Canon Rebel T3i EOS 600D Compared to Nikon D5100

Nikon D5100 vs Canon Rebel T3i / EOS 600D Side by Side

Nikon D5100 versus Canon T3i / EOS 600D front view
May 8th, 2011 Nikon recently released the Nikon D5100 SLR, which serves an update to the Nikon D5000. The Nikon D5100 is designed to appeal to both novice and hobby photographers by offering a wide range of both automatic options and extended manual creative control.

The Nikon D5100 shares a fairly similar body design to the Nikon D5000, although receives a number of updated features, among them essentially the same 16 megapixel DX format CMOS sensor to the one incorporated in the popular higher end Nikon D7000.

Another addition is that the Nikon D5100 now features a larger 3-inch, 921K high resolution side mounted swivel LCD screen, versus the D5000 with a smaller 2.7-inch, and lower resolution (230K) bottom hinged swivel LCD screen (less versatile).

The other big news surrounding the Nikon D5100 is the upgraded video recording capabilities compared to the D5000. The Nikon D5100 now offers full HD movie recording complete with auto focus (AF) and selectable frame rates (1080P at up to 30 fps), and provides for the welcome ability of being able to plug in an optional external stereo microphone.

The Nikon D5100 headline features include:

• 16.2 MP DX format CMOS sensor similar to the Nikon D7000
• EXPEED 2 image processing with ISO settings up to 25,600
• Continuous shooting at 4 fps
3-inch swivel LCD monitor with 921,000 dots
Full HD movie recording with AF and selectable frame rates
User friendly Auto Scene modes or full manual exposure control options
420-segment 3D Matrix Metering
11 point Auto Focus system with 3D tracking AF
New creative ‘Effects’ and HDR modes
In-camera Retouch menu for easy editing
Rechargeable Li-Ion EN-EL14 battery and charger supplied
• Compatibility with high capacity SDXC memory cards

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As of today, the 18MP Canon Rebel T3i / 600D SLR is the closest competitor to the Nikon D5100. Both cameras feature a very similar feature set and are intended for the same target market including entry level to more advanced enthusiast photographers.
We have now had the opportunity to test the Nikon D5100 versus the Canon Rebel T3i / 600D, and have put together a detailed comparison to show how these two models stack up against each other.

We begin by outlining the respective advantages of each camera complete with some sample images, and if you are looking to find out more detailed information about the specifications incorporated in these two cameras then jump directly to our Nikon D5100 versus Canon Rebel T3i side by side feature comparison further below.

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Nikon D5100 versus the Canon Rebel T3i SLR: Respective Advantages

The Canon Rebel T3i features a 18MP sensor compared to the Nikon D5100 with a 16.2MP sensor:The common assumption is that more is better and that the Canon Rebel T3i offers an advantage with its higher resolution sensor.

In order to fit 18 megapixels on an APS-C size sensor (22.3 x 14.9 mm) that is not as large as the DX format sensor (23.6 x 15.6 mm) found in the Nikon D5100, the pixels on the Rebel T3i sensor have to be smaller and packed closer together. As a result, the ‘pixel pitch’ (size of a pixel) on the Rebel T3i is 4.3 µm compared to the larger 4.78 µm pixel pitch on the D5100. Larger pixels offer enhanced light gathering ability.

‘Pixel density’ (or how closely together the pixels are located) is calculated by dividing the number of pixels on a sensor by the imaging area of the sensor. As such, the pixel density on the Rebel T3i / 600D is higher at 5.4MP / cm² versus 4.4MP / cm² on the Nikon D5100. There are a number of disadvantages associated with higher pixel density sensors, including; lower dynamic range, reduced high ISO performance, diffraction issues, and increased possibility of camera shake.

Independent DxOMark Lab Sensor tests results for the Nikon D5100 versus the Canon Rebel T3i / 600D support these arguments, showing that the Nikon D5100 delivers better RAW sensor output compared to the Rebel T3i, including improved colour depth, dynamic range, and high ISO capability. (See features comparison further below)

An additional consideration is that a camera with a higher resolution sensor needs to be matched with a lens that can provide the necessary resolving power required to capture the finer details in a scene. In order to make the most out of a higher resolution sensor’s capabilities, this typically means that you will have to invest in higher end (more expensive) lenses. Further below, we examine how suitable the Nikon and Canon standard 18-55mm zoom kit lenses are to their respective cameras.

The D5100 offers ISO boost up to 25,600 ISO and better high ISO performance compared to the T3i: The Nikon D5100 offers high-ISO boost settings up to 25,600 ISO in 1/3 stop increments from 6400 ISO. The Canon Rebel T3i in comparison provides a single stop ISO boost setting to 12,800 ISO (from 6400 ISO).

Both camera’s offer an ‘Auto ISO’ where the camera determines the most suitable ISO setting based on the scene at hand. With both models you can cap the maximum ISO sensitivity that the camera can select when Auto ISO is enabled.

The Nikon D5100 also offers an ‘Auto ISO Sensitivity Control’ feature which is activated in the camera’s shooting menu. When On is selected, ISO sensitivity is automatically adjusted if optimal exposure can not be achieved at the ISO sensitivity that has been set by the user. You can also select a ‘Minimum shutter speed’ value where the camera increases the ISO sensitivity if the chosen minimum shutter speed can not be attained with the current ISO setting.

Nikon D5100 ISO settings menu Canon Rebel T3i / 600D ISO settings
Nikon D5100 ISO Range
Available ISO selection: Auto, 100 – 6400 ISO in 1/3 stop increments. ISO boost settings in 1/3 stops above 6400 ISO, including 12800 ISO (Hi-1) and 25600 ISO (Hi-2)
Canon Rebel T3i ISO Range
Available ISO selection: Auto, 100 – 6400 ISO in 1 stop increments. One stop expansion to (H) 12800 ISO (Must first be activated by setting Custom Function)
Nikon D5100 Auto ISO Control Settings Canon Rebel T3i Auto ISO Control Settings
Nikon D5100: Auto ISO Control
Canon Rebel T3i: Auto ISO Control

Based on our tests, the Nikon D5100 offers significantly better output compared to the Canon Rebel T3i in terms of high ISO performance. The Nikon D5100 delivers more pleasing image quality with less digital noise (grain like effect) and offers better retention of colour and fine detail when shooting at higher ISO settings.

These improvements can be attributed to the Nikon D5100’s sensor design and the camera’s image processing capabilities with respect to noise reduction. Below we compare the image quality provided by the Nikon D5100 versus the Canon Rebel T3i at 6400 ISO and 3200 ISO.

Nikon D5100 6400 ISO Test
Canon Rebel T3i 6400 ISO Test
Nikon D5100 with AF-S DX 18-55mm VR
• ISO 6400, 1/50 sec at F5.6, Normal NR
• 3D Color Matrix Metering, Auto White Balance
D5100 Image Sample 3.99 MB Large File
Canon Rebel T3i with EF-S 18-55mm IS II
• ISO 6400, 1/40 sec at F5.6, Standard NR
• iFCL Evaluative Metering, Auto White Balance
Rebel T3i Image Sample 8.18 MB Large File
Nikon D5100 3200 ISO Test
Canon Rebel T3i 3200 ISO Test
Nikon D5100 test at 3200 ISO with AF-S DX 18-55mm VR zoom lens Canon Rebel T3i with EF-S 18-55mm IS II zoom lens
Nikon D5100 with AF-S DX 18-55mm VR
• ISO 3200, Aperture Priority, 1/50 sec at F8
• Standard High ISO Noise Reduction
• 3D Color Matrix Metering, Tungsten White Balance
D5100 Image Sample 8.20 MB Large File
Canon T3i / 600D with EF-S 18-55mm IS II
• ISO 3200, Aperture Priority, 1/30 sec at F8
• Normal High ISO Noise Reduction
• iFCL Evaluative Metering, Tungsten White Balance
Rebel T3i Image Sample 7.12 MB Large File

Better results could be obtained by shooting in RAW and post processing the images in software, something that most users for this class of SLR cameras do not tend to do. Apart from having to take the time to process the images after the fact, shooting in RAW also results in much larger image files compared to shooting in the more common JPEG format.

The sensor in the Nikon D5100 offers a higher signal to noise ratio (see definition under the graph) compared to the Canon Rebel T3i. The DxOMark test results comparing the signal to noise ratio from the Nikon D5100 versus the Rebel T3i / 600D are shown below.

Nikon D5100 versus Rebel T3i Signal to Noise Ratio Comparison

The Canon T3i and the Nikon D5100 both offer a 3-inch high resolution swivel LCD monitor: The Canon T3i features a 3.0-inch Clear View swivel LCD monitor with a wide 3:2 aspect ratio designed to match the camera’s sensor. In comparison, the Nikon D5100 incorporates a 4:3 aspect ratio swivel LCD monitor with approximately 640 x 480 pixels versus the roughly 720 x 480 LCD pixel array on the Rebel T3i.

