Nikon W300 vs Sony A5100
The Nikon Coolpix W300 and the Sony Alpha A5100 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in May 2017 and August 2014. The W300 is a fixed lens compact, while the A5100 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on a 1/2.3-inch (W300) and an APS-C (A5100) sensor. The Nikon has a resolution of 15.9 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.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Nikon Coolpix W300 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.
The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Nikon W300 and the Sony A5100. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The W300 can be obtained in three different colors (black, orange, yellow), while the A5100 is available in two color-versions (black, white).
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony A5100 is notably smaller (6 percent) than the Nikon W300. It is worth mentioning in this context that the W300 is splash and dust resistant, while the A5100 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing. More than that, the W300 is water-proof up to 30m and can, thus, be used for underwater photography.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the W300 has a lens built in, whereas the A5100 is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup. You can compare the optics available for the A5100 and their specifications in the Sony E-Mount Lens Catalog.
Concerning battery life, the W300 gets 280 shots out of its EN-EL12 battery, while the A5100 can take 400 images on a single charge of its NP-FW50 power pack. The battery packs of both cameras can be charged via USB, 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. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.
|1.||Nikon W300||112 mm||66 mm||29 mm||231 g||280||Y||May 2017||389|
|2.||Sony A5100||110 mm||63 mm||36 mm||283 g||400||n||Aug 2014||549|
|3.||Nikon B600||122 mm||82 mm||99 mm||500 g||280||n||Jan 2019||349|
|4.||Nikon A1000||114 mm||72 mm||41 mm||330 g||250||n||Jan 2019||429|
|5.||Nikon P1000||146 mm||119 mm||181 mm||1415 g||250||n||Jul 2018||999|
|6.||Olympus TG-5||113 mm||66 mm||32 mm||250 g||340||Y||May 2017||449|
|7.||Panasonic TS7||117 mm||76 mm||37 mm||319 g||300||Y||May 2018||449|
|8.||Ricoh WG-60||123 mm||62 mm||30 mm||193 g||300||Y||Oct 2018||279|
|9.||Sony HX99||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||242 g||370||n||Aug 2018||449|
|10.||Sony HX95||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||242 g||370||n||Aug 2018||429|
|11.||Sony WX800||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||233 g||370||n||Oct 2018||399|
|12.||Sony HX80||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||245 g||390||n||Mar 2016||349|
|13.||Sony A5000||110 mm||63 mm||36 mm||269 g||420||n||Jan 2014||449|
|14.||Sony A6000||120 mm||67 mm||45 mm||344 g||360||n||Feb 2014||599|
|15.||Sony A3000||128 mm||91 mm||85 mm||411 g||470||n||Aug 2013||329|
|16.||Sony NEX-3N||110 mm||62 mm||35 mm||269 g||480||n||Feb 2013||499|
|17.||Sony NEX-3||117 mm||62 mm||33 mm||297 g||330||n||May 2010||599|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
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. The W300 was launched at a lower price than the A5100, despite having a lens built in. 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.
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. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its 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 W300 features a 1/2.3-inch sensor and the Sony A5100 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the A5100 is 1211 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 5.6 and 1.5. The sensor in the W300 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the A5100 offers a 3:2 aspect.
With 24MP, the A5100 offers a higher resolution than the W300 (15.9MP), but the A5100 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 3.91μm versus 1.33μm for the W300) due to its larger sensor. However, the W300 is a much more recent model (by 2 years and 9 months) than the A5100, 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 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 inches or 76.2 x 50.8 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 24 x 16 inches or 61 x 40.6 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 20 x 13.3 inches or 50.8 x 33.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Nikon W300 are 23 x 17.3 inches or 58.5 x 43.9 cm for good quality, 18.4 x 13.8 inches or 46.8 x 35.1 cm for very good quality, and 15.4 x 11.5 inches or 39 x 29.3 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 Coolpix W300 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 125 to ISO 1600, which can be extended to ISO 125-6400. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Alpha A5100 are ISO 100 to ISO 25600 (no boost).
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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 adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
| DXO |
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the W300 provides a higher video resolution than the A5100. It can shoot video footage at 4K/30p, while the Sony is limited to 1080/60p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The W300 and the A5100 are similar in the sense that neither of the two has a viewfinder. The images are, thus, framed using live view on the rear LCD. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Nikon W300 and Sony A5100 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The A5100 has a touchscreen, while the W300 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.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 W300 does not have a selfie-screen.
The W300 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the A5100 uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. The A5100 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the W300 cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD cards.
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 Coolpix W300 and Sony Alpha A5100 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
Travel and landscape photographers will find it useful that the W300 has an internal geolocalization sensor and can record GPS coordinates in its EXIF data.
Both the W300 and the A5100 are recent models that are part of the current product line-up. The A5100 replaced the earlier Sony A5000, while the W300 followed on from the Nikon AW130. 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.
