Nikon D3100 vs Canon T3i

In a comparison of the Nikon D3100 vs. Canon T3i, how do you choose?

If you’re looking to buy a new digital SLR and have never owned one—even a film SLR—you’re in somewhat of an enviable position.  You’re not bound to a brand the way that some of us are, and by bound I mean you’re not sitting on hundreds or even thousands of dollars of lenses that will only work with one brand of camera or the other.

Nikon D3100 vs Canon T3i

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People who’ve bought into the Nikon line in the past are pretty much going to go with Nikon for a new body, ditto for people who own Canon gear.  For them, the first decision—which brand?—is already made, and then they find themselves working within the confines of their brand of choice’s lineup.

But, you: you’re free to go any way you like.  You’re starting fresh with no allegiances.  So, which brand?  This article is geared more towards the entry-level shopper—you’re not ready to part with the money required to get something more robust than the entry level, but you’re done with the point-and-shoot world.  Nikon and Canon each have impressive beginners’ cameras, so let’s take a look at their offerings and see how they stack up against one another.

Canon T3i vs Nikon D3100 Quick Comparison

  • Features
  • Resolution
  • Camera Format
  • Sensor Type/ Size
  • Autofocus Points
  • ISO Sensitivity
  • Screen
  • Video Recording
  • Weight (Body)
  • Kit Lens
  • Rating
  • Self Cleaning Sensor
  • Reviews
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  • Canon T3i

  • 18 MP
  • APS-C (1.6x Crop Factor)
  • CMOS, 22.3 x 14.9 mm
  • 9
  • Extended: 100-12800
  • 3" LCD
  • 1920 x 1080 (Full HD)
  • 18.3 oz/ 520g
  • Canon 18 - 55 mm f/3.5-5.6
  • 4.7 / 5
  • No
  • Reviews

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  • Nikon D3100

  • 14.2 MP
  • DX (1.5x Crop Factor)
  • CMOS, 23.1 x 15.4 mm
  • 11
  • Extended: 100-12800
  • 3" LCD
  • 1920 x 1080 (Full HD)
  • 16.05 oz / 455 g
  • Nikon 18 - 55 mm f/3.5-5.6
  • 4.7 / 5
  • Yes
  • Reviews

Max Resolution:

Amazon ImageMost people begin their search, and some end it, by looking at the megapixel count of the camera.  But this shouldn’t be a deciding factor for you.

It seems like a basic assumption that the T3i will take higher quality pictures because of its 18 megapixel sensor (compared to the D3100’s 14).  If you look at camera reviews online, I don’t think you’ll ever see the lower resolution camera win out.  And I’m not suggesting here that the T3i is worse or better than the D3100.

Click Here for Customer Reviews of the Nikon D3100

In fact, as we’ll see, there’s very little practical difference between them.  It’s just that we’ve reached a tipping point with megapixels: that is, the image resolution these cameras are capable of are different in ways unnoticeable by the human eye.

Sound crazy?  Consider your 1080p HD TV, which when you watch a baseball game on it enables you to see the stitches of the ball as it spins off the pitcher’s hand, or reproduces every blade of grass on the field faithfully and distinctly.  That picture is only 2 megapixels.

So, if we’re talking about the difference between 14 and 18, understand that the benefit is not in the picture you’ll share on Facebook, or even in the 8×10 print of your baby that you send off to your parents.

The difference is when you need to decide how big you want your high resolution poster-sized print to be.  If you’re not going to print that big, you will be satisfied with either the Canon or Nikon; you’ll never see the four megapixel difference.

Similarities between the two cameras:

Amazon ImageLike megapixels, when you look at the Nikon D3100 vs. Canon T3i sensors, they are pretty comparable, just a notch or two different.  Nikon’s DX sensor and Canon’s APS-C are both compact, which end up cropping the field of view your lens can pick up.

There’s no way around this unless you want to jump to a pro-grade full frame camera, but the D3100’s sensor is about 10% larger and so has slightly less cropping than the T3i.  When you factor in how much you’ll pay for your lenses, the camera’s ability to record more of what that lens is capable of seeing becomes important.

Click Here for Customer Reviews of the Canon T3i

Both cameras have similar native ISO sensitivity, with the Canon’s 6400 edging out the Nikon’s 3200.  Both have custom function to bump the speedier end up to a 12800 “equivalent.”  These higher ISOs are not going to be in your regular shooting repertoire, though—you’ll use them very minimally, if at all.

Both cameras also offer shutter speeds as slow as 30 seconds, but the Canon goes a bit faster: 1/8000 of a second vs. the Nikon’s 1/4000.

And they have similar video capabilities, shooting full 1080p HD quality movies.

They’ve each got built-in flashes, but the D3100 has a wireless transmitter is able to execute a high degree of control over multiple external flashes.

And internally, the cameras’ software have a wide variety of in camera processing options.

There’s a lot to like about the Nikon and the Canon. 

So where do they differ?

 Image Quality:

Well, if you are concerned about picture quality, the Nikon’s got some specs that slightly edge out the Canon there.  Its sensor is able to pick up 22.5 bits of color; the Canon records 22.1.  This is a small difference, but it has more impact on the quality of your photos than megapixels do, since it means the Nikon is able to record more gradations of color.

More Nikon D3100 Sample Images

The Canon’s dynamic range is greater, but only by a small margin, about a quarter stop.  This essentially means that the T3i can properly expose in a marginally wider range of illuminance than the Nikon, from light to dark.  Expect there to be a larger difference on the dark side, given the Canon’s ISO advantage.

More Canon T3i Sample Images

Autofocus:

How about the autofocus system of the Nikon D3100 vs. Canon T3i?  How do they stack up?

The Nikon’s got 11 autofocus points, with only the center one being cross-type.  Cross-type sensors are preferable, as they’re able to focus on a horizontal and vertical plane simultaneously, offering greater precision.

The Canon’s got fewer focus points overall—just nine—and like the Nikon only the center point is cross type.  You can see how having only one cross-type affects a camera by its shutter lag.  The Nikon and the Canon have essentially the same shutter lag, 279 ms and 283 ms, respectively.

There are a lot of cases where the Nikon’s autofocus is hands down the winner over Canon, but this isn’t one of them.  Sure, it’s got 2 more focus points, but ultimately these cameras are very similar in their abilities to produce sharp, clear photos.  Neither one is particularly well suited for shooting action/motion shots, though if that’s what your intended use for the camera is, the Nikon is the better choice for its two extra focus points.  These are probably more essential than the Canon’s faster rate of shooting in burst mode—3.7 frames per second to the Nikon’s 3.

 Other Slight Differences:

There are a few other areas where if we look at the Nikon D3100 vs. the Canon T3i comparison reveals negligible differences, and it goes back and forth between the two over which one has the slight edge.

LCD Screen:

The T3i has a flip-out LCD screen; it can swung out away from the camera body and then tilted up or down, giving you freedom to take pictures from oddball angles while both feet are still comfortably on the ground.

canon-t3i-vari-angle

Read more about the Vari-Angle LCD

If you’ve ever tried to get down on your side and shot a picture of a child from his level—instead of from your natural stance above—you’ll know it can be uncomfortable to lie there, holding your head and a camera up.  Canon’s “Vari-angle” LCD makes it so you can just hold the camera down at the child’s level, and you only need look down at the LCD to compose the shot.

Video:

And while both cameras shoot full 1080p HD video, the D3100 has autofocus in video mode.  Though the video autofocus feature can be helpful, don’t get swept up in Nikon’s hype.  It’s a contrast type autofocus—meaning it relies on there being a great deal of image contrast between the subject and background—that makes no use of the still camera’s autofocus abilities.  The sensor can easily be “confused” and is slow to pick up where the subject of the shot is; the video will go in and out of focus as the camera attempts to lock onto something.

But the Canon has an external mic jack, for better stereo sound in your videos.

But the Nikon has a longer battery life.

 But the Canon has a larger viewfinder.

But the Nikon has less of a startup delay.

We could go back and forth like this for awhile.

Final Verdict: Either camera will be a great option

In comparing the Nikon D3100 vs. Canon T3i, we see that there is a lot of similarities to these cameras, and only very subtle differences.

In both cases, you’re going to get high quality images, and each model has something to recommend it over the other.  But in a comparison this close, price tends to be the deciding factor.

When you consider that these cameras have so much in common, the nearly $200 list price difference doesn’t seem worth it.  But searching online for more current prices shows a narrower divide between the two, as in: yet again, there’s not much difference.  Both are selling for about $350 – $400, with the Nikon consistently about $20 less than the Canon.

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Buy the Canon T3i & Get 2% Back Now

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Buy the Nikon D3100 & Get 2% Back Now 

My advice?  Flip a coin.  You’ll be happy either way.  Or, start shopping for lenses instead, and when you find the one you want at a decent price point get it along with whatever camera body goes with it.  But which lens?  That’s another article for another day.

Nikon D7000 vs Canon 7D

If you’ve never owned a single lens reflex camera in your life and now find yourself in the market to get one, you’re in somewhat of an enviable position.

You’re not bound to a brand the way that some of us are—and by that I mean you’re not sitting on hundreds or even thousands of dollars of lenses that will only work with one brand of camera or the other, usually Nikon vs Canon.

canon-7d-vs-nikon-d7000

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People who’ve got Nikon lenses are going to go with Nikon for a new body, and people with Canon lenses are going to go Canon.  For them, the first choice is already made, and then they find themselves working within the whatever limitations they might face comparing camera bodies within their brand of choice’s lineup.

But, you: you can go any way you like.  You’re starting fresh with no allegiances.

So which way to go?  This article is geared more towards the mid-range shopper—you want something a little more robust than the entry level, but you’re not willing to splurge on a professional grade body just yet.  Nikon and Canon each have impressive cameras in this range, so let’s take a look at their offerings and see how they stack up against one another.

