Nikon D5100 entry-level digital SLR announced

New entry-level Nikon SLR set to be a hit with users who want a good hybrid for stills and video

The Nikon D5100 has a hinged screen that's mounted on the left side, rather than the bottom of the camera.

The Nikon D5100 has a hinged screen that's mounted on the left side, rather than the bottom of the camera.

Details of Nikon's new D5100 digital SLR have been announced. The new camera will feature a 16-megapixel DX format sensor, an EXPEED 2 image processor, Full HD video recording and more in-camera creative functions that can be used on stills and videos.

The D5100 replaces the two-year old Nikon D5000 and it's aimed at users who want an easy-to-use SLR with a bent on video recording. Control differences are noticeable between the D5000 and the D5100, primarily in the position of the video recording and Live View functions; but the biggest change is the articulating screen, which now flips open toward the left side, rather than the bottom. This move places more buttons on the right side of the camera and it's similar to Canon's implementation on the EOS 600D.

Nikon has also added what it calls a 'Night Vision' mode, which is said to boost the ISO speed up to 102400 in very low-light situations and it will only shoot black and white JPEGs in this mode. Its standard ISO sensitivity goes up to 6400. For artistic types who don't know how to edit photos on a computer, the built-in creative modes in the Nikon D5100 should come in handy, particularly the HDR mode, which can capture and combine multiple exposures to enhance mid-tones. In-camera re-touching of photos is also supported and this is aided by the high-contrast, 921000-dot screen.

In video mode, the D5100 will be able to auto-focus continuously and various modes will be usable: face priority, subject tracking and wide-area focus. The switch to Live View mode for capturing videos is now located at the top of the camera, rather than the back, and there is a dedicated video recording button near the shutter button. Video recording can be done at 24 or 30 frames per second and uses the AVCHD file format. An external microphone (ME-1) can be attached to the hot-shoe of the camera. The camera is HDMI-CEC compatible.

Australian pricing and kit options for the Nikon D5100 have not yet been announced.

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