Canon SL3 vs Nikon D3X
The Canon EOS Rebel SL3 (called Canon 250D in some regions) and the Nikon D3X are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in April 2019 and December 2008. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on an APS-C (SL3) and a full frame (D3X) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 24 megapixels, whereas the Nikon provides 24.4 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Canon SL3||Nikon D3X|
|Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Canon EF mount lenses||Nikon F mount lenses|
|24 MP, APS-C Sensor||24.4 MP, Full Frame Sensor|
|4K/25p Video||no Video|
|ISO 100-25600 (100-51200)||ISO 100-1600 (50-6400)|
|Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|3.0" LCD, 1040k dots||3.0" LCD, 922k dots|
|Swivel touchscreen||Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|5 shutter flaps per second||5 shutter flaps per second|
|Not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|1070 shots per battery charge||4400 shots per battery charge|
|122 x 93 x 70 mm, 449 g||160 x 157 x 88 mm, 1260 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS Rebel SL3 and the Nikon D3X? 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.
The physical size and weight of the Canon SL3 and the Nikon D3X are illustrated 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 dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The SL3 can be obtained in two different colors (black, white), while the D3X is only available in black.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D3X is considerably larger (121 percent) than the Canon SL3. Moreover, the D3X is substantially heavier (181 percent) than the SL3. It is noteworthy in this context that the D3X is splash and dust-proof, while the SL3 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. A larger imaging sensor will tend to go along with bigger and heavier lenses, although exceptions exist. You can compare the optics available for the two cameras in the Canon EF Lens Catalog (SL3) and the Nikon Lens Catalog (D3X).
Concerning battery life, the SL3 gets 1070 shots out of its LP-E17 battery, while the D3X can take 4400 images on a single charge of its EN-EL4a power pack. As can be seen in the images above, the D3X has a battery grip built in. This facilitates image-taking in portrait orientation and gives it additional battery power. In order to provide similar functionality for the SL3, there are third party battery grips available as optional accessories (see here on eBay).
The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, just click on the right or left arrow next to the camera that you would like to inspect. Alternatively, you can also use the CAM-parator to select your camera combination among a larger number of options.
|Canon SL3»||4.8 in||3.7 in||2.8 in||15.8 oz||1070||n||Apr 2019||599||Canon SL3|
|Nikon D3X«||6.3 in||6.2 in||3.5 in||44.4 oz||4400||Y||Dec 2008||7,999||Nikon D3X|
|Canon T8i« »||5.2 in||4.1 in||3.0 in||18.2 oz||800||n||Feb 2020||749||Canon T8i|
|Canon M50« »||4.6 in||3.5 in||2.3 in||13.8 oz||235||n||Feb 2018||779||Canon M50|
|Canon T7« »||5.1 in||4.0 in||3.1 in||16.8 oz||500||n||Feb 2018||449||Canon T7|
|Canon T100« »||5.1 in||4.0 in||3.0 in||15.4 oz||500||n||Feb 2018||399||Canon T100|
|Canon 77D« »||5.2 in||3.9 in||3.0 in||19.0 oz||600||n||Feb 2017||899||Canon 77D|
|Canon SL2« »||4.8 in||3.7 in||2.8 in||16.0 oz||650||n||Jun 2017||549||Canon SL2|
|Canon T7i« »||5.2 in||3.9 in||3.0 in||18.8 oz||600||n||Feb 2017||749||Canon T7i|
|Canon T6s« »||5.2 in||4.0 in||3.1 in||19.9 oz||440||n||Feb 2015||649||Canon T6s|
|Canon SL1« »||4.6 in||3.6 in||2.7 in||14.4 oz||380||n||Mar 2013||549||Canon SL1|
|Canon T2i« »||5.1 in||3.9 in||2.4 in||18.7 oz||440||n||Feb 2010||699||Canon T2i|
|Nikon D5« »||6.3 in||6.3 in||3.6 in||49.9 oz||3780||Y||Jan 2016||6,499||Nikon D5|
|Nikon D4S« »||6.3 in||6.2 in||3.6 in||47.6 oz||3020||Y||Feb 2014||6,499||Nikon D4S|
|Nikon D750« »||5.6 in||4.4 in||3.1 in||26.5 oz||1230||Y||Sep 2014||2,299||Nikon D750|
|Nikon D4« »||6.3 in||6.2 in||3.6 in||47.3 oz||2600||Y||Jan 2012||5,999||Nikon D4|
|Nikon D3« »||6.3 in||6.2 in||3.5 in||45.9 oz||4300||Y||Aug 2007||4,999||Nikon D3|
|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 retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The SL3 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 93 percent) than the D3X, which puts it into a different market segment. 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 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.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon SL3 features an APS-C sensor and the Nikon D3X a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the D3X is 160 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.6 and 1.0. 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.
