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

Nikon D3100

Winner
Nikon D3100

50

vs

Sony Alpha NEX-5

42

Sony Alpha NEX-5

Runner-up
     
 

Reasons to buy the Nikon D3100

Movie continuous focus
Movie continuous focus
Makes it easy to get in-focus movies
Badge
Autofocuses shooting video
Contrast detection
Live view
Has live view
Preview your photos
 

Reasons to buy the Sony Alpha NEX-5

Screen resolution
High resolution screen
920k dots
Size
Really small
Compact 111x59x38 mm
Dynamic range
Wide dynamic range
12.2 EV
Screen flips out
Flip-out screen
Great for movies
 
Differences | Recommendations | Cast your vote | Similarities | Competitors | Appearance | Discussion

differences

Advantages of the Nikon D3100

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Autofocus Faster autofocus Phase detection vs Contrast detection
Help
Catch candid moments easily
Shutter lag Much less shutter lag 279 ms vs 670 ms
Help
2.4x less delay when taking photos
Supports 24p Supports 24p Yes vs No
Help
Get that real film feel
Lens availability Much more lenses available 205 lenses vs 21 lenses
Help
Around 10x more lenses available
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
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
Color depth Better color depth 22.5 bits vs 22.2 bits
Help
Distinguishes 0.3 more bits of color
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 Cheaper $272.89 vs $498.00
Help
The best price we've seen is $225 cheaper (around 50% 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
Size Significantly smaller 111x59x38 mm vs 124x96x73 mm
Help
3.6x smaller
3D Takes 3D photos Yes vs No
Help
Combines multiple photos into a 3D image
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 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 50
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    Style
      Color
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        vs

        42 Sony Alpha NEX-5 Sony Alpha NEX-5
        Retailer
          Style
            Color
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              similarities

              Compared to recent digital cameras

              Common Strengths Common Weaknesses
              Sensor size Large sensors Help
              D3100:APS-C 23.1x15.4mm
              NEX-5:APS-C 23.4x15.6mm
              Interchangeable lenses Both support interchangeable lenses, which is uncommon in cameras similar to these 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 Support external flash Help
              Better lighting
              Sensor type Better sensor types Help
              Better in low light
              Image stabilization No image stabilization Help
              Risk of blur
              Cross type focus points Few cross-type focus points Help
              D3100:1
              NEX-5:0

              dxomark

              DXOMark

              competitors

              Shared Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              Nikon D3200

              Nikon D3200

              Entry-level DSLR

              $319 body only

              $389 - $477 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
              Canon Rebel T3

              Canon Rebel T3

              Entry-level DSLR

              $225 - $389 body only

              $399 - $550 with 18-55mm lens

              Battery life Has a slightly longer battery life
              Sensor cleaning Lacks a self cleaning sensor
              Thickness Is thicker
              Nikon D5100

              Nikon D5100

              Entry-level DSLR

              $378 - $415 body only

              $495 - $564 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 - $648 body only

              $200 - $570 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

              $639 body only

              $200 - $749 with 18-55mm lens

              True resolution Takes slightly higher resolution photos
              External mic jack Has an external mic jack
              Thickness Is thicker
              Weight Is slightly heavier

              Nikon D3100 Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              Canon EOS Rebel T5

              Canon EOS Rebel T5

              Entry-level DSLR

              $681 - $700 body only

              $499 - $822 with 18-55mm lens

              Screen resolution Higher resolution screen
              True resolution Higher true resolution
              Overall image quality Slightly worse image quality
              Sensor cleaning Lacks a self cleaning sensor
              Nikon D3300

              Nikon D3300

              Entry-level DSLR

              $547 with 18-55mm lens

              Screen resolution Much higher resolution screen
              Overall image quality Better image quality
              Startup delay Much more startup delay
              Lowest price More expensive
              Nikon D90

              Nikon D90

              Entry-level DSLR

              $929 body only

              $844 - $940 with 18-105mm 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

              $598 body only

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

              Sony Alpha A5000

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $448 - $450 with 16-50mm lens

              Supports 24p Supports 24p
              Overall image quality Better image quality
              Screen resolution Significantly lower resolution screen
              3D Doesn't take 3D photos
              Sony NEX-7

              Sony NEX-7

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $1,052 body only

              $1,080 with 18-55mm lens

              Shutter lag Much less shutter lag
              Supports 24p Supports 24p
              Startup delay Slightly more startup delay
              Weight Heavier
              Sony Alpha NEX-6

              Sony Alpha NEX-6

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $450 body only

              $699 - $749 with 16-50mm lens

              Shutter lag Much less shutter lag
              Supports 24p Supports 24p
              3D Doesn't take 3D photos
              Startup delay Significantly more startup delay
              Sony Alpha NEX-3

              Sony Alpha NEX-3

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $420 with 16-50mm lens

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

              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!