Updated (October, 2012): Compare the Nikon D5200 vs Sony Alpha DSLR-A580

Sony Alpha DSLR-A580 vs Nikon D5100

Sony Alpha DSLR-A580


Nikon D5100



Reasons to buy the Sony Alpha DSLR-A580

Great color depth
Color depth
23.8 bits
Wide dynamic range
Dynamic range
13.3 EV
Image stabilization
Image stabilization
Sensor shift
Rapid fire
Continuous shooting
7 fps

Reasons to buy the Nikon D5100

Low light performance
Low noise at high ISO
1,183 ISO
Autofocuses shooting video
Contrast detection
Overall image quality
Great image quality
Movie format
Full HD
1080p @ 30fps


Advantages of the Nikon D5100

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Supports 24p
Supports 24p
Yes vs No
Get that real film feel
Lens availability
Significantly more lenses available
205 lenses vs 123 lenses
Around 70% more lenses available
Low light performance
Slightly lower noise at high ISO
1,183 ISO vs 1,121 ISO
The D5100 has a slight edge (0.1 f-stops) in low noise, high ISO performance
Much smaller
127x96x78 mm vs 137x104x84 mm
Around 20% smaller
Startup delay
Less startup delay
500 ms vs 800 ms
Around 40% less delay when turning on
Shutter lag
Less shutter lag
273 ms vs 295 ms
Around 10% less delay when taking photos
Significantly thinner
3.1" vs 3.3"
Around 10% thinner
560 g vs 599 g
Around 10% lighter
Nikon D5100 Learn more about
the Nikon D5100

Advantages of the Sony DSLR-A580

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Takes 3D photos
Yes vs No
Combines multiple photos into a 3D image
Image stabilization
Image stabilization
Sensor shift vs None
Helps eliminate blur caused by small camera movements
Continuous shooting
Shoots much faster
7 fps vs 4 fps
Around 80% faster continuous shooting
Can create panoramas in-camera
Yes vs No
Stitches together multiple photos for a wide perspective
Battery life
Significantly longer battery life
1050 shots vs 660 shots
Around 60% more shots per battery charge
Storage slots
Has more storage slots
2 vs 1
More slots allows storing more images without switching memory cards
Color depth
Better color depth
23.8 bits vs 23.5 bits
Distinguishes 0.3 more bits of color
Dynamic range
More dynamic range
13.3 EV vs 13 EV
0.3 f-stops more dynamic range
Viewfinder size
Slightly larger viewfinder
0.52x vs 0.51x
Almost the same
Cross type focus points
Slightly more cross-type focus points
3 vs 1
Grab focus in difficult situations
Light sensitivity
Better maximum light sensitivity
12,800 ISO vs 6,400 ISO
The DSLR-A580's maximum light sensitivity is 1 f-stop better
Focus points
Slightly more focus points
15 vs 11
Set focus accurately within the frame
Sony Alpha DSLR-A580 Learn more about
the Sony DSLR-A580


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

Snapsort Recommends
Nikon D5100 Nikon D5100 72
        You save
        75 Sony Alpha DSLR-A580 Sony Alpha DSLR-A580
              You save


              Compared to recent entry-level DSLRs

              Common Strengths
              Screen flips out Flip-out screens Help
              Great for movies
              External mic jack Have external mic jacks Help
              Record higher quality audio with a microphone
              Common Weaknesses
              Fastest shutter speed Slow max shutter speed Help
              1/4000 of a second
              Thickness Quite thick Help
              Viewfinder coverage Below average viewfinder coverage Help
              True resolution Capture low resolution images Help
              D5100:16.1 MP
              DSLR-A580:16 MP
              GPS No built-in GPS Help
              Missing geo-tagging
              Cross type focus points Few cross-type focus points Help
              Shutter lag Significant shutter lag Help
              D5100:273 ms
              DSLR-A580:295 ms
              Viewfinder size Below average viewfinder size Help
              Weather sealed Neither is weather sealed Help
              Need to shelter it from weather
              Touch screen No touchscreens Help
              More buttons
              Light sensitivity Poor maximum light sensitivity Help
              D5100:6,400 ISO
              DSLR-A580:12,800 ISO
              Movie format Both shoot high resolution HD movies Help
              1080p @ 30fps




