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Canon 300D versus Nikon D3100

The Canon EOS 300D (called Canon Rebel in some regions) and the Nikon D3100 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in August 2003 and August 2010. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 6.3 megapixel, whereas the Nikon provides 14.2 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their size, their sensors, their features, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison: Canon 300D vs Nikon D3100

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Canon 300D and the Nikon D3100. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter. You can also toggle the display to switch to a percentage comparison if you prefer that the measures are being expressed in relative terms (in this case, the camera on the left side – the 300D – represents the basis for the calculations across all the size and weight measures).

Compare Canon 300D vs Nikon D3100
Compare 300D versus D3100 top
Compare 300D and D3100 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D3100 is notably smaller (15 percent) than the Canon 300D. Moreover, the D3100 is markedly lighter (22 percent) than the 300D. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the 300D nor the D3100 are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. Yet, since both cameras are based around an APS-C sensor, their respective lenses will tend to have similar dimensions and heft. You can find an overview of optics for the two cameras in the Canon EF Lens Catalog (300D) and the Nikon Lens Catalog (D3100).

Concerning battery life, the 300D gets 400 shots out of its BP-511 battery, while the D3100 can take 550 images on a single charge of its EN-EL14 power pack.

The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, just use the right or left arrows in the table to switch to the respective camera. Alternatively, you can also navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from the full list of cameras there.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
Canon 300D» 5.6 in 3.9 in 2.8 in 22.9 oz 400 n Aug 2003 899- i Canon 300D
Nikon D3100« 4.9 in 3.8 in 3.0 in 17.8 oz 550 n Aug 2010 599- i Nikon D3100
Canon 77D« » 5.2 in 3.9 in 3.0 in 19.0 oz 600 n Feb 2017 899 i i Canon 77D
Canon G1 X Mark II« » 4.6 in 2.9 in 2.6 in 19.5 oz 240 n Feb 2014 799 i i Canon G1 X Mark II
Canon 700D« » 5.2 in 3.9 in 3.1 in 20.5 oz 440 n Mar 2013 649- i Canon 700D
Canon 650D« » 5.2 in 3.9 in 3.1 in 20.3 oz 440 n Jun 2012 849- i Canon 650D
Canon G1 X« » 4.6 in 3.2 in 2.6 in 18.8 oz 250 n Jan 2012 799- i Canon G1 X
Canon 400D« » 5.0 in 3.3 in 2.6 in 19.6 oz 370 n Aug 2006 799- i Canon 400D
Canon 350D« » 5.0 in 3.7 in 2.5 in 19.0 oz 400 n Feb 2005 899- i Canon 350D
Canon 20D« » 5.7 in 4.2 in 2.8 in 27.2 oz 700 n Aug 2004 1,499- i Canon 20D
Canon 10D« » 5.9 in 4.2 in 3.0 in 30.0 oz 500 n Feb 2003 1,999- i Canon 10D
Nikon D3200« » 4.9 in 3.8 in 3.0 in 17.8 oz 540 n Apr 2012 599- i Nikon D3200
Nikon D5100« » 5.0 in 3.8 in 3.1 in 19.8 oz 660 n Apr 2011 749- i Nikon D5100
Nikon D7000« » 5.2 in 4.1 in 3.0 in 27.5 oz 1050 Y Sep 2010 1,499- i Nikon D7000
Nikon D3000« » 5.0 in 3.8 in 2.5 in 18.9 oz 500 n Jul 2009 599- i Nikon D3000
Nikon D5000« » 5.0 in 4.1 in 3.1 in 20.8 oz 510 n Apr 2009 749- i Nikon D5000
Nikon D70« » 5.5 in 4.4 in 3.1 in 24.0 oz 400 n Jan 2004 999- i Nikon D70

The camera’s price is obviously a critical decision-making factor. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The D3100 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 33 percent) than the 300D, which puts it into a different market segment. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

 

Sensor comparison: Canon 300D vs Nikon D3100

The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the D3100 is 4 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have format factors, respectively, of 1.6 (300D) and 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

In terms of underlying technology, both cameras are build around CMOS sensors.

