At the core of the D5100 is a 16.2 megapixel DX CMOS sensor and an EXPEED 2 processor, an increase in resolution from the D5000's 12.3 megapixels. Handling other image capture chores are an 11-point AF system and a 420-pixel 3D Color Matrix metering system.
An ISO range of 100-6400 is available to D5100 shooters, with options to expand up to 25,600 ISO. A new Night Vision mode is offered in still and video record modes, cranking up ISO to an equivalent of 102,400. This is offered as a creative mode to produce a night vision look.
The D5100 will offer a 3.0-inch vari-angle LCD, a bump up from the D5000's 2.7-inch screen. The new monitor will boast 921k-dots of resolution and an impressive 1000:1 contrast ratio. Burst shooting is available at a maximum of 4 fps.
Video recording is offered at 1080 or 720 HD at 24 or 30p for a maximum of 20 minutes per clip. Full time auto focus is available in movie recording, and Live View is now available via a switch on the top panel of the camera near the shutter release. Nikon also adds creative effect filters to still image and movie capture modes; filters were previously only available for stills. The new modes include selective color, color sketch and miniature effect.
Nikon also announces an external microphone today. The ME-1 is designed with DSLR video recording in mind, equipped with dampeners to combat AF noise. Any camera with a 3.5mm stereo input jack is compatible with the ME-1, including Nikon's own D3s, D300s and D7000 DSLRs.
Pricing and availability
The Nikon D5100 will be available this month for $799.95 body-only or $899.95 with 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 ED VR kit lens. The Nikon ME-1 microphone will cost $179.95 and is also expected to be available this month.