Updated (October, 2012): Compare the Canon Rebel T4i vs Nikon D5200

Nikon D5100 vs Canon Rebel T3i

Nikon D5100


Canon Rebel T3i



Reasons to buy the Nikon D5100

Low noise at high ISO
Low light performance
1,183 ISO
Great image quality
Overall image quality
Great color depth
Color depth
23.5 bits
Wide dynamic range
Dynamic range
13 EV

Reasons to buy the Canon Rebel T3i

Screen flips out
Flip-out screen
Great for movies


Explore 23 sample photos taken by the Canon Rebel T3i


Advantages of the Canon T3i

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Screen resolution
Higher resolution screen
1,040k dots vs 920k dots
More than 10% higher resolution screen
True resolution
Higher true resolution
17.9 MP vs 16.1 MP
Capture more than 10% more detail in your photos
Viewfinder size
Slightly larger viewfinder
0.53x vs 0.51x
Around 10% larger viewfinder
Canon Rebel T3i Learn more about
the Canon T3i

Advantages of the Nikon D5100

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Low light performance
Significantly lower noise at high ISO
1,183 ISO vs 793 ISO
The D5100 has a slight edge (0.6 f-stops) in low noise, high ISO performance
Overall image quality
Significantly better image quality
80.0 vs 65.0
More than 20% better image quality
Dynamic range
More dynamic range
13 EV vs 11.5 EV
1.5 f-stops more dynamic range
Video autofocus
Contrast detection vs None
Automatically focuses shooting video
Color depth
Better color depth
23.5 bits vs 22.1 bits
Distinguishes 1.4 more bits of color
Has in-camera HDR
Yes vs No
Combines multiple exposures to capture high dynamic range
Startup delay
Much less startup delay
500 ms vs 1500 ms
3x less delay when turning on
Battery life
Longer battery life
660 shots vs 440 shots
50% more shots per battery charge
Light sensitivity (boost)
Better boost ISO
25,600 ISO vs 12,800 ISO
The D5100's boost ISO is 1 f-stop better
127x96x78 mm vs 133x99x79 mm
Around 10% smaller
Continuous shooting
Shoots slightly faster
4 fps vs 3.7 fps
Around 10% faster continuous shooting
Lens availability
Slightly more lenses available
205 lenses vs 197 lenses
Almost the same
Shutter lag
Slightly less shutter lag
273 ms vs 283 ms
Almost the same
Focus points
Slightly more focus points
11 vs 9
Set focus accurately within the frame
Lowest price
$354.09 vs $499.00
The best price we've seen is $145 cheaper (around 30% less)
Slightly thinner
3.1" vs 3.1"
Almost the same
Nikon D5100 Learn more about
the Nikon D5100


Which camera do we recommend? Relative to the best recent entry-level DSLRs, and ignoring price

Snapsort Recommends
Canon Rebel T3i Canon Rebel T3i 59
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        71 Nikon D5100 Nikon D5100
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              Compared to recent entry-level DSLRs

              Common Strengths
              Screen flips out Flip-out screens Help
              Great for movies
              Lens availability Many lenses available Help
              T3i197 lenses
              D5100205 lenses
              External mic jack Have external mic jacks Help
              Record higher quality audio with a microphone
              Lowest price Inexpensive Help
              Common Weaknesses
              Fastest shutter speed Slow max shutter speed Help
              1/4000 of a second
              Thickness Quite thick Help
              Storage slots Fewer storage slots Help
              Viewfinder coverage Below average viewfinder coverage Help
              Cross type focus points Few cross-type focus points Help
              Continuous shooting Slow continuous shooting Help
              T3i3.7 fps
              D51004 fps
              True resolution Capture low resolution images Help
              T3i17.9 MP
              D510016.1 MP
              Light sensitivity Poor maximum light sensitivity Help
              6,400 ISO
              Focus points Few focus points Help
              Shutter lag Significant shutter lag Help
              T3i283 ms
              D5100273 ms
              Image stabilization No image stabilization Help
              Risk of blur
              Weather sealed Neither is weather sealed Help
              Need to shelter it from weather
              Viewfinder size Below average viewfinder size Help
              Touch screen No touchscreens Help
              More buttons
              Movie format Both shoot high resolution HD movies Help
              1080p @ 30fps