With 24.4MP, the D3X offers a higher resolution than the SL3 (24MP), but the D3X nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.94μm versus 3.72μm for the SL3) due to its larger sensor. However, the SL3 is a much more recent model (by 10 years and 4 months) than the D3X, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units.
The SL3 has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.
The Canon EOS Rebel SL3 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 25600, which can be extended to ISO 100-51200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon D3X are ISO 100 to ISO 1600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-6400.
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"). The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
|Canon SL3||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||4K/25p||..||..||..||..||Canon SL3|
|Nikon D3X||Full Frame||24.4||6048||4032||none||24.7||13.7||1992||88||Nikon D3X|
|Canon T8i||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||4K/24p||..||..||..||..||Canon T8i|
|Canon M50||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||4K/24p||..||..||..||..||Canon M50|
|Canon T7||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/30p||..||..||..||..||Canon T7|
|Canon T100||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||21.9||11.4||695||63||Canon T100|
|Canon 77D||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||23.6||13.3||971||78||Canon 77D|
|Canon SL2||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||23.6||13.4||1041||79||Canon SL2|
|Canon T7i||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||..||..||..||..||Canon T7i|
|Canon T6s||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/30p||22.6||12.0||915||70||Canon T6s|
|Canon SL1||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||21.8||11.3||843||63||Canon SL1|
|Canon T2i||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||22.1||11.5||784||66||Canon T2i|
|Nikon D5||Full Frame||20.7||5588||3712||4K/30p||25.1||12.3||2343||88||Nikon D5|
|Nikon D4S||Full Frame||16.2||4928||3280||1080/60p||24.4||13.3||3074||89||Nikon D4S|
|Nikon D750||Full Frame||24.2||6016||4016||1080/60p||24.8||14.5||2956||93||Nikon D750|
|Nikon D4||Full Frame||16.2||4928||3280||1080/30p||24.7||13.1||2965||89||Nikon D4|
|Nikon D3||Full Frame||12.1||4256||2832||none||23.5||12.2||2290||81||Nikon D3|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The SL3 indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the D3X does not. The highest resolution format that the SL3 can use is 4K/25p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The SL3 and the D3X 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 viewfinder in the D3X offers a wider field of view (100%) than the one in the SL3 (95%), so that a larger proportion of the captured image is visible in the finder. In addition, the viewfinder of the D3X has a higher magnification (0.70x vs 0.54x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon SL3 and Nikon D3X along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|Canon SL3||optical||n||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n||Canon SL3|
|Nikon D3X||optical||Y||3.0||922||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||n||Nikon D3X|
|Canon T8i||optical||n||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||7.5||Y||n||Canon T8i|
|Canon M50||2360||n||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||10.0||Y||n||Canon M50|
|Canon T7||optical||n||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Canon T7|
|Canon T100||optical||n||2.7||230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Canon T100|
|Canon 77D||optical||Y||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||6.0||Y||n||Canon 77D|
|Canon SL2||optical||n||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n||Canon SL2|
|Canon T7i||optical||n||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||6.0||Y||n||Canon T7i|
|Canon T6s||optical||Y||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n||Canon T6s|
|Canon SL1||optical||n||3.0||1040||fixed||Y||1/4000s||4.9||Y||n||Canon SL1|
|Canon T2i||optical||n||3.0||1040||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.7||Y||n||Canon T2i|
|Nikon D5||optical||Y||3.2||2359||fixed||Y||1/8000s||14.0||n||n||Nikon D5|
|Nikon D4S||optical||Y||3.2||921||fixed||n||1/8000s||11.0||n||n||Nikon D4S|
|Nikon D750||optical||Y||3.2||1229||tilting||n||1/4000s||6.0||Y||n||Nikon D750|
|Nikon D4||optical||Y||3.2||921||fixed||n||1/8000s||11.0||n||n||Nikon D4|
|Nikon D3||optical||Y||3.0||922||fixed||n||1/8000s||11.0||n||n||Nikon D3|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The SL3 has one, while the D3X does not. While the built-in flash of the SL3 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.The SL3 has an articulated LCD that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in snapping selfies. In contrast, the D3X does not have a selfie-screen.
The Canon SL3 and the Nikon D3X both have 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 SL3 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the D3X uses Compact Flash cards. The D3X features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the SL3 only has one slot.
