Sony a5100 vs Nikon D3300 – Detailed Review

In today’s review, we will be comparing the Sony a5100 vs Nikon D3300 by giving you vital information on the two cameras. And it might interest you to know that this is a mirrorless vs DSLR battle.

If you would like to see another Sony vs Nikon/mirrorless vs DSLR match up check out our Sony a7II Vs Nikon D750 comparison article.

If you are in a hurry and need to make a really quick decision, the next three sections are for you.

However, we encourage you to try and read to the end, as it will be worth the time spent.

In the last two sections of this article, we tell you what customers of the two cameras think about them, as well as what our thoughts on them.

Click here to get the Sony a5100 on Amazon now.
Click here to get the Nikon D3300 on Amazon now.

Table of Contents

Comparison Overview – Sony a5100 vs Nikon D3300

This section is divided into 4 major subsectors to help you better understand this summary. Without further ado, let’s zoom right in.

Where Do They Both Get It Right – Sony a5100 vs Nikon D3300?

First off, let us consider the maximum sensor resolution of these two cameras. Both of them come with a sensor resolution of 24 megapixels.

This means that even if your images undergo severe cropping, their details and sharpness will not be compromised.

Next, both cameras under review come with moderate body weight for their class. As the two cameras are of two different classes, their portability depends on the average weight of cameras in each class.

These cameras come with RAW support. With this feature, your images will be stored in the most uncompressed form possible. This is because minimal changes will be carried out on them.

Furthermore, the face detection autofocusing systems of these two cameras make filming people and shooting portraits a lot made easier.

To help with shooting in some of those low lighting conditions, these cameras – Sony a5100 vs Nikon D3300 – have each been fitted with a built-in flash.

Also, both cameras come enabled for continuous shooting. This will be of special interest to action photography enthusiasts.

A Sony a5100 Demonstration Video – Sony a5100 vs Nikon D3300

Where Do They Both Get It Wrong – Sony a5100 vs Nikon D3300?

One major flaw of the cameras under review is that neither comes with built-in image stabilization. This increases the likelihood of shooting blurry images once there is a movement in the camera’s position while it is in use.

Another major thing absent from the two cameras – Sony a5100 vs Nikon D3300 – is an environmental sealing. This exposes the cameras to the risk of damage due to tough weather conditions.

Finally, none of these cameras come with built-in GPS, and so, your locations cannot be tracked using either of them.

How Do They Differ From Each Other – Sony a5100 vs Nikon D3300?

The major difference between the two cameras under review is that, while the Sony a5100 is a mirrorless camera, the Nikon D3300 is a DSLR one.

Being a DSLR, it is not surprising that the Nikon D3300 comes with an optical viewfinder.

On the other hand, the Sony a5100 comes with neither an electronic viewfinder nor a provision for an external viewfinder to be attached.

Another major difference between the two cameras lies in their screen types. While Sony a5100 has an articulating 3-inch sized screen, the Nikon D3300’s 3-inch sized screen is fixed.

So, creative shots involving flexible shooting positions are only possible with the Sony a5100.

Only one of the two cameras – the Sony a5100 – is equipped with automatic exposure bracketing to help when it gets confusing with lighting.

File transfer from camera to other devices without a physical connection can be possible only with the Sony a5100.

This is because the Nikon D3300 does not come with built-in wireless connectivity which is needed to make this type of connection possible.

Since only the Sony a5100 has built-in wireless connectivity, it is understandable that it is also the one with the Near Field Communication feature.

Also, the Sony a5100 has a touch-sensitive screen while Nikon D3300 does not.

Concerning boosting the audio quality of videos, the Nikon D3300 the better choice as it comes with an external microphone port.

Finally, only the Sony a5100 can be controlled with your smartphone. This is of the two cameras under review, it is the only one that comes with a smartphone remote control feature.

Click here to get the Sony a5100 on Amazon now.
Click here to get the Nikon D3300 on Amazon now.

A Nikon D3300 Demonstration Video – Sony a5100 vs Nikon D3300

What’s The Price/Value Like – Sony a5100 vs Nikon D3300?

As already hinted, this is essentially a mirrorless vs DSLR contest. And as expected, the DSLR is the more expensive camera.

