Updated (October, 2012): Compare the Nikon D5200 vs Sony Alpha DSLR-A390

Nikon D5100

Winner
Nikon D5100

71

vs

Sony Alpha DSLR-A390

40

Sony Alpha DSLR-A390

Runner-up
     
 

Reasons to buy the Nikon D5100

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

Reasons to buy the Sony Alpha DSLR-A390

Image stabilization
Image stabilization
Sensor shift
Screen flips out
Flip-out screen
Great for movies
Sensor size
Large sensor
APS-C 23.5x15.7mm
Shutter lag
Barely any delay taking photos
198 ms shutter lag
 
Differences | Recommendations | Cast your vote | Similarities | Competitors | Appearance | Discussion

differences

Advantages of the Nikon D5100

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Movie format Shoots movies 1080p @ 30fps vs None
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Shoots Full HD (1080p) video as well as still pictures
Low light performance Much lower noise at high ISO 1,183 ISO vs 607 ISO
Help
The D5100 has a slight edge (1 f-stop) in low noise, high ISO performance
Overall image quality Significantly better image quality 80.0 vs 66.0
Help
More than 20% better image quality
Screen resolution Much higher resolution screen 920k dots vs 230k dots
Help
4x higher resolution screen
Dynamic range More dynamic range 13 EV vs 11.5 EV
Help
1.5 f-stops more dynamic range
Screen size Significantly larger screen 3.0" vs 2.7"
Help
More than 10% larger screen
HDR Has in-camera HDR Yes vs No
Help
Combines multiple exposures to capture high dynamic range
Autofocus Video autofocus Contrast detection vs None
Help
Automatically focuses shooting video
Lens availability Significantly more lenses available 205 lenses vs 123 lenses
Help
Around 70% more lenses available
Color depth Better color depth 23.5 bits vs 22.5 bits
Help
Distinguishes 1 more bits of color
Sensor type Has a CMOS-family sensor CMOS vs CCD
Help
CMOS-family sensors often produce better quality images
Light sensitivity (boost) Has boost ISO 25,600 ISO vs None
Help
Allows taking photos in darker situations, often at the cost of additional noise in the image
Battery life Longer battery life 660 shots vs 500 shots
Help
More than 30% more shots per battery charge
Continuous shooting Shoots faster 4 fps vs 2.5 fps
Help
60% faster continuous shooting
True resolution Higher true resolution 16.1 MP vs 14 MP
Help
Capture more than 10% more detail in your photos
Size Significantly smaller 127x96x78 mm vs 128x97x86 mm
Help
Around 10% smaller
Viewfinder size Larger viewfinder 0.51x vs 0.48x
Help
More than 10% larger viewfinder
Thickness Significantly thinner 3.1" vs 3.4"
Help
Around 10% thinner
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
Focus points Slightly more focus points 11 vs 9
Help
Set focus accurately within the frame
Nikon D5100 Learn more about
the Nikon D5100

Advantages of the Sony DSLR-A390

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Image stabilization Image stabilization Sensor shift vs None
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Helps eliminate blur caused by small camera movements
Shutter lag Less shutter lag 198 ms vs 273 ms
Help
Around 30% less delay when taking photos
Storage slots Has more storage slots 2 vs 1
Help
More slots allows storing more images without switching memory cards
Sony Alpha DSLR-A390 Learn more about
the Sony DSLR-A390
vs

recommendations

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

Snapsort Recommends
Nikon D5100 Nikon D5100 71
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        40 Sony Alpha DSLR-A390 Sony Alpha DSLR-A390

        similarities

        Compared to recent entry-level DSLRs

        Common Strengths Common Weaknesses
        Screen flips out Flip-out screens Help
        Great for movies
        Sensor size Large sensors Help
        D5100:APS-C 23.6x15.6mm
        DSLR-A390:APS-C 23.5x15.7mm
        Fastest shutter speed Slow max shutter speed Help
        1/4000 of a second
        Thickness Quite thick Help
        D5100:3.1"
        DSLR-A390:3.4"
        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
        D5100:4 fps
        DSLR-A390:2.5 fps
        True resolution Capture low resolution images Help
        D5100:16.1 MP
        DSLR-A390:14 MP
        Viewfinder size Below average viewfinder size Help
        D5100:0.51x
        DSLR-A390:0.48x
        Light sensitivity Poor maximum light sensitivity Help
        D5100:6,400 ISO
        DSLR-A390:3,200 ISO
        Weather sealed Neither is weather sealed Help
        Need to shelter it from weather
        Panorama Neither camera stitches together panoramas Help
        You could stitch photos in post
        Focus points Few focus points Help
        D5100:11
        DSLR-A390:9
        Autofocus Lacks video autofocus Help
        D5100:Contrast detection
        DSLR-A390:None
        Movie format One shoots movies Help
        D5100:1080p @ 30fps
        DSLR-A390:None

        dxomark

        DXOMark

        competitors

        Shared Competitors

        Advantages

        Disadvantages

        Nikon D3200

        Nikon D3200

        Entry-level DSLR

        $319 - $656 body only

        $399 - $477 with 18-55mm lens

        True resolution Takes much higher resolution photos
        Size Is slightly smaller
        Sensor size Has a marginally smaller sensor
        Shutter lag Has slightly more shutter lag
        Canon Rebel T3i

