Nikon D5100 vs Nikon D3100 – Which Should You Buy?

Recently, you found yourself in a gathering of photographers. During the discussions about cameras, one of them referred to the Nikon D5100 as the best amateur DSLR camera out there. However, another made mention of the Nikon D3100. It left you wondering which camera wins the Nikon D5100 vs Nikon D3100 bout.

Funny thing is you intended to buy an amateur DSLR camera after the event. But you left confused, and since you couldn’t live with that, it has led you back to us. (Sorry, that’s just us trying to use the Thanos ‘back to me’ line and failing).

Anyhoo, this comparison article is aimed at helping you make a choice on which of these two cameras to buy.

Since we are cursed with knowledge like Tony Stark (yep, got one in), expect an extensive discussion of the features of these cameras in detail as we reveal all you need to know to make the right choice.

Table of Contents

Comparison Overview – Nikon D5100 vs Nikon D3100

Both cameras are the second camera in their respective series line. The Nikon D5100 is from the Nikon D5XXX series while the Nikon D3100 is from the Nikon D3XXX.

Although both cameras are categorized as amateur cameras, the D5100 is on a higher level based on Nikon’s hierarchy. Hence, the Nikon D5100 belongs to the ‘upper-entry-level’ which is directly higher than the Nikon D3100 ‘entry-level’.

The Nikon D5100 is slightly larger than the Nikon D3100 and is available in black color. The D3100 can be gotten in two distinct colors: red and black.

More features and improved technological upgrades within the time interval of both cameras’ announcement makes the Nikon D5100 the better camera.

The D3100‘s only boast would be its possession of a flash sync port which the D5100 lacks.

Price/Value Ratio – Nikon D5100 vs Nikon D3100

Which camera offers more value for money?

The D5100 and D3100 offer commensurate value for money. Although the Nikon D5100 is more expensive than the Nikon D3100 it offers more features which makes the price is worth it.

Some of the features which give the D5100 an edge over the D3100 include an articulating screen, AE Bracketing, microphone port, time-lapse recording, and UHS Card Support.

While the Nikon D3100 might miss out on some of the features listed above, it still offers features that match its price value.

Comparison Table – Nikon D5100 vs Nikon D3100

  Nikon D5100 Nikon D3100
Announcement Date 5th April 2011 19th August 2010
Size Dimensions 127 x 96.5 x 79mm 124 x 96 x 75mm
Weight 560g 505g
Sensor Resolution 16.1 megapixels 14.2 megapixels
Sensor Size 23.6 x 15.6mm 23.1 x 15.4mm
ISO 100 – 6400 (boosted up to 25600) 100 – 3200 (boosted up to 12800)
Screen Resolution 920,000 dots 230,000 dots
Articulating Screen Yes No
Continuous Shooting Speed 4fps 3fps
Battery Life 660 shots 550 shots
Microphone Port Yes No
AE Bracketing Yes No
Time Lapse Recording Yes No
Flash Sync Port No Yes

Prices and images pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

Watch the video below for a visual comparison of the Nikon D5100 vs Nikon D3100.

What Situation is each Suited For?

Nikon D5100 Nikon D3100
The Nikon D5100 is better suited for street photography than the Nikon D3100. 

The major reasons for this are the presence of an articulating screen and a larger sensor.

An articulating screen allows the photographer to capture difficult angles that would have been impossible with a fixed screen. The larger sensor, on the other hand, provides the camera with better details capture.
Daily photographers will benefit from the Nikon D3100. Its lighter weight and smaller size account a great deal for this.

Daily photography requires extended periods of shooting hence a camera that can be easily carried along is the more preferred choice.
Two major factors are responsible for the Nikon D5100 being more suited for sports photography than the Nikon D3100.

It has a faster continuous shooting speed and a better battery life. factor deals with the camera’s battery life.
The Nikon D5100 and the Nikon D3100 both possess a built-in flash as well as a hot shoe that allows the use of an external flash.

