Here is a detailed Sony a6000 vs Nikon D5100 comparison. The idea here is to help you decide which of these cameras the right one for you is.
In this article, we’ve put together the features of both cameras and have compared those of one camera against those of the other. Not only that, we’ve tried to shed a bit of light on the different features so that you know what they are about.
That said, we know that you might be here to make a really quick decision and do not have the time to read through the whole thing. This is why we have the comparison overview and comparison table sections with the basic information of this article in bite sizes.
We, however, always recommend that you go through the entire article to get a better grasp of things. Also, you could broaden your range of options by going through the some of our other Sony-Nikon comparisons like the Sony a7 vs Nikon D5300.
Comparison Overview — Sony a6000 Vs Nikon D5100
Here is a quick rundown of the basic ideas of this review:
Overall Rating Of The Sony a6000 Vs Nikon D5100
In their own way, both cameras actually perform decently. The Sony a6000 happens to be the better camera by a long shot. However, if you factor in the fact that the Sony a6000 is semi-pro while the Nikon D5100 is entry-level, it might justify the difference.
Rating Of The Features Of The Sony a6000 Vs Nikon D5100
While the Sony a6000 is significantly more impressive than the Nikon D5100, they do have (and not have) a couple of features in common. One of them is a viewfinder. However, while that of the Sony a6000 is electronic, that of the Nikon D5100 is optical.
Furthermore, both cameras have the Auto Exposure Bracketing feature and an articulating screen (that of the Sony a6000 is a tilting screen while that of the Nikon D5100 is a full-flex screen).
Also, they both have an inbuilt flash and an external port for an external flash. Then there is the fact that they both can shoot in RAW and have the face detection feature.
Having said that, we consider the Sony a6000 the better camera for photography. It has a 24 megapixel sensor resolution (as against the Nikon D5100’s 16 megapixels), a maximum ISO of 25600 that can be expanded to 51200 (as against the Nikon D5100’s 6400 to 25600) and an 11 frames per second continuous shooting rate (as against the Nikon D5100’s 4 fps).
The Sony a6000 also has better connectivity as it has an inbuilt wireless connection, Near Field Communication connection and can be controlled using a smartphone.
On the other hand, the Nikon D5100 is probably the better camera for recording videos. And that is because of its microphone port and full-flex screen. You’ll also be able to use this camera for longer because it has a 600 shot per charge battery life while that of the Sony a6000 is only 360 shots.
Unfortunately, both cameras do not have in body image stabilization or any form of weather sealing.
Price/Value Ratio — Sony a6000 Vs Nikon D5100
Both cameras are really affordable and they go for a steal. However, if we had to go for the one camera that offers better value for money, we would go for the Sony a6000. And that is because while being almost as affordable as the Nikon D5100, it offers more functionality than the latter.
About The Brands
The Sony brand is a pretty versatile brand as it has its hands in entertainment, electronics and even gaming. However, in the world of cameras, it is known as the leading producer of mirrorless cameras. Its cameras are known for having an impressive sensor resolution and a not so impressive battery life.
On the other hand, Nikon is more specific as it only has imaging and optics products. In the world of cameras, it is known as the leading producer of DLSR cameras, alongside Canon.
The one edge that Nikon cameras have over Sony cameras is the plethora of lenses and other accessories it has. And this is due to the fact that Nikon has been producing cameras for way longer than Sony.
Comparison Table — Sony a6000 Vs Nikon D5100
|Weight||0.76 pound||1.23 pounds|
|Dimensions||4.7 by 2.6 by 1.8 inches||5 by 3.8 by 3.1 inches|
|Battery Life||360 shots per charge||600 shots per charge|
|Continuous Shooting||11 frames per second (fps)||4 frames per second (fps)|
|Near Field Communication||Yes||No|
|Sensor Resolution||24 megapixels||16 megapixels|
|Articulating Screen||Tilting Screen||Full-flex Screen|
|ISO||100 to 25600 and can be expanded to 51200||100 to 6400 and can be expanded to 25600|
A Sony a6000 Vs Nikon D5100 Comparison Video
Which Is Better For What? — Sony a6000 Vs Nikon D5100
|This camera was introduced as a semi-pro camera and the features really match that. So, consider getting this camera if you want to step-up from your entry-level camera but are not ready to go pro yet.||On the other hand, this camera was introduced to the market as an entry-level camera and the features match. So, consider getting this camera if you are starting out on the whole photography thing.|
|Also, if you’ll be doing a lot of quick shooting, the Sony a6000 is probably the better option. And that is because it has a fast continuous shooting rate.||Also, this camera is probably the better camera for recording videos and that is because it comes with a microphone port.|
Common Features — Sony a6000 Vs Nikon D5100
Both the Sony a6000 and the Nikon D5100 have a viewfinder. However, they do not have the same kind of viewfinder as the Sony a6000 has the electronic kind while the Nikon D5100 has the optical kind.