              Shared Competitors



              Nikon D3200

              Nikon D3200

              Entry-level DSLR

              $290 body only

              $379 - $447 with 18-55mm lens

              True resolution Takes significantly higher resolution photos
              Thickness Is thinner
              Screen flips out Doesn't have a screen which flips out
              Canon Rebel T5i

              Canon Rebel T5i

              Entry-level DSLR

              $599 - $699 body only

              $620 - $700 with 18-55mm lens

              Touch screen Has a touch screen
              Continuous shooting Shoots faster continuously
              Lowest price Is slightly more expensive
              Size Is slightly larger
              Canon EOS Rebel T5

              Canon EOS Rebel T5

              Entry-level DSLR

              $499 body only

              $399 - $419 with 18-55mm lens

              Weight Is slightly lighter
              Sensor cleaning Lacks a self cleaning sensor
              External mic jack Lacks and external mic jack
              Nikon D5200

              Nikon D5200

              Entry-level DSLR

              $497 - $547 body only

              $499 - $647 with 18-55mm lens

              Movie format Records higher quality movies
              True resolution Takes significantly higher resolution photos
              Lowest price Is slightly more expensive
              Nikon D3300

              Nikon D3300

              Entry-level DSLR

              $677 body only

              $420 - $497 with 18-55mm lens

              Low light performance Is slightly less noisy at high ISO
              Movie format Records higher quality movies
              Screen flips out Doesn't have a screen which flips out
              Canon EOS 60D

              Canon EOS 60D

              Pro DSLR

              $479 - $679 body only

              $800 - $900 with 18-135mm lens

              Viewfinder size Slightly larger viewfinder
              Continuous shooting Shoots faster continuously
              Lowest price Is slightly more expensive
              Weight Is significantly heavier
              Canon Rebel SL1

              Canon Rebel SL1

              Entry-level DSLR

              $399 - $549 body only

              $499 - $500 with 18-55mm lens

              Touch screen Has a touch screen
              Size Is significantly smaller
              Screen flips out Doesn't have a screen which flips out
              Color depth Has slightly less color depth

              Canon Rebel T3i Competitors



              No significant competitors found that are specific to the Canon Rebel T3i.

              Nikon D5100 Competitors



              No significant competitors found that are specific to the Nikon D5100.


              Canon Rebel T3i Nikon D5100
              Canon Rebel T3i Nikon D5100
              Canon Rebel T3i Nikon D5100


              Canon Rebel T3i
              Rebel T3i

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              Nikon D5100

              Report a correction

              Showing 25 comments

              a (2:01 PM, July 11, 2013)
              - better quality and colors? How can you tell? Read the facts
              - better video? How can you tell? Read the facts again
              - better flash? how are you measuring that?
              - better grip? why?
              - Dedicated iso button? You can have that with the d5100, you can assign the function button to anything

