Canon 7D II versus Canon T3i
The Canon EOS 7D Mark II and the Canon EOS Rebel T3i (labelled Canon 650D in some countries) are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in September 2014 and February 2011. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The 7D Mark II has a resolution of 20 megapixel, whereas the T3i provides 17.9 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 7D II vs Canon T3i
The physical size and weight of the Canon 7D II and the Canon T3i are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All size dimensions 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 7D Mark II – 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 Canon T3i is notably smaller (20 percent) than the Canon 7D II. Moreover, the T3i is substantially lighter (37 percent) than the 7D Mark II. It is worth mentioning in this context that the 7D Mark II is splash and dust resistant, while the T3i does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
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. In this particular case, both cameras feature the same lens mount, so that they can use the same lenses. You can find an overview of suitable optics in the Canon EF Lens Catalog.
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 7D II (⇒ rgt)||5.9 in||4.4 in||3.1 in||32.1 oz||670||YES||2014||1,799||latest||check|
|Canon T3i (⇒ lft)||5.2 in||3.9 in||3.1 in||20.1 oz||440||no||2011||599||discont.||check|
|Canon 80D (⇒ lft | rgt)||5.5 in||4.1 in||3.1 in||25.8 oz||960||YES||2016||1,199||latest||check|
|Canon T6i (⇒ lft | rgt)||5.2 in||4.0 in||3.1 in||19.6 oz||440||no||2015||749||discont.||check|
|Canon T6s (⇒ lft | rgt)||5.2 in||4.0 in||3.1 in||19.9 oz||440||no||2015||849||discont.||check|
|Canon G3 X (⇒ lft | rgt)||4.8 in||3.0 in||4.1 in||25.9 oz||300||YES||2015||999||latest||check|
|Canon T5i (⇒ lft | rgt)||5.2 in||3.9 in||3.1 in||20.5 oz||440||no||2013||649||discont.||check|
|Canon 70D (⇒ lft | rgt)||5.5 in||4.1 in||3.1 in||26.6 oz||920||YES||2013||1,199||discont.||check|
|Canon SL1 (⇒ lft | rgt)||4.6 in||3.6 in||2.7 in||14.4 oz||380||no||2013||549||discont.||check|
|Canon 6D (⇒ lft | rgt)||5.7 in||4.4 in||2.8 in||27.2 oz||1090||YES||2012||2,099||discont.||check|
|Canon M (⇒ lft | rgt)||4.3 in||2.6 in||1.3 in||10.5 oz||230||no||2012||599||discont.||check|
|Canon T4i (⇒ lft | rgt)||5.2 in||3.9 in||3.1 in||20.3 oz||440||no||2012||849||discont.||check|
|Canon 60D (⇒ lft | rgt)||5.7 in||4.2 in||3.1 in||26.6 oz||1100||YES||2010||1,399||discont.||check|
|Canon T2i (⇒ lft | rgt)||5.1 in||3.9 in||2.4 in||18.7 oz||440||no||2010||699||discont.||check|
|Canon 7D (⇒ lft | rgt)||5.8 in||4.4 in||2.9 in||30.3 oz||800||YES||2009||1,699||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 T3i was launched at a markedly lower price (by 67 percent) than the 7D Mark II, 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 7D II vs Canon T3i
The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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 T3i is 1 percent smaller. They nevertheless have the same format factor of 1.6. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
With 20MP, the 7D Mark II offers a higher resolution than the T3i (17.9MP), but the 7D Mark II has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.10μm versus 4.31μm for the T3i). However, the 7D Mark II is a somewhat more recent model (by 3 years and 7 months) than the T3i, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels.
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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 review, the 7D Mark II has a notably higher overall DXO score than the T3i (overall score 5 points higher), which gives it an advantage in terms of imaging quality. This advantage is based on 0.3 bits higher color depth, 0.3 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.4 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.
|Canon 7D II (⇒ rgt)||APS-C||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||22.4||11.8||1082||70|
|Canon T3i (⇒ lft)||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||22.1||11.5||793||65|
|Canon 80D (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||23.6||13.2||1135||79|
|Canon T6i (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||22.7||12.0||919||71|
|Canon T6s (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/30p||22.6||12.0||915||70|
|Canon G3 X (⇒ lft | rgt)||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||21.4||12.3||521||63|
|Canon T5i (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||21.7||11.2||681||61|
|Canon 70D (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||20.0||5472||3648||1080/30p||22.5||11.6||926||68|
|Canon SL1 (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||21.8||11.3||843||63|
|Canon 6D (⇒ lft | rgt)||Full Frame||20.0||5472||3648||1080/30p||23.8||12.1||2340||82|
|Canon M (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||22.1||11.2||827||65|
|Canon T4i (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||21.7||11.2||722||62|
|Canon 60D (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||22.2||11.5||813||66|
|Canon T2i (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||22.1||11.5||784||66|
|Canon 7D (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||22.0||11.7||854||66|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the 7D Mark II provides a higher frame rate than the T3i. It can shoot video footage at 1080/60p, while the T3i is limited to 1080/30p.
