129 of 136 people found the following review helpful
Extremely good amateur photographer DSLR,
This review is from: Nikon D5100 Digital SLR Camera with 18-55mm VR Lens Kit (16.2MP) 3 inch LCD (discontinued by manufacturer) (Electronics)
After owning this product for 3 weeks now, I have learned an enormous about of technical and general information regarding how to get the very best out of photos with pretty much any subject you see down your view finder. The best thing is you can take amazing quality photos straight out of the box just by using either of the full auto settings and just pointing at what you want to photograph and pressing the shutter release button down. When you want to get past that and start experimenting with manual settings, you have 4 manual choices, which can ease you into them 1 step at a time if you wish. An example is, you can let the D5100 control your ISO, autofocus and metering styles without touching anything, whilst you control the aperature (the amount of light entering through the lens and hitting the sensor, with low f-numbers like f1.8 letting vastly more light in than f22) and the exposure (which is how long you expose the sensor to the environment via the shutter speed, with faster shutter speeds like 1/200 allowing less light onto the sensor compared to a 30 second exposure which is great for taking photos of stars and the moon!)
Even if you don't know what things like ISO mean in terms of photo quality, the camera's menu shows you an example thumbnail of a photo you can take with the setting you're hovering over. For the absolute top ISO setting on the camera it shows a very star filled sky whilst ISO 100, which is the lowest setting shows a picture of flowing water in a well lit environment. This camera is great at low light shots when you refuse to use a flash, which is ideal for dark environments like shooting a gig, astronomy photography, dusk and dawn landscapes (where flash would be useless anyway due to distance) and taking photos in low light rooms at night and getting a more natural representation of what you actually see.
The Nikon DX 18mm-55mm VR f3.5-5.6G lens is also a very nice piece of kit for general use and produces rather good quality pictures with little or no effort involved. The 18mm part allows you to take very wide angle photos which is perfect for landscapes and large group portrait photos (weddings ect) whilst you can choose anything all the way up to 55mm which zooms into your target, allowing a more content specific photo. The 55mm setting can get a good head shot of someone for a portrait quite easily
You can use some third party lenses with this camera and still use autofocus with it, but these are quite rare. Because the D5100 doesn't have a autofocus motor inside its body, compared to the vastly more expensive cameras, you need to use AF-S DX or AF-I DX nikkon lenses or something like the sigma DG series which have built in motors inside the lens instead. This is very important to note because you can pick up a Nikon AF 50mm f1.8 prime lens (which means it doesnt zoom), which is designed for older nikon camera's, for around £50 second hand or £100 brand new BUT this will not autofocus on the D5100 (or the D3100 for that matter). However, you can still use AF lenses if you don't need autofocus, saving yourself a small fortune depending on what you need to take photos of and your photography style!
To note, make sure you install the Nikon viewNX2.2 software that comes with the camera as it allows you to edit your photos to a good enough standard for publishing professional results, especially if you shoot in RAW mode, which is the best quality and allows the most post processing on your computer.