Updated (March 2012): Compare the Canon EOS 500D vs Nikon D3200

Canon EOS 500D vs Nikon D3100

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Canon EOS 500D

53

Nikon D3100

53

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Reasons to buy the Canon EOS 500D

High resolution screen
Screen resolution
920k dots
Barely any delay taking photos
Shutter lag
159 ms shutter lag
Really small
Size
Prosumer size (129×98×62 mm)
Thin
Thickness
2.4"
 

Reasons to buy the Nikon D3100

Movie format
Full HD
1080p @ 24fps
Supports 24p
24p movies
For that film look
Movie continuous focus
Movie continuous focus
Makes it easy to get in-focus movies
Badge
Autofocuses shooting video
Contrast detection

Items often bought with the Canon 500D or Nikon D3100

galleries

Explore our gallery of 50 sample photos taken by the Canon EOS 500D.
Explore our gallery of 49 sample photos taken by the Nikon D3100.

differences

Advantages of the Canon 500D

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Screen resolution
Much higher resolution screen
920k dots vs 230k dots
Help
4x higher resolution screen
Shutter lag
Much less shutter lag
159 ms vs 279 ms
Help
More than 40% less delay when taking photos
Dynamic range
More dynamic range
11.5 EV vs 11.3 EV
Help
0.4 f-stops more dynamic range
Viewfinder size
Larger viewfinder
0.54x vs 0.51x
Help
More than 10% larger viewfinder
Thickness
Much thinner
2.4" vs 2.9"
Help
Around 20% thinner
Size
Smaller
129×98×62 mm vs 124×97×74 mm
Help
More than 10% smaller
Continuous shooting
Shoots slightly faster
3.4 fps vs 3 fps
Help
More than 10% faster continuous shooting
True resolution
Slightly higher true resolution
15.1 MP vs 14.2 MP
Help
Capture around 10% more detail in your photos
Startup delay
Slightly less startup delay
300 ms vs 400 ms
Help
Around 30% less delay when turning on
Canon EOS 500D Learn more about
the Canon 500D

Advantages of the Nikon D3100

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Supports 24p
Supports 24p
Yes vs No
Help
Get that real film feel
Color depth
Better color depth
22.5 bits vs 21.7 bits
Help
Distinguishes 0.8 more bits of color
Low light performance
Lower noise at high ISO
919 ISO vs 663 ISO
Help
The D3100 has a slight edge (0.5 f-stops) in low-noise, high-ISO performance
Autofocus
Video autofocus
Contrast detection vs None
Help
Automatically focuses shooting video
Overall image quality
Better image quality
67.0 vs 63.0
Help
Around 10% better image quality
Battery life
Longer battery life
550 shots vs 400 shots
Help
Around 40% more shots per battery charge
Movie format
Higher frame rate movies
1080p @ 24fps vs 1080p @ 20fps
Help
Both shoot Full HD (1080p) video, but 500D does so at a lower frame rate
Lens availability
Slightly more lenses available
230 lenses vs 220 lenses
Help
Almost the same
Focus points
Slightly more focus points
11 vs 9
Help
Set focus accurately within the frame
Weight
Slightly lighter
505 g vs 520 g
Help
Almost the same
Nikon D3100 Learn more about
the Nikon D3100
vs

recommendations

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

Canon EOS 500D Canon EOS 500D 53
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      Color
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        vs
        53 Nikon D3100 Nikon D3100
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            Color
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              similarities

              Compared to recent entry-level DSLRs

              Common Strengths
              Startup delay Minimal startup delay Help
              500D300 ms
              D3100400 ms
              Lens availability Many lenses available Help
              500D220 lenses
              D3100230 lenses
              Size Fairly small Help
              500D129×98×62 mm
              D3100124×97×74 mm
              Common Weaknesses
              Fastest shutter speed Slow max shutter speed Help
              1/4000 of a second
              HDR Neither has in-camera HDR Help
              You could do HDR manually
              Viewfinder coverage Below average viewfinder coverage Help
              95%
              True resolution Capture low resolution images Help
              500D15.1 MP
              D310014.2 MP
              Light sensitivity (boost) Poor boost ISO Help
              12,800 ISO
              External mic jack Neither has an external mic jack Help
              Limited to the in-camera mic
              Continuous shooting Slow continuous shooting Help
              500D3.4 fps
              D31003 fps
              Cross type focus points Few cross-type focus points Help
              1
              Light sensitivity Poor maximum light sensitivity Help
              3,200 ISO
              Focus points Few focus points Help
              500D9
              D310011
              Screen flips out No flip-out screens Help
              Less flexible
              Touch screen No touchscreens Help
              More buttons
              Image stabilization No image stabilization Help
              Risk of blur
              Weather sealed Neither is weather sealed Help
              Need to shelter it from weather
              Dynamic range Poor dynamic range Help
              500D11.5 EV
              D310011.3 EV
              Movie format Full HD (1080p) video Help
              500D1080p @ 20fps
              D31001080p @ 24fps
              Viewfinder size Below average viewfinder size Help
              500D0.54x
              D31000.51x
              Overall image quality Low image quality Help
              500D63.0
              D310067.0
              Low light performance Above average noise at high ISO Help
              500D663 ISO
              D3100919 ISO

