Canon Rebel vs Nikon D5000
The Canon EOS Digital Rebel (called Canon 300D in some regions) and the Nikon D5000 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in August 2003 and April 2009. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 6.3 megapixels, whereas the Nikon provides 12.2 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS Digital Rebel and the Nikon D5000? 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.
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Canon Rebel and the Nikon D5000 is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D5000 is notably smaller (6 percent) than the Canon Rebel. Moreover, the D5000 is markedly lighter (9 percent) than the Rebel. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the Rebel nor the D5000 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 (Rebel) and the Nikon Lens Catalog (D5000).
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. 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.
|Canon Rebel||5.6 in||3.9 in||2.8 in||22.9 oz||400||n||Aug 2003||899|
|Nikon D5000||5.0 in||4.1 in||3.1 in||20.8 oz||510||n||Apr 2009||749|
|Canon T7i||5.2 in||3.9 in||3.0 in||18.8 oz||600||n||Feb 2017||749|
|Canon T6s||5.2 in||4.0 in||3.1 in||19.9 oz||440||n||Feb 2015||649|
|Canon T4i||5.2 in||3.9 in||3.1 in||20.3 oz||440||n||Jun 2012||849|
|Canon T3i||5.2 in||3.9 in||3.1 in||20.1 oz||440||n||Feb 2011||599|
|Canon T1i||5.1 in||3.9 in||2.4 in||18.3 oz||400||n||Mar 2009||799|
|Canon XTi||5.0 in||3.3 in||2.6 in||19.6 oz||370||n||Aug 2006||799|
|Canon XT||5.0 in||3.7 in||2.5 in||19.0 oz||400||n||Feb 2005||899|
|Canon 20D||5.7 in||4.2 in||2.8 in||27.2 oz||700||n||Aug 2004||1,499|
|Canon 10D||5.9 in||4.2 in||3.0 in||30.0 oz||500||n||Feb 2003||1,999|
|Nikon D5100||5.0 in||3.8 in||3.1 in||19.8 oz||660||n||Apr 2011||749|
|Nikon D3100||4.9 in||3.8 in||3.0 in||17.8 oz||550||n||Aug 2010||599|
|Nikon D3000||5.0 in||3.8 in||2.5 in||18.9 oz||500||n||Jul 2009||599|
|Nikon D60||5.0 in||3.7 in||2.5 in||18.4 oz||500||n||Jan 2008||629|
|Nikon D90||5.2 in||4.1 in||3.0 in||24.8 oz||850||n||Aug 2008||1,299|
|Nikon D70||5.5 in||4.4 in||3.1 in||24.0 oz||400||n||Jan 2004||999|
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.
(1) Number of images that can be taken on a full battery charge according to the CIPA-standard; (2) Official announcement.
Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The D5000 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 17 percent) than the Rebel, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. 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.
The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units 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 D5000 is 9 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have format factors, respectively, of 1.6 (Rebel) and 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors.
With 12.2MP, the D5000 offers a higher resolution than the Rebel (6.3MP), but the D5000 has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.53μm versus 7.38μm for the Rebel). Yet, the D5000 is a much more recent model (by 5 years and 7 months) than the Rebel, 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 D5000 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the D5000 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 21.4 x 14.2 inches or 54.5 x 36.2 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 17.2 x 11.4 inches or 43.6 x 28.9 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 14.3 x 9.5 inches or 36.3 x 24.1 cm. The corresponding values for the Canon Rebel are 15.4 x 10.2 inches or 39 x 26 cm for good quality, 12.3 x 8.2 inches or 31.2 x 20.8 cm for very good quality, and 10.2 x 6.8 inches or 26 x 17.3 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Canon EOS Digital Rebel has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 1600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon D5000 are ISO 200 to ISO 3200, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 200-6400.
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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 D5000 offers substantially better image quality than the Rebel (overall score 17 points higher). The advantage is based on 1.7 bits higher color depth, 1.7 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.7 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.
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The D5000 indeed provides for movie recording, while the Rebel does not. The highest resolution format that the D5000 can use is 720/24p.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The Rebel and the D5000 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 Rebel has a higher magnification than the one of the D5000 (0.55x vs 0.51x), 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 Rebel, the Nikon D5000, and comparable cameras.
The Nikon D5000 has an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.
The Rebel writes its imaging data to Compact Flash cards, while the D5000 uses SDHC cards.
