In this article I will compare the Nikon D3300 versus the Canon Rebel EOS T3i / 600D vs T4i / 650D. The D3300 was announced much after both Canon’s. The Canon Rebel T3i still conquers Amazon.com first position in the Best Seller’s list in the DSLR category. This just shows us that for many people, the added features that appears in newer models don’t justify the higher price tag. Furthermore, the Canon EOS Rebel T3i, as of the time of writing, sells for $500, so it’s much more attractive for photographers on a tight budget.
Having said that, their are things that improves in each new model, usually the camera’s performance, improved sensor technology and image processing, and upper entry-level cameras inheriting some of the features of their higher-end siblings. For some of you those improved features will justify the extra price tag, others will be just fine with the one the offers the best value.
Pricing wise, the Canon T3i costs approx. $500 (body only), T4i for around $700 and Nikon D3300 for around $520.
It’s worth mentioning that the T3i and T4i models are upper entry-level models and sits above the 100D and 1100D in Canon DSLR camera’s lineup. The Nikon D3300 is Nikon’s most basic entry-level DSLR camera. It costs more than the Canon’s upper entry-level cameras because it’s newer, and some will compare it to Canon’s most basic DSLRs, the Rebel SL1 / 100D and T3 / EOS 1100D.
So one of the main questions that we need to answer in this comparison, is whether this Nikon entry-level DSLR offers any significant advantages over the a two older Canon’s upper entry-level DSLR cameras? Whether a new-generation Nikon entry-level DSLR camera can beat two of Canon’s older upper entry-level cameras?
Before we continue to the comparison, let’s first get to learn the Nikon D3300 a bit better, and then I will compare the D3300 versus the T3i and the T4i, so you’ll get a better understanding which one is better for your specific needs.
Announced on January 7 , 2014, the D3300 is Nikon’s most recent basic DSLR camera as of the time of writing. The D3300 was designed to be small and versatile camera for novice photographers, and advanced photographers on a tight budget. This model is the cheapest in Nikon’s DSLR lineup (among the newer cameras), but it’s in no way cheap on features. In fact, for some of you, the Nikon D3300 will offer all there is to it in order to capture beautiful stills with plenty of manual controls and features for being creative.
The most important feature in a DSLR camera is obviously its relatively large sensor. The Nikon D3300 features 24.2-megapixel APS-C DX sensor. This is a very larger sensor in point-and-shoot terms. This sensor brings many advantages that convince many people to upgrade from their point-and-shoot. Among those reasons are better image quality, much better low-light performance, less image noise, better color accuracy, much better control over the depth of field (more pronounced shallow depth of field, depend on the lens too), etc.
As an entry-level DSLR, Nikon offers a guide mode and for novice photographers, allowing beginners to get a good starting point for shooting various type of scenes, without having to know how to set the camera setting themselves. Their is also an advanced mode that allows you to gain more control over the camera settings. Of course you can always switch to full manual mode that gives you full control over the exposure settings, including changing the aperture, shutter speed, ISO, exposure compensation, White balance, etc.
The Nikon D3300 features a 11 AF points with Nikon’s advanced 3D-tracking mode, allowing fast and precise autofocusing when shooting fast-moving subjects. The D3300 has a fixed 3″ 921K-dots rear LCD display, optical viewfinder, can shoot full HD videos at 60p (progressive), 50p/30p/25p/24p, can shoot at 5 fps in burst mode and has a built-in pop-up flash.
The new Nikon D3300 has a carbon-fiber-reinforces polymer body, offers very good ergonomics and it’s very easy to hold and operate. I have large hands, so I find it a bit to tight, but it is perfect for people with small hands.
The Nikon D3300 has already been reviewed by mane leading camera review websites. Reviewers mentioned its amazing sensor output, great video quality, excellent button layout, great battery life and ease of operation for novice photographers. The D3300 lacks Wi-Fi, built-in GPS and also lacks an articulating LCD. However, some people might consider those features not important, and if you are among those people, you’ll might find the D3300 to be the perfect DSLR for your specific needs. If you want / need this feature, you should consider looking at the Nikon D5300 instead.
There is little to complain about the D3300 to be honest. I think that many photographers searching for a beginner’s DSLR camera will find the D3300 to be a gem: very high-quality images, fast performance, lots of manual features, beginner’s guide mode, good built quality, excellent battery life, great iSO range, fast burst, good subject tracking performance, 60p FHD video recording (yes progressive, not interlaced), 13 inspirational effects,and obviously, the ability to use Nikon’s finest lenses — all that for very good price.
Now that you’ve got a good understanding what the Nikon D3300 is all about and learned about its key features, it’s time to throw it against the T4i and T3i to see if it can offers any advantages, and whether or not you should but the D3300 or be settled with on of the Canon cameras.