The D3100 goes further by possessing a flash sync port; thereby making it the better flash photography camera.
The higher sensor resolution and larger sensor of the Nikon D5100 make it more suited to capture landscape pictures.

These advantages mean the camera will produce better-detailed landscapes than the Nikon D3100
The Nikon D3100 is relatively cheap which means it caters to those on a tight budget.

Common Features – Nikon D5100 vs Nikon D3100

Despite not being in the same series, the D5100 and the D3100 have the following similarities:

i. Sensor Format and Type

ii. Screen Size

iii. Lens Mount and Lens

iv. Viewfinder

v. Image Processor

vi. Focus Points

vii. Built-in Flash

viii. External Flash Shoe

ix. HDMI Port

Let’s discuss the similar features of these cameras in detail.

Sensor Format and Type

The sensor of a camera is an integral part that cannot be overlooked. It is among the chief factors that determine the image quality of your camera. The sensor format and type also affect the sensor’s performance.

The Nikon D5100 and the Nikon D3100 are alike when it comes to sensor format and type. These cameras sport the APS-C sensor format also called the DX-format and the CMOS sensor type. Although the Nikon D5100 is a Nikon camera, its sensor is manufactured by Sony.

The sensor format in part determines the size of the sensor.

The APS-C sensor format is a medium-sized sensor. It is larger than the 1 inch and four-thirds sensor formats but smaller than the full-frame and the medium format sensors. This sensor format is suitable for the Nikon D5100 and the Nikon D3100 as it is with most DSLR cameras.

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Screen Size

The screen is the part of the camera that is used in viewing captured images. It can also be used to view a frame that is about to be captured. Lastly, it is used to view the camera’s menu and control settings. The screen is also known as the display screen.

A screen characteristic that is a major factor for most folks when buying a camera is the size. Nearly everyone prefers a camera with a large screen and this is because of the advantages it offers. With a bigger screen size, you get to view your images clearly and better.

The Nikon D5100 and the Nikon D3100 despite being amateur cameras are fitted with 3 inches LCD screen. This is quite satisfactory for cameras in their category and level.

Lens Mount and Lens

DSLR cameras are usually interchangeable lens cameras. In other words, the cameras can make use of different lenses. This is made possible thanks to a lens mount.

Most Nikon DSLR cameras including the Nikon D5100 and the Nikon D3100 make use of the Nikon F lens mount.

The lens mount functions as a lens holder. It is the type of lens mount used that decides upon the type and number of lenses available to a camera for use.

Therefore, thanks to the Nikon F lens mount, the D5100, and the D3100 can make use of 302 native lenses for different types of shooting.

Also, 88 optical stabilization lenses are available for these cameras to use. The function of these 88 optical stabilization lenses is mentioned in the similar cons sections.

Although thee are many lenses available to these cameras as we mentioned above that an amateur camera can begin his/her adventure with. However, we have a soft spot in our hearts for the Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G Lens.


The function of a viewfinder is to aid in proper shot control and framing. The use of this feature prevents one from capturing out of frame pictures.

One must use the viewfinder instead of the display screen in framing shots. It is known that the screen can help one view an image about to be captured, but it doesn’t do justice. The viewfinder is better designed for framing and shots.

The Nikon D5100 and the Nikon D3100 both sport an optical pentamirror eye-level viewfinder. What is the significance of this feature?

The first significance is that the optical viewfinder which both cameras sport does not consume power. A viewfinder is either optical or electronic (digital) in nature. An electronic viewfinder consumes power as it is used thereby reducing your battery’s life.

The material used to make the viewfinder of the D5100 and the D3100 is called a pentamirror. This pentamirror is disadvantageous to both cameras as it does not allow enough light to pass through it to the user’s eye. This is unlike the pentaprism material that allows enough light to pass through.

Cameras that have eye-level viewfinders are those that are placed close to the eye during the framing of shots. This allows proper framing without the interference of light rays from the sun or other light sources around.