Nikon D7000 vs Canon 7D Quick Comparison

  • Features
  • Resolution
  • Camera Format
  • Sensor Size
  • Autofocus Points
  • ISO Sensitivity
  • LCD Screen
  • Dynamic Range
  • Video Recording
  • Weight (Body)
  • Shooting Speed
  • Rating
  • Reviews
Amazon Image
  • Nikon D7000

  • 16.2 MP
  • DX (1.5x Crop Factor)
  • CMOS, 23.6 x 15.6 mm
  • 39 with 9 cross-type
  • Extended 100-25600
  • 3" LCD
  • 12, 2 stops higher than 7d
  • 1920 x 1080 (Full HD)
  • 420 g
  • 6 fps
  • 4.5 / 5
  • Reviews

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  • Canon EOS 7D

  • 18 MP
  • APS-C (1.6x Crop Factor)
  • CMOS, 22.3 x 14.9 mm
  • 19, all cross-type
  • Extended 100-12800
  • 3" LCD
  • 11.2
  • 1920 x 1080 (HD), 60fps
  • 816 g
  • 8 fps
  • 4.6 / 5
  • Reviews

In a comparison of the Nikon D7000 vs. Canon 7D, which one is the better value?

Max Resolution:

 Amazon ImageWe’ll start where pretty much everyone starts—megapixels—and then we’ll see why this shouldn’t be a deciding factor for you.  It’s tempting to operate with the assumption that the 7D will take higher quality pictures because of its 18 megapixel sensor (compared to the D7000’s 16).  For some, that’s enough of a reason to go with a certain camera over another, but that doesn’t mean it should be.

Read Customer Reviews of the Nikon D7000 Here

We’ve reached a megapixel tipping point: that is, the resolution of the photos on these cameras is such that the human eye can’t even tell the difference.  Don’t believe me?  Think about the last time you watched your 1080p HD TV and marvelled at how crisp and beautiful the picture is.  That’s only 2 megapixels.  So, when you’re talking about the difference between 16 and 18, understand that the benefit is not in the picture you see on the computer screen, or even in an 8×10 print.  The difference is when you need to decide whether you want your poster-sized photo print to be 2 or 2.5 feet tall.  If you’re not going to print that big, you will be satisfied with either the Canon or Nikon, and shouldn’t let this data point guide your decision.

Similarities between the 7D & D7000 camera models:

After megapixels, a lot of the specs of the Nikon D7000 vs. Canon 7D are pretty comparable, almost identical. 

They both rely on small format sensors, which end up cropping the field of view your lens can pick up.  There’s no way around this unless you want to jump to a pro-grade full frame camera.

 Amazon ImageBoth cameras have similar native ISO sensitivity, ranging from 100 to 6400.  Each has a custom function to bump the speedier end up to 12800, and the Nikon can go a step further to 25600.  These higher ISOs are not going to be in your regular shooting repertoire, though—you’ll use them very minimally, if at all.

 Both cameras also offer shutter speeds as slow as 30 seconds and as fast as 1/8000 of a second, and include a Bulb setting, where the shutter stays open for as long as you’re holding the button down.

Read Customer Reviews of the Canon 7D Here

 And they have similar video capabilities, shooting full 1080p HD quality movies.  They’ve each got wireless flash transmitters, able to execute a high degree of control over multiple external flashes.  And internally, the cameras’ software have a wide variety of in camera processing options.  There’s a lot to like about the Nikon and the Canon.

So where do they differ?

Image Quality:

Well, if you are concerned about picture quality, the Nikon’s got some specs that slightly edge out the Canon in that department.  Its sensor is able to pick up 23.5 bits of color; the Canon records 22.  This is a small difference, but it has more impact on the quality of your photos than megapixels do. 

Click for More D7000 Sample Images

 

Click for More Canon 7D Sample Images

Dynamic Range:

The Nikon’s dynamic range is greater, exceeding the Canon’s 11.7 by about 2 stops.  This essentially means that the D7000 can properly expose in a wider range of illuminance than the Canon.  The D7000’s sensor can expose and autofocus properly in dimmer light (with less noise at higher ISO) and brighter light. 

Sensor:

The Nikon’s DX sensor outperforms the Canon’s APS-C, and it’s slightly larger, too.  It’s a little more than 10% bigger, and so its crop factor of 1.5x is a bit less—meaning a bit more in the image—than the Canon’s 1.6.  It sounds like a small difference, but if you think about how much a lens costs, and how you’re never able to use it to its fullest potential with a small sensor, you start to realize that every little bit helps.

Autofocus:

Probably the most noticeable divide when comparing the Nikon D7000 vs. Canon 7D is in the autofocus system. 

Amazon ImageThe Nikon’s got 39 autofocus points, 9 of which are cross-type.  Cross-type sensors are preferable, able to focus on a horizontal and vertical plane simultaneously and offering greater precision.  The more cross-type sensors there are, the more likely you’ll be getting a perfectly focused shot as your subject moves around the frame.

The Canon’s got less over all focus points—just 19—but all of them are cross type.  But it’s also the faster camera, with two processors and significantly less shutter lag than the D7000 (131ms to the Nikon’s 238), and the ability to shoot 8 frames per second to the Nikon’s 6.  Still, the slightly lower speed is more than made up for by a high performing autofocus system.

 There are trade-offs between the two—the Canon’s got 19 cross-type sensor and the Nikon’s only got 9, but the Nikon’s got 39 total AF points to the Canon’s 19—but the D7000 also has something called 3D tracking.

Since the AF points are laid out from left to right on the frame, when your subject moves directly forward, most cameras can’t make the adjustment.  The camera’s locked into something that’s behind the focus point, and if that subject remains behind the same focus point it doesn’t register.  With 3D tracking that problem is overcome—the camera follows your subject left and right, forward and back.

Both AF systems are powerful and have their merits: if you’re a consumer looking to break in a new hobby, or just continue an old one, you have to ask yourself what features you’re willing to pay for.

Build Quality:

The Canon is sturdier; the Nikon is lighter

There are a few other areas where the Nikon D7000 vs. the Canon 7D comparison might not make much difference to, or even get noticed by, the amateur shooter.

The Canon’s got a sturdier build—both cameras advertise a magnesium alloy construction, but the Canon’s is metal throughout.  Every bit of the  body, including the lens mount ring, is made up of solid, weight supporting metal.

Nikon’s lighter build is not as sturdy as the 7D

The Nikon, on the other hand, uses the magnesium in places that are most important for even weight distribution—mostly on the top and in the back—but the front of the D7000 is largely plastic.  If you’re thinking about getting some larger telephoto lenses, which get heavy, Nikon’s plastic lens mount may wear or be pulled out of whack over time.  But, again, if you’re a consumer/amateur looking or a great all around camera, you’re probably not thinking about investing a few thousand dollars in professional glass for your rig. 

 Video:

The Canon wins in video function!

There’s some minor differences in the video capabilities, too.  Beware Nikon’s touting of its autofocus, which most users have described as “useless” (check some online Nikon forums to see what I mean).  It’s a contrast type autofocus—meaning it relies on there being a great deal of image contrast between the subject and background—that makes no use of the still camera’s autofocus abilities.  The sensor is easily “confused” and is slow to pick up where focus should go; the video will go in and out of focus as the camera attempts to lock onto something.

The Canon wins in video function, precisely because of it being a faster, more compute powerful camera.  Its processing power allows the 7D to shoot HD video at 25, 30, or 60 frames per second (60 is great for recording slow motion scenes).  The Nikon goes as high as 24 frames per second, the lowest you can go while still depicting fluid motion.

 Final Verdict:

In comparing the Nikon D7000 vs. Canon 7D, we see that there is a lot to like about each camera.  In both cases, you’re going to get high quality images, and each model has something to recommend it over the other.  But in a comparison this close, price tends to be the deciding factor.

When you consider that the 7D’s more advanced features are geared towards professionals with very specific needs, it seems that the $300 list price difference over the D7000 isn’t worth it for the amateur who’s looking to get a nice camera.

Searching online for more current prices shows a narrower divide between the two, but the Nikon is still the more affordable camera.  There are several options to buy a new D7000 for around $650—from reputable dealers—while the least expensive Canon is $800.

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Given the price difference, the Nikon D7000 is the better choice

Save 2% on the Nikon D7000 Here. Buy Now!

My advice?  Save the $150, and buy the Nikon.  Then use what you towards getting a great all around lens.  Superior glass will improve your photos more than extra processing power.

Nikon D90 vs D7000

Trying to decide between Nikon’s D90 & D700 models?

Buying a digital SLR camera can be a lot like car shopping when it comes to deciding which model you want.  If you can find a new one from the previous model year, people say, you’ll be spending your money more wisely.  It makes sense, when you think about it: you’ll get it cheaper than the current year’s crop. Sure, you might miss out on some enhancements here and there but these aren’t the things you’re necessarily looking for when car shopping.  They’re just extras, and often not worth the higher price tag.

Nikon-d90-vs-d7000

 If you’re in the market for an midrange Nikon DSLR, and you’re the type of person that thinks this way, you might have written off their newest in the lineup, the D7100, for just these reasons.

 And maybe you’ve done some shopping around, probably found that there are two slightly older models that are still on the market, so you might be wondering which of these will suit your needs.  If you’re thinking about the Nikon D90 vs. D7000, read on.

  • Features
  • Resolution
  • Camera Format
  • Sensor Size
  • Autofocus Points
  • ISO Sensitivity
  • LCD Screen
  • Processor
  • Video Recording
  • Weight (Body)
  • Shooting Speed
  • Rating
  • Reviews
Amazon Image
  • Nikon D90

  • 12.3 MP
  • DX (1.5x Crop Factor)
  • CMOS, 23.6 x 15.8 mm
  • 11with 1 cross-type
  • Extended 100-6400
  • 3" LCD
  • EXPEED
  • 1280 x 720p (HD)
  • 624 g
  • 4.5 fps
  • 4.6 / 5
  • Reviews

Amazon Image
  • Nikon D7000

  • 16.2 MP
  • DX (1.5x Crop Factor)
  • CMOS, 23.6 x 15.6 mm
  • 39 with 9 cross-type
  • Extended 100-25600
  • 3" LCD
  • EXPEED 2
  • 1920 x 1080 (Full HD)
  • 420 g
  • 6 fps
  • 4.5 / 5
  • Reviews

 Nikon D90 vs D7000:

The fact is, I think the choice between these two cameras is clear.  The D7000 is technologically superior to the D90 in many ways, and you’ll need to judge whether these features are worth it to you. 