T4i vs T3i vs D3300 – Differences
Let’s take a look at the differences between the T4i, T3i and D3300.
|Nikon D3300||Canon Rebel T4i / EOS 650D||Canon Rebel T3i / EOS 600D|
|Announced||January 7, 2014||June 8, 2012||February 7, 2011|
|Build Quality||new monocoque structure with carbon fiber reinforced plastic material for its camera body||Stainless Steel and polycarbonate resin with glass fibre||Stainless Steel and polycarbonate resin with glass fibre|
No OLPF / AA filter
3.92 microns pixel size
4.30 microns pixel size
4.30 microns pixel size
|The Nikon D3300 is the only camera among the three that had its optical low-pass filter removed. This, alongside a higher resolution sensor should give the D3300 an edge in terms of image resolution / details.
The lack of OLPF increases the chance of moire effects for both stills and videos. I would personally would be more worried about that in video recording, but I think that the amateur shooter shouldn't be concerned at all about that.
Higher resolution images give more cropping freedom and give photo editors more room to edit their photos. Having said that, more resolution for a given same sensor size leads to smaller pixels.
We can see that the D3300 has smaller pixels, but that's doesn't obvious that the high ISO performance would be better on the Canons, because that sensor's technology improved in each iteration, and we can expect the D3300 to even outperform the Canons even with a small pixel size disadvantage (more on the high ISO performance later on).
|Image Processor||Expeed 4||DIGIC 5||DIGIC 4|
|The Canon T3i use an older generation processor. New generation processors provides more processing power which improves the overall camera performance and the image and video quality with improved image processing algorithms.
For example, the DIGIC 5 image processor is 6 times faster than the Digic 4, has better noise removal algorithms and reduce image noise by 75% more compared to Digic 4. Due to the improved performance, the Digic 5 can analyze four times more information from the image to construct a single pixel. Images appear more details with better color reproduction and of course, much less noise.
|ISO||100 - 12800|
25600 with boost
|100 - 12800|
25600 with boost
|100 - 6400
12800 with boost
|The T3i has a lower ISO range compared to the other cameras. Even though you should prefer shooting with the lowest ISO possible for cleaner images, it's always good to have an option to bump up the ISO speed for certain type of scenes that needs a high ISO speed gain optimal exposure.
So in this feature, the T4i and D3300 have the edge by one stop.
|Autofocus System||Multi-CAM 1000 autofocus sensor module|
11 focus points (one cross-type center)
-1 to +19 EV detection range
Contrast Detection AF
|9 cross-type AF points (f/2.8 at center)|
-0.5 -18 EV detection range
Hybrid CMO AF (contrast-detect AF + Phase-detect AF)
|9 AF points (f/5.6 cross type at center, extra sensitivity at f/2.8)
-0.5 -18 EV detection range
Contrast Detection AF
|The Canon T4i / 650D uses a new sensor that utilizes on-sensor phase-detection AF points, giving the camera a more precise and faster AF performance when shooting in live view or when shooting videos with full-time AF.
This is especially important for hobbyist photographers who don't want to use manual focusing and will only take advantage of the automatic AF in video. The AF will consume less time searching and focusing on the subject, which is very useful when filming fast moving subjects.
So in this regard, the T4i has the leads. The D3300 features a slightly better detection range compared to the Canons.
The Canon T4i also has an advantage over the other cameras by having 9 cross type AF points, Means that all of its AF points are cross-type, delivering better subject tracking performance when shooting fast-moving subjects.
|Here the Rebel T4i has the edge with both a vari-angle display, higher resolution (compared to the D3300) and a touchscreen with touch user-interface. I'm sure that many people will appreciate the touchscreen, especially if they are used to shooting photos with their mobile phones or using a point-and-shoot camera that has a touch user-interface.|
|All three cameras have an optical viewfinder, and are about the same size.
An optical viewfinder is useful for composing your shots in a bright daylight, where it's harder for the photographer to view the scene via the rear LCD display.
Furthermore, it also saves on battery life, because you don't need to have the LCD turned on. Shooting via the viewfinder is the best way to get connected with your subject, and offer the best shooting experience in my opinion.
Don't compare this viewfinder to what you are used to with a point-and-shoot camera, this is a much larger viewfinder and you'll be very surprised if that's the first time you'll be shooting with a DSLR camera.
|Shutter Speed||30-1/4000 sec||30-1/4000 sec||30-1/4000 sec|
|Built-in Flash||Yes (12m)||Yes (13m)||Yes (13m)|
|The Canons offers a slightly more powerful flash range.|
|External Flash||Yes (via hot shoe)||Yes (via hot shoe)||Yes (via hot shoe)|
|Flash X Sync Speed||1/200 sec||1/200 sec||1/200 sec|
|Burst Speed||5 fps||5 fps||4 fps|
|T4i and D3300 offers slightly faster burst speed.|
|The Nikon D3300 as the most basic entry-level model lacks both WB and AE bracketing.|
Built-in monaural microphone
3.5mm mic input
No headphone jack
3.5mm mic input
No headphone socket
Built-in monaural microphone
3.5mm mic input
No headphone socket
|The D3300 is the only camera that offers 60p Full HD video recording, giving video editors more control over the final video output in post processing (e.g. slow motion).
Remember, this is not 1080i60 (interlaced) as found on many DSLR cameras, it features progressive frames, each frame contains the full information from the scene, not split into even and odd frames as with interlaced frames.
The T4i/650D does offer Hybrid AF which gives a significant advantage over the other cameras in terms of AF performance in videos, especially subject tracking.
T4i also has built-in stereo mic and articulating display, and all in all, I think it's the better camera of the three for video enthusiasts.
|Battery Life (CIPA)||700 shots||440 shots||440 shots|
|Dimensions||124 x 98 x 76 mm (4.88 x 3.86 x 2.99″)||133 x 100 x 79 mm (5.24 x 3.94 x 3.11″)||133 x 100 x 80 mm (5.24 x 3.94 x 3.15″)|
|Weight||430 g (0.95 lb / 15.17 oz)||575 g (1.27 lb / 20.28 oz)||570 g (1.26 lb / 20.11 oz)|
|Built-in GPS||No (optional)||No (optional)||No|
|Control Flash Remotely||No (you'll have to buy the Nikon SU-800 wireless Speedlight commander unit)||Yes||Yes|
|Wireless||via WU-1a adapter||via Eye-Fi cards||via Eye-Fi cards|
We can clearly see that although the Canon Rebel T4i lacks 60p video recording, it does seems like a better HDLR camera of the three due to its Hyrbid CMOS AF sensor and fully articulating LCD display. On the other hand, if you don’t find yourself in a need for those features, the Nikon D3300 is a great HDSLR camera as well.
For stills photography and in terms of high ISO performance, to my surprise, I found the T3i to have a slight edge over the T4i in terms of noise (observed images side by side using imaging resource comparometer). It’s around 0.5 to 1 stop advantage in my observation. The Nikon D3300 high ISO performance was better than the T3i, especially over ISO 3200 where it seems that the Nikon was able to handle noise much better. Don’t forget that the D3300 does have a noticeably higher resolution and also smaller pixels, and I’ve understood why so many camera review websites love the D3300 low-light performance.
So if you are searching for the camera that offers the better high ISO performance, you should certainly put the D3300 at the top of your list, but the T3i is not far behind.
The D3300 can cope really well against the Canon’s by offering 4fps burst (vs 5 fps), 3.5mm mic socket, it’s smaller and lighter, it offers superior battery life to the T4i/T3i. On the other hand, it lacks WB and AE bracketing, no on-board remote flash control, not touchscreen or a tilting LCD and only a cross-type center AF point (compared to the all cross-point AF ssytem of the T4i).
I think that the Nikon D3300 will be the best camera of the three for people who prefer stills performance over video versatility. People whom want to capture high resolution images and also have a need for very good low-light performance. People who don’t intend to take advantage of AE and WB bracketing, and those whom don’t mind not having a on-board wireless flash controller or need a top-notch subject tracking performance.
The D3300 is a great DSLR camera the casual photographer who wants a great DSLR camera to be handy to shoot every now and then.
I would but the T4i/650D if I shoot lots of videos and needs the versatility that the T4i brings with it for video shooting. If I want and have a need for an articulating screen with a touchscreen and more in-camera stills shooting functions to be able to become more creative and less restricted. The T3i is amazon.com most popular DSLR camera for a long time now, and for a good reason.
The Canon Rebel EOS T3i / 600D is relatively cheap and offers the best value. It lacks some of the features that you find on more modern cameras, but gives photographer an advanced photographic tools, with excellent image quality and high ISO performance, easy to learn and operate for newbies, an articulating screen, remotely control external flashes, good video quality, mic input socket and good battery life. If you are able to cope with its shortcomings, you have a gem here, a camera that might answer all your needs as a hobbyist photographer. I even recommend this camera for enthusiast that want to invest less in the camera body and prefer to invest more in a good lens.
I think that in many cases, a new modern camera doesn’t always means much better camera. Some people just won’t take advantage of all the extra features and performance that new camera model bring with it. Sometimes its wiser to not to have the latest new shiny model, and be satisfied with a camera that can take gorgeous photos, and putting more of your budget in a second lens or other accessories that will help you get better photos!
If I had to choose between the three, I would probably be getting the Canon T4i for myself. It’s a very versatile camera for both stills and videos, and a superb all-around DSLR camera. Again, this is just my opinion, you might have a different opinion.
So which one you prefer? — share your opinion by leaving a comment in the comment section below. Thanks for reading.
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