Updated (April 2011): Compare the Canon EOS Rebel T2i vs Nikon D5100

Nikon D5100 vs Canon Rebel T2i

Nikon D5100


Canon EOS Rebel T2i



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 T2i

Screen resolution
High resolution screen
1,040k dots
Really small
Prosumer size (129×98×62 mm)


Explore our gallery of 50 sample photos taken by the Canon EOS Rebel T2i.
Explore our gallery of 50 sample photos taken by the Nikon D5100.


Nikon D5100 Competitors

Nikon D3200

Nikon D3200

Entry-level DSLR

$289 body only

$379 - $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

$378 body only

$479 - $580 with 18-55mm lens

Movie format Lower frame rate movies
True resolution Much higher true resolution
Battery life Shorter battery life
Nikon D3300

Nikon D3300

Entry-level DSLR

$400 - $497 with 18-55mm lens

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

Canon EOS Rebel T2i Competitors

Canon EOS Rebel T5

Canon EOS Rebel T5

Entry-level DSLR

$399 body only

$360 - $399 with 18-55mm lens

Autofocus Video autofocus
Lowest price Much cheaper
Screen resolution Much lower resolution screen
Canon Rebel T3i

Canon Rebel T3i

Entry-level DSLR

$459 body only

$599 with 18-55mm lens

Screen flips out Has a flip-out screen
Lowest price Much cheaper
Startup delay Much more startup delay
Canon Rebel T5i

Canon Rebel T5i

Entry-level DSLR

$482 - $649 body only

$579 - $649 with 18-55mm lens

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


Advantages of the Canon T2i

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Screen resolution
Higher resolution screen
1,040k dots vs 920k dots
More than 10% higher resolution screen
Much thinner
2.4" vs 3.1"
More than 20% thinner
Significantly smaller
129×98×62 mm vs 127×97×79 mm
Around 20% smaller
Viewfinder size
Larger viewfinder
0.54x vs 0.51x
More than 10% larger viewfinder
True resolution
Higher true resolution
17.9 MP vs 16.1 MP
Capture more than 10% more detail in your photos
Shutter lag
Less shutter lag
252 ms vs 273 ms
Around 10% less delay when taking photos
Startup delay
Slightly less startup delay
400 ms vs 500 ms
20% less delay when turning on
Slightly lighter
530 g vs 560 g
Around 10% lighter
Canon EOS Rebel T2i Learn more about
the Canon T2i

Advantages of the Nikon D5100

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Low light performance
Significantly lower noise at high ISO
1,183 ISO vs 784 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 66.0
More than 20% better image quality
Dynamic range
More dynamic range
13.6 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
Screen flips out
Has a flip-out screen
Yes vs No
Flip-out screens can be helpful when composing tricky shots or taking movies
Battery life
Longer battery life
660 shots vs 440 shots
50% more shots per battery charge
Lowest price
Significantly cheaper
$554.11 vs $898.00
The best price we've seen is $344 cheaper (around 40% less)
Light sensitivity (boost)
Better boost ISO
25,600 ISO vs 12,800 ISO
The D5100's boost ISO is 2 f-stops better
Continuous shooting
Shoots slightly faster
4 fps vs 3.7 fps
Around 10% faster continuous shooting
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
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 EOS Rebel T2i Canon Rebel T2i 56
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        70 Nikon D5100 Nikon D5100
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              Compared to recent entry-level DSLRs

              Common Strengths
              Lens availability Many lenses available Help
              T2i220 lenses
              D5100230 lenses
              External mic jack Have external mic jacks Help
              Record higher quality audio with a microphone
              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
              Viewfinder coverage Below average viewfinder coverage Help
              Cross type focus points Few cross-type focus points Help
              Light sensitivity Poor maximum light sensitivity Help
              6,400 ISO
              Continuous shooting Slow continuous shooting Help
              T2i3.7 fps
              D51004 fps
              True resolution Capture low resolution images Help
              T2i17.9 MP
              D510016.1 MP
              Shutter lag Significant shutter lag Help
              T2i252 ms
              D5100273 ms
              Focus points Few focus points Help
              Weather sealed Neither is weather sealed Help
              Need to shelter it from weather
              Image stabilization No image stabilization Help
              Risk of blur
              Touch screen No touchscreens Help
              More buttons
              Viewfinder size Below average viewfinder size Help
              Movie format Both shoot high resolution HD movies Help
              1080p @ 30fps




              Nikon D5100 Canon EOS Rebel T2i
              Nikon D5100 Canon EOS Rebel T2i
              Nikon D5100 Canon EOS Rebel T2i


              Nikon D5100

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              Canon EOS Rebel T2i
              Rebel T2i

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              Showing 8 comments

              jafar (2:41 PM, January 06, 2013)
              Nikon D5100 does have a external jack. It shouldn't be a reason to buy Canon eos t2i
              Avatar for foxyshadis foxyshadis (9:43 AM, January 13, 2012)
               If all you care about is sensor quality (given that lens quality is about equal), then hands down the Nikon wins. You might want to use both first, though, the Nikon is a bit tricky to get used to and a bit frustrating to quickly switch modes in.
              Dreww04 (4:32 AM, December 27, 2011)
              I would really appreciate it if someone would reply in a non-biased way! All i really care about it the photo quality. I do not shoot a specific type of photos so all i really want to know is which camera has better photo quality and really brings out the colours. If they are the same, then overall, taking into account all the details that make a photo good, which camera would you suggest. Any help please?
              Avatar for Mobius Coin Mobius Coin (5:21 PM, December 06, 2011)
              Despite being a Nikon shooter and owning the D7000 I have to give this battle to the Canon. At least for me, I think modern DSLRs take fine pictures and seeing as how these aren't pro bodies, for the enthusiasts the image quality is more than enough on either camera. What makes the D5100 a deal breaker for me at least is that I was coming from a D80 and the D5100 controls make NO SENSE whatsoever. The T2i may be lacking a second dial but it is a very easy camera to pick up and use. I think the UI changes from the D5000 to the D5100 are actually a step in the wrong direction.
              KingSalmon (10:48 PM, October 30, 2011)
              I'm ging to buy the Nikon because of the picture quality and color depth.
              Onarom (10:09 PM, August 17, 2011)
              I have always been a Canon fan, so it is hard for me not to be biased. I believe that the Nikon has a more sophisticated autofocus system, although I have no complaints with my T2i (besides, I use spot focus 99% of the time). Neither of these cameras are that good with focusing during movie recording, they are slow and noisey- Sony has the best entry level DSLR for that. But for photos, both of these cameras are amazing. You should go with the one that appeals to you the most.

              But... here is an INTERESTING note... this site quotes dpreview.com which gave the D5100 a silver award and gave the T2i the gold award.
              Sp12 07 (6:09 PM, July 30, 2011)
              Sure, seems to be a pretty fantastic comparison without any obvious errors. I would go D5100 as it has that killer 16.2MP sony sensor, as well as a slightly better AF system. The T2i has better video, while the D5100 has a tiltyflippy screen.
              Cris0631 (4:20 AM, July 22, 2011)
              Can anyone comment on this comparison?