However, looking at the feature set of both cameras, we think their prices are justified for the value they each offer.

Brand Strength – Sony a5100 vs Nikon D3300

While Nikon is majorly an optics or imaging company, Sony is a larger company with a large imaging division.

Although Sony and Nikon are major game players in the camera and imaging sector, they have their specialties.

While Nikon is known for its better selection of DSLR type cameras, Sony is known for its better variety of mirrorless cameras.

Both companies, however, manufacture cameras with amazing image quality. So, whether, it is a Sony or a Nikon, you are sure to have amazing image quality for your photos and videos.

Click here to get the Sony a5100 on Amazon now.
Click here to get the Nikon D3300 on Amazon now.

Comparison Table – Sony a5100 vs Nikon D3300

  Sony a5100 Nikon D3300
Announcement date 17 August 2014 21 April 2014
Weight 283 grams 430 grams
Touch-sensitive screen Yes None
Viewfinder None Optical
ISO range 100 – 25,600 100 – 12,800
DxOMark Overall Score 80 82
External flash shoe None Yes
Flash coverage 4.0 meters 12.0 meters
Color depth 23.8 24.3
Dynamic range 12.7 12.8
Automatic Exposure Bracketing Yes None
Video formats MPEG-4, AVCHD, XAVC S MPEG-4, H.264
Articulating screen Yes None
LCD screen resolution 922k dots 921k dots
Continuous shooting 6.0 frames per second 5.0 frames per second
Number of focus points 179 11
Battery life 400 shots per full charge 700 shots per full charge
Wireless connection Yes None
Smartphone remote control Yes None
Near Field Communication Yes None
Microphone port No Yes

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

Which Situation Is Each Best Suited For – Sony a5100 vs Nikon D3300?

Sony a5100 Nikon D3300
The Sony a5100 is a good multi-purpose camera. This is not quite surprising, as it follows after its predecessor – Sony a5000.

This camera’s built-in Wi-Fi guarantees easy transfer of files to compatible smartphones. And that is even made easier with the NFC feature.

Also, its compactness ensures that whether you are on a long shooting spree or a vacation, you can conveniently carry this camera around.

In addition to that, the presence of automatic exposure bracketing in this camera makes it suitable for HDR photography.
The Nikon D3300 is an excellent camera for sports photography.

This is due to its optical viewfinder, fast shutter speed, continuous shooting, focus points, and good low light ISO.

These features in addition to its 1 cross-type focus sensors and good ergonomics equip you to capture all the sporting action.

More so, this is one that will serve pretty well for video recording, as it comes with an external microphone jack, giving you an option to improve on sound quality.
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Click here to get the Nikon D3300 on Amazon now.

What Do They Have In Common – Sony a5100 vs Nikon D3300?

Since we are done with giving you a quick summary, we will move headlong into more details from this point on.

In this section, we will focus on some of the features which Sony a5100 vs Nikon D3300 have in common.

Some of these features will be the same, while others may differ slightly.

High Sensor Resolution

A camera’s sensor resolution is one of the things most photographers look out for to determine its worth. So, let’s start there.

Why are sensor resolutions even important? Images posted online will almost always look great irrespective of the camera used to shoot them.

However, when it comes to printed images, the camera’s sensor resolution is important. Why? The more you blow up an image, the more sharpness and details your photos will tend to lose once printed.

This can only be salvaged when the images are shot with cameras that have high sensor resolutions.

When a camera with an amazing sensor resolution is used, images printed in large sizes will still maintain a lot of details.

Each of these cameras under review come with an incredible sensor resolution of 24 megapixels.

On one hand, Sony a5100 has a 23.5 x 15.6 millimeter-sized CMOS sensor and features the BIONZ X image processor.

On the other, Nikon D3300 has a 23.5 x 15.6 millimeter-sized CMOS sensor and features the EXPEED 4 image processor.

These image processors guarantee that the Sony a5100 delivers images with real-life color, and the Nikon D3300, pictures with improved autofocus.

RAW Support

The RAW support feature is found on both the Sony a5100 and the Nikon D3300.

What this feature does is to allow the storage of the uncompressed images containing undeveloped data from the camera’s image sensor.

