Size and weight are big decision factors when you are trying to find the ideal camera for your needs.
In this section, we are going to illustrate the Nikon L31 and Sony A500 side-by-side from the front, back and top in their relative dimensions. Nikon L31 has external dimensions of 96 x 59 x 29 mm (3.78 x 2.32 x 1.14″) and weighs 160 g (0.35 lb / 5.64 oz) (including batteries). Sony A500 has external dimensions of 137 x 104 x 84 mm (5.39 x 4.09 x 3.31″) and weighs 630 g (1.39 lb / 22.22 oz) (including batteries).
Below you can see the front-view size comparison of the Nikon L31 and the Sony A500. Nikon L31 is clearly the smaller of the two cameras. Its body is 41mm narrower, 45mm shorter and 55mm thinner than Sony A500. As you can tell, actually this is not a fair size comparison since Nikon L31 has a built-in lens but Sony A500 doesn't. Once you put a lens on A500, its thickness will increase significantly.
Here is the back view size comparison of the Nikon L31 and Sony A500.
Now lets look at the top view comparison of Nikon L31 and Sony A500.
Weight is another important factor, especially when deciding on a camera that you want to carry with you all day.
Nikon L31 is significantly lighter (470g ) than the Sony A500 which may become a big advantage especially on long walking trips.
Again, this comparison may not be very useful in real life as we are comparing the weight of a camera with a built-in lens to the body-only weight of an interchangeable lens camera. Once you put a lens on A500, the total kit will weigh much higher.
Unfortunately neither the Nikon Coolpix L31 nor Sony Alpha DSLR-A500 provides any type of weather sealing in their bodies, so you have to give extra care especially when you are shooting outdoors. If weather sealing is a must-have feature for you, check these sections: Top Compact Cameras with Weather Sealing Top DSLR Cameras with Weather Sealing
LCD Screen Size and Features
Sony A500's 3.00" LCD screen is slightly larger than Nikon L31's 2.7" screen.
In addition to the size advantage, Sony A500 LCD screen also has a Tilting feature
where you can change the angle of the screen to make it easier to shoot from waist or over-the-head levels. On the other hand, Nikon L31 has a fixed type screen which provides less flexibility in shooting positions compared to A500.