Correction: you can use manual control for video recording with the Nikon D5100

A correction to my previous Nikon D5100 post: today I played some more with the video functionality of the Nikon D5100 and you can set the aperture manually for video recording. The trick is that you have to do it before you turn on LiveView when in aperture priority, otherwise the aperture selection will be overwritten. It would be nice if Nikon had a chapter on this in their product manual.

Here is a quick video example of the Nikon D5100 at f/1.4 and f/16:

Sorry about the misinformation.

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  • Jabs

    Hey Administrator,
    Great that you found that functionality.

  • KJ

    I just ordered one on Amazon. I can’t wait to get it!!!!

  • Steve

    Isn’t that the same with the D7000?

  • Thanks for the info….Can youconfirm if you get a meter in video mode, and an audio levels?

    • You can set the mic sensitivity in the menu (auto + 3 custom levels). You can get metering before you start the video, but not after you are already recording.
      The weird things is that the camera let’s you still change the aperture during video recording (in aperture priority), but the change does not impact the video (aperture is locked to whatever was set before enabling LiveView)

      • DanielJH

        That’s the same way the D7000 did it… Nikon apparently told Cinema5D at SXSW that they are working on a fix for it, however if they were, I don’t see why they would release another camera with the same known issue. I haven’t had the pleasure of working with a D3s, but LV aperture control supposedly works fine on it, so it can’t be a limitation of the lenses/mount.

  • Teh_RazE

    Really hope Nikon will update the D7000 with 30 fps @1080p… Surely its capable of that? They both has Expeed II processor?

    • iamlucky13

      I believe the Admin mentioned before that Expeed 2 is a branding, not a particular chip, sort of like how Intel’s “Core” line is not a single chip design.

      So you can’t necessarily infer capabilities from the fact that two models are both labeled as using Expeed 2 processors.

      Still, it would be rather strange if the D7000, coming out within a few months of the D5100, and in general being the more capable camera, could not at the hardware level handle 1080p30 video.

      • Mark V

        NIKON themselves have said on their website that it is the same chipset as the d7000.

  • hybris

    praise the lord!

  • gab

    do the same as my D300s….

  • gab

    well in terms of Aperture priority…^__^

  • By manual I would expect aperture, shutter and ISO, not just the aperture … Im still not sure that nikon wants a part of the DSLR video prosumer market… My vote still goes for canon in this particular area

    • Nicon

      I agree. This D5100 “feature” is no different than the D3100 – Setting aperture while in Aperture Priority before recording (though the numbers do change if you adjust them while recording, it will not take affect in real time). You can also adjust exposure in AP with the +/- button with the command dial. – Same as D3100. So far not impressed! =(

      Can you take a look at Shutter Speed and ISO controls while recording video please? Thanks in advance!

    • You can control those in full Manual mode.

      • Nicon

        ADMIN can you confirm VelocityStop’s comment and that the controls take effect while in video mode?

  • The invisible man

    I’ve been receiving many emails from Nikon the last 2 weeks.
    Anyone else ?
    Could be the calm before the storm…..

  • John

    You can preset the aperture before you go into Liveview, that’s IT.

    Shooting video, you don’t get manual control over ISO and shutter speed – which essentially makes this useless for video. It’s exactly the same as the way the D300s works.

  • Nikon bby, next time do it right! Pleaseee…

  • Camaman

    So wait even with this “hack” you must stop the video, quit LiveView and set the aperture, than start again?!
    WHY cant you film in A mode entirely, selecting apertures on the fly?
    What is the reason behind this?
    Is it a technical one or otherwise?

    • hah

      likely just to make you buy a higher end model that will do that.

      or you can buy any D lens with an aperture ring and have far better control than with camera based modes.

  • Craig Horn

    You may be able to change apature while filming with non cpu lenses with an apature ring like the 50mm f/1.8. I know you can with the d7k and the d300s

  • Laaaame. I want my D7K to be able to change aperture DURING liveview. Aperture ring does not cut it. Nikon listen to our pleas!

  • superboynikon


    Is there control of Shutter and ISO during video shooting? Or can you at least set them before hand?

    I believe there was a function in the D7000 that allowed you to do that somewhere in the custom shooting menu… is there any such thing in the D5100?