The Nikon D5100 and the Nikon D3100 both have 95% viewfinder coverage. There’s a slight viewfinder magnification difference as the D5100 has a value of 0.52x while the D3100 has 0.53x magnification.

Image Processor

Both cameras in this comparison article employ the use of the EXPEED 2 image processor. This processor allows the Nikon D5100 and the Nikon D3100 to process images and videos at a faster speed than the older processor could. These cameras can process 1080p video whereas the EXPEED could manage only 720p video.

Find out how image processors work in cameras in the next video.

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Focus Points

Focus points are points within a frame whereby a camera can create exposure on thereby enhancing the details of that particular point.

The Nikon D5100 and the Nikon D3100 has 11 focus points at their disposal. Just 1 out of these focus points is a cross-type focus point. A cross-type focus point is a focus point that can capture details in horizontal and vertical lines.

Built-in Flash

Capturing images in a poorly lit environment would result in poor image quality. When in such conditions, photographers employ the use of the built-in flash feature.

With a built-in flash, you can illuminate poorly lit environments for a brief moment as your camera makes the capture.

The Nikon D5100 and the Nikon D3100 are manufactured with this handy feature. These cameras built-in flash features can be used with Nikon’s Creative Lighting System.

External Flash Shoe

Apart from making use of a built-in flash in such dark situations, an external flash can also be used. It is more efficient and versatile than a built-in flash.

However, one cannot make use of an external flash directly if the camera lacks a hot shoe feature. The Nikon D5100 and the Nikon D3100 both possess this feature.

The hot shoe is a platform located at the top of these cameras that allows the attachment of certain accessories to be used with the camera. The external flash is mostly used with this feature.

The major disadvantages an external flash might present are its additional weight as well as cost. The external flash will add more weight to your camera and you’ll need to spend more to get it.

You could still do without an external flash if you don’t capture images in low light conditions such as when the sun has gone down.

If an external flash is a must for you because of what you do, allow us to recommend the Neewer TT560 Flash Speedlite.


The Nikon D5100 and the Nikon D3100 both possess a mini HDMI port. What is its function?

An HDMI port (in this case a mini HDMI) allows you to connect a larger screen like the Neewer F100 7-inch 4k 1280×800 IPS Screen Camera Field Monitor to your camera. This is done with the use of an HDMI cable.

When this is done, you can view the pictures and videos on the larger screen. This offers one a larger view especially when watching movies.

Also, recognizing angles that need editing is easily done when viewing your images on the larger screen.

Unique Features – Nikon D5100 vs Nikon D3100

This section deals with the unique features found in the Nikon D5100 and not in the Nikon D3100 and vice versa.

Nikon D5100 Unique Features

The following are the features that the D5100 has that the D3100 does not have:

i. Articulating Screen

ii. AE Bracketing

iii. Microphone Port

iv. Time-Lapse Recording

v. UHS Card Support

Articulating Screen

The articulating screen of the Nikon D5100 is a feature that is easily distinguishable when compared with the screen of the Nikon D3100. This screen can be swiveled and fully turned to face the user.

This is why vloggers and lovers of selfies love the D5100. Street and wildlife photographers are also part of the bandwagon that cherishes the camera because of this feature. For them the screen allows them to capture angles that are usually difficult when using a fixed screen.

AE Bracketing

The AE bracketing feature allows the Nikon D5100 capture images despite harsh lighting conditions and in HDR mode. With this feature, the D5100 can comfortably capture 3 frames in HDR.

It automatically adjusts the camera’s settings to suit a new lightning condition of an area where the user moved to. In other words, if the user moves from a poorly lit area to a brightly lit one, the camera adjusts the settings thanks to the AE bracketing feature.

Click Here to Get the Nikon D5100 Now!
Click Here to Get the Nikon D3100 Now!

Microphone Port

Both cameras can shoot videos hence they both possess an internal microphone for recording audio. The issue is that these built-in microphones do not deliver quality audio.

The Nikon D5100 is fitted with the microphone port feature which can make up for this. An external microphone can be attached to the camera via this microphone port. The result is quality audio that is well deserved of the recorded video.

