Explanation: The release mode dial determines how and when exactly a picture is actually taken after you have pressed the shutter release button.
S single: One picture for each press of the release button.
Possible settings are:
(continuous shooting): The D5100 will take pictures continuously as long as you hold the shutter release button pressed, up to 4 per second.
If an internal buffer for picture data not yet written to the memory card should be full the frame rate will suddenly decrease. The viewfinder and the LCD display show at the bottom right how many pictures the buffer can still take.
self timer: After pressing the release button the picture will be taken with a delay that you can choose in the custom setting menu c3 self-timer.
(remote control & self timer): The D5100 takes the picture with the same delay of the self timer but reacts only to a remote control. From Nikon it is the ML-L3, other vendors offer compatible ones.
(remote control): The D5100 reacts only to a remote control but without delay.
Note: If you do not take a photo within the standby period defined in the custom setting menu c4 remote on duration the D5100 will switch off its receiver for the remote control.
(quiet): The mirror inside the camera will be flipped up slower and it will move back when you take your finger away from the shutter release button. This results in a little less noise and for the second part of it you can wait for a suitable moment. Don‘t wonder about the image in the viewfinder turning black, this is normal when the mirror is moved up and more visible in this mode.
Another variant for the release mode is in the custom setting menu d4 exposure delay mode.
Recommendation: This setting is basic knowledge for handling your D5100.
As a standard setting I recommend although S will probably most common. But it is easy to get used to pressing the shutter release button only for a short moment if you want one picture and you can anytime shoot more by just keeping the finger down.
That is e.g. useful when you have longer exposure times with a risk of unsharp pictures because of camera movements – just take a few more shots and delete all except for the sharpest one.
When using a tripod you are on the safe side for best possible sharpness if you use the mirror up functionality, best as follows:
- Activate d4 exposure delay mode, i.e. a delay between flipping up the mirror and actually taking the picture
- Set a delay of 2 seconds in the custom setting menu c3 self timer.
- Choose the self-timer as release mode.
An extra tip for using the self timer: Cover the viewfinder the moment you press the shutter release button to avoid that light falling in from the back disturbs the exposure metering. It is sufficient to look through the viewfinder normally, with your eye very close to it or to cover it with your hand.