Sony Alpha a5100 Vs Nikon D5300 – Comparison Article

The Nikon D5300 and the Sony Alpha a5100 are the two digital cameras we are going to be looking at in this review. Hopefully, in the end, we will be able to help you make the better decision between the Sony Alpha a5100 vs Nikon D5300 for your personal needs.

Sony Alpha a5100 vs Nikon D5300
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You may not have the time to read up everything in this review being that you want to get one of these cameras as soon as possible. The comparison overview sections are concise and packed with helpful information that will make your decision making fast and easy.

For other entry level camera comparisons, click here to read our review on Sony a5100 vs Lumix GF9.

Sony Alpha a5100 vs. Nikon D5300 – Comparison Overview

Overall Review Of The Sony Alpha a5100 vs. Nikon D5300

The Sony Alpha a5100 is an entry-level mirrorless camera that’s compatible with Sony’s range of E-mount lenses. It was announced in August 2014 and it comes just eight months after its predecessor, (the A5000). Unlike many swift camera updates, the a5100 sports a number of essential and very valuable improvements.

Nikon’s ‘advanced beginner’ DSLR, the D5300 takes the D5200’s place between the entry-level D3200 and the enthusiast-targeted D7100 in the company’s APS-C lineup. The D5300 offers a 24MP sensor, an articulated rear LCD, and more physical controls than the D3200. It was announced in October 2013.

The Sony Alpha a5100 and Nikon D5300 are both great entry-level cameras with an APS-C sensor and a 24-megapixel resolution. The Sony Alpha a5100 and the Nikon D5300 are both suitable for entry-level photography and videography as they don’t possess all features to be ranked otherwise.

Ratings Of The Features Of The Sony Alpha a5100 vs. Nikon D5300

The Sony Alpha a5100 is a mirrorless camera that has no viewfinder. It has a 3-inch tilting screen with a TFT LCD type and live view.

The Nikon D5300 is a DSLR which has an optical viewfinder with 95% coverage. Its optical viewfinder provides contrast-detect AF, face detection and subject tracking. It also has a TFT LCD monitor which is 3.2 inches and is fully articulated.

Concerning battery life, the Nikon D5300 gets 600 shots out of its EN-EL14a battery, while the a5100 can get 400 shots out of its NP-FW50 power pack in a single charge. The power pack in the a5100 can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when traveling.

The Sony Alpha a5100 and the Nikon D5300 have 24.2 megapixels and 24.2 megapixels respectively, having little or no differences in their image resolution. Both cameras also possess an ISO range of 100-25,600 and 100-12,800 respectively. Nikon’s ISO range can be extended to 100-25,600 while the Sony Alpha a5100 can’t be extended.

Price Value Ratio – Sony Alpha a5100 vs. Nikon D5300

The Sony Alpha a5100 and the Nikon D5300 are both affordable cameras. The Sony Alpha a5100 is more expensive than the Nikon D5300. Both cameras are excellent entry-level cameras that every photography beginner should have.

About The Brands

It is hard to talk about electronics without making a mention of Sony, from television to computers (PCs), Sony is a contender for the top spot in the world of photography.

The company came into existence in 1946 and rapidly ascended the ladder with cutting-edge technological designs.

Nikon, on the other hand, has become a name synonymous with well-made cameras with great ergonomics. In reality, this reputation only really developed since the early 1960s with the introduction of the Nikon F1. The company concentrated on the production of optics for cameras, microscopes and binoculars amongst others in 1917.

Now, Nikon has grown into an international brand when it comes to the manufacture of cameras, lenses and gear. It is one of the leading manufacturers of high-end DSLRs, maintaining its global headquarters in Tokyo.

Sony Alpha a5100 vs Nikon D5300
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Sony Alpha a5100 vs. Nikon D5300 – Specs Comparison

Sony Alpha a5100

Nikon D5300

Announcement Date2014-08-172014-02-12
Sensor Resolution24.3 megapixels 24.2 megapixels
Continuous Shooting6 frames per second5 frames per second
Video Resolution1,920 x 1,0801,920 x 1,080
Built-in WifiYes Yes 
Focus Points17939
LCD Screen Resolution922k dots1,037k dots
Max Shutter Speed1/40001/4000
Colour Depth23.824
Dynamic Range12.713.9
Low Light ISO13471338
Battery Life400 shots600 shots
Weight283 grams480 grams
Built-in GPSNo Yes 

Sony Alpha a5100 vs Nikon D5300
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Sony Alpha a5100 vs. Nikon D5300 – Circumstances They Are Best Suited For

Sony Alpha a5100

Nikon D5300

The Alpha a5100 is a better camera for daily photography. This camera is so light that you can comfortably carry it around all day without being exhausted by its weight.

