Canon 300D versus Nikon D90
The Canon EOS 300D (called Canon Rebel in some regions) and the Nikon D90 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in August 2003 and August 2008. 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 12.2 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 D90
The physical size and weight of the Canon 300D and the Nikon D90 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are presented. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter. If you prefer, you can also use the toggle button to switch to a comparison in percentage terms (in this case, the camera on the left – the 300D – represents the basis or 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D90 is somewhat smaller (3 percent) than the Canon 300D. However, the D90 is markedly heavier (8 percent) than the 300D. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the 300D nor the D90 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 (D90).
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, just select a new right or left comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.
|Camera Body Specifications
|Canon 300D (⇒ rgt)||142 mm||99 mm||72 mm||649 g||400||no||2003||899||discont.||check|
|Nikon D90 (⇒ lft)||132 mm||103 mm||77 mm||703 g||850||no||2008||1,299||discont.||check|
|Canon 77D (⇒ lft | rgt)||131 mm||100 mm||76 mm||540 g||600||no||2017||899||latest||check|
|Canon G1 X Mark II (⇒ lft | rgt)||116 mm||74 mm||66 mm||553 g||240||no||2014||799||latest||check|
|Canon 700D (⇒ lft | rgt)||133 mm||100 mm||79 mm||580 g||440||no||2013||649||discont.||check|
|Canon G1 X (⇒ lft | rgt)||117 mm||81 mm||65 mm||534 g||250||no||2012||799||discont.||check|
|Canon 650D (⇒ lft | rgt)||133 mm||100 mm||79 mm||575 g||440||no||2012||849||discont.||check|
|Canon 40D (⇒ lft | rgt)||146 mm||108 mm||74 mm||822 g||750||no||2007||1,299||discont.||check|
|Canon 400D (⇒ lft | rgt)||127 mm||84 mm||65 mm||556 g||370||no||2006||799||discont.||check|
|Canon 350D (⇒ lft | rgt)||127 mm||94 mm||64 mm||540 g||400||no||2005||899||discont.||check|
|Canon 20D (⇒ lft | rgt)||144 mm||106 mm||72 mm||770 g||700||no||2004||1,499||discont.||check|
|Canon 10D (⇒ lft | rgt)||150 mm||107 mm||75 mm||850 g||500||no||2003||1,999||discont.||check|
|Nikon D7000 (⇒ lft | rgt)||132 mm||105 mm||77 mm||780 g||1050||YES||2010||1,499||discont.||check|
|Nikon D3000 (⇒ lft | rgt)||126 mm||97 mm||64 mm||536 g||500||no||2009||599||discont.||check|
|Nikon D5000 (⇒ lft | rgt)||127 mm||104 mm||80 mm||590 g||510||no||2009||749||discont.||check|
|Nikon D80 (⇒ lft | rgt)||132 mm||103 mm||77 mm||668 g||600||no||2006||999||discont.||check|
|Nikon D70 (⇒ lft | rgt)||140 mm||111 mm||78 mm||679 g||400||no||2004||999||discont.||check|
The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The 300D was launched at a markedly lower price (by 31 percent) than the D90, which puts it into a different market segment. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. 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 D90
The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to 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 D90 is 9 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.
With 12.2MP, the D90 offers a higher resolution than the 300D (6.3MP), but the D90 has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.53μm versus 7.38μm for the 300D). Yet, the D90 is a much more recent model (by 5 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.
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for most cameras. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). Of the two cameras under consideration, the D90 offers substantially better image quality than the 300D (overall score 18 points higher). The advantage is based on 1.7 bits higher color depth, 1.7 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.8 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
|Canon 300D (⇒ rgt)||APS-C||6.3||3072||2048||no||21.0||10.8||544||55|
|Nikon D90 (⇒ lft)||APS-C||12.2||4288||2848||720/24p||22.7||12.5||977||73|
|Canon 77D (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||..||..||..||..|
|Canon G1 X Mark II (⇒ lft | rgt)||1.5-inch||13.0||4160||3120||1080/30p||21.5||10.8||581||58|
|Canon 700D (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||21.7||11.2||681||61|
|Canon G1 X (⇒ lft | rgt)||1.5-inch||14.2||4352||3264||1080/24p||21.7||10.8||644||60|
|Canon 650D (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||21.7||11.2||722||62|
|Canon 40D (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||10.1||3888||2592||no||22.1||11.3||703||64|
|Canon 400D (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||10.1||3888||2592||no||22.1||11.0||664||62|
|Canon 350D (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||8.0||3456||2304||no||21.8||10.8||637||60|
|Canon 20D (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||8.2||3504||2336||no||21.9||11.0||721||62|
|Canon 10D (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||6.3||3072||2048||no||21.1||10.9||571||57|
|Nikon D7000 (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||10800/24p||23.5||13.9||1167||80|
|Nikon D3000 (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||10.0||3872||2592||no||22.3||11.1||563||62|
|Nikon D5000 (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||12.2||4288||2848||720/24p||22.7||12.5||868||72|
|Nikon D80 (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||10.0||3872||2592||no||22.1||11.2||524||61|
|Nikon D70 (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||6.0||3008||2000||no||20.4||10.3||529||50|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The D90 indeed provides for movie recording, while the 300D does not. The highest resolution format that the D90 can use is 720/24p.
