Speculating about what a company like Nikon is going to do with a new product is tough, but there are some of us who enjoy testing our wits against the company's product planners. So let's have a d5100 sweepstakes since it's probably less than three weeks away. What's it going to look like? This is not what you'd like to see, but what you think Nikon is going to do.
Already, rumors have it with 16mps and the 11-point autofocus system. Of course, it started off at 14mps, so we don't know for sure, but that's a fair enough start. What else is it going to have? Personally, I think Nikon needs some surprises to keep the d5100 relevant, so here's my call, especially if its going to be 16mps with an 11-point AF:
1. Definitely will have an articulated screen, but I think it has to be high res to keep pace with the T2i, or should I say T3i. A low res screen would be a real disappointment. It will also have a plastic body and minimal weatherproofing in comparison to the D7K.
2. Instead of the predictable pentamirror, it will have a pentaprism and D90-size viewfinder to give it a little more class than the T3i. The only way they would use a pentamirror if weight ND price were key design requirements. I think they'll opt for slightly more weight and a slightly higher price, perhaps putting it a little more than a T3i, but less than the 60D.
3. It will have video at 24fps at 1080 and 30fps at 720. Nikon might decide to make the d5100 a video machine and go with 30fps at 1080 and 60fps at 720, but that will more likely be in the D400.
4. Definitely will have a stereo plug for audio. It would be a huge disappointment if it doesn't.
5. It will definitely have a single SD card, and might have a customizable U1 setting. Since Nikon put the U1 & U2 in the D7000, it won't be hard to add one to the D5100. This is to keep pace with the Canon T31 and 60D.
The bottom line I think the D5100 will be slightly behind the video in the T3i, but will be slightly ahead in still capability, making it very much a head-to-head competitor that also can play ball against the 60D as well. The D7K will be distinguished by its dual storage cards, U1 & U2, and the 39-point AF system, and half-mag care and weather proofing. It will also be a little more expensive than a T3i, but well below the 60D.
What do others think at this late date in the game?