So, if you want to start blogging, maybe you want to start a YouTube channel and you are looking for the right camera which can shoot HD videos and can at the same time fit into your budget plan, you could use the Sony Alpha a5100.

The size of the Sony a5100 is extremely convenient because you can throw it in a small purse or even a jacket pocket for your Instagram-worthy adventures. Travel bloggers, foodie bloggers, and fashion bloggers who all need photo content for their website might want to get this camera!

The presence of the optical viewfinder during a street photography shoot allows the photographer to stabilize the camera and reduce the camera shake since it is closer to the body. Besides, it comes in handy where LCD screens are very hard to read under bright sunlight.

An articulated screen gives you the flexibility to shoot in nontraditional positions such as waist level, which helps you to be more creative and unobtrusive in the streets. So the Nikon D5300 is very good for street photography.

The Nikon D5300’s 1/4000s shutter speed is fast enough to freeze any almost all sports action and is also helpful when you use a fast lens at the largest aperture under bright sunlight.

In most sports events, you shoot at high speed for a long time and this drains the battery pretty quick. With a battery life of 600 shots per charge, you won’t run out of juice or have to change battery very frequently in the middle of an event.

If you are looking for the best of sport photography experience, the Nikon D5300 would be an excellent choice.

Sony Alpha a5100 vs Nikon D5300
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Sony Alpha a5100 vs. Nikon D5300– Common Features

Here, we will be talking about the features of Sony Alpha a5100 vs. Nikon D5300. The features that both cameras possess can look similar in some ways and in some ways are different. We advise you read to the end.

Built-in Wifi

With Sony’s Play-Memories Camera app installed on your Android Smartphone, you can easily transfer your pictures over to your Smartphone with a simple tap. As for iPhones (which don’t come with NFC) you can still connect to the a5100 via Wifi. The process is slightly slower but it gets the job done nonetheless.

Photos taken with the Nikon D5300 can be instantly shared via the built-in Wifi function, which connects the camera directly with a Smartphone or tablet. It’s all pretty simple. First, download the free software “Wireless Mobile Utility” on your Smartphone, and you can get started.

The Nikon D5300 differs from both other Nikons and most other modern SLRs in connectivity. If you like photos of professional quality and you want to geotag, modify them in-camera and share them directly on social media. This camera makes that easy.

Internal flash

First off, the advantages of the internal flash are many. It adds virtually no weight to the camera, it’s always available for use, it doesn’t add any bulk,  it doesn’t cost anything extra, and it’s extremely convenient. You can push a button and it’s ready. But most people don’t know how to use it efficiently as they now go for the Hotshoe flashes.

Using the internal flash requires a bit more knowledge than simply popping up the flash. It’s all too easy to ruin a photo with the internal flash. Below we’ve highlighted some ways to use the internal flash efficiently. 

Most photographers aren’t aware of this but the best use of flash isn’t for when there’s not enough light. The best use of flash is for when there’s too much light. The sun is a bright light source that creates a lot of harsh shadows. Popping up your flash will fill in those shadows, for a more evenly lit image. So you can use your internal flash as a fill flash.

Sometimes, the key to getting a good photo with an internal flash isn’t about your camera settings, but how you physically set up the shot. The easiest way to get rid of that shadow is to have the subject move further away from the background, not hard at all. Distance between the subject and the flash matters too.

Popup flashes have different modes that determine how they perform. Flash sync modes determine when the flash fires, etc. Understanding these modes is a good way to master flash photography.

Sony Alpha a5100 vs Nikon D5300
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Bulb shutter mode

Bulb shutter mode is a feature which is accidentally bumped into or never used at all by photographers and videographers. Bulb mode photography (B setting on cameras) allows you to keep the shutter open for as long as you want while you’re depressing the shutter release button.

With bulb mode, you can hold down the camera shutter button for as long as you’re exposing. But this is neither comfortable nor great for sharp images. There’s a high risk you’ll move the camera during shooting in bulb mode and end up with blurry photographs. This is why you should use a remote shutter release when shooting in bulb exposure mode.

