Nikon Coolpix P5100 Review

October 31, 2007 | Mark Goldstein | PhotographyBLOG | 16 Comments | |

Nikon P5100Announced at the end of August, the new Nikon Coolpix P5100 camera arrives just 6 months after the P5000. Aimed at the enthusiast photographer who wants some control over what the camera is doing, the 12.1 megapixel Nikon P5100 offers Shutter-priority, Aperture-priority, and full Manual shooting modes. There’s a flash hotshoe which accepts external flashguns, 2.5 inch LCD screen combined with an optical viewfinder, optical image stabilization for blur-free images, and a 3.5x zoom lens (35-123mm). Billed as a backup to a DSLR, the Nikon P5100 costs £299.99 / €450 and competes with the likes of the Canon Powershot G9. Gavin Stoker took the Nikon Coolpix P5100 all the way to Japan in the 200th PhotographyBLOG review (!).

Website: Nikon Coolpix P5100 Review

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#1 5100 user

may be I'm more lucky with my own P5100, only one bad think can say about this camera - really slow focus in low light, all other, as color reproduction, image quality, white balance, sharpness - are perfect, and of course build quality superb, firmware version 1.0

Have compared (test shots) with some P&S cameras (PENTAX A30, CANON DIGITAL IXUS950IS, CoolPix S510, Canon IXUS70, OLYMPUS), no way, the price difference not so big, but the quality and features offered by P5100 much better

Using for macro shots, indoor, and outside

do not agree with this review

8:53 pm - Wednesday, October 31, 2007

#2 Richard Alan

So, Gavin, I was ready to buy the Nikon 5100 until I read your review. What I didn't read was, What's the superior alternative that responds to your negatives on the 5100? I like the size, the ergonomics (especially the grip if one has arthritis), the 8+ megapixels, the external flash capability (a big plus for family gatherings), added lense options, manual settings capability, IS, mulitple auto settings, etc. What's a wiser buy?

5:36 am - Friday, November 2, 2007

#3 courteaux

Pretty good review. Some metrics are missing, could you please them?
startup time: how long the camera takes to start and be ready for the first photo?
Shutter Lag: amount of time it takes each camera to record one shot and five shots.
Power-on Time:

Shot to Shot time:

10:53 am - Wednesday, November 14, 2007

#4 Karl


Nice review!
This camera has some great options like its incredible big and clear LCD, its compatibility with other well known flashguns etc. You can find some extra informations about Nikon P5100 including Nikon P5100 video review. Just one more word, this camera is especially for those, who is between the point-and-shoot and SLR cameras.

11:20 am - Friday, November 16, 2007

#5 Sanjay Tandon


Good review.
I am planning to buy one this week. Advice needed - Will nikon's sb-22s flash work on it? And which mode apart from manual mode.

thanks in advance for the advice!


11:34 pm - Thursday, December 6, 2007

#6 ScottV

I got mine yeaterday.
startup < 2 seconds
5 full rez fine pics no flash in ~ 8 seconds. Add flash and it's closer to 15. Multishot 16 gets you 16 images in ~ 18 seconds with no flash.

Default automatic settings get a little soft and grainy when you zoom to the pixel level. Prints and reductions are gorgeous. Manual modes fixes all.

Biggest nit:
No mass storage driver - PTP or nothing.
OSX, WindowsXP and Vista only
Flat doesn't work in NT 4.0 with USB, Win2k, any UNIX. OS9, BEOS, etc.
Pretty lame.
What were they thinking?
Oh well, SDHC reader is on order.

Biggest like:
It *feels* more like a camera than any pocket digtal that I've ever used.
Flash shoe, optical viewfinder, solid cast metal body, neck strap, gripable. But small. Maybe just nostalgic for the old days when cameras were of metal and glass.

2:32 am - Friday, December 7, 2007

#7 Tony Waters

I am new here, so I don't know whether Gavin responds to questions posed. Thus, I ask this of everyone out there: I, like No 2, was ready to buy this little camera until I read Gavin's review. My concern is image quality.

