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Nikon D500 vs Sony A5100

The Nikon D500 and the Sony Alpha A5100 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in January 2016 and August 2014. The D500 is a DSLR, while the A5100 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. Both cameras are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The Nikon has a resolution of 20.7 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 24 MP.

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

Headline Specifications
Nikon D500   Sony A5100
Nikon D500 Sony A5100
Digital single lens reflex Mirrorless system camera
Nikon F mount lenses Sony E mount lenses
20.7 MP, APS-C Sensor 24 MP, APS-C Sensor
4K/30p Video 1080/60p Video
ISO 100-51200 (50-1640000) ISO 100-25600
Optical viewfinder No viewfinder, LCD framing
3.2" LCD, 2359k dots 3.0" LCD, 922k dots
Tilting touchscreen Tilting touchscreen
10 shutter flaps per second 6 shutter flaps per second
Weathersealed bodyNot weather sealed
1240 shots per battery charge400 shots per battery charge
147 x 115 x 81 mm, 860 g 110 x 63 x 36 mm, 283 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Nikon D500 and the Sony Alpha A5100? 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: Nikon D500 vs Sony A5100

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Nikon D500 and the Sony A5100 is provided 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 measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The A5100 can be obtained in two different colors (black, white), while the D500 is only available in black.

Size Nikon D500 vs Sony A5100
Compare D500 versus A5100 top
Comparison D500 or A5100 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony A5100 is considerably smaller (59 percent) than the Nikon D500. Moreover, the A5100 is substantially lighter (67 percent) than the D500. It is worth mentioning in this context that the D500 is splash and dust resistant, while the A5100 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.

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. Both cameras have similarly sized sensors, but DSLRs have a larger flange-to-focal plane distance than mirrorless cameras, which imposes contraints on the optical engineering process and generally leads to bigger and heavier lenses. You can compare the optics available for the two cameras in the Nikon Lens Catalog (D500) and the Sony E-Mount Lens Catalog (A5100). Mirrorless cameras, such as the A5100, have moreover the advantage that they can use many lenses from other systems via adapters, as they have a relatively short flange to focal plane distance.

Concerning battery life, the D500 gets 1240 shots out of its EN-EL15 battery, while the A5100 can take 400 images on a single charge of its NP-FW50 power pack. The power pack in the A5100 can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when travelling.

The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, just use the right or left arrows in the table to switch to the respective camera. Alternatively, you can also navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from the full list of cameras there.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Nikon D500» 5.8 in 4.5 in 3.2 in 30.3 oz 1240 Y Jan 2016 1,999 i i Nikon D500
 
Sony A5100« 4.3 in 2.5 in 1.4 in 10.0 oz 400 n Aug 2014 549 i i Sony A5100
 
Nikon D7500« » 5.4 in 4.1 in 2.9 in 25.4 oz 950 Y Apr 2017 1,299 i i Nikon D7500
 
Nikon D5600« » 4.9 in 3.8 in 2.8 in 16.4 oz 970 n Nov 2016 699 i i Nikon D5600
 
Nikon D3400« » 4.9 in 3.9 in 3.0 in 15.7 oz 1200 n Aug 2016 499- i Nikon D3400
 
Nikon D5500« » 4.9 in 3.8 in 2.8 in 14.8 oz 820 n Jan 2015 899- i Nikon D5500
 
Nikon D7200« » 5.4 in 4.2 in 3.0 in 27.0 oz 1110 Y Mar 2015 1,199- i Nikon D7200
 
Nikon D750« » 5.6 in 4.4 in 3.1 in 26.5 oz 1230 Y Sep 2014 2,299 i i Nikon D750
 
Nikon D7100« » 5.4 in 4.2 in 3.0 in 27.0 oz 950 Y Feb 2013 1,199- i Nikon D7100
 
Nikon D610« » 5.6 in 4.4 in 3.2 in 30.0 oz 900 Y Oct 2013 1,999 i i Nikon D610
 
Nikon D600« » 5.6 in 4.4 in 3.2 in 30.0 oz 900 Y Sep 2012 2,099- i Nikon D600
 
Nikon D300S« » 5.8 in 4.5 in 3.2 in 33.1 oz 950 Y Jul 2009 1,799- i Nikon D300S
 
Sony RX100 IV« » 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.6 in 10.5 oz 280 n Jun 2015 999- i Sony RX100 IV
 
Sony A5000« » 4.3 in 2.5 in 1.4 in 9.5 oz 420 n Jan 2014 449- i Sony A5000
 
Sony A6000« » 4.7 in 2.6 in 1.8 in 12.1 oz 360 n Feb 2014 599- i Sony A6000
 
Sony NEX-3N« » 4.3 in 2.4 in 1.4 in 9.5 oz 480 n Feb 2013 499- i Sony NEX-3N
 
Sony RX100« » 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.4 in 8.5 oz 330 n Jun 2012 649- i Sony RX100
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The A5100 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 73 percent) than the D500, which puts it into a different market segment. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. 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.

