Updated (August 2011): Compare the Nikon D3100 vs Sony NEX-5N

Sony Alpha NEX-5 vs Nikon D3100

Tie
Sony Alpha NEX-5

42

Nikon D3100

40

Tie

Reasons to buy the Sony Alpha NEX-5

Really small
Size
Compact (111×59×38 mm)
Flip-out screen
Screen flips out
Great for movies
In-camera HDR
HDR
Combines multiple exposures
In-camera panoramas
Panorama
Stitches together multiple photos into a panorama
 

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

Items often bought with the Sony NEX-5 or Nikon D3100

galleries

Explore our gallery of 49 sample photos taken by the Nikon D3100.
Explore our gallery of 50 sample photos taken by the Sony Alpha NEX-5.

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
230 lenses vs 62 lenses
Help
More than 3.5x 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
Almost the same
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
Nikon D3100 Learn more about
the Nikon D3100

Advantages of the Sony NEX-5

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3D
Takes 3D photos
Yes vs No
Help
Combines multiple photos into a 3D image
Screen resolution
Much higher resolution screen
920k dots vs 230k dots
Help
4x higher resolution screen
Size
Significantly smaller
111×59×38 mm vs 124×97×74 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
1.5 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 4 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

Nikon D3100 Nikon D3100 40
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      Color
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        42 Sony Alpha NEX-5 Sony Alpha NEX-5
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            Color
              You save

              similarities

              Compared to recent digital cameras

              Common Strengths
              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
              External flash Each supports an external flash Help
              Better lighting
              Sensor cleaning Self cleaning sensors Help
              Avoids dust in your photos
              Fastest shutter speed Fast max shutter speeds Help
              1/4000 of a second
              Common Weaknesses
              Image stabilization No image stabilization Help
              Risk of blur
              Cross type focus points Few cross-type focus points Help
              D31001
              NEX-50
              External mic jack Neither has an external mic jack Help
              Limited to the in-camera mic
              Weather sealed Neither is weather sealed Help
              Need to shelter it from weather
              Touch screen No touchscreens Help
              More buttons

              dxomark

              DXOMark

              competitors

              Shared Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              Nikon D3200

              Nikon D3200

              Entry-level DSLR

              $289 body only

              $349 - $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
              Canon Rebel T3

              Canon Rebel T3

              Entry-level DSLR

              $339 body only

              $399 with 18-55mm lens

              Battery life Has a slightly longer battery life
              Sensor cleaning Lacks a self cleaning sensor
              Thickness Is thicker
              Canon Kiss X5

              Canon Kiss X5

              Entry-level DSLR

              $1,299 body only

              True resolution Takes slightly higher resolution photos
              External mic jack Has an external mic jack
              Lowest price Is slightly more expensive
              Thickness Is thicker
              Canon EOS Rebel T2i

              Canon Rebel T2i

              Entry-level DSLR

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

              True resolution Takes slightly higher resolution photos
              External mic jack Has an external mic jack
              Lowest price Is slightly more expensive
              Thickness Is thicker
              Sony Alpha ILC-3000

              Sony Alpha ILC-3000

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              Overall image quality Has slightly better image quality
              Image stabilization Has image stabilization
              Sensor cleaning Lacks a self cleaning sensor
              Movie continuous focus Doesn't focus continuously while recording movies

              Nikon D3100 Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              Canon EOS Rebel T5

              Canon EOS Rebel T5

              Entry-level DSLR

              $319 body only

              $399 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

              $430 - $497 with 18-55mm lens

              Screen resolution Much higher resolution screen
              Overall image quality Better image quality
              Nikon D5100

              Nikon D5100

              Entry-level DSLR

              $368 body only

              $640 with 18-55mm lens

              Screen resolution Much higher resolution screen
              Overall image quality Better image quality
              Size Slightly larger
              Startup delay Slightly more startup delay
              Nikon D90

              Nikon D90

              Entry-level DSLR

              $755 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

              $605 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
              Lowest price Slightly more expensive
              Sony Alpha A5000

              Sony Alpha A5000

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $279 body only

              $440 - $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 NEX-7

              Sony NEX-7

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $760 body only

              $660 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 Alpha NEX-3

              Sony Alpha NEX-3

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $400 body only

              $350 with 16mm lens

              External mic jack Has an external mic jack
              Thickness Slightly thinner
              Movie format Lower resolution movies
              Dynamic range Less dynamic range
              Sony Alpha NEX-6

              Sony Alpha NEX-6

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $549 body only

              $849 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

              appearance

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

              discussion

              Nikon D3100
              D3100
              Nikon

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              Sony Alpha NEX-5
              Alpha NEX-5
              Sony

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              Showing 1 comments

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