Canon T1i vs Contax N Digital
The Canon EOS Rebel T1i (called Canon 500D in some regions) and the Contax N Digital are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in March 2009 and February 2002. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on an APS-C (T1i) and a full frame (N Digital) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 15.1 megapixels, whereas the Contax provides 6.1 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 Rebel T1i and the Contax N Digital? 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 side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Canon T1i and the Contax N Digital. 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 size dimensions 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 Contax N Digital is considerably larger (66 percent) than the Canon T1i. Moreover, the N Digital is substantially heavier (90 percent) than the T1i. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the T1i nor the N Digital 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. Hence, you might want to study and compare the specifications of available lenses in order to get the full picture of the size and weight of the two camera systems.
As can be seen in the images above, the N Digital 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 T1i, Canon provides the BG-E5 vertical grip as an optional accessory (see here on eBay).
The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.
|1.||Canon T1i||129 mm||98 mm||62 mm||520 g||400||n||Mar 2009||799|
|2.||Contax N Digital||152 mm||138 mm||80 mm||990 g||100||n||Feb 2002||7,399|
|3.||Canon T100||129 mm||102 mm||77 mm||436 g||500||n||Feb 2018||399|
|4.||Canon T6i||132 mm||101 mm||78 mm||555 g||440||n||Feb 2015||749|
|5.||Canon T5||130 mm||100 mm||78 mm||480 g||500||n||Feb 2014||449|
|6.||Canon T5i||133 mm||100 mm||79 mm||580 g||440||n||Mar 2013||649|
|7.||Canon T4i||133 mm||100 mm||79 mm||575 g||440||n||Jun 2012||849|
|8.||Canon T3i||133 mm||100 mm||80 mm||570 g||440||n||Feb 2011||599|
|9.||Canon T2i||129 mm||98 mm||62 mm||530 g||440||n||Feb 2010||699|
|10.||Canon XSi||129 mm||98 mm||62 mm||524 g||500||n||Jan 2008||799|
|11.||Canon XTi||127 mm||84 mm||65 mm||556 g||370||n||Aug 2006||799|
|12.||Canon XT||127 mm||94 mm||64 mm||540 g||400||n||Feb 2005||899|
|13.||Canon 10D||150 mm||107 mm||75 mm||850 g||500||n||Feb 2003||1,999|
|14.||Canon D60||150 mm||107 mm||75 mm||855 g||620||n||Feb 2002||2,999|
|15.||Leica M10||139 mm||80 mm||39 mm||660 g||210||Y||Jan 2017||6,595|
|16.||Leica SL||147 mm||104 mm||39 mm||847 g||400||Y||Oct 2015||7,450|
|17.||Leica M9||139 mm||80 mm||37 mm||585 g||..||n||Sep 2009||7,999|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The T1i was launched at a markedly lower price (by 89 percent) than the N Digital, 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.
The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors 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 associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon T1i features an APS-C sensor and the Contax N Digital a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the N Digital 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.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the Canon T1i offers a higher resolution of 15.1 megapixels, compared with 6.1 MP of the Contax N Digital. This megapixels advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 4.69μm versus 11.90μm for the N Digital). However, it should be noted that the T1i is much more recent (by 7 years) than the N Digital, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently.
The resolution advantage of the Canon T1i implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the T1i for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 23.8 x 15.8 inches or 60.4 x 40.2 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 19 x 12.7 inches or 48.3 x 32.2 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 15.8 x 10.6 inches or 40.2 x 26.8 cm. The corresponding values for the Contax N Digital are 15.2 x 10 inches or 38.6 x 25.5 cm for good quality, 12.2 x 8 inches or 30.9 x 20.4 cm for very good quality, and 10.1 x 6.7 inches or 25.7 x 17 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Canon EOS Rebel T1i has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 6400, which can be extended to ISO 100-12800. The corresponding ISO settings for the Contax N Digital are ISO 50 to ISO 1600 (no boost).
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
|2.||Contax N Digital||Full Frame||6.1||3040||2008||none||21.5||10.5||1283||59|
|15.||Leica M10||Full Frame||23.8||5952||3992||none||24.4||13.2||2133||86|
|16.||Leica SL||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||25.0||13.4||1821||88|
|17.||Leica M9||Full Frame||18.1||5212||3472||none||22.5||11.7||884||69|
|Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The T1i indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the N Digital does not. The highest resolution format that the T1i can use is 1080/20p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The T1i and the N Digital 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 N Digital has a higher magnification than the one of the T1i (0.73x 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 T1i and Contax N Digital along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|1.||Canon T1i||optical||n||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.4||Y||n|
|2.||Contax N Digital||optical||Y||2.0 / 200||fixed||n||1/8000s||4.0||n||n|
|3.||Canon T100||optical||n||2.7 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|4.||Canon T6i||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n|
|5.||Canon T5||optical||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|6.||Canon T5i||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n|
|7.||Canon T4i||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n|
|8.||Canon T3i||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||n||1/4000s||3.7||Y||n|
|9.||Canon T2i||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.7||Y||n|
|10.||Canon XSi||optical||n||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.5||Y||n|
|11.||Canon XTi||optical||n||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|12.||Canon XT||optical||n||1.8 / 115||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|13.||Canon 10D||optical||Y||1.8 / 118||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|14.||Canon D60||optical||Y||1.8 / 114||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|15.||Leica M10||optical||n||3.0 / 1037||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0||n||n|
|16.||Leica SL||4400||Y||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/8000s||11.0||n||n|
|17.||Leica M9||optical||n||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.0||n||n|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The T1i has one, while the N Digital does not. While the built-in flash of the T1i is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.