On both the T3i and the D5100, each LCD pixel includes three individual colored dots (red, green and blue – RGB) making for a total of about 1.04 million dots on the Rebel T3i monitor compared to approximately 920,000 dots for the screen on the Nikon D5100 (640 x 480 x 3 RGB dots).

Nikon D5100 compared to Canon Rebel T3i / 600D back view

The LCD monitors on the Nikon D5100 and the Canon Rebel T3i / 600D feature a similar wide viewing angle (170°) with anti-scratch and anti-reflective properties and provide 100% coverage. The monitor brightness can be adjusted on both cameras depending on viewing conditions.

Both the Nikon D5100 and the Canon Rebel T3i offer a swivel type LCD screen for capturing images or movies at different and unusual angles. The LCD monitor can be swung around on both models and stored against the camera to protect the screen when not in use.

Comparing the LCD display on the cameras side by side, we find the Canon Rebel T3i’s LCD monitor delivers a more pleasing colour, contrast and brightness rendition of the scene compared to when viewed on the Nikon D5100’s monitor.

Nikon D5100 swivel LCD screen
Nikon D5100 LCD screen out
Canon Rebel T3i LCD screen out


The Rebel T3i offers enhanced Live View (LV) capabilities with Phase Detect and Contrast Detect AF:
The Canon T3i / 600D offers three AF options in Live View shooting mode: (1) Live Mode – uses contrast AF detection, (2) Face Detection – contrast detect AF with face detection, (3) Quick Mode – uses phase detection (mirror up) for faster Live View focusing. A Live View Histogram is also available on the Canon Rebel T3i to assist in determining exposure.

The Canon Rebel T3i provides for up to a 10x magnified view when using manual focus in Live View mode making it easier to verify focus. The Nikon D5100 in comparison provides for up to a 7.7x magnification when manually focusing in LV mode.

Although the Nikon D5100 offers four Live View AF modes, the camera does not offer the faster type of phase-detect autofocus. The four contrast-detect AF Live View modes available on the D5100 include: 1) Face Priority with AF Face Tracking, 2) Wide Area AF, 3) Normal Area AF and 4) Subject Tracking AF (tracks moving subject)

Nikon D5100 Live View Display Canon Rebel T3i / 600D Live View Display
Nikon D5100 Live View Display
Canon T3i Live View Display
Nikon D5100 Live View Detailed Display Canon T3i Live View Detailed Display
Nikon D5100 LV Detailed Display
• While in LV mode, press the <i> button to adjust camera settings
Canon T3i LV Detailed Display
• While in LV mode, press the Quick Control button to adjust camera settings
Nikon D5100 Grid Line Display Canon Rebel T3i Grid LIne Display
Nikon D5100 LV Grid Lines
• A grid screen can be superimposed over the Live View display to aid in landscape and architectural composition (align horizontal and vertical lines)
Canon T3i LV Grid Lines
• One of two grid screens can be superimposed over the Live View display to aid in landscape and architectural composition (align horizontal and vertical lines)

The Rebel T3i offers added video recording features compared to the Nikon D5100: Both the Nikon D5100 and the Canon Rebel T3i provide for the ability to record Full HD movies at 1080p (1920 x 1080) with sound at selectable frame rates. Movies can also be recorded in 720p HD or at SD quality (smaller file sizes).

On the Nikon D5100, movies can be recorded by activating live view and pressing the dedicated record button with the shooting mode dial set to any position. On the Canon Rebel T3i, you have to make sure to set the camera’s shooting mode dial to the movie recording position, before you can begin to capture video using the live view one touch movie recording button.

At 1080p resolution, the Nikon D5100 can record HD movies up to approx. 20 min in length per clip compared to approximately 11 min per clip for the Canon Rebel T3i (based on a 4GB limit per file). Both camera’s record movies in the MOV. format (MPEG-4)

The Nikon D5100 and the Canon Rebel T3i both offer Auto Focus (AF) during movie capture, although with either camera the focus is fairly slow and not so well suited for capturing faster and randomly moving subjects. Manual focus is a good option.

Nikon D5100 Movie Quality Menu Canon Rebel T3i Movie Quality Menu
D5100 Movie Quality Menu
T3i Movie Quality Menu
D5100 Sound Recording Menu
T3i Sound Recording Menu

The D5100 and the Rebel T3i both offer audio level recording control, with the Rebel T3i providing more advanced sound control settings and the added feature of a wind noise reduction function. Both camera’s also provide a plug-in for attaching an optional stereo microphone.

Manual exposure control during movie recording (favoured by advanced videographers) is a welcome option with the Canon Rebel T3i / 600D, and is a feature that is lacking on the Nikon D5100.

The Canon Rebel T3i also offers ‘Movie Digital Zoom’, and a ‘Video Snapshot’ feature. Unlike standard digital zoom for still images, Movie Digital Zoom crops the video image directly from the CMOS sensor at Full HD resolution to preserve video quality and still provide additional telephoto power (3x-10x) beyond just the lens.

Canon’s new Video Snapshot feature borrows some innovation from Canon’s VIXIA line of camcorders for capturing, assembling and playing fun-to-watch video clips. Video Snapshot enables users to capture a series of two-, four- or eight-second video clips automatically. The scenes are assembled by the camera into continuous Video Snapshot Album files for easy playback and can even be further edited in camera or through Canon’s Video Snapshot Task software.

In our opinion, both camera’s are very capable of delivering good quality video, while the Canon Rebel T3i offers an advantage in terms of added movie recording features and the level of control provided.

Nikon AF-S DX 18-55mm VR zoom compared to Canon EF-S 18-55mm IS II zoom lens

The Nikon AF-S DX 18-55mm VR zoom kit lens outperforms the Canon EF-S 18-55mm IS II kit lens: the Nikkor AF-S DX 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR Nikkor zoom is an entry level kit lens that offers good performance and image quality when combined with the D5100.

The standard AF-S DX 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G Nikkor zoom lens features an AF-S motor for faster and quieter focusing versus the Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II lens, which does not incorporate an ultrasonic motor (USM) like most higher end Canon lenses.

The Canon EF-S 18-55mm IS II kit zoom lens does not appear as sharp from corner to corner, imperfections that are highlighted even further when used with a higher resolution camera like the Rebel T3i. The lens does not provide sufficient resolving power to do justice to the capabilities of the T3i’s sensor. The Canon EF-S 18-55mm IS II kit lens is also more prone to producing chromatic aberrations which tend to show up as coloured fringes around the edges of brighter highlight areas of an image.

Like the professional Nikon D3x and higher end Nikon D300s, the D5100 has a built in feature that compensates for lateral chromatic aberration. This feature facilitates the use of the Nikkor AF-S DX 18-55mm VR with the D5100. The Nikon D5100’s “Lateral Chromatic Aberration Correction” function serves to reduce moiré and provides optimized edge sharpness providing a practical advantage with any lens.

D5100 Chromatic Aberration Correction
Rebel T3i Chromatic Aberration Test
Nikon D5100 with AF-S DX 18-55mm VR
• ISO 400, Aperture Priority, 1/1000 sec at F8
• Active D-Lighting, Crop viewed at 200%
• 3D Color Matrix Metering, Auto White Balance
Canon T3i / 600D with EF-S 18-55mm IS II
• ISO 400, Aperture Priority, 1/1000 sec at F8
• Auto Lighting Optimizer, Crop viewed at 200%
• iFCL Evaluative Metering, Auto White Balance

In the sample image crops shown above (taken from original images viewed at 200%), the Canon Rebel T3i with the EF-S 18-55mm IS II kit lens produced some chromatic aberrations (blue colour fringe visible around the edges of the church roof), which are absent in the image taken of the same scene with the Nikon D5100 and the Nikkor AF-S 18-55mm VR zoom.

While the results from the Rebel T3i with the EF-S 18-55mm IS II kit lens are not awful, the technology in the Nikon D5100 combined with the AF-S 18-55mm VR kit lens produces a better image quality file.

If you are looking for a good secondary lens for telephoto applications, we would recommend the Nikon AF-S DX 55-300mm F/4.5-5.6G VR zoom lens for the D5100 or the EF-S 55-250mm F4-5.6 IS for the Canon Rebel T3i / 600D as two good reasonably priced options.

The Nikon D5100 offers an ‘Auto Distortion Control’ feature: Select ‘On’ to reduce barrel distortion when shooting with wide-angle lenses and to reduce pincushion distortion when shooting with longer telephoto lenses.

In the sample images below, we tested the Nikon D5100 with the AF-S 18-55mm kit lens at full wide-angle 18mm coverage with ‘Auto Distortion Control’ set to the default Off position (as seen in the image on the left), and then with ‘Auto Distortion Control’ set to On (as shown in the image on the right).

Noticeable barrel distortion is present with the D5100’s ‘Auto Distortion Control’ disabled (image is curved outward). By activating the ‘Auto Distortion Control’ feature before taking the picture, the camera did a good job at correcting for the distortion exhibited by the kit lens.

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As can be seen in the Canon Rebel T3i / EOS 600D test image (above left), the Canon EF-S 18-55mm lens delivers noticeable barrel distortion under the same circumstances. The Canon Rebel T3i does not offer any type of in-camera lens distortion correction.