Having a solid tripod is also important when you’re using exposure times of minutes. You’d want to minimize as much movement as possible and therefore you’ll need the tripod to stand still and not be affected by a little wind or cars driving by.

So, when using Bulb Mode and photographing Long Exposures it is absolutely essential to use a tripod.

Bulb Mode is most commonly used for Long Exposure Photography. There are many scenarios when this technique is used such as star trails, night photography, seascapes, car trails etc.

Sony Alpha a5100 vs. Nikon D5300 – Unique Features

In this section of this comparison article, we will review the differences between Sony Alphaa5100 and Nikon D5300. We have put together, some features that are unique to each camera.

Tilt-swivel vs. Tilt-only

The Sony Alpha a5100 and the Nikon D5300 both have tilt-able LCD, meaning that their screens can move. The difference between the LCD of both cameras is that the LCD of Nikon D53000 can swivel, meaning it can move at 180 degrees. They are many advantages that come with tilt-swivel screens.

With the camera facing you and the LCD twisted in the same direction as the lens, it is easier to frame self-portraits as well as group shots that include you. You’ll need to use a shutter release, such as the built-in self-timer.

It is easier to take close-ups and macro shots from a variety of angles that would be otherwise impossible, or difficult without a tripod.  It is also useful on a sunny day or a studio, you can just twist the screen to a different angle to reduce glare when the sun or lighting is bright.

By having the ability to change the angle of your camera’s screen you can tweak lights, move reflectors, direct models, adjust still life set-ups etc. and see the effect when using Live View without having to walk around to the back of the camera. 

With video on DSLR and mirrorless becoming main-stream, it is easy for you, the camera operator to turn the LCD as per your convenience. There is no need again to crank the neck and be in discomfort for extended period of times.

Focus peaking

Focus peaking is a tool inherited from video cameras and is now widely found on mirrorless cameras. A small handful of DSLRs also list this function as Focus Assist for Live View. 

Focus peaking works on the principal that the sharpest areas have the highest or peak contrast, with the camera overlaying a white or colored highlight on the edges and textures of objects on the Live View image to indicate this.

Focus peaking needs to be enabled in the camera menu, where you can tailor the peaking to the scene or subject you’re shooting. For instance, you can change the color of the peaking highlights so that they contrast with colors in the image and are easier to see. 

 Once you grasp the nuances of depth of field, helped along by focus peaking, you’ll have far more control over your images, with results both subtle and powerful. 

Unfortunately, only the Sony Alpha a5100 (mirrorless camera) possesses the focus peaking feature.

Watch the video below to learn more about focus peaking.

Sony Alpha a5100 vs Nikon D5300
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Telephoto lens

Telephoto lenses are very popular in the photographic world. They are the really long lenses that cover many photography disciplines. A telephoto will help you understand your relationship with your scene. And let you photograph dangerous situations without having to get too close.

Apart from letting you photograph subjects from a distance, they affect the background of your scene. They do this much differently than other lenses, such as a wide-angle or standard lens.

A telephoto lens will have a focal range of anything above 70 mm, but they come in different sizes. A medium telephoto lens covers between a 30-degree and 10-degree field of view (67 millimeters to 206 millimeters at full frame). A super-telephoto lens covers between 8 degrees through less than a 1-degree field of view (over 300mm at full frame).

Just like any lens type, there are benefits and drawbacks. Physically, the best thing about a telephoto lens is that they often come with a stabilizer. Blur due to camera shake is a big problem in photography, and more so when it comes to telephoto lenses.

One purpose of a telephoto lens is blurring out the background. This can be done with other lenses of course, but the telephoto lens creates a very different out-of-focus effect.

The effect of an aperture of f/2.8 on a background is much greater with a telephoto lens than with a standard lens. This is down to the background becoming ‘stretched’. As the field of view is smaller with a telephoto lens, there is physically less background to fill in the frame.

Telephotos are great at capturing portraits, as long as you have adequate space to move back to get the subject in the frame. This isn’t best for studio photography, but definitely usable in the outdoors. 

The Sony Alpha a5100 and the Nikon D5300 have the telephoto lens. The difference between the two is how far the lens can zoom. The Nikon D5300 zooms to 210 millimeters while the Sony Alpha a5100 zooms to 75 millimeters.


A hot shoe is a great feature that lets you use other devices alongside your camera. It will allow the device to communicate with your camera, ensuring great photos every time. The Nikon D5300 has the hot shoe feature while the Sony Alpha a5100 doesn’t, which is quite sad. 