This means the images saved have little or no changes carried out on them. Consequently, this provides you with all the data you need to effectively carry out post-processing at a later time.

However, to print the images or share them online, you will need to convert them to JPEG or other convenient image formats.

Another benefit of shooting images in RAW is you have access to the different formats whenever you have need of them.

Click here to get the Sony a5100 on Amazon now.
Click here to get the Nikon D3300 on Amazon now.

Built-In Flash

Another feature that these two cameras have in common is the built-in flash. This feature comes in handy when capturing images in low-lighting conditions.

The built-in flash also helps when you consider the external flash to be an obstruction or an unnecessary weight.

The built-in flash of a camera is, however, not the overall solution to low lighting challenges. Hence, the occasional need for external flash support from time to time, depending on the situation.

Face Detection Focusing

This feature makes both the Sony a5100 and the Nikon D3300 good choices for shooting portraits, and for filming people.

This is because the feature enables a camera to automatically set its focus and exposure for a shot immediately it detects human faces within the frame.

Portability

Looking at the weights and classes of the two cameras under review, we can safely say that they will not be a burden to you.

The average weight of mirrorless type cameras is 422 grams and that of the Sony a5100 is 283 grams. This makes it a remarkably light camera for its class.

The average weight of DSLR type cameras is 769 grams and that of the Nikon D3300 is 430 grams. This makes it almost two times lighter than an average DSLR.

It is also necessary to consider thickness to determine portability. Sony a5100 has a thickness of 36 millimeters, which is 12 millimeters thinner than the average thickness of mirrorless type cameras.

The Nikon D3300 has a thickness of 76 millimeters, which is an average thickness for a camera in its class.

It is, therefore, evident that these two cameras under review are portable and can be carried around all day without being much of a burden to you.

Click here to get the Sony a5100 on Amazon now.
Click here to get the Nikon D3300 on Amazon now.

How Different Are They From Each Other – Sony a5100 vs Nikon D3300?

Here, we will look at some distinct features of both cameras. We will also look at what differentiates them in instances where they share a common feature.

Viewfinder

The viewfinder is that important part of a camera where you look through to correctly compose and focus your picture. Viewfinders come in two types: optical and electronic. How do they work?

The optical viewfinder allows you to see exactly what the lenses see, thereby, showing you the image as it appears in reality.

The electronic viewfinder, on the other hand, allows you to see the sensor’s view, that is, it shows you exactly what the image will look like after it has been shot.

One of the major differences between the two cameras is this viewfinder. Quite typical of a DSLR, the Nikon D3300 comes with an optical viewfinder.

One would have expected the Sony a5100 to come with an electronic viewfinder, seeing as it is a mirrorless-type camera. Unfortunately, it neither comes with an electronic viewfinder nor support for an external viewfinder.

Battery Life

The Sony a5100 comes with an NP-FW50 battery pack that allows you to take 400 shots per single charge.

On the other hand, the Nikon D3300 comes with an EN-EL-14 battery pack that affords you 700 shots per single charge. These cameras have average battery lives for their respective classes.

Hence, it will be advisable to invest in extra batteries, depending on the length of your shoots.

Articulating Screen

An articulating screen is an LCD screen that is not fixed but can be turned in several directions independent of the camera body.

The articulating screen provides you flexible shooting positions for those creative shots.

However, only the Sony a5100 has an articulating screen, while the Nikon D3300 has a fixed LCD screen.

Automatic Exposure Bracketing

When shooting in tricky lighting conditions, it is normal to get confused about what exposure to use. It is in times like this that exposure bracketing becomes necessary.

This simply entails that you shoot one picture at a particular exposure, and then take other shots, adjusting the exposure after each shot.

To automatically set this up on a camera, that camera needs to have the automatic exposure bracketing (AEB) feature.

Of the two cameras under review, only the Sony a5100 comes with this feature.

This means that once the camera is in automatic exposure bracketing (or AEB) mode, you will be able to set the width of the three pictures to be taken.

How this works is that the first shot will be in the exposure you set. The second will be underexposed by the number of stops set, while the third picture will be overexposed by the number of stops you set.

This feature is really useful for High Dynamic Range (HDR) imaging.