 

Sensor comparison: Nikon D500 vs Sony A5100

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the A5100 is 1 percent smaller. 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.

Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors.

Nikon D500 and Sony A5100 sensor measures

Despite having a slightly smaller sensor, the A5100 offers a higher resolution of 24 megapixels, compared with 20.7 MP of the D500. This megapixels advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 3.91μm versus 4.22μm for the D500). Moreover, it should be noted that the D500 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 4 months) than the A5100, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the D500 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

The resolution advantage of the Sony A5100 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the A5100 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 30 x 20 inch or 76.2 x 50.8 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 24 x 16 inch or 61 x 40.6 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 20 x 13.3 inch or 50.8 x 33.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Nikon D500 are 27.8 x 18.6 inch or 70.7 x 47.1 cm for good quality, 22.3 x 14.8 inch or 56.6 x 37.7 cm for very good quality, and 18.6 x 12.4 inch or 47.1 x 31.4 cm for excellent quality prints.

The A5100 has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.

The Nikon D500 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 51200, which can be extended to ISO 50-1640000. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Alpha A5100 are ISO 100 to ISO 25600 (no boost).

D500 versus A5100 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 Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar imaging performance. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
 
Nikon D500» APS-C 20.7 5568 37124K/30p24.014.0132483Nikon D500
 
Sony A5100« APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.812.7134780Sony A5100
 
Nikon D7500« » APS-C 20.7 5568 37124K/30p24.314.0148386Nikon D7500
 
Nikon D5600« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.114.0130684Nikon D5600
 
Nikon D3400« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.813.9119286Nikon D3400
 
Nikon D5500« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.114.0143884Nikon D5500
 
Nikon D7200« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.514.6133387Nikon D7200
 
Nikon D750« » Full Frame 24.2 6016 40161080/60p24.814.5295693Nikon D750
 
Nikon D7100« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.213.7125683Nikon D7100
 
Nikon D610« » Full Frame 24.2 6016 40161080/30p25.114.4292594Nikon D610
 
Nikon D600« » Full Frame 24.2 6016 40161080/30p25.114.2298094Nikon D600
 
Nikon D300S« » APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.512.278770Nikon D300S
 
Sony RX100 IV« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p22.812.659170Sony RX100 IV
 
Sony A5000« » APS-C 19.8 5456 36321080/60i23.813.0108979Sony A5000
 
Sony A6000« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.113.1134782Sony A6000
 
Sony NEX-3N« » APS-C 16.0 4912 32641080/60i22.812.5106774Sony NEX-3N
 
Sony RX100« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.612.439066Sony RX100

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the D500 provides a higher video resolution than the A5100. It can shoot video footage at 4K/30p, while the Sony is limited to 1080/60p.

 

Feature comparison: Nikon D500 vs Sony A5100

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the D500 has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the A5100 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Nikon D500, the Sony A5100, and comparable cameras.

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
Camera
Model
 
Nikon D500»optical Y 3.2 2359 tilting Y 1/8000s 10.0 n n Nikon D500
 
Sony A5100«- n 3.0 922 tilting Y 1/4000s 6.0 Y n Sony A5100
 
Nikon D7500« »optical Y 3.2 922 tilting Y 1/8000s 8.0 Y n Nikon D7500
 
Nikon D5600« »optical n 3.2 1037 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n Nikon D5600
 
Nikon D3400« »optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n Nikon D3400
 
Nikon D5500« »optical n 3.2 1037 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n Nikon D5500
 
Nikon D7200« »optical Y 3.2 1229 fixed n 1/8000s 6.0 Y n Nikon D7200
 
Nikon D750« »optical Y 3.2 1229 tilting n 1/4000s 6.0 Y n Nikon D750
 
Nikon D7100« »optical Y 3.2 1229 fixed n 1/8000s 6.0 Y n Nikon D7100
 
Nikon D610« »optical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 1/4000s 6.0 Y n Nikon D610
 
