What is best? Canon T3i or the Nikon D5100? The canon T3i and the Nikon D5100 are without any doubt the two most popular DSLRS in the upper-entry level. They are both highly comparable cameras, with great features, and a semi professional body. There is no questions as to why each camera has became a best seller after launching.
So, which is the best pick? Lets take a look at the specifications of each.
LCD: 3″ 720×489
ISO range: 100-6400 (12800)
Movie Formats: 1080p – 720p – VGA
Autofocus: 9 Point
Dimensions: 5.2 x 3.9 x 3.1
Weight: 18.2 oz
LCD: 3″ 640×480
ISO range: 100-6400 (12800, 24600, NV mode)
Movie Formats: 1080 – 720p – VGA
Autofocus: 11 Point
Dimensions: 5.0 x 3.8 x 3.1
Weight: 19.07 oz
Not too big of a difference in specifications – The D5100 has the T3i beat in the autofocus system and ISO capability, however the Canon has a few more megapixels and an lcd screen that is a little bit better.
We will look further into the subject of “Which camera is best? The Canon T3i or the Nikon D5100?” by breaking it down into sections.
Both cameras come with the 18-55 F/3.5-5.6. In terms of quality, the Nikon D5100 comes with a better lens for the following reasons 1) It’s better built. 2) Better optically. Honestly, neither lense is very great, we would highly recommend buying it without the lense and buying a cheaper lense until you find what you need/want.
Our choice: Nikon D5100
The T3i and D5100 viewfinders are both run similiar so there is no clear advantage over the other. The eye rest is slighly different, but both of them were designed correctly and are comfortable. The D5100 viewfinder does show a bit more of the image than Canon, but not by much. The T3i on the other hand is reported to be brighter and more readable. You can really see the autofocus points on the T3i when compared to the D5100.
Our choice: T3i
Both cameras are the same size, but the Canon T3i has a higher resolution. There also seems to be a big difference in the quality of LCD picture. The T3i in most cases has a much more clear and brighter screen. The detail on the T3i screen is much greater than the D5100. The LCD of the T3i is designed to be grabbed with your thumb, while the Nikon is more of a two finger pinching grab.
Our Choice: T3i
The D5100’s buttons are all circular, with various depths. The buttons that don’t directly affect the photo do not click – making sure you don’t accidently press buttons. The T3i buttons are more plain, making it harder to identify without taking your eye out from the viewfinder. However, the T3i is reported to have a higher quality D-pad. A big advantage of the T3i is that it has it’s own ISO control button. With the D5100 you have to go one step into the menu just to change the ISO, which seems to be a mistake of Nikon.
Our Choice: T3i
The D5100 has the T3i beat in this section. It has a lever that allows you to switch in and out of live view mode compared to T3i circular button. The D5100 will allow the user to get into live view much more quickly. Both cameras are reported to be on the slow side while trying to focus, but the Nikon D5100 is faster in most cases.
Our choice: D5100
The weight difference is not much, the T3i is barely an ounce lighter. However, the T3i is larger. The T3i has a much more precise body design, and is favored by people withb larger hands. The T3i also has a texture grip materal in two places, providing you with some extra grip while taking a picture normally.
Our Choice: T3i
The T3i has a movie mode dial, the D5100 has an option inside Live View. Nikon does have some extra camera efects, and overall seems to be more userfriendly featuring two quality settings.
Our Choice: D5100
The image quality is really not a deciding factor. Both of the cameras have great image quality, even when shooting with RAW settings – there is simply too many variables to decide which one provides better image quality. Once you begin shooting with either camera the quality issue will become meaningless.
Our Choice: Both
D5100 – 4
T3i – 5
Our choice would clearly be the T3i – Judging by what we have gathered from reviews/videos/specifications and professional photographers the T3i is the best choice. However, when picking a camera it is best to chose for yourself. Going to a store that you can actually hold the camera, and do basics shots is the best way to decide which camera is best for you.
While researching the Nikon D5100 and T3i we decided to break it into categories and look to see what users have reported about each general feature. First, both cameras are great. You really can’t go wrong with either. However, in some of the categories – it was an obvious choice on which camera to pick – T3i. Keep in mind, this was our score. You may find that you like the feel of the Nikon D5100 controls better, because of the different depths ect. It’s best to try the camera yourself in store to get a general feel of it. We are confident in our choice, but we are also confident that either camera will be fine for any upper-entry level photographer.