Updated (March 2012): Compare the Nikon D3200 vs Nikon D5100

Nikon D5100 vs Nikon D3200

Nikon D5100


Nikon D3200



Reasons to buy the Nikon D5100

Wide dynamic range
Dynamic range
13.6 EV
Flip-out screen
Screen flips out
Great for movies
In-camera HDR
Combines multiple exposures
High ISO (boost)
Light sensitivity (boost)
25,600 ISO

Reasons to buy the Nikon D3200

Overall image quality
Great image quality
Color depth
Great color depth
24.1 bits
True resolution
High true resolution
24.1 MP
Dynamic range
Wide dynamic range
13.2 EV


Explore our gallery of 50 sample photos taken by the Nikon D3200.
Explore our gallery of 50 sample photos taken by the Nikon D5100.


Nikon D5100 Competitors

Nikon D3300

Nikon D3300

Entry-level DSLR

$471 body only

$419 - $447 with 18-55mm lens

Panorama Can create panoramas in-camera
Movie format Lower frame rate movies
HDR Lacks in-camera HDR
Nikon D5300

Nikon D5300

Entry-level DSLR

$485 body only

$494 - $500 with 18-55mm lens

Movie format Lower frame rate movies
Screen size Much larger screen
Battery life Slightly shorter battery life
Nikon D5200

Nikon D5200

Entry-level DSLR

$420 body only

$479 with 18-55mm lens

Movie format Lower frame rate movies
True resolution Much higher true resolution
Shutter lag More shutter lag

Nikon D3200 Competitors

Nikon D3300

Nikon D3300

Entry-level DSLR

$471 body only

$419 - $447 with 18-55mm lens

Low light performance Significantly lower noise at high ISO
Panorama Can create panoramas in-camera
Lowest price More expensive
Nikon D3400

Nikon D3400

Entry-level DSLR

$400 body only

$389 - $497 with 18-55mm lens

Movie format Lower frame rate movies
Battery life Much longer battery life
External mic jack Lacks an external mic jack
Canon EOS Rebel T6

Canon EOS Rebel T6

Entry-level DSLR

$318 - $699 body only

$367 - $449 with 18-55mm lens

Weight Slightly lighter
True resolution Much lower true resolution


Nikon D5100

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Nikon D3200

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Showing 25 comments

Avatar for Ben T Ben T (4:16 AM, January 10, 2017)
I have a question concerning both of these cameras and a light pollution filter. Do you guys think a light pollution filter that fits in a D5100 body will fit in a D3200 body just the same? I am starting some astrophotography and the D3200 is the only camera I have. I would love the get the light pollution filter for it, but the only cameras I can find one for are the D7100/D7200 or D5100.
Avatar for Kamilia Kamilia (8:20 PM, June 18, 2015)
Hi Vhysaint.
The major different is that Nikon D3200 come in 2012 and have 24.2 MP while Nikon D5100 come in 2011 and have 16.2 MP + a rotate screen; i found an article that can point you to the right DSLR camera, it's made for beginners to DSLR technology: here it is http://nikond3200news.blogspot(DOT)com/2014/06/nikon-d3200-is-it-best-dslr-camera-for-beginner.html [replace (DOT) with point . ]
Avatar for Ashley Steen Ashley Steen (11:47 PM, January 04, 2015)
I have both the 3200 and the 5100. The 3200 for me wins on stop shutter pics and in some cases portraits. The 5100 has special effects and scenery selection that the 3200 lacks and a higher ISO. The MAJOR thing I can complain about with a 5100 is there is no hot button for my ISO I have to go into the menu to set it. I am always in manual mode since most of the lens I love are manual. If you want all around, no frills, and you really don't know how to set a camera the 3200 is good, (the 3200 has a guide mode if you know what you want but don't exactly how to set a camera it will do it for you). The 5100 has a higher ISO and is less blurry doing night sky photography. (If you get the 5100 check out the miniature effect on buildings it looks almost like a tilt shift, and the cartoon effect it looks really cool.) The 3200 has a selector for people in low light settings and a guide function, but not the other two. For me though I use both together and it is cheaper than a 2100.00 camera. I am a Realtor so I use the 3200 for landscape and when I use a flash in white surroundings. The 5100 when I have to take a odd angle pic I flip out the back screen so I can see what I am shooting. I can interchange lenses and my flash unit fits either ha ha so I win. If you are doing serious photography and want a broad selection of choices the 5100 is cool. If you are doing Grandma and Grandpa for your photo album then the 3200 will be more than enough and will whet your appetite for bigger and better. Because the 3200 and the 5100 can be set for so much in the manual mode that it can blow your mind. So make a choice and buy yourself a very nice lens (you will thank me for this piece of advice). Learn how to really make that camera work experiment with the manual mode (you can get some cheap older lenses off of ebay or a local pawn shop that will cut your cost by hundreds just make sure there is no fungus and scratches on the lens). Learn how to operate your aperture, ISO, and shutter mode, and have fun no matter what. Also buy a some sd cards and a external drive trust me you will need them.
Jessika (5:49 PM, October 03, 2014)
If you want to use it just for hobby or normal use (mean not professional), you need to buy Nikon D3200 because it is the best entry level DSLR camera for everyday shooting and very easy to use.

