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Nikon D3200 vs. Nikon D5100 — What's the Difference?

By Urooj Arif & Fiza Rafique — Published on February 23, 2024
The Nikon D3200 is a beginner-friendly DSLR with a 24.2MP sensor, excelling in high-resolution photography, while the Nikon D5100, with its 16.2MP sensor, offers a vari-angle LCD screen for flexible shooting angles.
Nikon D3200 vs. Nikon D5100 — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Nikon D3200 and Nikon D5100


Key Differences

The Nikon D3200, launched in 2012, is designed for beginners, featuring a high-resolution 24.2MP DX-format sensor that ensures detailed images, making it superior for still photography. In contrast, the Nikon D5100, introduced in 2011, focuses on versatility with its 16.2MP sensor and articulating screen, catering to users interested in both photography and videography.
The D3200 offers an impressive ISO range of 100-6400 (expandable to 12800), enabling good performance in low light, whereas the D5100 matches this ISO performance but adds a fully articulating screen, enhancing its capability for video shooting and photography at challenging angles.
The D3200 benefits from a newer image processing engine (EXPEED 3) compared to the D5100’s EXPEED 2, which results in faster processing speeds and better color reproduction. This makes the D3200 slightly more efficient in handling high-resolution images and noise reduction.
Both cameras share similar autofocus systems with 11 points, but the D5100's vari-angle LCD screen provides a significant advantage for videographers and those who often shoot from unique perspectives, despite its lower resolution sensor.
In terms of video capabilities, both cameras can record 1080p HD video, but the D5100's articulating screen and external microphone jack make it a better choice for serious video work, offering more flexibility in composition and sound quality.

Comparison Chart

Sensor Resolution

24.2 Megapixels
16.2 Megapixels


Fixed 3.0" LCD, 921k dots
Vari-angle 3.0" LCD, 921k dots

ISO Range

100-6400 (Expandable to 12800)
100-6400 (Expandable to 25600)

Image Processing


Video Recording

Full HD 1080p
Full HD 1080p with articulating screen

Autofocus Points


Continuous Shooting

4 fps
4 fps

External Mic Jack


Launch Year


Ideal Use Case

High-resolution photography
Flexible shooting angles & videography

Compare with Definitions

Nikon D3200

Designed without an external microphone jack, focusing on photography.
While capturing videos with the Nikon D3200, consider using an external recorder for better audio.

Nikon D5100

A versatile DSLR with a 16.2MP sensor and a fully articulating LCD screen.
The Nikon D5100 is perfect for shooting videos from various angles.

Nikon D3200

Utilizes the EXPEED 3 image-processing engine for improved speed and quality.
Fast-moving subjects are no problem for the Nikon D3200.

Nikon D5100

Features a vari-angle screen for flexible shooting positions.
Capturing low-angle shots is easy with the Nikon D5100.

Nikon D3200

Lacks an articulating screen but offers a high-quality fixed LCD.
The Nikon D3200’s screen provides clear image previews even in bright sunlight.

Nikon D5100

Includes an external microphone jack for enhanced audio in videos.
For interviews, the Nikon D5100’s external mic input is invaluable.

Nikon D3200

A beginner-friendly DSLR with a 24.2MP sensor for high-resolution images.
The Nikon D3200 is ideal for capturing detailed landscapes.

Nikon D5100

Shares the ISO range of 100-6400 with the D3200, expandable to 25600.
The Nikon D5100 performs well in extremely low-light conditions.

Nikon D3200

Features ISO 100-6400, expandable to 12800, for versatile lighting conditions.
Low light photography is achievable with the Nikon D3200.

Nikon D5100

Powered by the EXPEED 2 image processor, ensuring quality imaging.
The Nikon D5100 handles noise well, maintaining image quality.

Common Curiosities

Can I use the Nikon D5100 for professional photography?

While it's designed for enthusiasts, its quality and features allow for professional-level work in certain conditions.

Is the LCD screen of the D5100 touch-sensitive?

No, the screen is not touch-sensitive but is fully articulating.

Which camera is better for beginners?

Both are suitable for beginners, but the D3200’s simpler interface and higher resolution might appeal more to photography enthusiasts.

Can the Nikon D3200 shoot videos?

Yes, it can record Full HD 1080p videos.

Does the Nikon D5100 have a higher sensor resolution than the D3200?

No, the D5100 has a 16.2MP sensor, lower than the D3200's 24.2MP.

Which Nikon camera is better for fast action shots?

Both have similar continuous shooting speeds and autofocus systems, making them equally capable for action shots.

Are the Nikon D3200 and D5100 compatible with all Nikon lenses?

They are compatible with Nikon F-mount lenses, with some limitations depending on the lens type.

Is Wi-Fi connectivity available in either camera?

Neither camera has built-in Wi-Fi, but optional accessories can enable wireless connectivity.

Can I record sound internally with both cameras?

Yes, both have built-in microphones, but the D5100 also supports external microphones.

Do both cameras have the same battery life?

Battery life is similar, but actual performance can vary based on usage patterns.

Which camera is lighter, the Nikon D3200 or the D5100?

The Nikon D3200 is slightly lighter than the D5100, making it more portable.

Is there a significant price difference between the two cameras?

Pricing can vary based on market and condition, but generally, the D3200 is positioned as more budget-friendly due to its focus on photography.

Which camera has better low-light performance?

Both cameras perform similarly in low light, but the D5100 has a slightly expandable ISO range.

Can I manually control settings in both cameras?

Yes, both offer manual controls alongside automatic modes, catering to both beginners and experienced photographers.

Which camera would be better for a hobbyist videographer?

The Nikon D5100, with its articulating screen and external microphone jack, is better suited for videography.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Urooj Arif
Urooj is a skilled content writer at Ask Difference, known for her exceptional ability to simplify complex topics into engaging and informative content. With a passion for research and a flair for clear, concise writing, she consistently delivers articles that resonate with our diverse audience.
Co-written by
Fiza Rafique
Fiza Rafique is a skilled content writer at, where she meticulously refines and enhances written pieces. Drawing from her vast editorial expertise, Fiza ensures clarity, accuracy, and precision in every article. Passionate about language, she continually seeks to elevate the quality of content for readers worldwide.

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