              Shared Competitors



              Nikon D3200

              Nikon D3200

              Entry-level DSLR

              $302 - $527 body only

              $379 - $447 with 18-55mm lens

              True resolution Takes much higher resolution photos
              Thickness Is thinner
              Light sensitivity (boost) Slightly lower boost light sensitivity
              HDR Lacks a built in HDR feature
              Canon Rebel T3i

              Canon Rebel T3i

              Entry-level DSLR

              $499 - $539 body only

              $553 - $599 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
              Light sensitivity (boost) Slightly lower boost light sensitivity
              Nikon D5200

              Nikon D5200

              Entry-level DSLR

              $547 body only

              $499 - $647 with 18-55mm lens

              Movie format Records higher quality movies
              True resolution Takes much higher resolution photos
              Lowest price Is slightly more expensive
              Battery life Has a slightly shorter battery life
              Nikon D3300

              Nikon D3300

              Entry-level DSLR

              $393 body only

              $429 - $497 with 18-55mm lens

              Low light performance Is slightly less noisy at high ISO
              Movie format Records higher quality movies
              HDR Lacks a built in HDR feature
              Screen flips out Doesn't have a screen which flips out
              Nikon D7000

              Nikon D7000

              Entry-level DSLR

              $600 with 18-55mm lens

              Viewfinder size Significantly larger viewfinder
              Weather sealed Has a weather sealed body
              Lowest price Is slightly more expensive
              Weight Is significantly heavier
              Nikon D5300

              Nikon D5300

              Entry-level DSLR

              $697 body only

              $695 - $797 with 18-55mm lens

              Low light performance Is slightly less noisy at high ISO
              Movie format Records higher quality movies
              Lowest price Is significantly more expensive
              Canon EOS Rebel T5

              Canon EOS Rebel T5

              Entry-level DSLR

              $399 with 18-55mm lens

              True resolution Takes slightly higher resolution photos
              Weight Is slightly lighter
              Sensor cleaning Lacks a self cleaning sensor
              Light sensitivity (boost) Slightly lower boost light sensitivity

              Nikon D5100 Competitors



              Nikon D3100

              Nikon D3100

              Entry-level DSLR

              $233 body only

              $375 with 18-55mm lens

              Size Smaller
              Thickness Significantly thinner
              Screen resolution Much lower resolution screen
              Overall image quality Significantly worse image quality

              Sony Alpha DSLR-A580 Competitors



              Sony SLT-A77

              Sony SLT A77

              Pro DSLR

              $1,238 with 16-50mm lens

              Viewfinder size Much larger viewfinder
              Movie format Lower frame rate movies
              Low light performance Significantly more noise at high ISO
              Startup delay Much more startup delay


              Nikon D5100 Sony Alpha DSLR-A580
              Nikon D5100 Sony Alpha DSLR-A580
              Nikon D5100 Sony Alpha DSLR-A580


              Nikon D5100

              Report a correction
              Sony Alpha DSLR-A580
              Alpha DSLR-A580

              Report a correction

              Showing 22 comments

              Avatar for rein rein (10:51 PM, August 02, 2014)
              kagandahan kasi ng sony,,,MAY titatawag silang TRANSLUCENT MIRROR TECH. AND FULL TIME CONTINEOUS AF..for fast shooting and recording...
              Avatar for rein rein (10:45 PM, August 02, 2014)
              in my own opinion,i go for SONY,,,nikon n canon are less expensive thats why consumers made them on top....BUT...for me,im looking for the unit not the price...only an opinion guys...its so called investment...
              arun (2:32 AM, January 26, 2013)
              D5100 does have in camera HDR. And iso 12800 is not a factor. High iso is not really good for photo quality. Both camera's usable iso is almost the same.
              Rahuman (8:25 PM, January 19, 2012)
              You had given 50 points for nikon and only 5 for sony for popularity, which makes a big difference, i think sony should be the winner. Just my suggestion
              Muteboladao (10:41 AM, December 11, 2011)
              LOGICAL reasons to prefer the A580

