Updated (August 2012): Compare the Nikon D5100 vs Sony NEX-5R

Nikon D5100 vs Sony NEX-5N

Winner
Nikon D5100

50

Sony NEX-5N

48

Runner-up

Reasons to buy the Nikon D5100

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 (111×59×38 mm)
Touch screen
Touch screen
Fewer buttons
Continuous shooting
Rapid fire
10 fps
Panorama
In-camera panoramas
Stitches together multiple photos into a panorama

Items often bought with the Nikon D5100 or Sony NEX-5N

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

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Autofocus
Faster autofocus
Phase detection vs Contrast detection
Help
Catch candid moments easily
Lens availability
Much more lenses available
230 lenses vs 62 lenses
Help
More than 3.5x 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
Much 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
$368.00 vs $484.00
Help
The best price we've seen is $116 cheaper (more than 20% less)
Nikon D5100 Learn more about
the Nikon D5100

Advantages of the Sony NEX-5N

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3D
Takes 3D photos
Yes vs No
Help
Combines multiple photos into a 3D image
Size
Significantly smaller
111×59×38 mm vs 127×97×79 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 4 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 50
Retailer
    Style
      Color
        You save
        vs
        48 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
              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
              Fastest shutter speed Fast max shutter speeds Help
              1/4000 of a second
              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

              $289 body only

              $349 - $447 with 18-55mm lens

              True resolution Takes slightly higher resolution photos
              Thickness Is thicker
              Weight Is slightly heavier
              Nikon D3300

              Nikon D3300

              Entry-level DSLR

              $430 - $497 with 18-55mm lens

              True resolution Takes slightly higher resolution photos
              Thickness Is thicker
              Weight Is slightly heavier
              Canon Kiss X5

              Canon Kiss X5

              Entry-level DSLR

              $1,299 body only

              Lowest price Is slightly more expensive
              Thickness Is thicker
              Canon Rebel T5i

              Canon Rebel T5i

              Entry-level DSLR

              $490 - $649 body only

              $581 - $649 with 18-55mm lens

              Thickness Is thicker
              Weight Is significantly heavier

              Nikon D5100 Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              Nikon D5200

              Nikon D5200

              Entry-level DSLR

              $405 - $497 body only

              $479 - $500 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 D5500

              Nikon D5500

              Entry-level DSLR

              $561 - $747 body only

              $689 - $847 with 18-55mm lens

              Touch screen Has a touch screen
              Screen size Larger screen
              Lowest price Slightly more expensive
              Nikon D5300

              Nikon D5300

              Entry-level DSLR

              $480 - $647 body only

              $549 - $747 with 18-55mm lens

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

              Sony NEX-5N Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              Sony NEX-5R

              Sony NEX-5R

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $346 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 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 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 A5000

              Sony Alpha A5000

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $280 body only

              $440 - $448 with 16-50mm lens

              True resolution Higher true resolution
              Built-in flash Built-in flash
              3D Doesn't take 3D photos
              Screen resolution Significantly lower resolution screen
              Sony Alpha NEX-5

              Sony Alpha NEX-5

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $360 body only

              $481 with 16-50mm lens

              Startup delay Significantly less startup delay
              Lowest price Slightly cheaper
              Shutter lag Much more shutter lag
              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?