Flashes are the most used item with the hot shoe, having an external flash will definitely reduce the number of red eyes that you see in your portraits. But this is not the only reason to purchase an external flash. An external flash gives you greater flexibility when taking photos indoors.

Many of today’s external flashes come with swivel heads. Basically, you can point the flash in any direction: left, right, even up toward the ceiling. This creates a much more natural-looking photograph indoors. Rather than blasting your subject with direct light, you can bounce the light off a ceiling or a wall and create some very interesting effects.

Flash can also be useful outdoors on a very sunny day. If the person that you are taking a photo of is wearing a hat, his or her eyes can be lost in shadow. If you use your flash (even though there is plenty of light from the sun) you can reduce the shadows under the hat so that you can see your subject’s eyes. There are also GPS units and electronic viewfinders.

Wider Kit-Lens

 A kit lens is technically, any lens that is bundled with a camera. The most common kit lens is the 18-55mm lens, which is a good entry-level lens and is easier to purchase. The price to performance ratio of a kit lens is outstanding; most kit lenses offer image stabilization and autofocus, which could be considered added bonuses.

Kit lenses exhibit more depth-of-field at a given aperture than a telephoto lenses.
Landscape photographers, street photographers, environmental-portrait photographers just to mention a few, would find this feature useful. Anytime you’re concerned with having everything in the frame in focus foreground to background a wide-angle lens will be of great service.

Both cameras come with a kit lens. The kit lens of the Sony Alpha a5100 is 27 millimeters, which is wider than the 24 millimeters of the Nikon D5300.

Sony Alpha a5100 vs Nikon D5300
Click here to get the Sony Alpha a5100!Click here to get the Nikon D5300!

Anti-Aliasing filter

An anti-aliasing filter, also known as an optical low pass filter (OLPF), is a small filter that sits over the image sensor in your camera and its job is to avoid interference patterns from spoiling images.

While extreme details are lost in the process, the problem of moiré is completely resolved. Since most cameras are designed to be used for day-to-day photography, where moiré pattern is very common, and most cameras in the digital market has this feature.  The Sony Alpha a5100 has this feature while the Nikon D5300 doesn’t. The Nikon D5300 would be more preferred by a landscape photographer who never sees moiré in his shots

Sony Alpha a5100 Vs Nikon D5300 – A Video Review

Sony Alpha a5100 Review

Nikon D5300 Review

Sony Alpha a5100 vs Nikon D5300
Click here to get the Sony Alpha a5100!Click here to get the Nikon D5300!

 Sony Alpha a5100 Vs Nikon D5300 —Unique Pros

Sony Alpha a5100

  • Small and comfortable form factor
  • Good image quality for its class
  • New dual-video record function
  • Quick autofocus system
  • Good dynamic range.
  • Video capture performance is impressive
  • Has a tough body
  • Has good image quality and AF speeds

Nikon D5300

  • Possesses an excellent image quality similar to more expensive DSLRs (like the D7100)
  • Dynamic range is great
  • Responsive all-around performer
  • Excellent Full HD video-shooting quality
  • Built-in Wifi with remote control and sharing features
  • Built-in GPS
  • Compact and lightweight in size
  • Its 18-140mm kit lens performs well for its type and has a very versatile focal length range.
  • Built-in Wifi 
  • Good build quality
  • Continuous shooting rate is decent

Sony Alpha a5100 vs Nikon D5300
Click here to get the Sony Alpha a5100!Click here to get the Nikon D5300!

Sony Alpha a5100 Vs Nikon D5300 —Unique Cons

Sony Alpha a5100

  • Electronic viewfinder 
  • No hot shoe
  • JPEG processing at higher ISOs is not as good as some competing mid-level models
  • No external Mic jack
  • Touchscreen performance not as comprehensive as that of other competitors

Nikon D5300

  • AA-filter-less sensor makes it more prone to moiré
  • Burst speed slows with highest quality 14-bit RAW images
  • Live View mode not as good as some competitors
  • No external headphone jack
  • GPS receiver not very sensitive.
  • App performance is disappointing with Wi-Fi
  • Disappointing kit lens
  • No live view app previews

Sony Alpha a5100 vs Nikon D5300
Click here to get the Sony Alpha a5100!Click here to get the Nikon D5300!