              1. Optical SteadyShot - works with all lenses, because it's in-camera

              2. 7 FPS vs 4 FPS - Pretty self-explanatory

              3. Better autofocus, 15 points and 3 cross points vs 11 and 1 for the
              D5100 - obviously superior autofocus is a very logical reason to prefer
              one camera over another.

              4. Phase detect autofocus in live view -

              5. Sweep Panorama mode - D5100 doesn't have it

              6. In-camera HDR and DRO - D5100 doesn't have it

              7. ISO 12,800 - D5100 doesn't have it

              8. Multi-stack ISO mode - D5100 doesn't have it, and therefore can make better high ISO JPEGs of still subjects than Nikon

              9. 3D photos and panoramas - It's a gimmick for most people, but again,
              the D5100 doesn't have it, and it's a more realistic use of the camera
              than 24p

              10. Over 1.5x longer battery life - mostly just s convenience, but no less of a convenience than the D5100's smaller size/weight

              11. Two data storage slots - ditto #4.
              Nevermess (0:13 PM, November 22, 2011)
              Hi Lamboram I bought DSLR recently and I was choosing between Nikon D5100 and Sony A580. Please be aware that I am not Nikon or Sony fanatic. I tested both cameras and I found that Nikon's metering is much better for me as well as jpeg picture quality. I just can not see myself shooting only RAW and converting after that in jpeg using Photoshop etc. I just like the Nikon's jpegs more. So comparing two cameras based only on paper specifications is not good idea. 
              noone (9:48 PM, October 21, 2011)
              Regardless of price, SONY is slightly better because of more cross type focus point, auto shut-off LCD and faster shoot speed. But SONY is $100 more. You decide if worth it or not.
              Meshoolord (6:53 AM, October 01, 2011)
              Hi, would you advise which DSLR the best here to capture movies Sony or Nikon D5100????
              Smart Kid !! (2:09 PM, September 26, 2011)
              hehe.. which lens do you say?? Do not look for Carl Zeiss, Sony G lenses are good and cheap with Auto-focus.. and we don't need VR mate, the Sony has in camera image stabilization.. I think thats what Lamboram has stated.. please drop the idea that Nikon and Canon are the only DSLR manufacturer in the planet.. !!! I have a55 and i simply love it.. as Lamboram said, watch out for A77, its gonna kill Nikon 

