Nikon D5100 versus Canon G1 X
The Nikon D5100 and the Canon PowerShot G1 X are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in April 2011 and January 2012. The D5200 is a DSLR, while the G1X is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on an APS-C (D5200) and an 1.5-inch (G1X) sensor. The Nikon has a resolution of 16.1 megapixel, whereas the Canon provides 14.2 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their size, their sensors, their features, and their reception by expert reviewers.
Body comparison: Nikon D5100 vs Canon G1 X
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Nikon D5100 and the Canon G1 X is provided in the side-by-side display below. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter. You can also toggle the display to switch to a percentage comparison if you prefer that the measures are being expressed in relative terms (in this case, the camera on the left – the D5200 – represents the basis or 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon G1 X is notably smaller (24 percent) than the Nikon D5100. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the D5200 nor the G1X are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the G1X has a lens build in, whereas the D5200 is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup. You can find an overview of optics for the D5200 and their specifications in the Nikon Lens Catalog.
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, just select a new right or left comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.
|Camera Body Specifications
|Nikon D5100 (⇒ rgt)||128 mm||97 mm||79 mm||560 g||660||no||2011||749||discont.||check|
|Canon G1 X (⇒ lft)||117 mm||81 mm||65 mm||534 g||250||no||2012||799||discont.||check|
|Canon G1 X Mark II (⇒ lft | rgt)||116 mm||74 mm||66 mm||553 g||240||no||2014||799||latest||check|
|Canon G16 (⇒ lft | rgt)||109 mm||76 mm||40 mm||356 g||360||no||2013||549||latest||check|
|Canon 650D (⇒ lft | rgt)||133 mm||100 mm||79 mm||575 g||440||no||2012||849||discont.||check|
|Canon 1100D (⇒ lft | rgt)||130 mm||100 mm||78 mm||495 g||700||no||2011||449||discont.||check|
|Canon 550D (⇒ lft | rgt)||129 mm||98 mm||62 mm||530 g||440||no||2010||699||discont.||check|
|Canon 500D (⇒ lft | rgt)||129 mm||98 mm||62 mm||520 g||400||no||2009||799||discont.||check|
|Nikon D5600 (⇒ lft | rgt)||124 mm||97 mm||70 mm||465 g||970||no||2016||699||latest||check|
|Nikon D5500 (⇒ lft | rgt)||124 mm||97 mm||70 mm||420 g||820||no||2015||899||discont.||check|
|Nikon D5300 (⇒ lft | rgt)||125 mm||98 mm||76 mm||480 g||600||no||2013||799||discont.||check|
|Nikon D3200 (⇒ lft | rgt)||125 mm||96 mm||77 mm||505 g||540||no||2012||599||discont.||check|
|Nikon D5200 (⇒ lft | rgt)||129 mm||98 mm||78 mm||555 g||500||no||2012||749||discont.||check|
|Nikon D7000 (⇒ lft | rgt)||132 mm||105 mm||77 mm||780 g||1050||YES||2010||1,499||discont.||check|
|Nikon D3100 (⇒ lft | rgt)||124 mm||96 mm||75 mm||505 g||550||no||2010||599||discont.||check|
|Nikon D5000 (⇒ lft | rgt)||127 mm||104 mm||80 mm||590 g||510||no||2009||749||discont.||check|
The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. 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 D5100 vs Canon G1 X
The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors 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.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Nikon D5100 features an APS-C sensor and the Canon G1 X an 1.5-inch sensor. The sensor area in the G1X is 29 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.5 and 1.85. The sensor in the D5200 has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the G1X offers a 4:3 aspect.
With 16.1MP, the D5200 offers a higher resolution than the G1X (14.2MP), but the D5200 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.80μm versus 4.30μm for the G1X) due to its larger sensor. However, the G1X is a somewhat more recent model (by 9 months) than the D5200, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels.
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. Of the two cameras under review, the D5200 provides substantially higher image quality than the G1X, with an overall score that is 20 points higher. This advantage is based on 1.8 bits higher color depth, 2.8 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.9 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
|Nikon D5100 (⇒ rgt)||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||1080/30p||23.5||13.6||1183||80|
|Canon G1 X (⇒ lft)||1.5-inch||14.2||4352||3264||1080/24p||21.7||10.8||644||60|
|Canon G1 X Mark II (⇒ lft | rgt)||1.5-inch||13.0||4160||3120||1080/30p||21.5||10.8||581||58|
|Canon G16 (⇒ lft | rgt)||1/1.7||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60p||21.0||11.7||230||54|
|Canon 650D (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||21.7||11.2||722||62|
|Canon 1100D (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||12.2||4272||2848||720/30p||21.9||11.0||755||62|
|Canon 550D (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||22.1||11.5||784||66|
|Canon 500D (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||15.1||4752||3168||1080/20p||21.7||11.5||663||63|
|Nikon D5600 (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.1||14.0||1306||84|
|Nikon D5500 (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.1||14.0||1438||84|
|Nikon D5300 (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.0||13.9||1338||83|
|Nikon D3200 (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||24.1||6016||4000||1080/30p||24.1||13.2||1131||81|
|Nikon D5200 (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60i||24.2||13.9||1284||84|
|Nikon D7000 (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||10800/24p||23.5||13.9||1167||80|
|Nikon D3100 (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||14.2||4608||3072||1080/24p||22.5||11.3||919||67|
|Nikon D5000 (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||12.2||4288||2848||720/24p||22.7||12.5||868||72|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the D5200 provides a higher frame rate than the G1X. It can shoot video footage at 1080/30p, while the Canon is limited to 1080/24p.
