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Nikon D3100 vs D5000

Updated on March 3, 2013

Comparing the Nikon D3100 vs D5000

This is a comparison review of the Nikon D3100 vs D5000. If you've wondered which camera to purchase, were confused over the specs between both cameras, then this review is for you!

With this Nikon camera comparison you will be able to compare the Nikon D3100's full list if features and specs against the venerable Nikon D5000.

I hope to show benefits, pros and cons of both camera platforms with some great tech info, specs and video reviews of both cameras.

When I was in the market for a great DSLR camera, the choices were quite overwheling. Especially between two closely matched cameras as well.

Hopefully this guide between the Nikon D3100 vs. the Nikon D5000 will help you in making a decision on which camera may be better suited to your photography style and subject matter.

Nikon D3100 14.2MP Digital SLR Camera

About the Nikon D3100...
Nikon D3100 Highlights:

14.2-megapixel DX-format CMOS Image Sensor
Delivers beautiful photographs and prints well beyond 20 x 30 inches.

Includes 3x 18-55mm Zoom-NIKKOR VR Image Stabilization Lens
Included lens offers the legendary NIKKOR optical quality and fast, accurate autofocus for vivid color, striking contrast and crisp detail and VR image stabilization to ensure the sharpest hand-held pictures and movies. Nikon D3100 vs D5000

Full 1080p HD Cinematic Video
Features full-time autofocus and sound; record cinematic-quality movies in Full 1080p HD format (1920 x 1080 pixels).

The D3100 features Nikon's Guide Mode with intuitive controls and on-board assistance helping you take better pictures every step of the way.

Compact and Lightweight Design
Beautifully styled--ready to go wherever life takes you.

Split-second Shutter Response
Eliminates the frustration of shutter delay, capturing moments that other cameras miss.

Fast 11-point Autofocus System
Delivers razor-sharp pictures.

ISO sensitivity 100-3200, expandable to ISO 12800 equivalent
Delivers exceptional results, even in the most challenging low-light situations.

3-inch monitor
Features One-Touch Live View shooting and movie capture.

Scene Auto Selector
Lets the D3100 decide the best mode to match the shooting situation when using Live View.

Nikon's new image processing engine assures breathtakingly rich image quality, managing color, contrast, exposure, noise and speed.

Scene Recognition System in Live View
Automatically optimizes exposure, autofocus, and white balance, allowing you to obtain beautiful photos without the hassle of making complicated camera adjustments yourself.

6 Automatic Exposure Scene Modes
Just set the Mode dial to Portrait, Landscape, Child, Sports, Close-up or Night Portrait for stunning results in otherwise challenging conditions.

Active D-Lighting
Restores picture-enhancing detail in shadows and highlights.

Picture Control
Choose from Standard, Neutral, Vivid, Monochrome, Portrait, or Landscape to apply a personal look and feel to your pictures.

Automatic Image Sensor Cleaning
Ultrasonic process and exclusive Airflow Control combats the accumulation of dust in front of the image sensor, safeguarding image quality shot after shot.

Built-in pop-up flash
Perfect for those times when there isn't enough light.

In-camera Image Editing
Allows creative freedom, without the need for a computer, offering easy editing functions.

Nikon D5000 12.3 MP DX Digital SLR Camera

About the Nikon D5000

Nikon D5000 Highlights:

12.3-megapixel DX-format CMOS image sensor
Coupled with Nikon's EXPEED image processing and NIKKOR optics, breathtaking picture quality is assured.

3x Zoom AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR lens included
Legendary NIKKOR optical quality features Nikon VR image stabilization for added sharpness.

D-Movie Mode with sound
Record 720p HD movie clips enhanced by NIKKOR interchangeable lens quality and versatility.

Vari-angle color LCD monitor
Position the 2.7-inch monitor freely for fresh shooting perspectives. Screen flips inward for safe keeping.

19 Auto-exposure Scene Modes

Capture stunning photos in challenging picture-taking situations including Sunsets, Candlelight, Silhouette, Portrait, Landscape, Beach/Snow, and more.

One-button Live View
Easy Live View access offers 4 autofocus modes, including Face Priority AF.  Nikon D3100 vs D5000

Continuous shooting as fast as 4 frames-per-second
Combined with fast power-up and split-second shutter response, decisive moments are captured easily without annoying shooting lag.

