Updated (March 2013): Compare the Nikon D5100 vs Sony NEX-7n

Nikon D5100 vs Sony NEX-7

Winner
Nikon D5100

50

Sony NEX-7

46

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-7

Size
Really small
Compact (111×59×38 mm)
Continuous shooting
Rapid fire
10 fps
Dynamic range
Wide dynamic range
13.4 EV
Viewfinder coverage
Great viewfinder coverage
100%

Items often bought with the Nikon D5100 or Sony NEX-7

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-7.

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
Startup delay
Less startup delay
500 ms vs 1200 ms
Help
2.4x less delay when turning on
Battery life
Longer battery life
660 shots vs 430 shots
Help
More than 50% more shots per battery charge
Low light performance
Slightly lower noise at high ISO
1,183 ISO vs 1,016 ISO
Help
The D5100 has a slight edge (0.2 f-stops) in low-noise, high-ISO performance
Viewfinder
Has an optical viewfinder
Pentamirror vs Digital
Help
Optical viewfinders save battery life and are more detailed
Lowest price
Slightly cheaper
$368.00 vs $659.95
Help
The best price we've seen is $292 cheaper (more than 40% less)
Nikon D5100 Learn more about
the Nikon D5100

Advantages of the Sony NEX-7

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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
Viewfinder coverage
Much better viewfinder coverage
100% vs 95%
Help
Around 10% better viewfinder coverage
Panorama
Can create panoramas in-camera
Yes vs No
Help
Stitches together multiple photos for a wide perspective
True resolution
Higher true resolution
24 MP vs 16.1 MP
Help
Capture around 50% more detail in your photos
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
Shutter lag
Less shutter lag
223 ms vs 273 ms
Help
Around 20% less delay when taking photos
Weight
Lighter
350 g vs 560 g
Help
Around 40% lighter
Light sensitivity
Better maximum light sensitivity
16,000 ISO vs 6,400 ISO
Help
The NEX-7's maximum light sensitivity is 2.6 f-stops better
Focus points
Slightly more focus points
25 vs 11
Help
Set focus accurately within the frame
Dynamic range
More dynamic range
13.4 EV vs 13 EV
Help
Almost the same
Color depth
Better color depth
24.1 bits vs 23.5 bits
Help
Almost the same
Sony NEX-7 Learn more about
the Sony NEX-7
vs

recommendations

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

Snapsort Recommends
Nikon D5100 Nikon D5100 50
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        46 Sony NEX-7 Sony NEX-7
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              similarities

              Compared to recent digital cameras

              Common Strengths
              External mic jack You can plug a microphone into both of these Help
              Record higher quality audio with a microphone
              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
              Dynamic range Good dynamic range Help
              D510013 EV
              NEX-713.4 EV
              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
              Viewfinder Viewfinders Help
              D5100Pentamirror
              NEX-7Digital
              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
              Touch screen No touchscreens Help
              More buttons

              dxomark

              DXOMark

              competitors

              Shared Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              Sony Alpha A6000

              Sony Alpha A6000

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $548 body only

              $698 with 16-50mm lens

              Image stabilization Has image stabilization
              Focus points Has much more focus points
              Nikon D5200

              Nikon D5200

              Entry-level DSLR

              $405 - $497 body only

              $479 - $500 with 18-55mm lens

              Thickness Is thicker
              Weight Is slightly heavier
              Nikon D5300

              Nikon D5300

              Entry-level DSLR

              $465 - $647 body only

              $545 - $747 with 18-55mm lens

              Screen size Has a slightly larger screen
              GPS Has a built-in GPS
              Thickness Is thicker
              Weight Is slightly heavier
              Nikon D7000

              Nikon D7000

              Entry-level DSLR

              $479 body only

              $720 with 18-55mm lens

              Weather sealed Has a weather sealed body
              Built-in focus motor Has a built-in focus motor
              Thickness Is thicker
              Weight Is significantly heavier
              Canon EOS 70D

              Canon EOS 70D

              Pro DSLR

              $799 - $999 body only

              $900 - $1,099 with 18-55mm lens

              Touch screen Has a touch screen
              Weather sealed Has a weather sealed body
              Thickness Is thicker
              Weight Is significantly heavier

              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
              Size Slightly smaller
              Screen flips out Screen does not flip out
              HDR Lacks in-camera HDR
              Nikon D3300

              Nikon D3300

              Entry-level DSLR

              $430 - $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 D5500

              Nikon D5500

              Entry-level DSLR

              $559 - $747 body only

              $649 - $847 with 18-55mm lens

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

              Canon Kiss X5

              Entry-level DSLR

              $1,299 body only

              Screen resolution Higher resolution screen
              True resolution Slightly higher true resolution
              Overall image quality Worse image quality
              HDR Lacks in-camera HDR
              Canon Rebel T5i

              Canon Rebel T5i

              Entry-level DSLR

              $494 - $649 body only

              $579 - $649 with 18-55mm lens

              Touch screen Has a touch screen
              Screen resolution Higher resolution screen
              Overall image quality Significantly worse image quality
              Dynamic range Less dynamic range

              Sony NEX-7 Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              Sony Alpha NEX-6

              Sony Alpha NEX-6

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $549 body only

              $849 with 16-50mm lens

              Focus points Significantly more focus points
              Light sensitivity Better maximum light sensitivity
              3D Doesn't take 3D photos
              External mic jack Lacks an external mic jack
              Sony A7

              Sony A7

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $1,098 - $1,698 body only

              $1,398 with 28-70mm lens

              Autofocus Faster video autofocus
              Weather sealed Weather sealed
              3D Doesn't take 3D photos
              Size Larger
              Sony Alpha A5100

              Sony Alpha A5100

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $448 body only

              $589 - $598 with 16-50mm lens

              Focus points Many more focus points
              Autofocus Faster autofocus
              3D Doesn't take 3D photos
              External mic jack Lacks an external mic jack
              Sony Alpha A5000

              Sony Alpha A5000

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $274 body only

              $350 - $448 with 16-50mm lens

              Weight Lighter
              Lowest price Cheaper
              3D Doesn't take 3D photos
              Screen resolution Significantly lower resolution screen
              Sony NEX-5N

              Sony NEX-5N

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $399 body only

              $803 with 16-50mm lens

              Touch screen Has a touch screen
              Light sensitivity Better maximum light sensitivity
              External mic jack Lacks an external mic jack
              True resolution Lower true resolution

              appearance

              Nikon D5100 Sony NEX-7
              Nikon D5100 Sony NEX-7
              Nikon D5100 Sony NEX-7

              discussion

              Nikon D5100
              D5100
              Nikon

              Report a correction
              Sony NEX-7
              NEX-7
              Sony

              Report a correction

              Showing 1 comments

              Jmr (3:01 PM, January 19, 2012)
              The cost of both cameras is in error above.