As is now the norm on cameras of this type the P5100 offers a maximum movie size of 640x480 pixels - enough to fill most television screens at 30 frames per second (though it doesn't have any of the fancy higher resolution - or wide screen - capabilities now seen on some top of the range models). It still has a good selection of options, though:
- TV Movie (640 x 480 pixels at 15 or 30 fps)
- Small Size (320 x 240 pixels at 15 fps)
- Smaller Size (160 x 120 pixels at 15 fps)
- Time Lapse Movie (up to 1800 stills at specified intervals, combined into a movie up to 60 secs long)
- Sepia movie (320 x 240 / 15fps)
- Black and White movie (320 x 240 / 15fps)
The AVI files are actually pretty small - at the best quality setting (640x480 / 30fps) you're burning around a megabyte every second. Despite this the image quality is - though not the best - actually pretty good; there are mild compression artifacts, but the motion is smooth and for most users there will be little cause for complaint.
The image stabilization works well too; one of the real advantages of a lens-shift (as opposed to CCD shift) system. Frustratingly, only auto white balance is available in movie mode, lending an interesting yellow cast to all your indoor movies. Most damningly, though, like many of the recent Nikon compacts, the sound drops out for the last second or so of every single clip. There is also no ability to edit the length of files, in-camera, demanding additional software if you want to use video for anything more than a bit of fun.
You cannot use the optical zoom during filming (though you can set it before you start), but you can enable and use the digital zoom, though you will see a distinct loss of quality if you do.
|The movie screen is a simplified version of what you see when shooting stills, with an indication of the time remaining on the card.|
|The movie menu is very basic; here you'll find movie options (size, frame rate and special effects) and autofocus mode (single or continuous).|
|As mentioned above there are plenty of options for the size and quality of movie clips. There are no in-camera movie editing options.|