Are you looking for the best camera to suit your needs? Due to a wide range of options, making a wise and weighted decision can be rather challenging. Which specs to keep in mind? What are the key pros and cons of each model? This comparison should give some helpful hints!
The goal of this overview is to provide a detailed comparison of two popular camera models introduced by the same brand - Nikon. Although both products are offered by the same brand, they come from different categories. Thus, Nikon, is a camera from Entry-Level DSLR category, while D90 is a Semi-Pro DSLR camera. Both products that we are going to review are equipped with the same type of sensor - CMOS. However, they have different resolution. The first compared model, Nikon D5100, features has a resolution of 16.0 MP. Another model that we are reviewing, Nikon D90, features a sensor with a resolution of 12.0 MP.
Now, before we can move on to our comparison, let's take a moment to look at the key characteristics of Nikon D5100 and Nikon D90.
Nikon D5100 Key Features:
Nikon D90 Key Features:
Since Nikon D5100 has been around for some time, it was substituted by
Be sure to check out some of our other comparisons that may also interest you:
Nikon D5100 vs. D5200
Nikon D5200 vs. Nikon D90
|Timelapse Recording||Yes vs No||Creative shooting|
|Sensor Resolution||16.0 MP vs 12.0 MP||25% more pixels|
|Screen Type||Fully Articulated vs Fixed Type||Flexible shooting positions|
|Screen Resolution||921k dots vs 920k dots||0.1% higher resolution screen|
|Weight||560 g vs 703 g||143 g lighter|
|Max Video Resolution||1920 x 1080 vs 1280 x 720||Higher Resolution Video|
|Microphone Port||Yes vs No||High quality audio recording option|
|Dxo Color Depth||23.5 vs 22.7||Better color depth|
|Dxo Dynamic Range||13.6 vs 12.5||Better dynamic range|
|Dxo Low Light Iso||1183 vs 977||Better High ISO performance|
|Sensor Area||372.88 mm2 vs 370.52 mm2||0.6% larger pixel area|
|Continuous Shooting||4.5 fps vs 4 fps||0.5 fps faster|
|Flash Range||17 vs 12||5 better flash range|
|Battery Life||850 shots vs 660 shots||190 more frames with a single charge|
|Viewfinder||Optical (pentaprism) vs Optical (pentamirror)||Better framing and control|
|Viewfinder Magnification||0.64 vs 0.52||0.12 better magnification|
|Screen Size||3″ | 3″||Large display|
|Viewfinder||Optical (pentamirror) | Optical (pentaprism)||Better framing and control|
|Raw Support||Yes | Yes||Better image quality|
|AutoFocus Face Detection||Yes | Yes||Very handy for portraits|
|Bracketing||Yes | Yes||Useful for tough lighting conditions and HDR|
|Built-In Flash||Yes | Yes||External flash available|
|Flash Sync Port||Yes | Yes||Port for Flash Sync|
|Battery Life||660 shots | 850 shots||Big number of frames with a single charge|
|Touch Screen||No | No||No touch screen|
|Screen Resolution||921k dots | 920k dots||Small screen resolution|
|Sensor Resolution||16.0 MP | 12.0 MP||Small sensor resolution|
|Headphone Port||No | No||No headphone port|
|Continuous Shooting||4.0 fps | 4.5 fps||Low continuous shooting|
|Image Stabilization||No | No||No image stabilization|
|Environmental Sealing||No | No||No environmental sealing|
Before heading straight to the technical characteristics of each model, let’s start with comparing their physical specs. Let’s start with looking at the physical difference of the two products. Below are images that clearly show the sizes of Nikon D5100 and Nikon D90 from the front view.
Now, let’s go on and see how the reviewed models are different or similar by the top view.
After looking at these images, you should get a clear idea of each model’s dimensions and how they are different from each other. However, we are not going to stop there. The next characteristic worth looking at is the weight. Of course, not every photographer is concerned about the weight, for example, it wouldn't be a decisive point for those who shoot in a studio. However, it is still an important factor because if you happen to go on a long photo session or just love having the camera with you wherever you go, you want to be sure that the chosen model isn't too heavy.
Speaking of weight, Nikon D5100 is a lighter option of these two, as it weights 143g less than the Nikon D90. This difference, in fact, can become a significant disadvantage for the photographers, who prefer to have their cameras with them wherever they go.
Sensor is, without a doubt, the most significant element of every digital camera. Its type, size, and resolution are the factors that define the quality of future shots. Thus, it is barely possible to pick a suitable camera without looking at these specs.
Are Nikon D5100 and Nikon D90 any different in terms of sensor type?