Let’s run down some of the more prominent features.

Image Quality & Max Resolution:

I’m guessing that the first place you looked in comparing them is megapixels—but take care and give this spec its proper weight.  It’s tempting to think that a D7000 will take higher quality pictures because of its 16 megapixel sensor (compared to the D90’s 12).

Is the higher MP the D700 offers important to you?

For a lot of websites doing reviews out there, that’s enough of a reason to go with a certain camera over another, but I’ve never been one for conventional wisdom.  Truth is, we’ve reached a megapixel tipping point: the resolution of the photos on these cameras is such that the human eye can’t even tell the difference.  Don’t believe me?

Amazon ImageThink about the last time you watched your 1080p HD TV and gazed in awe at sharpness and detail of the video it it displayed.  That’s only 2 megapixels.  So, when you’re talking about the difference between 12 and 16, understand that the benefit is not in the picture you post on Flickr, or even in an 8×10 print you’d hang on your wall.  The difference becomes apparent when you start thinking you’d like to go to poster sized prints at high resolution.  If you’re not going to print that big, you will be satisfied with either the D90 or D7000; you’ll never see the difference.

This is not to turn you off to the D7000; it’s got plenty to recommend it, and it really is the superior camera.  The question is whether it’s worth the difference in price to you.  Looking at reputable dealers online, there’s about $300 that separates the two.  Is that difference warranted?  Yes, absolutely.  Will the extra features matter to you?  That all depends on what kind of photos you want to be taking.  Let’s take a look at some of the more important differences of the Nikon D90 vs. D7000, and see these are features that you’ll be using.

 Autofocus:

 Probably the most noticeable divide is in the autofocus system.  The D7000’s got 39 autofocus points, 9 of which are cross-type.

The D700 wins hands down when it comes to autofocus

Cross-type sensors offer greater precision, able to focus on a horizontal and vertical plane simultaneously.  The more cross-type sensors a camera has, the more likely it is that you’ll be able to focus on your subject as it bounces around the frame.  Not only does the D90 have less focus points overall—just 11—but only one is cross type.

Amazon Image With that much difference in the AF points, you’d think that the D7000 would have much greater shutter lag—the time between pressing the shutter button and when the picture is actually taken—than the D90.  But the difference is negligible.  The D90 is faster to take a picture, but only by 30 milliseconds—less than the blink of an eye.  And this most minor of differences is more than made up for the high performing autofocus system.

 If you’re looking to take photos of objects in motion—think children, pets, or maybe cars—the D7000 is going to have you covered.  Both cameras have an AF feature called “3-D tracking”, which allows for refocusing on a subject that moves forward or backward in the frame.  Since the AF points are laid out from left to right on the frame, when your subject moves directly forward, most cameras can’t make the adjustment.  The camera’s locked into something that’s behind the focus point, and if that subject remains behind the same focus point it doesn’t register.  With 3D tracking that problem is overcome—the camera follows your subject left and right, forward and back.

Both AF systems have this powerful feature, but D7000 will function at a much higher, more accurate level given the sheer number of focus points it’s sporting.  And with a maximum shutter speed of 1/8000, twice that of the D90, and a burst rate that tops out at 6 frames per second, the D7000 is all around just better suited to for action shots.  There’s just no two ways about it: the D7000 is using a professional grade autofocus system, and the D90 is—well, it’s just not. 

Processor:

The D7000 blows away the D90 thanks to its EXPEED 2 processor

 The lack of a performance hit is thanks to the D7000’s internal processor, the EXPEED 2.

TheD90Amazon Image uses the previous generation EXPEED processor, and this means that in-camera processing of photos on the D90, from writing the image to a file to more advanced noise reduction algorithms, will lag behind the D7000.

The processor is also the reason the D7000 outperforms the D90 in low light situations.  It’s got a higher native ISO—6400 to the D90’s 3200—and the ability to push to 25600 when needed.  With the more powerful processor, there’s no comparison for the low light abilities of the Nikon D90 vs. D7000; there will be much less noise at higher ISO.

Video Recording:

Video capability is another area where Nikon D90 vs. D7000 comparison gives a major edge to the D7000. 

The D7000 features full HD, built-in stereo microphone, and video autofocus

 Yes, the D90 was the first DSLR to incorporate video, and that made DSLRs all the more attractive to people who were on the fence about getting one.  But a lot’s changed since the D90 came out, and the D7000 features state of the art HD video recording.  The D7000 shoots at full 1080p resolution, compared to the D90’s 720p.  T

The D7000 also features a built-in stereo microphone, and video autofocus.  Granted, the autofocus for video mode isn’t the same as for stills: all the focus points and 3-D tracking go out the window when we’re talking video autofocus.  The D7000 uses a contrast detection AF system, which detects the differences in light and color between the subject and background, and then focuses as needed.  It’s not perfect, and sometimes slow to react, but it’s good for setting up shots before you start recording, getting everything focused and prepared before hitting record.

 Is the Nikon D7000 Worth the Extra Money?

Do any of these features sound worth it to you?  They do to me, but that’s because I tend to use my camera for more than just holiday snapshots and portraits of the family.  I like to play around, experiment with new techniques, and try to get creative—even if I’m just shooting at a family BBQ.

If you’re the same, then the extra $300 for the D7000 is very much worth it. 

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The Nikon D7000 is the clear winner!

For the autofocus, low light abilities, and more robust in-camera processing, the premium on the D7000 sounds like a bargain.  Add to it that photos from D7000 show about slightly greater color depth, it has a greater dynamic range—meaning that the camera will properly expose shots taken in a wider range of lighting, from darker to lighter—boasts two slots for storage, has 20% greater battery life, and is weather sealed.

 The $300 premium starts to seem smaller and smaller.  Looking online, I see quite a few dealers offering new D7000s at around $650 – $700, down significantly from its original sticker price, somewhere on the north side of $1,000.  That’s the “old model year” price break in action—the D7000’s replacement, the D7100 hovers around the thousand dollar mark now, and the debate on whether that’s worth it is a subject for another article.

The D90 is still a solid camera, and a good choice for the novice who wants to take casual snapshots.  But the difference in price of the Nikon D90 vs. D7000 is less of an issue when you consider the actual prices.  At around $650, the D7000 is kind of a no-brainer choice if you’re even remotely interested photography beyond pointing and shooting.

Canon 60D vs 7D

So, you’ve hit the point where you’re outgrowing your old entry level Canon DSLR and are contemplating between the Canon 60D vs 7D?

Maybe you’ve found that you’re settling into a niche of photos that you enjoy taking—portraits, landscapes, candids, action—and you’re noticing that your camera is lacking where your needs are concerned.  You’ve decided on spending a little more this time, future proofing yourself, so to speak, and there are two cameras in the mid-range that you’re comparing: the Canon EOS 60D vs. 7D

canon-7d-vs-60d

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Problem is, there’s a pretty substantial price jump from one to the next: the 60D body lists at $599, while the 7D is at $1,339.  Is it worth it?  Let’s take a closer look.

Canon 7D vs 60D Quick Comparison

  • Features
  • Resolution
  • Camera Format
  • Processor
  • Autofocus Points
  • ISO Sensitivity
  • LCD Screen
  • Viewfinder Coverage
  • Video Recording
  • Weight (Body)
  • Shooting Speed
  • Rating
  • Reviews
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  • Canon 60D

  • 18 MP
  • APS-C (1.6x Crop Factor)
  • DIGIC 4
  • 9 cross-type
  • Extended 100-12800
  • 3" Vari-angle LCD
  • 96%
  • 1920 x 1080 (Full HD)
  • 675 g
  • 5.3 fps
  • 4.7 / 5
  • Reviews

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  • Canon EOS 7D

  • 18 MP
  • APS-C (1.6x Crop Factor)
  • Dual DIGIC 4's
  • 19 cross-type
  • Extended 100-12800
  • 3" Fixed LCD
  • 100%
  • 1920 x 1080 (Full HD)
  • 816 g
  • 8 fps
  • 4.6 / 5
  • Reviews

Canon 7D vs 60D: Which One is Better for You?

First, let’s see what these cameras have in common.

The sensors both capture 18 megapixel images, so you can be sure you’ll be able to make any large size prints, up to 11.5 x 17 at high resolution.

They’ve got identical ISO sensitivity capabilities, with a native range of 100 – 6400, and both support a Custom Function to boost the effective sensitivity to 12800 for those extra low light situations.

The shutter speed range is also the same, from 30 seconds on the slow side to 1/8000 for high-speed photos.

Both have built-in flashes with integrated wireless master functions (for controlling off camera flashes), and can record full HD video at a resolution of 1,920 x 1,080.  In the case of video, both cameras boast an autofocus feature, but you should ignore this.

canon-60d-vs-7d-back

In video mode, the autofocus is slow and imprecise—it works off the contrast of light in the scene, and not the more advanced cross-type AF sensors that the still camera uses (more on that later).  It’s not continuous autofocus, either—you need to hit the AF button while shooting to refocus if your subject moves, and you could probably do better just using the manual focus ring.

They share a bunch of image post processing features, such as being able to change White Balance reduce noise in high ISO images.

And very importantly, both cameras have an automatic sensor cleaning function, which “shakes” the sensor with ultrasonic vibrations at startup and shutdown—and any time in between you want—to remove dust particles from the sensor.  

In all, these are both very powerful cameras, with capabilities that rival Canon’s professional grade offerings—but there’s still that question of the $600 difference. 

Now, let’s look at the difference between the two cameras:

Processor:

At heart of these two cameras, just like in any computer, is the processor.

The 7D has two DIGIC 4 processors to 1 for the 60D

Here we see a big difference in the Canon EOS 60D vs. 7D.  The 60D’s got Canon’s DIGIC 4 processor inside; the 7D has two.  This has a significant impact on shutter lag, which is the time between the point the shutter button is pressed and when the picture is actually taken.  And the difference between the two is striking: 131ms for the 7D to the 60D’s 253ms.    

