nikon d5100 settings for outdoor photography

The Best Nikon D5100 Settings for Outdoor Photography for Gorgeous Pictures

It is more than safe to say that Nikon has come a long way with their cameras and has given us some impressive cameras, too. This means that you can just go ahead and get your hands on a good camera without any issues. They have an entire range of amazing cameras ranging from affordable offerings to better, more expensive ones, too. The point here is that if you have been looking for something solid, Nikon has gotten you covered.

If you own a Nikon D5100, the good news is that it still is a really good camera for almost all photography types, and while you might have used a more advanced camera, as well. For anyone who is on a budget, getting your hands on something right is always important.

In this post, we are going to explore the best Nikon D5100 settings for outdoor photography and see what settings are the best for you and what settings you can use for various photography ventures that you will eventually go through.

Nikon D5100 Settings for Outdoor Photography

What is the Best Image Quality Setting for the Nikon D5100?

Now, it should not come as a surprise that more often than not, you can interchange the settings you are going to go with, and in most cases, you are in luck because you can simply go ahead and adjust the settings you want and go with them. Now, I do understand that this might not be an easy thing for a lot of people but hey, if you are looking to make the experience better, it is not going to be an issue.

As far as the best image quality settings for Nikon D5100 are concerned, honestly, it is not something that should be complicated. Still, for your convenience, I am going to talk about them below.

Shooting in Manual:

The first thing that I am going to suggest to everyone is that it is always, always better than shooting in manual mode because doing so is only going to make your whole photography experience better. I do understand that there is a steep learning curve for new photographers but when you are in manual, you can get pictures that look incredible without the struggle that you might have to go through otherwise. The point is that if you do want to get some really nice quality images, a manual is a great way to go.

Shoot in RAW:

I know this is something that I have talked about time and again in the mast but to be honest, if you go for it, you are only going to enjoy getting the best experience in photography. RAW photos are difficult to master, for the simplest reason because when you take a RAW picture, it is more or less unusable and you cannot upload it on any platform, either.

However, you can go ahead and edit it based on your requirements and the end result will always look stunning. I do understand that taking RAW photos is complicated for a lot of people but it will only help you take your photography to the next level and even be professional if you feel like it.

Understanding ISO, Shutter Speed, and Aperture:

Having an understanding of ISO, shutter speed, and aperture is a lot more important than one might think. A lot of the time, people have little to no understanding of it, and that can get complicated, for a lot of people. However, the good news is that if you are being careful with these settings, it would be better.

Remember, ISO, shutter speed, and aperture are combined to make the exposure triangle. This means that these Nikon d5100 settings for indoor photography work in tandem to make sure that your pictures are properly exposed and it is up to you to find the perfect values but remember, the lower the ISO, the better.

The higher the shutter speed, the better, and then open the aperture, the better. However, you can work on these settings and tinker with them if you wish to.

I have always paid a lot of importance to shutter speed because honestly, even if you go ahead and understand that specific bit, you would be in much better hands than you can imagine. I do understand that for a lot of people who are just getting started, understanding shutter speed is not something that is easy but if you want to get ahead and get the type of pictures you want, it is better that you have mastered the shutter speed, as well as stuff like aperture priority.

Most importantly, learning how to use the mode dial is very, very important. Below is a small table that will help you understand the settings even better.

Shutter Speed1/100th – 1/500th
ISO 100 – 1000
Aperturef/1.8 to f/2.8

The settings that I have mentioned here are going to help you a lot more than you might believe, to be honest. If you are overwhelmed, that is fine, it is going to take some time before you can master all the aspects of photography. The best thing here is that the same settings can be used with other cameras, too. So, you can just mix and match everything that you have your hands on.

nikon d5100 sample image

Is Nikon D5100 Good for Photography?

This is one thing that people ask us all the time, to be honest. Now, you might think that answering the question is easier and simple but in reality, that is not the case always. For starters, every camera is going to be different based on who is using the camera. In the hands of a professional, even a Nikon D3100 will make for an excellent camera, and in the hands of an amateur, even the Nikon Z7 will make a bad camera.

If you are looking at the Nikon D5200 objectively, I can already tell you that it is an excellent camera. For anyone who is looking for something that is good and gets all the jobs done without any issues, this camera is definitely something that you should be investing in.

Quality Lens

Now, I would suggest that you are only going ahead with the Nikon D5200 Camera or any other camera, for that matter, if you have a good lens. A good lens can make the whole experience better and if you end up with something that is not good, you will ruin your photography experience altogether.

For a good lens, I have a whole list of some amazing lenses for Nikon D5100 that you can check and take pictures with. If you want to make things simpler, then I would suggest that you start with a prime lens, and in addition to that, you should also have a standard zoom lens. Ideally, a 50mm f/1.8 and a 24-70 f/2.8 should get the job done because these lenses are amongst the most popular in terms of performance and image quality, as well.

nikon d5100 sample shoot

The Best Nikon D5100 Settings for Portraits

Portrait photography is one thing that you will always be interested in. Sure, it might not occur to you first but when you do own a camera, sooner or later, someone is going to ask you to take a portrait of them, and from that point, it kind of ends up becoming a norm for a lot of people. The good thing here is that portrait photography in general is not at all technical. As a matter of fact, it is the opposite and in most cases, you can get things done rather easily, too.

With that said the settings that I would suggest for portraits are listed below, so you do not have to have any issues.

  • Manual Mode: Be sure that your camera is set to manual mode. This is the camera itself, and not the lens.
  • ISO: For portraits, ISO should be the lowest possible so you get the best results. I normally set it anywhere from 100 to 600. Remember, higher ISO tends to introduce a lot of digital noise in the photos and we don’t want that.
  • Aperture: Aperture is important and we cannot overlook that. With portraits, if you are looking for that depth of field and bokeh, I would suggest that you set the aperture between f/1.4 and f/2.8. You can go as high as f/5.6 but only if you have access to good lighting.
  • Shutter Speed: For portraits, I naturally advise going for a faster shutter speed. Something in the range of 1/250th of a second to 1/500th of a second.

Remember, although these settings are ideal for taking great portraits, in most cases, they are the best but based on the lighting situation you might need to add some lights so you do not end up taking underexposed pictures.

nikon d5100 image

Frequently Asked Questions

In this post, I have discussed all the best settings that you can use for your Nikon D5100. These will make your photography experience a lot better.

I have mentioned all the settings in this post that you can use for outdoor photography as well as indoor photography. You can also look at my guide about outdoor photography for a better understanding.

Yes, the Nikon D5100 makes up for an excellent camera for photography. Sure, it does have some limitations but overall, this is an absolute marvel of a camera with great results.


I understand that for someone who is just getting into photography, taking the right photos can be difficult for a lot of reasons and it is not every day that you successfully manage to take the type of pictures you want. Thankfully, the more you learn from it, the better it will be. These Nikon D5100 settings for outdoor photography will help you a lot more than you might think

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