But before we go into all that dynamic, let’s quickly explain what a viewfinder is. A viewfinder is a small screen kinda in a camera that is used to frame a shot.
Basically, what it means to frame a shot is to get an idea of what the actual photo will look like when it is shot an decide whether that is what you want before you shoot. This is basically what you do with a viewfinder; look through it and get an idea of what your final outcome will look like.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s look at the kinds of viewfinders. There are two kinds; the optical viewfinder which usually comes with a DSLR and the electronic kind which usually comes with a mirrorless camera.
An optical viewfinder shows you images the way your lens sees the subject which is kinda like the way you’ll see the subject if you’re loking through a window. Because things are pretty straightforward, an optical viewfinder doesn’t use so much battery power.
On the other hand, an electronic viewfinder shows you images the way the sensor sees it which is digital. This is a really close representation of what the actual photo will look like since photos are digital. However, because of the processing involved, electronic viewfinders use a lot of battery power.
However, not all mirrorless cameras have a viewfinder. This is why we have included this feature in our common features section.
2. Auto Exposure Bracketing
As the ‘auto’ suggests, this feature allows a camera to automatically choose an exposure setting. Exposure is basically about how bright or dark your photo is and is determined by a combination of the ISO, aperture and shutter speed.
To pick an exposure for your shot, you’ll want to consider how much light and what kind of light is available. You’ll also want to consider what effect you’re going for which is probably more important.
That said, there are times when setting the right exposure might be tricky. This usually happens when you cannot be certain of the kind of light that you’re working with. At those times, you might be forced to set a random exposure, shoot and go through that cycle again until you luckily hit on the right thing.
That is, unless your camera has the Auto Exposure Bracketing. In this mode, your camera can take the same shot in a number of different exposures. You then get to choose which works for you. Thankfully, both cameras have this feature.
The idea of a flash is to be an immediate light source for those times when you shoot in dark places. There are two kinds of flash; the inbuilt flash and the external kind.
Both the Sony a6000 and the Nikon D5100 have an inbuilt flash and there are reasons why we might prefer this over the external kind. For one, you can be sure that it will always be available seeing as it is built into the camera.
Also, we like that the inbuilt flash doesn’t use up so much battery power and also doesn’t contribute to the weight of the camera. However, we generally consider the external flash the better flash and we’ll explain why.
First off, an external flash almost always has better range than the inbuilt kind. In addition, because the external flash has its own power source, it has a better response time than the inbuilt flash. This is why the external flash is the better flash for flash photography.
That said, cameras do not come with an external flash. However, some like the Sony a6000 and the Nikon D5100 have an external flash port. So, you’ll be able to use an external flash with either camera.
4. Articulating Screen
An articulating screen is that kind of screen that can be moved or angled in different directions without having to move the camera body. With an articulating screen, you’ll be able to comfortably take shots from some kinda difficult angles including overhead shots.
That said, there are different kinds of articulating screens. The full-flex screen can be moved all around such that a camera that has this can be used to shoot oneself by oneself. On the other hand, a tiling screen is a bit more restricting as it can only be angled upward and back down.
That said, the Sony a6000 has a tilting screen while the Nikon D5100 has a full-flex screen.
5. Video Resolution
Both the Sony a6000 and the Nikon D5100 have a 1920 by 1080 video resolution. While this is not exactly the apex of video resolutions, it is actually pretty decent if you ask us.
6. RAW Support
RAW is basically a format in which cameras shoot. There is also jpeg which is kinda like the default shooting format. The basic difference between these two formats is that jpeg compresses photos while RAW allows them to be saved in their original photos.
In our opinion, either format could come in handy sometimes. Because jpeg photos are compressed, they do not take up so much space in storage and they are not terrible quality, really.