Here is my question. I own a Pentax K10D, which really is superb, along with too many lenses. Unlike the several earlier Pentaces I have owned, the K10D is not particularly small. I like that slight extra bulk in this particular camera. However, I am about to cash in twenty-six years worth of f.f. miles by going around the world. Really. And am wondering whether I really want to take so much equipment. For that reason, I am looking for a high-quality compact digital, with manual override. I thought I had found it. This review suggests otherwise.

Any recommendations, anyone? Thanks much.

7:47 am - Monday, December 17, 2007

#8 Mark Goldstein

The Canon G9 is the obvious rival - great image quality up to ISO 400, RAW mode, full manual options.

Or how about the Ricoh GX100, with it's interesting 24-72mm lens and much smaller size?

You can find both reviews here:

12:34 pm - Monday, December 17, 2007

#9 Gavin Stoker

Just to add to Mark's sage advice, what the P5100 truly has going for it is its size - compared with the suggested rivals, it truly is tiny, a veritable pocket rocket.

If you want something that's 'more' than a compact and already own a decent DSLR, it's worth a recommendation, as indeed, that's what our test gave it.

1:55 pm - Tuesday, December 18, 2007

#10 Phil Brown

Just bought a 5100. Great camera as a pocketable camera so that I don't have to carry an slr all the time. Great image quality so I won't miss good opportunities. I really wanted 28mm eqivalent wide-angle, but those offering that weren't good in many other respects. Ricoh was a possibility except for the very negative processed image reviews. Canon G9 a really great camera and with the advantage of RAW files, but just too big and heavy as a carry-everywhere camera.
Also as already mentioned, the Nikon just sits beautifully in your hand (the little rubber thumb pad is genius design) whereas the G9 felt about to leap grom my grasp.

4:35 pm - Saturday, March 8, 2008

#11 Jonathan C

If you use an external flash, will the poor low light performance be overcome?

5:15 pm - Thursday, May 22, 2008

#12 Tony Grant

I have had one for a few weeks. I carry it everywhere, every day. Love the little thing.

I miss RAW
"Flat doesn't work in NT 4.0 with USB, Win2k, any UNIX. OS9, BEOS, etc."
It does too work with Linux! - Fedora Core 8 no problem what so ever
Images can be fuzzy but I am still on the learning curve to get the best from it

8:52 am - Tuesday, May 27, 2008

#13 mohamed omar

Dear Sir,

i am a proud owner of a nikkon coolpix 5100 but unfortunately since it was purchased in thailand, i dont have a manual in english request if you could sent it to me address or post it to my address as givrn below.

.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) OR md.omar

mohamed omar
flat no 82, building no 2, sharawy street.
Lauran - alexandria.

awaiting your early replyand thank you for the same.

12:38 pm - Friday, January 16, 2009

#14 Tony Grant

An update: I have added the wide angle lense. Fabulous! I am now working most of the time in natural lighting with manual exposure and loving the pictures. I am working real hard on controlling the movement of people with regard to the background. Next investment will be a tripod (haven't owned one since 1976...).

6:14 pm - Friday, January 16, 2009

#15 hernawanjr

this good camera ?
i see spesification on but i dont like it

12:14 pm - Thursday, April 21, 2011

#16 Joe Barrett

Good morning, I have just read your revue of the Nikon
p5100. I will agree it is not perfect. I purchased a Nikon
D1x years ago. I get better images with the p5100 than
the D1x. My favorite cameras are my 8x10 Deardoff
and my Nikon F (prism body). Sharpness is my number
one criteria and the p5100 is in a word WOW !!! On a
regular basis I make 11x14 on my Epsom 3800 printer.
Last year I had private access to a perfectly restored
P47D thunderbolt WW2 aircraft. I wish I had my Deardoff
that day. I love showing people a photo of the complete
aircraft, zoom in to the kill marks under the canopy and
you can clearly read - me110, bf109 etc. And no one
believes it was taken with my lowly little P5100. "you
shoot this with your Hassy" I will not leave the house
unless it is in it's case on my belt. Be safe,

2:23 pm - Tuesday, May 24, 2011