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Nikon D100 vs D5100

The Nikon D100 and the Nikon D5100 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in February 2002 and April 2011. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The D100 has a resolution of 6 megapixels, whereas the D5100 provides 16.1 MP.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Nikon D100 versus Nikon D5100
Nikon D100 Nikon D5100
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Nikon F mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
6 MP, APS-C Sensor 16.1 MP, APS-C Sensor
no Video 1080/30p Video
ISO 200-800 (200 - 1,600) ISO 100-6,400 (100 - 25,600)
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
1.8 LCD, 118k dots 3.0 LCD, 921k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Swivel screen (not touch-sensitive)
3 shutter flaps per second 4 shutter flaps per second
370 shots per battery charge660 shots per battery charge
144 x 116 x 81 mm, 780 g 128 x 97 x 79 mm, 560 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Nikon D100 and the Nikon D5100? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison

The physical size and weight of the Nikon D100 and the Nikon D5100 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Nikon D100 vs Nikon D5100
Compare D100 versus D5100 top
Comparison D100 or D5100 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D5100 is notably smaller (26 percent) than the Nikon D100. Moreover, the D5100 is markedly lighter (28 percent) than the D100. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the D100 nor the D5100 are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. In this particular case, both cameras feature the same lens mount, so that they can use the same lenses. You can compare the optics available in the Nikon Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the D100 gets 370 shots out of its EN-EL3 battery, while the D5100 can take 660 images on a single charge of its EN-EL14 power pack.

The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, you can move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.

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Body Specifications
    Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Nikon D100 144 mm 116 mm 81 mm 780 g 370 n Feb 2002 1,999i
2.
 
Nikon D5100 128 mm 97 mm 79 mm 560 g 660 n Apr 2011 749i
3.
 
Canon 10D 150 mm 107 mm 75 mm 850 g 500 n Feb 2003 1,999i
4.
 
Nikon D5600 124 mm 97 mm 70 mm 465 g 970 n Nov 2016 699 i
5.
 
Nikon D5300 125 mm 98 mm 76 mm 480 g 600 n Oct 2013 799i
6.
 
Nikon D5200 129 mm 98 mm 78 mm 555 g 500 n Nov 2012 749i
7.
 
Nikon D3100 124 mm 96 mm 75 mm 505 g 550 n Aug 2010 599i
8.
 
Nikon D5000 127 mm 104 mm 80 mm 590 g 510 n Apr 2009 749i
9.
 
Nikon D90 132 mm 103 mm 77 mm 703 g 850 n Aug 2008 1,299i
10.
 
Nikon D300 147 mm 114 mm 74 mm 925 g 1000 Y Aug 2007 1,799i
11.
 
Nikon D40 124 mm 94 mm 64 mm 522 g 470 n Nov 2006 499i
12.
 
Nikon D80 132 mm 103 mm 77 mm 668 g 600 n Aug 2006 999i
13.
 
Nikon D50 133 mm 102 mm 76 mm 620 g 400 n Apr 2005 749i
14.
 
Nikon D70s 140 mm 111 mm 78 mm 679 g 500 n Apr 2005 899i
15.
 
Nikon D200 147 mm 113 mm 74 mm 920 g 400 Y Nov 2005 1,699i
16.
 
Nikon D70 140 mm 111 mm 78 mm 679 g 400 n Jan 2004 999i
17.
 
Nikon D1X 157 mm 153 mm 85 mm 1100 g 1200 Y Feb 2001 5,999i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The D5100 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 63 percent) than the D100, which puts it into a different market segment. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

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Sensor comparison

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units in a sensor of the same technological generation. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.

Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. They nevertheless have the same format factor of 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Nikon D100 and Nikon D5100 sensor measures

With 16.1MP, the D5100 offers a higher resolution than the D100 (6MP), but the D5100 has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.80μm versus 7.85μm for the D100). Yet, the D5100 is a much more recent model (by 9 years and 1 month) than the D100, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units.

The resolution advantage of the Nikon D5100 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the D5100 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 24.6 x 16.3 inches or 62.6 x 41.5 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 19.7 x 13.1 inches or 50.1 x 33.2 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 16.4 x 10.9 inches or 41.7 x 27.6 cm. The corresponding values for the Nikon D100 are 15 x 10 inches or 38.2 x 25.4 cm for good quality, 12 x 8 inches or 30.6 x 20.3 cm for very good quality, and 10 x 6.7 inches or 25.5 x 16.9 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Nikon D100 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 200 to ISO 800, which can be extended to ISO 200-1600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon D5100 are ISO 100 to ISO 6400, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-25600.

