Nikon D3300 vs D5100: Which DSLR Camera You Should Buy?

If you are in a hurry! here is a quick comparison Nikon d3300 vs Nikon d5100.

Model

Nikon D5100

Nikon D3300

Sensor resolution

16.1MP

24.2MP

Dimensions

128 x 97 x 79mm

124 x 98 x 75.5mm

Screen size

3 inches

3 inches

Touchscreen

No

No

Battery life

660 shots

700 shots

Weight

560

460

ISO

100 - 6400 (boosted to 25600)

100 - 6400 (boosted to 25600)

Maximum resolution

1920 x 1080 px

1920 x 1080 px

Color Depth

23.5

24.3

Max frame rate

30 fps

60 fps

Wi-Fi & GPS

No

No

Articulating Display

Yes

No

Rating

Price

The image and video industry is advancing rapidly, and manufacturers are releasing new models every year. This means that it is hard to keep up with all technological advancements, but fortunately, most of the older models will perform outstandingly for years to come.

The situation is the same with the Nikon D3300 and D5100. Both DSLR cameras are older than five years, but still offer a lot of value for the money.

Nikon is known for making little adjustments and releasing an entirely new model, so some buyers are confused by their specifications. That’s why we decided to clear things out and see which is better, Nikon D3300 or D5100.


About Nikon


Nikon is one of the most popular camera manufacturers globally, and there is a good reason for that. They have been making all kinds of video and image equipment and have a model for each photography level.

In other words, they are a byword for quality and great value for money, which is why they are the first choice for customers. They are an innovative company that is continuously working on making their devices better.

You will be surprised to hear that at one point, they’ve been manufacturing lenses for Canon, which is their greatest competitor. This proves that Nikon is a serious company and perfect for you if you are just starting with photography or a professional.

Nikon D3300

Nikon D3300

In terms of design, Nikon D3300 is a very compact and lightweight camera with dimensions of W 4.9 x H 3.9 x D 3.1 inches and weighs only 15.2oz. It comes in three different colors: grey, red, or standard black.

In most markets, the camera is fitted with a collapsible 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 VR II lens, a good starting point for beginners.

The D3300 went through many changes compared to its predecessor and has an improved battery life, new, more advanced EXPEED 4 image processor, Full HD video at 60p, and a couple of other features.

Just as the previous model, the D3300 comes with a 3-inch fixed 924k-dot LCD. The autofocus system is the same as the D3200 with an 11-point (cross-type focus) that works very well. There is also a slight change to the viewfinder, which now has 0.85x compared to the 0.80x on the D3200 and 95% coverage.

The D3300 is equipped with a 24.2 MP DX-format CMOS sensor that shoots excellent quality images and videos.

The most considerable buff is on the ISO range. The D3300 now has an ISO range of 100-12800, with expansion up to 25600.

Additionally, it is equipped with more reliable 5fps continuous shooting, which results in smoother videos and images.

Overall, the Nikon D3300 is a more advanced DSLR camera that moves from an entry-level version to a more advanced camera.

Pros

  • Compact and lightweight
  • Standard lens mount
  • High ISO performance
  • EXPEED 4 image processor

Cons

  • Limited Raw+ JPEG options
Nikon D5100

As a competitor, we have the Nikon D5100, which is eight years old now, but still a great performing camera.

The design of the D5100 is much like other Nikon cameras with dimensions of W 5 x H3.8 x D3.1 inches and weighs 19.8 oz. This is not the most compact camera and certainly not the lightest camera, but still provides a great grip and feels excellent in your hand.

The best thing about the D5100 is the swivel display that can be popped out of the body and moved around in different directions to capture from impossible angles.

It has the standard F lens mount and, in most markets, comes with an 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 VR II lens as standard.

Since we are talking about an older version of DSLR, you cannot expect state of the art technology. It has a DX-format sensor that is found in older professional cameras like the D7000.

By choosing the D5100, you have to be satisfied with the EXPEED 2 image processor, an older generation, and performs slower and has less image-improvement quality than the EXPEED 4.

