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Canon SL1 versus Nikon D3400

The Canon EOS Rebel SL1 (called Canon 100D in some regions) and the Nikon D3400 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in March 2013 and August 2016. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 17.9 megapixel, whereas the Nikon provides 24 MP.

Body comparison

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Canon SL1 and the Nikon D3400. 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 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 SL1 – represents 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Canon SL1 vs Nikon D3400 front
SL1 versus D3400 top view
SL1 and D3400 rear side
Body view (SL1 on the left)

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D3400 is notably larger (14 percent) than the Canon SL1. Moreover, the D3400 is markedly heavier (9 percent) than the SL1. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the SL1 nor the D3400 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 (SL1) and the Nikon Lens Catalog (D3400).

Concerning battery life, the SL1 gets 380 shots out of its LP-E12 battery, while the D3400 can take 1200 images on a single charge of its EN-EL14a power pack.

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 comparisons there.

Camera Body Specifications
Camera Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(y/n)
Camera
Launch
(year)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(amazon)
Used
Price
(ebay)
Canon SL1 (⇒ rgt) 117 mm 91 mm 69 mm 407 g 380 no 2013 549discont. check
Nikon D3400 (⇒ lft) 124 mm 98 mm 76 mm 445 g 1200 no 2016 499 latest check
Canon SL2 (⇒ lft | rgt) 122 mm 93 mm 70 mm 453 g 650 no 2017 549 latest check
Canon T5 (⇒ lft | rgt) 130 mm 100 mm 78 mm 480 g 500 no 2014 449discont. check
Canon T5i (⇒ lft | rgt) 133 mm 100 mm 79 mm 580 g 440 no 2013 649discont. check
Canon 70D (⇒ lft | rgt) 139 mm 104 mm 79 mm 755 g 920 YES 2013 1,199discont. check
Canon G16 (⇒ lft | rgt) 109 mm 76 mm 40 mm 356 g 360 no 2013 549 latest check
Canon M (⇒ lft | rgt) 109 mm 66 mm 32 mm 298 g 230 no 2012 599discont. check
Canon T4i (⇒ lft | rgt) 133 mm 100 mm 79 mm 575 g 440 no 2012 849discont. check
Canon T3i (⇒ lft | rgt) 133 mm 100 mm 80 mm 570 g 440 no 2011 599discont. check
Canon T1i (⇒ lft | rgt) 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 520 g 400 no 2009 799discont. check
Nikon D5600 (⇒ lft | rgt) 124 mm 97 mm 70 mm 465 g 970 no 2016 699 latest check
Nikon D5500 (⇒ lft | rgt) 124 mm 97 mm 70 mm 420 g 820 no 2015 899discont. check
Nikon D3300 (⇒ lft | rgt) 124 mm 98 mm 76 mm 430 g 700 no 2014 499discont. check
Nikon D3200 (⇒ lft | rgt) 125 mm 96 mm 77 mm 505 g 540 no 2012 599discont. check
Panasonic G6 (⇒ lft | rgt) 122 mm 85 mm 71 mm 390 g 340 no 2013 599discont. check

The listed prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The D3400 was somewhat cheaper (by 9 percent) than the SL1 at launch, but both cameras fall into the same price category. 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. 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. 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 D3400 is 11 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have format factors, respectively, of 1.6 (SL1) and 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Canon SL1 and Nikon D3400 sensor measures
Sensor size

With 24MP, the D3400 offers a higher resolution than the SL1 (17.9MP), but the D3400 has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 3.91μm versus 4.31μm for the SL1). Yet, the D3400 is a much more recent model (by 3 years and 4 months) than the SL1, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the D3400 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

SL1 versus D3400 MP
Sensor resolution

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 D3400 offers substantially better image quality than the SL1 (overall score 23 points higher). The advantage is based on 3 bits higher color depth, 2.6 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 Sensor
Class
Resolution
(Megapixel)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Canon SL1 (⇒ rgt) APS-C 17.9 5184 3456 1080/30p 21.8 11.3 843 63
Nikon D3400 (⇒ lft) APS-C 24.0 6000 4000 1080/60p 24.8 13.9 1192 86
Canon SL2 (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 24.0 6000 4000 1080/60p 23.6 13.4 1041 79
Canon T5 (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 17.9 5184 3456 1080/30p 21.9 11.3 724 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 G16 (⇒ lft | rgt) 1/1.7 12.0 4000 3000 1080/60p 21.0 11.7 230 54
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 T3i (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 17.9 5184 3456 1080/30p 22.1 11.5 793 65
Canon T1i (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 15.1 4752 3168 1080/20p 21.7 11.5 663 63
Nikon D5600 (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 24.0 6000 4000 1080/60p 24.1 14.0 1306 84
Nikon D5500 (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 24.0 6000 4000 1080/60p 24.1 14.0 1438 84
Nikon D3300 (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 24.0 6000 4000 1080/60p 24.3 12.8 1385 82
Nikon D3200 (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 24.1 6016 4000 1080/30p 24.1 13.2 1131 81
Panasonic G6 (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 15.9 4608 3456 1080/60p 21.3 11.5 639 61

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the D3400 provides a faster frame rate than the SL1. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60p, while the Canon is limited to 1080/30p.

