Updated (August 2010): Compare the Nikon D3100 vs Sony Alpha DSLR-A550

Sony Alpha DSLR-A550 vs Nikon D3100

Winner
Sony Alpha DSLR-A550

57

Nikon D3100

53

Runner-up

Reasons to buy the Sony Alpha DSLR-A550

High resolution screen
Screen resolution
921k dots
Image stabilization
Image stabilization
  1. Sensor shift
Rapid fire
Continuous shooting
7 fps
Flip-out screen
Screen flips out
Great for movies
 

Reasons to buy the Nikon D3100

Movie format
Full HD
1080p @ 24fps
Supports 24p
24p movies
For that film look
Movie continuous focus
Movie continuous focus
Makes it easy to get in-focus movies
Badge
Autofocuses shooting video
Contrast detection

Items often bought with the Sony DSLR-A550 or Nikon D3100

galleries

Explore our gallery of 49 sample photos taken by the Nikon D3100.
Explore our gallery of 7 sample photos taken by the Sony Alpha DSLR-A550.

differences

Advantages of the Nikon D3100

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Movie format
Shoots movies
1080p @ 24fps vs None
Help
Shoots Full HD (1080p) video as well as still pictures
Autofocus
Faster autofocus
Phase detection vs Contrast detection
Help
Catch candid moments easily
Autofocus
Video autofocus
Contrast detection vs None
Help
Automatically focuses shooting video
Color depth
Better color depth
22.5 bits vs 21.9 bits
Help
Distinguishes 0.6 more bits of color
Lens availability
Significantly more lenses available
230 lenses vs 126 lenses
Help
More than 80% more lenses available
Low light performance
Lower noise at high ISO
919 ISO vs 807 ISO
Help
The D3100 has a slight edge (0.2 f-stops) in low-noise, high-ISO performance
Size
Much smaller
124×97×74 mm vs 137×104×84 mm
Help
Around 30% smaller
Lowest price
Much cheaper
$263.39 vs $999.99
Help
The best price we've seen is $737 cheaper (3.8x less)
Thickness
Much thinner
2.9" vs 3.3"
Help
More than 10% thinner
Overall image quality
Slightly better image quality
67.0 vs 66.0
Help
Almost the same
Light sensitivity (boost)
Has boost ISO
12,800 ISO vs None
Help
Allows taking photos in darker situations, often at the cost of additional noise in the image
Weight
Lighter
505 g vs 632 g
Help
More than 20% lighter
Startup delay
Slightly less startup delay
400 ms vs 500 ms
Help
20% less delay when turning on
Nikon D3100 Learn more about
the Nikon D3100

Advantages of the Sony DSLR-A550

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Screen resolution
Much higher resolution screen
921k dots vs 230k dots
Help
More than 4x higher resolution screen
Continuous shooting
Shoots much faster
7 fps vs 3 fps
Help
Around 2.5x faster continuous shooting
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
Dynamic range
More dynamic range
11.8 EV vs 11.3 EV
Help
1 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
Battery life
Significantly longer battery life
950 shots vs 550 shots
Help
More than 70% more shots per battery charge
Shutter lag
Significantly less shutter lag
184 ms vs 279 ms
Help
More than 30% less delay when taking photos
Light sensitivity
Better maximum light sensitivity
12,800 ISO vs 3,200 ISO
Help
The DSLR-A550's maximum light sensitivity is 4 f-stops better
Storage slots
Has more storage slots
2 vs 1
Help
More slots allows storing more images without switching memory cards
Viewfinder size
Slightly larger viewfinder
0.52x vs 0.51x
Help
Almost the same
Sony Alpha DSLR-A550 Learn more about
the Sony DSLR-A550
vs

recommendations

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

Snapsort Recommends
Nikon D3100 Nikon D3100 53
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    Style
      Color
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        vs
        57 Sony Alpha DSLR-A550 Sony Alpha DSLR-A550
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          Style
            Color
              You save

              similarities

              Compared to recent entry-level DSLRs

              Common Strengths

              Snapsort is not aware of any interesting strengths shared by these two products.

