Updated (August 2010): Compare the Nikon D3100 vs Nikon D5000

Nikon D3100 vs Nikon D5000

Nikon D3100


Nikon D5000



Reasons to buy the Nikon D3100

Full HD
Movie format
1080p @ 24fps
Movie continuous focus
Movie continuous focus
Makes it easy to get in-focus movies
Autofocuses shooting video
Contrast detection
Really small
Prosumer size (124×97×74 mm)

Reasons to buy the Nikon D5000

Screen flips out
Flip-out screen
Great for movies
Supports 24p
24p movies
For that film look
Sensor cleaning
Self cleaning sensor
Avoids dust in your photos


Explore our gallery of 49 sample photos taken by the Nikon D3100.
Explore our gallery of 50 sample photos taken by the Nikon D5000.


Nikon D3100 Competitors

Nikon D3200

Nikon D3200

Entry-level DSLR

$289 body only

$379 - $447 with 18-55mm lens

Screen resolution Much higher resolution screen
Overall image quality Significantly better image quality
Thickness Thicker
Canon EOS Rebel T5

Canon EOS Rebel T5

Entry-level DSLR

$399 body only

$360 - $399 with 18-55mm lens

Screen resolution Higher resolution screen
True resolution Significantly higher true resolution
Low light performance More noise at high ISO
Nikon D3300

Nikon D3300

Entry-level DSLR

$400 - $497 with 18-55mm lens

Low light performance Significantly lower noise at high ISO
Screen resolution Much higher resolution screen
Size Slightly larger

Nikon D5000 Competitors

Nikon D3200

Nikon D3200

Entry-level DSLR

$289 body only

$379 - $447 with 18-55mm lens

Movie format Higher resolution movies
Screen resolution Much higher resolution screen
Screen flips out Screen does not flip out
Nikon D3300

Nikon D3300

Entry-level DSLR

$400 - $497 with 18-55mm lens

Movie format Higher resolution movies
Low light performance Much lower noise at high ISO
Screen flips out Screen does not flip out
Nikon D5100

Nikon D5100

Entry-level DSLR

$554 with 18-55mm, 55-200mm lenses

Movie format Higher resolution movies
Screen resolution Much higher resolution screen
Startup delay Slightly more startup delay


Advantages of the Nikon D3100

Report a correction
Movie format
Higher resolution movies
1080p @ 24fps vs 720p @ 24fps
Shoots higher resolution Full HD (1080p) video
Screen size
Much larger screen
3" vs 2.7"
More than 10% larger screen
Low light performance
Slightly lower noise at high ISO
919 ISO vs 868 ISO
The D3100 has a slight edge (0.1 f-stops) in low-noise, high-ISO performance
Significantly smaller
124×97×74 mm vs 127×104×80 mm
Around 20% smaller
True resolution
Higher true resolution
14.2 MP vs 12.2 MP
Capture around 20% more detail in your photos
Significantly thinner
2.9" vs 3.1"
Around 10% thinner
Battery life
Slightly longer battery life
550 shots vs 510 shots
Around 10% more shots per battery charge
Lowest price
$259.89 vs $412.99
The best price we've seen is $153 cheaper (around 40% less)
505 g vs 590 g
More than 10% lighter
Light sensitivity (boost)
Better boost ISO
12,800 ISO vs 6,400 ISO
The D3100's boost ISO is 2 f-stops better
Nikon D3100 Learn more about
the Nikon D3100

Advantages of the Nikon D5000

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Dynamic range
More dynamic range
12.5 EV vs 11.3 EV
1.6 f-stops more dynamic range
Overall image quality
Better image quality
72.0 vs 67.0
Around 10% better image quality
Screen flips out
Has a flip-out screen
Yes vs No
Flip-out screens can be helpful when composing tricky shots or taking movies
Continuous shooting
Shoots faster
4 fps vs 3 fps
More than 30% faster continuous shooting
Color depth
Better color depth
22.7 bits vs 22.5 bits
Almost the same
Nikon D5000 Learn more about
the Nikon D5000


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

Snapsort Recommends
Nikon D3100 Nikon D3100 53
        You save
        49 Nikon D5000 Nikon D5000
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              Compared to recent entry-level DSLRs

