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I've been looking at buying a DSLR for a while, and I've settled on Nikon. Looking at Amazon prices, the D3200 is roughly $700, while the D5100 is somehow $50 cheaper and is still meant to be a higher-end model. The only advantage the D3200 has over the D5100 it seems is the fact that the D3200 has more megapixels - the D5100 seems to be better in every other aspect, apart from movie shooting, which is apparently a little buggy according to dpreview.com. The D3200 also has a guide mode to help beginner DSLR users, but I'm not sure whether this is all that useful. Is there anything else going for the D3200 which makes it a better choice over the D5100, apart from that it's newer?

Also, I'd like to buy in America while I'm here (only here for 3 more weeks), so waiting for prices to go down is not a feasible option.

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It' actually doesn't really matter. All the tech talk is really not so important for a beginner. Take the one that fits better in your hands. –  gsharp Aug 8 '12 at 21:07

2 Answers 2

up vote 7 down vote accepted

D5100 is the better camera, as the DPReview reviews will tell you. The difference is an anomaly - be careful that sellers are legitimate. D3200 is newer model which may explain the difference.

In some few cases more megapixels = better such as in well lit studio situations where you have full control of lighting at all times.

Guide in camera counts for very little if anything once you gain a small amount of experience.

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Adding: The D5100's current price relative to the D3200 (it seems a general phenomenon) may have something to do with sales to date. It's an odd camera, in that its performance is above entry-level, but its handling is hampered by a lack of controls (particularly the missing front "sub-command" dial) and versatility by not have a built-in focus motor (so used AF "D"-type lenses and some very good third-party lenses are off the menu for AF use). It wasn't really marketed as entry-level, and D3000/D3100 users probably didn't see it as enough of an upgrade when they were ready to take control. –  user2719 Aug 9 '12 at 10:05

I'd go with the D5100. Once you have a modicum of experience, the 3200 will just be frustrating. Megapixels aren't everything and 16.2mp will be MORE than enough :-)

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