Updated (March, 2012): Compare the Nikon D3200 vs Sony NEX-5N

Nikon D3100 vs Sony Alpha NEX-5

Winner
Nikon D3100

54

Sony Alpha NEX-5

43

Runner-up

Reasons to buy the Nikon D3100

Movie continuous focus
Movie continuous focus
Makes it easy to get in-focus movies
Autofocuses shooting video
Badge
Contrast detection
 

Reasons to buy the Sony Alpha NEX-5

Screen resolution
High resolution screen
920k dots
Size
Really small
Compact 111x59x38 mm
Screen flips out
Flip-out screen
Great for movies
HDR
In-camera HDR
Combines multiple exposures

differences

Advantages of the Nikon D3100

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Shutter lag
Much less shutter lag
279 ms vs 670 ms
Help
2.4x less delay when taking photos
Autofocus
Faster autofocus
Phase detection vs Contrast detection
Help
Catch candid moments easily
Lens availability
Much more lenses available
205 lenses vs 21 lenses
Help
Around 10x more lenses available
Supports 24p
Supports 24p
Yes vs No
Help
Get that real film feel
Startup delay
Less startup delay
400 ms vs 1000 ms
Help
2.5x less delay when turning on
Battery life
Longer battery life
550 shots vs 330 shots
Help
Around 70% more shots per battery charge
Built-in flash
Built-in flash
Yes vs No
Help
A built-in flash is useful for taking indoor shots where there is little light
Viewfinder
Has a viewfinder
Pentamirror vs None
Help
A viewfinder can help save battery life by keeping the screen turned off
Color depth
Better color depth
22.5 bits vs 22.2 bits
Help
Distinguishes 0.3 more bits of color
Low light performance
Slightly lower noise at high ISO
919 ISO vs 796 ISO
Help
The D3100 has a slight edge (0.2 f-stops) in low noise, high ISO performance
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
Lowest price
Slightly cheaper
$233.12 vs $398.00
Help
The best price we've seen is $165 cheaper (more than 40% less)
Nikon D3100 Learn more about
the Nikon D3100

Advantages of the Sony NEX-5

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Screen resolution
Much higher resolution screen
920k dots vs 230k dots
Help
4x higher resolution screen
3D
Takes 3D photos
Yes vs No
Help
Combines multiple photos into a 3D image
Size
Significantly smaller
111x59x38 mm vs 124x96x73 mm
Help
3.6x smaller
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
Panorama
Can create panoramas in-camera
Yes vs No
Help
Stitches together multiple photos for a wide perspective
HDR
Has in-camera HDR
Yes vs No
Help
Combines multiple exposures to capture high dynamic range
Dynamic range
More dynamic range
12.2 EV vs 11.3 EV
Help
0.9 f-stops more dynamic range
Thickness
Significantly thinner
1.5" vs 2.9"
Help
Around 50% thinner
Continuous shooting
Shoots faster
7 fps vs 3 fps
Help
Around 2.5x faster continuous shooting
Weight
Lighter
287 g vs 505 g
Help
More than 40% lighter
Overall image quality
Slightly better image quality
69.0 vs 67.0
Help
Almost the same
Light sensitivity
Better maximum light sensitivity
12,800 ISO vs 3,200 ISO
Help
The NEX-5's maximum light sensitivity is 2 f-stops better
Focus points
Slightly more focus points
25 vs 11
Help
Set focus accurately within the frame
Sony Alpha NEX-5 Learn more about
the Sony NEX-5
vs

recommendations

Which camera do we recommend? Relative to the best recent digital cameras, and ignoring price

Snapsort Recommends
Nikon D3100 Nikon D3100 54
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    Style
      Color
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        vs
        43 Sony Alpha NEX-5 Sony Alpha NEX-5
        Retailer
          Style
            Color
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              similarities

              Compared to recent digital cameras

              Common Strengths
              Interchangeable lenses Interchangeable lenses Help
              Many lenses to choose from
              Supports RAW Supports RAW Help
              Better editing
              Sensor cleaning Self cleaning sensors Help
              Avoids dust in your photos
              External flash Each supports an external flash Help
              Better lighting
              Common Weaknesses
              Image stabilization No image stabilization Help
              Risk of blur
              Cross type focus points Few cross-type focus points Help
              D3100:1
              NEX-5:0
              External mic jack Neither has an external mic jack Help
              Limited to the in-camera mic
              Touch screen No touchscreens Help
              More buttons
              Weather sealed Neither is weather sealed Help
              Need to shelter it from weather

              dxomark

              DXOMark

              competitors

              Shared Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              Nikon D3200

