Monday, April 11, 2011

New DSLR from Nikon announced

Nikon has just sent us the information packet containing the official announcement of the newest addition to their DSLR lineup, the D5100. It confirms a lot of rumors and speculation that have been going around online. The general consensus around the store is that this is going to be the go-to camera for the serious amateur videographer-- more full-featured (including a microphone jack!) than the D3100, lighter weight and more affordable than the D7000.

It has inherited an improved version of the D5000's vari-angled LCD screen, a feature that at the 5000's release seemed gimmicky, but now that it's gone, is much missed. (I must admit it's phenomenally convenient for what I call Lummox Mode: primarily useful when lummoxes decide that since you attended this event with a fancy camera, you must be here to film the backs of their heads. With a fixed LCD screen it's a little dicey trying to jump up and take pictures, but the vari-angled one lets you shoot easily over the top of obstinate people who insist on standing in front of you.)
It seems to be continuing a few of the themes Nikon has begun lately with their point-and-shoots, namely the scene recognition system and the 16 scene modes. This is pretty obviously targeted at the DSLR's consistently fastest-growing market: people trading up from point-and-shoots. These folks aren't going to shoot in full manual, and will be less familiar with the idea of the shutter and aperture priority modes than more experienced SLR users. They want the camera to do the metering for them, and benefit enormously from these scene modes, which allow them to give the camera more information with which to make the technical choices for them. It's the no-fuss school of photography: these are also the people interested in a lighter-weight camera body. Some get great results with these program modes, and some grow into the manual modes as they gain familiarity with their SLR.

Of course we haven't seen the D5100 yet-- it was just announced, not shipped-- but we hope to get our hands on it soon and see how it really stacks up. We'll keep you posted on what we think!