Updated (February, 2013): Compare the Nikon D3200 vs Sony SLT A58

Sony SLT A57 vs Nikon D3100

Winner
Sony SLT A57

70

Nikon D3100

54

Runner-up

Reasons to buy the Sony SLT A57

Full HD
Movie format
1080p @ 60fps
Wide dynamic range
Dynamic range
13 EV
High resolution screen
Screen resolution
921k dots
Large viewfinder
Viewfinder size
0.72x
 

Reasons to buy the Nikon D3100

Startup delay
Almost no delay when powering up
400 ms startup delay
Badge
Autofocuses shooting video
Contrast detection
Size
Really small
Prosumer size (124×97×74 mm)
Sensor cleaning
Self cleaning sensor
Avoids dust in your photos

galleries

Explore our gallery of 49 sample photos taken by the Nikon D3100.
Explore our gallery of 50 sample photos taken by the Sony SLT A57.

differences

Advantages of the Nikon D3100

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Viewfinder
Has an optical viewfinder
Pentamirror vs Digital
Help
Optical viewfinders save battery life and are more detailed
Low light performance
Lower noise at high ISO
919 ISO vs 785 ISO
Help
The D3100 has a slight edge (0.2 f-stops) in low-noise, high-ISO performance
Lens availability
Significantly more lenses available
205 lenses vs 123 lenses
Help
Around 70% more lenses available
Size
Significantly smaller
124×97×74 mm vs 132×98×81 mm
Help
Around 20% smaller
Thickness
Much thinner
2.9" vs 3.2"
Help
Around 10% thinner
Lowest price
Significantly cheaper
$274.95 vs $607.92
Help
The best price we've seen is $333 cheaper (2.2x less)
Weight
Lighter
505 g vs 618 g
Help
Around 20% lighter
Nikon D3100 Learn more about
the Nikon D3100

Advantages of the Sony SLT A57

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Continuous shooting
Shoots much faster
12 fps vs 3 fps
Help
4x faster continuous shooting
Viewfinder size
Much larger viewfinder
0.72x vs 0.51x
Help
Around 2x larger viewfinder
Screen resolution
Much higher resolution screen
921k dots vs 230k dots
Help
More than 4x higher resolution screen
Movie format
Higher frame rate movies
1080p @ 60fps vs 1080p @ 24fps
Help
Both shoot Full HD (1080p) video, but D3100 does so at a lower frame rate
3D
Takes 3D photos
Yes vs No
Help
Combines multiple photos into a 3D image
Dynamic range
More dynamic range
13 EV vs 11.3 EV
Help
1.8 f-stops more dynamic range
Autofocus
Faster video autofocus
Phase detection vs Contrast detection
Help
Shoot videos without worrying about focus
Overall image quality
Better image quality
75.0 vs 67.0
Help
More than 10% better image quality
Image stabilization
Image stabilization
  1. Sensor shift
vs None
Help
Helps eliminate blur caused by small camera movements
HDR
Has in-camera HDR
Yes vs No
Help
Combines multiple exposures to capture high dynamic range
Panorama
Can create panoramas in-camera
Yes vs No
Help
Stitches together multiple photos for a wide perspective
External mic jack
Has an external mic jack
Yes vs No
Help
Record high quality audio with an external microphone
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
Color depth
Better color depth
23.4 bits vs 22.5 bits
Help
Distinguishes 0.9 more bits of color
Viewfinder coverage
Significantly better viewfinder coverage
100% vs 95%
Help
Around 10% better viewfinder coverage
Light sensitivity
Better maximum light sensitivity
16,000 ISO vs 3,200 ISO
Help
The SLT A57's maximum light sensitivity is 4.6 f-stops better
True resolution
Higher true resolution
16 MP vs 14.2 MP
Help
Capture more than 10% more detail in your photos
Cross type focus points
Slightly more cross-type focus points
3 vs 1
Help
Grab focus in difficult situations
Focus points
Slightly more focus points
15 vs 11
Help
Set focus accurately within the frame
Light sensitivity (boost)
Better boost ISO
25,600 ISO vs 12,800 ISO
Help
The SLT A57's boost ISO is 2 f-stops better
Sony SLT A57 Learn more about
the Sony SLT A57
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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        70 Sony SLT A57 Sony SLT A57
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              similarities