However, if you intend to crop, blow up or just generally edit your photos, RAW is a safer format. The reason is that compression reduces the quality of photos and so does cropping and blowing up. So, if you’ll be cropping your photos, you’ll want all the quality you can get knowing that there is some quality loss in the photos’ future.
Thankfully, the Sony a6000 and the Nikon D5100 can shoot in both formats. So, you’ll always have both options at your disposal.
7. Face Detection
Finally, both cameras are able to recognize human faces and when that’s done, they lock in. Locking in on human faces helps make the faces the major aspect of the photo to be shot and also helps reduce the possibility of having blurry photos when you shoot portraits.
A Sony a6000 Demonstration Video — Sony a6000 Vs Nikon D5100
Unique Features — Sony a6000 Vs Nikon D5100
1. Mirrorless Vs DSLR
While the Sony a6000 is a mirrorless camera, the Nikon D5100 is a DSLR and there us a fundamental difference in how they function. DSLRs typically have mirrors and these mirrors are responsible for bouncing off the light that comes through the lens onto the optical viewfinder and the sensor.
However, mirrorless cameras do not have any mirrors. As a result, when light comes in through the lens, it goes straight to the sensor. The sensor then sends a digital image which you’ll see on the electronic viewfinder or the LCD screen, whatever is the case.
Now, because mirrorless cameras do not have any mirrors, they are usually smaller than their DSLR counterparts. However, they usually do not have as impressive a battery life as their DSLR counterparts.
Granted, the weight of a camera cannot exactly be classified as a feature but it is an important factor to consider as you choose a camera. In keeping with the DSLR mirrorless thing, the Nikon D5100 is the heavier of the two cameras. However, we cannot honestly say any of the cameras is heavy.
That said, the Sony a6000 weighs 0.76 pounds while the Nikon D5100 weighs 1.23 pounds. Furthermore, both cameras have an APS-C sensor. And as a result, they’ll be needing lenses of the same size and weight for the same focal length and aperture.
ISO is the camera feature that is responsible for how much light a camera lets in as it shoots. So basically, the higher the ISO you decide to choose, the more light your camera lets in and vice versa.
Now, just like with the exposure, ISO is usually dependent on how much light is available. The idea is that if there is too much light, you don’t want all of that so you’ll want to go with a low ISO. And if there isn’t enough, you’ll want to go with a high ISO so that the camera can compensate for the lack.
That said, the Sony a6000 has a more impressive ISO range than the Nikon D5100. With the Sony a6000, the ISO can go as high as 25600 while the Nikon D5100 can only do 6400.
Furthermore, both cameras can have their ISO expanded. That of the Sony a6300 can go as high as 51200 while that of Nikon D5100 can go as high as the Sony a6000’s original max which is 25600.
4. Wireless Connection
This is a very important feature for us, especially in this time and age. With wireless connection on a camera, you’ll be able to quickly and wirelessly transfer your files off the camera and unto the internet.
That said, the Sony a6000 is the only camera of the two that has an inbuilt wireless connection. However, you can still get internet access with the Nikon D5100. For that you’ll need an Eye-Fi.
Eye-Fi is a memory card-like device that you slot into a camera in order to be able to access the internet. Some cameras without an inbuilt wireless connection have a provision for this. And while Eye-Fi isn’t as fast as inbuilt wireless connection, it is something.
Now, in addition to having inbuilt wireless connection, only the Sony a6000 has the Near Field Communication connection. Near Field Communication is another transfer feature. However, this one does not need any kind of internet connect.
The other device (which is usually a smartphone) has to have the Near Field Communication connection too. You’ll put the two devices close to each other (not necessarily one on top of the other) to establish a connection. And when that is established, you can do your sending.
Finally, another somewhat connectivity feature that only the Sony a6000 has. The Sony a6000 can be controlled using a smartphone. You’ll have to download the camera app on the smartphone to be able to connect the smartphone to the camera.
Once that is done, you’ll be able to take shots right from your smartphone. This is a real nice feature to have if you’ll be shooting in a place that isn’t entirely safe or very comfortable. You could just place your camera wherever it will capture the subjects and then go somewhere safe or comfortable to shoot.
5. Sensor Resolution
This one is important in determining the quality of photos a camera takes, especially if you’ll be cropping or blowing up the photos. We already said, when we were talking about the RAW format, that cropping or blowing up a photo will cause it to lose some of its quality.