Nikon D600« »optical Y 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 5.5 Y n Nikon D600
 
Nikon D300S« »optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 1/8000s 7.0 Y n Nikon D300S
 
Sony RX100 IV« »2359 n 3.0 1228 tilting n 1/2000s 16.0 Y Y Sony RX100 IV
 
Sony A5000« »- n 3.0 461 tilting n 1/4000s 3.5 Y n Sony A5000
 
Sony A6000« »1440 n 3.0 922 tilting n 1/4000s 11.0 Y n Sony A6000
 
Sony NEX-3N« »- n 3.0 460 tilting n 1/4000s 4.0 Y n Sony NEX-3N
 
Sony RX100« »- n 3.0 1229 fixed n 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y Sony RX100

One feature that is present on the D500, but is missing on the A5100 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 A5100 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 D500 does not have a selfie-screen.

The Nikon D500 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 D500 writes its imaging data to SDHC or XQD cards, while the A5100 uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. The D500 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the A5100 only has one slot. The D500 supports UHS-II cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 312 MB/s), while the A5100 can use UHS-I cards (up to 104 MB/s).

 

Connectivity comparison: Nikon D500 vs Sony A5100

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 D500 and Sony Alpha A5100 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Type
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
 
Nikon D500»YstereomonoYYmini3.0YYYNikon D500
 
Sony A5100«-stereomono--micro2.0YY-Sony A5100
 
Nikon D7500« »YstereomonoYYmini2.0Y-YNikon D7500
 
Nikon D5600« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0YYYNikon D5600
 
Nikon D3400« »Ymonomono--mini2.0Y-YNikon D3400
 
Nikon D5500« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0Y--Nikon D5500
 
Nikon D7200« »YstereomonoYYmini2.0YY-Nikon D7200
 
Nikon D750« »YstereomonoYYmini2.0Y--Nikon D750
 
Nikon D7100« »YstereomonoYYmini2.0---Nikon D7100
 
Nikon D610« »YmonomonoYYmini2.0---Nikon D610
 
Nikon D600« »YmonomonoYYmini2.0---Nikon D600
 
Nikon D300S« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0---Nikon D300S
 
Sony RX100 IV« »-stereomono--micro2.0YY-Sony RX100 IV
 
Sony A5000« »-stereomono--micro2.0YY-Sony A5000
 
Sony A6000« »Ystereomono--micro2.0YY-Sony A6000
 
Sony NEX-3N« »-stereomono--micro2.0---Sony NEX-3N
 
Sony RX100« »-stereomono--micro2.0---Sony RX100

It is notable that the D500 has a hotshoe, while the A5100 does not. This socket makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun.

Studio photographers will appreciate that the Nikon D500 (unlike the A5100) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.

Both the D500 and the A5100 are recent models that are part of the current product line-up. The A5100 replaced the earlier Sony A5000, while the D500 followed on from the Nikon D300S. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Nikon and Sony websites.


Review summary: Nikon D500 vs Sony A5100

So how do things add up? Is the Nikon D500 better than the Sony A5100 or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.

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Arguments in favor of the Nikon D500:

  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (1.3 EV of extra DR).
  • Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/60p).
  • Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
  • Better sound control: Has a headphone port that enables audio monitoring while recording.
  • Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image framing and settings control.
  • Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.2" vs 3.0") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (2359k vs 922k dots).
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 6 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (1240 versus 400) on a single battery charge.
  • Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
  • Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
  • Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (3.0 vs 2.0).
  • Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
  • Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
  • Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
  • Faster buffer clearing: Supports a more advanced SD data transfer standard (UHS-II vs UHS-I).
  • More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 1 year and 4 months after the A5100).

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Reasons to prefer the Sony Alpha A5100:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (24 vs 20.7MP), which boosts linear resolution by 8%.
  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
  • More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
  • More compact: Is smaller (110x63mm vs 147x115mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 577g or 67 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
  • More legacy lens friendly: Can use many non-native lenses via adapters.
  • Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (73 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in August 2014).

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the D500 is the clear winner of the match-up (21 : 10 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision on a new camera. A professional wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

D500 21:10 A5100

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Nikon D500 and the Sony A5100 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera and Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.

In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the D500 and the A5100 in practical situations. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable.

Expert reviews: Nikon D500 vs Sony A5100

This is where reviews by experts come in. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). 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.