D100 versus D5100 MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.

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Sensor Characteristics
    Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
1.
 
Nikon D100 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none........
2.
 
Nikon D5100 APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.513.6118380
3.
 
Canon 10D APS-C 6.3 3072 2048none21.110.957157
4.
 
Nikon D5600 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.114.0130684
5.
 
Nikon D5300 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.013.9133883
6.
 
Nikon D5200 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60i24.213.9128484
7.
 
Nikon D3100 APS-C 14.2 4608 30721080/24p22.511.391967
8.
 
Nikon D5000 APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.712.586872
9.
 
Nikon D90 APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.712.597773
10.
 
Nikon D300 APS-C 12.2 4288 2848none22.112.067967
11.
 
Nikon D40 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none21.011.056156
12.
 
Nikon D80 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.111.252461
13.
 
Nikon D50 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.910.856055
14.
 
Nikon D70s APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.410.352950
15.
 
Nikon D200 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.311.558364
16.
 
Nikon D70 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.410.352950
17.
 
Nikon D1X APS-C 5.9 3008 1960none........

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The D5100 indeed provides for movie recording, while the D100 does not. The highest resolution format that the D5100 can use is 1080/30p.

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Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The D100 and the D5100 are similar in the sense that both have an optical viewfinder. The latter is useful for getting a clear image for framing even in brightly lit environments. The viewfinders of both cameras offer the same field of view (95%), but the viewfinder of the D100 has a higher magnification than the one of the D5100 (0.53x vs 0.51x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Nikon D100 and Nikon D5100 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.

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Core Features
    Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
(000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
1.
 
Nikon D100optical Y 1.8 118 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
2.
 
Nikon D5100optical n 3.0 921 swivel n 1/4000s 4.0 Y n
3.
 
Canon 10Doptical Y 1.8 118 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
4.
 
Nikon D5600optical n 3.2 1037 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
5.
 
Nikon D5300optical n 3.2 1037 swivel n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
6.
 
Nikon D5200optical n 3.0 921 swivel n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
7.
 
Nikon D3100optical n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
8.
 
Nikon D5000optical n 2.7 230 full-flex n 1/4000s 4.0 Y n
9.
 
Nikon D90optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 4.5 Y n
10.
 
Nikon D300optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 1/8000s 6.0 Y n
11.
 
Nikon D40optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
12.
 
Nikon D80optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
13.
 
Nikon D50optical n 2.0 130 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
14.
 
Nikon D70soptical n 2.0 130 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0 Y n
15.
 
Nikon D200optical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 Y n
16.
 
Nikon D70optical n 1.8 130 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0 Y n
17.
 
Nikon D1Xoptical Y 2.0 120 fixed n 1/16000s 3.0 n n

One feature that is present on the D100, but is missing on the D5100 is a top-level LCD. While being, of course, smaller than the rear screen, the control panel conveys some of the essential shooting information and can be convenient for quick and easy settings verification.

The D5100 has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies. In contrast, the D100 does not have a selfie-screen.

The Nikon D5100 has an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.

The D100 writes its imaging data to Compact Flash cards, while the D5100 uses SDXC cards.

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Connectivity comparison

For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Nikon D100 and Nikon D5100 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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Input-Output Connections
    Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Nikon D100Y-----1.1---
2.
 
Nikon D5100YmonomonoY-mini2.0---
3.
 
Canon 10DY-----1.1---
4.
 
Nikon D5600YstereomonoY-mini2.0YYY
5.
 
Nikon D5300YstereomonoY-mini2.0Y--
6.
 
Nikon D5200YstereomonoY-mini2.0---
7.
 
Nikon D3100Ymonomono--mini2.0---
8.
 
Nikon D5000Ymonomono--mini2.0---
9.
 
Nikon D90Ymonomono--mini2.0---
10.
 
Nikon D300Y----mini2.0---
11.
 
Nikon D40Y-----2.0---
12.
 
Nikon D80Y-----2.0---
13.
 
Nikon D50Y-----2.0---
14.
 
Nikon D70sY-----2.0---
15.
 
Nikon D200Y-----2.0---
16.
 
Nikon D70Y-----1.0---
17.
 
Nikon D1XY-----FW---

Both the D100 and the D5100 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D100 was replaced by the Nikon D200, while the D5100 was followed by the Nikon D5200. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Nikon website.

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Review summary

So how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Nikon D100 and the Nikon D5100? Which camera is better? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.


Arguments in favor of the Nikon D100:

  • Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.53x vs 0.51x).
  • Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in February 2002).


