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Nikon D3100 vs D5100 Comparison

Storage & Battery

Nikon D3100

Nikon D3100

Nikon D5100

Nikon D5100 camera
Nikon D3100
Nikon D5100
Refers to the year this camera was officially made available for sale.
Announcement Date
Refers to the date the manufacturer publicly announced the upcoming release and general specs of this camera.
October 01, 2010
April 05, 2011
Camera Type
Camera Size
Camera Weight

The Nikon D5100 emerges as the winner with a score of 49/100, while the Nikon D3100 trails behind at 41/100. Both cameras share common specifications, such as being DSLR cameras and having similar dimensions, with the D5100 at 128 x 97 x 79mm and the D3100 at 124 x 96 x 75mm.

The D5100 takes the lead due to its better performance and features, justifying its higher launch price of $799 compared to the D3100’s $699. However, the D3100 has the advantage of being lighter, weighing 505g compared to the D5100’s 560g.

Taking all factors into consideration, the Nikon D5100 proves to be a superior camera, while the Nikon D3100 may appeal to those looking for a lighter and more affordable option.

Nikon D3100 vs D5100 Overview and Optics

The Nikon D5100 outperforms the Nikon D3100 in optics, with a score of 52/100 compared to the D3100’s 41/100. This 11-point difference highlights the superior optical quality of the D5100.

Both cameras share some common specifications, including the CMOS sensor type, Expeed 2 processor, APS-C sensor size, Nikon F DX lens mount, and lack of image stabilization. These shared features provide a solid foundation for both cameras’ performance.

The D5100 surpasses the D3100 in several areas. It boasts a higher megapixel count of 16.2, compared to the D3100’s 14.8, resulting in more detailed and higher resolution images. Additionally, the D5100 has a faster shooting speed of 4 frames per second (fps), while the D3100 has a shooting speed of 3 fps. This advantage allows the D5100 to capture fast-moving subjects more effectively. Furthermore, the D5100 has a higher DXOMARK score of 80 for its sensor, compared to the D3100’s score of 67, indicating better overall image quality.

The D3100, however, does not offer any significant advantages over the D5100 in terms of optics. Its lower score and specifications make it a less attractive option for those seeking superior optical performance.

Considering the advantages of the Nikon D5100, it is clear that this camera offers better optical performance than the Nikon D3100. With a higher megapixel count, faster shooting speed, and superior sensor quality, the D5100 is the better choice for photographers seeking enhanced image quality and performance. On the other hand, the D3100 may still be a viable option for beginners or those on a tighter budget, but with the understanding that it does not match the D5100 in terms of optics.

The higher the number of megapixels, the more detail the cameras sensor can capture.
14.8 MP
16.2 MP
Image Resolution
Image resolution is measured in pixels and megapixels, width by height. The higher the number, the higher its resolution.
4608 x 3072 px
4928 x 3264 px
Sensor Type
The camera sensor captures light and records the image. Sensors vary in physical size, the number of pixels, and quality.
Sensor Size
The sensor size contributes to the overall quality as well as the dynamic and tonal range a camera can capture. As a rule of thumb, the more surface there is to read the light, the more information it will capture.
15.4 x 23.1 mm
15.6 x 23.6 mm
Sensor Format
Refers to the most commonly used sensor sizes.
Frame Rate
The number of sequential frames per second the camera can write to the memory card when shooting in burst or continuous mode.
3 fps
4 fps
Lens Mount
The lens mount will tell you what type of lens range you can fit onto the camera body. Often the same camera company will have different lens ranges for different cameras.
Nikon F DX
Nikon F DX
Image Processor
The image processor in the camera converts the information collected on the sensor for digital storage on the memory card.
Expeed 2
Expeed 2
Aspect Ratio
The aspect ratio refers to the proportional difference between width and height. The most popular aspect ratios are 3:2 and 4:3.
Minimum ISO (Native)
Refers to the lowest native (or 'base') ISO setting. Lower ISO are less sensitive to light but make a cleaner image.
Maximum ISO (Native)
Refers to the highest native (or 'base') ISO setting. Higher ISO is necessary for low-light situations or night photography, but higher ISOs often introduce grain or noise.
Minimum ISO (Expanded)
Expanded (or extended) ISO is a digitally enhanced feature available on some cameras. It allows you to push beyond the native ISO range if necessary.
Maximum ISO (Expanded)
Expanded (or extended) ISO is a digitally enhanced feature available on some cameras. It allows you to push beyond the native ISO range if necessary.
Minimum Shutter Speed
The minimum shutter speed will tell you the longest exposure your camera can take without using an external accessory.
30 s
30 s
Maximum Shutter Speed
The maximum shutter speed tells you the length inside 1 second the camera will capture. These can sometimes be extended with accessories such as extra external batteries.
1/ 4000 s
1/ 4000 s
Autofocus Points
Autofocus points show where the camera is focusing graphically as squares or brackets in Live View or on an electronic viewfinder. These points are also used for light meter readings.
In-body Stabilization
In-body Stabilization means the camera has a certain technology embedded that counteracts camera shake.
Viewfinder Type
The viewfinder type is either electronic or optical. Electronic viewfinders will have a small screen in the viewfinder. Optical viewfinders will use prisms and mirrors to look through the lens.
Optical (pentamirror)
Optical (pentamirror)

Nikon D3100 vs D5100 Video Performance

Moving on to the video capabilities of the Nikon D3100 and Nikon D5100, it is important to note that neither of these cameras have video functionality. Therefore, there is no difference between them in this aspect. The lack of video features does not influence their scores, as the scores are determined by their overall performance and capabilities.

