Updated (October, 2012): Compare the Nikon D5200 vs Sony NEX-5R

Nikon D5100 vs Sony NEX-5N

Winner
Nikon D5100

64

Sony NEX-5N

50

Runner-up

Reasons to buy the Nikon D5100

Wide dynamic range
Dynamic range
13 EV
External mic jack
External mic jack
Record higher quality audio with a microphone
Flip-out screen
Screen flips out
Great for movies
In-camera HDR
HDR
Combines multiple exposures
 

Reasons to buy the Sony NEX-5N

Size
Really small
Compact 111x59x38 mm
Light sensitivity
High ISO
25,600 ISO
Touch screen
Touch screen
Less buttons
Continuous shooting
Rapid fire
10 fps

galleries

Explore our gallery of 50 sample photos taken by the Nikon D5100. Explore our gallery of 50 sample photos taken by the Sony NEX-5N.

differences

Advantages of the Nikon D5100

Report a correction
Autofocus
Faster autofocus
Phase detection vs Contrast detection
Help
Catch candid moments easily
Lens availability
Much more lenses available
205 lenses vs 21 lenses
Help
Around 10x more lenses available
External mic jack
Has an external mic jack
Yes vs No
Help
Record high quality audio with an external microphone
Startup delay
Significantly less startup delay
500 ms vs 1900 ms
Help
3.8x less delay when turning on
Battery life
Longer battery life
660 shots vs 460 shots
Help
More than 40% more shots per battery charge
Overall image quality
Slightly better image quality
80.0 vs 77.0
Help
Almost the same
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
Viewfinder
Has a viewfinder
Pentamirror vs None
Help
A viewfinder can help save battery life by keeping the screen turned off
Dynamic range
More dynamic range
13 EV vs 12.7 EV
Help
Almost the same
Low light performance
Slightly lower noise at high ISO
1,183 ISO vs 1,079 ISO
Help
The D5100 has a slight edge (0.1 f-stops) in low noise, high ISO performance
Lowest price
Slightly cheaper
$354.09 vs $456.79
Help
The best price we've seen is $103 cheaper (more than 20% less)
Nikon D5100 Learn more about
the Nikon D5100

Advantages of the Sony NEX-5N

Report a correction
3D
Takes 3D photos
Yes vs No
Help
Combines multiple photos into a 3D image
Size
Significantly smaller
111x59x38 mm vs 127x96x78 mm
Help
3.9x smaller
Touch screen
Has a touch screen
Yes vs No
Help
Fewer buttons to worry about and direct interaction with camera menus
Panorama
Can create panoramas in-camera
Yes vs No
Help
Stitches together multiple photos for a wide perspective
Continuous shooting
Shoots faster
10 fps vs 4 fps
Help
2.5x faster continuous shooting
Thickness
Significantly thinner
1.5" vs 3.1"
Help
2.1x thinner
Light sensitivity
Better maximum light sensitivity
25,600 ISO vs 6,400 ISO
Help
The NEX-5N's maximum light sensitivity is 2 f-stops better
Weight
Significantly lighter
269 g vs 560 g
Help
2.1x lighter
Shutter lag
Less shutter lag
235 ms vs 273 ms
Help
More than 10% less delay when taking photos
Focus points
Slightly more focus points
25 vs 11
Help
Set focus accurately within the frame
Sony NEX-5N Learn more about
the Sony NEX-5N
vs

recommendations

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

Snapsort Recommends
Nikon D5100 Nikon D5100 64
Retailer
    Style
      Color
        You save
        vs
        50 Sony NEX-5N Sony NEX-5N
        Retailer
          Style
            Color
              You save

              similarities

              Compared to recent digital cameras

              Common Strengths
              Supports 24p 24p support Help
              For that film look
              Screen flips out Flip-out screens Help
              Great for movies
              Screen resolution High resolution screens Help
              920k dots
              Movie continuous focus Focus continuously recording movies Help
              Makes it easy to get in-focus movies
              HDR In-camera HDR Help
              Combines multiple exposures
              Interchangeable lenses Both support interchangeable lenses, which is uncommon in cameras similar to these Help
              Many lenses to choose from
              Supports RAW Supports RAW Help
              Better editing
              External flash Each supports an external flash Help
              Better lighting
              Sensor cleaning Self cleaning sensors Help
              Avoids dust in your photos
              Common Weaknesses
              Image stabilization No image stabilization Help
              Risk of blur
              Weather sealed Neither is weather sealed Help
              Need to shelter it from weather

              dxomark

              DXOMark

              competitors

              Shared Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              Nikon D3200

              Nikon D3200

              Entry-level DSLR

              $279 - $547 body only

              $447 with 18-55mm lens

              True resolution Takes slightly higher resolution photos
              Thickness Is thicker
              Weight Is slightly heavier
              Canon Rebel T3i

              Canon Rebel T3i

              Entry-level DSLR

              $629 body only

              $549 - $630 with 18-55mm lens

              Thickness Is thicker
              Weight Is significantly heavier
              Canon Rebel T5i

              Canon Rebel T5i

              Entry-level DSLR

              $649 - $650 body only

              $649 - $650 with 18-55mm lens

              Thickness Is thicker
              Weight Is significantly heavier
              Canon EOS Rebel T5

              Canon EOS Rebel T5

              Entry-level DSLR

              $499 body only

              $399 - $400 with 18-55mm lens

              Sensor cleaning Lacks a self cleaning sensor
              Thickness Is thicker
              Canon EOS 60D

              Canon EOS 60D

              Pro DSLR

              $579 - $673 body only

              $899 - $1,199 with 18-135mm lens

              Viewfinder coverage Slightly better viewfinder coverage
              Battery life Has a significantly longer battery life
              Thickness Is thicker
              Weight Is much heavier
              Canon EOS 7D