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The SL1 and the D3400 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 SL1 and Nikon D3400 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras. If you need more detail on the specs, you can find comprehensive listings, for example, in the dpreview camera hub.

Core Features
Camera Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(Y/n)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(Y/n)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec))
Build-in
Flash
(GN)
Build-in
Image
Stab
Canon SL1 (⇒ rgt) optical no 3.0 1040 fixed YES 4000 4.9 9.4 no
Nikon D3400 (⇒ lft) optical no 3.0 921 fixed no 4000 5.0 7 no
Canon SL2 (⇒ lft | rgt) optical no 3.0 1040 swivel YES 4000 5.0 9.8 no
Canon T5 (⇒ lft | rgt) optical no 3 460 fixed no 4000 3.0 9.2 no
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 G16 (⇒ lft | rgt) optical no 3.0 922 fixed no 4000 2.2 7 YES
Canon M (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 1040 fixed YES 4000 4.3 no no
Canon T4i (⇒ lft | rgt) optical no 3 1040 swivel YES 4000 5.0 13 no
Canon T3i (⇒ lft | rgt) optical no 3 1040 swivel no 4000 3.7 13 no
Canon T1i (⇒ lft | rgt) optical no 3.0 920 fixed no 4000 3.4 13 no
Nikon D5600 (⇒ lft | rgt) optical no 3.2 1037 swivel YES 4000 5.0 12 no
Nikon D5500 (⇒ lft | rgt) optical no 3.2 1037 swivel YES 4000 5.0 12 no
Nikon D3300 (⇒ lft | rgt) optical no 3.0 921 fixed no 4000 5.0 12 no
Nikon D3200 (⇒ lft | rgt) optical no 3.0 921 fixed no 4000 4.0 12 no
Panasonic G6 (⇒ lft | rgt) 1440 no 3.0 1036 swivel YES 4000 7.0 10.5 no

The D3400 is a current model that online retailers, such as amazon, will have in stock. In contrast, the SL1 has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on ebay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the SL1 was succeeded by the Canon SL2.

Summary

So how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon SL1 and the Canon SL1? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.


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Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS Rebel SL1:

  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 921k dots).
  • Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
  • More compact: Is smaller (117x91mm vs 124x98mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in March 2013).

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Advantages of the Nikon D3400:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (24 vs 17.9MP), which boosts linear resolution by 16%.
  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (23 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
  • Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (3 bits more color depth).
  • More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (2.6 EV of extra DR).
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (0.5 stops ISO advantage).
  • Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60p vs 1080/30p).
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (1200 versus 380) out of a single battery charge.
  • More modern: Reflects 3 years and 4 months of technical progress since the SL1 launch.

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the D3400 is the clear winner of the contest (9 : 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.

SL1 05:09 D3400

In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras is instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the handling experience and imaging performance when actually working with the SL1 or the D3400. 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 where reviews by experts come in. 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.

Review scores
Camera camera
labs
dp
review
ephoto
zine
imaging
resource
photography
blog
Camera
Launch
(year)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(amazon)
Used
Price
(ebay)
Canon SL1 (⇒ rgt) Rec 78/100 Gold 4/5 4/5 4/5 2013 549discont. check
Nikon D3400 (⇒ lft) Rec 76/100 4/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2016 499 latest check
Canon SL2 (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 78/100 Silver 4.5/5 - 4.5/5 2017 549 latest check
Canon T5 (⇒ lft | rgt) 4/5 - 4/5 4/5 4.5/5 2014 449discont. check
Canon T5i (⇒ lft | rgt) - 76/100 Silver 4.5/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2013 649discont. check
Canon 70D (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 83/100 Gold 4.5/5 4.5/5 5/5 2013 1,199discont. check
Canon G16 (⇒ lft | rgt) Rec - 4.5/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2013 549 latest check
Canon M (⇒ lft | rgt) Rec - 4/5 3.5/5 4/5 2012 599discont. check
Canon T4i (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 77/100 Silver 4.5/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2012 849discont. check
Canon T3i (⇒ lft | rgt) reviewed 77/100 Silver 4.5/5 5/5 4.5/5 2011 599discont. check
Canon T1i (⇒ lft | rgt) 88/100 HiRec 74/100 HiRec 4.5/5 5/5 4.5/5 2009 799discont. check
Nikon D5600 (⇒ lft | rgt) - 79/100 Silver 4.5/5 4.5/5 4/5 2016 699 latest check
Nikon D5500 (⇒ lft | rgt) Rec 79/100 Silver 4.5/5 5/5 4.5/5 2015 899discont. check
Nikon D3300 (⇒ lft | rgt) Rec 77/100 Silver 4.5/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2014 499discont. check
Nikon D3200 (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 73/100 Silver 4.5/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2012 599discont. check
Panasonic G6 (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec - 5/5 - 4.5/5 2013 599discont. check

The review scores listed above should be treated 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 rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

Other comparisons

If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just use the search menu below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored. If you do not see the camera that you are looking for, please send me an email, and I will try to update the database with the necessary infos.

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