    • John

      To do that on the D7000, you just flip it into manual mode, same as you do for shooting stills.

      You can’t set the ISO and shutter speed manually on the D5100. Seriously disappointed.

  • Nelson

    Mr admin,

    I have a little question for you, The D5100 has manual focus in video?.
    Do you think de cality of the video from D5100 is like video from Canon 600D


    • yesthereis

      Yes there is manual focus. Just switch the selector on your lens to manual focus and you can turn your focus ring however you like.

    • hah

      many image quality comparions are on the web. yes the nikons easily match the canon thanks to their superior more efficient codec that uses B frames which canon lacks. the canon codec is much older and lacks bframes leading to more bit rate to compensate but not better quality.

      still both companies trail everybody else because they don’t use 4:2:2 color yet and that has a huge hit on image quality.

    • yes, you can MF during video

  • Agg

    Oi yeh, dat wid be lovely, dat. Dat looked very nice indeed, it did. I kidna believe dat it wis the same focal length. The f1.4 looked lovely, the f16 looked nice and sharpish.

  • yesthereis

    Can you please tell us if there is any control over Shutter Speed and ISO for video recording????

    • Ok, changing the ISO before LV did not make any difference during video recording. I will try with the shutter speed next.

  • This is nothing new.. I’ve done this with my D90 and D300s for a couple years now.

  • CamaJan

    It should have: one button recording start, metering done at the time you press it, but also during recording.
    Aperture control with af-s lenses and auto iso during recording to compensate for the changing aperture but meters the scene to give correct exposure anyway.
    Than we can talk about something.
    After they solve this they can work on improving video apperance. It is shaky, jerky, jelly madness when you are just a bit less careful…:-/

  • ranton

    •Which functions other than AF can be adjusted during recording?

    With the D3100 and D5100, AE lock and exposure compensation are available. In addition, white balance can also be adjusted with the D5000, D90, D7000, D300S and D3S, and furthermore, “manual movie settings” that allow manual adjustments of ISO sensitivity and shutter speed are available with the D7000.

  • CamaJan

    So actually what people were crying about, no dof control on regular camcoders, they really didn’t get with current gen. lenses and cams…

  • Fuma

    but why can you set these little manual function on every canon model ? what’s the matter to include manual shutter speed an iso. i switched to canon a half year ago.

    so nikon dslrs still do not have these manual features ?!? i thought already d7k had it…oh damn

  • xunsinn

    this is the reason why I returned my D7000

  • Sek

    This is keeping me from spending my money… If nikon has no way to give me DOF control WHILE recording video then, just for photographic purposes, I might as well go for an “old” D90 which is more than enough for my needs and costs 350 € less! I was hoping this new gen Nikon DSLRs would have the ability to shoot great movies, but not having DOF control is a big missing piece!

    As CamaJan said:

    It should have: one button recording start, metering done at the time you press it, but also during recording.
    Aperture control with af-s lenses and auto iso during recording to compensate for the changing aperture but meters the scene to give correct exposure anyway.

    Then they can count on the extra money I would pay!

    • bobos

      350 euros less !!! where is that? I would replace my D40 with a D90 then. In the D5100 is only 63 euros more expensive. Actually the price has dropped around 30 euros (919 to 888), D90 is 825 euros

      • Sek

        Sorry about that, I was talking D7000 right there… Which has the same problem with adjusting aperture WHILE filming! And here in Italy right now D90 is 350€ less than D7000 (I’m considering the same kit with 18-105).

  • @Admin,
    I will advice you to make a “video funtionality” specific hands-on the d5100 since you’ll find yourself having to answer many answer about it and since many people are hesitating between Canon and Nikon depending of the video mode (myself included). And something that resumes all the comment posts, because at end they become a bit chaotic.
    It will be good for your users and for your site too, since we can not find very clearly yet this kind of concrete information on the internet.

    • Yes, I have aded few new samples to the original D5100 post and will add few more in the next few days.

  • Whiskerfish

    Nikon not allowing one to change aperture while shooting is totally ridiculous. It’s a basic function that should be allowed in both manual and aperture-priority mode. I’ve written to the US helpdesk to ask if there’s going to be a firmware update to address this, but all they can say is that they can’t say.

