Ready to step up from your point-and-shoot or built-in iPhone camera? The Nikon D5100 ($800-$900) is waiting. Built with the same sensor as Nikon’s $1,350, pro-leaning D7000, the D5100 offers 16.2 megapixel still image capabilities with color fidelity and low-light performance that puts comparably-priced Canon DSLRs to shame, plus a three-inch, vari-angle monitor and 1080p/30fps D-Movie video recording.
Inside the D5100 is an Expeed 2 image processor for 4 fps still shooting, faster processing, and SDXC support. Moving beyond the specs, the D5100 also offers several new software features that bring the traditional DSLR into the app era, including an in-camera High Dynamic Range (HDR) mode, and special effects that include selective color, a “color sketch” mode, a miniature effect that will be familiar to users of tilt shift apps, and a night vision mode—all of which can be used in video mode as well, expanding your creative possibilities far beyond that of a traditional still camera. It’s available in a kit with an 18-55 VR lens, or as a body only.