There are many external microphones that are compatible with the D5100, but a microphone we recommend is the Movo VXR10 Universal Video Microphone.

Time-Lapse Recording

The Nikon D5100 is fitted with a built-in intervalometer. This feature allows one to create time-lapse videos with the D5100. Shooting can be done at low frequencies thanks to this feature.

A time-lapse video is a short video made from some pictures of a particular scene that has been captured at different intervals. Examples of time-lapse videos are blooming plants, sunsets, sunrise, traffic in the city, etc

UHS Card Support

The Nikon D5100 supports the use of the UHS-1 memory card. This allows one to write, read and transfer files at Ultra High Speed. Files transfers can be done as fast as 104MB/s which is pretty cool

Nikon D3100 Unique Features

The following are the features that the D3100 has that the D5100 does not have:

i. Flash Sync Port

Flash Sync Port

Although both cameras are fitted with a built-in flash and can make use of an external flash via a hot shoe, the Nikon D3100 pressed further: It possesses a flash sync port.

With a hot shoe, you can only make use of one external flash per time. The flash sync port offers you the chance to use several external flashes at once. These flashes or flash units are off-camera and can be placed at strategic positions within the scene of capture. Hence, the Nikon D3100 functions as a better flash photography camera.

Portrait photographers also make use of this feature when capturing portrait images. When the flashes are connected to the camera via a cord, a signal is sent to these flashes when the shutter is pressed.

Unique Pros – Nikon D5100 vs Nikon D3100

There are certain features present in both cameras but with different performance levels. Therefore in this section, we discuss the advantages these cameras have over the other.

Nikon D5100 Unique Pros

Which has a Higher Sensor Resolution D5100 or D3100?

The D5100 has a higher sensor resolution than the D3100 despite having the same APS-C CMOS sensor format and type.

The Nikon D5100 has a sensor resolution of 16.1 megapixels while the Nikon D3100 has a sensor resolution of 14.2 megapixels. Hence, the D5100 has an additional 1.9 (14%) megapixels.

The sensor resolution refers to the sensor’s sensitivity and ability to capture detailed quality images. That means a higher sensor resolution will produce an image that is better detailed than one produced by a lower sensor resolution.

We must mention that other factors affect the overall image quality and not just the sensor resolution. It is the combination of these factors which include lightning, composition, and the lens used, etc that produces your overall image.

Ironically, even if a camera has the highest sensor resolution in the world of photography, the man/woman behind the camera plays the ultimate role. He/she decides the outcome of the picture’s quality and this has to deal with skill and experience.

We’ve seen cases where a professional photographer made use of a camera with a lower sensor resolution and was able to deliver amazing pictures. On the other hand, an amateur photographer was given a camera with a higher sensor resolution and the picture quality was poor.

Two advantages that do not depend on the skill of the photographer is the Nikon D5100’s ability to crop images freely and print larger images. The higher sensor resolution reduces the tendency for grain and blurs to appear which is common when printing and cropping are carried out.

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Which has a Larger Sensor D5100 or D3100?

The D5100 has a larger sensor than the D3100. It has a sensor size of 23.6 x 15.6mm while the Nikon D3100 has a sensor dimension of 23.1 x 15.4mm.

The difference is so negligible that the crop factor (format factor) and the native aspect ratio of both sensors are the same at 1.5 and 3:2 respectively.

The sensor sizes of these cameras are also different. Why is sensor size important?

With a larger sensor, one can detect more details during image capture than when a smaller sensor is used. In the instance when both cameras possess the same megapixels, the larger sensor will have the edge.

A bigger sensor offers better low-light sensitivity, broader dynamic range, richer color depth, better single pixels, and better control in terms of depth-of-field.

Want to know more about sensor sizes? Check out the next video.

Which has a Higher Maximum ISO D5100 or D3100?

The D5100 has a higher maximum ISO than the D3100 while they share a minimum ISO of 100. The Nikon D5100 can reach a value of 6400 while the Nikon D3100 has a maximum ISO of 3200.

