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Canon SL2 versus Nikon D5600

The Canon EOS Rebel SL2 (called Canon 200D in some regions) and the Nikon D5600 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in June 2017 and November 2016. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with an APS-C sensor. Both cameras offer a resolution of 24 megapixel. 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 SL2 vs Nikon D5600

The physical size and weight of the Canon SL2 and the Nikon D5600 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are presented. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter. You can also toggle the display to switch to a percentage comparison if you prefer that the measures are being expressed in relative terms (in this case, the camera on the left – the SL2 – represents the basis or 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Snapsort Canon SL2 vs Nikon D5600
Compare SL2 versus D5600 top
Compare SL2 and D5600 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D5600 is notably larger (6 percent) than the Canon SL2. Moreover, the D5600 is slightly heavier (3 percent) than the SL2. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the SL2 nor the D5600 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 (SL2) and the Nikon Lens Catalog (D5600).

Concerning battery life, the SL2 gets 650 shots out of its LP-E17 battery, while the D5600 can take 970 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 camera comparisons 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)
Used
Price
(USD)
Canon SL2» 122 mm 93 mm 70 mm 453 g 650 n Jun 2017 549 i i
Nikon D5600« 124 mm 97 mm 70 mm 465 g 970 n Nov 2016 699 i i
Canon T7« » 129 mm 101 mm 78 mm 475 g 500 n Feb 2018 449 i i
Canon G9 X Mark II« » 98 mm 58 mm 31 mm 206 g 235 n Jan 2017 529 i i
Canon 77D« » 131 mm 100 mm 76 mm 540 g 600 n Feb 2017 899 i i
Canon M100« » 108 mm 67 mm 35 mm 302 g 295 n Aug 2017 499 i i
Canon M6« » 112 mm 68 mm 45 mm 390 g 295 n Feb 2017 779 i i
Canon T7i« » 131 mm 100 mm 76 mm 532 g 600 n Feb 2017 749 i i
Canon M5« » 116 mm 89 mm 61 mm 427 g 295 n Sep 2016 979 i i
Canon T6i« » 132 mm 101 mm 78 mm 555 g 440 n Feb 2015 749- i
Canon SL1« » 117 mm 91 mm 69 mm 407 g 380 n Mar 2013 549- i
Nikon D3400« » 124 mm 98 mm 76 mm 445 g 1200 n Aug 2016 499 i i
Nikon D5500« » 124 mm 97 mm 70 mm 420 g 820 n Jan 2015 899- i
Nikon D3300« » 124 mm 98 mm 76 mm 430 g 700 n Jan 2014 499- i
Nikon D3200« » 125 mm 96 mm 77 mm 505 g 540 n Apr 2012 599- i
Nikon D5200« » 129 mm 98 mm 78 mm 555 g 500 n Nov 2012 749- i

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 SL2 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 21 percent) than the D5600, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. 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 SL2 vs Nikon D5600

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. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its 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 D5600 is 11 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have format factors, respectively, of 1.6 (SL2) and 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Canon SL2 and Nikon D5600 sensor measures

Even though the D5600 has a larger sensor, both cameras offer the same resolution of 24 megapixel. This implies that the D5600 has a lower pixel density and larger individual pixels (with a pixel pitch of 3.91μm versus 3.72μm for the SL2), which gives it a potential advantage in terms of light gathering capacity. It should, however, be noted that the SL2 is a somewhat more recent model (by 7 months) than the D5600, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that at least partly compensate for the smaller pixel size. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the D5600 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

SL2 versus D5600 MP

For most cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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 D5600 has a markedly higher DXO score than the SL2 (overall score 5 points higher), which will translate into better image quality. The advantage is based on 0.5 bits higher color depth, 0.6 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.3 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
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Canon SL2» APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.613.4104179
Nikon D5600« APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.114.0130684
Canon T7« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p----
Canon G9 X Mark II« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p21.912.552265
Canon 77D« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.613.397178
Canon M100« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.512.9127278
Canon M6« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p----
Canon T7i« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p----
Canon M5« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.412.4126277
Canon T6i« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p22.712.091971
Canon SL1« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.811.384363
Nikon D3400« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.813.9119286
Nikon D5500« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.114.0143884
Nikon D3300« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.312.8138582
Nikon D3200« » APS-C 24.1 6016 40001080/30p24.113.2113181
Nikon D5200« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60i24.213.9128484

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, and both provide the same movie specifications (1080/60p).

