Updated (August 2010): Compare the Canon EOS 550D vs Nikon D3100

Canon EOS 550D vs Nikon D3100

Canon EOS 550D


Nikon D3100



Reasons to buy the Canon EOS 550D

Full HD
Movie format
1080p @ 30fps
High resolution screen
Screen resolution
1,040k dots
External mic jack
External mic jack
Record higher quality audio with a microphone
Really small
Prosumer size (129×98×62 mm)

Reasons to buy the Nikon D3100

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


Explore our gallery of 49 sample photos taken by the Canon EOS 550D.
Explore our gallery of 49 sample photos taken by the Nikon D3100.


Canon EOS 550D Competitors

Canon EOS 1200D

Canon EOS 1200D

Entry-level DSLR

$367 body only

Autofocus Video autofocus
Lowest price Much cheaper
Screen resolution Much lower resolution screen
Canon EOS 600D

Canon EOS 600D

Entry-level DSLR

Screen flips out Has a flip-out screen
Startup delay Much more startup delay
Canon EOS 700D

Canon EOS 700D

Entry-level DSLR

$540 with 18-55mm lens

Autofocus Video autofocus
HDR Has in-camera HDR
Color depth Worse color depth

Nikon D3100 Competitors

Nikon D3200

Nikon D3200

Entry-level DSLR

$289 body only

$379 - $447 with 18-55mm lens

Screen resolution Much higher resolution screen
Overall image quality Significantly better image quality
Thickness Thicker
Canon EOS 1200D

Canon EOS 1200D

Entry-level DSLR

$367 body only

Screen resolution Higher resolution screen
True resolution Significantly higher true resolution
Low light performance More noise at high ISO
Nikon D3300

Nikon D3300

Entry-level DSLR

$400 - $497 with 18-55mm lens

Low light performance Significantly lower noise at high ISO
Screen resolution Much higher resolution screen
Size Slightly larger


Advantages of the Canon 550D

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Screen resolution
Much higher resolution screen
1,040k dots vs 230k dots
More than 4.5x higher resolution screen
External mic jack
Has an external mic jack
Yes vs No
Record high quality audio with an external microphone
True resolution
Higher true resolution
17.9 MP vs 14.2 MP
Capture around 30% more detail in your photos
Movie format
Lower frame rate movies
1080p @ 30fps vs 1080p @ 24fps
Both shoot Full HD (1080p) video, but 550D does so at a higher frame rate
Dynamic range
More dynamic range
11.5 EV vs 11.3 EV
0.4 f-stops more dynamic range
Viewfinder size
Larger viewfinder
0.54x vs 0.51x
More than 10% larger viewfinder
Much thinner
2.4" vs 2.9"
Around 20% thinner
Continuous shooting
Shoots faster
3.7 fps vs 3 fps
More than 20% faster continuous shooting
Shutter lag
Less shutter lag
252 ms vs 279 ms
Around 10% less delay when taking photos
129×98×62 mm vs 124×97×74 mm
More than 10% smaller
Light sensitivity
Better maximum light sensitivity
6,400 ISO vs 3,200 ISO
The 550D's maximum light sensitivity is 2 f-stops better
Canon EOS 550D Learn more about
the Canon 550D

Advantages of the Nikon D3100

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Video autofocus
Contrast detection vs None
Automatically focuses shooting video
Low light performance
Lower noise at high ISO
919 ISO vs 784 ISO
The D3100 has a slight edge (0.2 f-stops) in low-noise, high-ISO performance
Color depth
Better color depth
22.5 bits vs 22.1 bits
Distinguishes 0.4 more bits of color
Lowest price
Much cheaper
$259.89 vs $756.20
The best price we've seen is $496 cheaper (2.9x less)
Battery life
Longer battery life
550 shots vs 440 shots
Around 30% more shots per battery charge
Overall image quality
Slightly better image quality
67.0 vs 66.0
Almost the same
Lens availability
Slightly more lenses available
230 lenses vs 220 lenses
Almost the same
Focus points
Slightly more focus points
11 vs 9
Set focus accurately within the frame
Slightly lighter
505 g vs 530 g
Almost the same
Nikon D3100 Learn more about
the Nikon D3100


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

Snapsort Recommends
Canon EOS 550D Canon EOS 550D 56
        You save
        53 Nikon D3100 Nikon D3100
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              Compared to recent entry-level DSLRs

              Common Strengths
              Lens availability Many lenses available Help
              550D220 lenses
              D3100230 lenses
              Startup delay Minimal startup delay Help
              400 ms startup delay
              Size Fairly small Help
              550D129×98×62 mm
              D3100124×97×74 mm
              Common Weaknesses
              Fastest shutter speed Slow max shutter speed Help
              1/4000 of a second
              Built-in focus motor No focus motor Help
              Won't autofocus with all lenses
              HDR Neither has in-camera HDR Help
              You could do HDR manually
              Viewfinder coverage Below average viewfinder coverage Help
              Light sensitivity (boost) Poor boost ISO Help
              12,800 ISO
              Continuous shooting Slow continuous shooting Help
              550D3.7 fps
              D31003 fps
              Cross type focus points Few cross-type focus points Help
              Light sensitivity Poor maximum light sensitivity Help
              550D6,400 ISO
              D31003,200 ISO
              True resolution Capture low resolution images Help
              550D17.9 MP
              D310014.2 MP
              Shutter lag Significant shutter lag Help
              550D252 ms
              D3100279 ms
              Focus points Few focus points Help
              Screen flips out No flip-out screens Help
              Less flexible
              Weather sealed Neither is weather sealed Help
              Need to shelter it from weather
              Image stabilization No image stabilization Help
              Risk of blur
              Dynamic range Poor dynamic range Help
              550D11.5 EV
              D310011.3 EV
              Touch screen No touchscreens Help
              More buttons
              Viewfinder size Below average viewfinder size Help
              Overall image quality Low image quality Help
              Movie format Full HD (1080p) video Help
              550D1080p @ 30fps
              D31001080p @ 24fps
              Low light performance Above average noise at high ISO Help
              550D784 ISO
              D3100919 ISO