With the Nikon D5100, you can even apply ‘Distortion Control’ after an image has already been captured by using the camera’s ‘Retouch Menu’ to post-process the image and save a corrected copy of the original file.

The Nikon D5100 can capture a greater number of continuous shots compared to the Canon Rebel T3i:The Canon T3i can capture images at 3.7 frames per second (fps) with a buffer that will allow up to 6 RAW or 34 JPEG images in a burst of shooting.

In comparison, the Nikon D5100 can capture images at 4 fps with a buffer that will allow up to 16 frames in RAW or 100 JPEG’s in a burst. Being able to shoot around three times as many frames in a burst can have significant advantages when trying to capture that precise ‘action’ shot.

Nikon D5100 versus Canon Rebel T3i back view controls

The Canon Rebel T3i provides a greater number of dedicated feature control buttons versus the Nikon D5100: The Canon Rebel T3i / 600D provides four buttons surrounding the ‘SET’ button on the rear of the camera, which allow for direct access to changing frequently used settings when using the camera in the manual P,S,A,M exposure control shooting modes.

Pushing the top button displays the White Balance (WB) settings menu, the left button activates the Auto Focus (AF) mode settings menu, the bottom button brings up the camera’s Picture Style menu, and pushing the left button displays the Drive mode menu, including self -timer options.

In order to be able to adjust these settings on the Nikon D5100, you first push the <i> button (located to the right of the viewfinder) which brings up the camera’s ‘Quick Settings Menu’ screen on the LCD monitor, and then use the 4-way control pad surrounding the ‘OK’ button to select the feature you wish to adjust.

Nikon D5100 Quick Menu Screen Canon rebel T3i Quick Menu Screen
Nikon D5100 Quick Menu Screen
Canon T3i Quick Menu Screen

The Canon Rebel T3i / 600D also features a “Quick Settings Menu” which is accessed by simply pushing the ‘Q’ button located to the right of the LCD monitor.

With either camera, functions that can be adjusted in the Quick Settings menus varies on the selected shooting mode. The screen grabs above show the settings that are available when the D5100 and the Rebel T3i are set to Aperture priority exposure mode.

In this case, the Nikon D5100 provides settings for adjusting the following camera functions; Aperture, Image Quality, White Balance, ISO, Drive Mode, Focus Mode, Focus Area, Metering, Active D-Lighting, Bracketing, Picture Control, Exposure Compensation, Flash Exposure Compensation and Focus Area.

In the same shooting mode, the Canon Rebel T3i ‘Quick Settings’ menu provides fast access to changing the following settings; Aperture, ISO, Exposure Compensation, Picture Styles, White Balance (WB), Auto Lighting Optimizer, Focus Mode, Drive Mode, Metering, and Image Quality.

Nikon D5100 programmable Fn button Canon Rebel T3i programmable SET button
Nikon D5100 Fn / Self-Timer Button
Canon T3i / 600D Programmable SET Button

The Nikon D5100 offers a programmable Function (Fn) button located on the front side of the camera. The Fn button can be customized to provide fast access to adjust the settings for a particular feature on the camera.

One of the following functions can be assigned using the camera’s custom function setting f1, after which it can be quickly activated by pushing the D5100’s “Self-Timer / Fn” button:

• Self-timer (default)
• Release mode
• Image Quality / Size
• ISO Sensitivity
• White balance (P,S,A,M mode)
• Active D-Lighting (P,S,A,M mode)
• HDR mode
• + NEF (RAW)
• Auto bracketing (Exposure, WB or ADL)

The ‘SET’ button located on the back of the Canon Rebel T3i can also be customized to provide fast access to an assigned feature. One of the following functions can be assigned using custom function C.Fn-10 and then quickly activated by pushing the camera’s “SET” button:

• Disabled (default)
• Image Quality
• Flash Exposure Compensation
• LCD Monitor (On/Off)
• Menu display
• ISO Sensitivity

Nikon D5100 grip design CCanon Rebel T3i grip design
Nikon D5100 Grip Design
Canon Rebel T3i / 600D Grip Design

The Live View feature on the Nikon D5100 is activated by using a sliding lever located on the top of the camera next to the main shooting mode dial. A separate one touch movie recording button is located on the grip portion of the camera closer to the shutter release button (off / on switch).

The Canon Rebel T3i / EOS 600D provides a one touch live view activation button on the back of the camera which also doubles as a one-touch movie recording button when the camera is set to movie shooting mode.

The Canon Rebel T3i / 600D offers a dedicated ISO control button on the top of the camera versus the Nikon D5100 which offers a dedicated exposure compensation button in roughly the same position. The ‘DISP.’ button on the Rebel T3i and the ‘info’ button on the D5100 serve a similar purpose, which is to activate the LCD menu display and control certain related functions.

The D5100’s main control wheel (used in adjusting camera settings such as shutter speed and aperture) is found on the back of the camera on the top right side. The main control wheel on the Canon Rebel T3i is located on the top grip portion of the camera, just below the shutter release button.

On the Nikon D5100 when holding the camera in a natural fashion you use your thumb to turn the control wheel compared to using your index finger to turn the control dial on the Rebel T3i.

The Canon Rebel T3i provides for a vertical release battery grip accessory option, which in our opinion also makes the camera more balanced and natural to hold, especially with a longer telephoto lens attached. The Canon BG-E8 can hold one or two Canon LP-E8 Li-Ion rechargeable batteries or 6 commonly available AA type batteries.

Canon BG-E8 front view Canon BG-E8 back view
Canon BG-E8 Grip Front View
Canon BG-E8 Grip Back View


The Rebel T3i offers a slightly larger optical viewfinder view compared to the Nikon D5100
: Both the Canon Rebel T3i and the Nikon D5100 feature a penta-mirror viewfinder design. The D5100 offers a smaller viewfinder with 0.78x magnification compared to the larger 0.85x viewfinder magnification on the Rebel T3i / EOS 600D.

Factoring in the sensor size and resulting crop factor difference between the two camera’s, the ‘real’ variance in viewfinder size is approx. 2% (Nikon D5100 crop factor is 1.5x compared to a crop factor of 1.6x for the Rebel T3i).

Nikon D5100 versus Canon rebel T3i /600D viewfinder comparison
D5100 viewfinder magnification
Canon T3i viewfinder magnification

The Nikon D5100 provides enhanced shutter durability with a shutter mechanism that is rated up to 100,000 exposures. Canon does not provide official specifications on the durability of the shutter built into the Canon Rebel T3i / EOS 600D.

Note: In response to our past request for a shutter durability rating with respect to the Canon Rebel T2i, Canon Canada provided us with the following reply:

“Canon does not release shutter durability ratings for EOS Rebel class cameras as it is not a common specification that consumers for that product request. Shutter durability ratings are provided for professional and semi professional models as they could be important factors in the purchase decision. Canon shutter durability ratings are not a guarantee, nor covered under warranty. They simply test using Canon standard testing conditions. So, any Rebel class cameras have no “official” shutter durability rating”

When we in turn referenced another web site claiming to have received official shutter ratings for Canon Rebel cameras, our Canon contacts reconfirmed the above:

“I just verified with our Pro markets tech expert and he reinforced that Canon does not test Rebel Cameras for “shutter durability” as it isn’t a purchasing factor and thus there are no official numbers on the matter. Not too sure who exactly provided these numbers listed in the article but they are not substantiated by Canon Canada.”
– Corporate Communications, Canon Canada Inc.

Nikon D5100 SRS Provides Enhanced Auto Focus, Metering and White Balance vs. the Canon Rebel T3i:Incorporated in Nikon’s higher end SLR models like the Nikon D7000, D300s and professional D3s, Nikon’s Scene Recognition System is also featured in the D5100.

This technology analyzes subject information from a database containing more than 30,000 images to optimize focus, exposure, i-TTL flash exposure and white balance. The Scene Recognition System reads data from the 420-pixel 3D Color Matrix Meter RGB sensor that detects and examines the scene’s brightness and color data and then optimizes the camera’s performance prior to the actual exposure.

Nikon Scene Recognition System

The Nikon D5100’s 11-point AF system offers wider autofocus coverage across the frame. The D5100 also provides added AF-area modes versus the Rebel T3i. The AF area modes on the D5100 include;

1) Single-area AF: manually select one of the 11 focus points

2) Dynamic-area AF: select one of the 11 focus points. If the subject briefly leaves the selected focus point, the camera will focus based on information from the surrounding points.

3) Auto-area AF:the D5100 detects the subject using information from all 11 focus points and automatically focuses on it.

4) 3D Focus Tracking (11-area): the D5100 focuses on a subject using a selected focus point. Once focusing is achieved with the selected focus point, the focus point automatically changes to track the subject even if it moves or composition is changed (while the shutter-release button is pressed halfway).

The Nikon D5100 provides enhanced autofocus accuracy by utilizing color and brightness information from its 420-pixel RGB sensor. When shooting in Auto-area AF mode, the camera quickly focuses on the main subject by detecting foreground, background and subject position.

