I don’t envy the technical guys at Nikon. Improving on the D5100 is a tough call. The multi-award winning camera boasts an impressive array of features, each of which would put it in the top flight of camera bodies. For example, the 16.2 MP sensor graces Nikon’s more expensive, professional spec D7000 and the ISO is extendable right up to 25600 for color and up to 102,400 in BW. It makes you wonder what the Nikon D5200 could possibly offer.
Although the D5100 doesn’t have an inbuilt motor, making the AF speed dependent on the lens being used, the AutoFocus is generally perfectly acceptable and tracking mode is available which is particularly good for shooting video.
Active D lighting – Nikon’s method of measuring the brightest spot of the image and highlighting some of the tones- is very effective and enables the D5100 to give an image the correct brightness without losing the contrast.
The D5100 has plenty of power and is able to shoot 4 FPS almost continuously – you would have to shoot around 100 frames before you filled the buffer.
There are some little extra, which make it different from it’s class mates. The tiltable LCD screen is great for angular shots and the external stereo Mic make shooting high video and credible option.
It also has some great effect modes including night vision, (which can shoot a bw image right up to 102,400 iso) to color sketch which gives the image a naive cartoonish quality.
The built in flash is good enough to get you out of a hole, keeping the flesh tones really well though, of course, the hotshoe gives the option of as professional flashgun.
The designers at Nikon obviously worked hard on the ergonomics, changing some of the button positions to make things easier. The intuitive menu options make this an ideal camera for expert and beginner alike.
As with all Nikon cameras, image quality is paramount, and the D5100 is superb in this area. In fact, it is only the build quality which differentiates the D5100 from the top spec professional Nikons like the D7000s and the D3s. Having whetted our appetites with a greatly improved D3200, we can only guess what they will do with the Nikon D5200.