In fact, that's exactly what makes these two models really different. Thus, it is a good point to consider if your are choosing between these two cameras. Nikon D5100 features a 16.0 MP APS-C sized CMOS sensor . Nikon D90, in its turn, comes with a 12.0 MP APS-C sized CMOS sensor , which makes it significantly different from the first model.
Take a look below to find the comparison of Nikon D5100 and Nikon D90 by the size of their sensors.
Nikon D5100 and Nikon D90 are identical by this indicator, as each feature a sensor of the same size. Thus, both cameras will provide the same level of control in terms of the depth of field if you use them with the same focal length and aperture.
If you are interested in photography or has made a career in this field, you should know that different types of shooting actually require different camera characteristics. While one model can produce outstanding portraits, at the same time, it can be terrible for shooting landscapes, and so on. Thus, before you purchase a specific camera, it is vital to decide, which type of shooting you do most often and consider an option that suits it the most.
This section of our comparison is devoted to the performance of Nikon D5100 and Nikon D90 in different fields of photography. Here we are going to look at the five main areas and evaluate how well each of the reviewed models performs in them. This will help you choose an option that suits your needs the most depending on your interest in one or several of these fields.
|Photography Type||Nikon D5100||Nikon D90|
Hopefully, our detailed overview of these models has helped you consider all the main specs, pros and cons of each cameras. Maybe, after reading this comparison, some of you have already decided which option to opt for depending on your needs and preferences. However, if you are still wondering which option is a better choice, Nikon D5100 or Nikon D90, below you can see what scores each of them received in five different aspects. To wrap up, we have used our unique Decision Algorithm that assesses different camera models upon 63 different factors including their price, and, if possible, DxO Mark scores. This algorithm allows us to make our verdict more consistent and objective.
What is our final verdict? Based on our comparison and the final scores of Nikon D5100 and Nikon D90 here is what we can say in conclusion:
According all the factors that we considered in the process of comparing these two cameras, Nikon D5100 deserves a higher Total Score than the Nikon D90. Thus, if you are choosing between these options, we would recommend you to choose the first model over the other one.
For better understanding of each model’s technical characteristics, find the detailed comparison below:
|Nikon D5100||Nikon D90|
|Announced||Apr 26, 2011||Oct 13, 2008|
|Body Type||Compact SLR||Mid-size SLR|
|Sensor Dimensions||23.6 x 15.7 mm||23.6 x 15.8 mm|
|Sensor Area||370.52 mm2||372.88 mm2|
|Sensor Resolution||16.0 MP||12.0 MP|
|Max Image Resolution||4928 x 3264||4288 x 2848|
|Max Native ISO||6,400||3,200|
|Max Boosted ISO||25,600||6,400|
|Min Native ISO||100||200|
|Lens Mount||Nikon F||Nikon F|
|Number of Lenses||287||287|
|Focal Length Multiplier||1.5x||1.5x|
|Macro Focus Range|
|AF Multi Area|
|AF Live View|
|AF Face Detection|
|AF Contrast Detection|
|AF Phase Detection|
|Number of Focus Points||11||11|
|Number of Cross Focus Points||1||n/a|
|Screen Type||Fully Articulated||Fixed Type|
|Screen Resolution||921k dots||920k dots|
|ViewFinder||Optical (pentamirror)||Optical (pentaprism)|
|ViewFinder Resolution||0k dots||0k dots|
|Min Shutter Speed||30 s||30 s|
|Max Shutter Speed||1/4000 s||1/4000 s|
|Continuous Shooting||4.0 fps||4.5 fps|
|Manual Exposure Mode|
|Custom White Balance|
|Flash Modes||Auto, Red-eye, Slow sync, Rear curtain||Auto, Front curtain, Rear curtain, Red-Eye, Slow Sync|
|DxO Sensor Scores|
|DxO Sensor Score||80||73|
|DxO Color Depth||23.5||22.7|
|DxO Dynamic Range||13.6||12.5|
|DxO Low Light ISO||1183||977|
|Video Resolutions||1920 x 1080 (30, 25, 24 fps), 1280 x 720 (30, 25, 24 fps), 640 x 424 (30, 25 fps)||1280 x 720 (24 fps), 640 x 424 (24 fps), 320 x 216 (24 fps)|
|Max Video Resolution||1920 x 1080||1280 x 720|
|Video Formats||MPEG-4||Motion JPEG|
|USB||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|Weight||560 g||703 g|
|Physical Dimensions||128 x 97 x 79 mm||132 x 103 x 77 mm|
|Battery Life||660 shots||850 shots|
|Battery Type||Battery Pack||Battery Pack|