D3200 vs D5100 Right now, one can get either the D3200 or the D5100 for the same price of $699. Of course, the D3200 is a newly announced product and won't be shipping for another few weeks. Perhaps it is too early to start this discussion, but I wanted to see what people's opinions are about which camera is the better buy.

The only differences I see at the moment are:

-Resolution: 24MP for D3200 vs 16MP for D5100
-Flip-out Swivel Screen: D3200 does not have it, the D5100 does
-Size: The D3200 is a tad smaller than the D5100
-Availability: D3200 is new and likely to be sold-out for several weeks, while Amazon has the D5100 in-stock now
asked by D. Bezboruah on April 19, 2012
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Showing 1-10 of 18 answers
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Also there is:

-Button placement: D5100 can pretty much be driven one-handed (for those to whom it matters like me), you will never be able to use the D3200 one handed in semi-auto mode because the <i> button is on the wrong side.
-ISO: still a small gap between the highest ISO (depends on shooting style)
-Software features: D3200 does not have as many options as D5100 such as bracketing and Active D-Lighting customization (could matter for some)
-Custom white balance: D3200 is unlikely to have the same customizable white balance as the D5100
-Two button reset: Does not look to be present on the D3200 (if you were shooting a custom trimmed white balance, ISO 25,600, small basic JPEG, center weighted metering, and single-point single-servo autofocus last night, you'll appreciate this one the next morning)

If you only shoot Auto or Scene modes then the D3200 is your camera hands down unless you need one today.
SMR answered on April 20, 2012

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I guess I don't really agree with the whole resolution doesn't matter argument after 12, 16 or whatever MP because of cropping. The more resolution you have the more you can crop a photo and not have it appear to look cropped. Ideally we would all take a good picture and not need to crop but remember, this is an entry level camera. That means amateur photographers who probably don't know how to always properly frame a photo and who might not have the top of the line zoom lens to get the subject as close as is desired. Extra MP means extra flexibility after the fact. While this might not be crucial to pros I love the idea of being able to change things up once I'm sitting at my computer.
Keith answered on May 9, 2012

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Why wait for DXO Mark? The sensor is already being used in several Sony cameras. Nikon has their own secret sauce that often makes Sony sensors perform marginally better in Nikon cameras, but it is marginal.

What you get with 24MP is better resolution in good light and with very good glass. However, dynamic range and low-light shooting are about the same or marginally worst.

Therefore, unless you need the extra resolution--which in most cases is only visible when pixel-peeping--you'll probably appreciate the additional features that the D5100 offers.
Gatorowl answered on May 8, 2012

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Ken,

If you can kindly send me $3,000 and some full-frame lenses then please do. Otherwise please realize that not every enthusiast can afford even a D7000.

Any real photographer will be able to pick up a D3200 and make breathtaking photos, everything you need is already there in all of these models. But the D5100 still has a couple of usability improvements that are lacking on the D3200. So an enthusiast (depending on preferences) may go nuts trying to use a D3200 every day where the D5100 could make life easier (and the D7000 would make life even easier).
SMR answered on May 21, 2012

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You can make beautiful 40"x30" prints with a 6 MP camera. So if you are going to crop out more than 50% of the picture, and plan on printing posters, then yes you will care about 16 MP versus 24 MP. If you will rarely print anything more than say 20"x15", then don't worry about it.
Jeff answered on May 16, 2012

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am, i think you misunderstood keith's argument for a 24mp camera. he's saying with the extra mp you can crop more aggressively and maintain adequate resolution/detail, especially for those amateurs with shorter lenses. say someone has a d3200 and the kit lens (18-55mm) only, they take a photo of something far away at 55mm. with the extra mp that person can crop in aggressively and probably still get a decent image. i personally dont recommend that tactic, but i get what he's saying. he's not talking about printing at all. i'm not sure what you're upset about, but keith's comment was a valid point, in my opinion. and i think we're going to see lots of amateurs with high mp cameras soon, as the mp war escalates. i have no doubt canon will soon release a beginner camera in the 20mp range. i think the 20mp range will now be the standard, in another year or two, as nikon and canon update all their camera bodies. nothing we can do about it. i see your point high mp cameras wont do an amateur much good, but that's an argument to be making to canon and nikon.
Amazon Customer answered on June 22, 2012

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"16 MP is (more than) enough for most photographers."

Agreed.

"The problem you will encounter with the +6 MP on the D3200 is lower capacity for the SD card. This also means that you will have to get extra hard drive space sooner than if you had the 16 MP D5100, with smaller file sizes."

Wow! This is such a non issue. A Sandisk 32GB SD can be had for $25, and I recently purchased a Sandisk 30MB/sec 64GB card for under $60. Oh, did I mention that I purchased a 3TB hard drive for ($170)? I'm upset with my impatience because Amazon.com is selling that drive for $158 today. Undoubtedly the price will go lower.

There are many reasons to pick the D5100 over the D3200, but file size is not one of them.
Gatorowl answered on May 9, 2012

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Size matters. Weight matters even more. I have a Nikon D200 which is a genuinely wonderful camera. And an 18-200mm VRII lens which is a wonderful lens. Between them they weigh almost five pounds. And schlepping it is such an undertaking that it stays at home most of the time. My experience is that the way to become a photographer is to take lots of pictures. Which requires a camera in one's hands, not at home. On that theory, the D3200 with a 55-200 lens is better solely because it is smaller and lighter. I have tried compact point-and-shoot cameras but not being able to see through the lens before shooting makes learning to take pictures exceedingly difficult. A person who is already a photographer, with a good eye and a sense of what he is going to get without seeing it on the spot could do fine with one, but those are the skills I am trying to learn and do not yet have.
Jack Kessler answered on November 5, 2012

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What are the "usability improvements" that are lacking on the D3200? Thanks.
Marilyn Hoche answered on June 16, 2012

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The D3200 also does not have auto exposure bracketing and bulb modes that the D5100 does. That might matter to some who like to do more variety in their shooting. The D5100 would be able to do HDR much easier and be able to do ultra long exposures like star trails. If all you want is quick stills, the D3200 will do well, but if you want a little more room to grow, the 5100 is the way to go. Even more room to grow would be the D7k, but that's another category and price of camera altogether.
Marc Myers answered on June 23, 2012
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