The T1i writes its imaging data to SDHC cards, while the N Digital uses Compact Flash 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 Rebel T1i and Contax N Digital and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Canon T1i||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|2.||Contax N Digital||Y||- / -||-||-||-||FW||-||-||-|
|3.||Canon T100||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|4.||Canon T6i||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|5.||Canon T5||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|6.||Canon T5i||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|7.||Canon T4i||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|8.||Canon T3i||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|9.||Canon T2i||Y||stereo / -||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Canon XSi||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Canon XTi||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Canon XT||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Canon 10D||Y||- / -||-||-||-||1.1||-||-||-|
|14.||Canon D60||Y||- / -||-||-||-||1.1||-||-||-|
|15.||Leica M10||Y||- / -||-||-||-||-||Y||-||-|
|16.||Leica SL||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||full||3.0||Y||-||-|
|17.||Leica M9||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Contax N Digital (unlike the T1i) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Both the T1i and the N Digital have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The T1i was replaced by the Canon T2i, while the N Digital does not have a direct successor. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon and Contax websites.
So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Canon T1i or the Contax N Digital – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS Rebel T1i:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (15.1 vs 6.1MP) with a 57% higher linear resolution.
- Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 1080/20p movies.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.0") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (920k vs 200k dots).
- More compact: Is smaller (129x98mm vs 152x138mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 470g or 47 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (400 versus 100) on a single battery charge.
- Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (89 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 7 years of technical progress since the N Digital launch.
Advantages of the Contax N Digital:
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.73x 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.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (4 vs 3.4 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More portrait friendly: Features an integrated vertical grip for easier portrait shooting.
- Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in February 2002).
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the T1i emerges as the winner of the contest (10 : 7 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 T1i and the Contax N Digital 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 T1i or the N Digital. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable.
This is why expert reviews are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). 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.
|1.||Canon T1i||..||+ +||..||74/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2009||799|
|2.||Contax N Digital||..||..||..||..||..||..||Feb 2002||7,399|
|3.||Canon T100||..||o||3/5||..||3.5/5||3.5/5||Feb 2018||399|
|4.||Canon T6i||5/5||..||..||75/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||749|
|5.||Canon T5||3/5||+||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2014||449|
|6.||Canon T5i||..||..||..||76/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2013||649|
|7.||Canon T4i||4/5||+ +||..||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2012||849|
|8.||Canon T3i||3/5||o||..||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2011||599|
|9.||Canon T2i||..||+ +||..||77/100||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2010||699|
|10.||Canon XSi||..||+ +||..||+ +||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2008||799|
|11.||Canon XTi||..||+ +||..||+ +||o||4/5||Aug 2006||799|
|12.||Canon XT||..||80/100||..||+ +||o||..||Feb 2005||899|
|13.||Canon 10D||..||..||..||+ +||..||..||Feb 2003||1,999|
|14.||Canon D60||..||..||..||+ +||o||..||Feb 2002||2,999|
|15.||Leica M10||4.5/5||..||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2017||6,595|
|16.||Leica SL||4/5||..||4/5||84/100||4.5/5||4/5||Oct 2015||7,450|
|17.||Leica M9||..||..||..||..||4.5/5||..||Sep 2009||7,999|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. 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. 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? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just use the search menu below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
- Canon 1Ds vs Contax N Digital
- Canon T1i vs Fujifilm GFX 50S
- Canon T1i vs Fujifilm X20
- Canon T1i vs Leica X-U Typ 113
- Canon T1i vs Nikon D5600
- Canon T1i vs Olympus E-PL2
- Canon T1i vs Sony RX100 V
- Contax N Digital vs Hasselblad X1D II
- Contax N Digital vs Nikon D1
- Contax N Digital vs Nikon P900
- Contax N Digital vs Panasonic GF7
- Contax N Digital vs Sony HX400V
Specifications: Canon T1i vs Contax N Digital
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 T1i||Contax N Digital|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF mount lenses||Contax N mount lenses|
|Launch Date||March 2009||February 2002|
|Launch Price||USD 799||USD 7,399|
|Sensor Specs||Canon T1i||Contax N Digital|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||Full Frame Sensor|
|Sensor Size||22.3 x 14.9 mm||36.0 x 24.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||332.27 mm2||864 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||26.8 mm||43.3 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||15.1 Megapixels||6.1 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4752 x 3168 pixels||3040 x 2008 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.69 μm||11.90 μm|
|Pixel Density||4.53 MP/cm2||0.71 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/20p Video||no Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 6,400 ISO||50 - 1,600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 12,800 ISO||no Enhancement|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||63||..|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||21.7||..|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||11.5||..|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||663||..|
|Screen Specs||Canon T1i||Contax N Digital|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%||95%|
|Top-Level Screen||no Top Display||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||2.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||920k dots||200k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon T1i||Contax N Digital|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||3.4 shutter flaps/s||4 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDHC cards||CF cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon T1i||Contax N Digital|
|Studio Flash||no PC Sync||PC Sync socket|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||Firewire|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||no HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Canon T1i||Contax N Digital|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||400 shots per charge||100 shots per charge|
129 x 98 x 62 mm
(5.1 x 3.9 x 2.4 in)
152 x 138 x 80 mm
(6.0 x 5.4 x 3.1 in)
|Camera Weight||520 g (18.3 oz)||990 g (34.9 oz)|
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