Updated (October 2012): Compare the Nikon D5200 vs Nikon D300

Nikon D5100 vs Nikon D300

Winner
Nikon D5100

68

Nikon D300

64

Runner-up

Reasons to buy the Nikon D5100

Full HD
Movie format
1080p @ 30fps
Flip-out screen
Screen flips out
Great for movies
In-camera HDR
HDR
Combines multiple exposures
Movie continuous focus
Movie continuous focus
Makes it easy to get in-focus movies
 

Reasons to buy the Nikon D300

Viewfinder size
Large viewfinder
0.62x
Weather sealed
Weather sealed
Shoot in extreme weather
Continuous shooting
Rapid fire
6 fps
Startup delay
Almost no delay when powering up
300 ms startup delay

galleries

Explore our gallery of 50 sample photos taken by the Nikon D5100.
Explore our gallery of 50 sample photos taken by the Nikon D300.

differences

Advantages of the Nikon D5100

Report a correction
Movie format
Shoots movies
1080p @ 30fps vs None
Help
Shoots Full HD (1080p) video as well as still pictures
Overall image quality
Significantly better image quality
80.0 vs 67.0
Help
Around 20% better image quality
HDR
Has in-camera HDR
Yes vs No
Help
Combines multiple exposures to capture high dynamic range
Color depth
Better color depth
23.5 bits vs 22.1 bits
Help
Distinguishes 1.4 more bits of color
Low light performance
Lower noise at high ISO
1,183 ISO vs 679 ISO
Help
The D5100 has a slight edge (0.8 f-stops) in low-noise, high-ISO performance
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
Dynamic range
More dynamic range
13 EV vs 12 EV
Help
0.4 f-stops more dynamic range
True resolution
Higher true resolution
16.1 MP vs 12.2 MP
Help
Capture more than 30% more detail in your photos
Size
Smaller
127×97×79 mm vs 147×114×74 mm
Help
More than 20% smaller
Weight
Significantly lighter
560 g vs 925 g
Help
Around 40% lighter
Light sensitivity
Better maximum light sensitivity
6,400 ISO vs 3,200 ISO
Help
The D5100's maximum light sensitivity is 2 f-stops better
Lowest price
Cheaper
$368.00 vs $1,648.89
Help
The best price we've seen is $1,281 cheaper (4.5x less)
Light sensitivity (boost)
Better boost ISO
25,600 ISO vs 6,400 ISO
Help
The D5100's boost ISO is 4 f-stops better
Nikon D5100 Learn more about
the Nikon D5100

Advantages of the Nikon D300

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Weather sealed
Weather sealed
Yes vs No
Help
Sealed to shoot in the rain
Viewfinder size
Significantly larger viewfinder
0.62x vs 0.51x
Help
Around 50% larger viewfinder
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
Continuous shooting
Shoots faster
6 fps vs 4 fps
Help
50% faster continuous shooting
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
Shutter lag
Less shutter lag
227 ms vs 273 ms
Help
Around 20% less delay when taking photos
Battery life
Longer battery life
1000 shots vs 660 shots
Help
More than 50% more shots per battery charge
Built-in focus motor
Has a built-in focus motor
Yes vs No
Help
Autofocuses with all autofocus lenses
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
Thickness
Thinner
2.9" vs 3.1"
Help
Around 10% thinner
Nikon D300 Learn more about
the Nikon D300
vs

recommendations

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

Snapsort Recommends
Nikon D5100 Nikon D5100 68
Retailer
    Style
      Color
        You save
        vs
        64 Nikon D300 Nikon D300
        Retailer
          Style
            Color
              You save

              similarities

              Compared to recent DSLRs

              Common Strengths
              Lens availability Many lenses available Help
              205 lenses
              Common Weaknesses
              Storage slots Fewer storage slots Help
              1
              Light sensitivity Poor maximum light sensitivity Help
              D51006,400 ISO
              D3003,200 ISO
              True resolution Capture low resolution images Help
              D510016.1 MP
              D30012.2 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 D3200

              Nikon D3200

              Entry-level DSLR

              $300 - $547 body only

              $379 - $447 with 18-55mm lens

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

              Nikon D5200

              Entry-level DSLR

              $413 - $497 body only

              $489 - $550 with 18-55mm lens

              True resolution Takes slightly higher resolution photos
              Fastest shutter speed Has a slower max shutter speed
              Thickness Is thicker
              Nikon D3300

              Nikon D3300

              Entry-level DSLR

              $677 body only

              $477 - $497 with 18-55mm lens

              True resolution Takes slightly higher resolution photos
              Panorama Creates panoramas in-camera
              Fastest shutter speed Has a slower max shutter speed
              Canon Rebel T3i

              Canon Rebel T3i

              Entry-level DSLR

              $479 body only

              $566 with 18-55mm lens

              Screen resolution Has a slightly higher resolution screen
              Fastest shutter speed Has a slower max shutter speed
              Thickness Is thicker
              Nikon D7000

              Nikon D7000

              Entry-level DSLR

              $677 with 18-55mm lens

              Storage slots Has more storage slots
              Thickness Is thicker
              Weight Is slightly heavier
              Nikon D90

              Nikon D90

              Entry-level DSLR

              $699 body only

              $1,006 with 55-300mm lens

              Fastest shutter speed Has a slower max shutter speed
              Thickness Is thicker
              Nikon D3100

              Nikon D3100

              Entry-level DSLR

              $275 body only

              $484 with 18-55mm, 55-200mm lenses

              Fastest shutter speed Has a slower max shutter speed
              External mic jack Lacks and external mic jack

              Nikon D5100 Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              No significant competitors found that are specific to the Nikon D5100.

              Nikon D300 Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              Nikon D300S

              Nikon D300S

              Pro DSLR

              $2,550 with 18-200mm lens

              Movie format Shoots movies
              Color depth Better color depth
              Lowest price More expensive
              Nikon D200

              Nikon D200

              Pro DSLR

              $1,492 with 18-70mm lens

              Color depth Better color depth
              Startup delay Slightly less startup delay
              Screen size Much smaller screen
              Screen resolution Much lower resolution screen

              appearance

              Nikon D5100 Nikon D300
              Nikon D5100 Nikon D300
              Nikon D5100 Nikon D300

              discussion

              Nikon D5100
              D5100
              Nikon

              Report a correction
              Nikon D300
              D300
              Nikon

              Report a correction

              Showing 2 comments

              Ww0000ww (7:31 AM, June 01, 2012)
              i have a d5100 , it's perfect. no limits at all. but its small size make yo think why this camera beat many many cameras like d300 d90 and many more... but the truth is that this camera is a genius creation in a entry level DSLR body case. 
               
              Cmc_keith (3:41 AM, August 25, 2011)
              I own the D300s and I just can't see how the D5100 would even come close to the full-frame and extensive features of the D5100.  I agree that this might not be an apples to apples comparison.  The ability to plug in flash lights, manually save settings for specific locations or settings and the robust control over the shooting settings; in my opinion, make the D300s the clear standout.