              dxomark

              DXOMark

              competitors

              Shared Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              Canon EOS Rebel T5

              Canon EOS Rebel T5

              Entry-level DSLR

              $319 body only

              $399 with 18-55mm lens

              True resolution Takes slightly higher resolution photos
              Thickness Is thicker
              Sensor cleaning Lacks a self cleaning sensor
              Nikon D3200

              Nikon D3200

              Entry-level DSLR

              $289 body only

              $349 - $447 with 18-55mm lens

              Low light performance Is slightly less noisy at high ISO
              Overall image quality Has significantly better image quality
              Thickness Is thicker
              Size Is slightly larger
              Canon Rebel T3

              Canon Rebel T3

              Entry-level DSLR

              $339 body only

              $399 with 18-55mm lens

              Battery life Has a slightly longer battery life
              Thickness Is thicker
              Sensor cleaning Lacks a self cleaning sensor
              Nikon D3300

              Nikon D3300

              Entry-level DSLR

              $430 - $497 with 18-55mm lens

              Low light performance Is significantly less noisy at high ISO
              Overall image quality Has significantly better image quality
              Thickness Is thicker
              Size Is slightly larger
              Canon Kiss X5

              Canon Kiss X5

              Entry-level DSLR

              $1,299 body only

              Screen resolution Has a slightly higher resolution screen
              True resolution Takes slightly higher resolution photos
              Lowest price Is much more expensive
              Thickness Is thicker
              Canon Rebel T5i

              Canon Rebel T5i

              Entry-level DSLR

              $259 - $649 body only

              $581 - $649 with 18-55mm lens

              Screen resolution Has a slightly higher resolution screen
              True resolution Takes slightly higher resolution photos
              Thickness Is thicker
              Weight Is slightly heavier
              Canon EOS Rebel T2i

              Canon Rebel T2i

              Entry-level DSLR

              $898 with 18-55mm, 75-300mm lenses

              Screen resolution Has a slightly higher resolution screen
              True resolution Takes slightly higher resolution photos
              Lowest price Is much more expensive
              Shutter lag Has significantly more shutter lag

              Canon EOS 500D Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              No significant competitors found that are specific to the Canon EOS 500D.

              Nikon D3100 Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              No significant competitors found that are specific to the Nikon D3100.

              appearance

              Canon EOS 500D Nikon D3100
              Canon EOS 500D Nikon D3100
              Canon EOS 500D Nikon D3100

              discussion

              Canon EOS 500D
              EOS 500D
              Canon

              Report a correction
              Nikon D3100
              D3100
              Nikon

              Report a correction

              Showing 5 comments

              Avatar for Mark Stanley-Adams Mark Stanley-Adams (9:56 AM, November 22, 2012)
              Two very good cameras which are so similar in so many ways as to be virtually indistinguishable from each other. I've fiddled with both and found the differences between them are not at all significant, so choosing between them comes right down to a matter of your personal preference.
               
              An2ar (9:35 AM, April 27, 2012)
              i use both, d3100 too sharp for colorful image, and at low light...its look too much noise at high iso.500d image looks more bright, less noise at high iso but blur the details of the image. Using daylight nikon the winner, but don't use flash with red eye reduction, it cause slow response for the shutter. The entire body i feel more comfort with canon and also the design.Nikon lens kit 18-55 looks  fragile especially when you turn the zoom fast. For video feature nikon is better, easy live view, and you can capture video in any mode with shortcut button.
               
              Yanuarpooh (2:30 PM, January 11, 2012)
              i had nikon D3100 and it's rock
               
              Mike (8:20 PM, March 31, 2011)
              Rumour has it Nikons are easier to use. Best thing to do is hold both in your hands and you should know which you want
               
              Piyush_bond007 (5:55 PM, March 06, 2011)
              what according to you wil be a right choice for a beginner?