              P.S: Nikon's try on mirror less camera like Sony NEX is a colossal fail.. Go cry to your mommy :P :P :P No offense..
              Cabral (4:19 PM, August 20, 2011)
              I am in great doubt and wished someone could help me. I'm aware that Canon and Nikon are majors, but I found sony a580 very attractive. The most important things I consider in a camera are: long battery life, image stabilizer, and MAINLY low noise at high ISO, 'cos what I love the most is to take pictures in the dark, like moon and all... Sony seems better at these points, but I read once that what matters the most are the lenses not the camera, but I dont have the money to buy lots of lenses, I wish to have 2 or 3. I'm not a pro, but I'd like to take good pictures, this is something I enjoy, so I want quality. I'd like to know how is the sony 3D pictures, can I print the picture in a special paper, or is it specific to 3D television? I was between Canon T2i and Sony A580, but now I guess I'm between Nikon5100 and Sony A580. Any suggestions, please?
              Smapboys (8:37 AM, August 08, 2011)
              Why follow others when you know which is the best. I am the proud user of Sony A580. It make me special too when everyone is using Nikon and Canon.
              We are different that what sets Sony apart from the rest. A great leader will not follow the crowd. Because leader will innovate......Because it's a Sony........
              your mom (5:59 PM, July 06, 2011)
              looks to me like sony lenses are more expensive than nikon lenses anyways, even without auto focus or vr
              Lamboram (10:25 AM, June 25, 2011)
              Hello @4857f404b42bf2332989b87d5f5fca91:disqus , I respect your view. But i have tried both these cameras. a camera without an internal image stabilization and focus motor means, you need to buy costlier lenses. and if you do the math, you will need one camera and more than one lens. So every lens you buy weighs your pocket more. You say you are Nikon fan. I am happy about that. But if you look inside Canon or Nikon, the sensors are from Sony. In fact the sensor which A580 uses is the same as D5100, D7000 and its better than Canon 7D[I am not saying this, but DXOmark does]. A camera is more of what you get for your money. 3D photos, panorama, more cross type focus lines, more focus points means, you can get tricky situations handled well. I ain't no pro, but i am an Engineer, so i think i can say this :) You will need the assistance of good auto-focus when you are handling speedy scenes, little birds etc. watch out for A77 from Sony this year, Nikon and Canon may be the giants, but not anymore. Sony has the money and technology to reach the very top spot, and i think i have made a wise decision on buying Sony. I ain't arguing here, but A580 is much better than its counterparts from Nikon or Canon in terms of value, worth, quality and speed :)
              Linnhann (3:27 AM, June 02, 2011)
              i also confuse, as many friends using nikon, so i can xchange the lens or buy the cheap 2nd lens. But thinking of technology i lean to sony.
              Vio (11:23 AM, May 31, 2011)
              also, i am not pro. but in my opionion sony will never beat nikon in digital photography, that's because nikon's greatest rival is canon, so nikon and canon is the mondial leaders in digital photo (also leica and another can be but nikon and canon are the most rated dslr). In my opinion for nice photography you don't need focus motor that because nikkor lensses already have that, also image stabiliser is includded in the most nikkor lensses, you don't need a dual slot because the 5100 support 64GB SDXC, you can get a grip to have more shots, just with panorama, 3d ability and some other functions that not means sony is better, just different, just test this 2 dslr's and you will see that each have nice functions for a nice creativity. me i am a nikon fan maybe for this i like the nikon.  
              Hossein (9:27 PM, May 28, 2011)
              I'm not a prof. photographer, but in my opinion SONY could beat NIKON because of panorama, focus motor, 3D ability, more shots for battery, faster continuous shooting, dual slot, image stabilizer, high sensivity & much more ! Am I right ?
              Avatar for Snapsort Snapsort (2:56 PM, May 28, 2011)
              Hi Jackal, the Sony A580 doesn't do auto focus while shooting video, the Nikon D5100 does, that is mentioned as one of the reasons to consider the D5100 above!
              Jackal (11:46 AM, May 28, 2011)
              im curious that the continuous focusing in video mode doesnt take account in the comparison. is it identical?
              Aiswaran Dhevaraj (1:11 PM, May 21, 2011)
               Which is most better among these please suggest me SNAPSORT i a m in great confusion which one to my ...and also i nee to have a cheaper one ?
              Avatar for nkalu nkalu (4:10 PM, May 19, 2011)
              Thanks a lot. That was helpful.
              lomo (2:19 PM, May 18, 2011)
               The spec sheets are nearly identical. However, there are certain key features which puts the sony ahead such as in body stabilisation, wireless flash control, way better battery life, dual slots and in body motor, which means there are more lenses that autofocuses with the sony compared to the nikon. its such a shame that nikon cripples their entry level bodies by removing so many professional features even though the overall quality of the camera is great.
              Avatar for nkalu nkalu (4:20 PM, May 17, 2011)
               Which of these is a better buy: Nikkon D5100 and Sony DSLR-A580?