              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
              DSLR-A55014 MP
              Viewfinder coverage Below average viewfinder coverage Help
              95%
              Light sensitivity (boost) One has boost ISO Help
              D310012,800 ISO
              DSLR-A550None
              Light sensitivity Poor maximum light sensitivity Help
              D31003,200 ISO
              DSLR-A55012,800 ISO
              Viewfinder size Below average viewfinder size Help
              D31000.51x
              DSLR-A5500.52x
              Touch screen No touchscreens Help
              More buttons
              Weather sealed Neither is weather sealed Help
              Need to shelter it from weather
              Movie format One shoots movies Help
              D31001080p @ 24fps
              DSLR-A550None
              Overall image quality Low image quality Help
              D310067.0
              DSLR-A55066.0
              Dynamic range Poor dynamic range Help
              D310011.3 EV
              DSLR-A55011.8 EV
              Low light performance Above average noise at high ISO Help
              D3100919 ISO
              DSLR-A550807 ISO

              dxomark

              DXOMark

              competitors

              Shared Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              Nikon D3200

              Nikon D3200

              Entry-level DSLR

              $289 body only

              $349 - $447 with 18-55mm lens

              Low light performance Is slightly less noisy at high ISO
              Overall image quality Has significantly better image quality
              Thickness Is thicker
              Shutter lag Has significantly more shutter lag
              Canon EOS Rebel T5

              Canon EOS Rebel T5

              Entry-level DSLR

              $325 body only

              $360 - $399 with 18-55mm lens

              True resolution Takes slightly higher resolution photos
              Thickness Is thicker
              Sensor cleaning Lacks a self cleaning sensor
              Canon Kiss X5

              Canon Kiss X5

              Entry-level DSLR

              $1,299 body only

              Screen resolution Has a slightly higher resolution screen
              True resolution Takes slightly higher resolution photos
              Lowest price Is much more expensive
              Thickness Is thicker
              Nikon D90

              Nikon D90

              Entry-level DSLR

              $755 with 18-105mm lens

              Overall image quality Has slightly better image quality
              Dynamic range Has slightly wider dynamic range
              Lowest price Is much more expensive
              Thickness Is thicker
              Canon EOS Rebel T2i

              Canon Rebel T2i

              Entry-level DSLR

              $898 with 18-55mm, 75-300mm lenses

              Screen resolution Has a slightly higher resolution screen
              True resolution Takes slightly higher resolution photos
              Lowest price Is much more expensive
              Shutter lag Has slightly more shutter lag
              Canon Rebel T5i

              Canon Rebel T5i

              Entry-level DSLR

              $490 - $649 body only

              $581 - $699 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 Digital Rebel XS

              Canon EOS Digital Rebel XS

              Entry-level DSLR

              $400 with 18-55mm lens

              Size Is slightly smaller
              Thickness Is thinner
              Lowest price Is slightly more expensive
              True resolution Takes slightly lower resolution photos

              Nikon D3100 Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              Nikon D3300

              Nikon D3300

              Entry-level DSLR

              $430 - $497 with 18-55mm lens

              Low light performance Significantly lower noise at high ISO
              Screen resolution Much higher resolution screen
              Size Slightly larger
              Thickness Thicker
              Canon Rebel T3

              Canon Rebel T3

              Entry-level DSLR

              $332 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 D5100

              Nikon D5100

              Entry-level DSLR

              $368 body only

              $640 with 18-55mm lens

              Screen resolution Much higher resolution screen
              Dynamic range More dynamic range
              Size Larger
              Thickness Significantly thicker

              Sony Alpha DSLR-A550 Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              Sony SLT A58

              Sony SLT A58

              Entry-level DSLR

              $498 with 18-55mm lens

              Movie format Shoots movies
              Autofocus Video autofocus
              Screen size Much smaller screen
              Screen resolution Much lower resolution screen
              Sony SLT-A55

              Sony SLT-A55

              Entry-level DSLR

              $900 body only

              Movie format Shoots movies
              Autofocus Video autofocus
              Viewfinder Has a digital viewfinder
              Battery life Much shorter battery life
              Sony SLT-A65

              Sony SLT A65

              Entry-level DSLR

              $593 with 18-55mm lens

              Movie format Shoots movies
              Autofocus Video autofocus
              Startup delay Much more startup delay
              Viewfinder Has a digital viewfinder
              Sony SLT-A33

              Sony SLT-A33

              Entry-level DSLR

              Movie format Shoots movies
              Autofocus Video autofocus
              Low light performance More noise at high ISO
              Battery life Much shorter battery life
              Sony Alpha DSLR-A580

              Sony Alpha DSLR-A580

              Entry-level DSLR

              $1,109 with 18-55mm lens

              Movie format Shoots movies
              Overall image quality Significantly better image quality
              Shutter lag Significantly more shutter lag
              Startup delay More startup delay

              appearance

              Nikon D3100 Sony Alpha DSLR-A550
              Nikon D3100 Sony Alpha DSLR-A550
              Nikon D3100 Sony Alpha DSLR-A550

              discussion

              Nikon D3100
              D3100
              Nikon

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              Sony Alpha DSLR-A550
              Alpha DSLR-A550
              Sony

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