Indicates if this camera is capable of recording video.
Max Video Resolution
The best resolution this camera can capture video in. Modern cameras can capture up to 8K video.
Full HD
Max Video Dimensions
Video resolution measured by the greatest number of pixels possible in each frame, width by height. A higher resolution means more detail or clarity in your video.
1920 x 1080 px
Max Video Frame Rate
How many frames per second your video will capture. Most cameras have options for multiple frame rates, depending on the resolution you shoot in. For a general video, 24p or 30p is the standard, but more serious filmmakers may need a higher frame rate for creative effect.
30 p
Time-Lapse Built In
A built in time-lapse mode will allow continuous shooting throughout a prolonged period of time to be compressed into a sped up video.
Video File Format
Different cameras can record in various video file formats. The File format you record in can impact how you edit and use the files.
MPEG-4, MOV, H.264

Nikon D3100 vs D5100 Features and Benefits

The Nikon D5100 emerges as the winner in the features category with a score of 41/100, while the Nikon D3100 scores 36/100. Both cameras share several specifications, such as a 3-inch screen size, no touchscreen, no GPS, no WIFI, and no Bluetooth capabilities.

The D5100 outperforms the D3100 in screen resolution and screen functionality. It boasts a screen resolution of 921,000 dots, which is significantly higher than the D3100’s 230,000 dots. This difference allows the D5100 to display images with greater clarity and sharpness. Additionally, the D5100 features a flip screen, providing more flexibility for capturing images from various angles and aiding in self-portraits or vlogging.

On the other hand, the D3100 does not surpass the D5100 in any particular feature. However, it is worth noting that its lower score does not mean it is a poor camera. The D3100 still offers a solid performance and meets the needs of beginner photographers or those on a tighter budget.

After examining the features of both cameras, it is evident that the Nikon D5100 holds an advantage over the Nikon D3100, mainly due to its higher screen resolution and flip screen. This makes the D5100 more suitable for photographers seeking better image preview quality and increased flexibility in shooting angles. However, the Nikon D3100 remains a viable option for those who prioritize affordability and are satisfied with its offered features.

Built-in Flash
A built-in flash will often be positioned right above the lens. This will automatically pop up when you activate it.
External Flash
External flashes are often connected through a hot shoe at the top of a camera, or a cable at the side of the camera.
GPS features in a camera will include location metadata to each of your photographs.
Weather Sealing
Weather sealing capabilities will give you more confidence when shooting in unfavourable conditions.
Screen Type
Touch Screen
Touchscreen allows you to change camera settings and access menus with a swipe of your finger, instead of using buttons.
Screen Size
Screen Resolution
Screen dots indicate the resolution of the LCD screen by including each sub pixel.
230,000 dots
921,000 dots
Flip Screen
A flip screen (or articulating screen) is a second screen which can flip out from the side or top of the camera. This rotating screen allows you more freedom to take photos at different angles.
Live View
Live View feature allows you to see a continuous live video of what is being seen through your lens.
Bluetooth capabilities allow you wireless control of your camera with other external devices.

Nikon D3100 vs D5100 Storage and Battery

The Nikon D3100 wins in the storage and battery category with a score of 53/100, while the Nikon D5100 scores slightly lower at 51/100. Both cameras share some common specifications in this aspect. They each have one memory card slot and accept SD, SDHC, and SDXC memory cards. Neither camera offers USB charging, and both use the same EN-EL14 battery type.

The Nikon D3100 outperforms the D5100 in battery life, offering 4500 shots compared to the D5100’s 2200 shots. This significant difference provides the D3100 with a clear advantage for extended photography sessions without needing to change batteries.

On the other hand, the Nikon D5100 does not have any notable advantages over the D3100 in terms of storage and battery. Both cameras share similar storage options, and the D5100’s battery life is inferior to the D3100.

Taking into account the longer battery life of the Nikon D3100, it proves to be the superior choice in the storage and battery category. The Nikon D5100, although comparable in storage options, falls short in battery performance, making the D3100 a better option for photographers who require longer shooting times.

Storage and Battery
Storage and Battery
Memory Card
Dual Memory Card Slots
Battery Type
Battery Life
Approximately how long this cameras battery will last measured by how many photographs you will be able to take.
4,500 shots
2,200 shots
USB Charging
Sensor scores tested by DXOMARK
Overall Score
DXOMARK overall sensor score.
Portrait (Color Depth)
As described by DXOMARK 'The Portrait score in our camera sensor reviews defines color depth performance and its unit is a number of bits. A color depth of 22 bits is excellent; differences below 1 bit are barely noticeable.'
22.5 bits
23.5 bits
Landscape (Dynamic Range)
As described by DXOMARK 'The Landscape score in our camera sensor tests defines the maximum dynamic range of the camera sensor and its unit is an exposure value (EV). A value of 12 EV is excellent with differences below 0.5 EV usually not noticeable.'
11.3 EVs
13.6 EVs
Sports (Low-Light ISO)
Described by DXOMARK as 'The maximal value of ISO sensitivity needed to reach a given value of Signal-to-Noise Ratio (SNR). The greater the value, the better'

Nikon D3100 vs D5100 – Our Verdict

Nikon D3100 vs D5100 Comparison image.

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