Canon 300D and Nikon D3100 sensor measures

With 14.2MP, the D3100 offers a higher resolution than the 300D (6.3MP), but the D3100 has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.01μm versus 7.38μm for the 300D). Yet, the D3100 is a much more recent model (by 7 years) than the 300D, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units.

300D versus D3100 MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. Of the two cameras under consideration, the D3100 offers substantially better image quality than the 300D (overall score 12 points higher). The advantage is based on 1.5 bits higher color depth, 0.5 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.8 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
Canon 300D» APS-C 6.3 3072 2048-21.010.854455Canon 300D
Nikon D3100« APS-C 14.2 4608 30721080/24p22.511.391967Nikon D3100
Canon 77D« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.613.397178Canon 77D
Canon G1 X Mark II« » 1.5-inch 13.0 4160 31201080/30p21.510.858158Canon G1 X Mark II
Canon 700D« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.268161Canon 700D
Canon 650D« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.272262Canon 650D
Canon G1 X« » 1.5-inch 14.2 4352 32641080/24p21.710.864460Canon G1 X
Canon 400D« » APS-C 10.1 3888 2592-22.111.066462Canon 400D
Canon 350D« » APS-C 8.0 3456 2304-21.810.863760Canon 350D
Canon 20D« » APS-C 8.2 3504 2336-21.911.072162Canon 20D
Canon 10D« » APS-C 6.3 3072 2048-21.110.957157Canon 10D
Nikon D3200« » APS-C 24.1 6016 40001080/30p24.113.2113181Nikon D3200
Nikon D5100« » APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.513.6118380Nikon D5100
Nikon D7000« » APS-C 16.1 4928 326410800/24p23.513.9116780Nikon D7000
Nikon D3000« » APS-C 10.0 3872 2592-22.311.156362Nikon D3000
Nikon D5000« » APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.712.586872Nikon D5000
Nikon D70« » APS-C 6.0 3008 2000-20.410.352950Nikon D70

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The D3100 indeed provides for movie recording, while the 300D does not. The highest resolution format that the D3100 can use is 1080/24p.

 

Feature comparison: Canon 300D vs Nikon D3100

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The 300D and the D3100 are similar in the sense that both have an optical viewfinder. The latter is useful for getting a clear image for framing even in brightly lit environments. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Canon 300D and Nikon D3100 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras. The full specs-sheets can be found in the camera manual or in the dpreview camera hub.

Core Features
  Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec)
Build-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Build-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
Canon 300D»optical n 1.8 118 fixed n 4000 2.5 Y n Canon 300D
Nikon D3100«optical n 3.0 230 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Nikon D3100
Canon 77D« »optical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 6.0 Y n Canon 77D
Canon G1 X Mark II« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 5.2 Y Y Canon G1 X Mark II
Canon 700D« »optical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 5.0 Y n Canon 700D
Canon 650D« »optical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 5.0 Y n Canon 650D
Canon G1 X« »optical n 3.0 922 Swivel n 4000 1.9 Y Y Canon G1 X
Canon 400D« »optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Canon 400D
Canon 350D« »optical n 1.8 115 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Canon 350D
Canon 20D« »optical Y 1.8 118 fixed n 8000 5.0 Y n Canon 20D
Canon 10D« »optical Y 1.8 118 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Canon 10D
Nikon D3200« »optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 4000 4.0 Y n Nikon D3200
Nikon D5100« »optical n 3.0 921 swivel n 4000 4.0 Y n Nikon D5100
Nikon D7000« »optical Y 3.0 921 fixed n 8000 6.0 Y n Nikon D7000
Nikon D3000« »optical n 3.0 230 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Nikon D3000
Nikon D5000« »optical n 2.7 230 full-flex n 4000 4.0 Y n Nikon D5000
Nikon D70« »optical n 1.8 130 fixed n 8000 3.0 Y n Nikon D70

The 300D writes its imaging data to Compact Flash cards, while the D3100 uses SDXC cards.

Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Type
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
Canon 300D»Y-----1.1---Canon 300D
Nikon D3100«Ymonomono--mini2.0---Nikon D3100
Canon 77D« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0YYYCanon 77D
Canon G1 X Mark II« »Ystereomono--mini2.0YY-Canon G1 X Mark II
Canon 700D« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0---Canon 700D
Canon 650D« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0---Canon 650D
Canon G1 X« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Canon G1 X
Canon 400D« »Y-----2.0---Canon 400D
Canon 350D« »Y-----2.0---Canon 350D
Canon 20D« »Y-----1.1---Canon 20D
Canon 10D« »Y-----1.1---Canon 10D
Nikon D3200« »YmonomonoY-mini2.0---Nikon D3200
Nikon D5100« »YmonomonoY-mini2.0---Nikon D5100
Nikon D7000« »YmonomonoY-mini2.0---Nikon D7000
Nikon D3000« »Y-----2.0---Nikon D3000
Nikon D5000« »Ymonomono--mini2.0---Nikon D5000
Nikon D70« »Y-----1.0---Nikon D70

Both the 300D and the D3100 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The 300D was replaced by the Canon 350D, while the D3100 was followed by the Nikon D3200.

Review summary: Canon 300D vs Nikon D3100

So how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon 300D and the Nikon D3100? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.


Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS 300D:

  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in August 2003).


Advantages of the Nikon D3100:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (14.2 vs 6.3MP), which boosts linear resolution by 50%.
  • Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (12 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
  • Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (1.5 bits more color depth).
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (0.8 stops ISO advantage).
  • Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/24p video.
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 1.8") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (230k vs 118k dots).
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (3 vs 2.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More compact: Is smaller (124x96mm vs 142x99mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 144g or 22 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (550 versus 400) out of a single battery charge.
  • Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (2.0 vs 1.1).
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (33 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 7 years of technical progress since the 300D launch.

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the D3100 is the clear winner of the contest (14 : 1 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera.

300D 01:14 D3100

In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the 300D or the D3100 handle or perform in practice. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable. This is where reviews by experts come in. The table below summarizes the assessments of some of the best known camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). The full reviews are available by clicking on the site logo in the table header.

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
Canon 300D»-HiRec-rev- Aug 2003 899- i Canon 300D
Nikon D3100«HiRec72/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Aug 2010 599- i Nikon D3100
Canon 77D« »-82/1004.5/54.5/54/5 Feb 2017 899 i i Canon 77D
Canon G1 X Mark II« »Rec77/1004/54/54.5/5 Feb 2014 799 i i Canon G1 X Mark II
Canon 700D« »-76/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Mar 2013 649- i Canon 700D
Canon 650D« »HiRec77/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2012 849- i Canon 650D
Canon G1 X« »Rec76/1004/54/54.5/5 Jan 2012 799- i Canon G1 X
Canon 400D« »HiRecHiRecrev4.5/54/5 Aug 2006 799- i Canon 400D
Canon 350D« »80/100HiRecrevrev- Feb 2005 899- i Canon 350D
Canon 20D« »-HiRec-rev- Aug 2004 1,499- i Canon 20D
Canon 10D« »-HiRec-rev- Feb 2003 1,999- i Canon 10D
Nikon D3200« »HiRec73/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Apr 2012 599- i Nikon D3200
Nikon D5100« »HiRec76/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Apr 2011 749- i Nikon D5100
Nikon D7000« »-80/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Sep 2010 1,499- i Nikon D7000
Nikon D3000« »Rec72/1004/53.5/54.5/5 Jul 2009 599- i Nikon D3000
Nikon D5000« »HiRec75/1004/55/54.5/5 Apr 2009 749- i Nikon D5000
Nikon D70« »-HiRec-rev- Jan 2004 999- i Nikon D70

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

 

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just use the search menu below. An an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool. If the camera you are interested in is not available, kindly get in touch, and I will try to locate and add the respective data to the application.

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