              Its true that you can have cheaper lenses with canon, because of nikon's lack of autofocus in the body.
              a (1:52 PM, July 11, 2013)
              You can have all manual exposure and focus control in video with the d5100
              a (1:49 PM, July 11, 2013)
              Nikon d5100 has a help button that explains what everything inside the camera does
              a (1:45 PM, July 11, 2013)
              Sorry to disappoint you, but nikon d5100 does have manual controls while video shooting. Its a false rumor that you can only use it in auto mode. You can use both manual or automatic focusing while shooting video.
              a (1:40 PM, July 11, 2013)
              Not true, you can assign white balance to the dedicated "function button". You can assign lots of things there
              Avatar for Myy Selff Myy Selff (8:24 AM, March 09, 2013)
              ahahah:) I have seen pictures taken by these two cameras and believe me canon t3i is much better:)
              guest (8:26 AM, May 04, 2012)
              you guys really need to fix your price of the d5100.  It's always listed as $1114 or soemthing and the link sends you to this huge kit with 2 lenses, tripod, memory card etc.  The d5100 body is 600, with kit lens 700.
              Ltcasanova (4:06 AM, April 15, 2012)
              This year my cousin and I are taking AP studio design and I recently purchased a nikon D5100 and my cousin decided to buy  the canont3i. Before buying i came across this page and saved it to my bookmark to write a review after taking advantage of my camara. Well  canon offers higher megapixels however, nikon always has that sharper resolution to their image ( thats kinda the nikon signature). Lately, everytime my cousin and I take images during family parties she always asks to "send her the pictures to upload to flickr."
              I also found that nikon pictures look amazing when manipulated through photoshop cs4, canon looks geat but not a sharp. (everyone looks for something different)

              Now for videos, I love the fact that my nikon auto focuses. alot of people find this a tad annoying but most of the time I set up my camara in a tripod and it does an amazing job. for example, holding up a bottle and it fo uses on the lable in seconds. I tried to do the same with the canon but it blurs a bit before it focuses ( i'm meticulous i know).

              Everyone is just looks for different things in a camara. Just do  a lot of research before you buy your camara!
              Nobody (8:42 PM, April 08, 2012)
              If you want ease over picture quality (definitely there is difference if you place them side by side), you should opt for T3i.
              Nobody (8:40 PM, April 08, 2012)
              I bought the T3i and a friend of mine bought the D5100, we shot pictures during a birthday party. The pictures from D5100 were much better in low light, which they were about the same in out door shooting. The controls and menu items are easy on T3i, the D5100 menu needs some getting used to. If you want ease over quality, I would recommend D5100, having said that, the grip on T3i is much better and  feels well balanced. T3i distorts the colors slightly and D5100 is close to the natural color.
              Gzmanus (8:18 PM, April 07, 2012)
              I strongly  agree with what Winswing said about the failure rate. I never used D5100, instead I used to have a Nikon D50 - right after one year warranty, the main circuit board was totally dead, got it repaired and used for another two years, and then  the internal flash was dead and made the camera hard to use. I took less than 10,000 photos in total with my D50. Recently I bought a D90 body to replace my borken D50. used it for one and half month, the internal flash stared to not always fire under aperture priority mode when I need fill flash on the subject. Called Nikon and they said under AP mode, the internal flash should always fire and they adivce me to send it to service. I was really freaked out, and decided to return my 1.5 month old D90 to store. i am thinking about giving Canon T3i a  try for fear of the possibility of getting another Nikon lemon product.  Don't get me wrong, I like the picture quality of Nikon DSLR, I used my D50 to take many good photos for my kids. but their hardware stability is really a big concern to me. maybe I am not a lukcy buyer for Nikon, thinking about two defective camera from two purchases.
              Manesh174 (10:49 AM, March 28, 2012)
              the picture quality in nikon d5100 is far superior to canon t3i...better colour depth really outsmarts the canon and what else nikon d5100 has inbuilt HDR mode which is great..plus the effects mode in d5100 is wow, which the canon t3i lacks...if we talk about manual controls in video ..yes nikon can do that but not in real time but u have to do it in advance to shooting...plus the video has autofocus which canon lacks
              Loregarcia (10:08 PM, March 27, 2012)
              This is an incomplete comparison!!. Go for t3i, better quality and colors up to 3.200 iso (99% time), better videos, better flash, better grip and buttons, dedicated iso button (d5100 not), best sharper lcd, cheaper lens, histogram (d5100 not), faster autofocus, etc., autofocus in body (d5100 not), best viewfinder, gridlines, wireless flash (d5100 not), and faster menues. The adventages of nikon is, best pictures for >3.200 iso, effects, and noise video autofocus. So if you will take night pictures d5100 otherwise t3i. Sorry my english!
              Chris (3:29 AM, March 18, 2012)
              I cannot how no review mentions all the controls missing on D5100. In T2i and T3i with one click of button you can change white balance, shooting mode, etc etc. 