The Canon Rebel T3i / EOS 600D offers the same 9 point AF system found in the Canon EOS Rebel T2i. The camera provides two focus point selection modes, including;

1) Manual AF Point Selection: select one of 9 focus points

2) Automatic AF Point Selection: if the subject moves away from the center AF point, focus tracking continues as long as the subject is covered by another AF point

Nikon D5100 versus Rebel T3i focus points

Although the Rebel T3i offers a competent AF system, the Nikon D5100’s autofocus system provides an advantage in terms of the technologies and features that are offered, which assist in delivering a greater degree of consistency in achieving and maintaining AF accuracy. Based on our comparison tests, the Nikon D5100 also performed better when focusing under low light conditions compared to the T3i .

In terms of White Balance (WB), both camera’s provide a user-friendly ‘Auto WB’ setting or the ability to select from a range of manual ‘Preset’ WB settings. With the D5100 you can create and store a Custom WB setting by measuring WB under the given lighting conditions using a white card or you can match Custom WB to an existing image. The Rebe T3i only allows you to create and store a manual Custom WB setting based on an existing image. Both camera’s provide the option of tweaking WB preset settings in the Blue / Amber and Magenta / Green range.

Nikon D5100’s Auto white balance control provides for a high degree of WB accuracy by combining with the camera’s Scene Recognition System to analyze the light sources in each scene, and prior to capture cross-referencing this information with 5,000 actual picture data examples from over 20,000 images in the cameras onboard white balance database.

Nikon’s 3D Color Matrix Metering II has developed a reputation for delivering consistently well-balanced exposures — even in lighting conditions that confuse other systems. 3D Color Matrix Meter II takes into account the scene’s contrast and brightness, the subject’s distance (via a D- or G-type NIKKOR lens), the color of the subject within the scene and RGB color values in every section of the scene.

The 3D Color Matrix Metering II system in the Nikon D5100 uses the Scene Recognition System to evaluate the highlights, delivering even more light metering precision. The meter then accesses a database of over 30,000 actual images to determine the best exposure for the scene.

The Canon T3i incorporates a 63-zone iFCL dual metering sensor similar to the EOS 7D. The iFCL system uses Focus, Colour and Luminance information to determine exposure. The Rebel T3i’s 9 focus points provide distance information to the metering system to determine proximity to the subject and allow the algorithm to weight the exposure accordingly.

Typically, metering sensors are more sensitive to red subjects which can lead to overexposure. The T3i / 600D combats this with the dual layer sensor, which has one layer sensitive to red and green light and one that is sensitive to blue and green light. The metering algorithm then compares the level of the two layers and adjusts the meter reading accordingly.

Based on our tests, the 420-segment 3D matrix metering system II found in the D5100 offers a higher consistency of exposure accuracy versus the 63-zone iFCL metering system in the T3i / 600D, and provides an advantage in difficult lighting conditions. For more novice users that will lean towards utilizing automatic settings, the exposure metering system on the Nikon D5100 is more likely to deliver the desired results.

The D5100’s Active D-Lightingand HDR mode technologies provide extended dynamic range beyond the capabilities of the Canon T3i’s Auto Lighting Optimizer feature: The Nikon D5100 and the Canon Rebel T3i both incorporate technologies designed to expand the camera’s dynamic range (ability to preserve detail in highlights and shadows).

Nikon’s ‘Active D-lighting’ feature controls for highlight and shadow detail and adjusts exposure according to the scene. The Rebel T3i features ‘Highlight Tone Priority’ which processes for highlights and ‘Auto Lighting Optimizer’ which adjusts for shadows and highlights using tone curves.

When the Rebel T3i’s “Highlight Tone Priority” mode is enabled via the Custom function menu, the ‘Auto Lighting Optimizer’ function is automatically disabled at the same time.

By applying different technological approaches towards achieving dynamic range expansion, the Nikon D5100 and the Canon Rebel T3i do not produce the same type of results, as demonstrated in our Nikon D5100 versus Canon Rebel T3i sample shots below (both camera’s outfitted with their respective 18-55mm standard kit zoom lenses).

Nikon D5100 with AF-S DX 18-55mm VR
Canon T3i / 600D with EF-S 18-55mm IS II
Nikon D5100 Sample Image Crop at 50%
Rebel T3i Sample Image Crop at 50%
Nikon D5100 Sample: Crop and Resized
• ISO 400, Aperture Priority, 1/1000 sec at F8
• Active D-Lighting set to High, 22mm Wide
• 3D Color Matrix Metering, Auto White Balance
D5100 Image Sample Larger size 1.53 MB
Rebel T3i Sample: Crop and Resized
• ISO 400, Aperture Priority, 1/500 sec at F8
• Auto Lighting Optimizer Set to Strong, 21mm Wide
• iFCL Evaluative Metering, Auto White Balance
T3i Image Sample Larger size 2.19 MB

The Nikon D5100’s Active D-Lighting feature in combination with the camera’s 3D Matrix metering system provides a clear advantage compared to the results from the Canon Rebel T3i / 600D. The Canon T3i delivered significant blown highlights in this test with considerable loss of detail in highlight areas versus the D5100.

Both the Canon ‘Auto Lighting Optimizer’ and the Nikon ‘Active D-Lighting’ feature are activated in the shooting menu. The screen grabs below show the respective dynamic range optimizing menu settings for the Nikon D5100 and the Canon Rebel T3i / EOS 600D.

Nikon D5100 Active D-Lighting Menu
Nikon D5100 ADL Menu
Canon Rebel T3i ALO Menu
Nikon D5100 Active D-Lighting Settings Canon Rebel T3i Auto Lighting Optimizer Settings
Nikon D5100 Active D-Lighting
T3i Auto Lighting Optimizer

Nikon’s Active D-Lighting feature offers six settings, including; Auto, Low, Normal, High, Extra High, and Off, compared to Canon’s Auto Lighting Optimizer which offers four settings, including; Off, Low, Standard and Strong.

With the D5100 you can eve apply D-Lighting to an image that has already been captured. The in-camera processed image is then saved as a copy so that the original image is left intact. This feature is accessible in the Nikon D5100’s ‘Retouch Menu’ outlined further below.

The Nikon D5100 also offers a new High Dynamic Range (HDR) mode, which combines two exposures to form a single image that captures a wide range of tones from shadows to highlights, even with high-contrast subjects.

The exposure differential is selectable from Auto, 1 EV, 2 EV and 3 EV. The boundaries between the two images can also be smoothed (the degree is selectable from High, Normal and Low).

Nikon D5100 HDR Mode. Illustration copyright Nikon Corporation.

HDR mode is suitable for stationary subjects such as landscapes and still life, and the use of a tripod is recommended. HDR is most effective when used with Matrix metering. It can not be used to record NEF (RAW) images. The flash can not be used while HDR is in effect.

The Nikon D5100 offers an advantage in terms of flash exposure control compared to the Canon Rebel T3i: Both the Nikon D5100 and the Canon Rebel T3i incorporate a built-in flash. Although the Canon Rebel T3i’s Speedlite flash offers a higher Guide Number (more power) and enhanced features, such as being able to act as a wireless external flash trigger, the Nikon D5100 provides a greater consistency in delivering well balanced flash exposures.

Nikon D5100 compared to Canon Rebel T3i built-in flash


The D5100 uses information from it’s 420-segment RGB sensor combined with subject distance information from the lens and integrates colour information from the speedlight’s monitor pre-flash prior to capture. The camera’s Active D-Lighting technology also plays a role in balancing the final exposure.

The side by side image samples below are the results of a built-in flash test between the D5100 and the T3i, intended to illustrate how the two camera’s are likely to perform in a fill-flash type situation.

Nikon D5100 with AF-S DX 18-55mm VR
• ISO 400, Program Mode, 1/200 sec at F9
• Built-in flash, 36mm Focal Length (35mm Terms)
• 3D Color 420-Segment Matrix Metering, AWB
D5100 Sample Image Larger size 3.55 MB
Canon T3i / 600D with EF-S 18-55mm IS
• ISO 400, Program Mode, 1/200 sec at F6.3
• Built-in flash, 37mm Focal Length (35mm terms)
• iFCL Evaluative 63-Zone Metering, AWB
Canon T3i Sample Image Larger size 4.94 MB
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The Canon Rebel T3i is the first Rebel to offer an Integrated Speedlite Transmitter which allows for wireless flash control of optional external speedlites using the built-in flash. You can control up to two groups of flashes directly from the camera, selecting from among four channels. An ‘Easy Wireless’ mode is also provided that makes it simpler for beginners to explore wireless flash photography.

In order to be able to do wireless flash photography with the Nikon D5100 you will need an optional compatible external Speedlight unit mounted on the camera to act as a master flash, or invest in a Nikon SU-800 Wireless flash transmitter as the master controller (a close to $300 CDN option).

Canon Rebel XS AF assist strobe  versus Nikon D60 AF assist beam

The Nikon D5100 features an AF-assist illuminator beam which aids flash photography in dim light by projecting a pattern of light so that the camera can focus. The beam is also used for redeye reduction.

The Canon Rebel T3i / 600D uses a multiple strobe burst from the built-in flash to illuminate the subject under low light conditions. The strobe from the flash has a tendency to make subjects blink before you take the picture since the AF-assist pre-flashes are so bright. The strobe may also be seen as an interference by others depending on the situation.

The built-in flash on the Rebel T3i needs to be raised in order for the low light AF-assist system to work. Under similar conditions, the flash can be left down on the Nikon D5100 since the AF-assist beam operates independently.

Nikon D5100 battery EN-EL14 provides approx. 50% more shots per charge versus the Canon Rebel T3i LP-E8 battery: The Nikon D5100 can capture up to about 850 shots per charge using the supplied Nikon EN-EL14 rechargeable battery (50% with built-in flash), based on CIPA (Camera & Imaging Products Association) test standards.

In comparison, the Rebel T3i can capture up to 470 shots per charge with its Canon LP-E8 rechargeable battery under the same test conditions.

Nikon D5100 Battery Life
CIPA Test
(50% flash)
. Canon T3i Battery Life
CIPA Test
(50% flash)
1 x EN-EL3e Li-Ion Battery 850 shots . 1 x LP-E8 Li-ion Battery 470 shots
N/A N/A . Two x LP-E8 (using optional vertical battery grip BG-E8) 940 shots
N/A N/A . AA batteries (using optional vertical battery grip BG-E8) 270 shots

Dedicated GPS unit GP-1 accessory available for the Nikon D5100 supports “Geotagging”: By tagging your photos with geotags you will not be left wondering down the road “Where was that picture taken?” The Nikon GP1 works by receiving signals from a number of satellites in space. Through triangulation, the camera will “know” where it is on the surface of the Earth and record the latitude and longitude and altitude in the meta data on pictures.

Once the GPs data is stored, images can be plotted on a map in Nikon View NX software or on-line at myPicturetown.com, as well as many other programs and web sites.

The Nikon D5100 offers a greater number of custom options settings compared to the Canon Rebel T3i / EOS 600D:the Nikon D5100 features 20 custom functions compared to 11 on the Canon Rebel T3i.

Nikon D5100 Retouch Menu Canon Rebel T3i Creative Filters
Nikon D5100 Retouch Menu
Canon T3i Creative Filters Menu

For quick in-camera edits without the need of a computer, the Nikon D5100 features a built-in “Retouch Menu’. Available options include:

• D-Lighting: brightens shadows for dark or backlit photographs (retouched image saved as a new file)
• Red-eye correction: used to correct “redeye” caused by the flash
• Trimming: Create a cropped copy of the selected photograph (aspect ratio 3:2, 4:3, 5:4, 1:1, and 16:9)
• Monochrome & filter effects: convert to Black-and-white, Sepia, or Cyanotype, or select a filter effect
• Color balance: create a copy of the original with modified color balance
• Image overlay: combines two existing NEF (RAW) photographs to create a single picture
• NEF (RAW) processing: convert a RAW / NEF image into a JPEG (saved as a copy)
• Resize: make a smaller copy of the original image for email or online use
• Quick retouch: automatically enhance the saturation and contrast of the original image (copy saved)
• Straighten: straighten the image (horizontal and vertical lines) and save a copy
• Distortion control: create copies with reduced peripheral distortion (Auto or manual setting)
• Fisheye: create copies that appear to have been taken with a fisheye lens
• Color outline: create an outline copy of a photograph to use as a base for painting
• Color sketch: convert the image to resemble a sketch made with colored pencils
• Perspective control: used to avoid convergence of parallel lines, such as in an image of a tall building
• Miniature effect: create a copy that appears to be a photo of a diorama
• Selective Color: convert so that only selected hues appear in color (3 colours can be picked)
• Edit movie: edit a movie in movie mode

The D5100 also offers a special effects mode (applies to stills and movies). Simply set the shooting mode dial to the ‘EFFECTS” position, and then rotate the command dial to select one of seven options, including;

• Night Vision: Enables night shooting up to 102400 ISO. Records black and white images
• Color Sketch: The camera detects and colors subjects’ outlines to create sketch-style images
• Miniature effect: Distant subjects appear as if they are miniature scale models
• Selective color: All colours other than the colours selected (up to 3) are recorded in black and white
• High key: Delivers bright images filled with light by intentional overexposure
• Low key: for dark and somber images to emphasize highlights by intentional underexposure
• Silhouette: Creates silhouettes of subjects against a bright background

The Canon Rebel T3i does not offer a “Retouch Menu”. The Canon T3i does provide for some in-camera post-processing options found in the camera’s playback menu under the heading ‘Creative Filters’. The available options include;

• Grainy B&W: gives a dramatically gritty, hard-bitten look
• Soft Focus: provides a foggy dream like effect
• Fish-eye Effect: mimics “Fisheye” lenses by providing a convex perspective
• Toy Camera Effect: recreates the colors and softness rendered by cameras with a plastic lens
• Miniature effect: Distant subjects appear as if they are miniature scale models

Nikon D5100 side view
Canon Rebel T3i side view

The interface connections on the Nikon D5100 and the Canon Rebel T3i are found on the side of either camera. All of the D5100’s connections are found under a hinged rubber door, compared to on the Canon Rebel T3i / 600D where the connections are accessed behind one of two rubber doors.

The connections found on the D5100 include; USB interface, Audio Video (A/V) RCA, HDMI socket (type C), optional GP-1 GPS accessory jack, and a plug-in for using an optional external stereo microphone.

The connections found under the larger rubber door (closer to the LCD hindge) on the Canon Rebel T3i include; USB Interface, Audio Video (A/V) RCA, HDMI socket. The second smaller rubber door protects the camera’s wired remote shutter release jack (use optional Canon Remote RS60 E3 ), and a plug-in for using an optional external stereo microphone.

The Canon Rebel T3i provides a dedicated Depth of Field preview button and a Mirror Lock Up function: The depth of field preview button on the Rebel T3i allows you to confirm the depth of field (how much of the area in front and behind your main subject will be in focus) before you take the picture.

The T3i’s ‘Mirror Lock Up’ feature found in the Custom Settings menu (C.Fn 8), allows users to lock up the camera’s mirror prior to taking the picture, minimizing chances of image blur occurring when the mirror flips up.

The Nikon D5100 does not offer a dedicated depth of field preview button. As a work around, depth of field can be verified in ‘Live View’ mode using either Program, Aperture or Shutter Priority exposure mode and judging the results on the camera’s LCD monitor prior to taking the shot.

The D5100 does offer an Exposure Delay Mode (Custom Function d4), which is designed to mimic a mirror lock up feature. When On is selected, the shutter release is delayed until about 1s after the shutter-release button is pressed and the mirror is raised. Using the camera’s Live View mode is another viable option since in this case the mirror is already raised.

The Nikon D5100 offers ‘Multiple Exposure’ and ‘Image Overlay’ options (not available on the T3i): The Nikon D5100 offers a multiple exposure mode which allows the user to set the camera to capture 2 or 3 images (RAW) and combine them into one image for a creative effect. An auto gain feature is available.

It is also possible to combine images that have already been captured by using the ‘Image Overlay’ setting in the camera’s Retouch Menu. Image overlay combines two existing NEF (RAW) photographs to create a single picture that is saved separately from the originals.

Nikon D5100 versus the Canon Rebel T3i / EOS 600D: Review Conclusion

After spending the last four weeks comparing the Nikon D5100 and the Canon Rebel T3i / EOS 600D digital SLR’s and shooting countless of images, there is no doubt that both cameras are capable of delivering good results in terms of both still and movie quality. If you already have an investment in Nikon or Canon AF lenses, the choice should be easy.

For those however considering to purchase a camera with the standard kit lens, we would recommend the Nikon D5100 kit with the AF-S DX 18-55mm VR zoom as offering the best solution, since the results delivered by the Canon EF-S 18-55mm IS II zoom lens when matched with a high resolution camera like the Rebel T3i display a fair amount of weakness in comparison.

In general, the Nikon D5100 with the standard Nikkor AF-S DX 18-55mm F/3.5-5.6G ED VR zoom offered better performance compared to the Canon Rebel T3i with the EF-S 18-55mm F/3.5-.5.6 IS II zoom kit lens. This is not only as a result of better optical lens design in the Nikon AF-S 18-55mm VR, but also because the lens is a more suitable match for the D5100’s sensor. Another factor is that the D5100 incorporates technologies such as automatic ‘Chromatic Aberration Correction’ which are specifically designed to enhance lens performance.

Irrespective of the lens used, the Nikon D5100 offers better sensor output compared to the Canon Rebel T3i, especially in terms of minimizing digital noise when shooting at high ISO settings. The Nikon D5100 sensor offers improved colour depth, dynamic range and high ISO capability versus the Canon Rebel T3i / EOS 600D, as supported by our own and DxOMark Labs sensor comparison tests.

If being able to shoot digital SLR type HD movies is an important requirement, then the Canon Rebel T3i / 600D offers advantages over the Nikon D5100 by providing manual exposure and added sound control features desired by more advanced users.

With respect to handling and ergonomics, the Canon Rebel T3i / EOS 600D offers a number of nice features versus the D5100, including; a brighter and more accurate colour LCD screen, additional dedicated one touch control buttons, a slightly larger viewfinder and provides for the ability to add an optional vertical release battery grip for added stability and comfort.

In terms of the menu displays, we personally prefer the menu system on the Nikon D5100, written in plain language and easy to navigate. That is not to say that we could not get used to the menu system on the T3i, which still serves the purpose well.

In general, we found the Nikon D5100 offered a greater consistency in delivering good image quality versus the Canon Rebel T3i. We attribute this to the more advanced technologies built-in to the Nikon D5100, including; the sensor design (borrowed from the higher end Nikon D7000), the 420-segment 3D Matrix metering system, 11-point Auto focus, and the incorporation of Nikon’s Scene Recognition System and EXPEED 2 image processing.

While the Canon Rebel T3i / EOS 600D offers a number of impressive advanced features, the camera’s core technologies do not match the capabilities provided by the Nikon D5100 with respect to sensor performance, metering, autofocus, and image processing ability. Since these factors are key determinants of image quality, the Nikon D5100 provides an edge, and delivers a greater consistency of enhanced image quality versus the Canon Rebel T3i as seen in our side by side comparison tests.

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Nikon D5100 versis Canon Rebel T3i / EOS 600D top view

To buy the Nikon D5100 or the Canon Rebel T3i we recommend you check out Amazon
Nikon D5100 vs the Canon Rebel T3i / EOS 600D Side by Side
Specifications
Resolution and Size of Sensor 16.2 MP CMOS sensor (DX Format size 23.6 x 15.6 mm) 18.0 MP CMOS sensor (APS-C Format size 22.3 x 14.9 mm)
DxO Labs Sensor Ratings Based on DxO Labs Sensor Ratings, the Nikon D5100 scores higher versus the Rebel T3i / EOS 600D in terms of RAW output quality, providing enhanced Color Depth, Dynamic Range and Low Light ISO.

Nikon D7000 DxO Labs sensor test results

The DxO Lab Sensor Ratings for the Canon T3i / 600D closely match the results of its predecessor, the Rebel T2i. The Canon Rebel T3i receives a considerably lower overall sensor score versus the D5100.

Canon T3i / EOS 600D DxO Labs sensor image tests

Image Processing EXPEED 2 DIGIC 4
Shutter Cycles 100,000 exposures Canon does not provide official shutter durability ratings for Rebel class cameras
Pixel Pitch 4.78µm 4.3µm
Pixel Density 4.4 MP / cm² 5.4 MP / cm²
Entry-Level Kit Lens Nikon AF-S DX 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR zoom lens. Incorporates Nikon’s Silent Wave Lens Motor (SVM), offers faster AF and quieter performanceThe Nikon D5100 is also available as a kit with the AF-S DX 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR Nikkor zoom lens Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II zoom lensNo Ultrasonic motor (USM) as found on higher priced Canon EF lenses

The T3i / 600D is also available as a kit with the EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS zoom lens

Focal Range Multiplier Factor 1.5x 1.6x
Image Size and Quality Settings JPEG4928 x 3264 (L)
3696 x 2448 (M)
2464 x 1632 (S)

Quality settings: Fine, Normal, Basic

JPEG 3:2 Aspect Ratio:5184 x 3456 (L)
3456 x 2304 (M)
2592 x 1728 (S1)
1920 x 1280 (S2)
720 x 480 (S3)

Quality settings: Fine and Normal

Multi-Aspect Ratio Shooting (Live View) N/A Express an image in one of three ways by matching the aspect ratio to each scene. Options available in Live View include; 1:1, 4:3 (TV), and 16:9 (wide screen)
RAW / JPEG Recording NEF (RAW) + JPEG Fine
NEF (RAW) + JPEG Normal
NEF (RAW) + JPEG Basic
NEF (RAW)
JPEG Fine
JPEG Normal
JPEG Basic
RAW
RAW + JPEG Fine
JPEG Fine
JPEG Normal
Frame Rate 4 fps up to 100 jpegs, 16 frames in RAW 3.7 fps up to 34 jpegs, 6 frames in RAW
LCD monitor Vari-angle 3.0-in. with 3:2 aspect ratio, 1,040,000-dot, 170-degree wide viewing angle, 100% frame coverage, low-temperature polysilicon TFT LCD with brightness adjustment, anti-reflective and anti-smudge propertiesClassic or Graphic display option and three colour options for each design Vari-angle 3.0-in. With 3:2 aspect ratio, 1,040,000-dot, 170-degree wide viewing angle, 100% frame coverage, low-temperature polysilicon TFT LCD with brightness adjustment, anti-reflective and anti-smudge propertiesFour color options available for LCD display
Command Dials and Buttons • One rear command dial for changing settings (located top right on the back of the camera)• Dedicated ‘One-Touch Movie Recording’ button, ‘Exposure Compensation / Aperture Control’ and ‘Info’ buttons located on the top grip portion of the camera

• Programmable Function (Fn) button: provides quick access to activate or change settings for the assigned feature

• One front command dial for changing settings (located close to shutter release on the top of the camera grip)• Dedicated button for ‘Display’ and ‘ISO Control’ located on the top grip portion of the camera

• Programmable ‘SET’ button: provides quick access (by pushing the ‘SET’ button) to activate or change settings for the assigned feature

Programmable Buttons Programmable Function (Fn) Button – One of the following functions can be assigned using custom function setting f1, and then quickly activated by pushing the camera’s “Self-Timer / Fn” button: • Self-timer
• Release mode
• Image Quality / Size
• ISO Sensitivity
• White balance (P,S,A,M mode)
• Active D-Lighting (P,S,A,M mode)
• HDR mode
• + NEF (RAW)
• Auto bracketing (Exposure, WB or ADL)
Assign “SET” Button – One of the following functions can be assigned using custom function C.Fn-10 and then quickly activated by pushing the camera’s “SET” button:• Normal (disabled)
• Image Quality
• Flash Exposure Compensation
• LCD Monitor (On/Off)

• Menu display
• ISO Sensitivity
Shutter Release Modes • Single frame: Camera takes one photograph each time shutter-release button is pressed• Continuous: While shutter-release button is held down, camera records up to 4 frames
per second

• Self-timer: Use self-timer for self-portraits or to reduce blurring caused by camera shake (2 or 10 sec delay)

• Delayed remote: Shutter is released 2s after shutter-release button on optional ML-L3 remote control is pressed

• Quick-response remote: Shutter is released when shutter-release button on optional ML-L3 remote control is pressed

• Quiet shutter release mode: keeps camera noise to a minimum in quiet surroundings (single frame advance)

• Single frame: Camera takes one photograph each time shutter-release button is pressed• Continuous: While shutter-release button is held down, camera records up to 3.7 frames per second

• Self-timer 10 sec / remote control: Use self-timer for self-portraits or to reduce blurring caused by camera shake

• Self-timer 2 sec : Use self-timer for self-portraits or to reduce blurring caused by camera shake

• Self-timer 10 sec / continuous shots: can be set to continuously capture from 2 to 10 shots after a 10 sec self-timer delay

HD movie Recording Quicktime MOV formatH.264/MPEG-4 Advanced Video Coding• 1080p (1,920 x 1,080) HD video capture at 30/25/24 fps. Up to 20 min recording time per clip. 16:9 Aspect Ratio. Select High or Normal Quality.

• 720p (1,280 x 720) HD video capture at 30/25/24 fps. Up to 20 min clips. 16:9 Aspect Ratio. Select High or Normal Quality.

• 640 x 424 at 30/25/24 fps. Up to 20 min clips. 3:2 Aspect Ratio. Select High or Normal Quality.

• External stereo microphone plug-in

• Built-in microphone with mono audio

Quicktime MOV format H.264/MPEG-4 Advanced Video Coding• 1080p (1920 x 1080) Full HD video capture at 30/25/24 fps. Up to 11 min recording time (based on limit of 4GB of data per clip). 16:9 Aspect Ratio.

• 720p video capture at 60/50 fps. Up to 11 min clips. 16:9 Aspect Ratio.

• 640 x 480 pixels and 60/50 fps up to 46 min. clips. 4:3 Aspect Ratio.

• External stereo microphone plug-in

• Built-in microphone with mono audio

• Manual exposure control option (select shutter speed, aperture and ISO)

• Digital zoom in movie mode (3x – 10x)

Viewfinder System • Eye-level pentamirror viewfinder
• Approx. 0.78x viewfinder magnification
• 17.9 mm eyepoint
• Dioptric adjustment: -1.7 to +0.7 diopter
• Eye-level pentamirror viewfinder
• Approx. 0.85x viewfinder magnification
• 19 mm eyepoint
• Dioptric adjustment: -3.0 to +1.0 diopter
Grid Display Grid pattern option is available in LiveView display mode. Superimposed on LCD monitor, to assist in architectural or landscape photography (help align horizontal and vertical lines)
Two grid pattern options are available in LiveView display mode. Superimposed on LCD monitor, to assist in architectural or landscape photography (align horizontal and vertical lines)
ISO Sensitivity Settings • ISO 100 to 6400 in steps of 1/3 EV; can also be set to approx. 0.3, 0.7, 1 or 2 EV
• Auto ISO: 100 to 6400 ISO

• Manual ISO: 100 to 6400 ISO in steps of 1/3 EV and ISO boost settings below

Hi-0.3
Hi-0.7
Hi-1 (ISO 12,800)
Hi-2 (ISO 25,600)

• ISO range 100 to 6400 ISO in steps of 1 EV• Auto ISO: ISO 100 to 3200 in automatic shooting modes. Auto: 100 – 6400 ISO in P,A,S,M exposure modes

• Manual ISO: 100 to 6400 ISO in steps of 1EV.

Under custom function (C.Fn-2): ISO expansion (On / Off), ISO can be set to 12800 ISO

Noise Reduction (NR) System High ISO noise reduction: Images taken at ISO sensitivities of ISO 800 and higher are processed to reduce noise. Four selectable settings include:High
Normal (default)
Low
Off
High ISO noise reduction: Using custom function C.Fn-5, four selectable settings for High ISO noise reduction can be applied (available for all ISO settings):Standard (default)
Low
Strong
Disable
Lens Compatibility Nikon F Lens Mount1) Nikkor AF-S, AF-I: All functions supported

2) Type G or D AF NIKKOR not equipped with an autofocus motor: All functions supported except autofocus

3) AI-P NIKKOR: All functions supported except 3D color matrix metering II

4) Older Non-CPU: Can be used in mode M, but exposure meter does not function; Electronic Rangefinder can be used if maximum aperture is f/5.6 or faster

Canon EF Lens Mount1) Canon EF lenses (including EF-S lenses)

2) Older manual focus Canon FD lenses are not compatible with the Canon EOS digital SLR system

AF System 11 focus points (including one cross-type sensor)
9 focus points (including one cross-type sensor)
Lens Servo 1) Single-servo AF (AF-S): suitable for a stationary subject2) Continuous-servo AF (AF-C): for moving subjects

3) Auto AF-S / AF-C selection (AF-A): switches automatically between AF-S and AF-C servo if the still subject moves

1) AI Focus: switches automatically between One-Shot AF and AI Servo AF if the still subject moves2) One Shot AF:

suitable for a stationary subject3) AI Servo AF: for moving subjects

AF Point Selection 1) Single-area AF:select one of 11 focus points2) Dynamic-area AF: select one of the 11 focus points. If the subject briefly leaves the selected focus point, the camera will focus based on information from the surrounding points.

3) Auto-area AF:the D5100 detects the subject using information from all 11 focus points and automatically focuses on it.

4) 3D Focus Tracking (11-area):

the D5100 focuses on a subject using a selected focus point. Once focusing is achieved with the selected focus point, the focus point automatically changes to track the subject even if it moves or composition is changed (while the shutter-release button is pressed halfway).

1) Manual AF Point Selection:select one of 9 focus points2) Automatic AF Point Selection: if the subject moves away from the center AF point, focus tracking continues as long as the subject is covered by another AF point
Live View AF-Area Modes  Contrast Detection with 4 AF-area modes: 1) Face Priority with AF Face Tracking

2) Wide Area AF

3) Normal Area AF

4) Subject Tracking AF: if you set full-time-servo AF (AF-F) for focus mode and subject-tracking AF for AF-area mode, focus point tracks even a moving subject continuously and three-dimensionally.

Live View activation switch is located on the top of the camera just to the right of the main Shooting Mode Dial

1) Quick Mode using phase detection. Live View is interrupted and the mirror drops when focusing. Faster than Live Mode AF.2) Live Mode using contrast detection. Live View is not affected although focus is slower

3) Live Face Detection Mode: AF Face priority

Live View activated by dedicated button located to the right of the optical viewfinder, near the top on the back of the camera

AF Detection Range EV -1 to +19 EV (at 23°C/73°F, ISO 100) -0.5 to +18 EV EV (ISO 100, at 20°C/68°F)
Low Light AF Assist Beam from dedicated lamp Series of strobes emitted from built-in flash. Flash must be raised for AF assist
Shooting Modes on Exposure Dial
Nikon D5100 shooting mode dial

• Program
• Shutter-Priority
• Aperture-Priority
• Manual
• Auto
• Flash off
• Scene
• Portrait
• Landscape
• Kids
• Sports
• Close-Up
• Effects
Canon Rebel T3i shooting mode dial

• Program
• Shutter-Priority
• Aperture-Priority
• Manual
• A-DEP (Auto depth of field)
• Auto +
• Flash off
• CA (Creative Zone)
• Portrait
• Landscape
• Close-up
• Sports
• Night portrait
• Movie
Options available when mode dial set to ‘EFFECTS’ – D5100 Night Vision
Color Sketch
Miniature effect
Selective color
High key
Low key
Silhouette
N/A
Advanced Scene Modes (Set mode dial to ‘SCENE’ position) – D5100 Night Portrait
Night Landscape
Party/Indoor
Beach/Snow
Sunset
Dusk/Dawn
Pet Portrait
Candlelight
Blossom
Autumn Colors
Food
N/A
Ambiance Setting Adjustment for Scene Modes
(Basic +)
N/A In automatic shooting modes such as Portrait, Landscape, Close-up, Action and Night Scene, users can access a quick menu screen to select an ambiance setting from Vivid, Soft, Warm, Intense, Cool, Brighter, Darker to Monochrome, while a Lighting setting allows users to select from Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Tungsten light, Fluorescent light or Sunset
My Menu Register up to 20 options from the Playback, Shooting, Custom Settings, Setup, and Retouch menus for fast access to settings you change frequentlyRecent Settings Menu: The recent settings menu lists the twenty most recently used settings, with the most recently-used items first Register up to 6 menu options and Custom Functions for quick menu access to settings you change frequently
Shutter Speed 30 to 1/4000 sec + Bulb 30 to 1/4000 sec + Bulb
Metering System 420-pixel RGB TTL exposure metering using sensor • Matrix: 3D color matrix metering II (type G and D lenses); color matrix metering II
(other CPU lenses)

• Center-weighted: Weight of 75% given to 8-mm circle in center of frame

• Spot: Meters 3.5-mm circle (about 2.5% of frame) centered on selected focus point

63-zone iFCL TTL full-aperture metering• Evaluative metering (linkable to any AF point)

• Partial metering (approx. 9% of viewfinder at center)

• Spot metering (approx. 4.0% of viewfinder at center)

• Center-weighted average metering

Metering Range EV 0 – 20 EV 1 – 20
Exposure Compensation -5 to +5 EV in 1/2 EV or 1/3 EV steps -5 to +5 EV in 1/2 or 1/3 EV steps
Auto Exposure Bracketing 3 frames in steps of 1/3 or 1/2 EV
3 frames in steps of 1/3 EV
White Balance Settings Settings Auto, Incandescent, Fluorescent (7 option settings), Direct sunlight, Flash, Cloudy, Shade, Preset manualWhite balance compensation:
1. Blue/Amber fine adjustment by grid
2. Magenta/ Green fine adjustment by grid

Preset manual (Custom WB): measure and store a white balance setting

Settings AWB, Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Flash, CustomWhite balance compensation:
1. Blue/Amber fine adjustment by grid
2. Magenta/ Green fine adjustment by grid

Preset manual (Custom WB): measure and store a white balance setting

White Balance Bracketing 3 frames in steps of 1 3 frames in steps of 1
Scene Recognition System Scene Recognition System (SRS): Information from the 420-pixel RGB sensor is used to recognize the subject or scene conditions prior to capture. The results are used by the D5100 when determining:Autofocus:
• Subject identification
• Composition-change detection
• Face priority AF

Auto Exposure & i-TTL Flash Control:
• Highlight analysis
• Face detection

Auto White Balance:
• Light source identification
• Face detection

Playback:
• Zoom to face

N/A
Dynamic Range Processing • Active D-Lighting (from 100 ISO and up) Settings: Off, Low, Normal, High, Extra High and Auto• Active D-Lighting Bracketing: 2 frames

• D-Lighting can also be applied in the D5100 Retouch Menu or using optional Nikon Capture NX2 software (applied after).

• HDR: With the HDR setting, the D5100 takes two shots within a single shutter release: one overexposed and one underexposed. The camera then combines the two images to offer a wider dynamic range, with less noise and enhanced colour gradation

• Highlight Tone Priority (from 200 ISO to 3200 ISO) Settings: Disable, Enable• Auto Lighting Optimizer: Settings Low, Standard, Strong, Disable

* Note: When Highlight Tone Priority mode is enabled, the ‘Auto Lighting Optimizer’ function is automatically disabled by the camera

Image Processing Picture Control Settings• Six preset Picture Control settings
• Nine Custom Picture Control Settings can be registered

• Standard: Standard: Vivid, sharp images; optimal for direct printing without post-processing

• Neutral: Low sharpening, contrast and saturation: the ideal starting point for image-editing in the computer

• Vivid: For distinct, colorful, fresh-looking images with just the right emphasis on your subject’s contrast and sharpening.