Now, if you have a not very impressive sensor resolution like the Nikon D5100’s 16 megapixels, you’ll definitely notice the reduced quality. However, if the sensor resolution is impressive like the Sony a6000’s 24 megapixels, you’ll have enough details left after the cropping or blowing up that your photo will still be good quality.
So, basically, the more megapixels your sensor has, the more room you have to crop or blow up without compromising image quality.
6. Continuous Shooting
This feature tells us about how many shots a camera can take in just one second. And the idea is for the photographer to be able to take as many shots as possible in as little time as possible. This is why wildlife photographers, sports photographers and even paparazzi favor this mode.
The Sony a6000 has an impressive continuous shooting rate of 11 frames per second while the Nikon D5100 can only take 4 frames in one second.
That said, how much you’ll be able to enjoy the continuous shooting is dependent on the camera’s battery life. And this is where the Sony a6000 doesn’t fair so great. Sony a6000 can only take 360 shots per charge while you can get 600 shots before you need to charge the Nikon D5100.
That isn’t exactly the greatest but it is more impressive than the Sony a6000, obviously. Just thought you should know.
7. Microphone Port
Of the two cameras in this article, only the Nikon D5100 has a microphone port. The reason you might need a microphone port is that the inbuilt microphone that cameras usually work with doesn’t always offer the best as per audio quality.
With a microphone port, you can get an external microphone that will give you the audio quality you want and will also help you record comfortably. So, because the Nikon D5100 has a microphone port and the Sony a6000 does not, the former might be the better option for recording videos.
8. Available Lenses
Finally, the Nikon D5100 has more lenses than the Sony a6000. The Nikon D5100 has 302 lenses available with it while the Sony a6000 has only 102. However, bear in mind that because the Sony a6000 is a mirrorless camera, it can carry lenses from some other cameras; just get adapters.
Also, because neither camera has in body image stabilization, they both have optical stabilization lenses. The Sony a6000 has 23 while the Nikon D5100 has 88 of them available.
Just so you know though, in body image stabilization is meant to prevent a camera from shooting burry photos, especially when the camera is shaken as you shoot. The optical stabilization lenses are meant to stand in for the in body image stabilization, howbeit, for a fee.
A Nikon D5100 Demonstration Video — Sony a6000 Vs Nikon D5100
Unique Pros — Sony a6000 Vs Nikon D5100
Pros Of The Sony a6000 — Sony a6000 Vs Nikon D5100
- First off, the Sony a6000 has the more impressive sensor resolution.
- Furthermore, this camera has an inbuilt wireless connection which is faster and better than the Nikon D5100’s Eye-Fi connection.
- Also, this camera has the more impressive ISO of the two cameras.
- The Sony a6000 has way more focus points (179) than the Nikon D5100 (11) and as a result will focus better and quicker.
- Furthermore, this camera’s viewfinder has 100% coverage as against the Nikon D5100’s 95%. The implication of this is that you’ll have a fuller view of your subject on the Sony a6000’s viewfinder than on the Nikon D5100’s viewfinder.
- Also, this camera has the more impressive continuous shooting rate.
- The Sony a6000 has a better color depth (24.1) than the Nikon D5100 (23.5).
- Furthermore, this camera has Near Field Communication (NFC) connection which allows you transfer files to another device that also has the NFC feature.
- Also, you can smartphone control with the Sony a6000.
- The Sony a6000 supports the use of the Ultra High Speed-I memory card which allows for quick transfer of files to and from the camera.
- Finally, this camera is the lighter of the two cameras.
Pros Of The Nikon D5100 — Sony a6000 Vs Nikon D5100
- First off, the Nikon D5100 has the more impressive battery life.
- Furthermore, you can make use of an external microphone with this camera in order to record better audio.
- Also, this camera has a better dynamic range (13.6) than the Sony a6000 (13.1).
- The Nikon D5100 has a full-flex screen which allows one to shoot oneself by oneself.
- Furthermore, you can time-lapse record with this camera without having to download any special apps for it.
- Also, this camera’s flash has better coverage (12 meters) than that of the Sony a6000 (6 meters).
- The Nikon has a wider sensor pixel area than the Sony a6000.
- And finally, this camera has more lenses available with it than the Sony a6000.
Unique Cons — Sony a6000 Vs Nikon D5100
Cons Of The Sony a6000 — Sony a6000 Vs Nikon D5100
- First off, the Sony a6000 does not have a very impressive battery life.