Advantages of the Nikon D5100:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (16.1 vs 6MP), which boosts linear resolution by 64%.
  • Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/30p video.
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 1.8") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (921k vs 118k dots).
  • More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
  • More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (4 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
  • More compact: Is smaller (128x97mm vs 144x116mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 220g or 28 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (660 versus 370) out of a single battery charge.
  • Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (2.0 vs 1.1).
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (63 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 9 years and 1 month of technical progress since the D100 launch.

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the D5100 is the clear winner of the contest (14 : 3 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision. A professional wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

D100 03:14 D5100

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Nikon D100 and the Nikon D5100 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera listing whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.

In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the D100 or the D5100 perform in practice. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate.

Expert reviews

This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.

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Expert Camera Reviews
     Camera 
 Model 
 AP 
 score 
 CL 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Nikon D100....+ +o.. Feb 2002 1,999i
2.
 
Nikon D51005/5+ +76/1004.5/54.5/5 Apr 2011 749i
3.
 
Canon 10D....+ +.... Feb 2003 1,999i
4.
 
Nikon D56004/5..79/1004.5/54/5 Nov 2016 699 i
5.
 
Nikon D53004/5+ +79/1004.5/54.5/5 Oct 2013 799i
6.
 
Nikon D52004/5+ +79/1004.5/54.5/5 Nov 2012 749i
7.
 
Nikon D31005/5+ +72/1004.5/54.5/5 Aug 2010 599i
8.
 
Nikon D5000..+ +75/1004/54.5/5 Apr 2009 749i
9.
 
Nikon D90..+ ++ +4/54.5/5 Aug 2008 1,299i
10.
 
Nikon D300..+ ++ +5/54.5/5 Aug 2007 1,799i
11.
 
Nikon D40..81/100+ +o4.5/5 Nov 2006 499i
12.
 
Nikon D80..++ +o4.5/5 Aug 2006 999i
13.
 
Nikon D50..78/100+ +4/54.5/5 Apr 2005 749i
14.
 
Nikon D70s........5/5 Apr 2005 899i
15.
 
Nikon D200..+ ++ +o.. Nov 2005 1,699i
16.
 
Nikon D70....+ +.... Jan 2004 999i
17.
 
Nikon D1X....+ +.... Feb 2001 5,999i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

Nikon D100:
Check Ebay offers
Nikon D5100:
Check Ebay offers

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just use the search menu below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.

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    Specifications: Nikon D100 vs Nikon D5100

    Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.

    Camera Specifications
    Camera Model Nikon D100 Nikon D5100
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Nikon F mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
    Launch Date February 2002 April 2011
    Launch Price USD 1,999 USD 749
    Sensor Specs Nikon D100 Nikon D5100
    Sensor Technology CCD CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 23.7 x 15.6 mm 23.6 x 15.7 mm
    Sensor Area 369.72 mm2 370.52 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 28.4 mm 28.3 mm
    Crop Factor 1.5x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 6 Megapixels 16.1 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 3008 x 2000 pixels 4928 x 3264 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 7.85 μm 4.80 μm
    Pixel Density 1.63 MP/cm2 4.34 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video 1080/30p Video
    ISO Setting 200 - 800 ISO 100 - 6,400 ISO
    ISO Boost 200 - 1,600 ISO 100 - 25,600 ISO
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) .. 80
    DXO Color Depth (bits) .. 23.5
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) .. 13.6
    DXO Low Light (ISO) .. 1183
    Screen Specs Nikon D100 Nikon D5100
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95% 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.53x 0.51x
    Top-Level Screen Control Panel no Top Display
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 1.8inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 118k dots 921k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Swivel screen
    Shooting Specs Nikon D100 Nikon D5100
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 3 shutter flaps/s 4 shutter flaps/s
    Shutter Life Expectancy50 000 actuations100 000 actuations
    Time-Lapse Photographyno IntervalometerIntervalometer built-in
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium CF cards SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    Connectivity Specs Nikon D100 Nikon D5100
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 1.1 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI mini HDMI
    Microphone Port no MIC socket External MIC port
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Nikon D100 Nikon D5100
    Battery Type EN-EL3 EN-EL14
    Battery Life (CIPA)370 shots per charge660 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 144 x 116 x 81 mm
    (5.7 x 4.6 x 3.2 in)
    128 x 97 x 79 mm
    (5.0 x 3.8 x 3.1 in)
    Camera Weight 780 g (27.5 oz) 560 g (19.8 oz)

    Did you notice an error on this page? If so, please get in touch, so that we can correct the information.

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