Autofocus:

7D’s autofocus offers 19 points to 9 for the 60D

Amazon ImageThe difference is even more impressive when you consider the difference between the two cameras autofocus systems.  Part of what makes shutter lag is the time it takes for the camera to focus on the scene at hand.  In the case of the 60D, there are 9 autofocus points—all cross-type, meaning it focuses on the horizontal and vertical plane simultaneously.

Canon 7d autofocus

Read more about the 7D’s Auto-focus feature here

A complicated algorithm working under the covers to determine what, exactly, is your subject, and then sending the signal to the lens to focus on that area of the frame.  The 7D, on the other hand, has 19 cross-type autofocus points—one more than double—and so there are twice as many areas in the frame that twice as many processors are now handling.

You’d think this would make the speed scale out evenly, but it doesn’t.  The 7D’s shutter lag, as we’ve seen is a significant improvement over the 60D. And 19 autofocus points is going to vastly improve your ability to take a clear picture of a dynamic scene on the quick.

Will this matter to you?  It depends on what you’re shooting.  If you’re a portrait or landscape photographer, or even just capturing never-motionless-but-kind-of-slow targets like kids, those extra 10 AF points are going bring much value to you.  But if you shoot sporting events, or cars, or fast moving pets, you’re going to find yourself composing and focusing on the fly with ease.

Shooting Speed:

The 7D shoots at 8fps to the 60D’s 5.3 fps

7d 8fps

Learn about the 7D’s 8 frame per second capture rate

Additionally, the 7D’s maximum burst rate of 8 frames per second—compared with the 60D’s 5.3—is going to positively impact your high-speed photography, as well.

Is the 7D worth the higher price?

Yes, but it depends on how you use it

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Read Customer Reviews of the Canon 7D

Again, though, is it worth the difference in cost?  If you’re a professional, and getting as many good shots to choose from takes on a heightened importance, then, yes, it probably is (but there’s something else to consider that I’ll get to in a little bit).

For the amateur, this kind of autofocus system is overkill.  It is digital, after all, and so it’s not like film is being wasted if you take a bunch of bad shots.  The performance of the 60D with 9 autofocus points and quality optics on your lens is going to get you to a higher success rate regardless, and you don’t need to have hundreds of photos to sift through and decide which is suitable for publication or sale.

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Read Customer Reviews of the Canon 60D Here

 And that seems to be the key when comparing the Canon EOS 60D vs. 7D.  They’re both mid-range cameras that will take stunning photos, but the 7D is geared more towards the serious enthusiast or professional.

The body of the 7D is a hefty-in-the-hand magnesium alloy, while the 60D is essentially plastic.  Some may tout the weight difference as a selling factor of the 60D—it’s lighter—but any pro will tell you that she prefers the solid weight of a non-plastic body.  It’s easier to hold a heavier camera steady, less likely that the mere press of the shutter button will move it, which in low light is pretty important.

The 7D offers weather proofing, a more sturdy body and 100% viewfinder coverage!

Also, The 7D’s viewfinder gives you a 100% view of what the lens is picking up, erasing any doubt about what the final result is going to look like.  Compare that to the 60D’s 96%—not much of a difference, but also enough to affect composition in tight spots.

The 7D is also weather sealed, so it’s really much more of a go-anywhere professional’s tool.  It can with better withstand impact, rain, snow, sand, dirt, and other environmental concerns that might otherwise make a photographer think twice about pulling out his 60D.

The 60D offers the Vari-Angle LCD

The 60D also has the articulated “Vari-angle” LCD, which allows you to swing the monitor out away from the camera and tilt it in various positions.  This is a great feature for the amateur and pro alike, enabling more creative angles without contorting the body in uncomfortable or awkward positions, and making video that much easier to shoot, too.  But the small arm that attaches the monitor to the camera is just another piece that can break, more of a concern for the pro who will be putting his camera through the paces.  For the light workload of a photo hobbyist, the articulated monitor is more suitable, even a benefit. 

 Really, the only thing that keeps the 7D in the “consumer” class of DSLRs is its compact frame.  The APS-C has a crop factor of 1.6x, meaning that the focal length of any lens you use with it is effectively increased. This is especially important in wildlife and sports photography, given the longer reach of the camera.

This is why, to my thinking, in the case of the Canon EOS 60D vs. 7D, the 7D is the clear winner. 

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If you find yourself needing the speed and advanced focusing mechanism of the 7D, the price difference between the 7D and the 60D is worth for a heck of a lot more camera.  As we’ve seen, the difference between the 60D and the 7D gets you a much more robust autofocus system, a more solid body and speedier reaction time.

Canon 6D vs 7D: Which One is Better?

With $500 separating the pro-grade EOS 6D from its mid-range counterpart 7D, you might be asking whether the bump in price is worth it.

And I’m here to answer this question for you, with no equivocation whatsoever, by stating firmly: maybe

canon 6d vs 7d

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Canon 6D vs 7D Quick Comparison

  • Features
  • Resolution
  • Camera Format
  • Processor
  • Autofocus Points
  • ISO Sensitivity
  • Viewfinder Coverage
  • Video Recording
  • Weight (Body)
  • EF-S Lens Compatible?
  • Shooting Speed
  • HDR Photography In-Camera?
  • Rating
  • Reviews
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  • Canon EOS 6D
  • 20.2 MP
  • Full Frame
  • DIGIC 5
  • 11
  • 100 - 12800 ex to 25600
  • 79%
  • 1920 x 1080 (Full HD)
  • 770 g
  • No
  • 4.5 fps
  • Yes
  • 4.7 / 5
  • Reviews

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  • Canon EOS 7D
  • 17.9 MP
  • APS-C (1.6x Crop Factor)
  • Two DIGIC 4's
  • 19
  • 100-6400. exp to 12800
  • 100%
  • 1920 x 1080 (Full HD)
  • 816 g
  • Yes
  • 8 fps
  • No
  • 4.6 / 5
  • Reviews

We’ll take a look at the Canon 6D vs. 7D, and see what sets them apart.

Sensor Size: Full frame vs Cropped?

The answer to this depends on you. Do you need the 6D’s full frame sensor or will the 7D’s cropped sensor suffice?

Amazon ImageIt all depends, really.  First things first, there’s one question you can ask that can make the decision really easy.

Do you need a full frame sensor in your camera?

If you answered “Yes” to that question, then the 6D is the natural choice of the two, owing to the fact that the 7D doesn’t have one.

If you don’t know what it means to have a full frame sensor, then go with the 7D.  You don’t need it.

But if your answer was somewhere in the middle—maybe you’d like it, but not sure if you want to spend the extra money on it—then read on.

Image Quality & Max Resolution:

Let’s begin at the beginning, at the first spec nearly everyone looks at first—megapixels.  It’s tempting to operate with the assumption that the 7D’s picture quality won’t stack up against the 6D, because of its 18 megapixel sensor (compared to the 6D’s 20).  For some, that’s where the decision making process begins and ends, but it’s a misguided line of thinking.

Both the 7D & 6D offer ample resolution for most photographers

We’ve reached a tipping point with megapixels:  we long ago passed the point where your eyes could tell the difference between one camera and another.  Don’t believe me?  Think about the last time you watched your 1080p HD TV and marveled at how crisp and beautiful the picture is, how you saw every blade of grass on the baseball field.  That’s only 2 megapixels.

See More Samples of the Canon 6D Here

So, when you’re talking about the difference between 20 MP and 18 MP, it’s important to understand that the benefit is not in the picture you see on the computer screen, or even in an 8×10 print.  The difference is when you need to decide whether you want your poster-sized photo print to be 2.5 or 3 feet tall.  If you’re not going to print that big, there’s simply no need to make your decision based on the resolution differences of these cameras.

See More Canon 7D Sample Images Here

 DIGIC Processors:

The 6D’s single DIGIC 5 processor beats the two DIGIC 4 processors on the 7D

The 6D definitely has its selling points, though, apart from the bigger sensor.  Though the 7D is powered by two DIGIC 4 processors—nothing to sneeze at—the 6D absolutely blows that away with its DIGIC 5+ workhorse running the show inside.

canon-7d-vs-6d-back

The DIGIC 5+ is 17x faster than a DIGIC 4, and still handily beats the two that run the 7D.  This means that in-camera processing of photos on the 6D, from writing the image to a file to more advanced noise reduction algorithms, will run circles around the 7D. 

ISO Sensitivity:

There’s no comparison for the low light abilities of the Canon 6D vs. 7D. 

The processor is also the power behind the 6D’s low light capabilities.  With a higher native ISO than the 7D—6D’s 12,800 to 7D’s 6,400—and the ability to push to 25600 when needed, along with those noise reduction algorithms I mentioned, there’s no comparison for the low light abilities of the Canon 6D vs. 7D.

The 6D’s built-in Wi-FI, beyond making it possible to transfer photos to your computer, can also help with low light situations.  When dealing with very low light—and therefore long shutter speeds—even the slightest press of the shutter button is enough motion to ruin the shot.

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Read Customer Reviews of the 6D Here

Using an app for either iOS or Android smartphones and tablets, you can wirelessly use Live View mode to see what’s in the frame of your shot and configure settings on your camera.  The app allows you to set the focus point, press the shutter button, change shooting modes, and adjust aperture, shutter, and ISO.  It’s an enormous amount of control without ever touching the camera. 

 HDR Photography:

The DIGIC 5+ also makes HDR photography possible directly in the camera. 

HDR—or High Dynamic Range— photography is when a photo captures the darkest and lightest parts of a photo, and both ends of the light spectrum are exposed properly.

Think of it this way: let’s say you tried to take a photo of a mountain on a sunny day.  You could expose for the bright sky, closing down the aperture and speeding up the shutter, and your photo will be of a mountain shaped shadow under a perfectly blue sky.  Or, you could expose for the mountain, and get the green of its trees and all the fine details, but be stuck with a totally washed out sky.  HDR takes both of those photos, and then blends them together, so you only get the part of each that is properly exposed.

The results are often dreamy, stunning and hyper-realistic.  Previously, this could only be accomplished by bracketing your exposures, and using Photoshop or some specialized software to create the HDR.