- Also, because an external microphone cannot be used with the Sony a6000, it might be difficult to record good quality audio.
Cons Of The Nikon D5100 — Sony a6000 Vs Nikon D5100
- First off, the Nikon D5100 does not have any form of wireless connectivity. As a result, the transfer of files could be cumbersome as it will involve the use of adapters and wires.
- Furthermore, this camera does not have a very impressive sensor resolution.
- It also does not have a very impressive continuous shooting rate.
Common Pros — Sony a6000 Vs Nikon D5100
|Viewfinder||This camera has an electronic viewfinder. And generally, a viewfinder is better at framing shots than the screen. The reason for this is the position of the screens. A viewfinder is a kinda in the camera while the LCD screen is just out there. As a result, one would struggle to see what’s on the LCD screen in very bright light.||Same as the Sony a6000. However, that of the Nikon D5100 is optical.|
|Auto Exposure Bracketing||With this camera’s Auto Exposure Bracketing feature, your camera can shoot in a number of different exposures at those times when you can’t figure out what the right exposure is. You’ll have to choose the AE Bracketing mode, though.||Same as the Sony a6000.|
|Flash||This camera has an inbuilt flash that gives off a burst of light as you press the shutter button. It is built-in which means it will always be available which is a good thing. The Sony a6000 also has an external flash port. So, you can use an external flash which is a better light source and has a faster recovery time than the inbuilt flash.||Same as the Sony a6000.|
|Articulating Screen||The Sony a6000 has a tilting screen. So, you’ll be able to take shots from some pretty interesting angles including above the head and below the waist.||Same as the Sony a6000. However, because that of this camera is a full-flex screen, you’ll be able to use this camera to shoot yourself by yourself.|
|RAW Support||The Sony a6000 can shoot in RAW which is nice because RAW saves photos in their original quality which gives you enough room to edit your photos without compromising image quality.||Same as the Sony a6000.|
|Face Detection||Finally, this camera is able to detect human faces from a number of other elements and then lock on them (the faces that is). This is why this camera is a nice idea for taking portraits.||Same as the Sony a6000.|
Common Cons — Sony a6000 Vs Nikon D5100
|Image Stabilization||The Sony a6000 does not have in body image stabilization. As a result, if the camera is jostled mid-shot, it could produce really blurry photos. Thankfully, this camera comes with a number of optical stabilization lenses that can stabilization the sensor and erase the possibility of having a blur.||Same as the Sony a6000.|
|Weather Sealing||This camera is also not weather sealed. What that means is that it is not protected in any way from such weather elements as water and dust. As a result, you’ll have to be really careful when and where you use the Sony a6000.||Same as the Sony a6000.|
What People Think About Both Cameras — Sony a6000 Vs Nikon D5100
|Judging from people’s feedback on this camera, it looks like this camera is alright for people who are looking to step-up from their entry-level cameras but are not exactly looking to go pro. A good number of people have commented on this camera’s image quality and continuous shooting. Apparently, the camera is pretty good at shooting photos. The fact that the camera is small and light looks to be another plus.||Some have referred to this camera as a ‘prosumer’ camera. And that is a term used to refer to cameras that can serve for users who are not exactly professionals but are at a more professional level than enthusiast. A good number of people that gave feedback on this camera did it in comparison to some older cameras they have and of course this one wins. Apparently, this camera takes better pictures, performs better in low light and is lighter than the other cameras they’ve used.|
|However, some people are not confident that this is the right camera for recording videos. This looks to be because the camera does not have a microphone port.||However, a few people have complained about the lack of weather sealing.|
Our Take — Sony a6000 Vs Nikon D5100
|We like the Sony a6000 and we believe that it does what it was created to do. What we mean is that it was introduced to the market as a semi-pro camera and its features make it good for just that; good sensor resolution, impressive continuous shooting, decent video resolution all while being small and lightweight.||We also like this camera and we also believe that it does what it was created to do. It was introduced to the market as an entry-level camera and its features match that to a decent extent. It takes good photos (if you won’t be cropping), record decent videos and is relatively small and lightweight.|
|Granted, there are a number of things you do not get with this camera but then again it is a semi-pro. Interested? Get the Sony a6000 now!||Could some things have been improved on? Definitely. Are those things a deal breaker? That’s left for you to decide. Interested? Get the Nikon D5100 now!|