This maximum ISO can still be expanded or boosted for both cameras. The D5100 and the D3100 have an expanded maximum ISO of 25600 and 12800 respectively. That means the Nikon D5100 has a maximum ISO that is 100% higher than the Nikon D3100.

ISO refers to the sensitivity of the sensor to produce an image with the available light.  A high maximum ISO allows the camera to capture clear images in low light conditions.

Grain and noise can occur when using a very high ISO. Therefore to overcome this, there should be a balance between the shutter exposure and the ISO settings.

Which has a Better Video Recording D5100 or D3100?

The D5100 has a better video recording than the D3100. The Nikon D5100 and the Nikon D3100 can shoot 1920 x 1080p Full HD in MPEG-4 video format. The difference is that the D5100 can do it at a faster frame rate of 30fps while the D3100 records video at 24fps.

The Nikon D5100 also has other options of 24fps and 25fps which it can still use during video shoots.

Which has a Higher Screen Resolution D5100 or D3100?

The D5100 has a higher screen resolution than the D3100. The former has a screen resolution of 920,000 dots while the latter has a screen resolution of 230,000 dots: That is 300% higher.

The screen resolution of a camera is the measure of the number of detail a screen efficiently displays and renders. It is measured in dots.

Which has a Faster Continuous Shooting Speed D5100 or D3100?

The D5100 has a faster continuous shooting speed than the D3100. The Nikon D5100 and the Nikon D3100 have a continuous shooting speed of 4 frames per second and 3 frames per second respectively. Therefore, the D5100 is faster by 1fps.

Burst mode is a feature that allows one to capture continuous images over some time. The shooting speed of the camera in this mode determines how many pictures can be captured in a second.

Which has a Longer Battery Life D5100 or D3100?

The D5100 has a longer battery life than the D3100.

Both cameras are fitted with the same EN-EL14 Lithium-Ion battery. Yet, the Nikon D5100 has a longer battery life of 660 shots due to its 10303mAH energy capacity.

The Nikon D3100, on the other hand, can capture just 550 shots after a full charge. This is because of its 1000mAH battery energy capacity.

The 110 additional shots which you can capture with the Nikon D5100 is a great advantage.

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Which has a Higher Color Depth D5100 or D3100?

The D5100 has a higher color depth of 1.0 bits than the D3100. The Nikon D5100 and the Nikon D3100 have a color depth of 23.5 bits and 22.5 bits respectively. This is minute to have any major impact on real-life experience.

Nevertheless, considering the D5100 has been doing better in nearly all sensor features we’ve discussed so far, their combination will result in a better image.

When we talk about a sensor’s sensitivity in producing distinct colors, we are referring to the camera’s color depth. A camera that has a higher color depth will produce images that are richer in color. Color depth is measured in bits.

The DXO Company refers to color depth as the DXO portrait. Upon close inspection, we discover that the color depth also influences the image quality of a portrait picture.

Which has a Higher Dynamic Range D5100 or D3100?

The D5100 has a higher dynamic range than the D3100. The Nikon D5100 and the Nikon D3100 have a dynamic range of 13.6EVs and 11.3EVs.

It is called the DXO landscape and influences the overall image quality of a landscape picture.

The dynamic range is the sensor’s ability to effectively detect details in its lightest and darkest point in the frame.

Which has a Higher Low Light ISO D5100 or D3100?

The D5100 has a higher low light ISO than the D3100. Hence, it is more efficient at capturing images in low light conditions than the D3100.

The Nikon D5100 has a low light ISO of 1183 while the Nikon D3100 has a value of 919.

The low light ISO is a measurement of a sensor’s sensitivity in low light conditions.

A higher low light ISO means the camera can efficiently capture clearer images in low light than one with a lower low light ISO. Besides, the occurrence of noise is managed better with a higher low light ISO.

The low light ISO is also referred to as DXO sports.