6d hdr

The Canon 6D does this all before the photo is written to an image file on your memory card, saving you plenty of post-processing time.  If you’re a landscape or architecture photographer, the combination of a full frame camera and HDR raises all kinds of creative possibilities, and makes a compelling case for the extra investment.

 The 7D has some strong points too:

It would seem, though, that there is no answer to the question of which camera is better when discussing the Canon 6D vs. 7D. 

Autofocus:

The 7D is far superior when it comes to autofocus

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Read Customer Reviews of the 7D Here

Each has its strong points, and where we’ve seen that the 6D is superior to the 7D for photographers dealing with static subjects and low light, the 7D holds its own—and even beats out the 6D—when it comes to more dynamic, action oriented photography.  Surprisingly, the 7D has a superior autofocus system—and I’m not just saying it’s better.  I’m saying it’s superior, significantly. 

The 7D’s got 19 autofocus points, all 19 of which are cross-type.  Cross-type sensors are preferable, able to focus on a horizontal and vertical plane simultaneously and offering greater precision.  The more cross-type sensors there are, the more likely you’ll be getting a perfectly focused shot as your subject moves around the frame.  The 6D’s got less over all focus points—just 11—and only one is a cross type. 

Shooting Speed:

7D wins when it comes to speed

The 7D is also the faster camera, in terms of actually taking a picture.  The shutter lag—the time in between pressing the shutter button and when the photo is actually taken—on a 7D is 131ms, and it can shoot 8 frames per second to the 6D’s 4.5.  Additionally, the 7D has a faster maximum shutter speed, 1/8000, twice the 6D’s top setting of 1/4000. 

7d 8fps

Simply put, the 7D runs circles around the 6D for high speed photography.  Following around a fast moving subject, and and relying on your camera’s autofocus system to identify that subject, then focus and release the shutter requires a lot of little things to happen quickly, and the 18 extra cross type focus points on the 7D ensure a greater precision in getting a sharp picture when time is of the essence. 

Viewfinder:

The 7D offers 100% coverage to the 6D’s 79%

The 7D’s viewfinder also plays a role here.  Though both cameras use a pentaprism viewfinder—which shows you exactly what the lens is seeing—the 7D’s significantly larger, showing you 100% of the image (the 6D only shows 79%). 

This is important in shooting moving targets, because if you’re trying to compose while following the subject, you don’t want to have to think about whether or not the final product is going to be the same as what you saw in the viewfinder.  You want to line up your shot, focus, and snap.  And you want what you get to be what you saw.  Sometimes there can be distracting little items that show up in the picture’s edges, and you don’t want to have to crop down and potentially ruin what you thought would be a quality image. 

EF-S Lens Compatibility:

The 7D is compatible with EF-S lenses; the 6D is not!

A final point that may—or may not, depending on your perspective—be in the 7D’s favor is its compatibility with EF-S type lenses.  These are lenses designed to work only with the cameras that use the APS-C sensor. The optics are not as sharp on these as with something like a Canon L series lens—though that’s not a condemnation of the EF-S lenses, per se—but the price point puts them more squarely in the territory of consumer-friendly.

ef-s lenses 7d

Learn More About the 7D’s EF-S Lens Compatibility Here

With the 6D, as we’ve said, you’re going to get a lot more picture out your lenses, and if you already have some EF lenses handy, it’s worth considering the extra investment in the 6D body.  But, if you’re starting fresh and will be purchasing a lens with the body , and then more lenses as time goes on, think about how much you’re willing to spend on them.  You could be looking at a hefty amount of money over the long haul. 

 Final Verdict:

Want full-frame? Go with the 6D. 

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Buy the 6D Now!

Want a great cropped sensor camera? Go for the 7D

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Buy the 7D Now!

Regardless of which way you go, though, you’re going to get a high performing camera that will shoot excellent quality images.

The decision between the Canon 6D vs. 7D is reliant upon what kind of photos you see yourself taking as much as the financial implications of the cost difference.  For the landscape shooter, or any one focusing on wide, static shots, the 6D is a clear winner.  It’s got the features and specs that make it ideal for your interests.

But the 7D is nothing to scoff at, even if it is a “consumer grade” camera.  As we’ve seen, it’s autofocus system is far more advanced, and if you need that kind of speed and precision, I’d recommend it to you even if it were more expensive than the 6D.

 

Canon Rebel T2i vs T3i

Which One is Right for You: Canon’s T2i or T3i?

When you’re shopping for a new car, the conventional wisdom is not to buy the current model year.  If you can find a brand new vehicle from the previous year, people say, you’ll be making a wise decision.

If you’re in the market for an entry level Canon DSLR, and you’re the type of person that thinks this way, you’ve probably eschewed Canon’s current model—the Rebel T4i  Canon Rebel T5i.  But if you’ve done some shopping around, you probably noticed that the two previous models are still very much available, and that they are confusingly similar.  If you’re thinking about the Canon Rebel T2i vs. T3i, read on.

canon rebel t2i vs t3i

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Canon T2i vs T3i Quick Comparison

  • Features
  • Resolution
  • Camera Format
  • Sensor Type/ Size
  • Autofocus Points
  • ISO Sensitivity
  • Screen
  • Video Recording
  • Weight (Body)
  • Kit Lens
  • Rating
  • Self Cleaning Sensor
  • Reviews
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  • Canon Rebel T2i

  • 18.0 MP
  • APS-C (1.6x Crop Factor)
  • CMOS, 22.0 x 14.7 mm
  • 9
  • Extended: 100-12800
  • 3" LCD
  • 1920 x 1080 (Full HD)
  • 525 g
  • Canon 18 - 55 mm f/3.5-5.6
  • 4.7 / 5
  • No
  • Reviews

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  • Canon Rebel T3i

  • 18.0 MP
  • APS-C (1.6x Crop Factor)
  • CMOS, 22.3 x 14.9 mm
  • 9
  • Extended: 100-12800
  • 3" Vari-angle LCD
  • 1920 x 1080 (Full HD), dig zoom
  • 520 g
  • Canon 18 - 55 mm f/3.5-5.6
  • 4.7 / 5
  • No
  • Reviews

T2i vs T3i: What Else is Different?

Looking at the two cameras using the “Compare” feature on Canon’s own website, I found myself asking why Canon even bothered to replace the T2i with the T3i.  Reading down the list of specs, they are nearly identical.

18 megapixels?  Check.

APS-C sensor with DIGIC 4 processor? Check.

1080P video capability? Check.

And the list goes on.

In fact, the only two differences that are apparent from this chart are the dimensions and weight of the camera body.  The T3i is slightly—and I mean slightly—larger: it’s a tenth of an inch taller, a tenth of an inch wider, and seven tenths of an inch deeper.  These “larger” dimensions add 1.4 ounces to the weight, hardly a deal breaker for anyone.

Surely there must be something more exciting than camera size to merit Canon discontinuing the T2i in favor of its replacement.  So, what are they?

Wireless Transmitter for Off-Camer Flash:

The T3i has it; the T2i doesn’t.

The most impressive new feature is the built-in wireless transmitter for off-camera flash photography.

It’s no secret that on camera flashes just don’t produce very good results; they can light a scene just fine but the effect of having a flash popping directly at your subject is a flat, uninteresting image.  And that’s if you haven’t washed out the scene entirely with a hyper-exposed foreground and underexposed background.

And though you may think that off-camera flashes are strictly in the domain of professionals, that’s only because the cost of entry has been prohibitive and not worth the investment for the amateur not willing to shell out for a flash and a transmitter—Canon’s entry level transmitter (the ST-E2) by itself has a ticker price of $350.  So if you’ve been thinking about the Canon Rebel T2i vs T3i, and entertaining the notion of off-camera flashes in the future, the T3i will save you that future expense.

t3i

Read Customer Reviews of the T3i Here

It’s worth noting that the integrated wireless transmitter isn’t some barebones consolation prize.  Its features rival the ST-E2.  It supports multiple flashes and flash exposure compensation (where the brightness of the flash can be adjusted to your exposure, preventing under- or overexposure).  You can divide your multiple flashes into separate groups, and have group A fire at one level of brightness, and Group B at a different level.

This is professional grade photography, and if you’re an enthusiast who’s looking to go beyond just taking photos, the T3i is a fantastic tool to learn on without shelling out tons of money for high priced gear.  Even if you’re just looking to shoot pictures of your family, you’d be amazed at how moving the flash off the top of your camera, even an arm’s length away, will improve your photos.

Vari-Angle LCD Screen:

Canon T3i’s Vari-Angle LCD is extremely handy!

Another great feature added to the T3i is its articulated LCD monitor, which Canon calls its Vari-Angle LCD.  The monitor is attached to the camera by a tiltable, adjustable arm, which enables you to get more creative angles without having to put your body into weird and uncomfortable positions.

canon-t3i-vari-angle

Read more about the Vari-Angle LCD

Its “resting” location is in a recessed portion of the camera’s back, where it seems like a regular old LCD.  But let’s say you wanted to take a shot of a crowd from a higher angle looking down.  You can swing the monitor out away from the camera body, and then tilt it so that it’s facing downward.

All you need to do then is raise your arms up over the crowd, and look up at the monitor that’s now looking down at you.  You can then compose the shot the way you want without having to be eye level with the viewfinder—you can see everything on the screen.

It sounds like an unnecessary luxury, but once you’ve used it for awhile you’ll find it indispensable. 

If you’re on the fence about the Canon Rebel T2i vs. T3i, the Vari-Angle LCD should help get you off that fence (and then allow you to just lift your camera up over the fence and perfectly compose a shot of what’s on the other side).

I remember when I graduated from my old Canon Powershot G3 point-and-shoot to my Rebel SLR back in 2006—which didn’t have the Live View feature for composing—I found that I really missed having that monitor.  If you’ve ever laid down on your side and tilted your head upwards while trying to get low angle photos of your kids or your pets, you’ll very much appreciate the articulated LCD.  If you haven’t ever painfully contorted yourself to get a cool angle on your shot, you no longer have to with the T3i.

Scene Intelligent Auto Mode:

Canon’s also added some decent bells and whistles to the internal software which controls the T3i.  They’ve added another shooting mode—in addition to old standbys like Program, Manual, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, Portrait Mode, etc.—called Scene Intelligent Auto (A+) mode.

