Canon vs Nikon: DSLRs for beginners
- This is the most hotly contested market between the two companies, and you can make strong cases for both the D3400, the EOS 200D or any of the cameras in this range. This one’s probably a toss-up, but we’d probably opt for the Nikon D3400.
The entry-level DSLRs from Canon and Nikon are very similar, as you would expect from two companies locked in a close battle for market share. The beginner DSLRs from both companies are all APS-C format, which means their image sensors are about the size of a frame of APS-C film.
Which was smaller than a frame of standard 35mm film (which is what we mean by “full frame”). Which means APS-C sensors record a smaller part of the image. Even though we’ve moved on from the days of film, in some ways we really haven’t!
Canon EOS 750D / Rebel T6i, EOS 760D / Rebel T6s
Canon offers four (sort of three) entry-level EOS DSLRs to choose from. At the top end are the Canon EOS 760D / Rebel T6s and EOS 750D / Rebel T6i. The 750D checks in about £50 / $100 cheaper, but the only difference between them is that the 760D features a top LCD display and a Quick Control Dial. That said, these are both useful and is probably worth the slightly extra cost if you can stretch your budget to its £550 price tag.
Inside both cameras you’ll find the same 24-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor, full HD video recording, 5fps continuous shooting, built-in Wi-Fi, an ISO range from 100 to 25,600 and the same 3in fully articulated screen. The 760D is also ever-so-slightly bigger.
Canon EOS 77D, 800D / Rebel T7i
In early 2017 Canon replaced both the EOS 750D and 760D (though you can still buy both). The Canon EOS 77D is the replacement for the Canon 760D while the Canon 800D replaces the 750D. Canon lists the 77D as an enthusiast-level camera.
Internally the 77D has a lot in common with the Canon 80D above it in the range, but the 24.Mp sensor is new and there’s a Digic 7 processing engine, which means that the new camera is capable of producing slightly higher quality images.
Canon has also updated the AF with a 45-point system that’s sensitive down to -3EV. In our Canon EOS 77D review we also found that the camera delivers attractive images with plenty of detail, and noise is controlled well thorough the majority of the native ISO range.
The Canon EOS 800D has the same pixel count (24.2Mp) as the camera it replaces the sensor is new and the processing engines has been updated from Digic 6 to Digic 7. Canon has also improved the autofocus systems and included a nippy 45-point phase detection system.
Canon EOS 700D / Rebel T5i
Meanwhile, the Canon EOS 700D still remains in the company’s range, and we’ve seen it available for as low as £275. At that price, its 18-megapixel resolution, vari-angle LCD 3:2 ratio touchscreen, 5 frames per second continuous shooting for up to 22 shots, 9 cross-type AF points (for more precise autofocus), Full HD movies and a built-in Speedlite transmitter for wireless flash control look pretty enticing.
Canon EOS 100D / Rebel SL1
For around £350 you can also pick up the EOS 100D / Rebel SL1, launched in 2013, which is still the world’s smallest and lightest DSLR, yet offers some powerful features inside. Along with its 18-megapixel CMOS sensor, it’s powered by Canon’s DIGIC 5 processing, a native maximum ISO of 25,600 and 63-zone Dual-Layer metering.
The 100D also has a touchscreen, although its a fixed LCD rather than a vari-angle monitor, it lacks an integrated Speedlite transmitter, only the centre AF point is a cross-type one and its continuous shooting is limited to 4fps. However, it had – at the time – the latest version of Canon’s Hybrid CMOS AF for continuous focus when shooting movies.
Canon EOS 200D / Rebel SL2
The Canon EOS 200D, known as the Canon EOS Rebel SL2 in the US is a DSLR camera aimed at novice photographers who want a few more creative controls than is offered by the Canon 1300D below it in the Canon SLR line-up. Like many other DSLRs it has an APS-C sized sensor but it’s the ‘world’s smallest, lightest DSLR’ with that size sensor and a vari-angle screen. It’s a great little camera with well-integrated touch control and Wi-Fi connectivity.
The Canon EOS 200D / Rebel SL2 is a significant step up in specifications from its predecessor, the EOS 100D / SL1, and looks and feels nicely designed. Canon’s new Guided interface is also very good and should encourage novice photographers to move beyond Auto mode.
The 100D / SL1 has been a popular model for Canon over the years, and the EOS 200D / Rebel SL2 looks not only like it will follow in those footsteps, but will blaze new paths into other markets if the company can reach the Millennials it is now focused on.
Canon EOS 1300D / Rebel T6
The cheapest EOS DSLR (RRP) is the Canon 1300D, which you can find around the £300 mark, and often below. As you’d expect, this is a proper entry-level aimed at new photographers or those making the leap from a point-and-shoot to their first ‘real’ camera.
Its spec sheet offers Canon’s trusty 18-megapixel sensor that’s been a stalwart of its entry-level models, Canon’s Digic 7 processor (a big upgrade from the 1200D’s Digic 4), 9 AF points with the central point a cross-type, a viewfinder with a 95% view and built-in Wi-Fi.
While Canon’s offerings boast a lot of spec for a modest budget, Nikon’s entry-level DSLRs are also quite highly rated. The Nikon D3300, until very recently, was its flagship entry-level model, but is still widely available, and boasts a 24.2 megapixel sensor with 11 AF points (the centre one being a cross-type one), 5fps continuous shooting, native ISO of 100-12800 and EXPEED 4 processing.
It offers continuous autofocus for Full HD movies and metering comes courtesy of a 420-pixel RGB sensor.
Like its more advanced siblings further up the range, the Nikon D3300 has no optical low-pass filter (OLPF), allowing it to record sharper images (at the expense of a higher chance of moiré, as we discussed above, which can be corrected in post-processing).
It might seem a little unusual to offer this on an entry-level model, but image sharpness has become something of a battle cry for Nikon and the move seems aimed at delivering on its promise of ultimate sharpness throughout its range.
You can often buy a Nikon D3300 for less than £300 these days, while its 24.2MP predecessor, the D3200 – also a quality camera – can be had for around £250.
The Nikon D3300 lacks Canon’s touchscreen technology, but on the other hand it does feature an excellent Guide Mode to ease beginner photographers through the picture-taking process. However, Canon has taken this concept further, introducing its EOS Companion app for iOS and Android with the EOS 1200D.
In summer 2016 Nikon introduced the D3400. It replaces the excellent D3300, but if we’re very honest the changes are minimal – the main difference being the addition of Nikon’s SnapBridge wireless technology to the D3400. You can read all about the Nikon D3400 vs the D3300 here.
But we’re big fans of SnapBridge, and it’s a nice addition to a camera at this price point. If you want to take some nice photos of your kids or holidays and share them quickly, rather than have to download them to a computer, you’ll love this functionality.