Updated (January 2012): Compare the Nikon D5100 vs Nikon D4

Nikon D3 vs Nikon D5100

Winner
Nikon D3

91

Nikon D5100

65

Runner-up

Reasons to buy the Nikon D3

Low noise at high ISO
Low light performance
2,290 ISO
Large viewfinder
Viewfinder size
0.70x
Weather sealed
Weather sealed
Shoot in extreme weather
Rapid fire
Continuous shooting
9 fps
 

Reasons to buy the Nikon D5100

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

Items often bought with the D3 or D5100

galleries

Explore our gallery of 50 sample photos taken by the Nikon D5100.
Explore our gallery of 50 sample photos taken by the Nikon D3.

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
Autofocus
Video autofocus
Contrast detection vs None
Help
Automatically focuses shooting video
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
Size
Much smaller
127×97×79 mm vs 160×157×88 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
230 lenses vs 171 lenses
Help
More than 30% more lenses available
Dynamic range
More dynamic range
13 EV vs 12.2 EV
Help
0.3 f-stops more dynamic range
Weight
Much lighter
560 g vs 1,300 g
Help
2.3x lighter
Lowest price
Much cheaper
$368.00 vs $4,999.00
Help
The best price we've seen is $4,631 cheaper (13.6x less)
True resolution
Higher true resolution
16.1 MP vs 12.1 MP
Help
Capture more than 30% more detail in your photos
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-stops) 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
Continuous shooting
Shoots much faster
9 fps vs 4 fps
Help
Around 2.5x faster continuous shooting
Weather sealed
Weather sealed
Yes vs No
Help
Sealed to shoot in the rain
Focus points
Significantly more focus points
51 vs 11
Help
Set focus accurately within the frame
Viewfinder coverage
Much better viewfinder coverage
100% vs 95%
Help
Around 10% better viewfinder coverage
Cross type focus points
More cross-type focus points
15 vs 1
Help
Grab focus in difficult situations
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
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 65
Retailer
    Style
      Color
        You save
        vs
        91 Nikon D3 Nikon D3
        Retailer
          Style
            Color
              You save

              similarities

              Compared to recent DSLRs

              Common Strengths

              Snapsort is not aware of any interesting strengths shared by these two products.

              Common Weaknesses
              Light sensitivity Poor maximum light sensitivity Help
              6,400 ISO
              True resolution Capture low resolution images Help
              D510016.1 MP
              D312.1 MP
              Touch screen No touchscreens Help
              More buttons
              Image stabilization No image stabilization Help
              Risk of blur
              Screen size Very small screens Help
              3"

              dxomark

              DXOMark

              competitors

              Shared Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              Nikon D5200

              Nikon D5200

              Entry-level DSLR

              $400 - $497 body only

              $479 - $500 with 18-55mm lens

              True resolution Takes slightly higher resolution photos
              Fastest shutter speed Has a slower max shutter speed
              Shutter lag Has much more shutter lag
              Nikon D7200

              Nikon D7200

              Entry-level DSLR

              $979 - $1,197 body only

              $1,235 - $1,497 with 18-140mm lens

              Overall image quality Has slightly better image quality
              Color depth Has slightly more color depth
              Weight Is slightly heavier
              Movie continuous focus Doesn't focus continuously while recording movies
              Nikon D7100

              Nikon D7100

              Entry-level DSLR

              $713 - $897 body only

              $948 - $1,197 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
              Nikon D7000

              Nikon D7000

              Entry-level DSLR

              $479 body only

              $720 with 18-55mm lens

              Weight Is slightly heavier
              Shutter lag Has much more shutter lag
              Nikon D90

              Nikon D90

              Entry-level DSLR

              $755 with 18-105mm lens

              Fastest shutter speed Has a slower max shutter speed
              Weight Is slightly heavier
              Nikon D750

              Nikon D750

              Pro DSLR

              $1,585 - $1,997 body only

              $2,125 - $2,697 with 24-120mm lens

              Low light performance Is slightly less noisy at high ISO
              Overall image quality Has slightly better image quality
              Fastest shutter speed Has a slower max shutter speed
              Lowest price Is slightly more expensive
              Nikon D610

              Nikon D610

              Pro DSLR

              $1,174 - $1,497 body only

              $1,649 - $1,997 with 24-85mm lens

              Low light performance Is slightly less noisy at high ISO
              Overall image quality Has significantly better image quality
              Fastest shutter speed Has a slower max shutter speed
              Lowest price Is slightly more expensive

              Nikon D5100 Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              Nikon D3200

              Nikon D3200

              Entry-level DSLR

              $289 body only

              $349 - $447 with 18-55mm lens

              True resolution Higher true resolution
              Color depth Better color depth
              HDR Lacks in-camera HDR
              Screen flips out Screen does not flip out
              Nikon D3300

              Nikon D3300

              Entry-level DSLR

              $430 - $497 with 18-55mm lens

              Panorama Can create panoramas in-camera
              Color depth Better color depth
              HDR Lacks in-camera HDR
              Screen flips out Screen does not flip out
              Nikon D5500

              Nikon D5500

              Entry-level DSLR

              $561 - $747 body only

              $689 - $847 with 18-55mm lens

              Screen size Significantly larger screen
              Touch screen Has a touch screen
              Lowest price Slightly more expensive
              Canon Kiss X5

              Canon Kiss X5

              Entry-level DSLR

              $1,299 body only

              Screen resolution Higher resolution screen
              Viewfinder size Slightly larger viewfinder
              Overall image quality Significantly worse image quality
              Dynamic range Less dynamic range
              Nikon D5300

              Nikon D5300

              Entry-level DSLR

              $480 - $647 body only

              $549 - $747 with 18-55mm lens

              Screen size Significantly larger screen
              GPS Has a GPS
              Battery life Slightly shorter battery life

              Nikon D3 Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              Nikon D3S

              Nikon D3S

              Pro DSLR

              $4,995 body only

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

              Nikon D700

              Pro DSLR

              $2,800 body only

              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

              $2,285 body only

              Movie format Shoots movies
              Overall image quality Significantly better image quality
              Battery life Much shorter battery life
              Continuous shooting Shoots much slower
              Nikon D810

              Nikon D810

              Pro DSLR

              $2,419 - $2,997 body only

              $3,696 - $3,697 with 24-120mm lens

              Movie format Shoots movies
              Overall image quality Significantly better image quality
              Battery life Much shorter battery life
              Continuous shooting Shoots significantly slower

              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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