The D5100 comes with a 16.2-megapixel sensor, which might not seem like a lot, but you cannot tell the difference compared to a higher megapixel camera if you don’t print large-scale images.

When it comes to video, the D5100 can shoot Full-HD at maximum 30fps, which is not enough if you want to shoot a slow-motion video.

Pros

  • Beginner-friendly
  • Articulating display
  • Great autofocus feature
  • Quality built

Cons

  • Cannot make image adjustments with RAW files

Nikon D3300 vs D5100 - Face-To-Face


Design

Design

When it comes to design, both cameras look very similar. As usual, Nikon is manufacturing all of their cameras in the same way, using monocoque construction, making them from a single piece of material. This improves the strength of the camera and its durability against hits and bumps.

It would have been nice to see a touchscreen display, but unfortunately, we have to be satisfied with the 3-inch non-touchscreen display on both devices.

When it comes to size, the D3300 is slightly more compact than the D5100 (only 2%), but it is considerably lighter. In fact, the D3300 is 30% lighter than the D5100, which improves the comfortability, and you can use the camera for a long time without any discomfort.

Another critical difference in terms of design is the articulating display on the D5100. The display can be flipped, angled, or turned around, making it a convenient feature on the D5100. If you like selfies, this will be a particularly nice feature to have.

If you like to personalize your camera with a specific color, you can choose from the three color options (red, grey, or black) on the D3300. Unfortunately, the D5100 only comes in black.

Winner: Nikon D5100

Sensor Type

Sensor Type

To ensure that you’ll receive the image quality that you want, you need to run a more in-depth analysis of each camera sensor.

In this case, both cameras are fitted with an APS-C format sensor, which is known as the DX-format sensor in the Nikon community.

Also, both cameras use the CMOS sensor type, but the only difference is that on the D3300, it is manufactured by Nikon, while on the D5100’s sensor is manufactured by Sony. This doesn’t make any significant difference to the image quality.

For cameras, at this level, the APS-C format sensor is a great fit since bigger sensors are much heavier.

Winner: Tie

More: Nikon D3200 vs D5100: Which Camera Is Better?

Autofocus System

Autofocus System

If you are a beginner, the autofocus system will be beneficial. These cameras are very similar in the use of phase-detection autofocus. This feature will allow you to capture subjects that are in constant motion.

Both cameras also have autofocus tracking, which locks onto subjects during photo shoots. There is also a face detection focus, which comes particularly useful when capturing portraits.

Both cameras have great autofocus 11-point (1 cross-type) features, but they are far from the 39-point (9 cross-type) feature on other more advanced cameras.

Winner: Tie

More: Nikon D5600 vs D5100: Does It Worth The Upgrade?

Battery Life

The new and improved D3300 comes with the same EN-EL14 Lithium-Ion battery as the D5100 but at a much bigger capacity.

Thanks to the 1500mAH battery, the D3300 can capture up to 700 shots between charges, compared to the 1030mAH battery on the D5100, which only lasts about 660 shots.

The battery depends on the usage, but the average battery life is much better on the D3300.

Winner: Nikon D3300

ISO Range

ISO Range

The ISO is an essential factor that determines the quality of the image in different lighting scenarios. It is a sensor that traps light into the camera, so the higher the ISO, the sensor is more sensitive and can capture clear images in poor lighting conditions.

The D3300 has a higher maximum ISO compared to the D5100. They both start the same at 100ISO, but the D3300 can be tuned up to ISO 12800, while the D5100 can only go up to ISO of 6400.

This means that the D3300 has a 100% better ISO sensitivity and can capture clear images even in poor lighting.

However, the ISO sensitivity can be expanded to reach a value of 25600 on the D5100 and 12800 on the D3300, but using high ISO can produce grain or noise on your image and videos. Most professional photographers don’t exceed ISO 6400, which is kind of a sweet spot for best image and video quality.


