Design and features
Nikon ever-so-slowly evolves its SLRs, with a slight tweak here, a button change there, a grip adjustment elsewhere. The D5100 encapsulates this gradual refinement, with a comfortable in-hand feeling and easily accessible buttons and dials for all common shooting functions. This is the camera that replaces the D5000.
At the top of the camera is a mode dial, the main way that users interface with the controls, ranging from full automatic and scene modes for beginners right through to PASM exposures for manual tweakers. Nestled in with the mode dial is the Live View switch that activates the mode when flicked down. Things start to get more interesting moving down the body, when the 3-inch articulating LCD is revealed. It's much improved from the tilt-down model found on this camera's predecessor, with a significant resolution bump to 921,000-dots.
The addition of the flip-out screen means that the traditional Nikon button arrangement down the left-hand side has gone, replaced instead with a small scattering of the same features on the other side. It's simple enough for beginners to acquaint themselves with, and intuitive enough for seasoned SLR users to use.