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1. The D5100 features a tilt/swivel monitor that makes odd-angle still and video shooting easy. 2. Access a variety of special effects easily with the control dial. 3. You can attach the new Nikon ME-1 stereo mic to record stereo sound with your movies.

Nikon D5100

ESTIMATED STREET PRICE: $699 (body only)

Nikon's "step-up" entry-level model, the D5100 features a 16.2-megapixel CMOS sensor similar to those that earned the three top scores for APS-C-format DSLRs in DxOMark.com's RAW sensor ratings, along with 14-bit Nikon EXPEED 2 image processing, to assure excellent image quality. Normal ISO range is 100-6400, expandable to 25,800 (and to 102,400 in Night Vision mode).

The D5100 can do 1920x1080p full HD and 1280x720p HD video at 30 and 24 fps, plus 640x424 VGA video at 24 fps, with mono sound via a built-in microphone or stereo sound via the optional ME-1 external mic. The 3.0-inch, 921,000-dot LCD monitor tilts and swivels for easier video and odd-angle still shooting.

As is the case with all lower-end Nikon DSLRs, the D5100
doesn't have an AF motor, so it provides autofocusing only with lenses that do: the AF-S and AF-I Nikkors. There are currently nearly 40 AF-S lenses, however, from a 10-24mm superwide zoom to 600mm supertelephoto, so this isn't a big problem. (Lenses without AF motors can be used, but must be focused manually.)

The D5100 offers Nikon's Picture Controls and Scene Recognition System, which make it easy for even a novice to photograph a wide variety of subjects well.

Special effects are hot in the entry-level DSLR category, and the D5100 allows you to apply a host of effects to both still images and video clips. Selective Color isolates one to three colors in a scene, leaving the rest of the image black-and-white. Night Vision pumps the ISO as high as 102,400 to show detail your eyes can't see. Miniature Effects makes the scene look like a miniature-scale model. There are also High Key, Low Key and Color Sketch effects, plus distortion control, fish-
eye, image overlay, perspective control and more, as well as two-shot in-camera HDR.

STANDOUT FEATURE: Excellent still and video quality in an entry-level DSLR.

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