Check Out More Canon T3i Sample Images 

It goes beyond the capabilities of Program Mode, which only measured available light for exposure and adjusted shutter and aperture accordingly.  In A+ mode, the camera also examines the scene you’re trying to shoot, and can adjust other settings.

If you’re trying to shoot a moving subject, the camera will place itself into AI Servo mode and provide continuous focusing as you move.  If you’re shooting a portrait, the T3i will use the brightness/contrast/color settings as if you’d selected Portrait mode on the dial.  Make your next shot a landscape, and without having to fiddle with settings, the camera will adjust itself automatically.

Check Out More Canon T2i Sample Images 

And if you’re not sure what any of these different settings are, there’s an in-camera Feature Guide, which adds brief explanations, on screen, to let you know more about you’re selecting.  Other enhancements to the internal workings include the addition of “Creative Filters”.  These are filters you can apply to your photos after they’ve been taken, directly on the camera, before the image ever hits a computer.  The T3i also offers the ability to adjust the aspect ratio of your photos.  So, just shoot a 1:1 picture, apply a creative filter, and you’re ready to upload right up Instagram.

Video Recording:

The T3i allows digital zoom while shooting; T2i doesn’t.

Finally, if you’re looking forward to also shooting video with your new SLR, then it’s clear, in the case of the the Canon Rebel T2i vs. T3i, which model is superior.  They both shoot in full 1080p HD, but the T3i adds the ability to digitally zoom while recording.  This is helpful if you’re shooting with a prime, or fixed focal length, lens.  Since you can’t zoom with that kind of lens, the camera will “zoom” by cropping down to a smaller part of the sensor.  And since full HD is still only a 2 megapixel image, there’s no loss in quality as you perform up to a 9x zoom on your 18 megapixel sensor.

Final Verdict: Who’s the winner?

Hands down, the Canon T3i wins the battle, given it’s price! Only $5 more here!

With all these new features on the T3i, it would seem that the last thing to consider in making your decision is price.  And when you do a little research on the cost of the Canon Rebel T2i vs. T3i, things get interesting.  When the T3i was introduced, its sticker price was $100 more than the T2i.  Considering the value of the wireless flash transmitter alone, that $100 seems more than worth it.  With the introduction of the T4i, both of these cameras have been discounted— there’s still plenty of new stock of both models available.

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Get 2% Back on Canon’s T3i DSLR by Buying Now

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Get 2% Back on Canon’s T2i DSLR by Buying Now

And that does funny things to the price.  At Amazon.com, the lowest price I could find—from a reputable dealer—for a new T2i was $495, a savings of $130 below sticker price.  On the other hand, the T3i is going for $499, just $5 more than the T2i.  I’m not sure why this is—maybe Canon made too many of them—but with pricing like this, the decision is a no brainer.

Get the better camera for the same price?  What’s to think about?

Canon Rebel T3i vs T4i

In the world of computer hardware, “Moore’s Law” states that the performance of integrated circuit boards doubles every 18-24 months.

And though you or I probably don’t care exactly how many transistors are on today’s circuit boards, and how many will be there two years from now, we can’t help but be aware of the results of this progress.  Namely, that no matter what digital hardware we buy today, we can be reasonably sure it will be obsolete in about a year and a half.

Canon’s Rebel Law

canon rebel t3i vs t4i

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Over the last few years, Canon seems to be aiming towards a faster pace with their entry-level camera offerings—let’s call it “Rebel’s Law,” in honor of the camera that improves its capabilities just about every 12 months.

In 2011, the T3i replaced the 2010′s T2i.  The outward differences seemed negligible, but there were some significant advances to the camera’s inner workings that made consumers pause and consider whether the higher price of the T3i was worth it.  If any of those consumers were stuck in a state of indecision, it’s possible that Canon was busy releasing the T4i before they made up their minds.

The T4i includes some huge steps forward, and we should take a look at the differences between the Canon Rebel T3i vs. T4i.  Let’s do it quickly, before Canon releases another camera to replace its latest achievement (too late: the T5i was announced in March, 2013).

If you are interested, check out our comparison of the T3 vs T3i.

Canon Rebel T3i vs T4i Quick Comparison

  • Features
  • Resolution
  • Camera Format
  • Sensor Type/ Size
  • Autofocus Points
  • ISO Sensitivity
  • Screen
  • Video Recording
  • Video Autofocus
  • Weight (Body)
  • Kit Lens
  • Rating
  • Processor
  • Reviews
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  • Canon T3i

  • 18 MP
  • APS-C (1.6x Crop Factor)
  • CMOS, 22.3 x 14.9 mm
  • 9 (1 cross-type sensor)
  • Extended: 100-12800
  • 3" Vari-angle LCD
  • 1920 x 1080 (Full HD)
  • No
  • 18.3 oz/ 520g
  • Canon 18 - 55 mm f/3.5-5.6 Canon 18-135 f/3.5-5.6 (older version)
  • 4.7 / 5
  • DIGIC 4
  • Reviews

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  • Canon T4i

  • 18 MP
  • APS-C (1.6x Crop Factor)
  • CMOS, 22.3 x 14.9 mm
  • 9 (9 cross-type sensors)
  • Extended: 100-25600
  • 3" Vari-angle Touch LCD
  • 1920 x 1080 (Full HD)
  • Yes, Continuous
  • 18.3 oz/ 520g
  • Canon 18 - 55 mm f/3.5-5.6 Canon 18-135 f/3.5-5.6 STM
  • 4.6 / 5
  • DIGIC 5
  • Reviews

T3i vs T4i: What’s Different?

DIGIC Processor:

The T4i is by all accounts a faster, more efficient device than its predecessor.

The most important improvement, and the one responsible for making the other new features of the T4i possible, is the replacement of the older DIGIC 4 processor with the DIGIC 5.  This represents a 6x increase in performance, and brings Canon’s entry-level camera ever closer to the performance of their pro-grade, full frame models.

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Learn about the DIGIC 5 Processor Here

So, what does the new processor get you?  For starters, saving images and processing them in-camera shows vastly improved performance.  The native ISO of the camera has been doubled, as well, from 6400 to 12800.  This new ISO, coupled with improved speed in noise reduction, means far superior low-light photos without a long wait before you can take the next one.

Additionally, the Frames per Second rate—how many photos a second you can take in Burst mode—improved from 3.7 on the T3i to 5 on the T4i.

The T4i is by all accounts a faster, more efficient device than its predecessor.

Autofocus Capability:

The T4i’s 9 cross-type sensors mean the freedom to take the shot that you want, whenever you want.

This processor upgrade also yields some very big changes on the Autofocus system.  If we look at the AF capabilities of the Canon Rebel T3i vs. T4i, the differences are major.

Both have 9 autofocus points—no change there—but where the T3i only has 1 cross-type point in the center, the T4i boasts cross-type AF sensors on all nine points.

If you’re wondering what this means, just know that the cross-type sensor allows for focusing on subjects on both a vertical and horizontal plane.  A horizontal line sensor is able to line up vertical subjects into focus—like a telephone pole—whereas a vertical line sensor works on horizontal subjects—say, the roofline of a car.  A cross-type, then, allows you to focus along both planes for increased accuracy.

canon rebel t4i vs t3i back

The T3i’s 8 noncross-type sensors were horizontal line only.  This meant that if you wanted to focus on a subject that required a vertical line sensor, you had to center the object to focus and then recompose to take the shot.  This is fine if you’re when you’re dealing with still scenes, like landscapes.

But what if you’re trying to capture something like a moving car?  There’s not a lot of time or room for error to center it for focus and then recompose.

The T4i’s 9 cross-type sensors mean the freedom to take the shot that you want, whenever you want.

LCD Screen: To Touch Screen or not?

The T4i has a touch screen, the T3i does not.

The T4i’s rear LCD has also been improved by adding touch screen functionality, something the T3i lacks.

canon-t4i-touch-screen

Learn about the T4i’s Touch Screen LCD here

This makes navigating the in-camera menus much easier—any one who’s had to push a directional pad twenty times just to get to a setting a couple menus deep will tell you that.  But the touch screen LCD also integrates with the new Autofocus system.  When using Live View for composing shots, now it’s as simple as touching the screen on the portion of the photo you want to focus on.

Previously, to select a specific focus point, you had to set it via the menus prior to taking the shot.  Now it’s as simple as touching the LCD, and knowing that any of the nine cross-type sensors are going to ensure a crisp, sharp subject.

Sample Images:

 

More Canon T4i Sample Images

 More Canon T3i Sample Images

Video:

Canon’s T4i offers continuous autofocus in video mode; T3i does not

Now, if you’re an amateur photographer just looking to shoot pictures, these features might not be enough to convince you to spend the extra $150 on the latest model.  Maybe you just want to shoot family photos and vacations—you don’t need high-speed, low-light, or advanced autofocus capabilities—and the T3i’s $649 sticker price seems appropriate.  If this is the case, you may be right.

But if you are considering the Canon Rebel T3i vs. T4i, you must be thinking about video functionality, too, yes?  This is where all the upgrades I’ve already mentioned coalesce into making the T4i’s $799 sticker price much more palatable.

Canon is finally able to offer continuous autofocus to its video mode—while recording.    Previously, this wasn’t possible: autofocus was something that happened before the shutter opened and let light into the sensor.  If focus needed to change mid-shot, you had to make sure your lens was in manual mode and do it by hand—not always an elegant or smooth way to shoot video.  But in addition to the processor and autofocus improvements, Canon’s also redesigned its sensor.

I could tell you what they did to it to make this possible, but I’d just be copying someone else’s text with a bunch of engineering-speak that neither of us would understand.  So, all we really need to know is that the new sensor means autofocus while recording is now a reality, and the touch screen focus operation works in video, too.

Even cooler, Canon’s integrated the touch screen focus with its face detection feature: just touch someone’s face on the LCD, and the camera’s focus will follow your subject no matter where she goes in the frame.

Kit Lens:

Canon’s also shipping a brand new kit lens with the T4i, specifically for use with the video features.

