Sunday, July 22, 2012

Nikon D5100 D-SLR Mini-Review

Even though I don't get a lot of hits for my reviews/thoughts on digital cameras that I've used, a few of my friends asked me about the D-SLR that I used and what I thought about it.

I wanted to get a D-SLR late last year and when the opportunity presented itself, I purchased the Nikon D5100 based on a the specifications and a few of the reviews I read or saw on YouTube. At the time that I purchased it, I was looking for an entry level or mid-entry level D-SLR. Since I've never had any major issues with any of the Nikon cameras that I've used/purchased, I decided to go with a Nikon camera.

At the time that I purchased my Nikon D5100, there were only 4 entry-level to mid-level Nikon D-SLRs available. There was the D3000, the D3100, the D5000, and the D5100 (the new D3200 was not available when I made my choice). Based on these four Nikon D-SLRs, I decided to go with the D5100.

In terms of the specifications for this camera, it is a 16 megapixel camera that takes pictures with a maximum resolution of 4,928 x 3,264. It saves in 14 bit RAW format (NEF - Nikon's proprietary RAW format) and the industry JPG standard. It uses SD, SDHC, and SDXC memory cards. For taking pictures in continuous mode (especially in RAW format) or for taking HD quality video, it is recommended to use Class 10 cards. The camera does have an internal memory buffer so you can take photos in continuous mode in RAW+JPG formats and it will move these photos to the memory card (in case your memory card is not fast enough to store the photos immediately). Once the internal memory buffer is filled, it won't allow you to take any photos. The camera is capable of taking full HD video at ~30 fps. For further detailed specifications, you can refer to Nikon's website on the product.

What I like about the D5100 is the vari-angle LCD viewscreen monitor. I also like the fact that it uses SD memory cards and that fact that the entry-level Nikon speedlight (SB-400) that I purchased for my Nikon P5100 is fully compatible with my Nikon D5100. I also like the weight and size/feel of the camera although compared with Nikon's professional series of D-SLRs, you do notice the difference in material and weight.

What I don't really like about the Nikon D5100 is that it uses proprietary Nikon batteries (like most of Nikon's digital cameras). It uses the Nikon EN-EL14 format. However because of a computer-chip on the battery (and the fact that the Nikon D3100 & D5100) actually look for this computer-chip, 3rd party EN-EL14 batteries are not likely to work in this camera so you are stuck purchasing the more expensive authentic Nikon battery. There are reports that using a 3rd party Nikon battery grip for this camera (Nikon doesn't make a battery grip for this camera), you can use a non-authentic Nikon battery as long as you have an authentic Nikon battery as one of the batteries in the battery grip. I have not tested this yet since I don't really see the point in purchasing a battery grip that basically allows for 2 batteries that that camera accepts by default since it is very easy to swap out the battery in the camera once it is exhausted but have seen various video reviews on YouTube showing this to work. The only benefit that I can see to getting this 3rd party Nikon D5100 (or Nikon D3100) battery grip is if it does accept 3rd party EN-EL14 batteries and/or if you plan on taking a lot of long videos where it isn't very practical to swap out the battery once it is exhausted. Having mentioned what I dislike about the Nikon D5100 battery issue, even though I have 2 authentic Nikon EN-EL14, I have never run out of power during a day of shooting photos requiring me to swap out my Nikon EN-EL14 battery so in my opinion the original Nikon EN-EL14 batteries do appear to last a long time between charges.

Other than my complaint about the battery, I don't have any major complaints about this camera. The built-in flash is not that powerful but this is the same with all digital cameras that I've used.

If you have any questions/comments regarding my experience with my Nikon D5100 (or anything written on this blog), please don't hesitate to leave a comment in the comments section. Please note that comments are moderated and any comments that contain a URL link or hyperlink will automatically be flagged as being spam and will not be posted.

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