Which has Less Shutter Lag (Shutter Delay) D5100 or D3100?

The D5100 has less shutter lag than the D3100. The Nikon D5100 and the D3100 have a shutter lag of 0.273 seconds and 0.279 seconds respectively. The difference may not readily be observed in real-life experiences.

The shutter lag is simply described as the time interval between when you press the shutter button and when the picture is saved. During this period, the camera becomes inactive as it is busy processing and saving the picture.

Nikon D3100 Unique Pros

Which is Smaller D3100 or D5100?

The D3100 is smaller than the D5100. It is 3mm narrower and 4mm thinner with a size dimension of 124 x 96 x 75mm while the D5100 measures at 127 x 96 x 79mm. Hence, the Nikon D3100 is 4% smaller in size.

Most photographers ordinarily prefer portable cameras rather than larger ones. It makes the job easier and can be carried anywhere. This preference is further boosted when a camera offers great image quality.

Which has a Lighter D3100 or D5100?

Apart from being smaller in size, the Nikon D3100 is lighter in weight than the Nikon D5100. It has a base weight of 505g while the Nikon D5100 is weighed at 560g.

Therefore, the D3100 is 55g and 11% lighter than the D5100.

Weight is an important factor as it determines how long one can carry along a camera.

It is important to remember that the lenses used will increase the weight of these cameras. Apart from the lenses used, the accessories that will be used such as the external flash and external microphone must be equally considered.

Click Here to Get the Nikon D5100 Now!
Click Here to Get the Nikon D3100 Now!

Which is Cheaper D3100 or D5100?

Although the Nikon D3100 and the Nikon D5100 are both regarded as cheap cameras, the D3100 is the cheaper of the two.

The launching prices of both cameras also reveal that the Nikon D3100 was launched at a cheaper price as well. It is also the more discounted of the two cameras: This is because it has been in the market for a longer period.

The price could as well be the ultimate determining factor when one wants to buy a camera. A person on a tight budget cannot purchase an expensive camera.

Which has a Larger Sensor Pixel Area D3100 or D5100?

The Nikon D3100 and the Nikon D5100 have a sensor pixel area of 25.12µm2 and 23.04µm2 respectively. The D3100 has a 9% larger sensor pixel area.  

Which has a Faster Startup Time D3100 or D5100?

The D3100 has a faster startup time of 20% than the D5100. The startup times of the Nikon D3100 and the Nikon D5100 are 0.4 seconds and 0.5 seconds respectively.

The startup time refers to the period between when you press the power button and when the camera is operational. A faster startup time allows you to capture shots that one could miss out on.

Unique Cons – Nikon D5100 vs Nikon D3100

D5100 Unique Cons

i. No flash sync port.

Nikon D3100 Unique Cons

i. No articulating screen.

ii. No time-lapse recording.

iii. No AE bracketing.

iv. No microphone port.

v. No UHS card support.

Common Pros – Nikon D5100 vs Nikon D3100

  Nikon D5100 Nikon D3100
RAW Support The RAW format as compared with the more commonly used JPEG format is of better image quality.

A picture captured in RAW format is better in quality, easy to edit and larger.

Because of its large size, not all cameras support image capture in RAW formats.

The Nikon D5100, however, can shoot in a RAW format just as well as it shoots JPEG pictures.

The only downside is the size which could easily fill up the limited storage capacity of the camera.
Same as Nikon D5100
Phase Detection Autofocus A camera either uses the contrast-detection autofocus system or the phase detection focus. The latter is more precise and faster.

It is why the phase-detection AF is better used in capturing wildlife and sports events since these kinds of photography deal with subjects that move at fast speeds.

The Nikon D5100 employs the phase-detection autofocus system instead of the contrast autofocus detection.
Same as Nikon D5100
Face Detection Focus The phase-detection autofocus system also supports the presence of the face detection focus feature in the Nikon D5100.

This feature is especially handy for capturing portrait images. What it does is that it automatically detects the faces of subjects within the frame. When that is done, it then focuses on the faces thereby enhancing their details and sharpness.
Same as Nikon D5100
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Click Here to Get the Nikon D3100 Now!