Click here to get the Sony a5100 on Amazon now.
Click here to get the Nikon D3300 on Amazon now.

Number Of Focus Points

While the Sony a5100 offers 179 focus points, the Nikon D3300 offers an unimpressive 11. This large gap will affect the quality of photos from these two cameras to a large extent.

It is this autofocusing system that guarantees the speed and accuracy of the cameras’ focusing.

Flash Coverage

The difference between the built-in flash of the two cameras lies in coverage. The Sony a5100 has a flash coverage of 4.0 meters, while the Nikon D3300 has a flash coverage of 12.0 meters.

External Flash Shoe

As we pointed out earlier, there is a need for external flash support when shooting in some low-lighting conditions.

However, only the Nikon D3300 is fitted with an external flash hot shoe, making it the better-suited camera of the two for flash photography.

Microphone Port

Cameras are not just limited to shooting photos, they are also used to shoot videos.

Audio quality is very paramount to producing an amazing video. And so, every videographer appreciates being given options for high-quality audio recording.

Some of these options include a headphone jack and an external microphone port for the use of a microphone to boost audio quality.

However, of the two cameras under review, only the Nikon D3300 comes fitted with a microphone port.

Wireless Connectivity

The built-in wireless connectivity of the Sony a5100 enables you to conveniently transfer images directly to compatible devices without needing any physical connection.

Near Field Communication

The Sony a5100’s wireless connectivity gets even better because it allows you connect wirelessly with just one touch, thanks to NFC.

Smartphone Remote Control

Seeing as the Sony camera is the only one of the two with a built-in Wi-Fi, it is the only one with the chance of having this feature.

And that is simply because smartphone remote control requires Wi-Fi to function. This feature allows you to control your camera with your smartphone.

Click here to get the Sony a5100 on Amazon now.
Click here to get the Nikon D3300 on Amazon now.

What Are The Unique Pros Of Each Product – Sony a5100 vs Nikon D3300?

What Are The Unique Pros Of The Sony a5100 – Sony a5100 vs Nikon D3300?

  1. Only the Sony a5100 has an articulating screen that enables you to take creative shots from flexible shooting positions.
  2. It’s easier to navigate the Sony a5100 due to its touch-sensitive screen.
  3. You will be getting better focus images with the Sony a5100 as it provides you with 168 more focus points than the Nikon D3300.
  4. This camera is more useful for tough lighting conditions and high dynamic range (HDR) imaging because it comes with automatic exposure bracketing.
  5. The Sony a5100 supports easy wireless connection with compatible devices through its NFC connection feature.
  6. The Sony a5100 can be remotely controlled with your smartphone.
  7. This camera is 1.0 frames per second faster in continuous shooting.

A Sony a5100 Demonstration Video – Sony a5100 vs Nikon D3300

What Are The Unique Pros Of The Nikon D3300 – Sony a5100 vs Nikon D3300?

  1. The Nikon D3300 has an optical viewfinder which helps you properly compose and focus your picture.
  2. The camera provides 280 more shots with a single charge than the Nikon D3300.
  3. The Nikon D3300 has an external microphone port that provides you with a high-quality audio option.
  4. The maximum sensor resolution of the Nikon D3300 is 19 percent higher than that of the Sony a5100.
  5. The Nikon D3300 has an external hot shoe that provides you with an external flash option.

A Nikon D3300 Demonstration Video – Sony a5100 vs Nikon D3300

Click here to get the Sony a5100 on Amazon now.
Click here to get the Nikon D3300 on Amazon now.

What Are The Unique Cons Of Each Product – Sony a5100 vs Nikon D3300?

What Are The Unique Cons Of The Sony a5100 – Sony a5100 vs Nikon D3300?

  1. This camera is not suitable for flash photography, as it does not come with an external flash shoe.
  2. With this camera, you will need to rely on the LCD screen to compose your shot, as it does not come with a built-in viewfinder nor does it give an external viewfinder option.
  3. The Sony a5100 does not have an impressive battery life, as it only provides 400 shots per single charge.

What Are The Unique Cons Of The Nikon D3300– Sony a5100 vs Nikon D3300?