Sony Alpha a5100 Vs Nikon D5300 —Common Pros


Sony Alpha a5100

Nikon D5300

Bulb Shutter modePresent
Same as the Sony Alpha a5100 
Internal flashPresentSame with the Sony Alpha a5100
Built-in WifiPresent
Same with the Sony Alpha a5100

Sony Alpha a5100 vs Nikon D5300
Click here to get the Sony Alpha a5100!Click here to get the Nikon D5300!

Sony Alpha a5100 Vs Nikon D5300 — Common Cons


Sony Alpha a5100

Nikon D5300

In-camera image stabilizationThe Sony Alpha a5100 lacks image stabilization which could make it difficult to get clear pictures when shooting without a tripod.Same as the Sony Alpha a5100
No slow-motion Absent in this cameraSame as the Sony Alpha a5100
Dual card slots Both cameras lack this feature as they both come with one card slot.  Same as the Sony Alpha a5100  

Sony Alpha a5100 Vs Nikon D5300 – People’s Thoughts About Both 

Sony Alpha a5100Nikon D5300
People loved the fact that it has a flip-up screen, which makes it very suitable for vlogging and they also like its Wifi feature which makes it possible for you to post your videos and pictures online.

People loved the small size of the camera and amount of battery shots it can give. They also liked its facial smoother feature which helps in removing imperfections on your face; it also works well for landscaping.

Vloggers liked its fast focusing, its outstanding recording mode, and its uncompressed HDMI output. They also loved its Image quality which is excellent, both for stills and video thanks to the large sensor in a rather small camera body.

 People also like that its instructions and descriptions for each camera mode was explained in English, making it easier for you to know what to do.

Vloggers were disappointed to learn that the camera cannot be operated off of external power, and charging the battery inside the camera can take as long as 5 hours. The Sony Alpha a5100 also lacks an external microphone input, and this raised major concerns for vloggers.

People complained about its overheating issue. When videoing for up to 15-20 minutes, the a5100 starts overheating, shutting itself down without a sound, this can be very frustrating.

People didn’t like the fact that its viewfinder was impossible to see on sunny days. They also hated the flicker of the white balance in video mode.

A lot of people love how this camera feels. It feels solid and well-built but it is also lighter in weight than a lot of comparable models. Holding it by its grip makes you feel it’s perfectly secure.

 People loved its focus point spread (area of image with autofocus sensor coverage) which is much greater than in full-frame cameras. The D5300’s autofocus point coverage extends left-right top-bottom much farther than full-frame cameras.

A lot of people liked the Nikon’s truly exceptional built-in flash performance which had been a thing since at least the D90. They liked that the D5300 rarely disappoints and can match its predecessors at any price point.

People complained about its Wifi, saying it’s hard to upload full-resolution images to your smart device via Wifi. It’s impossible to backup your videos and images on cloud.

People complained about its clumsy photo review after taking a photo it takes time in showing the photo on the LCD screen.

Vloggers loved its flip-out screen, this helps them to know when they are in focus as they video. They also like the mic port which gives them the option of recording straight in to the camera.

People loved its 39 autofocus points. This ensures that the camera focuses fast; they also liked how the D5300 is noticeably quieter when taking a picture which improves the photography experience a lot.

A lot of people liked its battery life, saying it’s good for both videoing and photography. They also liked that it has a 24-megapixel APS-C sensor which makes its photographs pretty cool.

Sony Alpha a5100 vs Nikon D5300
Click here to get the Sony Alpha a5100!Click here to get the Nikon D5300!

Sony Alpha a5100 Vs Nikon D5300 – The Conclusion

The Sony Alpha a5100 is another great camera in the line of Sony Alpha brand. It is an entry-level camera but can work well as a middle level and professional level camera with the help of a nice lens.

The Nikon D5300, on its own, is also a wonderful camera, it is loved for both photography and videography, its LED optical viewfinder and its hot shoe feature gives it an edge over the Sony Alpha a5100.

You may have already made your decision about which camera suits better for your needs and your budget so far. However, if we were to choose the Nikon D5300 would be our choice. 

The Sony Alpha a5100 is a better lightweight camera than the Nikon D5300 and that the only edge it has over the Nikon D5300. If you are buying a camera based on weight, the Sony Alpha a5100 should be your choice!

Sony Alpha a5100 vs Nikon D5300
Click here to get the Sony Alpha a5100!Click here to get the Nikon D5300!