So how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Nikon W300 and the Sony A5100? Which camera is better? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Advantages of the Nikon Coolpix W300:
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/60p).
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (7 vs 6 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Ready to shoot: Has a lens built-in, whereas the A5100 requires a separate lens.
- Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a built-in lens (unlike the A5100).
- Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
- Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization built-in.
- Water-proof: Is rugged and sealed and can thus be used for underwater photography (up to 30m).
- Easier geotagging: Features an internal GPS sensor to log localization data.
- Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More modern: Reflects 2 years and 9 months of technical progress since the A5100 launch.
Arguments in favor of the Sony Alpha A5100:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (24 vs 15.9MP), which boosts linear resolution by 25%.
- Better image quality: Features bigger pixels on a larger sensor for higher quality imaging.
- Richer colors: The pixel size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
- More dynamic range: Larger pixels capture a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Larger pixels means good image quality even under poor lighting.
- Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- More flexible: Takes interchangeable lenses and can thus be used with specialty optics.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (400 versus 280) out of a single battery charge.
- Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in August 2014).
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the A5100 emerges as the winner of the match-up (14 : 11 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding 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.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Nikon W300 and the Sony A5100 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Travel-Zoom 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 the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the W300 and the A5100 in practical situations. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.
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.
|1.||Nikon W300||..||+||..||4/5||4/5||May 2017||389|
|2.||Sony A5100||4.5/5||+||..||4.5/5||5/5||Aug 2014||549|
|3.||Nikon B600||..||+||..||3.5/5||3/5||Jan 2019||349|
|4.||Nikon A1000||..||+ +||..||3.5/5||3/5||Jan 2019||429|
|5.||Nikon P1000||..||+||73/100||3.5/5||3.5/5||Jul 2018||999|
|6.||Olympus TG-5||..||+ +||..||4/5||4/5||May 2017||449|
|7.||Panasonic TS7||..||+||..||..||3.5/5||May 2018||449|
|8.||Ricoh WG-60||..||..||..||..||..||Oct 2018||279|
|9.||Sony HX99||..||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2018||449|
|10.||Sony HX95||..||..||..||..||..||Aug 2018||429|
|11.||Sony WX800||..||..||..||..||..||Oct 2018||399|
|12.||Sony HX80||..||..||..||..||..||Mar 2016||349|
|13.||Sony A5000||3/5||+||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2014||449|
|14.||Sony A6000||5/5||+||80/100||4.5/5||5/5||Feb 2014||599|
|15.||Sony A3000||3/5||+||..||4/5||4/5||Aug 2013||329|
|16.||Sony NEX-3N||3/5||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2013||499|
|17.||Sony NEX-3||..||..||70/100||4.5/5||4/5||May 2010||599|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price 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, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
Specifications: Nikon W300 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 Model||Nikon W300||Sony A5100|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||24-120mm f/2.8-4.9||Sony E mount lenses|
|Launch Date||May 2017||August 2014|
|Launch Price||USD 389||USD 549|
|Sensor Specs||Nikon W300||Sony A5100|
|Sensor Format||1/2.3" Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||6.17 x 4.55 mm||23.5 x 15.6 mm|
|Sensor Area||28.0735 mm2||366.6 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||7.7 mm||28.2 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||15.9 Megapixels||24 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4608 x 3456 pixels||6000 x 4000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||1.33 μm||3.91 μm|
|Pixel Density||56.73 MP/cm2||6.55 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||4K/30p Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||125 - 1,600 ISO||100 - 25,600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||125 - 6,400 ISO||no Enhancement|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||80|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||23.8|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||12.7|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||1347|
|Screen Specs||Nikon W300||Sony A5100|
|Viewfinder Type||no viewfinder||no viewfinder|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||921k dots||922k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Tilting screen|
|Touch Input||no Touchscreen||Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Nikon W300||Sony A5100|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||On-Sensor Phase-detect|
|Manual Focusing Aid||no Peaking Feature||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/4000s||1/4000s|
|Continuous Shooting||7 shutter flaps/s||6 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||MS or SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Nikon W300||Sony A5100|
|External Flash||no Hotshoe||no Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||micro HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||no NFC||NFC built-in|
|Bluetooth Support||Bluetooth built-in||no Bluetooth|
|Geotagging||GPS built-in||no internal GPS|
|Body Specs||Nikon W300||Sony A5100|
|Environmental Sealing||Waterproof body (30m)||not weather sealed|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||280 shots per charge||400 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||USB charging||USB charging|
112 x 66 x 29 mm
(4.4 x 2.6 x 1.1 in)
110 x 63 x 36 mm
(4.3 x 2.5 x 1.4 in)
|Camera Weight||231 g (8.1 oz)||283 g (10.0 oz)|
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