Nikon D5100 Digital Camera Review$799.00
With the D5100, users can select from noise reduction levels of low, normal, and high, or turn the feature off altogether. There is also a long exposure noise reduction feature, but we found it ineffective and do not count it here. We found that Nikon has been able to reduce the total amount of noise produced by this particular sensor compared to the D7000, even with noise reduction turned off.
Surprisingly, we found the D5100 had even better noise performance than the D7000, which shares the same excellent Sony sensor. Nikon has managed to reduce the noise overall, while also being more aggressive with its noise reduction. We found slightly higher luma noise than color noise, but it only crossed the 2% mark at ISO 6400, and is not a distraction at lower ISOs speeds.
Even taking noise reduction out of the equation, we found that the D5100 improved the sensor’s noise performance slightly overall compared to the D7000.
With noise reduction dialed all the way up, we found the Nikon D5100 did very well in suppressing both channel and luminance noise, with both kept under 1% all the way up to ISO 6400. The effect of using this much noise reduction is a loss of some super-fine detail, but if you’re shooting in low light, it’s a nice extra to have in your camera’s back pocket. More on how we test noise.
Nikon has pushed this sensor just about to the brink with the D5100, with an ISO range that extends to 25600 when using the HI 2 setting. The D5100 actually pushes beyond even that speed with its night shooting mode. In that mode the D5100 will shoot a monochrome image with an ISO speed of 102400. With noise already creeping up around 2% at ISO 6400, any setting beyond that speed is mostly there just for emergencies.