Nikon D5100 DSLR Hopes Special Effects Like 102,400 ISO Night Vision Make It Special

These things no longer make even a $900 DSLR special: 15+ megapixel resolution, 1080p video recording and a swivel LCD screen. So Nikon's 16.2-megapixel D5100 tries to stand out by slathering on the in-camera special effects. This is the appification of your digital camera.

Here's what we've got, special sauce-wise:

• A monochrome night vision mode that pushes the sensor from its standard 100-6400 ISO range to 102,400, like the D3s. (Expect the photos to look more like cheap night vision goggles than the D3s's shots, though.)

• HDR mode that shoots two photos, three stops apart, and combines them. From what I was told, you're still gonna wanna use a tripod rather than hand-hold, unless you've got cybernetic arms that can remain deathly still.

• A faux tilt-shift miniature mode, that works on photos and video (which is shot at "high speed" to accentuate the mini-ness). Also for photos/video, there's real-time color sketch and selective color effects.

The rest of the camera is fairly standard for this class of beginnerish camera, fighting Canon's T3i: HD video recording's 1080p or 720p at 24/30fps, using h.264; 11 AF points; 420-pixel 3D Color Matrix Meter; 4FPS bursts; 921,000-dot 3-inch swivel LCD. All told, it's $800 for the camera alone, $900 with the kit lens.

I'm somewhat skeptical of the special effects stuff until I see what the results look like, but I understand why Nikon is going there in a mainstream camera—it seems like half of all the pictures I see from friends shared on social networks are digitally altered to look completely different for the sake of aesthetics.

Nikon D5100 DSLR Hopes Special Effects Like 102,400 ISO Night Vision Make It Special

Oh! And maybe my favorite thing is that Nikon's dropping a stereo mic built specifically DSLRs—it's designed with dampeners to shut out AF motor noise. It's $180. [Nikon]