Updated (April, 2011): Compare the Canon EOS 600D vs Nikon D5100

Canon EOS 550D

Winner
Canon EOS 550D

56

vs

Nikon D5000

50

Nikon D5000

Runner-up
     

Reasons to buy the Canon EOS 550D

Full HD
Movie format
1080p @ 30fps
High resolution screen
Screen resolution
1,040k dots
24p movies
Supports 24p
For that film look
External mic jack
External mic jack
Record higher quality audio with a microphone
 

Reasons to buy the Nikon D5000

Overall image quality
Great image quality
72.0
Color depth
Great color depth
22.7 bits
Dynamic range
Wide dynamic range
12.5 EV
Supports 24p
24p movies
For that film look
 

differences

Advantages of the Canon 550D

Report a correction
Movie format
Higher resolution movies
1080p @ 30fps vs 720p @ 24fps
Help
Shoots higher resolution Full HD (1080p) video at a higher frame rate
Screen resolution
Much higher resolution screen
1,040k dots vs 230k dots
Help
More than 4.5x higher resolution screen
Screen size
Significantly larger screen
3.0" vs 2.7"
Help
More than 10% larger screen
External mic jack
Has an external mic jack
Yes vs No
Help
Record high quality audio with an external microphone
True resolution
Significantly higher true resolution
17.9 MP vs 12.2 MP
Help
Capture around 50% more detail in your photos
Size
Much smaller
129x98x62 mm vs 127x104x80 mm
Help
Around 30% smaller
Thickness
Much thinner
2.4" vs 3.1"
Help
More than 20% thinner
Viewfinder size
Larger viewfinder
0.54x vs 0.51x
Help
More than 10% larger viewfinder
Shutter lag
Less shutter lag
252 ms vs 276 ms
Help
Around 10% less delay when taking photos
Light sensitivity (boost)
Better boost ISO
12,800 ISO vs 6,400 ISO
Help
The 550D's boost ISO is 1 f-stop better
Lowest price
Cheaper
$576.83 vs $795.63
Help
The best price we've seen is $219 cheaper (around 30% less)
Light sensitivity
Better maximum light sensitivity
6,400 ISO vs 3,200 ISO
Help
The 550D's maximum light sensitivity is 1 f-stop better
Weight
Lighter
530 g vs 590 g
Help
More than 10% lighter
Canon EOS 550D Learn more about
the Canon 550D

Advantages of the Nikon D5000

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Dynamic range
More dynamic range
12.5 EV vs 11.5 EV
Help
1 f-stop more dynamic range
Overall image quality
Better image quality
72.0 vs 66.0
Help
Around 10% better image quality
Sensor size
Much larger sensor
APS-C 23.6x15.8mm vs APS-C 22.3x14.9mm
Help
More than 10% larger sensor
Screen flips out
Has a flip-out screen
Yes vs No
Help
Flip-out screens can be helpful when composing tricky shots or taking movies
Low light performance
Lower noise at high ISO
868 ISO vs 784 ISO
Help
The D5000 has a slight edge (0.1 f-stops) in low noise, high ISO performance
Color depth
Better color depth
22.7 bits vs 22.1 bits
Help
Distinguishes 0.6 more bits of color
Battery life
Longer battery life
510 shots vs 440 shots
Help
Around 20% more shots per battery charge
Continuous shooting
Shoots slightly faster
4 fps vs 3.7 fps
Help
Around 10% faster continuous shooting
Lens availability
Slightly more lenses available
205 lenses vs 197 lenses
Help
Almost the same
Focus points
Slightly more focus points
11 vs 9
Help
Set focus accurately within the frame
Nikon D5000 Learn more about
the Nikon D5000
vs

recommendations

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
Retailer
    Style
      Color
        You save

        vs

        50 Nikon D5000 Nikon D5000
        Retailer
          Style
            Color
              You save

              similarities

              Compared to recent entry-level DSLRs

              Common Strengths
              Startup delay Minimal startup delay Help
              400 ms startup delay
              Lens availability Many lenses available Help
              550D:197 lenses
              D5000:205 lenses
              Common Weaknesses
              Fastest shutter speed Slow max shutter speed Help
              1/4000 of a second
              Light sensitivity (boost) Poor boost ISO Help
              550D:12,800 ISO
              D5000:6,400 ISO
              HDR Neither has in-camera HDR Help
              You could do HDR manually
              Viewfinder coverage Below average viewfinder coverage Help
              95%
              Cross type focus points Few cross-type focus points Help
              1
              Continuous shooting Slow continuous shooting Help
              550D:3.7 fps
              D5000:4 fps
              Light sensitivity Poor maximum light sensitivity Help
              550D:6,400 ISO
              D5000:3,200 ISO
              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
              550D:0.54x
              D5000:0.51x
              Focus points Few focus points Help
              550D:9
              D5000:11
              Shutter lag Significant shutter lag Help
              550D:252 ms
              D5000:276 ms
              Panorama Neither camera stitches together panoramas Help
              You could stitch photos in post
              Low light performance Above average noise at high ISO Help
              550D:784 ISO
              D5000:868 ISO

              dxomark

              DXOMark

              competitors

              Shared Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              Canon EOS 600D

