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Canon 350D vs Nikon D3100

The Canon EOS 350D (called Canon XT in some regions) and the Nikon D3100 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in February 2005 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 8 megapixels, whereas the Nikon provides 14.2 MP.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Canon 350D   VS Nikon D3100
Canon 350D Nikon D3100
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Canon EF mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
8 MP, APS-C Sensor 14.2 MP, APS-C Sensor
no Video 1080/24p Video
ISO 100-1600 ISO 100-3200 (100-12800)
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
1.8" LCD, 115k dots 3.0" LCD, 230k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
3 shutter flaps per second 3 shutter flaps per second
400 shots per battery charge550 shots per battery charge
127 x 94 x 64 mm, 540 g 124 x 96 x 75 mm, 505 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS 350D and the Nikon D3100? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Canon 350D and the Nikon D3100 is provided in the side-by-side display below. 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.

The 350D can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the D3100 is also available in two color-versions, but different ones (black, red).

Size Canon 350D vs Nikon D3100
Compare 350D versus D3100 top
Comparison 350D or D3100 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon 350D and the Nikon D3100 are of equal size. However, the D3100 is markedly lighter (6 percent) than the 350D. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the 350D 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 compare the optics available for the two cameras in the Canon EF Lens Catalog (350D) and the Nikon Lens Catalog (D3100).

Concerning battery life, the 350D gets 400 shots out of its NB-2LH battery, while the D3100 can take 550 images on a single charge of its EN-EL14 power pack.

The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. 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)
Camera
Model
 
Canon 350D» 127 mm 94 mm 64 mm 540 g 400 n Feb 2005 899iCanon 350D
 
Nikon D3100« 124 mm 96 mm 75 mm 505 g 550 n Aug 2010 599iNikon D3100
 
Canon 77D« » 131 mm 100 mm 76 mm 540 g 600 n Feb 2017 899 iCanon 77D
 
Canon 750D« » 132 mm 101 mm 78 mm 555 g 440 n Feb 2015 749iCanon 750D
 
Canon 760D« » 132 mm 101 mm 78 mm 565 g 440 n Feb 2015 649iCanon 760D
 
Canon 650D« » 133 mm 100 mm 79 mm 575 g 440 n Jun 2012 849iCanon 650D
 
Canon 500D« » 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 520 g 400 n Mar 2009 799iCanon 500D
 
Canon 450D« » 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 524 g 500 n Jan 2008 799iCanon 450D
 
Canon 30D« » 144 mm 106 mm 74 mm 785 g 750 n Feb 2006 1,399iCanon 30D
 
Canon 400D« » 127 mm 84 mm 65 mm 556 g 370 n Aug 2006 799iCanon 400D
 
Canon 20D« » 144 mm 106 mm 72 mm 770 g 700 n Aug 2004 1,499iCanon 20D
 
Canon 300D« » 142 mm 99 mm 72 mm 649 g 400 n Aug 2003 899iCanon 300D
 
Nikon D3200« » 125 mm 96 mm 77 mm 505 g 540 n Apr 2012 599iNikon D3200
 
Nikon D5100« » 128 mm 97 mm 79 mm 560 g 660 n Apr 2011 749iNikon D5100
 
Nikon D3000« » 126 mm 97 mm 64 mm 536 g 500 n Jul 2009 599iNikon D3000
 
Nikon D5000« » 127 mm 104 mm 80 mm 590 g 510 n Apr 2009 749iNikon D5000
 
Nikon D40« » 124 mm 94 mm 64 mm 522 g 470 n Nov 2006 499iNikon D40
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The D3100 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 33 percent) than the 350D, 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

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to 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 8 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have format factors, respectively, of 1.6 (350D) 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 350D and Nikon D3100 sensor measures

With 14.2MP, the D3100 offers a higher resolution than the 350D (8MP), but the D3100 has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.01μm versus 6.41μm for the 350D). Yet, the D3100 is a much more recent model (by 5 years and 6 months) than the 350D, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units.

The resolution advantage of the Nikon D3100 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the D3100 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 23 x 15.4 inch or 58.5 x 39 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 18.4 x 12.3 inch or 46.8 x 31.2 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 15.4 x 10.2 inch or 39 x 26 cm. The corresponding values for the Canon 350D are 17.3 x 11.5 inch or 43.9 x 29.3 cm for good quality, 13.8 x 9.2 inch or 35.1 x 23.4 cm for very good quality, and 11.5 x 7.7 inch or 29.3 x 19.5 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Canon EOS 350D has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 1600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon D3100 are ISO 100 to ISO 3200, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-12800.