The specs on the lenses that ship with the Canon Rebel T3i vs. T4i are identical: 18-135mm zoom lenses at f/3.5-5.6, with the same optics construction, and image stabilization.The range of focal lengths makes this a perfect all around lens to carry with you for just about any situation.

With a compact sensor and a 1.6x crop factor, 18mm is still a respectable wide angle that’s equivalent to a 28mm on a full frame camera.  And 135mm is equivalent to 216mm, which is a phenomenal zoom.  Unless you’re shooting dangerous or flying wildlife, 200mm is more than enough zoom to cover your needs.

So where do these two lenses differ?

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Check out the New T4i Kit Lens Here

The new lens uses Canon’s STM (Stepping Motor) mechanism, which makes the lens’s autofocusing faster, more precise, and—most importantly—silent.  With the lens sitting just under the T4i’s two integrated stereo microphones (another new feature), you certainly don’t want to hear the motor of your kit lens drown out the sounds you’re trying to pick up in your video as it labors to focus on your subjects.

Final Verdict: Who’s the winner between the T3i vs T4i?

In our opionion, the T4i represents a profound leap in technology at a price that’s hard to beat.

If you find yourself going back on forth on the Canon Rebel T3i vs. T4i, this breakdown of the differences should be help.

Rebel’s Law, as we defined it at the beginning of this article, states that it’s only a matter of time—a short time, maybe—before the next big thing is released.  As I noted earlier, the T5i has already been released, and while the differences between the two are a subject for another article, there’s also another bump in price.

The T4i’s sticker price of $799, which can easily be beaten at Amazon, is a full $100 below the T5i.  And though that’s a smaller bump in cost than going from the T3i to the T4i, the advance in technology isn’t nearly as significant.

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The T4i represents a solid investment in the entry-level Canon DSLR offerings.  The difference between the DIGIC 4 processor of the T3i vs. the DIGIC 5 of the T4i means, as we’ve seen, a whole host of improvements on a camera that should serve you well for years and years to come.

The increased speed, efficiency, and features are anything but a small a leap forward.  The still photo capabilities of the T4i rival Canon’s professional grade cameras.  The new processor and sensor make the video functions more than just a nifty bonus; you’ll have yourself a fully functioning video camera with abilities that rival a dedicated entry-level video camera.

The T4i represents a profound leap in technology at a price that’s hard to beat!

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Canon Rebel T3 vs T3i

Baffled by the Canon T3 vs T3i question?

Now that you’ve decided to take the plunge and get yourself a digital SLR, and you’ve decided that you want to go with a Canon, the question becomes: which one?

If you are still debating between Canon vs Nikon, check out our in depth guide here.

If it’s a question of Canon Rebel T3 vs T3i, read on.

canon rebel t3 vs t3i

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With Canon’s DSLRs, even the entry level is going to get you a great camera, so cost can often be the driving factor.  It’s important, then, to look at the specs of one camera versus another, and see whether the more expensive cameras features merit the extra costs.

Let’s focus—no pun intended—on Canon’s two cameras at the bottom of their line (and understand that “bottom” is not a negative judgment, but is only being used relative to the cameras at the top of the line).  With a significant difference in sticker price between the two, it’s worth taking a look at the Canon Rebel T3 vs. T3i.

The similarity between the two model numbers should tell you something about the cameras themselves: in many ways they are identical, or their differences are so slight as to be negligible.  Rather than sit here and tell you about all the features they have in common, and there are many, it’s better to zero in on where they differ.  Then you can better decide whether the price difference is worth it.

Canon Rebel T3 vs T3i Quick Comparison

  • Features
  • Resolution
  • Camera Format
  • Sensor Type/ Size
  • Autofocus Points
  • ISO Sensitivity
  • Screen
  • Video Recording
  • Weight (Body)
  • Kit Lens
  • Rating
  • Self Cleaning Sensor
  • Reviews
Amazon Image
  • Canon Rebel T3

  • 12.2 MP
  • APS-C (1.6x Crop Factor)
  • CMOS, 22.0 x 14.7 mm
  • 9
  • 100 - 6400
  • 2.7" LCD
  • Yes, 1280 x 720 (HD)
  • 17.4 oz / 493 g
  • Canon 18 - 55 mm f/3.5-5.6
  • 4.5 / 5
  • No
  • Reviews

Amazon Image
  • Canon Rebel T3i

  • 18 MP
  • APS-C (1.6x Crop Factor)
  • CMOS, 22.3 x 14.9 mm
  • 9, better autofocus
  • Extended: 100-12800
  • 3" Vari-Angle LCD
  • 1920 x 1080 (Full HD)
  • 18.2 oz / 516 g
  • Canon 18 - 55 mm f/3.5-5.6
  • 4.7 / 5
  • Yes
  • Reviews

T3 vs T3i: What are the Differences?

Image Resolution & Megapixels

The biggest difference, the one that you yourself will most likely scrutinize, is megapixels.  It’s a common misconception to think that the more megapixels a camera is capable of, the higher the quality of photo it takes.  This may have been true when the choice was between a 1 and 3-megapixel camera.  But when you’re looking at the Canon Rebel T3 vs. T3i, capable of 12.2 and 18 megapixels respectively, it’s simply not the case.

The T3 captures 12.2 MP vs 18 MP for the T3i

This is because what megapixels most affect is how large a photo can be printed before a loss in quality.  A 1.3 megapixel photo will print out in perfect high resolution at a size of 3×4; larger than that is where a loss of quality becomes apparent.  For the average amateur, taking photos of family or vacation destinations, or even taking stabs at fine art photos, 8×10 is generally the largest size they’re aiming to print.

Check Out More Canon T3 Sample Images Here

Both the T3′s 12.2 megapixels and the T3i’s 18 are more than able to handle that.  The maximum hi-res print size for a T3 is 9.5×14.3; a “normal” resolution photo print can go as large as 19×28.5.  Assuming you want to go higher than a 8×10, ask yourself how large you want your prints to be.  Again, the average amateur is never going to need to get poster-sized prints of the family vacation.

Check Out More T3i Sample Images Here

What do you see as your primary use for the camera?  The fact is, unless you’re looking to go the fine art or photojournalist there’s simply no need to spend the extra cash for 18 megapixels.  In fact, the amateur rarely has a need for 12.2, either, so it simply doesn’t make sense to throw down an extra $150 for another 6 megapixels that won’t benefit you in the least.

Autofocus:

The next differentiating factor when looking at the Canon Rebel T3 vs. T3i is the autofocus capability.

They both have 9 autofocus points; in both cameras, 8 of those AF points work on a horizontal line.  In the T3, the center focus point uses a cross type sensor, meaning it focuses on both a horizontal and vertical plane simultaneously, increasing the chances of a perfectly focused subject.  The key difference is that the T3 is vertical line sensitive at f/5.6, and the T3i has an f/2.8 sensitivity.  Again, if none of this makes sense to you, then it’s likely a feature that isn’t applicable to your needs.  There’s a whole separate article that could be written solely about what all this means, but for our purposes let’s keep it simple.

 If your lenses open to f/2.8, the T3i offers better superior autofocus capability

canon rebel t3i vs t3

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There’s just one thing you need to consider: what kind of lenses do you see yourself using with your new camera? 

If you’re considering a Canon digital because you’ve already got a bunch of EF lenses, which are compatible with all of Canon’s digital offerings, check out the maximum aperture for them.  Do any of them open up to f/2.8?  If they do, then the T3i’s f/2.8 vertical line sensitivity is worth the price difference. 

You’ll get superior autofocus performance in a wider variety of situations, most notably with moving targets like your children or pets.  Lenses with a maximum aperture of 2.8 are called “fast” for a reason: they let in more light and allow for proper exposure at faster shutter speeds.  You’ll want your autofocus system to keep pace with your lenses.

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Read More Canon T3 Reviews

If you’re starting from scratch, though—meaning you’ve got no lenses already, but plan on upgrading over time—then you’ve got consider what type of lenses you see yourself buying.  For the amateur who probably doesn’t see -herself buying a full frame camera body in the future, you’ll want to stick with Canon’s EF-S lenses, which only work with the APS-C entry level cameras.

Of the 9 lenses in the EF-S line, only 1 opens up to 2.8—the 60mm macro lens—and you won’t be using it in any high-speed context.  Macro subjects don’t move, as a rule.  In this case, the T3i’s Autofocus system is pure overkill.

Vari-Angle LCD: T3i’s Clear Winner

For the most part, we’ve seen so far how some of the tech specs on these cameras can be misleading.  It’s counter intuitive that some of the more advanced features of the T3i don’t necessarily mean that you’ll end up with better, higher quality pictures.  But there are two areas where the Canon Rebel T3 vs. T3i comparison makes a clear winner out of the T3i, and they’ve got nothing to with megapixels or image quality or ISO or shutter speed.

T3i’s Vari-Angle LCD offers much greater flexibility

canon-t3i-vari-angle

Learn More About the Vari-Angle LCD Here

The first is the T3i’s Vari-Angle LCD.

On the T3, the LCD monitor is a static object on the back of the camera.  On the T3i, however, the Vari-Angle monitor can swung out on a hinge, and then pivoted 360 degrees around.  What makes this feature so desirable is how it enables you to get shots from many different angles without having to contort your body in funky ways.

For example, if you want to photograph a child, your pictures will be much more compelling if you get the camera down to their level.  Without the Vari-Angle LCD, that means lying down on your stomach, or squatting, or any number of uncomfortable and awkward positions.

The LCD on the T3i enables you to avoid all that—just swing the monitor out away from the camera, and tilt it so it points upward.  Then you need only lower the camera down to the child’s level while looking down at the monitor.  There’s dozens of ways that this monitor makes shooting easier, and it might seem like a luxury.  But once you’ve used it, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it.

Self Cleaning Sensor: T3i trumps T3

Finally, the T3i has one major feature that the T3 lacks, and it’s an important one: a self-cleaning sensor.

The sensor is arguably the single most important element of a digital camera.  When the shutter opens and light pours through the lens, the sensor is what collects that light and organizes it into a picture before saving the image as a JPEG or RAW file.  And it is inevitable that dust will get on the sensor.

