Updated (April 2011): Compare the Nikon D5100 vs Sony SLT-A55

Sony SLT A55 vs Nikon D5100






Reasons to buy the Sony SLT A55

Large viewfinder
Viewfinder size
Image stabilization
Image stabilization
  1. Sensor shift
Rapid fire
Continuous shooting
10 fps
In-camera panoramas
Stitches together multiple photos into a panorama

Reasons to buy the Nikon D5100

Overall image quality
Great image quality
Dynamic range
Wide dynamic range
13.6 EV
Supports 24p
24p movies
For that film look
Movie format
Full HD
1080p @ 30fps


Explore our gallery of 50 sample photos taken by the Nikon D5100.
Explore our gallery of 50 sample photos taken by the Sony SLT-A55.


Sony SLT-A55 Competitors


Nikon D3100

Entry-level DSLR

$453 with 18-55mm lens

Viewfinder Has an optical viewfinder
Supports 24p Supports 24p
Dynamic range Less dynamic range

Sony SLT A37

Entry-level DSLR

Supports 24p Supports 24p
Dynamic range More dynamic range
Screen resolution Much lower resolution screen

Sony SLT A77


Movie format Lower frame rate movies
Supports 24p Supports 24p
Startup delay Much more startup delay

Nikon D5100 Competitors


Nikon D3300

Entry-level DSLR

$447 with 18-55mm lens

Movie format Lower frame rate movies
Low light performance Significantly lower noise at high ISO
HDR Lacks in-camera HDR

Nikon D3200

Entry-level DSLR

$675 with 18-55mm lens

True resolution Much higher true resolution
Color depth Better color depth
HDR Lacks in-camera HDR

Nikon D5600

Entry-level DSLR

$647 body only

$747 with 18-55mm lens

Movie format Lower frame rate movies
True resolution Much higher true resolution



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Showing 13 comments

Alex Sainz (7:22 PM, July 17, 2013)
totally agree, the tene popularity does not mean it is better quality, this point always favors CANON and NIKON
Britney Okeefe (10:52 PM, February 05, 2012)
Thats actually not true. Most minolta and sigma, among other, lenses fit the sony body, one of its major selling points.
Whits (6:21 PM, January 20, 2012)
Solrac - mate, i think these are both good camera's, as you can see below, I was tossing up 7months ago (Whits) as to which one to buy.  I am a little down the track now after having purchased a Canon T3i - it is absolutely amazing.  For you - comparing the Nikon D5100 and the SONY @55, they are both extremely good cameras which capture extremely good images....  I dont know how advanced you are with photography (I am still a novice) but I would keep this as a rule-of-thumb:  You cant pass up a DSLR for the pure physics of its photography mechanics.. i.e. the @55 is technically NOT a DSLR, it is a hybrid.  In my mind the @55 has a mechanism which could potentially be added trouble down the track, the DSLR is pure.  The frames per second wont be a problem for you, you dont really need SONY's 10fps of burst if you are genuinely trying to take good photos (I dont mean that technically by any means I am not a master, but I have found that spraying photos for a beginner like me tends to compromise quality - you may be different) however the burst rate on my T3i is actually surprisingly amazing, so for me, I wouldnt let how fast the camera can take shots be a selling point.
1st question:  Have you actually been to a shop and tangibly held these in your hand?  The camera(s) which sit more naturally should be where you start with looking at these... e.g. I was hell bent on getting the Nikon D5100, did NOT even have a T3i in the equation, then when I went to the shop and held it in my hand it fit so naturally that it was almost a deal, what made it a deal was that a good photographer showed the differences and the T3i and D5100 were nearly the same - I have not looked back.

The Sony parts - bit of a deal breaker for me, parts are exclusive to Sony and are all at a Sony premium - "SONY only" was how said photograher described, I am pretty certain, and check this out to make sure, but you cant use 3rd party equipment such as a good third party Tamron lense etc on a Sony. (I have just been trying to Google that so forgive me if that is a bum-steer)

The Nikon has a better ISO sensor - this will be crucial when you are playing around with your aperture and ISO in photo's.

If I was picking from the 2 - I would be cutting a check to Nikon.
solrac (3:55 PM, January 20, 2012)
I am still trying to decide between the two, I already ruled Canon T3i out because of the lack of features like HDR (combining multiple photos into one) and the shutter lag on burst mode after holding down the button for a few seconds. I like both the nikon and a55 and have researched them both a lot. Why is the Nikon rated so much higher than the a55 when it seems that a lot of people like the Sony more. I am leaning toward the Nikon because I figured out how to reduce the focus noise during video, just add an external mic. I also like the low light performance for photos and video. Sony is not to be ruled out though, it seems pretty good at low light. I will be doing videos and photos regularly, probably half and half. Photos will be of everything, portraits to action to scenery. Opinions?
Anooptheguy (11:58 AM, December 12, 2011)
I went to the store to see the compatibility of the cameras with my hand.. i found Sony SLT a55 more worth for the money i pay .
Avatar for Robert Anceski Robert Anceski (5:01 AM, June 19, 2011)
I was hoping someone could tell me if the sony's low light photos are that devastating that one would think of buying the NIkon????
Whits (2:43 AM, June 17, 2011)
also - I have a very powerful PC, should I be buying something at the low end of the SLR range that doesnt have all the gadget bells and whistles and pay up for better lenses and let the computer do all the gadgetry work via good software???
Whits (2:20 AM, June 17, 2011)
If you look at sample images from other websites, the A55 seems to have a deal-making-difference in the image appearance/quality... would this not be the way to go?  I am in the same predicament of not being able to decide... also.. with a dSLR (specifically)... is it OK to just go with a cheaper/lower version model and step up the lenses..???  is that not what it is all about in SLRs?  thanks for any help as I would really like to own a quality camera...
Aljoef (10:58 AM, June 13, 2011)
if ur into video i recommened the a55.
Avatar for wolfdoctor wolfdoctor (7:46 PM, May 31, 2011)
I don't understand why popularity is weighted at 100 while image quality is only weighted at 45.5.  Image quality should obviously have the greatest weight.  In fact, why is popularity included at all?
Avatar for nkalu nkalu (0:43 AM, April 27, 2011)
Regular camera usage. Travel with it , shot events including sports. For Video also.
Avatar for Snapsort Snapsort (1:16 PM, April 25, 2011)
What will you be doing with your camera?
Avatar for nkalu nkalu (7:29 PM, April 23, 2011)
Cool cameras. I have difficulty deciding which one to buy.
Can somebody help me out here?