    NR admin, is there (seriously) any way of contacting the people that matter in Nikon to ask them to address this as a matter of urgency? I’ve used Nikon gear since 1991, but since I’m now starting to do mostly video work, I’m on the verge of shifting to Canon because of this stupid, petty ‘crippling’ of the D5100 and the D7000, which would otherwise be great gear for the work I do.

    I, like many others who work around the world, require light, small, affordable cameras that can shoot 1080 @ either 24p, 25p & 30p (depending on client & location). I’m not going to drop crazy amounts of money on a top of the line, heavy as hell, ‘premium’/overpriced camera; it screws with my luggage allowance and it’s too much stress to insure.

    Can you help us reach the people in Nikon that matter?

  • I don’t think there is any meaningful way to give your feedback to Nikon. They will listen to their marketing and research department and the few photographers that test their equipment in advance.

  • The D7000 has certain controls that allow for the lightening and darkening of the video while recording. It is not exactly aperture control, but the way to make said adjustments is while in LiveView mode, adjust the WB brightness (one of the settings in the sub menu), and then also change the EV compensation, both will “add” to the adjustment of the video, and you can make these adjustments while recording.

    Also, if you want aperture control while recording video, buy a lens with an aperture ring that you can physically change like the old faithful nikon 50mm 1.8.

  • Phil S.

    Shooting video with manual focus Nikon/Nikkor lenses, I do lock the exposure with the AE-L/AF-L Lock button (that I so programmed through the Menu). I also notice that if I set the Auto ISO Sensitivity Control (in the ISO sensitivity settings Menu) to OFF, then the Auto ISO goes away while recording video.
    So, does this mean that you can lock the ISO? Something changes prior to pressing the AE-L/AF-L Lock button — Is it ISO (even if I have Auto ISO switched to OFF) and/or the shutter speed (even though I preset it as well?
    This is confusing. One would think that manual means manual.

  • Phil S.

    Oh, and I’m talking about the Nikon D5100.

  • Phil S.

    D5100 Video Setting seems to give full manual control —

    Prior to going into live view:
    Manual lens (so F Stop/Aperture is set)
    M setting on dial
    Movie mode 1080p @ 30fps (I would assume you can make any choice here, 1080/720)
    Shutter speed set @ 1/60 (I would assume you can make any choice here)
    ISO (w/Sensitivity OFF in Menu) set
    AE-L/AF-L button is pressed to Lock Exposure (as so set in the camera Menu)
    Then go into Live View.

    Seems to work.

    But, there are no indicators that I know of that tells one that the settings have not varied, but it does exhibit what I might call full manual control at this point.

    Any updates by others would be appreciated.

    • Jay

      check out my comment below

  • Steve

    I returned my Nikon D5100 as I couldn’t get manual exposure to work in the video mode. Suffice to say this is a real bummer. I wish Nikon would get their act together on the video side – Cannon are well ahead with this.

    I’ve read the below DVXuser:
    “There is no manual exposure control. I went through all of the menus, and I checked the user manual. I also double-checked Digital Photography Review’s screenshots of the D7000’s menus, and sure enough, the setting for manual exposure in video mode is missing in the D5100, based on where it is in the D7000. I understand that aperture can be set, either with a lens that has an aperture ring, or with the camera body’s controls before recording. I’m not sure if the camera obeys the manual shutter speed setting; I haven’t had much time to play with it, but I’ll need to do a motion blur test.

    At the very least, the ISO is stuck on auto. Control over aperture and shutter speed are important, but the auto-ISO can still be a deal-breaker because you’re ultimately still not in control of the exposure. The camera has an AE-lock button, yes, but (as far as I can tell) you have to keep holding it in order to maintain AE-lock. Once you release it, the camera goes right back to auto-adjusting the ISO. We’re back to where we were three years ago with the D90. You can work around this shortcoming, but why would you? In order to get the exposure that you want, you have to point the camera at something, guesstimate the exposure by eye, and hold AE-lock every second that you’re recording.

    All things considered, this is not just ridiculous; it’s unreasonable. Nikon took a huge step forward in the HDSLR realm with the D7000: Excellent image quality even in low light, well-controlled rolling shutter skew, decent H.264 codec, and manual exposure control. As an HDSLR, it was Nikon’s first real competitor to Canon’s offerings. So being Nikon’s newest DSLR, why should the D5100 be a step backward in video functionality? We’re talking about a difference that amounts to literally nothing more than a part of the firmware. I was stoked about the prospect of the D7000’s video capability in a cheaper body (as I’m sure that many people were), but all of my excitement is gone and turned into frustration.

    The final sick joke of it all is the fact that Nikon announced an external microphone accessory that’s being marketed mainly for the D5100. Since Nikon has never sold dedicated video equipment in the consumer realm, the microphone is kind of a big deal (even if it proves to be low-quality). Nikon was trying to say that they’re serious about DSLR video now. But the shortcomings of the D5100 prove that they’re still seriously out of touch. It just reminds me of the total travesty that was the video mode on the D3100. Two steps forward (the D7000), one step back (the D5100). And here I thought that Nikon actually cared about staying competitve with Canon.”

  • Jay

    With the D5100 you can lock the exposure (AE-L) but first you have to go into the menu under “controls” (I believe its option F) and you have to assign the AE-F button to “AE-L (HOLD)”. This will allow you to lock the exposure in live view. After the exposure is locked, if your using a manual lens, you can change the aperture.

    One trick I’ve used is: Once the exposure is locked take a still picture (don’t worry, this will not unlock the exposure you’ve set). From the still picture you can get a good idea if the camera is actually set up to capture what your seeing, and more importantly, if it’s “honoring” the ISO and shutter that you have preset.

    Another trick (if you have ND filters): After you have set your ISO and shutter, over expose the camera. Once you’ve done that the “?” should blink and when you press the button it should tell you “subject is too bright, Use ND filter”. At that point put on the ND filters until the “?” goes away. Once the “?” goes away LOCK THE EXPOSURE. This is the closest way you will be sure that the camera will honor your setting and that your video shutter wont look like 1/100th when you have it set to 1/50th.

    I know this is a lot to do & is quite unreasonable but I hope this helps anyway.

    Here’s another trick:

  • Ian

    So, you can only use the FULL MANUAL CONTROL on Aperture Priority?

    **Check this video out.

    This guy won’t recommend the D5100 for “serious” videos.

    • Jay

      Please read and add any additional comment &/or concerns to this petition as I am looking to send it to Nikon in the next few days. Thank you

      Please help to petition the engineers over at Nikon to make the D5100 a serious sei-pro level camera that can compete with Canon T3i.

      While the D5100 on paper seems to be a great competitor for Canon’s line of cameras, there are a few options that may keep it from being widely embraced as the Canons have.

      Dear Nikon,

      I recently purchased your much anticipated D5100. I must say that I am thoroughly disappointed.I have issues with a number of limitations with this camera, most of them are centered around the misleading “M’ dial on the camera settings knob.

      I assumed that this setting was for manual mode shooting for both video and still pictures. When setting the camera to this mode, the only manual control is over the exposure after it is locked via the “AE-L” button. This is only accomplished after this button is assigned, an instruction which is not clear defined in the manual.

      When finally locking the exposure ( after having to guess if it was the true exposure or just properly exposed via the screen) I attempted to change the ISO and shutter. The exposure did not change on the screen at all, leaving me wondering further wether or not my setting would be honored and what my footage was going to be like. I am using the manual Nikkor AI-S lenses and I find it equally difficult to take still photos. There is no metering to let me know whether I am under or over exposed. I was not aware that this camera is only operational with auto focus lenses.

      After watching the commercials for the launch of this new camera and the ME-1 microphone that was designed specifically for DSLRs I believed that this camera was for semi-pro photo-videographer. I see I am wrong and again greatly disappointed. I am writing this petition in the hopes that there will be a firmware update that will add the to the Movie settings the option “Manual Movie Setting” that is presently on the D7000 that allows FULL MANUAL CONTROLS of the camera in the “M” setting allowing adjustments in live mode


    • Nicon

      Old news buddy.

  • dan

    can you do this on a d90? i mean set the aperture before recording?

  • ydaniels



  • Albert

    Using the Nikon hack, you can adjust the Shutter speed and aperature in M Mode – and see the adjustments in live view – if you set the fn button to ISO you can also adjust your gain – and see it in live view.

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