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Read Customer Reviews of the Canon T3i Here

Dust particles effectively block light from hitting the sensor, and result in blemishes on the final image.  Dust has always been a problem with SLRs, digital or otherwise.  But back in the days of film, if dust got in the camera it would settle on a single frame of the film roll, mess up the picture and then that was that.  You wound the film to the next frame, and the dust particle was gone.

With digital, the sensor is the film, and once dust lands on it, it’s there till you clean it off.  With the T3i, every time you turn the camera on or off, ultrasonic vibrations shake the dust off the sensor and onto an adhesive strip just below.  The T3 offers no such thing, and though it is possible to clean the sensor manually, I find it’s always best to just leave your sensitive electronics alone if at all possible.

Final Verdict:

In the battle between Canon’s T3 vs T3i, we side with the T3i!

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Buy the Canon T3i & Get 2% Back Now from Amazon!

The comparison of the Canon Rebel T3 vs. T3i is a tricky one, as we’ve seen.  It’s easy to get dazzled by numbers and specs and to adhere to a bigger-is-better philosophy when drawing comparisons.  But it’s important to look at these things critically.

As we’ve seen, for an amateur photographer who just wants to take high quality photos, the differences in camera specs don’t always make a compelling case for spending that extra money.  It’s the less sexy items, like a swing out monitor and self-cleaning sensor, that can—and sometimes should—drive the decision on what to purchase.

Canon vs Nikon – Which Camera Brand is Right for You?

With any new technology, the enthusiasts and hobbyists always seem to split into different factions: PC vs. Mac, iPhone vs. Android, Google vs. Bing.  It’s no different with digital cameras, and in the case of Canon vs. Nikon, it’s a debate that predates the digital revolution.  Photographers have been arguing back and forth for over 30 years, each side trying to establish supremacy over the other.  But you’re new to this world, and you haven’t chosen sides yet.  You’ve been shopping around for a DSLR, doing your research, and they both seem like great cameras.  So which one do you choose?  I know which one I prefer, but we’ll leave that for later.  Right now, you should think about which camera is going to suit your needs and offer you the most for your money.

canon vs nikon

Truth be told, Nikon vs Canon – it is a hard choice, because both companies have solid offerings all the way up their product lines, from entry level cameras for the hobbyist to professional grade units that cost more than a decent used car.

For our purposes here, we’ll focus on the entry level.  After all, if you were ready to go pro, you’d probably already have chosen sides in the battle of Canon vs. Nikon.

  • Features
  • Resolution
  • Camera Format
  • Sensor Type/ Size
  • Autofocus Points
  • ISO Sensitivity
  • Screen
  • Video Recording
  • Weight (Body)
  • Kit Lens
  • Rating
  • Self Cleaning Sensor
  • Reviews
Amazon Image
  • Canon Rebel T3

  • 12.2 MP
  • APS-C (1.6x Crop Factor)
  • CMOS, 22.0 x 14.7 mm
  • 9
  • 100 - 6400
  • 2.7" LCD
  • Yes, 1280 x 720 (HD)
  • 17.4 oz / 493 g
  • Canon 18 - 55 mm f/3.5-5.6
  • 4.5 / 5
  • No
  • Reviews

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  • Nikon D3100

  • 14.2 MP
  • DX (1.5x Crop Factor)
  • CMOS, 23.1 x 15.4 mm
  • 11
  • Extended: 100-12800
  • 3" LCD
  • 1920 x 1080 (Full HD)
  • 16.05 oz / 455 g
  • Nikon 18 - 55 mm f/3.5-5.6
  • 4.7 / 5
  • Yes
  • Reviews

Canon Rebel T3 vs Nikon D3100:

Image Resolution & Megapixels:

When you start to dig down into the specs, you see that there are certain trade offs between each model.  The first thing we all look at is megapixels—conventional wisdom has it that the bigger the number, the better the camera, but this isn’t necessarily true.  Yes, more megapixels means you can make larger prints, but the quality of your images is determined by the size of the camera’s sensor.  From a numbers perspective, Nikon wins on both counts: its entry level D3100 boasts 14.2 megapixels and a 23.1 x 15.4 mm sensor.  Canon’s Rebel T3, on the other hand, is very close behind with 12.2 megapixels and a 22 x 14.7mm sensor.  So, for image quality and size, Nikon beats out Canon—barely.  Understand that the differences in these specs are negligible.  The human eye will never perceive the difference in image quality, and the hobbyist rarely makes prints larger than 8×10.  Each camera has you more than covered for this requirement.

Autofocus:

Another place where Nikon shows a slight edge over Canon is in the number of dynamic autofocus points.  These are points in the field of view where the camera tries to “guess” at what is the subject of the photo.  If you want to compose a photo so that your subject is in the top right of the frame, you line your subject up with the top right autofocus point and let the camera do its thing.  The D3100 has 11 of these points; the Rebel T3 has 9.  This sounds like the Nikon gives you more choices for composition, and technically this is true.  But beware: some photographers—myself included—find even nine autofocus points more than necessary, and sometimes they can even be an intrusion.  In fully dynamic mode, the camera—with so many choices on where to focus—can often guess incorrectly, making spontaneous, act-fast types of shots difficult to shoot.  If you’re shooting action shots, you’ll find yourself setting the focus to one point only, and making sure you line your subject up with that.

Camera Settings: Is there a difference?

In almost no other specification do we see a difference in Canon vs. Nikon—the Rebel T3 and the D3100 are practically identical twins when it comes to the other standard camera settings.  Take shutter speed, for example.  On the slower end of things, both cameras feature a Bulb setting—where the shutter stays open for as long as you hold the button down—which is great for experimental low light photography.  Each camera’s slowest automatic shutter speed is 30 seconds.  For high speed shooting, both max out at 1/4000th of a second, which is fast enough to freeze a speeding car in time if you want to photograph it.  As far as other common settings like ISO, frame rate, monitor size, and picture settings, the Rebel T3 and the D3100 mirror one another almost across the board.

Lens Cost & Compatibility:

A more important factor when considering Canon vs. Nikon is lens compatibility.  Of course, if you’ve got some old lenses lying around it makes the decision on the body a lot easier.  The cost of quality lenses from both sides can often far exceed the price of an entry-level camera body; if you’re sitting on a few older Canon EF mount lenses from your 35mm film days, you can attach those to any of Canon’s digital offerings today, so the decision is pretty much a no-brainer.  Unless you’ve scratched up the glass, lenses don’t lose quality.  The same goes for Nikon and their F mount lenses.  In fact, Nikon’s been using the F mount since 1959; if you’re starting from scratch, and don’t mind a few manual focus lenses in your collection, a Nikon body may be the way to go.  You’ll have over 50 years of high quality glass to choose from on the secondary market, which is a great way to build a full camera system for far less money.

Camera Sensors: Which one is better?

There’s another fact that’s important to understand about the camera sensors for both brands, and how they affect which lenses you can or might want to use.  They both use what’s called the APS-C—the C means compact—sensor (Nikon calls it the DX, but it’s an APS-C).  Why should you care about this?  Well, these smaller sensors mean there’s something called a “crop factor” in your shots.  Basically, the compact sensor is not recording all of the light that your lens is pulling in and delivering to the camera body; it’s cropping the full image before you even see it in the viewfinder.  To keep it simple, let’s say a lens on a camera body with a full size sensor has a field of view that’s 100 feet wide.  That same lens, mounted on a body with an APS-C sensor is going to have a field of view that’s only 60 feet wide.  The Nikon has less of a crop factor than Canon, but it’s a negligible difference.  Both companies have created a line of lenses meant to produce optimal images with these smaller sensors—DX lenses for Nikon, EF-S for Canon.  The rear of the lens sits closer to the sensor and so image quality is improved as a result.  These lenses are also lighter and less expensive than lenses designed to work with full frame cameras.  But while you can use any Canon EF lens with an APS-C sensor, you can’t use an EF-S lens with a full size sensor.  The same goes for Nikon’s DX series.  This is important to know if you think you might ever upgrade to a full frame camera.   You’ll then need to start researching the lenses each company makes—or even third party lenses that are compatible with each body—and consider quality and price of each.   But that’s another article for another day.

Canon vs Nikon Cost Comparison:

Finally, as with all purchases, how do these cameras stack up against one another when it comes to price?  In the entry-level arena we’ve been discussing, who wins the price battle of Canon vs. Nikon?  The sticker price of the Nikon is $50 higher than the Canon—$549 vs. $499, with lens included—and that’s appropriate considering the slightly larger sensor, with a slightly smaller crop factor, that the Nikon D3100 has.  You’re even paying a bit less per megapixel on the Nikon.  These are just sticker prices, though.  When you start doing some comparison-shopping online, you begin to notice that their prices end up being nearly identical.  In the end, we’re looking at two brands of camera with world-class reputations and long histories of quality and innovation.

Final Verdict:

So, who wins the battle of Canon vs. Nikon?  I mentioned earlier that I had a preference—it’s Canon all the way.  Why?  For no good technical or financial reason, I can assure you.  For me it boils down to this: my father, a photography hobbyist, gave me his Canon A-1, and a handful of lenses, when I was 12 years old because I showed an interest.  I’ve spent my life shooting with Canon.  When I moved to digital, I got a Canon.  The FD mount lenses I had for my A-1 weren’t even compatible with the DSLR I ended up purchasing 25 years later.  It didn’t matter.  I knew the brand and learned the art of photography on that camera.  There’s a certain nostalgia I get every time I pick up my Canon now, and I’m transported back to being a kid again, finding new and interesting ways to record the world around me, one frame at a time.  With all things being pretty much equal in the comparison of Canon vs. Nikon, I’ll just go with my gut.  Does that mean I think you should get a Canon?  Yes.  Would I think you made a mistake if you went with Nikon?  Of course not.  Like I said at the beginning, you’ll want to buy a camera that suits your needs and gets you the most out of your money.  Either way, you’ll find yourself taking high quality photos with a top-notch piece of gear.  And that’s what you’re after, anyway, isn’t it?

Here’s a hilarious take on the Nikon vs Canon battle: