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Customer Discussions > Photography forum

canon t3i or nikon d5100


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Showing 1-25 of 43 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jan 31, 2012 8:20:56 PM PST
vix205 says:
Which dslr should i get the canon t3i or the nikon d5100. Im mainly going to use it on my 2 kids a 3yr old and a 1yr old just taking pictures of them around the house and when we go out. I am new to dslrs so im not looking for anything over 800, once in a while i will also use it to take videos

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 31, 2012 8:48:21 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 31, 2012 8:57:06 PM PST
®ichard says:
they are the same camera spec wise for most things. D5100 is smaller to carry around and that is about it. Try it in the store. D5100 use a newer cmos sensor, why it scored higher on most charts. T3i used the old repackaged t2i, like on 60d, 7d sensor ('09), might as well wait for the canon t4i for a possible sensor upgrade. You'll find almost the same lenses and accessories from 1st and 3rd party makers. Just personal preference on your brand.

Posted on Jan 31, 2012 11:39:18 PM PST
Daveyan says:
if you're going to do stills pictures, the nikon wins by far (the image quality is beautiful). and it's not to say that canon doesn't produce lovely images, but sensor technology wise it's the nikon. however if you want to capture short family films the t3i is way better. the manual controls like exposure is really great. there are also some nice features for crop zooming in. i know that nikon offers continuous auto focus (something canon is missing). definitely check in store to see how they feel and then come back to amazon to order haha

check out this digitalrev review http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zf7jkU1zclo

Posted on Feb 1, 2012 3:52:03 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 1, 2012 3:59:01 PM PST
MorningSciFi says:
You might want to head over to your local camera shop and hold each in your hands. Ultimately, this is what sold me on the Nikon Vs Canon.

I chose Nikon because the menus were easier to navigate (this is personal preference) and the I liked the way it felt in my hands more than the equivalent Canon. The they both do 1080p video and include an audio hookup if you want to attach an external mic to get vastly improved sound on your videos.

Beware, though, neither of these cameras will produce professional looking video unless you use a tripod or some type of steadycam--the shaking of your hands will be apparent in any light camera small enough to hold in your hands, no matter how expensive.

Also, as far as 'basic' things go--Nikon tends to produce more natural looking colors (slightly duller) while Canon seems to automatically make their colors brighter and more vibrant.

Here's a review:

http://www.digitalreview.ca/content/Canon-Rebel-T3i-EOS-600D-Compared-to-Nikon-D5100.shtml

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 14, 2012 6:21:51 AM PDT
Hi vix 205! Like you, I couldn't decide between the two...even after reading a million reviews. So, to made a more informed decision, I went out and bought both knowing I could return the one I didn't want. Keep in mind I am just a photo enthusiast and by no means a professional but I did notice some slight differences. As for the canon, it has a better lcd screen in that it is much clearer and brighter and also shows the actual size of the picture you are taking. It also felt better in my hands than the Nikon but that's where the advantages of the canon stopped for me. I took many pictures of the same thing with each camera and compared the two. Although both take excellent photos, the nikon colors were truer and sharper. What ultimately sold me on the Nikon is the fact that the Nikon has many pre-set features that are easy to use. Especially with little ones. They actually have a "kid" setting as well as settings for occasions where there might be candles in use such as birthdays. There are too many to mention but if you can think of it, the D5100 has it. For a novice, this was a major plus for me. Rather than setting everything manually, I just select the mode/setting I want. I absolutely love my Nikon and can't wait to hone my skills. Hope this helps! T in OKC

Posted on Apr 14, 2012 7:50:59 AM PDT
atb says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 14, 2012 8:16:55 AM PDT
"""
Also, as far as 'basic' things go--Nikon tends to produce more natural looking colors (slightly duller) while Canon seems to automatically make their colors brighter and more vibrant.
"""

Which really only has an effect if you only shoot in the scene-based modes. Any mode on a Canon except scene-based and [] green-zone allow for customization of "Picture Mode" contrast/sharpness/saturation/color-tone over a +/- 4 range (the defaults are Standard/Portrait/Landscape/Neutral/Faithful/Monochrome/user-1 to user-3 [Note: this is from the manual for the 50D] The difference between Faithful and Neutral is confusing: Faithful has something about adjusting the color to match the subject when the color temperature is <5200K [which is usually indoor/evening/ambient lights].

And, for the OP, while it may scare your budget... There are significant differences in the ergonomics between Canon Rebel and their pro-sumer line (currently the 60D). If you find the Rebel to be uncomfortable, /try/ the 60D... I can't stand how a Rebel fits my hands, but have no problems with my 20D and 50D -- even though I have short fingers.

Posted on Apr 16, 2012 6:53:46 PM PDT
Amol Kolhe says:
I tried the t3i and D5100 in store and I liked t3i more. Until that point, I had used both Nikon and Canon P&S but I found the Nikon Menus too cumbersome to navigate.

There are practically no differences between the two. Both are great entry level DSLRs. Someone mentioned about continues autofocus for video, but most serious video shooters leave autofocus off because the noise from the autofocus creeps into the video and the camera doesn't always know where you'd like to focus. And sometimes it will try to refocus, when theres no need for it.

Posted on Apr 16, 2012 7:20:44 PM PDT
I would take a D3100 over a T3i and I own a T2i. I got my Mother in law a D3100 and the auto focus is way better.

Posted on Apr 17, 2012 12:34:17 PM PDT
T. Campbell says:
I get concerned with some of the comparisons I read.

Neither is "way better" or better "by far", etc. etc. A T3i and a D5100 were basically purpose-built to compete specifically with each other. The T3i is Canon's entry level DSLR with most of the video features ... and the D5100 is Nikon's entry level DSLR with most of the video features.

Performance-wise they are very similar. You'll find fractional differences in things like resolution, ISO, etc. but the operative word here is "fractional". For example... the Canon has an 18MP sensor and the Nikon has a 16MP sensor. You will almost certainly NOT notice the difference. If one of these cameras has an 8MP sensor and the other had a 16MP sensor... then it would be something to sway a decision, but the difference is too close and the average person will rarely use an output size that uses much of the available data.

The same can be said of ISO performance, noise, dynamic range, etc.. If low light is important, the difference between these two cameras is so small that merely switching the lens will make a FAR bigger difference than the body.

Both have a good selection of lenses and other accessories. With a D5100 you'll want to make sure you buy the Nikon "AF-S" version of lenses over the "AF" version because the D5100 doesn't have a focus motor... if you want auto-focus, you'll want to make sure the lens has the focus motor rather than rely on the body. There generally is an AF-S version so this won't be much of an issue... (but it will impact the price.) Canon always used in-lens focus motors, so there's no issue with getting the right version of a lens.

Between the two... there's really no "wrong" answer. You'd be extremely happy with either.

Posted on Apr 18, 2012 8:20:50 AM PDT
Amol Kolhe says:
This video sums it up pretty well:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zf7jkU1zclo

If you like it, then you can check their review videos of both the models.

Posted on Apr 27, 2012 7:07:12 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 27, 2012 7:09:02 AM PDT
inomorethanu says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 27, 2012 11:53:53 AM PDT
EdM says:
ioit - You misspelled your screen name ... if you really think shooting tethered [at some cost over free] is a terrible thing.

Almost no one shoots tethered, except for a very low % of situations involving studio portraits, mainly. Why? To shoot tethered, one has to carry around a laptop, tripod for the camera, some way to support the laptop, maybe lights, and you need an assistant in most such situations, even if you can get by without. That excludes most photography, like outdoors, vacations, sports and action shots, etc. Not to mention off the cuff, spontaneous portraits, low light shots, street photography, indeed, most kinds of photography.

Many who do tethered portraits in studios, e.g., will use quality programs such as Phase One's Capture One [even if shooting Canon] for portraits. [Or other professional software.] There is an old saying in photography -get your cameras from a camera company, and get your software from a software company. Each has its own area of expertise. Sure, free or low cost included software usually works, after a fashion, but it is seldom best for speedy, efficient shooting and throughput. Another old saying on something being worth what you pay for it, is usually true in photography.

Posted on Apr 27, 2012 11:21:36 PM PDT
LxvSocal says:
This one is super easy.If you want it mostly for pictures get a nikon.If you want it for video get a canon.The reason why? The quality of pictures doesn't differ not even the slightest! however Canon literally kicks Nikons ass when it comes to video.Thus big cinema companies such as red and the new black magic camera line only accepts Canon lense's and carl zeiss lenses.If you want the luxary of having everything go with the canon.

Posted on Apr 28, 2012 1:48:39 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 28, 2012 2:03:52 AM PDT
Neo Lee says:
Another advantage of Canon DSLRS is the ability to use a third-party custom firmware such as Magic Lantern. A full featured custom firmware for Nikon is probably a light year away. Magic Lantern is relatively easy to install, just copying some files onto the card. It isn't permanent (if you format the card on a computer, your camera is back running the original firmware). Having Magic Lantern firmware, it's like having a major upgrade to the DSLR. I think Canon users should definitely check that out.

Allow me to highlight some of the innovative features of Magic Lantern:

* Focus stacking: Extends the depth of field so that everything is in sharp focus. When it comes to macro (and landscape), you'll need a ton of depth of field to get a photo in focus from front to back. Most would stop the aperture down to f/16 or f/22, and use a powerful ring flash to provide the light. With focus stacking from ML (Magic Lantern), there's no need to stop down that much. The camera will take multiple shots, each at a different focal plane. ML will vary the focus by little for each shot. The photos could be then supplied to a focus stacking software to produce the final extended DoF image.

* HDR: Allows up to 5 bracketed AEB shots. The settings persist even the camera is turned off. Entry-level DSLRs has only 3 bracketed AEB shots, and have to be set again if the camera is turned off.

* Intervalometer: ML can take a photo every x seconds. The photos could be then used to make a time-lapse video. This is more advanced and much better than the intervalometer timer shutter cable sold since ML could vary the exposure settings for day to night transition, and if you wish, you could configure ML to take bracketed shots for HDR time-lapse video too.

* Hand free shutter release: Put the camera on a tripod, wave your hand (in the air) across the LCD proximity sensors, ML will instruct the camera to take the photo. No more shutter release cable.

* Motion detection: Take a photo when the camera sees movement.

* Sound trigger: Take a photo as soon as the mic picks up a loud sound (clap, balloon exploding). This is neat for high speed photography, or if you wish, you could just clap your hands instead of using an infrared remote to take a self-portrait photo.

* Focus trap: Take a photo as soon as the subject comes into focus. This is pretty neat for manual focus lenses.

* Advanced bulb mode: You could extend the shutter speed from 30 seconds up to 8 hours. Perhaps, you need just exactly 2 minutes; MF can do that.

* AF zoning: Pick and choose which AF points you want to use.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 28, 2012 7:58:21 AM PDT
T. Campbell says:
"Magic Lantern is relatively easy to install, just copying some files onto the card. It isn't permanent (if you format the card on a computer, your camera is back running the original firmware)."

You don't even need to reformat the card. The card has a "boot flag" that you can toggle on/off to indicate whether the card should be considered "bootable" by the camera. If the boot flag is on then the camera will load the firmware from the card when it powers up. If the boot flag is off then it ignores the firmware on the card and boots using it's own internal firmware (Magic Lantern firmware does not over-write the Canon firmware in the camera.)

The two cautions about Magic Lantern firmware:

1) The ML firmware (which only lives on your memory card) invokes routines in the Canon firmware (which lives inside the camera). It does this by invoking routines that exist at very specific addresses. As such, they'll tell you for any given camera body, which specific version of the Canon firmware must be installed in order for ML to work. You must make sure you camera has that EXACT Canon firmware version.

2) Although the firmware is extensively tested and they make it clear which versions of ML are in development vs. which ones are stable. Unless you are running ML on a "spare" body that you could afford to ruin should something go wrong, you should only run a stable version of ML. But they do warn you: the on/off switch on the camera body is technically just a software switch -- it doesn't actually deprive the camera of power. If the firmware in the camera is really locked-up then the on/off switch won't really power down the camera. There are a _few_ things that can cause physical damage to the camera if things go wrong -- mostly based on components which could overheat and cause permanent damage. As such, they warn you that if your camera seems to lock up while running the ML firmware, then you should immediately EJECT THE BATTERY. That of course will deprive the camera of power and prevent any physical damage.

I throw these cautions out because while the ML firmware is very good, it's also open-source, comes with certain warnings, and you shouldn't run it unless you're prepared to read their cautions and follow the directions. That said, I've NEVER had a single problem running it... but then I also followed all of their directions to the letter.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 28, 2012 8:06:17 AM PDT
"Many who do tethered portraits in studios, e.g., will use quality programs such as Phase One's Capture One [even if shooting Canon] for portraits."

Then there's product photographers who don't use any DSLRs at all. Anyway, this is well away from the topic (budget DSLR for taking picks of the family)...so we don't need to feed the shill. There are pros and cons between both these cameras.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 28, 2012 8:24:12 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 28, 2012 8:28:20 AM PDT
Neo Lee says:
The cautions are well founded. ML freezes up on me twice, and I failed to eject the battery. There wasn't any damage to the camera but I later discovered the fully charged battery had drained out the next day and I hadn't had shot more than ten photos the day before. That's probably caused by a crash and followed by code running continuously in a loop. Component overheating is plausible. Other than that, it hasn't been any report indicating hardware damages so far.

"But they do warn you: the on/off switch on the camera body is technically just a software switch -- it doesn't actually deprive the camera of power."

That is true. It doesn't really cut off the battery from the circuit.

Posted on May 2, 2012 8:16:58 PM PDT
SS7 says:
I have owned and used both and would recommend the Canon. I originally purchased the D5100 because I liked the way it looked and the way it felt better in my hand. Its set-up was also more similar to my old camera. The camera was brand-new and completely failed on me within two months! (Normal use, nothing abusive or damaging.) The screen went black and the camera would no longer take pictures. I tried three different memory cards, three different lenses, multiple resets, everything, nothing worked. Another big reason why I say no to Nikon now is because my experience with their customer service was horrible. The camera failed on me in the middle of a class and when I pleaded it's hard to complete a photography course without a camera, they didn't care. Wouldn't provide me with a refund or a new camera and I had to pay shipping to send it in even though it was under warranty. Best part is, when I finally got the camera back from Nikon's service department, as I took it out of the box, I heard a rattling sound inside of the camera. Thinking that can't be good, when I took it out to shoot again, it last about five shots before the screen got stuck! At this point it was past the return period at the store of course, but by some miracle I got them to let me exchange it for the T3i at one of the stores. Don't listen to anyone about the auto-focus on the Nikon being better. Its auto-focus was awful actually and would drive me nuts. The only thing that was better about the Nikon was that it had a rotating screen (meaning if you held it in portrait mode, the screen would flip to that rotation). Other than that, the T3i is better in that its auto-focus works better and you don't have to go through menus for things like ISO. Most of the D5100's controls are through menus rather than buttons which can be inconvenient. I've had the T3i for around a year now and it definitely outlasted the D5100. I will not buy Nikon again. That was my first Nikon and the T3i is my first Canon. I've been much happier with the Canon and recently upgraded to another Canon. Just say no to Nikon!

In reply to an earlier post on May 3, 2012 3:17:58 AM PDT
Tom Martin says:
All companies will have some faulty cameras, so I would not fault Nikon for that.
But, there is no excuse for poor customer service.

Posted on May 3, 2012 1:12:55 PM PDT
you should consider a d3100 and get a good 2nd lens, or even two extra lenses for the price of those other cameras you mentioned. trust me, lenses are more important that the camera body. any dslr within the last 2-3 will be just fine for your needs. save money by buying an older body and get some good lense, that will improve your images more than the newest body.

Posted on May 13, 2012 8:59:10 AM PDT
Biz64 says:
If your gonna shoot mostly in auto then you dont need either of the cameras. Get the much cheaper T3 or D3100. I personally like Canons menu because I dont have to dig into deeper submenues to change things like ISO. Picture quality wise are too close to tell any difference unless your really a pixel peeper. For shooting kids in jpg and auto to print 4x6 or 5x7 you will not see any differences. Buy the cheapest one and spend the extra on a good fast lense (2.8 or better) and a flash. Shooting kids, especially indoors, that will make a way bigger difference than getting a more expensive camera. Glass is king when it comes to DSLRs!! Also as far as video, if you want to use it like a regular camcorder to film your kids at a party or something then forget about it. Its much easier and you will get better results with just a good camcorder. Lastly, contrary to what some are saying on here, neither is WAY better or takes MUCH better pictures. They are pretty much identical.

In reply to an earlier post on May 31, 2012 12:08:34 AM PDT
Burcu Tunca says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 1, 2012 6:56:30 AM PDT
Left field.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 1, 2012 10:14:57 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 2, 2012 10:58:12 AM PDT
Gatorowl says:
That poster based his conclusion on a Snapsort ranking. I find rankings from Snapsort and similar to completely lack credibility. They never actually use or posses cameras they rank. Rather, the rankings are based on company-reported data such as resolution, and ISO range, but do not consider the fact that most of the huge ISO-settings are useless. They give points for small size and low weight but totally ignore ergonomics. Don't tell me that one camera is better than another without actually testing shots and using the cameras.

Both cameras are really close, and the decision on which one to buy is personal. I sold my T2i because I was dissatisfied with its metering and AF accuracy. I didn't like its ergonomics either. I eventually purchased a D5100 and absolutely love it. It has great metering, I have no complaints with its AF and it is small without being difficult to handle. In addition it has great shadow headroom (foot room?). I'm still amazed at the detail I can pull out of shadows.

From what I've seen, the T3i hasn't improved enough in the areas I care about for me to change my opinion about the Rebel DSLR series. However, if I cared more about video, I'd probably lean toward the T3i.
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Discussion in:  Photography forum
Participants:  26
Total posts:  43
Initial post:  Jan 31, 2012
Latest post:  Aug 30, 2013

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