Updated (October, 2012): Compare the Nikon D5200 vs Nikon D4

Nikon D3

Winner
Nikon D3

93

vs

Nikon D5100

67

Nikon D5100

Runner-up
     
 

Reasons to buy the Nikon D3

Low light performance
Low noise at high ISO
2,290 ISO
Overall image quality
Great image quality
81.0
Viewfinder size
Large viewfinder
0.70x
Weather sealed
Weather sealed
Shoot in extreme weather
 

Reasons to buy the Nikon D5100

Dynamic range
Wide dynamic range
13 EV
Screen flips out
Flip-out screen
Great for movies
HDR
In-camera HDR
Combines multiple exposures
Movie continuous focus
Movie continuous focus
Makes it easy to get in-focus movies
 
Differences | Recommendations | Cast your vote | Similarities | Competitors | Appearance | Discussion

differences

Advantages of the Nikon D5100

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Movie format Shoots movies 1080p @ 30fps vs None
Help
Shoots Full HD (1080p) video as well as still pictures
HDR Has in-camera HDR Yes vs No
Help
Combines multiple exposures to capture high dynamic range
Screen flips out Has a flip-out screen Yes vs No
Help
Flip-out screens can be helpful when composing tricky shots or taking movies
Autofocus Video autofocus Contrast detection vs None
Help
Automatically focuses shooting video
Size Much smaller 127x96x78 mm vs 160x157x88 mm
Help
2.3x smaller
Sensor cleaning Has a self cleaning sensor Yes vs No
Help
Removes dust from the sensor automatically, avoiding spots in photos
Lens availability Significantly more lenses available 205 lenses vs 152 lenses
Help
More than 30% more lenses available
Dynamic range More dynamic range 13 EV vs 12.2 EV
Help
0.8 f-stops more dynamic range
True resolution Higher true resolution 16.1 MP vs 12.1 MP
Help
Capture more than 30% more detail in your photos
Weight Much lighter 560 g vs 1,300 g
Help
2.3x lighter
Thickness Significantly thinner 3.1" vs 3.5"
Help
More than 10% thinner
Built-in flash Built-in flash Yes vs No
Help
A built-in flash is useful for taking indoor shots where there is little light
Nikon D5100 Learn more about
the Nikon D5100

Advantages of the Nikon D3

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Battery life Much longer battery life 4300 shots vs 660 shots
Help
More than 6.5x more shots per battery charge
Low light performance Significantly lower noise at high ISO 2,290 ISO vs 1,183 ISO
Help
The D3 has a slight edge (1 f-stop) in low noise, high ISO performance
Viewfinder size Much larger viewfinder 0.70x vs 0.51x
Help
Around 90% larger viewfinder
Shutter lag Much less shutter lag 88 ms vs 273 ms
Help
3.1x less delay when taking photos
Weather sealed Weather sealed Yes vs No
Help
Sealed to shoot in the rain
Sensor size Much larger sensor Full frame 36.0x24.0mm vs APS-C 23.6x15.6mm
Help
Around 2.5x larger sensor
Continuous shooting Shoots significantly faster 9 fps vs 4 fps
Help
Around 2.5x faster continuous shooting
Focus points Significantly more focus points 51 vs 11
Help
Set focus accurately within the frame
Cross type focus points Significantly more cross-type focus points 15 vs 1
Help
Grab focus in difficult situations
Viewfinder coverage Much better viewfinder coverage 100% vs 95%
Help
Around 10% better viewfinder coverage
Viewfinder Has a pentaprism viewfinder Pentaprism vs Pentamirror
Help
Pentaprism viewfinders are typically brighter
Built-in focus motor Has a built-in focus motor Yes vs No
Help
Autofocuses with all autofocus lenses
Storage slots Has more storage slots 2 vs 1
Help
More slots allows storing more images without switching memory cards
Startup delay Less startup delay 300 ms vs 500 ms
Help
40% less delay when turning on
Overall image quality Slightly better image quality 81.0 vs 80.0
Help
Almost the same
Fastest shutter speed Much faster max shutter speed 1/8000s vs 1/4000s
Help
2x faster max shutter speed
Nikon D3 Learn more about
the Nikon D3
vs

recommendations

Which camera do we recommend? Relative to the best recent DSLRs, and ignoring price

Snapsort Recommends
Nikon D5100 Nikon D5100 67
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      Color
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        vs