              Nikon D3200

              Entry-level DSLR

              $302 - $557 body only

              $379 - $447 with 18-55mm lens

              Overall image quality Has slightly better image quality
              True resolution Takes significantly higher resolution photos
              Thickness Is thicker
              Weight Is slightly heavier
              Nikon D5100

              Nikon D5100

              Entry-level DSLR

              $334 body only

              $847 with 18-55mm lens

              Overall image quality Has slightly better image quality
              External mic jack Has an external mic jack
              Thickness Is thicker
              Weight Is significantly heavier
              Canon Rebel T3i

              Canon Rebel T3i

              Entry-level DSLR

              $499 - $536 body only

              $579 - $599 with 18-55mm lens

              True resolution Takes slightly higher resolution photos
              External mic jack Has an external mic jack
              Thickness Is thicker
              Weight Is significantly heavier
              Canon EOS Rebel T2i

              Canon Rebel T2i

              Entry-level DSLR

              $700 with 18-55mm lens

              True resolution Takes slightly higher resolution photos
              External mic jack Has an external mic jack
              Lowest price Is slightly more expensive
              Thickness Is thicker
              Nikon D3000

              Nikon D3000

              Entry-level DSLR

              $399 with 18-55mm lens

              Live view Doesn't let you preview your photos on the screen
              Sensor type Has a CCD-family sensor

              Nikon D3100 Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              Canon EOS Rebel T5

              Canon EOS Rebel T5

              Entry-level DSLR

              $399 - $400 with 18-55mm lens

              Screen resolution Higher resolution screen
              True resolution Higher true resolution
              Overall image quality Worse image quality
              Sensor cleaning Lacks a self cleaning sensor
              Canon Rebel T3

              Canon Rebel T3

              Entry-level DSLR

              $349 body only

              $499 with 18-55mm lens

              Battery life Longer battery life
              Startup delay Slightly less startup delay
              Autofocus Lacks video autofocus
              Supports 24p No 24p support
              Nikon D3300

              Nikon D3300

              Entry-level DSLR

              $393 body only

              $429 - $497 with 18-55mm lens

              Screen resolution Much higher resolution screen
              Overall image quality Better image quality
              Lowest price Slightly more expensive
              Nikon D90

              Nikon D90

              Entry-level DSLR

              $704 body only

              $901 with 55-300mm lens

              Screen resolution Much higher resolution screen
              Built-in focus motor Has a built-in focus motor
              Autofocus Lacks video autofocus
              Movie format Lower resolution movies

              Sony Alpha NEX-5 Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              Sony NEX-5N

              Sony NEX-5N

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $449 body only

              $803 with 16-50mm lens

              Shutter lag Much less shutter lag
              Touch screen Has a touch screen
              Startup delay Significantly more startup delay
              Sony Alpha A5000

              Sony Alpha A5000

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $435 - $448 with 16-50mm lens

              Supports 24p Supports 24p
              Overall image quality Better image quality
              3D Doesn't take 3D photos
              Screen resolution Significantly lower resolution screen
              Sony Alpha NEX-3

              Sony Alpha NEX-3

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $400 body only

              $368 with 18-55mm lens

              External mic jack Has an external mic jack
              Thickness Slightly thinner
              Movie format Lower resolution movies
              Dynamic range Less dynamic range
              Sony NEX-7

              Sony NEX-7

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $850 body only

              $598 - $699 with 18-55mm lens

              Shutter lag Much less shutter lag
              Overall image quality Better image quality
              Startup delay Slightly more startup delay
              Weight Slightly heavier
              Sony NEX-5R

              Sony NEX-5R

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $300 body only

              Touch screen Has a touch screen
              Supports 24p Supports 24p

              appearance

              Nikon D3100 Sony Alpha NEX-5
              Nikon D3100 Sony Alpha NEX-5
              Nikon D3100 Sony Alpha NEX-5

              discussion

              Nikon D3100
              D3100
              Nikon

              Report a correction
              Sony Alpha NEX-5
              Alpha NEX-5
              Sony

              Report a correction

              Showing 1 comments

              s (0:58 AM, September 03, 2013)
              The nex shoots 10 fps per sony website!