And If you compare Nikon D3200 vs D5100, the D3200 will win because it contain almost all the new DSLR technologies and have a low price so you can invest in Lenses and tripod, while D5100 can get your attention if you are interesting with the rotate screen.

This article http://goo.gl/kG2mxO help me a lot when i was have same problem as you.
Good luck
Avatar for Pepe Le Pew Pepe Le Pew (2:13 AM, August 04, 2014)
Avatar for Brent Brent (4:13 PM, June 06, 2014)
Yes but if your going to be taking selfies with your DSLR, you shouldn't have bought one at all.
skitzoo (2:54 AM, May 11, 2014)
which do you think produces a much better quality if the pictures are scrutinised using retina display?
Thalia (7:37 PM, February 11, 2014)
Okay, I'm an aspiring filmmaker. Do I choose the Nikon D3200, the Nikon D5100, the Sony Alpha A3000, or the Sony SLT A58. Thanks :)
Avatar for ali ali (6:54 AM, January 29, 2014)
im confused...which to buy D3200 or D5100?

give me suggition plz ???
which is better????
Avatar for Karim Ahmed Karim Ahmed (0:49 PM, December 29, 2013)
Finally Snapsort , Which is Better D5100 or D3200 for Best Performance not Cheap , Expensive , lighter , heavier ?? .. Just Performance at night scenes .. Qualityy ?
Avatar for nibi nibi (6:32 AM, December 26, 2013)
Dear friends, last few months I am looking over both nokon 3200 and nikon 5100.both cameras have some specific qualities.as a person, who love photography, and always seeking for best out for our work, which one I can select, either nikon 3200 or nikon 5100. I am not looking at long battery life, flip out screen or megapixel.i am looking only over the best picture out put.so kindly share your valuable informations and experienses.
RIC (5:15 PM, December 25, 2013)
3200 or 5100??????? !!!!!!!!!!!!!
davey (10:38 PM, December 16, 2013)
do not listen to the reviews on this comment section, too many idiots with no clue what they are talking about..
Avatar for Joseph Murray Joseph Murray (5:05 PM, December 01, 2013)
The door just pops out from its hinges. Don't be afraid to use a litle muscle; you can see where the hinge mount is split, not a closed loop. Just pull it out.
Salseng (0:42 AM, November 29, 2013)
Go for D90 :)
Salseng (0:42 AM, November 29, 2013)
Go for D90 :)
Avatar for jacob jacob (9:45 AM, November 27, 2013)
which is better among the two for video rec? or should i look for some canon in the same price range? is it true theres a 20 min limit on video rec? :O
Avatar for italoandre italoandre (10:58 PM, November 06, 2013)
If you are recording videos, the flip screen can be very useful
Avatar for paulonerd paulonerd (1:25 AM, November 06, 2013)
Is your mobile phone's sensor as big as APC? I don't think so. If you don't understand the advantages of that, then I'm not the one who sucks at photography. About HDR, "better" is a wide term, which can incorporate the concept of easyness if I want to. Is there anything else that you wanna say?
Avatar for disqus_o0e0FeaGOs disqus_o0e0FeaGOs (11:26 AM, November 05, 2013)
BTW You don't HAVE to flip out a flip-out screen. They can stay stuck against the body like any non-flip-out screen so if you're worried about it being jostled you simply don't flip it out!

Either way, this is a pointless exercise since I've been converted to the Pentax dark side from my Canikon past.
Avatar for disqus_o0e0FeaGOs disqus_o0e0FeaGOs (11:23 AM, November 05, 2013)
Never bought a D5100. Went with a Pentax K-30 instead and have been "singing in the rain" ;-).

Seriously though. If I had to take a Nikon (I really like the Nikon too but found its grip to be less than perfect, and... it didn't have weather resistance which is pretty a pretty major plus for me) I'd get the D5100 hands down over the D3200 because of the flip-out screen and the much better battery life. Swapping out a battery is a pain.

The flip-out screen is useful in a LOT of situations, not just shooting video. I've recently had the pleasure of shooting with the flip-out D5100 and my non-flip-out K-30 and, though I like the overall feel of the K-30 better I do find myself wishing for a flip-out screen (of course, flip-out screen and weather resistance would be asking for trouble) and better battery life.
PhotoEngineer (0:00 AM, November 02, 2013)
dude, D7000 became a legend not because of 16MP but for other PRO-funcs.
Floppah (11:57 PM, November 01, 2013)
I bought a cheap extra battery, now my d3200 has 80% more battery life than your D5100.
Don't tell me you also bought an extra battery?
Flip camera has a bad side, whenever you are in a crowded place like sports arena, music gigs/concert, you cannot just flip it out. It may be tackled by other people, and you can't blame them for damaging your cam. So flip camera isn't that useful. I don't prefer flip cams for photography, but it is good when taking videos.
paulonoob (11:49 PM, November 01, 2013)
You mean selfies man? You can just use your cellphone for that. He said that using a PC to make HDR photo is better which is true, he doesn't mean easier. I'm sorry for the term but, I guess you suck at photography.
Avatar for paulonerd paulonerd (4:16 PM, October 28, 2013)
HDR in the camera is much easier than using a PC and flip screen is useful when taking self portraits with a beautiful person at your side. 16mp is enough for almost everything. D5100 is my choice.