeable battery is the same used by the D3100. It lasts for roughly 300 shots, which isn’t really enough these days.
So for a remarkably good camera like the D5100, I suppose there is room for improvement. After raising the bar with the impressive D3200 this year, Nikon have got a lot to live up to….