350D versus D3100 MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). Of the two cameras under consideration, the D3100 has a markedly higher DXO score than the 350D (overall score 7 points higher), which will translate into better image quality. The advantage is based on 0.7 bits higher color depth, 0.5 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.5 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-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 350D APS-C 8.0 3456 2304none21.810.863760Canon 350D
 
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 750D APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.712.091971Canon 750D
 
Canon 760D APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.612.091570Canon 760D
 
Canon 650D APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.272262Canon 650D
 
Canon 500D APS-C 15.1 4752 31681080/20p21.711.566363Canon 500D
 
Canon 450D APS-C 12.2 4272 2848none21.910.869261Canon 450D
 
Canon 30D APS-C 8.2 3504 2336none21.510.873659Canon 30D
 
Canon 400D APS-C 10.1 3888 2592none22.111.066462Canon 400D
 
Canon 20D APS-C 8.2 3504 2336none21.911.072162Canon 20D
 
Canon 300D APS-C 6.3 3072 2048none21.010.854455Canon 300D
 
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 D3000 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.311.156362Nikon D3000
 
Nikon D5000 APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.712.586872Nikon D5000
 
Nikon D40 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none21.011.056156Nikon D40

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The D3100 indeed provides for movie recording, while the 350D does not. The highest resolution format that the D3100 can use is 1080/24p.

 

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The 350D 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 viewfinders of both cameras offer the same field of view (95%), but the viewfinder of the D3100 has a higher magnification than the one of the 350D (0.53x vs 0.49x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon 350D, the Nikon D3100, and comparable cameras.

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)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
 
Canon 350Doptical n 1.8 115 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Canon 350D
 
Nikon D3100optical n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Nikon D3100
 
Canon 77Doptical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 6.0 Y n Canon 77D
 
Canon 750Doptical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n Canon 750D
 
Canon 760Doptical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n Canon 760D
 
Canon 650Doptical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n Canon 650D
 
Canon 500Doptical n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 3.4 Y n Canon 500D
 
Canon 450Doptical n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5 Y n Canon 450D
 
Canon 30Doptical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 Y n Canon 30D
 
Canon 400Doptical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Canon 400D
 
Canon 20Doptical Y 1.8 118 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 Y n Canon 20D
 
Canon 300Doptical n 1.8 118 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n Canon 300D
 
Nikon D3200optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 4.0 Y n Nikon D3200
 
Nikon D5100optical n 3.0 921 swivel n 1/4000s 4.0 Y n Nikon D5100
 
Nikon D3000optical n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Nikon D3000
 
Nikon D5000optical n 2.7 230 full-flex n 1/4000s 4.0 Y n Nikon D5000
 
Nikon D40optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n Nikon D40

The 350D writes its imaging data to Compact Flash cards, while the D3100 uses SDXC cards.

 

Connectivity comparison

For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Canon EOS 350D and Nikon D3100 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
 
Canon 350DYnonenone--none2.0---Canon 350D
 
Nikon D3100Ymonomono--mini2.0---Nikon D3100
 
Canon 77DYstereomonoY-mini2.0YYYCanon 77D
 
Canon 750DYstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-Canon 750D
 
Canon 760DYstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-Canon 760D
 
Canon 650DYstereomonoY-mini2.0---Canon 650D
 
Canon 500DYmonomono--mini2.0---Canon 500D
 
Canon 450DYnonenone--mini2.0---Canon 450D
 
Canon 30DYnonenone--none2.0---Canon 30D
 
Canon 400DYnonenone--none2.0---Canon 400D
 
Canon 20DYnonenone--none1.1---Canon 20D
 
Canon 300DYnonenone--none1.1---Canon 300D
 
Nikon D3200YmonomonoY-mini2.0---Nikon D3200
 
Nikon D5100YmonomonoY-mini2.0---Nikon D5100
 
Nikon D3000Ynonenone--none2.0---Nikon D3000
 
Nikon D5000Ymonomono--mini2.0---Nikon D5000
 
Nikon D40Ynonenone--none2.0---Nikon D40

Both the 350D and the D3100 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The 350D was replaced by the Canon 400D, while the D3100 was followed by the Nikon D3200. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon and Nikon websites.