Common Cons – Nikon D5100 vs Nikon D3100

  Nikon D5100 Nikon D3100
No Built-in Image Stabilization There is the tendency for a blurred image to occur which is a result of a shake from either the photographer or the subject.

To overcome this occurrence, certain cameras are fitted with a built-in image stabilization feature.

On the other hand, cameras such as the Nikon D5100 lack the image stabilization feature.

However, the D5100 can still overcome the occurrence of a blur. This is possible if the camera uses any of the 88 optical stabilization lenses available.
Same as Nikon D5100
No Environmental Sealing Certain cameras cannot capture images and videos in tough weather conditions. Elements of weather tend to affect the quality of the deliver image as well as audio.

Usually, some cameras are fitted with a built-in environmental sealing that protects it from these factors.

The Nikon D5100 does not have this feature and is therefore susceptible to the elements of weather.
Same as Nikon D5100
No Fine Tuning With the AF Micro Adjustment feature, one can properly fine-tune or adjust the camera’s autofocus to get better image quality.

The Nikon D5100 cannot perform this function as it lacks the AF Micro Adjustment feature.
Same as Nikon D5100
No Built-in Wi-Fi The Nikon D5100 does not possess a built-in Wi-Fi feature. Therefore, the camera cannot wirelessly transfer files to other compatible devices.

Another disadvantage is that the D5100 cannot share files directly to social media platforms since this feature is missing.

There is an option of using an eye-fi card but this is not considered by most camera users.
Same as Nikon D5100
No Built-in GPSA built-in GPS feature allows one to precisely locate a person’s position anywhere on the planet.

This is further used by the camera to geotag images. Geotagging allows you to tag a location to your images.

Wildlife and landscape photographers make use of this feature more than other types of photographers.

The Nikon D5100 lacks this built-in GPS feature and cannot perform this function.

You can still purchase an adapter that will enable you to make use of this feature.
Same as Nikon D5100
No Touch Screen The touch screen feature allows for easier access. You get to control and set up your camera by tapping the screen.

Cameras that have this feature are designed with lesser buttons as much of the control can be with the use of the screen.

The Nikon D5100 lacks this feature.
Same as Nikon D5100
No Panorama The Nikon D5100 does not possess the panorama feature and cannot create panoramic pictures. A panoramic picture is made when different pictures are stitched together. Same as Nikon D5100
Single Storage Card Slot A dual storage card slot is more preferable especially these days when we need more storage space.

The Nikon D5100, however, is fitted with a single storage card slot that supports SD and SDXC card formats.
Same as Nikon D5100
Anti-Aliasing Filter An anti-aliasing filter is found in front of the sensor and functions to prevent moiré.

However, it reduces the details and sharpness of the image which is a great disadvantage.

The Nikon D5100 possesses an anti-aliasing filter which means the image details are greatly reduced.
Same as Nikon D5100

Check out these other interesting comparison articles below:

Nikon D5200 vs D5000 – Extensive Comparison

Nikon D5100 vs D3000 – Which is Better For You?

Nikon D5100 vs Canon T3i – Which Should You Go For?

Nikon D5100 vs Canon 1100D – Which Should You Choose?

Nikon D40 vs D3300 – In-depth Comparison

Nikon D7100 vs Canon 700D – Which is Better For You?

General Feeling among Users

Nikon D5100 Nikon D3100
The battery life of the Nikon D5100 may be better than that of the Nikon D3100. However, this does not mean it is very great. This is why users bemoaned the battery life of the D5100. Users of the Nikon D3100 complained about the camera’s battery life.
The Nikon D5100 lacks a built-in Wi-Fi and the users didn’t like this fact. They complained about not being able to share their files wirelessly. The same complaint the Nikon D5100 received due to its lack of the Wi-Fi feature is the same sentiment the Nikon D3100 received from its users.
The cheap price of the Nikon D5100 was commended especially by first-time buyers of DSLR cameras. Same feeling as the Nikon D5100.

