Updated (October, 2012): Compare the Nikon D5200 vs Nikon D5100

Nikon D5100

Winner
Nikon D5100

72

vs

Nikon D5000

50

Nikon D5000

Runner-up
     

Reasons to buy the Nikon D5100

Low noise at high ISO
Low light performance
1,183 ISO
Great image quality
Overall image quality
80.0
Full HD
Movie format
1080p @ 30fps
Wide dynamic range
Dynamic range
13 EV
 

Reasons to buy the Nikon D5000

Screen flips out
Flip-out screen
Great for movies
Sensor size
Large sensor
APS-C 23.6x15.8mm
 

differences

Advantages of the Nikon D5100

Report a correction
Movie format
Higher resolution movies
1080p @ 30fps vs 720p @ 24fps
Help
Shoots higher resolution Full HD (1080p) video at a higher frame rate
Low light performance
Significantly lower noise at high ISO
1,183 ISO vs 868 ISO
Help
The D5100 has a slight edge (0.4 f-stops) in low noise, high ISO performance
Screen resolution
Much higher resolution screen
920k dots vs 230k dots
Help
4x higher resolution screen
Screen size
Significantly larger screen
3.0" vs 2.7"
Help
More than 10% larger screen
Overall image quality
Better image quality
80.0 vs 72.0
Help
More than 10% better image quality
HDR
Has in-camera HDR
Yes vs No
Help
Combines multiple exposures to capture high dynamic range
External mic jack
Has an external mic jack
Yes vs No
Help
Record high quality audio with an external microphone
Color depth
Better color depth
23.5 bits vs 22.7 bits
Help
Distinguishes 0.8 more bits of color
True resolution
Higher true resolution
16.1 MP vs 12.2 MP
Help
Capture more than 30% more detail in your photos
Light sensitivity (boost)
Better boost ISO
25,600 ISO vs 6,400 ISO
Help
The D5100's boost ISO is 2 f-stops better
Battery life
Longer battery life
660 shots vs 510 shots
Help
Around 30% more shots per battery charge
Dynamic range
More dynamic range
13 EV vs 12.5 EV
Help
0.5 f-stops more dynamic range
Size
Smaller
127x96x78 mm vs 127x104x80 mm
Help
Around 10% smaller
Lowest price
Much cheaper
$359.95 vs $811.54
Help
The best price we've seen is $452 cheaper (2.3x less)
Light sensitivity
Better maximum light sensitivity
6,400 ISO vs 3,200 ISO
Help
The D5100's maximum light sensitivity is 1 f-stop better
Thickness
Thinner
3.1" vs 3.1"
Help
Almost the same
Weight
Slightly lighter
560 g vs 590 g
Help
Around 10% lighter
Nikon D5100 Learn more about
the Nikon D5100

Advantages of the Nikon D5000

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Sensor size
Slightly larger sensor
APS-C 23.6x15.8mm vs APS-C 23.6x15.6mm
Help
Almost the same
Startup delay
Slightly less startup delay
400 ms vs 500 ms
Help
20% less delay when turning on
Nikon D5000 Learn more about
the Nikon D5000
vs

recommendations

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

Snapsort Recommends
Nikon D5100 Nikon D5100 72
Retailer
    Style
      Color
        You save

        vs

        50 Nikon D5000 Nikon D5000
        Retailer
          Style
            Color
              You save

              similarities

              Compared to recent entry-level DSLRs

              Common Strengths
              Screen flips out Flip-out screens Help
              Great for movies
              Lens availability Many lenses available Help
              205 lenses
              Startup delay Minimal startup delay Help
              D5100:500 ms
              D5000:400 ms
              Common Weaknesses
              Fastest shutter speed Slow max shutter speed Help
              1/4000 of a second
              Thickness Quite thick Help
              3.1"
              Viewfinder coverage Below average viewfinder coverage Help
              95%
              Cross type focus points Few cross-type focus points Help
              1
              Continuous shooting Slow continuous shooting Help
              4 fps
              True resolution Capture low resolution images Help
              D5100:16.1 MP
              D5000:12.2 MP
              Viewfinder size Below average viewfinder size Help
              0.51x
              Shutter lag Significant shutter lag Help
              D5100:273 ms
              D5000:276 ms
              Light sensitivity Poor maximum light sensitivity Help
              D5100:6,400 ISO
              D5000:3,200 ISO
              Image stabilization No image stabilization Help
              Risk of blur
              Weather sealed Neither is weather sealed Help
              Need to shelter it from weather
              Focus points Few focus points Help
              11
              Panorama Neither camera stitches together panoramas Help
              You could stitch photos in post

              dxomark

              DXOMark

              competitors

              Shared Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              Nikon D3200

              Nikon D3200

              Entry-level DSLR

              $309 - $527 body only

              $389 - $447 with 18-55mm lens

              True resolution Takes much higher resolution photos
              Thickness Is thinner
              Sensor size Has a marginally smaller sensor
              Screen flips out Doesn't have a screen which flips out
              Nikon D5200

              Nikon D5200

              Entry-level DSLR

              $497 body only

              $597 with 18-55mm lens

              Movie format Records higher quality movies
              True resolution Takes much higher resolution photos
              Lowest price Is slightly more expensive
              Canon Rebel T3i

              Canon Rebel T3i

              Entry-level DSLR

              $499 - $550 body only

              $549 - $630 with 18-55mm lens

              True resolution Takes slightly higher resolution photos
              Lowest price Is slightly more expensive
              Size Is slightly larger
              Nikon D3300

              Nikon D3300

              Entry-level DSLR

              $439 - $497 with 18-55mm lens

              Low light performance Is slightly less noisy at high ISO
              Movie format Records higher quality movies
              Screen flips out Doesn't have a screen which flips out
              Nikon D3100

