D5100 with lens  (Source: Nikon)

D5100 variable angle LCD  (Source: Nikon)
The D5100 fits right between the D3100 and D7000

Nikon has unveiled the new D5100 which is an entry-level D-SLR offered in a kit with an 18-55mm VR lens starting at a MSRP of $899.95. For that price, the camera offers a slew of nice features and specifications for a D-SLR beginner.

The D5100 has a 16.2-megapixel DX-format CMOS sensor and the camera is capable of shooting at 4fps continuously in burst more. The D-SLR can also record 1080p HD movies with full-time autofocus. The LCD on the rear of the camera is variable angle with a 921,000-dot resolution and measures 3-inches. The variable angles allow you to move the LCD so you can see the images and video being recorded comfortably using Live View mode.

The camera also has a special effects more that can be applied to the movies recorded and it support up to ISO 102,400 when used in night vision mode. The normal ISO mode is 100-6400 and can be expanded to 25,600 ISO. The D5100 has the full selection of manual modes that you expect in a D-SLR and has integrated red-eye reduction feature. The Picture Control system lets the user apply filters with standard, neutral, vivid, monochrome, portrait, and landscape settings.

The autofocus used in movie recording mode has face detection and can sense up to 35 different faces and has subject tracking.  The movies can record in 1080p 24fps or 30fps with the 720p resolution at the same frame rates. Clips can be up to 20 minutes long. The camera also has a new ME-1 microphone as an option for better sound quality. The camera will sell in a body only kit for $799.95.

DPReview spent some hands on time with a pre-production D5100 camera. One thing the camera is missing is wireless flash support that the higher end D-SLRs offer. DPReview notes that the viewfinder is a single control dial pentamirror unit and the camera has no built-in autofocus motor.

The camera is positioned to fall right between the D3100 and the D7000 making for a compelling line of consumer-focused D-SLRs that will suit the needs of just about everyone.

"Let's face it, we're not changing the world. We're building a product that helps people buy more crap - and watch porn." -- Seagate CEO Bill Watkins
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