              Canon EOS 7D

              Pro DSLR

              $749 - $778 body only

              $849 - $1,448 with 28-135mm lens

              Weather sealed Has a weather sealed body
              Viewfinder coverage Much better viewfinder coverage
              Thickness Is thicker
              Weight Is much heavier

              Nikon D5100 Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              Nikon D5200

              Nikon D5200

              Entry-level DSLR

              $497 - $547 body only

              $499 - $550 with 18-55mm lens

              True resolution Higher true resolution
              Overall image quality Slightly better image quality
              Battery life Shorter battery life
              Shutter lag More shutter lag
              Nikon D3300

              Nikon D3300

              Entry-level DSLR

              $627 body only

              $400 - $497 with 18-55mm lens

              Panorama Can create panoramas in-camera
              True resolution Higher true resolution
              Screen flips out Screen does not flip out
              HDR Lacks in-camera HDR
              Nikon D5300

              Nikon D5300

              Entry-level DSLR

              $647 body only

              $570 - $747 with 18-55mm lens

              GPS Has a GPS
              Screen size Larger screen
              Battery life Slightly shorter battery life
              Lowest price Slightly more expensive
              Nikon D3100

              Nikon D3100

              Entry-level DSLR

              $259 body only

              $408 with 18-55mm lens

              Size Slightly smaller
              Startup delay Slightly less startup delay
              Screen resolution Much lower resolution screen
              Overall image quality Worse image quality
              Nikon D90

              Nikon D90

              Entry-level DSLR

              $717 body only

              $1,031 with 55-300mm lens

              Built-in focus motor Has a built-in focus motor
              Shutter lag Less shutter lag
              Autofocus Lacks video autofocus
              External mic jack Lacks an external mic jack

              Sony NEX-5N Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              Sony NEX-5R

              Sony NEX-5R

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $347 body only

              $898 with 16mm lens

              Focus points Significantly more focus points
              Dynamic range More dynamic range
              Battery life Shorter battery life
              Low light performance Slightly more noise at high ISO
              Sony NEX-5T

              Sony NEX-5T

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $349 body only

              $640 with 16-50mm lens

              Focus points Significantly more focus points
              Dynamic range More dynamic range
              3D Doesn't take 3D photos
              Battery life Shorter battery life
              Sony Alpha A6000

              Sony Alpha A6000

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $548 body only

              $698 with 16-50mm lens

              Image stabilization Image stabilization
              Focus points Many more focus points
              3D Doesn't take 3D photos
              Touch screen No touch screen
              Sony Alpha NEX-5

              Sony Alpha NEX-5

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $360 body only

              $350 with 16-50mm lens

              Startup delay Less startup delay
              Lowest price Slightly cheaper
              Shutter lag Much more shutter lag
              Touch screen No touch screen
              Sony Alpha NEX-3N

              Sony Alpha NEX-3N

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $300 body only

              $420 with 16-50mm lens

              Built-in flash Built-in flash
              Thickness Slightly thinner
              Screen resolution Significantly lower resolution screen
              Touch screen No touch screen

              appearance

              Nikon D5100 Sony NEX-5N
              Nikon D5100 Sony NEX-5N
              Nikon D5100 Sony NEX-5N

              discussion

              Nikon D5100
              D5100
              Nikon

              Report a correction
              Sony NEX-5N
              NEX-5N
              Sony

              Report a correction

              Showing 8 comments

              Faizan (7:24 AM, October 17, 2012)
              Based on your comparison


              Overall Total
              TOTAL D5100 Score 193.2
              TOTAL Nex5N Score 124.1
              Difference: 69.1


              Popularity


              D5100 Score 100.0
              Nex5N Score 20.0
              Difference: 80.0


              So, if you factor out these 80 points from the overall total - Nex 5N wins hands down by 10.9 points in terms of specs & functionality.


              Sometimes I feel that these popularity scores are collected by Nikon fanboy :). Snapsort: Get rid of this popularity crap.
               
              Keathow (6:55 PM, April 10, 2012)
               http://www.dxomark.com/index.php/Cameras/Camera-Sensor-Database/Nikon/D5100

              IQ of D5100 is great! i love it!
               
              Avatar for Meraga Abderaouf Meraga Abderaouf (9:16 PM, February 16, 2012)
               in my opinion this comparison isn't true because i've tested the both cameras and the video qualty is quite huge on the nex 5N than the Nikon and also the image qualty and i think too that the Nikon wone here because it has a better manuel setting than the NEX and let us do not forget the "Click...click...'' busines on the sony that it has'nt been resolved intel now by the producers even thier Know about the deal. and Thanks!
               
              Guest (1:50 PM, January 11, 2012)
              Popularity is a joke - why use it in the first place? Surely the whole reason you've come here is to get an objective comparison of specs?? Disregarding popularity the NEX 5n wins hands down.
               
              bboy (7:16 AM, December 03, 2011)
              From what I've read, the d5100 is much easier to handle because the controls are easily accessible. Also, it has more lenses and accessories available. But if daily means portability to you, I'd go for the NEX-5N.
               
              bboy (7:13 AM, December 03, 2011)
              [1] http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/readflat.asp?forum=1042&message=39205451&changemode=1
               
              bboy (7:12 AM, December 03, 2011)
              I am planning to get a d5100 but the comparison on dpreview[1] is disturbing. I really want the d5100. Is IQ really that far off? I'm planning to use it for night photography as a hobby.
               
              TonyCastle (6:45 PM, October 02, 2011)
              if size didnt matter, which one is really better for daily photo shooting?