Review summary

So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Canon 350D or the Nikon D3100 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.


Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS 350D:

  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in February 2005).


Advantages of the Nikon D3100:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (14.2 vs 8MP), which boosts linear resolution by 33%.
  • Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (7 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (0.5 stops ISO advantage).
  • Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/24p video.
  • Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.53x vs 0.49x).
  • 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 115k dots).
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (550 versus 400) out of a single battery charge.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (33 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 5 years and 6 months of technical progress since the 350D launch.

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the D3100 is the clear winner of the contest (10 : 1 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision on a new camera. A professional wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

350D 01:10 D3100

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon 350D and the Nikon D3100 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera listing whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.

In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the 350D and the D3100 in practical situations. 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.

Expert reviews

This is where reviews by experts come in. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cam
era
  labs  
dp
re
  view  
e
photo
  zine  
ima
ging
resource
photo
graphy
  blog  
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Canon 350D80/100+ +oo.. Feb 2005 899iCanon 350D
 
Nikon D3100+ +72/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Aug 2010 599iNikon D3100
 
Canon 77D..82/1004.5/54.5/54/5 Feb 2017 899 iCanon 77D
 
Canon 750D..75/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 749iCanon 750D
 
Canon 760D+77/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 649iCanon 760D
 
Canon 650D+ +77/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2012 849iCanon 650D
 
Canon 500D+ +74/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Mar 2009 799iCanon 500D
 
Canon 450D+ ++ +4/55/54.5/5 Jan 2008 799iCanon 450D
 
Canon 30D+ ++ +oo.. Feb 2006 1,399iCanon 30D
 
Canon 400D+ ++ +o4.5/54/5 Aug 2006 799iCanon 400D
 
Canon 20D..+ +..o.. Aug 2004 1,499iCanon 20D
 
Canon 300D..+ +..o.. Aug 2003 899iCanon 300D
 
Nikon D3200+ +73/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Apr 2012 599iNikon D3200
 
Nikon D5100+ +76/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Apr 2011 749iNikon D5100
 
Nikon D3000+72/1004/53.5/54.5/5 Jul 2009 599iNikon D3000
 
Nikon D5000+ +75/1004/55/54.5/5 Apr 2009 749iNikon D5000
 
Nikon D4081/100+ +o5/54.5/5 Nov 2006 499iNikon D40
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

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 comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

Canon 350D:
Check Ebay offers
Nikon D3100:
Check Ebay offers

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 make your choice using the following search menu. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.

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    Specifications: Canon 350D vs Nikon D3100

    Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.

    Camera Specifications
    Camera Model Canon 350D Nikon D3100
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Canon EF mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
    Launch Date February 2005 August 2010
    Launch Price USD 899 USD 599
    Sensor Specs Canon 350D Nikon D3100
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 22.2 x 14.8 mm 23.1 x 15.4 mm
    Sensor Area 328.56 mm2 355.74 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 26.7 mm 27.8 mm
    Crop Factor 1.6x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 8 Megapixels 14.2 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 3456 x 2304 pixels 4608 x 3072 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 6.41 μm 5.01 μm
    Pixel Density 2.42 MP/cm2 3.98 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video 1080/24p Video
    ISO Setting 100-1600 ISO 100-3200 ISO
    ISO Boost no Enhancement 100-12800 ISO
    Image Processor DIGIC II EXPEED 2
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 60 67
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 21.8 22.5
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 10.8 11.3
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 637 919
    Screen Specs Canon 350D Nikon D3100
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95% 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.49x 0.53x
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 1.8 inch 3.0 inch
    LCD Resolution 115k dots 230k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Canon 350D Nikon D3100
    Autofocus System Phase-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 3 shutter flaps/s 3 shutter flaps/s
    Shutter Life Expectancy50 000 actuations100 000 actuations
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium CF cards SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    Connectivity Specs Canon 350D Nikon D3100
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI mini HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Canon 350D Nikon D3100
    Battery Type NB-2LH EN-EL14
    Battery Life (CIPA)400 shots per charge550 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 127 x 94 x 64 mm
    (5.0 x 3.7 x 2.5 in)
    124 x 96 x 75 mm
    (4.9 x 3.8 x 3.0 in)
    Camera Weight 540 g (19.0 oz) 505 g (17.8 oz)

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