Feature comparison: Nikon D5100 vs Canon G1 X
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The D5200 and the G1X 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 adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Nikon D5100 and Canon G1 X along with similar information for a selection of comparators. If needed, the dpreview camera hub, for example, contains further detail on the cameras' specs.
|Nikon D5100 (⇒ rgt)||optical||no||3.0||921||swivel||no||4000||4.0||12||no|
|Canon G1 X (⇒ lft)||optical||no||3.0||922||Swivel||no||4000||1.9||7||YES|
|Canon G1 X Mark II (⇒ lft | rgt)||no||no||3.0||1040||tilting||YES||4000||5.2||6.8||YES|
|Canon G16 (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||no||3.0||922||fixed||no||4000||2.2||7||YES|
|Canon 650D (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||no||3.0||1040||swivel||YES||4000||5.0||YES||no|
|Canon 1100D (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||no||2.7||230||fixed||no||4000||3.0||9.2||no|
|Canon 550D (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||no||3.0||1040||fixed||no||4000||3.7||YES||no|
|Canon 500D (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||no||3.0||920||fixed||no||4000||3.4||YES||no|
|Nikon D5600 (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||no||3.2||1037||swivel||YES||4000||5.0||12||no|
|Nikon D5500 (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||no||3.2||1037||swivel||YES||4000||5.0||12||no|
|Nikon D5300 (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||no||3.2||1037||swivel||no||4000||5.0||12||no|
|Nikon D3200 (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||no||3.0||921||fixed||no||4000||4.0||12||no|
|Nikon D5200 (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||no||3.0||921||swivel||no||4000||5.0||12||no|
|Nikon D7000 (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||YES||3.0||921||fixed||no||8000||6.0||12||no|
|Nikon D3100 (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||no||3.0||230||fixed||no||4000||3.0||12||no|
|Nikon D5000 (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||no||2.7||230||full-flex||no||4000||4.0||17||no|
Both the D5200 and the G1X have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D5200 was replaced by the Nikon D5200, while the G1X was followed by the Canon G1X Mark II.
Review summary: Nikon D5100 vs Canon G1 X
So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Nikon D5100 or the Canon G1 X – has the upper hand? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Advantages of the Nikon D5100:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (16.1 vs 14.2MP) with a 9% higher linear resolution.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (20 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
- Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (1.8 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (2.8 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (0.9 stops ISO advantage).
- Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/30p versus 1080/24p).
- More flexible LCD: Has swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (4 vs 1.9 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More flexible: Can take a variety of interchangeable lenses, including specialty optics.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (660 versus 250) on a single battery charge.
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in April 2011).
Arguments in favor of the Canon PowerShot G1 X:
- Ready to shoot: Comes with an integrated lens, while the D5200 requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (117x81mm vs 128x97mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight even though it has a lens build in (unlike the D5200).
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology build-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- More modern: Was introduced somewhat (9 months) more recently.
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the D5200 is the clear winner of the match-up (11 : 5 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.
In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras is instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the D5200 or the G1X handle or 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. This is why expert reviews are important. The adjacent table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites. You can find the full text of the reviews, respectively, at cameralabs.com, dpreview.com, ephotozine.com, imaging-resource.com, and photographyblog.com.
|Nikon D5100 (⇒ rgt)||86/100 HiRec||76/100 Silver||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||2011||749||discont.||check|
|Canon G1 X (⇒ lft)||79/100 Rec||76/100 Silver||4/5||4/5||4.5/5||2012||799||discont.||check|
|Canon G1 X Mark II (⇒ lft | rgt)||Rec||77/100 Silver||4/5||4/5||4.5/5||2014||799||latest||check|
|Canon G16 (⇒ lft | rgt)||Rec||-||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||2013||549||latest||check|
|Canon 650D (⇒ lft | rgt)||HiRec||77/100 Silver||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||2012||849||discont.||check|
|Canon 1100D (⇒ lft | rgt)||80/100||69/100||4/5||4/5||4.5/5||2011||449||discont.||check|
|Canon 550D (⇒ lft | rgt)||88/100 HiRec||77/100 Gold||4/5||5/5||4.5/5||2010||699||discont.||check|
|Canon 500D (⇒ lft | rgt)||88/100 HiRec||74/100 HiRec||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||2009||799||discont.||check|
|Nikon D5600 (⇒ lft | rgt)||-||79/100 Silver||4.5/5||4.5/5||4/5||2016||699||latest||check|
|Nikon D5500 (⇒ lft | rgt)||Rec||79/100 Silver||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||2015||899||discont.||check|
|Nikon D5300 (⇒ lft | rgt)||HiRec||79/100 Silver||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||2013||799||discont.||check|
|Nikon D3200 (⇒ lft | rgt)||HiRec||73/100 Silver||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||2012||599||discont.||check|
|Nikon D5200 (⇒ lft | rgt)||HiRec||79/100 Silver||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||2012||749||discont.||check|
|Nikon D7000 (⇒ lft | rgt)||-||80/100 Silver||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||2010||1,499||discont.||check|
|Nikon D3100 (⇒ lft | rgt)||84/100 HiRec||72/100 Silver||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||2010||599||discont.||check|
|Nikon D5000 (⇒ lft | rgt)||88/100 HiRec||75/100 HiRec||4/5||5/5||4.5/5||2009||749||discont.||check|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings are only valid when refering to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, 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.
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 make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. An an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool. If you cannot find the camera you are interested in, kindly get in touch, and I will try to update the database with the necessary infos.
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