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 Rebel SL3 and Nikon D3X and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
|Canon SL3||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||Y||Canon SL3|
|Nikon D3X||Y||none||none||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D3X|
|Canon T8i||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||Y||Canon T8i|
|Canon M50||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Canon M50|
|Canon T7||Y||mono||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-||Canon T7|
|Canon T100||Y||mono||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-||Canon T100|
|Canon 77D||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Canon 77D|
|Canon SL2||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Canon SL2|
|Canon T7i||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Canon T7i|
|Canon T6s||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-||Canon T6s|
|Canon SL1||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon SL1|
|Canon T2i||Y||stereo||none||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon T2i|
|Nikon D5||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-||Nikon D5|
|Nikon D4S||Y||mono||mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D4S|
|Nikon D750||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||Y||-||-||Nikon D750|
|Nikon D4||Y||mono||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D4|
|Nikon D3||Y||none||none||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D3|
It is notable that the SL3 offers wifi support, while the D3X does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Nikon D3X (unlike the SL3) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
The SL3 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Canon. In contrast, the D3X has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on eBay). There has not been a direct replacement model for the D3X from Nikon. 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 what is the bottom line? Which of the two cameras – the Canon SL3 or the Nikon D3X – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Advantages of the Canon EOS Rebel SL3:
- Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 4K/25p movies.
- Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 922k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- More compact: Is smaller (122x93mm vs 160x157mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 811g or 64 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (93 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 10 years and 4 months of technical progress since the D3X launch.
Arguments in favor of the Nikon D3X:
- More complete view: Has a viewfinder with a larger field of view (100% vs 95%).
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.70x vs 0.54x).
- Easier setting verification: Features a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
- More portrait friendly: Features an integrated vertical grip for easier portrait shooting.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (4400 versus 1070) out of a single battery charge.
- Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
- Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
- Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in December 2008).
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the SL3 emerges as the winner of the contest (13 : 10 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 SL3 and the Nikon D3X 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 the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the SL3 or the D3X. 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 ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major 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.
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, 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 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.
- Canon SL3 vs Canon SX410
- Canon SL3 vs Fujifilm X-M1
- Canon SL3 vs Nikon D3000
- Canon SL3 vs Nikon P1000
- Canon SL3 vs Olympus E-PL6
- Canon SL3 vs Sony RX100 II
- Fujifilm XP140 vs Nikon D3X
- Nikon D3X vs Olympus E-600
- Nikon D3X vs Panasonic LX5
- Nikon D3X vs Ricoh GR II
- Nikon D3X vs Sony A3000
- Nikon D3X vs Sony A7R III
Specifications: Canon SL3 vs Nikon D3X
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 SL3||Nikon D3X|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF mount lenses||Nikon F mount lenses|
|Launch Date||April 2019||December 2008|
|Launch Price||USD 599||USD 7999|
|Sensor Specs||Canon SL3||Nikon D3X|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||Full Frame Sensor|
|Sensor Size||22.3 x 14.9 mm||35.9 x 24.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||332.27 mm2||861.6 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||26.8 mm||43.2 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||24 Megapixels||24.4 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||6000 x 4000 pixels||6048 x 4032 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||3.72 μm||5.94 μm|
|Pixel Density||7.22 MP/cm2||2.83 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||4K/25p Video||no Video|
|ISO Setting||100-25600 ISO||100-1600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100-51200 ISO||50-6400 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 8||EXPEED|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||88|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||24.7|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||13.7|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||1992|
|Screen Specs||Canon SL3||Nikon D3X|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%||100%|
|Top-Level Screen||no Top Display||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0 inch||3.0 inch|
|LCD Resolution||1040k dots||922k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Swivel screen||Fixed screen|
|Touch Input||Touchscreen||no Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon SL3||Nikon D3X|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||5 shutter flaps/s||5 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||100 000 actuations||300 000 actuations|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||Intervalometer built-in|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||CF cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Dual card slots|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon SL3||Nikon D3X|
|Studio Flash||no PC Sync||PC Sync socket|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||no MIC socket|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||no Wifi|
|Bluetooth Support||Bluetooth built-in||no Bluetooth|
|Body Specs||Canon SL3||Nikon D3X|
|Environmental Sealing||Not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||1070 shots per charge||4400 shots per charge|
122 x 93 x 70 mm
(4.8 x 3.7 x 2.8 in)
160 x 157 x 88 mm
(6.3 x 6.2 x 3.5 in)
|Camera Weight||449 g (15.8 oz)||1260 g (44.4 oz)|
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