Nikon D5100 vs Nikon D3100

by Enche Tjin on October 30, 2011

Nikon D5100 & Nikon D3100 are designed for casual shooters. It is small and lightweight. At a glance, the main difference is Nikon D5100 has swivel LCD screen and Nikon D3100 has fixed LCD screen. If you look a closer to these cameras, D5100 has significant advantages compared to Nikon D3100.


Top: Nikon D5100, Bottom: Nikon D3100

Nikon D5100 advantages

  • Higher image quality (16 MP sensor vs 14 MP sensor)
  • Swivel LCD screen
  • Hi-res LCD screen (920x vs 230k dots)
  • Shoot slightly faster (4 vs 3 fps)

Nikon D3100 advantages

  • Slightly smaller and lighter
  • Bigger buttons and better layout
  • Cheaper by approx. $200

In conclusion, Nikon D5100 is a better camera for still and video. The flip-out hi-res LCD screen is nicer to look and use to compose still and videos. It also better in low light photography and landscape. D5100 is a great bargain because it has the same sensor as Nikon D7000 which is $400 more expensive. Because D5100 has swivel LCD screen, its  buttons are smaller and the layout is more awkward than Nikon D3100. But this might be the only disadvantage of D5100.

Note: Both cameras do not has built-in motor focus, therefore, you can only auto focus with lens with internal AF motor. Check out my lens recommendation for D3100 & D5100 here.


Top: Nikon D5100, Bottom: Nikon D3100

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