Difference Between Nikon D5100 and D3100

Nikon D5100 vs D3100 | Nikon D3100 vs Nikon D5100 Features, Performance Compared

Nikon is one of the best camera brands available today. It is a giant in the camera industry. Nikon D3100 and D5100 are two entry level DSLR cameras with different capabilities. Both of these cameras are under 1000 dollar models, which are good for users who want to upgrade from the point and shoot camera to DSLR.

Tips to select a Digital Camera

Resolution of the Camera

Resolution of the camera is one of the main features a user must look into when buying a camera. This is also known as the megapixel value. The D5100 features a 16.2 megapixel sensor built into it. This camera also has 14 bit A/D conversion. On the other hand, the D3100 has a 14.2 megapixel sensor with 12 bit A/D conversion. The resolution and the performance of the D5100 sensor are better than the D3100.

ISO Performance

ISO value range is also an important feature. The ISO value of the sensor means, how much sensitive the sensor is to a given quantum of light. This feature is very important in night shots and sports and action photography. But increasing the ISO value causes a noise in the photograph. The Nikon D3100 has an ISO sensitivity range of 100 to 3200 ISO with extended settings of 6400 ISO and 12800 ISO. The D5100 goes a step further to create an ISO range of 100 to 6400 ISO with extended settings up to 25600 ISO.

Frames Per Second Rate

Frames per second rate or more commonly known as the FPS rate is also an important aspect when it comes to sports, wildlife and action photography. FPS rate means the mean number of photos the camera can shoot per second on a certain setting. The D5100 has an impressive frame rate for an entry level DSLR camera. It can go up to 4 frames per second. The D3100, on the other hand, can go up to 3 frames per second. In the sense of speed, D5100 excels D3100.

Shutter Lag and Recovery Time

A DSLR would not take the picture as soon as the shutter release is pressed. In most conditions, the auto focusing and auto white balancing would take place after the button is pressed. Therefore, there is a time gap between the press and the actual photo taken. This is known as the shutter lag of the camera. In the case of autofocus speed and accuracy, both D3100 and D5100 are exactly the same since they are built using the same technology.

Number of Autofocus Points

Autofocus points or AF points are the points, which are built into the memory of the camera. If priority is given to AF point, camera will use its autofocus ability to focus the lens to the object in the given AF point. Both of these cameras have 11 autofocus points each. But D5100 uses a slightly advanced cross type system, which gives it a bit of a lead over D3100.

High Definition Movie Recording

High definition movies or HD movies correspond to movies having resolution higher than standard definition movies. HD movie modes are 720p and 1080p. 720p has dimensions of 1280×720 pixels, while the 1080p has dimensions of 1920×1080 pixels. Both of these cameras can record movies up to 1080p in a 24 fps speed.

Weight and Dimensions

The Nikon D3100 measures 124 x 96 x 75 mm in dimensions and weighs 505 grams with battery, on the other hand, D5100 measures 128 x 97 x 79 mm, which is slightly larger than the D3100 and it weighs about 560 grams with battery.

Storage Medium and Capacity

In DSLR cameras the inbuilt memory is almost negligible. An external storage device is required to hold images. Both of these cameras are capable of handling a single memory card of SDXC or lower.

Live View and Flexibility of the Display

Live view is the ability to use the LCD as a viewfinder. This can be convenient because the LCD gives a clear preview of the picture in good colors. The D5100 features a 3 inch vary angle LCD with live view. The Nikon D3100 features the same display but it is not vary angle.


The Nikon D5100 is an improved version of Nikon D3100. The D5100 has better resolution, better AF system, better ISO sensitivity, higher speed and vary angle of the LCD than the D3100. Considering the price, both of these cameras, are worth the money spent on them.