Winner: Nikon D3300

Color Depth

If you want more immersive images and videos, choosing a camera with a better color depth is crucial. In this case, the D3300 has a better color depth than the D5100 but not for a considerable margin.

The measurement of a sensor’s ability to produce detailed colors is referred to as color depth.


The color depth on the D3300 is 24.3 compared to the 23.5 on the D5100. This means that the D3300 can display more colors than its competitor.

Winner: Nikon D3300

More: Nikon D5600 vs D3500: Which Camera Should You Buy?

Stand Out Features of Nikon D3300

Built-In Tutorial Guide

If you are a beginner, you will be glad to hear that Nikon includes a built-in tutorial guide in the camera. This tutorial will walk you through all the options and will let you know how to operate the camera.

Plus, it familiarizes beginners with certain photography concepts and introducing shooting modes they most likely didn’t know.


This proves that the Nikon Company truly cares about the people purchasing their products.

Panorama

The panorama feature enables you to shoot several pictures and put them all together in a panoramic photo. The end result can be truly spectacular, and it is a great way to capture a larger resolution photo.

More: Nikon D5500 Vs D5600: Which One Should You Buy?

5 FPS Continuous Shooting

Continuous shooting mode, or so-called burst mode, is a feature that takes a couple of pictures in a short period. Burst mode is used for capturing fast-moving objects, and the best way to create a continuous image.

The D3300 is equipped with 5 FPS burst mode, which means that it will capture five frames within one second. This is a considerable upgrade over its predecessor.

Stand Out Features Of Nikon D5100

Articulating Screen

There is no running away from the fact that the articulating screen is the key feature on the D5100. To get the best out of your camera, you really need an articulating screen.

This makes the camera much easier to use, especially for recording music videos or movies.

The tilted screen can be used for accessing incredible positions and viewing angles. You can also turn it to your face to use it for streaming or taking a selfie.

AE Bracketing

AE Bracketingis actually a convenient feature since it automatically adjusts Nikon’s settings when you switch locations with different lighting conditions. This is a heady feature if you are recording a video, and you cannot access the settings manually.

More: Nikon d3300 Vs d3400: Which is Best?

Anti-Aliasing Filter

The anti-aliasing filter is found in front of the sensor, and it prevents the occurrence of moire in the images you capture. This filter reduces the amount of light passing through to the sensor, which is why, in some cases, it is called a low pass filter. As a result, the image is sharp and with less noise.

However, this feature also has its downsides. For example, this filter negatively affects the details and sharpness of the image. Most professionals don’t use this feature, but it is a nice thing for a beginner.

Built-In HDR Mode

The HDR mode will let you capture two images instead of one with multi-exposure than the camera combines these pictures into one with better details, better quality, better tones, and less noise.

It is a great feature to have on your DSLR.

Time-Lapse Recording

If you are one of those people who like to record beautiful time-lapse videos of a sunrise or a flower bloom, then the D5100 is the right camera for you. It comes with a built-in feature that allows users to make a short video from several pictures.

The D5100 is also equipped with an intervalometer, which is why the camera can create a time-lapse video. This feature allows you to capture images even at low frequency.

This is a great option, which can be added to cameras with separate software and external triggers, but it is always nice to have a built-in option.

Which Is Better Nikon D3300 Or Nikon D5100?

Choose the Nikon D5100 if:

  • You want better moire control with anti-alias filter.
  • You want a higher ISO sensitivity.
  • You want an HDR function.
  • You want an articulating screen.
  • You want a time-lapse feature.

Choose the Nikon D3300 if:

  • You want more color depth.
  • You want a more beginner-friendly camera.
  • You want a more compact camera and a lightweight camera.
  • You want more megapixels.
  • You want a more beginner-friendly camera.
  • You want better battery life.

Let’s get one thing straight; both cameras are excellent as an entry-level version in photography. Since the D5100 is a higher class model, it has more bells and whistles in terms of added features, but the D3300 is equipped with more modern technology.

In other words, both cameras will do a great job in terms of image and video quality, and the only way to decide which one to buy is to go through the specifications that value the most for you.

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