Nikon D5100 vs Nikon D3100 – FAQs

Can I use my Nikon D3100 as a Webcam?

You can use your Nikon D3100 as a webcam with any of the simple methods below:

i. Using a capture device/card

ii. Using the SparkoCam software

How to use a capture device to set up your Nikon D3100 as a webcam

i. Plug the capture device into your computer.

ii. Plug the HDMI cable into your Nikon D3100.

iii. Switch on your camera.

iv. Open the video conferencing application. You can find this in settings or options, depending on the application you are using.

v. Then choose the D3100.

How to use the SparkoCam software to set up your Nikon D3100 as a webcam

i. Download the software.

ii. Change certain settings to suit your preference.

iii. Connect your Nikon D3100 using a USB.

iv. Start recording.

What is the best image quality setting for Nikon D3100?

The best image quality setting for Nikon D3100 is the RAW settings. Although the D3100 will produce excellent image quality when used at the default JPEG settings, the RAW settings just enhances everything.

RAW settings increase the number of pixels and maximum ISO performance. Slight traces of noise begin to appear at ISO 800, yet the images still clean imaging. Even at ISO 1600 and 3200, noise is more evident but the image is still clear enough to be used as large prints.

What is the best lens for a Nikon D3100?

The following are the best lenses for the Nikon D3100:

i. Nikon 50mm f/1.4G AF-S

Pros: Silent Wave Motor (SWM), perfect for low light shoot, super integrated coating, 9-blade diaphragm

Cons: Slow autofocus

ii. Nikon AF-S DX Micro Nikkor 85mm f/3.5G

Pros: Inexpensive price, quick autofocus, pleasing bokeh, controlled geometric distortion

Cons: Slight chromatic aberrations

iii. Nikon AF-S FX Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G

Pros: Silent Wave Motor (SWM), reduced flaring, fast and accurate autofocus, reduced aberrations and coma, super integrated coating, soft bokeh.

Cons: Heavy vigneting when used at maximum aperture

iv. Nikon AF-S 28mm f/1.8 G

Pros: Built-in autofocus motor, lightweight, lens hood, sealed against dust and moisture.

Cons: Lacks image stabilization.

v.  Tamron AF 70-300mm f/4.0-5.6

Pros: Vibration control, accurate and fast autofocus.

Cons: Less sharpness in image corners.

How do I connect my Nikon D3100 to my computer?

You can connect your Nikon D3100 to your computer by following these simple steps:

i. Check the battery level of your D3100. Make sure the battery is full.

ii. Turn on your computer.

iii. Turn off your Nikon D3100.

iv. Plug in the smaller end of the USB plug into the USB port on your camera’s side.

vi. Plug in the larger end into a USB port of your computer

vii. Turn on your D3100.

viii. Your Nikon D3100 is now connected to your computer. You can now perform functions such as picture transfer.

ix. When you are done, turn of your camera before disconnecting it from your computer. Failure to do so might lead to camera damage.

How do I connect my Nikon D3100 to my TV?

You can connect your Nikon D3100 to your TV to view your photos using the following methods:

i. Standard definition playback

You’ll need a compatible audio video cable that will be connected from your D3100 to your camera.

ii. HDTV playback

You’ll need an HDMI cable and a Type C mini-pin HD cable. Once connected your camera determines the output resolution.

Find out from your camera’s manual and your TV’s manual which cables are compatible, the jacks to use, and the channel for playback from auxiliary input devices.


Nikon D5100 Nikon D3100
The Nikon D5100 is an amazing amateur camera that offers an amateur photographer a lot of features and functions plus it is relatively cheap. The Nikon D3100 is a truly an entry-level amateur DSLR camera. Its basic features and functions introduce a beginner to the world of DSLR camera photography.
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Victor is a student of mass communication with special focus on digital media. He has an insatiable craving for knowledge. When he is not learning new things, he is busy writing about them.