 

Feature comparison: Canon SL2 vs Nikon D5600

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The SL2 and the D5600 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 SL2 and Nikon D5600 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
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec))
Build-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Build-in
Image
Stab
Canon SL2»optical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 5.0 Y n
Nikon D5600«optical n 3.2 1037 swivel Y 4000 5.0 Y n
Canon T7« »optical n 3.0 920 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n
Canon G9 X Mark II« »- n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 2000 8.2 Y Y
Canon 77D« »optical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 6.0 Y n
Canon M100« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 6.1 Y n
Canon M6« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 9.0 Y n
Canon T7i« »optical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 6.0 Y n
Canon M5« »2360 n 3.2 1620 tilting Y 4000 9.0 Y n
Canon T6i« »optical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 5.0 Y n
Canon SL1« »optical n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 4000 4.9 Y n
Nikon D3400« »optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 4000 5.0 Y n
Nikon D5500« »optical n 3.2 1037 swivel Y 4000 5.0 Y n
Nikon D3300« »optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 4000 5.0 Y n
Nikon D3200« »optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 4000 4.0 Y n
Nikon D5200« »optical n 3.0 921 swivel n 4000 5.0 Y n

Both the SL2 and the D5600 are current models that good online retailers will have in stock. You can check the latest prices, for example, at amazon. The D5600 replaced the earlier Nikon D5500, while the SL2 followed on from the Canon SL1.

Review summary: Canon SL2 vs Nikon D5600

So what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Canon SL2 or the Nikon D5600 – has the upper hand? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.

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Advantages of the Canon EOS Rebel SL2:

  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced segment (21 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 7 months after the D5600).

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Reasons to prefer the Nikon D5600:

  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (5 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
  • More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (0.6 EV of extra DR).
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (0.3 stops ISO advantage).
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.2" vs 3.0") for image review and settings control.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (970 versus 650) out of a single battery charge.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in November 2016).

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the D5600 is the clear winner of the contest (7 : 3 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.

SL2 03:07 D5600

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 SL2 and the D5600 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 expert reviews are important. The adjacent table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). You can find the full text of the reviews by clicking on the site logo in the table header.

Review scores
  Camera cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Canon SL2»HiRec78/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2017 549 i i
Nikon D5600«-79/1004.5/54.5/54/5 Nov 2016 699 i i
Canon T7« »rev-3.5/5-3.5/5 Feb 2018 449 i i
Canon G9 X Mark II« »-75/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jan 2017 529 i i
Canon 77D« »-82/1004.5/54.5/54/5 Feb 2017 899 i i
Canon M100« »Rec-4/5-3.5/5 Aug 2017 499 i i
Canon M6« »-80/1004/54.5/54/5 Feb 2017 779 i i
Canon T7i« »-80/1004.5/54/54/5 Feb 2017 749 i i
Canon M5« »Rec82/1004/54.5/54/5 Sep 2016 979 i i
Canon T6i« »-75/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 749- i
Canon SL1« »Rec78/1004/54/54/5 Mar 2013 549- i
Nikon D3400« »Rec76/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Aug 2016 499 i i
Nikon D5500« »Rec79/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Jan 2015 899- i
Nikon D3300« »Rec77/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jan 2014 499- i
Nikon D3200« »HiRec73/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Apr 2012 599- i
Nikon D5200« »HiRec79/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Nov 2012 749- i

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 comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

 

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just use the search menu below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting. If the camera you are interested in is not available, please send me an email, and I will try to locate and add the respective data to the application.

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