Updated (April 2011): Compare the Nikon D5100 vs Sony Alpha DSLR-A390

Nikon D5100 vs Sony Alpha DSLR-A390

Winner
Nikon D5100

69

Sony Alpha DSLR-A390

41

Runner-up

Reasons to buy the Nikon D5100

Full HD
Movie format
1080p @ 30fps
Wide dynamic range
Dynamic range
13 EV
In-camera HDR
HDR
Combines multiple exposures
Movie continuous focus
Movie continuous focus
Makes it easy to get in-focus movies
 

Reasons to buy the Sony Alpha DSLR-A390

Image stabilization
Image stabilization
  1. Sensor shift
Shutter lag
Barely any delay taking photos
198 ms shutter lag
Storage slots
More storage slots
2
Screen flips out
Flip-out screen
Great for movies

Items often bought with the Nikon D5100 or Sony DSLR-A390

galleries

Explore our gallery of 50 sample photos taken by the Nikon D5100.
Explore our gallery of 50 sample photos taken by the Sony Alpha DSLR-A390.

differences

Advantages of the Nikon D5100

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Movie format
Shoots movies
1080p @ 30fps vs None
Help
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-stops) in low-noise, high-ISO performance
Screen resolution
Much higher resolution screen
920k dots vs 230k dots
Help
4x higher resolution screen
Overall image quality
Significantly better image quality
80.0 vs 66.0
Help
More than 20% better image quality
Dynamic range
More dynamic range
13 EV vs 11.5 EV
Help
1.4 f-stops more dynamic range
Screen size
Much larger screen
3" vs 2.7"
Help
More than 10% larger screen
Autofocus
Video autofocus
Contrast detection vs None
Help
Automatically focuses shooting video
HDR
Has in-camera HDR
Yes vs No
Help
Combines multiple exposures to capture high dynamic range
Lens availability
Significantly more lenses available
230 lenses vs 126 lenses
Help
More than 80% 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
Continuous shooting
Shoots faster
4 fps vs 2.5 fps
Help
60% faster continuous shooting
Battery life
Longer battery life
660 shots vs 500 shots
Help
More than 30% more shots per battery charge
Viewfinder size
Larger viewfinder
0.51x vs 0.48x
Help
More than 10% larger viewfinder
True resolution
Higher true resolution
16.1 MP vs 14 MP
Help
Capture more than 10% more detail in your photos
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
Size
Smaller
127×97×79 mm vs 128×97×86 mm
Help
Around 10% smaller
Thickness
Much 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 2 f-stops better
Focus points
Slightly more focus points
11 vs 9
Help
Set focus accurately within the frame
Lowest price
Cheaper
$368.00 vs $428.54
Help
The best price we've seen is $61 cheaper (more than 10% less)
Nikon D5100 Learn more about
the Nikon D5100

Advantages of the Sony DSLR-A390

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Image stabilization
Image stabilization
  1. Sensor shift
vs None
Help
Helps eliminate blur caused by small camera movements
Shutter lag
Significantly 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 69
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        41 Sony Alpha DSLR-A390 Sony Alpha DSLR-A390
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              similarities

              Compared to recent entry-level DSLRs

              Common Strengths
              Screen flips out Flip-out screens Help
              Great for movies
              Lowest price Inexpensive Help
              D5100$368.00
              DSLR-A390$428.54
              Common Weaknesses
              Fastest shutter speed Slow max shutter speed Help
              1/4000 of a second
              Thickness Quite thick Help
              D51003.1"
              DSLR-A3903.4"
              Viewfinder coverage Below average viewfinder coverage Help
              95%
              True resolution Capture low resolution images Help
              D510016.1 MP
              DSLR-A39014 MP
              Cross type focus points Few cross-type focus points Help
              1
              Light sensitivity Poor maximum light sensitivity Help
              D51006,400 ISO
              DSLR-A3903,200 ISO
              Continuous shooting Slow continuous shooting Help
              D51004 fps
              DSLR-A3902.5 fps
              Viewfinder size Below average viewfinder size Help
              D51000.51x
              DSLR-A3900.48x
              Focus points Few focus points Help
              D510011
              DSLR-A3909
              Touch screen No touchscreens Help
              More buttons
              Weather sealed Neither is weather sealed Help
              Need to shelter it from weather
              Movie format One shoots movies Help
              D51001080p @ 30fps
              DSLR-A390None

              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 much higher resolution photos
              Thickness Is thinner
              Shutter lag Has significantly more shutter lag
              Screen flips out Doesn't have a screen which flips out
              Nikon D3300

              Nikon D3300

              Entry-level DSLR

              $430 - $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 D5200

              Nikon D5200

              Entry-level DSLR

              $405 - $497 body only

              $479 - $500 with 18-55mm lens

              Movie format Records higher quality movies
              True resolution Takes much higher resolution photos
              Shutter lag Has significantly more shutter lag
              Canon Kiss X5

              Canon Kiss X5

              Entry-level DSLR

              $1,299 body only

              Screen resolution Has a slightly higher resolution screen
              True resolution Takes slightly higher resolution photos
              Lowest price Is much more expensive
              Size Is slightly larger
              Canon Rebel T5i

              Canon Rebel T5i

              Entry-level DSLR

              $495 - $649 body only

              $581 - $649 with 18-55mm lens

              Screen resolution Has a slightly higher resolution screen
              True resolution Takes slightly higher resolution photos
              Lowest price Is slightly more expensive
              Size Is slightly larger
              Canon EOS Rebel T5

              Canon EOS Rebel T5

              Entry-level DSLR

              $319 body only

              $399 with 18-55mm lens

              True resolution Takes slightly higher resolution photos
              Weight Is slightly lighter
              Sensor cleaning Lacks a self cleaning sensor
              External mic jack Lacks and external mic jack
              Nikon D3100

              Nikon D3100

              Entry-level DSLR

              $263 body only

              $358 with 18-55mm lens

              Size Is slightly smaller
              Lowest price Is slightly less expensive
              External mic jack Lacks and external mic jack
              Shutter lag Has significantly more shutter lag

              Nikon D5100 Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              Nikon D5500

              Nikon D5500

              Entry-level DSLR

              $561 - $747 body only

              $689 - $847 with 18-55mm lens

              Movie format Lower frame rate movies
              Low light performance Lower noise at high ISO
              Lowest price More expensive
              Nikon D5300

              Nikon D5300

              Entry-level DSLR

              $480 - $647 body only

              $549 - $747 with 18-55mm lens

              Movie format Lower frame rate movies
              Screen size Significantly larger screen
              Battery life Slightly shorter battery life
              Lowest price More expensive

              Sony Alpha DSLR-A390 Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              Sony SLT A77 II

              Sony SLT A77 II

              Pro DSLR

              $885 - $948 body only

              $1,548 with 16-50mm lens

              Movie format Shoots movies
              Screen resolution Much higher resolution screen
              Viewfinder Has a digital viewfinder
              Storage slots Has fewer storage slots
              Sony Alpha ILC-3000

              Sony Alpha ILC-3000

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              Movie format Shoots movies
              Low light performance Significantly lower noise at high ISO
              Autofocus Slower autofocus
              Viewfinder Has a digital viewfinder
              Sony SLT-A33

              Sony SLT-A33

              Entry-level DSLR

              Movie format Shoots movies
              Autofocus Video autofocus
              Viewfinder Has a digital viewfinder
              Battery life Shorter battery life

              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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