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Canon T1i vs Nikon D3500

The Canon EOS Rebel T1i (called Canon 500D in some regions) and the Nikon D3500 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in March 2009 and August 2018. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 15.1 megapixels, whereas the Nikon provides 24 MP.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Canon T1i
versus
Nikon D3500
Canon T1i   Nikon D3500
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Canon EF mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
15.1 MP – APS-C sensor 24 MP – APS-C sensor
1080/20p Video 1080/60p Video
ISO 100-6,400 (100 - 12,800) ISO 100-25,600
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
3.0" LCD – 920k dots 3.0" LCD – 921k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
3.4 shutter flaps per second 5 shutter flaps per second
400 shots per battery charge1550 shots per battery charge
129 x 98 x 62 mm, 520 g 124 x 97 x 70 mm, 415 g
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ebay.com
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Check D3500 price at
amazon.com

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS Rebel T1i and the Nikon D3500? 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.

Body comparison

The physical size and weight of the Canon T1i and the Nikon D3500 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.

Size Canon T1i vs Nikon D3500
Compare T1i versus D3500 top
Comparison T1i or D3500 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D3500 is somewhat smaller (5 percent) than the Canon T1i. Moreover, the D3500 is markedly lighter (20 percent) than the T1i. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the T1i nor the D3500 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 (T1i) and the Nikon Lens Catalog (D3500).

Concerning battery life, the T1i gets 400 shots out of its LP-E5 battery, while the D3500 can take 1550 images on a single charge of its EN-EL14a power pack.

The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, you can navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from a broad list of cameras there.

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Body Specifications
    Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Canon T1i 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 520 g 400 n Mar 2009 799ebay.com
2.
 
Nikon D3500 124 mm 97 mm 70 mm 415 g 1550 n Aug 2018 429 amazon.com
3.
 
Canon T100 129 mm 102 mm 77 mm 436 g 500 n Feb 2018 399 amazon.com
4.
 
Canon T6i 132 mm 101 mm 78 mm 555 g 440 n Feb 2015 749ebay.com
5.
 
Canon T5 130 mm 100 mm 78 mm 480 g 500 n Feb 2014 449ebay.com
6.
 
Canon T5i 133 mm 100 mm 79 mm 580 g 440 n Mar 2013 649ebay.com
7.
 
Canon T4i 133 mm 100 mm 79 mm 575 g 440 n Jun 2012 849ebay.com
8.
 
Canon T3i 133 mm 100 mm 80 mm 570 g 440 n Feb 2011 599ebay.com
9.
 
Canon T2i 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 530 g 440 n Feb 2010 699ebay.com
10.
 
Canon XSi 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 524 g 500 n Jan 2008 799ebay.com
11.
 
Canon XTi 127 mm 84 mm 65 mm 556 g 370 n Aug 2006 799ebay.com
12.
 
Canon XT 127 mm 94 mm 64 mm 540 g 400 n Feb 2005 899ebay.com
13.
 
Nikon D5600 124 mm 97 mm 70 mm 465 g 970 n Nov 2016 699 amazon.com
14.
 
Nikon D3400 124 mm 98 mm 76 mm 445 g 1200 n Aug 2016 499ebay.com
15.
 
Nikon D3300 124 mm 98 mm 76 mm 430 g 700 n Jan 2014 499ebay.com
16.
 
Nikon D5300 125 mm 98 mm 76 mm 480 g 600 n Oct 2013 799ebay.com
17.
 
Nikon D3200 125 mm 96 mm 77 mm 505 g 540 n Apr 2012 599ebay.com
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

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 D3500 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 46 percent) than the T1i, 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.

Sensor comparison

The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and 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 D3500 is 11 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have format factors, respectively, of 1.6 (T1i) and 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Canon T1i and Nikon D3500 sensor measures

With 24MP, the D3500 offers a higher resolution than the T1i (15.1MP), but the D3500 has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 3.91μm versus 4.69μm for the T1i). Yet, the D3500 is a much more recent model (by 9 years and 5 months) than the T1i, 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 D3500 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

The resolution advantage of the Nikon D3500 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the D3500 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 30 x 20 inches or 76.2 x 50.8 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 24 x 16 inches or 61 x 40.6 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 20 x 13.3 inches or 50.8 x 33.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Canon T1i are 23.8 x 15.8 inches or 60.4 x 40.2 cm for good quality, 19 x 12.7 inches or 48.3 x 32.2 cm for very good quality, and 15.8 x 10.6 inches or 40.2 x 26.8 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 Nikon D3500 are ISO 100 to ISO 25600 (no boost).

Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors. Both cameras use a Bayer filter for capturing RGB colors on a square grid of photosensors. This arrangement is found in most digital cameras.

T1i versus D3500 MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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 following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.

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Sensor Characteristics
    Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
1.
 
Canon T1i APS-C 15.1 4752 31681080/20p21.711.566363
2.
 
Nikon D3500 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.013.4185183
3.
 
Canon T100 APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.911.469563
4.
 
Canon T6i APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.712.091971
5.
 
Canon T5 APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.911.372463
6.
 
Canon T5i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.268161
7.
 
Canon T4i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.272262
8.
 
Canon T3i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.579365
9.
 
Canon T2i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.578466
10.
 
Canon XSi APS-C 12.2 4272 2848none21.910.869261
11.
 
Canon XTi APS-C 10.1 3888 2592none22.111.066462
12.
 
Canon XT APS-C 8.0 3456 2304none21.810.863760
13.
 
Nikon D5600 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.114.0130684
14.
 
Nikon D3400 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.813.9119286
15.
 
Nikon D3300 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.312.8138582
16.
 
Nikon D5300 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.013.9133883
17.
 
Nikon D3200 APS-C 24.1 6016 40001080/30p24.113.2113181
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. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the D3500 provides a faster frame rate than the T1i. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60p, while the Canon is limited to 1080/20p.

Feature comparison

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The T1i and the D3500 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 D3500 has a higher magnification than the one of the T1i (0.57x vs 0.54x), 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 T1i, the Nikon D3500, and comparable cameras.

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Core Features
    Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Specifications
(inch/000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Max
Shutter
Speed *
Max
Shutter
Flaps *
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
1.
 
Canon T1ioptical n3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/4000s 3.4/s Y n
2.
 
Nikon D3500optical n3.0 / 921 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0/s Y n
3.
 
Canon T100optical n2.7 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
4.
 
Canon T6ioptical n3.0 / 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0/s Y n
5.
 
Canon T5optical n3.0 / 460 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
6.
 
Canon T5ioptical n3.0 / 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0/s Y n
7.
 
Canon T4ioptical n3.0 / 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0/s Y n
8.
 
Canon T3ioptical n3.0 / 1040 swivel n 1/4000s 3.7/s Y n
9.
 
Canon T2ioptical n3.0 / 1040 fixed n 1/4000s 3.7/s Y n
10.
 
Canon XSioptical n3.0 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5/s Y n
11.
 
Canon XTioptical n2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
12.
 
Canon XToptical n1.8 / 115 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
13.
 
Nikon D5600optical n3.2 / 1037 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0/s Y n
14.
 
Nikon D3400optical n3.0 / 921 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0/s Y n
15.
 
Nikon D3300optical n3.0 / 921 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0/s Y n
16.
 
Nikon D5300optical n3.2 / 1037 swivel n 1/4000s 5.0/s Y n
17.
 
Nikon D3200optical n3.0 / 921 fixed n 1/4000s 4.0/s Y n
Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.

The T1i writes its imaging data to SDHC cards, while the D3500 uses SDXC cards. The D3500 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the T1i cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD cards.

Connectivity comparison

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 Nikon D3500 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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Input-Output Connections
    Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Mic / Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Canon T1iYmono / mono--mini2.0---
2.
 
Nikon D3500Ymono / mono--mini2.0--Y
3.
 
Canon T100Ymono / mono--mini2.0YY-
4.
 
Canon T6iYstereo / monoY-mini2.0YY-
5.
 
Canon T5Ymono / mono--mini2.0---
6.
 
Canon T5iYstereo / monoY-mini2.0---
7.
 
Canon T4iYstereo / monoY-mini2.0---
8.
 
Canon T3iYmono / monoY-mini2.0---
9.
 