        Canon Rebel T3i

        Entry-level DSLR

        $480 - $774 body only

        $200 - $617 with 18-55mm lens

        True resolution Takes slightly higher resolution photos
        Lowest price Is slightly less expensive
        Size Is slightly larger
        Sensor size Has a much smaller sensor
        Nikon D5200

        Nikon D5200

        Entry-level DSLR

        $597 - $647 body only

        $544 - $747 with 18-55mm lens

        Movie format Records higher quality movies
        True resolution Takes much higher resolution photos
        Lowest price Is slightly more expensive
        Shutter lag Has significantly more shutter lag
        Nikon D3100

        Nikon D3100

        Entry-level DSLR

        $380 - $427 with 18-55mm lens

        Size Is slightly smaller
        Thickness Is thinner
        Sensor size Has a marginally smaller sensor
        External mic jack Lacks and external mic jack
        Nikon D7000

        Nikon D7000

        Entry-level DSLR

        $701 - $840 body only

        $913 - $989 with 18-105mm lens

        Viewfinder size Significantly larger viewfinder
        Weather sealed Has a weather sealed body
        Lowest price Is significantly more expensive
        Weight Is significantly heavier
        Canon Rebel T3

        Canon Rebel T3

        Entry-level DSLR

        $276 - $290 body only

        $350 - $409 with 18-55mm lens

        Weight Is slightly lighter
        Sensor cleaning Lacks a self cleaning sensor
        Size Is slightly larger
        Sony SLT A58

        Sony SLT A58

        Entry-level DSLR

        $448 with 18-55mm lens

        Viewfinder size Significantly larger viewfinder
        True resolution Takes slightly higher resolution photos
        Viewfinder Has a lower quality type of viewfinder
        Shutter lag Has significantly more shutter lag

        Nikon D5100 Competitors

        Advantages

        Disadvantages

        Nikon D3300

        Nikon D3300

        Entry-level DSLR

        $597 with 18-55mm lens

        Movie format Higher frame rate movies
        Low light performance Lower noise at high ISO
        Startup delay Much more startup delay
        HDR Lacks in-camera HDR
        Nikon D5300

        Nikon D5300

        Entry-level DSLR

        $720 - $747 body only

        $847 with 18-55mm lens

        Movie format Higher frame rate movies
        Low light performance Lower noise at high ISO
        Battery life Shorter battery life
        Lowest price Significantly more expensive
        Nikon D90

        Nikon D90

        Entry-level DSLR

        $575 - $629 body only

        $848 - $966 with 18-105mm lens

        Viewfinder size Significantly larger viewfinder
        Built-in focus motor Has a built-in focus motor
        Movie format Lower resolution movies
        Low light performance More noise at high ISO

        Sony Alpha DSLR-A390 Competitors

        Advantages

        Disadvantages

        Sony Alpha DSLR-A350

        Sony Alpha DSLR-A350

        Entry-level DSLR

        Battery life Longer battery life
        Size Smaller
        Autofocus Slower autofocus
        Storage slots Has fewer storage slots
        Nikon D3000

        Nikon D3000

        Entry-level DSLR

        $330 body only

        $350 - $398 with 18-55mm lens

        Screen size Significantly larger screen
        Lens availability Significantly more lenses available
        Live view No live view
        Image stabilization No image stabilization
        Sony Alpha DSLR-A290

        Sony Alpha DSLR-A290

        Entry-level DSLR

        Viewfinder size Larger viewfinder
        Live view No live view
        Screen flips out Screen does not flip out
        Sony Alpha DSLR-A380

        Sony Alpha DSLR-A380

        Entry-level DSLR

        $1,013 body only

        Dynamic range More dynamic range
        Size Much smaller
        Autofocus Slower autofocus
        Screen flips out Screen does not flip out

        appearance

        Nikon D5100 Sony Alpha DSLR-A390
        Nikon D5100 Sony Alpha DSLR-A390
        Nikon D5100 Sony Alpha DSLR-A390

        discussion

        Nikon D5100
        D5100
        Nikon

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        Sony Alpha DSLR-A390
        Alpha DSLR-A390
        Sony

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