• Monochrome: Black & White images; adjustable contrast, sharpening, as well as color toning and effects of traditional color filters.

• Portrait: Warmer skin tones, with slight increases in contrast and sharpening

• Landscape: bright, saturated and sharpened images, with emphasis on blue and green color saturation.

Quick Adjust settings available for Standard, Vivid, Portrait and Landscape processing parameters. Individual fine tune adjustments for Sharpening, Contrast, Brightness, Saturation and Hue

Picture Style Settings• Six preset Picture Style settings
• Three Custom Picture Style Settings can be registered

• Auto:The color tone will be adjusted to suit the scene

• Standard: Vivid, sharp images; optimal for direct printing without post-processing

• Portrait: Warmer skin tones, with slight increases in contrast and sharpening

• Landscape: bright, saturated and sharpened images, with emphasis on blue and green color saturation.

• Neutral: Low sharpening, contrast and saturation: the ideal starting point for image-editing in the computer

• Faithful: Accurate reproduction of the subject’s colors based on colorimetric data

• Monochrome: Black & White images; adjustable contrast, sharpening, as well as color toning (Sepia, Blue, Purple, Green) and effects of traditional color filters (Yellow, Orange, Red and Green)

Individual fine tune adjustments for Sharpening, Contrast, Saturation and Colour Tone

Retouch Menu In-Camera Retouch Menu options include;• D-Lighting
• Redeye correction
• Trimming
• Monochrome & filter effects
• Color balance
• Image overlay
• NEF (RAW) processing
• Resize
• Quick retouch
• Straighten
• Distortion control
• Fisheye
• Color outline
• Color sketch
• Perspective control
• Miniature effect
• Selective Color
• Edit movie
• Side-by-side comparison
In-camera post processing options include;Creative Filters:

• Grainy B&W
• Soft Focus
• Fisheye effect
• Toy camera effect
• Miniature effect

• Resize

Flash System i-TTL + Wireless Creative Lighting System Support
E-TTL II with EX series Speedlites and Wireless Flash Support
Built-in Pop Up Flash Guide Number 12 @ 100 ISO Guide Number 13 @ 100 ISO
Built-in Wireless Flash Support No• Advanced Wireless Lighting only supported with optional Nikon SB-900, SB-800 or SB-700 as a Lighting System master flash, or a Nikon SU-800 as a commander unit Yes• The built-in flash can be used as a Master unit to wirelessly trigger Canon external speedlites

• 4 channels available and multiple speedlites can be set up in groups and controlled from the camera

Red Eye Reduction System Beam from lamp Beam from lamp
Flash sync 1/200 sec
PC sync with optional AS-15 adapter
1/200 sec 
Flash Exposure Compensation -3 EV to +1 EV in increments of 1/3 or 1/2 EV – 2 EV to +2 EV in increments of 1/3 or 1/2 EV
Flash Control • Flash Value (FV) lock • Flash Exposure (FE) lock• High-Speed Sync with compatible external Canon speedlite flashes
Dust Reduction System • Airflow Control System controls the flow of air using small ducts near the lens mount, preventing internal dust from sticking to the low-pass filter in front of the image sensor• The Optical Low Pass Filter (OLPF) has an antistatic design to prevent static electricity from attracting dust and foreign matter to its surface

• Self Cleaning Sensor Unit designed to eliminate larger types of dust

• Image dust-off data acquisition: allows you to map out the dust on the sensor and have the software remove it automatically

• The area surrounding the rear surface of the image sensor is sealed to help prevent dust and foreign matter from entering from the back

• The Nikon D5100 is designed to maintain a space between the imaging surface of the image sensor and the surface of the OLPF. As dust and foreign matter on the image sensor do not form a sharp image (degree of sharpness also varies with aperture value), it is less likely for such dust and/or foreign matter to have an effect on photographs

• The D5100 is designed so that the moving parts such as the shutter and quick-return mirror produce very little of the dust and particles associated with mechanical wear of new parts inside the camera.

• The Optical Low Pass Filter (OLPF) has an antistatic design to prevent static electricity from attracting dust and foreign matter to its surface • Self Cleaning Sensor Unit designed to eliminate larger types of dust• Image dust-off data acquisition: allows you to map out the dust on the sensor and have the software remove it automatically
Custom Function Settings 20 custom functions  11 custom functions 
Peripheral Illumination Correction
Yes, Brightens the corners of images to correct for lens vignetting Yes, Brightens the corners of images to correct for lens vignetting
Lateral Chromatic Aberration Correction Like the professional Nikon D3s and D300s, the D5100 automatically compensates for lateral chromatic aberration. The “Lateral Chromatic Aberration Correction” function serves to reduce moiré and provides optimized edge sharpness N/A
Auto Distortion Control Select On to reduce barrel distortion when shooting with wide-angle lenses and to reduce pincushion distortion when shooting with long lenses.Can also be applied to a captured image using the camera’s Retouch Menu N/A
Self Timer Can be selected from 2, 5, 10, and 20 s duration. Can select for the camera to capture between 1 and 9 shots after the self-timer release 10 sec. or 2 sec. delay. Can select for the camera to capture between 2 and 10 shots after a 10 sec self-timer release
Interval Timer Shooting Select and set to take photographs automatically at preset intervals (up to 999 shots) N/A
Depth of Field Preview Button N/A Yes
Recommended Lenses:

Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED-IF AF-S VR Telephoto Zoom Lens (f/4.5 to 5.6)
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EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM Telephoto Zoom Lens (f/4 to 5.6)
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Abe's of Maine
$549.00
Dell Home
$599.99
Crutchfield.com
$649.99
$589.97
Compare Prices for All 4 Sellers ($549.00 – $649.99)
Optional Vertical Battery Grip Accessory N/A Canon BG-E8: able to take 6 x AA batteries or two LP-E8 batteries. Provides a shutter button and control dial along with AE/FE Lock, Exposure compensation and AF point selection buttons in a vertical orientation.

Provides a more stable camera grip for vertical as well as horizontal positions

Copyright Information
(Text Entry)
Yes copyright information can be entered Yes copyright information can be entered
Remote Control Optional Nikon Wireless Remote Control ML-L3 or Remote Cord MC-DC2 Optional Canon Wireless Remote Controller RC-6 or Remote Switch RS-60E3 (cord)
HDMI HDMI-CEC 1.3-compliant Type C  HDMI 1.3-compliant Type C 
Mirror Lock Up Exposure Delay Mode (Custom Function d4): Select On to delay shutter release until about 1s after the shutter-release button is pressed and the mirror is raisedAuto in Live View Mode Mirror Lock Up: set by selecting custom function setting C.Fn 8
Multiple Exposure Mode 2 or 3 exposures can be overlapped for creative effect (RAW image setting)Auto gain feature (On / Off) N/A
Battery Type and Duration (Approx.) Lithium-Ion EN-EL14 rechargeable battery and charger supplied
660 shots per charge based on CIPA Standard 50% with flash
Lithium-Ion LP-E8 rechargeable battery and charger supplied
440 shots per charge based on CIPA Standard 50% with flash
Memory Card Type SD (Secure Digital), SDHC and SDXC memory cards SD (Secure Digital), SDHC and SDXC memory cards
Dedicated GPS Accessory Optional accessory Nikon GP-1 GPS Unit. Attaches on hot shoe via cable to camera. Useful for geo-tagging applications No
Menu Supported Languages Arabic, Chinese (Simplified and Traditional), Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Thai, Turkish English, German, French, Dutch, Danish, Portuguese, Finnish, Italian, Norwegian, Swedish, Spanish, Greek, Russian, Polish, Hungarian, Czech, Romanian, Ukraine, Turkish, Arabic, Thai, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Korean and Japanese
Accessories Included in the Box Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL14
Quick Battery Charger MH-24
Rubber Eyecup DK-20
USB Cable UC-E6
Audio Video Cable EG-CP14
Camera Strap AN-DC3
Nikon ViewNX 2 CD-ROM
Rechargeable Li-ion Battery Pack LP-E8
Quick Battery Charger LC-E8E
Rubber Eyecup Ef
USB Cable IFC-130U
Audio Video Cable AVC-DC400ST
Camera Strap EW-100DBIII
EOS Digital Solution Disk
Size 128 × 97 × 79mm (5.0 × 3.8 × 3.1 in)
133 x 99.5 x 79.7 mm (5.2 x 3.9 x 3.1 in)
Camera Warranty Two year in Canada warranty One year warranty
Weight 560g 570g
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  • Nikon D5100 SLR Kit with AF-S 18-55mm VR
  • Canon Rebel T3i Kit with EF-S 18-55mm IS II

About eagle081183

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2 Responses to Canon Rebel T3i EOS 600D Compared to Nikon D5100

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  2. mehmetgngr says:

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