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Nikon D3500 vs D5100 Comparison

Storage & Battery

Nikon D3500

Nikon D3500 product image

Nikon D5100

Nikon D5100 camera
Nikon D3500
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.
August 30, 2018
April 05, 2011
Camera Type
Camera Size
Camera Weight

The Nikon D3500 emerges as the winner with a score of 61/100, while the Nikon D5100 trails behind at 49/100. Both cameras share similarities as DSLR cameras, released in 2018 and 2011 respectively, with the D3500 being priced at $499.95 and the D5100 at $799. They have similar dimensions, with the D3500 measuring 124 x 97 x 70mm and the D5100 at 128 x 97 x 79mm.

The D3500 outperforms the D5100 with its higher score, reflecting its better overall quality. However, the D5100 has a slight advantage in weight, being lighter at 560g compared to the D3500’s 615g.

Taking into account their scores, specifications, and prices, the Nikon D3500 proves to be a better camera choice than the Nikon D5100. The D5100’s only advantage is its lighter weight, but this does not outweigh the superior performance of the D3500.

Nikon D3500 vs D5100 Overview and Optics

The Nikon D3500 outperforms the Nikon D5100 in optics with a score of 65/100 compared to the D5100’s 52/100. Both cameras share common specifications such as CMOS sensor type, APS-C sensor size, Nikon F lens mount, and the absence of image stabilization.

The D3500 takes the lead with its higher megapixel count of 24, allowing for greater image resolution and detail. Additionally, the D3500 boasts a faster shooting speed of 5 frames per second, enabling users to capture fast-moving subjects more effectively. The camera’s Expeed 4 processor also contributes to its superior performance, resulting in faster image processing and improved noise reduction. Furthermore, the D3500’s DXOMARK sensor score of 87 demonstrates its ability to produce high-quality images with a wider dynamic range and better low-light performance.

On the other hand, the D5100 has a lower megapixel count of 16.2, which may suffice for casual photographers but may not be suitable for those seeking higher image resolution. Its shooting speed of 4 frames per second is also slower than the D3500, potentially limiting its ability to capture fast action shots. The D5100’s Expeed 2 processor may hinder its performance in terms of image processing and noise reduction. Its DXOMARK sensor score of 80, although respectable, falls short compared to the D3500’s score.

Taking these factors into consideration, the Nikon D3500’s superior optics make it the better choice for photographers prioritizing image quality, resolution, and speed. Although the D5100 may be adequate for casual use, the D3500 outshines it in terms of overall optical performance.

The higher the number of megapixels, the more detail the cameras sensor can capture.
24 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.
6000 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.
15.6 x 23.5 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.
5 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
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 4
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 D3500 vs D5100 Video Performance

The Nikon D5100 has a narrow lead in video performance. Both cameras allows users to record videos in Full HD, with a maximum resolution of 1920 x 1080.

The highest video frame rate available for the D5100 is 30 frames per second. On the other hand, the Nikon D3500 supports a maximum video frame rate of 60fps, providing smooth and clear footage. However, the Nikon D3500 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.
1920×1080 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.
60 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 D3500 vs D5100 Features and Benefits

The Nikon D3500 emerges as the winner in this comparison, with a feature score of 54 points, compared to the Nikon D5100’s 41 points. Both cameras share certain specifications, including a 3-inch screen size and the lack of a touchscreen, GPS, and WiFi connectivity. However, the D3500 outperforms the D5100 in some areas, while the D5100 has its own advantages.

The Nikon D3500 has a slightly higher screen resolution at 921,600 dots, as opposed to the D5100’s 921,000 dots. This difference makes the D3500’s display marginally sharper and clearer. Additionally, the D3500 includes Bluetooth connectivity, allowing for seamless pairing with compatible devices for easy file transfers and remote control operation.

On the other hand, the Nikon D5100 possesses a flip screen, which the D3500 lacks. This feature enables users to capture images and videos from various angles, making it particularly useful for shooting in tight spaces or capturing self-portraits. However, the D5100 does not have Bluetooth connectivity, limiting its compatibility with other devices.

In light of these differences, the Nikon D3500 offers a better overall feature set, with a higher screen resolution and Bluetooth connectivity. The D5100’s flip screen may appeal to some users, but its lack of Bluetooth and lower feature score make it less competitive overall. Consequently, the D3500 is the more attractive option for photographers seeking a combination of essential features and modern connectivity options.

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.
921,600 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 D3500 vs D5100 Storage and Battery

The Nikon D5100 outperforms the Nikon D3500 in storage and battery with a score of 51/100 compared to the D3500’s 48/100. Both cameras share common specifications in storage, having one memory card slot each and accepting SD, SDHC, and SDXC memory cards. Neither camera offers USB charging.

The D5100’s advantage lies in its longer battery life, providing 2200 shots compared to the D3500’s 1550 shots. This difference allows for more extended shooting sessions without needing to change batteries. However, the D3500 uses the newer EN-EL14a battery type while the D5100 uses the older EN-EL14.

Although the D3500 has a shorter battery life, its newer battery type may offer better performance in certain situations. Ultimately, the choice between the two cameras depends on the user’s needs and preferences. The D5100 is better for longer shooting sessions, while the D3500 has a more modern battery type.

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.
1,550 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.'
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.'
13.6 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 D3500 and D5100

Nikon D3500 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 D3500 or the Nikon D5100:

User Scores
B&H photo video
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