Friday, 18 November 2011

Nikon D5100 DSLR Camera Review

The Nikon D5100 is my first DLSR camera that I've owned. I have previously used a Canon for a short photography project I enrolled into several years ago which led me to the purchase of this one (I blogged about it here lol). For the purpose of the review, I will not be posting any specs, these can easily be found on the official Nikon website; instead I will write about my experience purchasing, and using the camera.

I have always been a Nikon person though I have nothing against Canon. I just prefer Nikon and the results of Nikon cameras appeal to me. My photography mentor from the project I did suggested the D5000 or the D40. So inevitably, I started my search looking for beginner to mid-range Nikon bodies starting with those two suggested models. 

Having read through several review websites for these cameras, I then noticed the D5100 being a recent release from Nikon and being an improvement on the D5000. In this way, I was pretty much set on getting this, and it was a case of then finding the cheapest deal!

I wanted a mid-range camera that gives good results, yet help me develop my skills as I learn to use it. I don't want to keep changing the body but wish to upgrade the lens as I get better.
The camera is medium sized and isn't too bulky. When holding, the lens does not tip forward due to weight. The screen is hinged and can swivel, allowing you to take pictures at a wide range of angles, and even of yourself and your mates!

Most of the buttons are found on the top and the back of the body and they are mostly self explanatory. The arrow keys, OK, playback buttons are all well labelled for the true beginner. 

Once the battery has been charged (takes 2-3 hours), the camera lasts roughly two days of casual photo-taking. On my trip to Amsterdam, I used the camera most of the day and it lasted for about two days.

Whilst I am still experimenting with most of the features, I can comfortably take photos using the Auto, Auto no-flash, S (shutter), P (program) and a few of the EFFECTS functions. Whilst I understand the basics of the M (manual) setting, I am rather slow at getting it set up for one shot, and by that time, the subject may have well gone, the event over... 

The camera also focuses very well (due to it's 11 point focus system) and rarely focuses on the wrong object. Even if it does, you can always manually focus it in a few seconds to get that perfect shot.

I love the large colour screen which displays your picture in stunning colours and you can even do some editing on the device, which includes perspective control, distortions, colours, cropping and even add effects such as fish eye, filters and more.
This camera is rather good at taking everything you would've set in M and produce it in the AUTO function, with little difference. With a little post editing on the computer of those shots taken with AUTO, you can get a flawless picture.

I have had the camera for several months now and have tried both video and photo functions. The photos turn out spectacularly and I have no complaints about quality. The only issue I have is that the lens I already find slightly limiting, and should perhaps upgrade to the 18-108 version that my friend has and I tried using and is more broad.
The video is also very clear both visually and sound wise. The only issue I have is the format which it records in causing issues when editing- I have had to convert the file into another format before it would successfully import. Though I'm sure this is due to my editing software as much as the device and the format.

I bought the Nikon D5100 with 18-55 lens kit in September on for £579.95 with a £50 Nikon cash back including two year basic warranty.

The Nikon D5100 is a beautiful camera with great features which is suitable even for someone who has never used a DSLR before. It offers great image quality and ease of use, combined, makes it good for someone to get into photography and to potentially help them improve their skills. For me, I already feel the lens is a bit restricting so will definitely be on the lookout for a better lens kit.

If you want to see the results I have taken with the camera, check out the photos I have taken in Amsterdam HERE. And check out the video I made with the camera HERE.

If you are an owner of Nikon products or an experienced photographer who has any tips or advice to give me about using this camera, upgrades or photography in general I would be happy to learn!

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