Feature comparison: Canon 300D vs Nikon D90
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The 300D and the D90 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 following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon 300D, the Nikon D90, and comparable cameras. If needed, the dpreview camera hub, for example, contains further detail on the cameras' specs.
|Canon 300D (⇒ rgt)||optical||no||1.8||118||fixed||no||4000||2.5||YES||no|
|Nikon D90 (⇒ lft)||optical||YES||3.0||920||fixed||no||4000||4.5||17||no|
|Canon 77D (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||YES||3.0||1040||swivel||YES||4000||6.0||12||no|
|Canon G1 X Mark II (⇒ lft | rgt)||no||no||3.0||1040||tilting||YES||4000||5.2||6.8||YES|
|Canon 700D (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||no||3.0||1040||swivel||YES||4000||5.0||13||no|
|Canon G1 X (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||no||3.0||922||Swivel||no||4000||1.9||7||YES|
|Canon 650D (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||no||3.0||1040||swivel||YES||4000||5.0||YES||no|
|Canon 40D (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||YES||3.0||230||fixed||no||8000||6.5||12||no|
|Canon 400D (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||no||2.5||230||fixed||no||4000||3.0||YES||no|
|Canon 350D (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||no||1.8||115||fixed||no||4000||3.0||YES||no|
|Canon 20D (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||YES||1.8||118||fixed||no||8000||5.0||13||no|
|Canon 10D (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||YES||1.8||118||fixed||no||4000||3.0||13||no|
|Nikon D7000 (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||YES||3.0||921||fixed||no||8000||6.0||12||no|
|Nikon D3000 (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||no||3.0||230||fixed||no||4000||3.0||12||no|
|Nikon D5000 (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||no||2.7||230||full-flex||no||4000||4.0||17||no|
|Nikon D80 (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||no||2.5||230||fixed||no||4000||3.0||13||no|
|Nikon D70 (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||no||1.8||130||fixed||no||8000||3.0||11||no|
Both the 300D and the D90 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The 300D was replaced by the Canon 350D, while the D90 was followed by the Nikon D7000.
Review summary: Canon 300D vs Nikon D90
So what is the bottom line? Is the Canon 300D better than the Nikon D90 or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS 300D:
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (31 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in August 2003).
Reasons to prefer the Nikon D90:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (12.2 vs 6.3MP), which boosts linear resolution by 39%.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (18 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (1.7 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (1.7 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (0.8 stops ISO advantage).
- Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 720/24p video.
- Easier setting verification: Has a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
- 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 (920k vs 118k dots).
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (4.5 vs 2.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (850 versus 400) out of a single battery charge.
- More modern: Reflects 5 years of technical progress since the 300D launch.
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the D90 is the clear winner of the contest (12 : 2 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision.
In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it says nothing about, for example, the handling, responsiveness, and overall imaging quality of the 300D and the D90 in practical situations. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased. This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The following table reports the overall rankings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites. The full reviews are available, respectively, at cameralabs.com, dpreview.com, ephotozine.com, imaging-resource.com, and photographyblog.com.
|Canon 300D (⇒ rgt)||-||HiRec||-||reviewed||-||2003||899||discont.||check|
|Nikon D90 (⇒ lft)||89/100 HiRec||HiRec||4/5||5/5||4.5/5||2008||1,299||discont.||check|
|Canon 77D (⇒ lft | rgt)||..||82/100 Silver||4.5/5||4.5/5||4/5||2017||899||latest||check|
|Canon G1 X Mark II (⇒ lft | rgt)||Rec||77/100 Silver||4/5||4/5||4.5/5||2014||799||latest||check|
|Canon 700D (⇒ lft | rgt)||-||76/100 Silver||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||2013||649||discont.||check|
|Canon G1 X (⇒ lft | rgt)||79/100 Rec||76/100 Silver||4/5||4/5||4.5/5||2012||799||discont.||check|
|Canon 650D (⇒ lft | rgt)||HiRec||77/100 Silver||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||2012||849||discont.||check|
|Canon 40D (⇒ lft | rgt)||90/100 HiRec||HiRec||4.5/5||reviewed||4.5/5||2007||1,299||discont.||check|
|Canon 400D (⇒ lft | rgt)||85/100 HiRec||HiRec||reviewed||4.5/5||4/5||2006||799||discont.||check|
|Canon 350D (⇒ lft | rgt)||80/100||HiRec||reviewed||reviewed||-||2005||899||discont.||check|
|Canon 20D (⇒ lft | rgt)||-||HiRec||-||reviewed||-||2004||1,499||discont.||check|
|Canon 10D (⇒ lft | rgt)||-||HiRec||-||reviewed||-||2003||1,999||discont.||check|
|Nikon D7000 (⇒ lft | rgt)||-||80/100 Silver||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||2010||1,499||discont.||check|
|Nikon D3000 (⇒ lft | rgt)||80/100 Rec||72/100 HiRec||4/5||3.5/5||4.5/5||2009||599||discont.||check|
|Nikon D5000 (⇒ lft | rgt)||88/100 HiRec||75/100 HiRec||4/5||5/5||4.5/5||2009||749||discont.||check|
|Nikon D80 (⇒ lft | rgt)||86/100 Rec||HiRec||reviewed||4.5/5||4.5/5||2006||999||discont.||check|
|Nikon D70 (⇒ lft | rgt)||-||HiRec||-||reviewed||-||2004||999||discont.||check|
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.
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