Low noise ISO sensitivity from 200 to 3200
Engineered for exceptional low-light shooting.

Built-in image sensor cleaning
Effective 4-frequency, ultrasonic sensor cleaning keeps images spot free.

11-point autofocus system with 3D Focus Tracking
Fast and accurate autofocus delivers razor sharpness.

Auto Active D-Lighting
Restores lost shadow and highlight detail in high contrast exposures—Selectable and Auto modes available.

In-camera Retouch image editing
Creative in-camera image editing, featuring Soft Filter, Straighten, Color Outline Effect, Perspective Control, Red-eye Correction, Image Overlay, Monochrome and more—all without a PC.

Picture Control Settings for personal image control
Standard, Neutral, Vivid, Monochrome, Portrait, Landscape and 9 customizable settings.

Nikon 3D Color Matrix Metering II
Nikon’s renowned 420-pixel RGB 3D Color Matrix Metering II, teamed with the exclusive Scene Recognition System, evaluates each scene for unmatched exposure accuracy.

Durable, high precision shutter
Testing to over 100,000 cycles assures precision and long shutter life.

GPS geo-tagging
GP-1 GPS unit (optional) automatically identifies and records every image’s latitude, longitude and altitude, with satellite time-of-day.

Nikon D3100 vs Nikon D5000
Nikon D3100 vs Nikon D5000

Reasons to consider the Nikon D3100

...What are some attributes of the Nikon D3100?

Reasons to consider the Nikon D3100:

  Significantly larger screen 3.0" vs 2.7"   More than 10% larger screen


  Higher resolution movies 1080p @ 24fps vs 720p @ 24fps   Shoots higher resolution Full HD (1080p) video


  Continuous video focus Yes vs No

Record movies without worrying about focus


  Slightly lower noise at high ISO 919 ISO vs 868 ISO   The D3100 has a slight edge (0.1 f-stops) in low noise, high ISO performance


  Smaller 124x96x73 mm vs 127x104x80 mm   Around 20% smaller


  Higher true resolution 14.2 MP vs 12.2 MP   Capture around 20% more detail in your photos


  Better boost ISO 12,800 ISO vs 6,400 ISO   The D3100's boost ISO is 1 f-stop better


  Slightly longer battery life 550 shots vs 510 shots   Around 10% more shots per battery charge


  Lighter 505 g vs 590 g   More than 10% lighter


  Thinner 2.9" vs 3.1"   Around 10% thinner


  Slightly cheaper $619.99 vs $689.99   The best price we've seen is $70 cheaper (more than 10% less)

Nikon D3100 Hands-on Review

Important for HDR Shooting

Nikon D5000 allows bracketing, while the D3100 does not (bad for those who shoot HDR).

Nikon D3100 vs Nikon D5000
Nikon D3100 vs Nikon D5000

Reasons to consider the Nikon D5000

...What are some attributes of the Nikon D5000?

Reasons to consider the Nikon D5000

Nikon D3100 vs Nikon D5000:

  More dynamic range 12.5 EV vs 11.3 EV   1.1 f-stops more dynamic range


  Better image quality 72.0 vs 67.0   Around 10% better image quality


  Has a flip-out screen Yes vs No   Flip-out screens can be helpful when composing tricky shots or taking movies


  Shoots faster 4 fps vs 3 fps   More than 30% faster continuous shooting


  Slightly better color depth 22.7 bits vs 22.5 bits   Distinguishes more than 10% more colors


  Larger sensor APS-C 23.6x15.8mm vs APS-C 23.1x15.4mm   Almost the same

Nikon D5000 - First Impression Video - ...Unboxing

CMOS Sensor Differences

The first and the most important difference between the D3100 and D5000 is the sensor. Nikon D3100 has a 14.2 megapixel 23.1Ã15.4mm sensor, while the D5000 has a slightly larger 23.6Ã15.8mm sensor, but with less resolution of 12.3 megapixels. The difference in megapixels is very small though and does not represent a huge improvement by D3100 over D5000.

Nikon Fan Guestbook - Feel free to leave a comment and let me know what you think!

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