Feature comparison: Canon 7D II vs Canon T3i
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The 7D Mark II and the T3i 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 adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon 7D II and Canon T3i along with similar information for a selection of comparators. If you need more detail on the specs, you can find comprehensive listings, for example, in the dpreview camera hub.
|Canon 7D II (⇒ rgt)||optical||YES||3.0||1040||fixed||no||8000||10.0||11||no|
|Canon T3i (⇒ lft)||optical||no||3.0||1040||swivel||no||4000||3.7||13||no|
|Canon 80D (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||YES||3.0||1040||swivel||YES||8000||7.0||12||no|
|Canon T6i (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||no||3.0||1040||swivel||YES||4000||5.0||12||no|
|Canon T6s (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||YES||3.0||1040||swivel||YES||4000||5.0||12||no|
|Canon G3 X (⇒ lft | rgt)||no||no||3.2||1620||tilting||YES||2000||5.9||6.8||YES|
|Canon T5i (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||no||3.0||1040||swivel||YES||4000||5.0||13||no|
|Canon 70D (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||YES||3.0||1040||swivel||YES||8000||7.0||12||no|
|Canon SL1 (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||no||3.0||1040||fixed||YES||4000||4.9||9.4||no|
|Canon 6D (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||YES||3.0||1040||fixed||no||4000||4.5||no||no|
|Canon M (⇒ lft | rgt)||no||no||3.0||1040||fixed||YES||4000||4.3||no||no|
|Canon T4i (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||no||3.0||1040||swivel||YES||4000||5.0||13||no|
|Canon 60D (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||YES||3.0||1040||swivel||no||8000||5.3||13||no|
|Canon T2i (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||no||3.0||1040||fixed||no||4000||3.7||13||no|
|Canon 7D (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||YES||3.0||920||fixed||no||8000||8.0||12||no|
The 7D Mark II is a current model that online retailers, such as amazon, will have in stock. In contrast, the T3i has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the T3i was succeeded by the Canon T4i.
Review summary: Canon 7D II vs Canon T3i
So what is the bottom line? Is the Canon 7D II better than the Canon T3i or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Advantages of the Canon EOS 7D Mark II:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (20 vs 17.9MP) with a 6% higher linear resolution.
- Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (5 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (0.4 stops ISO advantage).
- Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60p versus 1080/30p).
- Easier setting verification: Has an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (8000/sec vs 4000/sec) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 3.7 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (670 versus 440) on a single battery charge.
- Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
- More modern: Reflects 3 years and 7 months of technical progress since the T3i launch.
Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS Rebel T3i:
- More flexible LCD: Has swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- More compact: Is smaller (133x100mm vs 149x112mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 340g or 37 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (67 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in February 2011).
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the 7D Mark II is the clear winner of the match-up (10 : 5 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.
In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it says nothing about, for example, the handling, responsiveness, and overall imaging quality of the 7D Mark II and the T3i in practical situations. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate. This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The adjacent table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). The detailed reviews can be accessed by clicking on the site logo in the table header.
|Canon 7D II (⇒ rgt)||Rec||84/100 Silver||4/5||5/5||4.5/5||2014||1,799||latest||check|
|Canon T3i (⇒ lft)||reviewed||77/100 Silver||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||2011||599||discont.||check|
|Canon 80D (⇒ lft | rgt)||HiRec||84/100 Silver||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||2016||1,199||latest||check|
|Canon T6i (⇒ lft | rgt)||-||75/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||2015||749||discont.||check|
|Canon T6s (⇒ lft | rgt)||Rec||77/100 Silver||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||2015||849||discont.||check|
|Canon G3 X (⇒ lft | rgt)||Rec||-||4.5/5||3.5/5||4/5||2015||999||latest||check|
|Canon T5i (⇒ lft | rgt)||-||76/100 Silver||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||2013||649||discont.||check|
|Canon 70D (⇒ lft | rgt)||HiRec||83/100 Gold||4.5/5||4.5/5||5/5||2013||1,199||discont.||check|
|Canon SL1 (⇒ lft | rgt)||Rec||78/100 Gold||4/5||4/5||4/5||2013||549||discont.||check|
|Canon 6D (⇒ lft | rgt)||HiRec||83/100 Silver||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||2012||2,099||discont.||check|
|Canon M (⇒ lft | rgt)||Rec||-||4/5||3.5/5||4/5||2012||599||discont.||check|
|Canon T4i (⇒ lft | rgt)||HiRec||77/100 Silver||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||2012||849||discont.||check|
|Canon 60D (⇒ lft | rgt)||87/100 Rec||79/100 Silver||4/5||5/5||4.5/5||2010||1,399||discont.||check|
|Canon T2i (⇒ lft | rgt)||88/100 HiRec||77/100 Gold||4/5||5/5||4.5/5||2010||699||discont.||check|
|Canon 7D (⇒ lft | rgt)||93/100 HiRec||84/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||2009||1,699||discont.||check|
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.
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