              Canon EOS 600D

              Entry-level DSLR

              $491 body only

              $578 with 18-135mm lens

              Thickness Is thicker
              Size Is much larger
              Nikon D3200

              Nikon D3200

              Entry-level DSLR

              $310 - $527 body only

              $389 - $447 with 18-55mm lens

              Low light performance Is slightly less noisy at high ISO
              Overall image quality Has slightly better image quality
              Thickness Is thicker
              Size Is significantly larger
              Canon EOS 700D

              Canon EOS 700D

              Entry-level DSLR

              $700 with 18-55mm lens

              Touch screen Has a touch screen
              Continuous shooting Shoots faster continuously
              Lowest price Is slightly more expensive
              Thickness Is thicker
              Nikon D3100

              Nikon D3100

              Entry-level DSLR

              $272 - $387 body only

              $410 with 18-55mm lens

              Movie continuous focus Can focus continuously while recording movies
              Autofocus Focuses automatically while shootting video
              Thickness Is thicker
              Size Is slightly larger
              Nikon D5100

              Nikon D5100

              Entry-level DSLR

              $378 - $469 body only

              $429 - $499 with 18-55mm lens

              Low light performance Is significantly less noisy at high ISO
              Overall image quality Has slightly better image quality
              Thickness Is thicker
              Size Is significantly larger
              Canon EOS 1100D

              Canon EOS 1100D

              Entry-level DSLR

              $450 with 18-55mm lens

              Startup delay Has slightly less startup delay
              Shutter lag Has much less shutter lag
              Thickness Is thicker
              Sensor cleaning Lacks a self cleaning sensor
              Canon EOS 500D

              Canon EOS 500D

              Entry-level DSLR

              $684 body only

              Shutter lag Has significantly less shutter lag
              Lowest price Is slightly more expensive
              Supports 24p Doesn't record movies in 24p

              Canon EOS 550D Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              Canon EOS 1200D

              Canon EOS 1200D

              Entry-level DSLR

              $429 body only

              $498 with 18-55mm lens

              Autofocus Video autofocus
              Battery life Slightly longer battery life
              Screen resolution Much lower resolution screen
              External mic jack Lacks an external mic jack

              Nikon D5000 Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              No significant competitors found that are specific to the Nikon D5000.

              appearance

              Canon EOS 550D Nikon D5000
              Canon EOS 550D Nikon D5000
              Canon EOS 550D Nikon D5000

              discussion

              Canon EOS 550D
              EOS 550D
              Canon

              Report a correction
              Nikon D5000
              D5000
              Nikon

              Report a correction

              Showing 8 comments

              Photographer. YEAH! (5:56 AM, October 01, 2011)
              what is referred to the image quality ? in JPEG type  or in RAW files ? Which is better when it comes in JPEG shooting quality ? 
               
              7300 (6:30 AM, September 04, 2011)
              i am a user of nikon d5000 n its an amazin camera.  and it really doesnt matter that what camera u r using its ur vision that creates a beautiful pictue
               
              Denfred (9:36 AM, June 11, 2011)
              by all means? in many reviews Nikon D5000 has way better image quality than Canon 550D...
               
              Denfred (9:35 AM, June 11, 2011)
              Nikon has better image quality than Canon, it's obvious!
               
              ETCH (2:03 PM, May 23, 2011)
              i own the d5000 Nikon and its pretty good but the 550d canon is way much better by all means but if u want the best of the best go for the powerful Nikon D7000 :)
               
              Sep (5:50 AM, October 04, 2010)
              Haha! I've been searching sites comparing Canon EOS 550D and Nikon D5000. But, I'm still undecided. On some posts, I read some people who claims that they got help with such posts, but as for me... I'm more confused. Haha. Perhaps, it's because it will be my first DSLR. Some say I could get Nikon D5000 since it is easy to use but very slow for professionals. I would like a camera that will grow with me and not outgrow it. :( Please give me an advice. Thanks a lot.
               
              Avatar for Snapsort Snapsort (2:52 AM, August 12, 2010)
              Hi Nat, in what way do you think Nikon is way ahead?
               
              Natphotos (3:43 PM, August 10, 2010)
              I have been shooting with Canon for sometime but clearly Nikon is way ahead. That is my opinion.