              Common Strengths
              Lens availability Many lenses available Help
              230 lenses
              Startup delay Minimal startup delay Help
              400 ms startup delay
              Lowest price Inexpensive Help
              Common Weaknesses
              Fastest shutter speed Slow max shutter speed Help
              1/4000 of a second
              Built-in focus motor No focus motor Help
              Won't autofocus with all lenses
              HDR Neither has in-camera HDR Help
              You could do HDR manually
              True resolution Capture low resolution images Help
              D310014.2 MP
              D500012.2 MP
              Viewfinder coverage Below average viewfinder coverage Help
              Screen resolution Low resolution screens Help
              230k dots
              Light sensitivity (boost) Poor boost ISO Help
              D310012,800 ISO
              D50006,400 ISO
              External mic jack Neither has an external mic jack Help
              Limited to the in-camera mic
              Light sensitivity Poor maximum light sensitivity Help
              3,200 ISO
              Cross type focus points Few cross-type focus points Help
              Shutter lag Significant shutter lag Help
              D3100279 ms
              D5000276 ms
              Continuous shooting Slow continuous shooting Help
              D31003 fps
              D50004 fps
              Viewfinder size Below average viewfinder size Help
              Focus points Few focus points Help
              Weather sealed Neither is weather sealed Help
              Need to shelter it from weather
              Image stabilization No image stabilization Help
              Risk of blur
              Touch screen No touchscreens Help
              More buttons
              Movie format Poor movies Help
              D31001080p @ 24fps
              D5000720p @ 24fps
              Low light performance Above average noise at high ISO Help
              D3100919 ISO
              D5000868 ISO




              Nikon D3100 Nikon D5000
              Nikon D3100 Nikon D5000
              Nikon D3100 Nikon D5000


              Nikon D3100

              Report a correction
              Nikon D5000

              Report a correction

              Showing 18 comments

              Avatar for rholze rholze (4:04 PM, October 05, 2013)
              i prefer d5000 thou d3100 has a much higher resolution still d500 has the advatage.,,,,buy one youll see their differeces
              irish (2:11 AM, July 03, 2013)
              D5100 is much better but if you are having only small budget then go for D3100 among this 2 u will not regret
              raymound (1:04 AM, April 01, 2013)
              dang it, im still confuse, which one is the latest model? D5000 or D3100?
              Sima (7:23 PM, March 12, 2012)
              Finally, what you say is better D5000 or D3100?
              Video is not important to me... 
              Only quality photos.
              I need only for portrait and landscape. Please help?Best regards!
              Weidebuyer (8:12 AM, January 25, 2012)
              which is better so...... some one sms me weidebuyer@hotmail:disqus .com as i am a begginer which want to buy 
              Ezat Sulaiman (3:05 AM, January 18, 2012)
              which one best camera to buy ,because i want to make video corparate???
              Blizzle (8:06 PM, November 29, 2011)
              hi, i am deciding between d5000 and d3100 and am incredibly confused! on the one hand d5000 has better image quality but the d3000 is more lightweight and is also a more recent release.. any suggestions to which one i should get would be great
              Rvbinanitan (10:03 PM, September 13, 2011)
              thanks for your review.i've decided to buy the D3100.I will buy the camera on sturday
              ARTN (0:57 PM, August 25, 2011)
              The D5000 is sooo UGLY!
              Denfred (9:33 AM, June 11, 2011)
              I agree with Sxi_...D5000 has better image quality than D3100...it's the purpose of buying a camera, right?
              shyam tupe (10:25 AM, May 14, 2011)
              d5000 so goooooooooooooood 
              Nikonboy (5:06 PM, April 19, 2011)
              just got mine today, i ended up with d3100 without any regret. went to my friend that owns a d5000 to compare, and theyre actually almost the same , but the only thing i noticed is the d3100 response more promptly maybe because of the improve expeed 2 sensor plus the firmware upgrades. i learned that always buy the latest one instead of older models as i know latest ones were more upgraded and uptodate to firmwares and system settings etc.
              Pinky_pop03 (6:48 AM, March 31, 2011)
              ill go for d3100.
              Misteterry25 (9:36 PM, March 30, 2011)
              Hi, I have been researching the D5000 and D3100 for a few weeks and I'm still not sure. I have kids that are into a lot of sports so I need something that can handle that and not blur as well as video. I'm leaning toward the D3100. Any input would be appreciated thanks!
              Sxi_ (10:52 PM, March 23, 2011)
              hi. I was also confused b/w the two cameras you are confused about. infact i also had nikon D5000 in my mind but studying thoroughly about all the 3 cameras ( D3100, D5000 and canon 550D ) i came to the point that D5000 is the best choice b/w the three. I have bought D5000 and its a wonderful camera and superb results. The megapixels are less than that of D3100 but i have compared the results with it and D5000 has significantly better results than D3100. I think u should go for D5000 and enjoy photography for good. cheers bruv :)
              Henparr (2:33 AM, March 05, 2011)
              hi, what about the stabilization. thus it make something to look at or its not to bad?
              Adrien (2:59 PM, February 24, 2011)
              Hi , Are you satisfied with the autofocus in video mode ? What can you say about the disadvantages ? Aswell for the advantages of this camera ! I am confused between the 550D and The D3100 . Help
              aer conditionat (9:30 AM, January 28, 2011)
              After i read your post i`ve decided to buy d3100. Three days ago i received the camera and i want to say that i`m very happy with it. THanks for your review