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Nikon D3200 vs D5100 Comparison

Storage & Battery

Nikon D3200

Nikon D3200 camera image

Nikon D5100

Nikon D5100 camera
Nikon D3200
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.
April 19, 2012
April 05, 2011
Camera Type
Camera Size
Camera Weight

The Nikon D3200 outperforms the Nikon D5100, scoring 54/100 compared to 49/100. Both cameras share similarities as DSLR cameras, released in 2012 and 2011 respectively, with launch prices of $699 (D3200) and $799 (D5100). Additionally, their sizes are relatively close, with the D3200 measuring 125 x 96 x 77mm and the D5100 at 128 x 97 x 79mm.

The D3200’s higher score reflects its superior features, such as a lighter weight at 505g compared to the D5100’s 560g. However, the D5100 has its advantages, such as a slightly larger body which may offer better grip for some users.

Both cameras have their strengths and weaknesses, but the Nikon D3200 ultimately stands out as the better option due to its higher score and more favorable specifications.

Nikon D3200 vs D5100 Overview and Optics

The Nikon D3200 outperforms the Nikon D5100 in optics with a score of 63/100, compared to the D5100’s 52/100. Both cameras share several similar specifications, including a 4 fps shooting speed, CMOS sensor type, APS-C sensor size, Nikon F DX lens mount, and lack of image stabilization.

The D3200’s superiority in optics is attributed to its 24.2-megapixel resolution, higher than the D5100’s 16.2 megapixels. This difference allows the D3200 to capture more detailed and sharper images. Additionally, the D3200 features the Expeed 3 processor, which is more advanced than the D5100’s Expeed 2 processor. This results in better image processing and overall performance. Furthermore, the D3200 has a slightly higher DXOMARK sensor score of 81, compared to the D5100’s 80, indicating better overall sensor quality.

On the other hand, the D5100 has some advantages over the D3200. Its lower megapixel count may result in larger pixels on the sensor, potentially providing better low-light performance and a higher dynamic range. However, this advantage is minimal, as both cameras have nearly identical DXOMARK sensor scores.

Ultimately, the Nikon D3200 is the better choice in terms of optics, with its higher megapixel count and more advanced processor. The Nikon D5100, while still a capable camera, falls short in comparison, with its only advantage being a potential, yet minimal, improvement in low-light performance and dynamic range. Both cameras cater to the needs of photographers, but those prioritizing image quality and detail should opt for the Nikon D3200.

The higher the number of megapixels, the more detail the cameras sensor can capture.
24.2 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.
6016 x 4000 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 23.2 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.
4 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 3
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 D3200 vs D5100 Video Performance

The Nikon D3200 has a video score of 43 in comparison to the 5100’s 57. Both cameras allows users to record videos in Full HD, with a maximum resolution of 1920 x 1080. The highest video frame rate available is 30 frames per second. However, the Nikon D3200 does not have built-in time-lapse functionality, giving the D5100 an edge.

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
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
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
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 D3200 vs D5100 Features and Benefits

The Nikon D5100 wins the feature comparison with a score of 43/100, slightly surpassing the Nikon D3200’s score of 41/100. Both cameras share several specifications, including a 3-inch screen size and a screen resolution of 921,000 dots. Neither camera has a touchscreen, GPS, WiFi, or Bluetooth capabilities.

The Nikon D5100 stands out due to its flip screen feature, which the Nikon D3200 lacks. This flip screen allows for more versatility in shooting angles and can be especially useful for capturing images from challenging perspectives or when recording video content.

On the other hand, the Nikon D3200 does not offer any additional features that make it superior to the Nikon D5100. Both cameras have the same screen size and resolution and lack the same connectivity features. The only advantage the Nikon D3200 has over the Nikon D5100 is its slightly lower score, which could potentially indicate a lower price point or older release date, depending on the buyer’s preferences.

In comparing the features of the Nikon D3200 and Nikon D5100, the D5100 emerges as the better option due to its flip screen. The D3200 does not offer any unique features that make it a more attractive choice. While both cameras share many similarities, the flip screen on the D5100 provides an added benefit for photographers seeking more flexibility in their shooting experience.

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.
921,000 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 D3200 vs D5100 Storage and Battery

The Nikon D5100 wins in the storage and battery category with a score of 51/100, while the Nikon D3200 scores 27/100. Both cameras share common specifications in this area, such as having a single memory card slot, accepting SD/SDHC/SDXC memory cards, using the same EN-EL14 battery type, and lacking USB charging capability.

The D5100 outperforms the D3200 in battery life, offering an impressive 2200 shots compared to the D3200’s 540 shots. This significant difference makes the D5100 a more reliable choice for extended shooting sessions without needing frequent battery replacements or charging.

The D3200, however, does not have any advantages in the storage and battery category over the D5100. The inferior battery life and similar storage options make it a less appealing option compared to its counterpart.

Taking these factors into consideration, the Nikon D5100 emerges as a clear winner in the storage and battery department. The longer battery life and shared storage capabilities make it a more practical and reliable choice for photographers seeking extended shooting capabilities.

Storage and Battery
Storage and Battery
Memory Card
SD / SDHC / SDXC (UHS-I compatible)
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.
540 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.'
24.1 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.'
13.2 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'

Alternatives to the Nikon D3200 and D5100

Nikon D3200 vs D5100 Comparison image.

Are you still undecided about which camera is right for you? Have a look at these popular comparisons that feature the Nikon D3200 or the Nikon D5100:

User Scores
B&H photo video
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