updated 12:00 am EDT, Tue April 5, 2011
Nikon D5100 brings 1080p night video and effects
Nikon tonight brought out its long planned D5100. The camera has a brand new, 180 degree variable swiveling LCD with a sharp 921,000-pixel output and a 1,000:1 contrast ratio. Video is the same 1080p30 as on the D7000, but a sensor tweak gives it a new Night Vision mode for very low light: it can record in ISO 102,400 to get the moment when seeing the shot is more important than the amount of noise.
The camera normally shoots in an ISO 100 to 6,400 sensitivity range with an override option to hit 25,600. Beginners get a new special effects mode, with a dedicated spot on the mode dial, that can apply selective color, a sketch effect or a miniature effect that mimics a tilt-shift lens. It uses an 11-point autofocusing system from the D3100 but shoots at the higher 16.2 megapixels of the D7000.
Video supports continuous autofocusing in the scene and works with face detection; it records in H.264 as well to help get the 20 minutes of non-stop recording time.
Audio, previously a weak point of Nikon's video-capable DSLRs, gets a major lift through a new ME-1 microphone add-on. The device mounts to the hot-shoe and provides unidirectional stereo audio recording. Nikon gives it a low-cut filter to cut out wind noise and uses a standard 3.5mm plug that not only works with most of Nikon's other DSLRs but the P7000 compact and most standard microphone jacks.
The D5100 should be available by May and will cost $900 in an 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 ED VR kit lens form or $800 body-only. Photographers will have the option of the ME-1 for $180. Nikon hasn't made mention of a previously leaked 18-105mm kit.