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 Digital Rebel and Nikon D5000 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
Both the Rebel and the D5000 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The Rebel was replaced by the Canon XT, while the D5000 was followed by the Nikon D5100. 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.
So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Canon Rebel or the Nikon D5000 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS Digital Rebel:
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.55x vs 0.51x).
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in August 2003).
Reasons to prefer the Nikon D5000:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (12.2 vs 6.3MP), which boosts linear resolution by 39%.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (17 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 (0.7 stops ISO advantage).
- Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 720/24p video.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (2.7" vs 1.8") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (230k vs 118k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a full-flex screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (4 vs 2.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (510 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 released into a lower priced segment (17 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 5 years and 7 months of technical progress since the Rebel launch.
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the D5000 is the clear winner of the contest (16 : 2 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. A professional wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon Rebel and the Nikon D5000 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 specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the Rebel or the D5000. 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 where reviews by experts come in. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera 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.
|Canon Rebel||..||+ +||..||o||..||Aug 2003||899|
|Nikon D5000||+ +||75/100||4/5||5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2009||749|
|Canon T7i||..||80/100||4.5/5||4/5||4/5||Feb 2017||749|
|Canon T6s||+||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||649|
|Canon T4i||+ +||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2012||849|
|Canon T3i||o||77/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2011||599|
|Canon T1i||+ +||74/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2009||799|
|Canon XTi||+ +||+ +||o||4.5/5||4/5||Aug 2006||799|
|Canon XT||80/100||+ +||o||o||..||Feb 2005||899|
|Canon 20D||..||+ +||..||o||..||Aug 2004||1,499|
|Canon 10D||..||+ +||..||o||..||Feb 2003||1,999|
|Nikon D5100||+ +||76/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2011||749|
|Nikon D3100||+ +||72/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2010||599|
|Nikon D3000||+||72/100||4/5||3.5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2009||599|
|Nikon D60||80/100||+ +||4/5||o||4.5/5||Jan 2008||629|
|Nikon D90||+ +||+ +||4/5||5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2008||1,299|
|Nikon D70||..||+ +||..||o||..||Jan 2004||999|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, 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 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 are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make your choice using the following search menu. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.
- Canon 5D Mark IV vs Canon Rebel
- Canon Rebel vs Canon SX420
- Canon Rebel vs Canon T7
- Canon Rebel vs Panasonic GH1
- Canon Rebel vs Panasonic GX80
- Canon Rebel vs Sony A7 II
- Canon T6s vs Nikon D5000
- Fujifilm X-Pro2 vs Nikon D5000
- Nikon D5000 vs Nikon D610
- Nikon D5000 vs Olympus E-PL6
- Nikon D5000 vs Samsung NX500
- Nikon D5000 vs Sony NEX-5N
Specifications: Canon Rebel vs Nikon D5000
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 Model||Canon Rebel||Nikon D5000|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF mount lenses||Nikon F mount lenses|
|Launch Date||August 2003||April 2009|
|Launch Price||USD 899||USD 749|
|Sensor Specs||Canon Rebel||Nikon D5000|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||22.7 x 15.1 mm||23.6 x 15.8 mm|
|Sensor Area||342.77 mm2||372.88 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||27.3 mm||28.4 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||6.3 Megapixels||12.2 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||3072 x 2048 pixels||4288 x 2848 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||7.38 μm||5.53 μm|
|Pixel Density||1.84 MP/cm2||3.28 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||720/24p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 1,600 ISO||200 - 3,200 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||200 - 6,400 ISO|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||55||72|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||21.0||22.7|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||10.8||12.5|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||544||868|
|Screen Specs||Canon Rebel||Nikon D5000|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%||95%|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||1.8inch||2.7inch|
|LCD Resolution||118k dots||230k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fully flexible screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon Rebel||Nikon D5000|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||2.5 shutter flaps/s||4 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||no Intervalometer||Intervalometer built-in|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||CF cards||SDHC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon Rebel||Nikon D5000|
|USB Connector||USB 1.1||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Canon Rebel||Nikon D5000|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||400 shots per charge||510 shots per charge|
142 x 99 x 72 mm
(5.6 x 3.9 x 2.8 in)
127 x 104 x 80 mm
(5.0 x 4.1 x 3.1 in)
|Camera Weight||649 g (22.9 oz)||590 g (20.8 oz)|
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