G. Image and movie playback | Nikon D5100 guide

Level:Special knowledge

All the settings and subtleties of the D5100 around image and film playback. There's much more to it than just pressing the playback button and flicking back and forth.

Switching image playback on and off

The playback button switches the picture playback on and off.

An automatic display of your freshly taken images, immediately after each press of the shutter button, can be switched on or off in the playback menu Image review.

Let's add which images the D5100 displays: Usually all the ones it has created itself on the memory card. But:

  • The playback menu Playback folder can change the folders displayed:
  • only the folder currently used for new images (Nikon's default setting)
  • all folders − i.e. also any folders on the memory card that originate from another camera.

Display of single images

Flipping through photos | The direction keys to the right and left are the common and widely used operation to jump to the next or previous picture.

However there is a quicker and easier way: Try the command dial instead.

Changing the information displayed with an image | The up and down arrow keys switch between different views for the currently displayed image, with different additional information.

The playback menu Playback display options clarifies which views are available when displaying entire images.

There is one that you can't switch off: a full-screen view with minimum additional information such as file name and date of recording at the bottom of the screen.

Addtionally you can order in this menu from:

  • None (image only): A full screen view without any additional information.
  • Highlights: A display in which overexposed areas are flashing, i.e. areas where all three basic colours red, green and blue reach their maximum. You can't recognize partial overexposure where one or two of them are overexposed.
  • RGB histogram: An additional page with a thumbnail and four histograms − one simple and one each for the red, green and blue components.

You can zoom into the image, the histograms will adapt to the displayed image section.

  • Shooting data: Three additional pages for a series of camera settings with which you took a picture.
  • Overview: a scaled down view with a simple histogram and some key shooting information (aperture, exposure time, ISO sensitivity, white balance etc.).

Note: A selection is to be made with the arrow key to the right, not with OK. OK saves the setting and takes you back to the playback menu.

Displaying portrait photos | Whether photos taken in portrait format should also appear upright on the monitor is a matter of taste. You have to decide for yourself between correctly aligned and as large as possible. In the playback menu Rotate tall, Nikon sets a default value On, i.e. portrait photos appearing upright.

Move to image editing | From the display of a whole image, the OK button takes you on the shortest possible route to the retouch menu to edit a picture.

Zooming in images

Zooming in and out | The buttons with the magnifying glass symbol are for zooming in and out, with the arrow keys you can move the displayed picture section, even diagonally.

If you press button for zooming out while a single entire picture is on the display, you will get to overview displays of 2×2, 3×3, 9×8 pictures and finally a calendar where you can search for dates.

The OK button always takes you from a reduced or enlarged view to the full-screen display of a single image with one click.

Looking through faces in a photo | There is a special trick for this: when you zoom into an image, the D5100 checks if it recognises faces. If so, icons for the i-button and arrow keys appear at the bottom left of the monitor. Then you can press the i-button and afterwards jump from one face to the next with the arrow keys.

Comparing images | When you have zoomed into an image, you can use the rear dial to jump to the next or previous one − with the same zoom level and the same image section.

This is a great simplification for comparing similar images. You can easily pick out the sharpest of several possibly blurred pictures or compare individual faces in group shots.

Deleting images

Delete current image | The delete key is the easiest, most obvious way to delete individual photos. Press twice, done.

Deleting multiple images | In the playback menu Delete you can either

  • delete all images on a memory card or
  • select individual images for deletion in a thumbnail view, or
  • delete all pictures taken on specific days.

Follow the instructions at the bottom of the camera screen to find the next steps.

Protect photos from accidental deletion | This can be done with the AE-L/AF-L button, it prevents accidental deletion of the photo currently displayed. The key icon next to the button is meant to remind you of this feature.

However, this protection does not help when formatting the memory card.

Movie playback

Start movie playback | You can see from the camera symbol and the running time displayed at the top edge whether a displayed picture belongs to a video. If so, the OK button starts playback.

Control movie playback | Note the icons at the bottom of the monitor, they want to tell you:

  • The arrow keys control playback:
    • ⯅ stops
    • ⯇ ⯈ increases / slows down the playback speed or scrolls individual frames forward / backward in the film when playback is paused.
    • ⯆ pauses, the OK button resumes playback.
  • With the command dial you can jump 10 s forward and backward.
  • The two buttons for zooming control the volume.
  • The AE-L/AF-L button switches to an edit mode where you can crop the video and it allows you to save the currently displayed still image as an image file on its own.

To edit a video or to save individual images from it as a separate image file, you can also start in the Retouch menu.

Three more playback functions

Slide show | The playback menu Slide show starts an automatically scrolling playback of all images in the current folder.

Resolution for playback on HDMI devices | When connected to an HDMI device, the D5100 should automatically detect the required resolution. If this does not work, you can try setting the required resolution manually in the setup menu HDMI.

The second selection Device control allows you to control the playback of images from HDMI devices, but requires a TV with the HDMI CEC standard.

Video mode | When connecting to a TV set that is not yet digital, you can set the signal used in the setup menu Video mode. The default value PAL is the European, NTSC the American standard.

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