Updated (March, 2012): Compare the Nikon D3200 vs Nikon D5100

Nikon D3100

Winner
Nikon D3100

54

vs

Nikon D5000

50

Nikon D5000

Runner-up
     
 

Reasons to buy the Nikon D3100

Movie format
Full HD
1080p @ 24fps
Live view
Has live view
Preview your photos
Movie continuous focus
Movie continuous focus
Makes it easy to get in-focus movies
Badge
Autofocuses shooting video
Contrast detection
 

Reasons to buy the Nikon D5000

Dynamic range
Wide dynamic range
12.5 EV
Live view
Has live view
Preview your photos
Screen flips out
Flip-out screen
Great for movies
Sensor size
Large sensor
APS-C 23.6x15.8mm
 
Differences | Recommendations | Similarities | Competitors | Appearance | Discussion

differences

Advantages of the Nikon D3100

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Movie format Higher resolution movies 1080p @ 24fps vs 720p @ 24fps
Help
Shoots higher resolution Full HD (1080p) video
Screen size Significantly larger screen 3.0" vs 2.7"
Help
More than 10% larger screen
Low light performance Slightly lower noise at high ISO 919 ISO vs 868 ISO
Help
The D3100 has a slight edge (0.1 f-stops) in low noise, high ISO performance
Size Significantly smaller 124x96x73 mm vs 127x104x80 mm
Help
Around 20% smaller
True resolution Higher true resolution 14.2 MP vs 12.2 MP
Help
Capture around 20% more detail in your photos
Lowest price Much cheaper $269.99 vs $761.36
Help
The best price we've seen is $491 cheaper (2.8x less)
Thickness Significantly thinner 2.9" vs 3.1"
Help
Around 10% thinner
Light sensitivity (boost) Better boost ISO 12,800 ISO vs 6,400 ISO
Help
The D3100's boost ISO is 1 f-stop better
Battery life Slightly longer battery life 550 shots vs 510 shots
Help
Around 10% more shots per battery charge
Weight Lighter 505 g vs 590 g
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More than 10% lighter
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
Help
1.2 f-stops more dynamic range
Screen flips out Has a flip-out screen Yes vs No
Help
Flip-out screens can be helpful when composing tricky shots or taking movies
Overall image quality Better image quality 72.0 vs 67.0
Help
Around 10% better image quality
Sensor size Larger sensor APS-C 23.6x15.8mm vs APS-C 23.1x15.4mm
Help
Almost the same
Continuous shooting Shoots faster 4 fps vs 3 fps
Help
More than 30% faster continuous shooting
Color depth Better color depth 22.7 bits vs 22.5 bits
Help
Distinguishes 0.2 more bits of color
Nikon D5000 Learn more about
the Nikon D5000
vs

recommendations

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

Snapsort Recommends
Nikon D3100 Nikon D3100 54
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    Style
      Color
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        vs

        50 Nikon D5000 Nikon D5000
        Retailer
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            Color
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              similarities

              Compared to recent entry-level DSLRs

              Common Strengths Common Weaknesses
              Lens availability Many lenses available Help
              205 lenses
              Startup delay Minimal startup delay Help
              400 ms startup delay
              Fastest shutter speed Slow max shutter speed Help
              1/4000 of a second
              Light sensitivity (boost) Poor boost ISO Help
              D3100:12,800 ISO
              D5000:6,400 ISO
              Viewfinder coverage Below average viewfinder coverage Help
              95%
              HDR Neither has in-camera HDR Help
              You could do HDR manually
              External mic jack Neither has an external mic jack Help
              Limited to the in-camera mic
              True resolution Capture low resolution images Help
              D3100:14.2 MP
              D5000:12.2 MP
              Screen resolution Low resolution screens Help
              230k dots
              Cross type focus points Few cross-type focus points Help
              1
              Continuous shooting Slow continuous shooting Help
              D3100:3 fps
              D5000:4 fps
              Light sensitivity Poor maximum light sensitivity Help
              3,200 ISO
              Shutter lag Significant shutter lag Help
              D3100:279 ms
              D5000:276 ms
              Viewfinder size Below average viewfinder size Help
              0.51x
              Image stabilization No image stabilization Help
              Risk of blur
              Weather sealed Neither is weather sealed Help
              Need to shelter it from weather
              Movie format Poor movies Help
              D3100:1080p @ 24fps
              D5000:720p @ 24fps
              Overall image quality Low image quality Help
              D3100:67.0
              D5000:72.0
              Low light performance Above average noise at high ISO Help
              D3100:919 ISO
              D5000:868 ISO

              dxomark

              DXOMark

              competitors

              Shared Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              Nikon D3200

              Nikon D3200

              Entry-level DSLR

              $319 - $657 body only

              $477 with 18-55mm lens

              Low light performance Is slightly less noisy at high ISO
              Overall image quality Has slightly better image quality
              Thickness Is thicker
              Nikon D5100

              Nikon D5100

              Entry-level DSLR

              $378 - $469 body only

              $458 - $669 with 18-55mm lens

              Low light performance Is slightly less noisy at high ISO
              Overall image quality Has slightly better image quality
              Lowest price Is slightly more expensive
              Thickness Is thicker
              Canon Rebel T3

              Canon Rebel T3

              Entry-level DSLR

              $389 - $418 body only

              $399 - $539 with 18-55mm lens

              Battery life Has a slightly longer battery life
              Lowest price Is slightly more expensive
              Thickness Is thicker
              Canon Rebel T3i

              Canon Rebel T3i

              Entry-level DSLR

              $499 - $550 body only

              $549 - $575 with 18-55mm lens

              Screen resolution Has a much higher resolution screen
              True resolution Takes slightly higher resolution photos
              Lowest price Is slightly more expensive
              Thickness Is thicker
              Nikon D3300

              Nikon D3300

              Entry-level DSLR

              $439 - $547 with 18-55mm lens

              Low light performance Is significantly less noisy at high ISO
              Overall image quality Has slightly better image quality
              Lowest price Is slightly more expensive
              Nikon D90

              Nikon D90

              Entry-level DSLR

              $929 body only

              $950 - $1,079 with 18-105mm lens

              Screen resolution Has a much higher resolution screen
              Viewfinder size Significantly larger viewfinder
              Lowest price Is much more expensive
              Thickness Is thicker
              Canon EOS Rebel T2i

              Canon Rebel T2i

              Entry-level DSLR

              $674 with 18-55mm lens

              Screen resolution Has a much higher resolution screen
              True resolution Takes slightly higher resolution photos
              Lowest price Is significantly more expensive
              Sensor size Has a slightly smaller sensor

              Nikon D3100 Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              Canon EOS Rebel T5

              Canon EOS Rebel T5

              Entry-level DSLR

              $680 - $700 body only

              $489 - $820 with 18-55mm lens

              Screen resolution Higher resolution screen
              True resolution Higher true resolution
              Low light performance More noise at high ISO
              Color depth Worse color depth

              Nikon D5000 Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              No significant competitors found that are specific to the Nikon D5000.

              appearance

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

              discussion

              Nikon D3100
              D3100
              Nikon

              Report a correction
              Nikon D5000
              D5000
              Nikon

              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