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To be brutally honest, apart from the more powerful sensor the P5100 doesn’t offer a lot of improvements over the P5000. It has a new EXPEED image processor, supposedly the same one used in recent Nikon DSLRs, but apart from that the new camera shares virtually all of its features with its predecessor. That’s not a bad thing, because the P5100 is a well designed and nicely specified camera, but it would have been nice to see a few of its shortcomings addressed. The P5100 still has no Raw mode, no manual focusing and no adjustable white balance. It does have some limited manual image control, but not over colour or tone. If you already own a P5000 it’s really not worth upgrading.
As with the P5000, the P5100 has optional manual exposure, with aperture priority, shutter priority and full manual exposure available on the main mode dial. The degree of available control is unchanged from the earlier model, with shutter speeds of 8 – 1/2000th of a second and aperture values of f/2.7 to f/7.6 available in 1/3EV increments. I would have liked to have seen a longer maximum shutter speed, and ideally a B function, which is always a useful feature for creative photography. However any manual control at all is a welcome sight these days.
There is one new feature that I’m pretty sure wasn’t present on the P5000, although anyone who owns one may wish to correct me. The P5100 has a distortion control feature, which counteracts the rather pronounced barrel distortion which the lens produces at wide angle by stretching and bending the image in processing. This does make a big difference when shooting wide-angle shots, especially of buildings. See the sample shots section for an example.
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