              Compared to recent entry-level DSLRs

              Common Strengths
              Movie continuous focus Focus continuously recording movies Help
              Makes it easy to get in-focus movies
              Common Weaknesses
              Fastest shutter speed Slow max shutter speed Help
              1/4000 of a second
              True resolution Capture low resolution images Help
              D310014.2 MP
              SLT A5716 MP
              Cross type focus points Few cross-type focus points Help
              D31001
              SLT A573
              Touch screen No touchscreens Help
              More buttons
              Weather sealed Neither is weather sealed Help
              Need to shelter it from weather
              Light sensitivity Poor maximum light sensitivity Help
              D31003,200 ISO
              SLT A5716,000 ISO
              Low light performance Above average noise at high ISO Help
              D3100919 ISO
              SLT A57785 ISO

              dxomark

              DXOMark

              competitors

              Shared Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              Nikon D3200

              Nikon D3200

              Entry-level DSLR

              $300 - $547 body only

              $379 - $447 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
              Canon EOS Rebel T5

              Canon EOS Rebel T5

              Entry-level DSLR

              $499 body only

              $370 - $400 with 18-55mm lens

              True resolution Takes slightly higher resolution photos
              Thickness Is thicker
              Sensor cleaning Lacks a self cleaning sensor
              Nikon D5100

              Nikon D5100

              Entry-level DSLR

              $368 body only

              $479 - $640 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
              Size Is slightly larger
              Nikon D3300

              Nikon D3300

              Entry-level DSLR

              $677 body only

              $430 - $497 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
              Thickness Is thicker
              Canon Rebel T3i

              Canon Rebel T3i

              Entry-level DSLR

              $479 body only

              $566 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
              Thickness Is thicker
              Canon EOS Rebel T2i

              Canon Rebel T2i

              Entry-level DSLR

              $700 with 18-55mm lens

              Screen resolution Has a slightly higher resolution screen
              True resolution Takes slightly higher resolution photos
              Lowest price Is significantly more expensive
              Autofocus Lacks autofocus
              Nikon D5200

              Nikon D5200

              Entry-level DSLR

              $413 - $497 body only

              $489 - $550 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
              Thickness Is thicker

              Nikon D3100 Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              Canon Rebel T3

              Canon Rebel T3

              Entry-level DSLR

              $325 body only

              $399 with 18-55mm lens

              Battery life Longer battery life
              Viewfinder size Larger viewfinder
              Movie format Lower resolution movies
              Supports 24p No 24p support
              Nikon D90

              Nikon D90

              Entry-level DSLR

              $700 body only

              $1,008 with 55-300mm lens

              Screen resolution Much higher resolution screen
              Dynamic range More dynamic range
              Movie format Lower resolution movies
              Autofocus Lacks video autofocus

              Sony SLT A57 Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              Sony SLT A58

              Sony SLT A58

              Entry-level DSLR

              $350 body only

              $430 - $448 with 18-55mm lens

              True resolution Significantly higher true resolution
              Battery life Longer battery life
              Movie format Lower frame rate movies
              3D Doesn't take 3D photos
              Sony SLT-A65

              Sony SLT A65

              Entry-level DSLR

              $591 with 18-55mm lens

              True resolution Much higher true resolution
              GPS Has a GPS
              Continuous shooting Shoots significantly slower
              Low light performance Slightly more noise at high ISO
              Sony SLT-A77

              Sony SLT A77

              Pro DSLR

              $1,238 - $1,345 with 16-50mm lens

              True resolution Much higher true resolution
              Weather sealed Weather sealed
              Size Significantly larger
              Lowest price Much more expensive
              Sony SLT-A55

              Sony SLT-A55

              Entry-level DSLR

              GPS Has a GPS
              Low light performance Slightly lower noise at high ISO
              Supports 24p No 24p support
              Movie format Lower frame rate movies
              Sony SLT-A37

              Sony SLT-A37

              Entry-level DSLR

              Size Smaller
              Weight Lighter
              Screen resolution Much lower resolution screen
              Screen size Much smaller screen

              appearance

              Nikon D3100 Sony SLT A57
              Nikon D3100 Sony SLT A57
              Nikon D3100

              discussion

              Nikon D3100
              D3100
              Nikon

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              Sony SLT A57
              SLT A57
              Sony

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