Clean Fullscreen Live HDMI from a Nikon D5100

Please Note: A full video tutorial on how to do this will be presented on an upcoming episode of Category5 Technology TV.

Boxing week saw some great sales, but also, a lot of liquidation of refurb stock. For example, Henry’s had Nikon D5100 cameras with the 18-55mm kit lens on for just $350. You can probably find a similar deal on a used Nikon D5100 at B&H, but also keep in mind that this is a previous-generation DSLR (replaced with the D5200) so you should be able to find it pretty cheap. Please also try our Amazon links at since purchasing through them helps support the show, or of course, check B&H for used stock too:

So, what can this bad-boy do, beyond reasonably decent photography and better-than-entry-level 1080p recorded video? Why, HD clean video over HDMI … with a little know-how.

Tonight is our first test: to see if the D5100 could be used as an A camera for Category5 Technology TV while we continue to save up for the 4K option (which we just can’t afford yet).

Our AC adapter (a clever “battery pack” power unit) arrived today, and so I’m finally able to test if 1 hour of live video is possible… since the batteries it relies on typically only last about 30 minutes when rolling video.

40 minutes in, and the hacked camera continues to feed brilliant, crystal clear video to my TV. I’m running it at 720p since that’s the resolution of the show, but the live view will do up to 1080i.

The color saturation is incredible. Really, really impressive. My maroon shirt look exactly the same on screen as it does when I look at my arm.

So far, it’s looking good. I think we’re going to hit that 1 hour mark. If we do, this is revolutionary. A very affordable stop-gap solution… maybe not even that, since it really does look great. Consumer 1080p cameras have nothing on the D5100 as far as video goes.

The biggest failing of the DSLR form factor is its auto-focus. Fine for shooting nature shots, but useless for video. So if all goes well with this test, the next step will be to find a reasonably priced follow focus rig.

My goal is to be able to secure all we need to put together a decent camera rig and have spent only about $1,000… the cost of an entry level prosumer camcorder. This way, we’ll have the follow focus rig already on hand, and when the money is in the bank to buy a 4K DSLR, we will only have to sub out the D5100, which will make a great stills camera at that point, or could be used for B-Roll.

45 minutes in now… fingers crossed 🙂

Update: an hour has passed (now about 1 hour 15 minutes) and still running flawlessly. This means we will begin testing the camera on-air, and then will offer a full tutorial on how to hack and use a Nikon D5100 as a live camera source on Telestream Wirecast.

Hacked Nikon D5100 Clean Fullscreen Live View over HDMI

That’s the DSLR sitting on the shelf next to the TV.

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May i know hpw to hack it?? i am very new to this .. so please help me out here


John brown

Robbie, I am watching your move to the hacked Nikon D-5100 with considerable interest. Have you considered using the CamRanger and it’s associated remote, wireless, CamRanger Pan Tilt Hub? At a combined $550.00 US, it is close to meeting your budget and would seem to allow a lot of control of the Nikon at distance.

I would be interested to know if the Nikon Hack would effect it’s functionality.

like yourself I am having to save up my allowance with which to buy new toys.

I’ll keep an eye open for you here and in the Wirecast forum.

Larry Johansen
Larry Johansen

Are there any problems with frame rate? Could you use it to capture sports action? I wouldn’t try it out on the Maple Leafs however since they apparently don’t move as quickly as your normal hockey teams.

Larry Johansen
Larry Johansen

Could you use Camera Control Pro to adjust the camera setting remotely?


That sounds pomising. Just keep on reporting so we all have a chance to redo your setup.