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Nikon D500»+ +91/1004.5/55/55/5 Jan 2016 1,999 i i Nikon D500
 
Sony A5100«+-4.5/54.5/55/5 Aug 2014 549 i i Sony A5100
 
Nikon D7500« »+ +86/1005/54.5/54.5/5 Apr 2017 1,299 i i Nikon D7500
 
Nikon D5600« »-79/1004.5/54.5/54/5 Nov 2016 699 i i Nikon D5600
 
Nikon D3400« »+76/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Aug 2016 499- i Nikon D3400
 
Nikon D5500« »+79/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Jan 2015 899- i Nikon D5500
 
Nikon D7200« »+ +84/1004.5/54/54.5/5 Mar 2015 1,199- i Nikon D7200
 
Nikon D750« »+ +90/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Sep 2014 2,299 i i Nikon D750
 
Nikon D7100« »+ +85/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Feb 2013 1,199- i Nikon D7100
 
Nikon D610« »+ +87/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Oct 2013 1,999 i i Nikon D610
 
Nikon D600« »+ +87/1005/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 2,099- i Nikon D600
 
Nikon D300S« »+ +82/1004/55/54.5/5 Jul 2009 1,799- i Nikon D300S
 
Sony RX100 IV« »+ +85/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2015 999- i Sony RX100 IV
 
Sony A5000« »+-4.5/5o4.5/5 Jan 2014 449- i Sony A5000
 
Sony A6000« »+80/1004.5/55/55/5 Feb 2014 599- i Sony A6000
 
Sony NEX-3N« »--4.5/54/54.5/5 Feb 2013 499- i Sony NEX-3N
 
Sony RX100« »+ +78/1004/55/55/5 Jun 2012 649- i Sony RX100
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (-) not available.

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

Nikon D500:
Check Amazon price
Sony A5100:
Check Amazon price

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just make your choice using the following search menu. 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 D500 vs Sony A5100

    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 D500 Sony A5100
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens Nikon F mount lenses Sony E mount lenses
    Launch Date January 2016 August 2014
    Launch Price USD 1999 USD 549
    Sensor Specs Nikon D500 Sony A5100
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 23.5 x 15.7 mm 23.5 x 15.6 mm
    Sensor Area 368.95 mm2 366.6 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 28.3 mm 28.2 mm
    Crop Factor 1.5x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 20.7 Megapixels 24 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 5568 x 3712 pixels 6000 x 4000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 4.22 μm 3.91 μm
    Pixel Density 5.60 MP/cm2 6.55 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 4K/30p Video 1080/60p Video
    ISO Setting 100-51200 ISO 100-25600 ISO
    ISO Boost 50-1640000 ISO no Enhancement
    Image Processor EXPEED 5 BIONZ X
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 83 80
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 24.0 23.8
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 14.0 12.7
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 1324 1347
    Screen Specs Nikon D500 Sony A5100
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder No viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.67x
    Top-Level Screen Control Panel no Top Display
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.2 inch 3.0 inch
    LCD Resolution 2359k dots 922k dots
    LCD Attachment Tilting screen Tilting screen
    Touch Input Touchscreen Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Nikon D500 Sony A5100
    Autofocus System Phase-detect AF On-Sensor Phase-detect
    Manual Focusing AidNo Peaking FeatureFocus Peaking
    Max Shutter Speed (mechanical) 1/8000/s 1/4000/s
    Continuous Shooting 10 shutter flaps/s 6 shutter flaps/s
    Time-Lapse PhotographyIntervalometer built-inno Intervalometer
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC or XQD cards MS or SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Dual card slots Single card slot
    UHS card support UHS-II UHS-I
    Connectivity Specs Nikon D500 Sony A5100
    External Flash Hotshoe no Hotshoe
    Studio Flash PC Sync socket no PC Sync
    USB Connector USB 3.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI micro HDMI
    Microphone Port External MIC port no MIC socket
    Headphone Socket Headphone port no Headphone port
    Wifi Support Wifi built-in Wifi built-in
    Near-Field Communication NFC built-in NFC built-in
    Bluetooth Support Bluetooth built-in no Bluetooth
    Body Specs Nikon D500 Sony A5100
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed bodyNot weather sealed
    Battery Type EN-EL15 power pack NP-FW50 power pack
    Battery Life (CIPA)1240 shots per charge400 shots per charge
    In-Camera Charging no USB charging USB charging
    Body Dimensions 147 x 115 x 81 mm
    (5.8 x 4.5 x 3.2 in)
    110 x 63 x 36 mm
    (4.3 x 2.5 x 1.4 in)
    Camera Weight 860 g (30.3 oz) 283 g (10.0 oz)

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