              Nikon D3100

              Entry-level DSLR

              $272 body only

              $390 - $409 with 18-55mm lens

              Size Is slightly smaller
              Thickness Is thinner
              Sensor size Has a marginally smaller sensor
              Screen flips out Doesn't have a screen which flips out
              Nikon D5300

              Nikon D5300

              Entry-level DSLR

              $697 body only

              $599 - $797 with 18-55mm lens

              Low light performance Is slightly less noisy at high ISO
              Movie format Records higher quality movies
              Lowest price Is slightly more expensive
              Nikon D7000

              Nikon D7000

              Entry-level DSLR

              $625 body only

              $679 - $1,025 with 18-55mm lens

              Viewfinder size Significantly larger viewfinder
              Weather sealed Has a weather sealed body
              Lowest price Is significantly more expensive
              Weight Is significantly heavier

              Nikon D5100 Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              Canon EOS Rebel T5

              Canon EOS Rebel T5

              Entry-level DSLR

              $430 - $450 with 18-55mm lens

              True resolution Higher true resolution
              Weight Lighter
              Low light performance Significantly more noise at high ISO
              Overall image quality Much worse image quality

              Nikon D5000 Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              No significant competitors found that are specific to the Nikon D5000.

              appearance

              Nikon D5100 Nikon D5000
              Nikon D5100 Nikon D5000
              Nikon D5100 Nikon D5000

              discussion

              Nikon D5100
              D5100
              Nikon

              Report a correction
              Nikon D5000
              D5000
              Nikon

              Report a correction

              Showing 19 comments

              Ann (11:37 PM, August 12, 2013)
              I am owning currently a Nikon D5100 and bought it with the thought in mind that it would have better image quality than the D5000. I am a little disappointed. So the Nikon D5100 better distinguishes nuances and color depth according to DXO-marks reviews (although the differences are really not that big). There are also a lot of usability features that are improved with the D5100 - better viewfinder and resolution on screen etc. But there is one large drawback as I see it, and that goes for most SRL cameras that are produced these days.

              I am not too good at explaining the technical stuff - so read it here. http://6mpixel.org/en/6-megapixel-the-best-compromise/

              The main point is as follows. After a certain pixel count, pixel SIZE are preferable over COUNT of pixels. Because consumers think more (pixels) means better (image) quality - producers tend to cram more pixels into the same sensor size - like they have done with this model. However that diminishes the pixel size with the effect of more noise in low light situation, less clarity (because some pixels are so small that they do not correctly interpret light etc.)

              In my opinion the pictures from the D5100 look less sharp than from the D5000 in the focus points compared to the background. I have seen photos with the same lens on from both cameras and the differences are consistent. Think about that when you think about going for a camera with more than 12 MP.
               
              Avatar for Satyam Joshi Satyam Joshi (4:20 PM, October 14, 2012)
              D5100 stands out...its the best entry level..in specifications and all technical part !
               
              Avatar for Sohel Shams Sohel Shams (10:05 AM, October 03, 2012)
              I've D5000. It is good. But I don't know about D5100. I think these two are much more similar other than little changes in specifications.
               
              Henry_sapungan (9:16 AM, May 03, 2012)
              I already bought my d5100 just last summer of 2012 for P35K in Manila. I am truly enjoying those feature things and stuffs and I may recommend this camera to all advanced  photo shooters for it got lots of options and adjustments. I'm totally satisfied as commercial photo-video  shooter 'cause I'm  latest owner of D5100 in my place now. I'm proud of this, AMEN.
               
              Henry_sapungan (7:48 PM, February 02, 2012)

              yeah.. I agreed to that. but it cost a lot of money. 
               
              Laura (1:00 AM, July 28, 2011)
              i agree the menu is too complicated!
               
              miket (0:58 AM, July 28, 2011)
              D5100 is so much better <3 i got d5100 and its amazing
               
              Laura (0:54 AM, July 28, 2011)
              i agree with you (y)
               
              Esenjay (4:36 PM, July 10, 2011)
              The only complaint I have about my D5000 is that audio during video capture is very bad in loud noise situations.  I'm wondering if the optional external mike on the D5100 helps in that situation.
               
              Avatar for Snapsort Snapsort (5:13 PM, May 30, 2011)
              In bright light situations its not an issue.  It starts to become an issue in lower light, say indoors, or evenings.  Also, the longer a focal length you use, the more risk there is of blur from hand-shake, for example at 300mm.  Another thing to keep in mind is the aperture of the lens, at longer focal lengths with consumer lenses you tend to get narrow apertures like f/5.6, which let in less light.
               
              Avatar for Snapsort Snapsort (4:58 PM, May 30, 2011)
              If you set up the camera correctly, you will not have a problems with image blur.
               
              Markreeves (4:55 PM, May 30, 2011)
              How difficult is it to get great non-blurring pictures without image stabilization?
               
              Annelintest (11:08 AM, May 01, 2011)
              I disagree. I have got a D5100 and it's not difficult to use. I'm only 15 and It was a really good buy!
               
              Avatar for Snapsort Snapsort (2:13 PM, April 25, 2011)
              They are both good, but the D5100 is just one step up over the D5000
               
              Uuh (4:54 AM, April 24, 2011)
              My friend has a d5100 and he didn't like it. The menu is too complicated and it's difficult to use it.
               
              Guest (4:51 AM, April 24, 2011)
              I disagree. I have a D5000 and it's realy good! It's awesome! You have to choose a camera according you needs.
               
              Henry (4:49 AM, April 24, 2011)
              Well, both of then are good. But the 5100 seems be better.
               
              Jenny (4:47 AM, April 24, 2011)
              I really think that d5100 is better. I want to buy one soon.
               
              Guest (7:59 AM, April 22, 2011)
              which one is good?