        93 Nikon D3 Nikon D3

        similarities

        Compared to recent DSLRs

        Common Strengths Common Weaknesses
        Startup delay Minimal startup delay Help
        D5100:500 ms
        D3:300 ms
        True resolution Capture low resolution images Help
        D5100:16.1 MP
        D3:12.1 MP
        Light sensitivity Poor maximum light sensitivity Help
        6,400 ISO
        Panorama Neither camera stitches together panoramas Help
        You could stitch photos in post
        Image stabilization No image stabilization Help
        Risk of blur

        dxomark

        DXOMark

        competitors

        Shared Competitors

        Advantages

        Disadvantages

        Nikon D3200

        Nikon D3200

        Entry-level DSLR

        $319 body only

        $477 with 18-55mm lens

        True resolution Takes significantly higher resolution photos
        Fastest shutter speed Has a slower max shutter speed
        Shutter lag Has much more shutter lag
        Nikon D5200

        Nikon D5200

        Entry-level DSLR

        $547 - $697 body only

        $549 - $647 with 18-55mm lens

        True resolution Takes significantly higher resolution photos
        Fastest shutter speed Has a slower max shutter speed
        Shutter lag Has much more shutter lag
        Nikon D90

        Nikon D90

        Entry-level DSLR

        $850 with 18-105mm lens

        Fastest shutter speed Has a slower max shutter speed
        Weight Is slightly heavier
        Nikon D7000

        Nikon D7000

        Entry-level DSLR

        $1,699 with 18-200mm lens

        Weight Is slightly heavier
        Shutter lag Has much more shutter lag
        Nikon D7100

        Nikon D7100

        Entry-level DSLR

        $1,047 body only

        $1,347 with 18-140mm lens

        Screen size Has a significantly larger screen
        Screen resolution Has a significantly higher resolution screen
        Weight Is slightly heavier
        Shutter lag Has much more shutter lag
        Canon EOS 7D

        Canon EOS 7D

        Pro DSLR

        $999 - $1,100 body only

        $1,299 with 18-135mm lens

        Thickness Is thinner
        Weight Is significantly heavier
        Size Is slightly larger

        Nikon D5100 Competitors

        Advantages

        Disadvantages

        Canon Rebel T3i

        Canon Rebel T3i

        Entry-level DSLR

        $499 body only

        $549 - $579 with 18-55mm lens

        Screen resolution Higher resolution screen
        True resolution Higher true resolution
        Overall image quality Significantly worse image quality
        Dynamic range Less dynamic range
        Nikon D3300

        Nikon D3300

        Entry-level DSLR

        $547 with 18-55mm lens

        Panorama Can create panoramas in-camera
        True resolution Significantly higher true resolution
        Startup delay Much more startup delay
        HDR Lacks in-camera HDR
        Canon EOS Rebel T5

        Canon EOS Rebel T5

        Entry-level DSLR

        $681 - $700 body only

        $499 - $822 with 18-55mm lens

        True resolution Higher true resolution
        Weight Lighter
        Overall image quality Significantly worse image quality
        Dynamic range Less dynamic range
        Nikon D5300

        Nikon D5300

        Entry-level DSLR

        $747 body only

        $659 - $847 with 18-55mm lens

        Screen size Significantly larger screen
        True resolution Significantly higher true resolution
        Battery life Slightly shorter battery life
        Lowest price Slightly more expensive
        Nikon D3100

        Nikon D3100

        Entry-level DSLR

        $273 body only

        $640 with 18-55mm lens

        Startup delay Slightly less startup delay
        Thickness Thinner
        Screen resolution Much lower resolution screen
        Dynamic range Less dynamic range

        Nikon D3 Competitors

        Advantages

        Disadvantages

        Nikon D3S

        Nikon D3S

        Pro DSLR

        $4,995 body only

        Low light performance Lower noise at high ISO
        Movie format Shoots movies
        Shutter lag Significantly more shutter lag
        Dynamic range Less dynamic range
        Nikon D700

        Nikon D700

        Pro DSLR

        Sensor cleaning Has a self cleaning sensor
        Size Much smaller
        Battery life Much shorter battery life
        Continuous shooting Shoots significantly slower
        Nikon D800

        Nikon D800

        Pro DSLR

        $3,160 body only

        True resolution Much higher true resolution
        Overall image quality Significantly better image quality
        Battery life Much shorter battery life
        Continuous shooting Shoots significantly slower
        Nikon D4

        Nikon D4

        Pro DSLR

        $6,744 - $6,842 body only

        Movie format Shoots movies
        Low light performance Lower noise at high ISO
        Battery life Much shorter battery life
        Shutter lag Significantly more shutter lag
        Nikon D610

        Nikon D610

        Pro DSLR

        $1,797 body only

        $2,297 - $2,300 with 24-85mm lens

        Overall image quality Significantly better image quality
        Movie format Shoots movies
        Battery life Much shorter battery life
        Shutter lag Much more shutter lag

        appearance

        Nikon D5100 Nikon D3
        Nikon D5100 Nikon D3
        Nikon D5100 Nikon D3

        discussion

        Nikon D5100
        D5100
        Nikon

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        Nikon D3
        D3
        Nikon

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