  1. The LCD screen on this camera is not selfie-friendly, as it is fixed.
  2. This camera does not have built-in wireless connectivity. Consequently, it does not support near field communication.
  3. Nikon D3300 does not come with the automatic exposure bracketing feature.
  4. In the Nikon D3300, the smartphone remote control feature is absent.

What Pros Are Common To Both Products – Sony a5100 vs Nikon D3300?

  Sony a5100 Nikon D3300
High sensor resolution This camera’s 24 megapixels sensor allows you to shoot at a maximum resolution of 6000 x 4000 pixels with aspect ratios of 3:2 and 16:9. With this camera, you can shoot at a maximum resolution of 6000 x 4000 pixels with aspect ratios of 1:1 and 3:2.
Portability This camera’s convenient weight will not pose an unnecessary burden. Although this camera weighs a bit more than the Sony a5100, it surely belongs in the league of lightweight DSLR type cameras.
Face detection focusing The Sony a5100 comes with the face detection autofocusing feature which allows it efficiently detect the human faces in the frame.

After that, it then proceeds to automatically set the focus and exposure to take a shot.
The face detection feature on this camera makes it a great choice for shooting images and videos with a lot of people in it.
Built-in flash This built-in flash comes in handy when shooting in low lighting conditions, especially when you’d rather not carry an external flash. The Nikon D3300 also comes with a built-in flash.
RAW support The RAW support feature of the Sony a5100 allows you to store your images as uncompressed files. The RAW support of the Nikon D3300 ensures no loss of image data as images are stored unprocessed.
Click here to get the Sony a5100 on Amazon now.
Click here to get the Nikon D3300 on Amazon now.

What Cons Are Common To Both Products – Sony a5100 vs Nikon D3300?

  Sony a5100 Nikon D3300
No built-in image stabilization The absence of built-in image stabilization in this camera can result in blurry images when there is a movement in the camera’s position. Investing in an external image stabilizer will be will. As the Nikon D3300 does not also come with a built-in image stabilizer, when long lenses are used without placing it on a rig or tripod, a problem can ensue.
No environmental sealing There is no environmental sealing on the body of this camera to provide added protection against tough weather conditions. Extra caution must be taken when shooting with this camera in harsh weather conditions.

What Do People Think About Both Products – Sony a5100 vs Nikon D3300?

Sony a5100 Nikon D3300
Vloggers were satisfied with the efficiency of the camera to produce high-quality videos.

The Sony a5100’s flip screen is a major favorite among vloggers and selfie lovers.

The flip screen was also commended for its effectiveness with changing menu settings and focusing images.

Virtually all the users expressed their contentment with this camera’s portability and its stunning image quality.
Users commended the Nikon D3300 for great video quality. The users also said there was no use to get a separate HD video camera because the Nikon D3300 produced remarkably great videos.

This camera is loved for its efficiency in action photography.

A lot of users found the controls of the Nikon D3300 easy to learn and understand. Nothing too complex for a yearning soul.

The price is one other thing that added to users’ pleasure. They were so excited that they did not have to spend ‘an arm and a leg’ to get clean photos and stunning videos.
While a lot of users agreed on the camera’s ability to take amazing pictures, most users complained about it overheating.

They complained that the camera did not allow them to finish their video shoots due to “overheating” or “high internal temperature” error messages.

The other major thing users complained about was the very poor battery life of this camera.
A lot of users also complained about the absence of environmental sealing on the Nikon D3300’s body.

They complained that this restricted the fun they could have with action photography.

What’s Our Take On Them – Sony a5100 vs Nikon D3300?

Sony a5100 Nikon D3300
With a feature set and affordable price, we feel this camera is a worthy choice.

However, as we always emphasize, it all depends on what you want to get out of your photography.

If what you need a camera for daily photography, vacation, and vlogging, then the Sony a5100 is for you.  
Having a wider feature set and with it being a DSLR, the Nikon D3300 is the obvious winner in this contest.

Although it costs more than the Sony a5100 by about a hundred bucks, it is still a relatively affordable camera for its class.

If you are looking for a great camera for your action photography and you’re sure this won’t create a huge dent in your pocket, get Nikon D3300.
Click here to get the Sony a5100 on Amazon now.
Click here to get the Nikon D3300 on Amazon now.

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