              They are all missing in D5100 - you would have to go through the menu and spend at least few seconds.
              Yuvcom (11:57 PM, March 12, 2012)
              went by reviews and disappointed on the performance of D5100. As for image quality and videos, would say Canon is better.
              Winswing (4:44 AM, March 04, 2012)
              I agree. I have read so many reviews and generally people think Canon has advantage in Video. What really concerns me about the Nikon D5100 or (any entry level Nikon) is its built quality. Higher failure rate is found on Nikon D5100 and I don't think it is simply because it is made in Thailand versus Canon T3i made in Japan (still). Countries don't matter these days.
              Blazinace35 (5:40 AM, March 02, 2012)
              After much deliberation I went with the nikon because of the image quality you get. What I think some people don't realize is that picture quality translates to video quality as well. With a sharper image and more color your video comes out looking sharper as well. As far as the "full manual control" as it relates to video, when you're setting your exposure for a video the lighting situation does not change unless you're outside, once you set your lights you set your exposure as well. As far as shutter speed being changed on the fly idk why anyone would do that in the middle of shooting a video as well. Most cases that would come from doing a different take or multiple cameras. The one advantage Canon does have is audio monitoring so I give them that but outside of that its basically a toss up between the two, but if you want the best image go with nikon.
              Jerrywielo (0:05 PM, February 20, 2012)
              Numbers numbers... Here is 77 to 58 for Nikon when you go to http://www.dpreview.com/ there is 77 to 76 for Canon :| I think I'm going to wait for iPhone 5
              rs21 (6:49 PM, January 30, 2012)
              After going through extensive reviews on different places (dpreview, Amazon, NewEgg, BH etc...), I come below conclusion:
              Nikon D5100 has slightly better ImageQuality, LoWLightPerformance, LowNoise on high ISO compared to T3i.

              Canon T3i has less failure (came died) rate, Better Video Quality & better Customer support compared to D5100.
              Rfgthyujhygtfr (5:04 AM, January 30, 2012)
              does t3i have the auto display sensor like the t1i and t2i where u put eye on viewfinder display auto off?
              Asdfghj (3:27 AM, January 26, 2012)
              im probably gonna get the t3i i mean cmon, d5100 seems really entry level look at the menu and keys, much more basic canon, if not im probably going to get the t4i since it will come out this year before fall and might buy it for black friday.
              Alex (3:30 AM, January 12, 2012)
              Nah, the D5100 video is still very nice.
              Alex (3:20 AM, January 12, 2012)
              I own the T3i and the D5100. My main purpose for both is video. I agree
              with those who say Canon is superior for
              video. It doesn't totally blow the D5100 out of the water, but the
              advantages are there. The Nikon has a little more noise with the exact
              same ISO, shutter and F settings. Maybe for photos this isn't the case, I
              don't know... Also, as others have mentioned, the control
              on the Canon can be completely manual.

              One big difference is the full
              HD digital zoom. That is awesome!! And I really like the
              60fps option at 720 the Canon offers. If I need to get more frames for
              slow motion, this is nice. I wish it were at full HD, but at least it's
              there at all!

              That's my two cents. Good Luck!
              whichone (1:30 AM, January 10, 2012)
              snapsort, d5100 or t3i? the d5100 video isn't that bad right? 
              RobBnTX (10:58 PM, December 31, 2011)
              Canon puts all their focus motors in the lens not the camera, no matter the model.  Smaller is not better for most of us, and the T3i is the largest of the Rebel models. Canon markets a grip for the T3i, Nikon does not for the D5100.  The T3i features a built-in pop-up master flash to control wireless flash.  Image wise, comparisons I have seen I would give the nod to the Canon. 

              Now having said all that, I covet higher end Nikon models so I am thinking of getting a refurbished or used D90 just to get my foot in the Nikon door, but would probably be happy with a D5100.