Updated (April 2011): Compare the Canon Rebel T3i vs Nikon D5100

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
13.6 EV

Reasons to buy the Canon Rebel T3i

Screen resolution
High resolution screen
1,040k dots
Screen flips out
Flip-out screen
Great for movies


Explore our gallery of 50 sample photos taken by the Canon Rebel T3i.
Explore our gallery of 50 sample photos taken by the Nikon D5100.


Nikon D5100 Competitors

Nikon D3300

Nikon D3300

Entry-level DSLR

$369 - $447 with 18-55mm lens

Movie format Lower frame rate movies
Low light performance Lower noise at high ISO
HDR Lacks in-camera HDR
Nikon D3200

Nikon D3200

Entry-level DSLR

$249 body only

$299 - $447 with 18-55mm lens

True resolution Much higher true resolution
Color depth Better color depth
HDR Lacks in-camera HDR
Nikon D5200

Nikon D5200

Entry-level DSLR

$360 body only

$480 - $500 with 18-55mm lens

Movie format Lower frame rate movies
True resolution Much higher true resolution
Shutter lag More shutter lag

Canon Rebel T3i Competitors

Canon Rebel T5i

Canon Rebel T5i

Entry-level DSLR

$470 - $649 body only

$529 - $649 with 18-55mm lens

Autofocus Video autofocus
Startup delay Much less startup delay
Color depth Worse color depth
Canon EOS Rebel T5

Canon EOS Rebel T5

Entry-level DSLR

$399 body only

$310 - $399 with 18-55mm lens

Autofocus Video autofocus
Battery life Slightly longer battery life
Screen resolution Much lower resolution screen
Nikon D3300

Nikon D3300

Entry-level DSLR

$369 - $447 with 18-55mm lens

Low light performance Much lower noise at high ISO
Overall image quality Much better image quality
Screen flips out Screen does not flip out


Nikon D5100

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Canon Rebel T3i
Rebel T3i

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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.