              Canon EOS 550D Nikon D3100
              Canon EOS 550D Nikon D3100
              Canon EOS 550D Nikon D3100


              Canon EOS 550D
              EOS 550D

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              Nikon D3100

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              Showing 25 comments

              Avatar for Ross McEwan Ross McEwan (0:46 AM, March 19, 2014)
              Have a Niko D3100 , in the hand it just feels nicer than the Canon, easy to use one handed for action shots, gigs, sporting evets etc, depth of field is amazing, don't be drawn by more or less megapixels as they are just used as a number to sell cameras, unless you need HUGE prints you wont notice the differece between 5 - 15 megapixels (althought your comp will as more megapixels take more space) My pics taken on my D3100 are being awarded weekly, it really is the best camera I have ever bought.
              Avatar for Nikush Kalandadze Nikush Kalandadze (3:12 PM, August 12, 2013)
              nikon's auto focus during video shooting is shit, doesn't works well so it's not advantage
              Rajkumar (5:34 AM, October 09, 2012)
              go to the store. feel both. buy one you like. cannon or nikon is a personal choice. i personally prefer 550D. But the catch is no focus motors meaning for autofocus to work on the new lenses you buy - u have to make sure the lense has builtin motor
              Avatar for Snapsort Snapsort (1:28 PM, July 03, 2012)
              It will depend more on what lens you get. You can check out our sister site LensHero to find a good lens.
              Premtimes18 (3:36 AM, June 29, 2012)
              Can somebody tell me which one is good for normal and macro photography? 
              Canon 550D or Nikon D3100
              Masirvan (10:24 AM, April 11, 2012)
              i love 550d by canon..
              D3100 user (4:12 PM, April 09, 2012)
              if you wanna go for video shooting, i do think that 550D is better (the quality and its external mic jack). But through some test done (not by me) D3100 is better..... 
              Avatar for aftab aftab (6:55 AM, March 07, 2012)
              go for Nikon D5100.
              Rohan (6:13 AM, February 28, 2012)
              The comparison says the 550D has a built in autofocus motor ...As far as i know...550D does not have a built in focus motor ....
              Alice Swain (5:20 PM, February 27, 2012)
              i want a new camera, but dont know which of these two to get! i mainly take videos of horses (and the occasional picture, but would love to take more if i had a good camera to do it with!). which camera would you think be better for me?
              Sanjivcell (7:15 PM, February 21, 2012)
              sanjeev arora
              I think the nikon d 3100 is the winner and a better option. Because u have to see all fetures and price also.
              murali (3:43 PM, February 17, 2012)
              I'm going for rebel T2i. because, Nikon's image colours are completely washed out when compared to canon. Canon is slightly higher price than Nikon but its worth for money. One more advantage T2i is, its have an external microphone jack. I love canon.:)
              Ben (3:08 PM, February 10, 2012)
              Ben (3:02 PM, February 10, 2012)
              go for the t2i 
              Ben (2:59 PM, February 10, 2012)
              t2i if I were you
              Okko2 (4:11 AM, February 04, 2012)
              i want to buy a new photographer's cam and im so confused which one is better?
              Magesh (5:54 PM, February 03, 2012)
              guys , Just give me a suggestion to buy canon 550d or nikon d3100 
              Vishwanath (2:24 PM, January 17, 2012)
              I'm just an amateur photographer, still confused weather to go for NIKON D3100 or CANON 550D, but canon has more features than nikon, and has an ISO upgreadable to 12800, and my budget is around 50K.

              So will anyone suggest me about this????
              Avatar for Hatem Hatem (3:29 AM, January 01, 2012)
              Well presented comparaison bravo !
              Avatar for keerthi keerthi (9:41 AM, December 30, 2011)
              Hi Evryone..
                                   I seriouly need an important suggestion as iam greatly confused by so many reviews over the internet.Basically my situation is we are going to have a baby due in march so i want to take the best pictures which would cherish lifelong and i shortlisted Nikon d3100 or Canon eos 550d within my budget but im not sure which one to choose, I want the best image quality and crisp and sharpness of image and which lenses to prefer .Please please i need all ur best suggestions on which camera to buy for best quality images for baby and children..Thanx a lott in advance.

              Note: I not bothered about video quality as i already purchased my camcorder.
              N Raptored90 (10:49 PM, November 28, 2011)
              i compared my nikon d3100 with the canon 600d ......canon seemed to beat nikon in color and clarity and image quality and light distribution tooo......
              N Raptored90 (10:47 PM, November 28, 2011)
              juzz love my nikon d3100!!
              N Raptored90 (10:45 PM, November 28, 2011)
              i compared my nikon d3100 to canon 660d .....canon seems to beat the image quality than my nikon......so shd i  switch to canon??
              Karix_v (4:53 AM, November 23, 2011)
              up to now i'm still confused... i love the picture quality of nikon d3100 but some says canon 550d is also good..
              Avatar for Satyam Joshi Satyam Joshi (2:48 AM, November 16, 2011)
              <>you save money, invest it on some gears like...filters,tripods,macro or tele lenses, extra batteries, or ext flash light...etc...but if u go for 550D u'll get short of budget to buy these !! so NIK d3100 rocks !! ..i still haven't bought d3100 but am going to!!