Canon T2iYstereo / -Y-mini2.0---
10.
 
Canon XSiY- / ---mini2.0---
11.
 
Canon XTiY- / ----2.0---
12.
 
Canon XTY- / ----2.0---
13.
 
Nikon D5600Ystereo / monoY-mini2.0YYY
14.
 
Nikon D3400Ymono / mono--mini2.0--Y
15.
 
Nikon D3300Ymono / monoY-mini2.0---
16.
 
Nikon D5300Ystereo / monoY-mini2.0Y--
17.
 
Nikon D3200Ymono / monoY-mini2.0---

The D3500 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Nikon. In contrast, the T1i has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on ebay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the T1i was succeeded by the Canon T2i. 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.

Review summary

So what is the bottom line? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon T1i and the Nikon D3500? Which camera is better? 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 T1i:

  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in March 2009).

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Arguments in favor of the Nikon D3500:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (24 vs 15.1MP), which boosts linear resolution by 26%.
  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60p versus 1080/20p).
  • Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.57x vs 0.54x).
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 3.4 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 105g or 20 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (1550 versus 400) out of a single battery charge.
  • Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
  • Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (46 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 9 years and 5 months of technical progress since the T1i launch.

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the D3500 is the clear winner of the contest (11 : 2 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. 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.

T1i 02:11 D3500

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon T1i and the Nikon D3500 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 says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the T1i and the D3500 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.

Expert reviews

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 (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.

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Expert Camera Reviews
     Camera 
 Model 
 AP 
 score 
 CL 
 score 
 DCW 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Canon T1i..+ +..74/1004.5/54.5/5 Mar 2009 799ebay.com
2.
 
Nikon D35004/5..4/575/1004/54.5/5 Aug 2018 429 amazon.com
3.
 
Canon T100..o3/5..3.5/53.5/5 Feb 2018 399 amazon.com
4.
 
Canon T6i5/5....75/1004.5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 749ebay.com
5.
 
Canon T53/5+....4/54.5/5 Feb 2014 449ebay.com
6.
 
Canon T5i......76/1004.5/54.5/5 Mar 2013 649ebay.com
7.
 
Canon T4i4/5+ +..77/1004.5/54.5/5 Jun 2012 849ebay.com
8.
 
Canon T3i3/5o..77/1004.5/54.5/5 Feb 2011 599ebay.com
9.
 
Canon T2i..+ +..77/1004/54.5/5 Feb 2010 699ebay.com
10.
 
Canon XSi..+ +..+ +4/54.5/5 Jan 2008 799ebay.com
11.
 
Canon XTi..+ +..+ +o4/5 Aug 2006 799ebay.com
12.
 
Canon XT..80/100..+ +o.. Feb 2005 899ebay.com
13.
 
Nikon D56004/5..4/579/1004.5/54/5 Nov 2016 699 amazon.com
14.
 
Nikon D34004/5+4/576/1004/54.5/5 Aug 2016 499ebay.com
15.
 
Nikon D33003/5+..77/1004.5/54.5/5 Jan 2014 499ebay.com
16.
 
Nikon D53004/5+ +..79/1004.5/54.5/5 Oct 2013 799ebay.com
17.
 
Nikon D32005/5+ +..73/1004.5/54.5/5 Apr 2012 599ebay.com
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

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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. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.

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    Specifications: Canon T1i vs Nikon D3500

    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 Specifications
    Camera Model Canon T1i Nikon D3500
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Canon EF mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
    Launch Date March 2009 August 2018
    Launch Price USD 799 USD 429
    Sensor Specs Canon T1i Nikon D3500
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 22.3 x 14.9 mm 23.5 x 15.6 mm
    Sensor Area 332.27 mm2 366.6 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 26.8 mm 28.2 mm
    Crop Factor 1.6x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 15.1 Megapixels 24 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4752 x 3168 pixels 6000 x 4000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 4.69 μm 3.91 μm
    Pixel Density 4.53 MP/cm2 6.55 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter no AA filter
    Movie Capability 1080/20p Video 1080/60p Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 6,400 ISO 100 - 25,600 ISO
    ISO Boost 100 - 12,800 ISO no Enhancement
    Image Processor DIGIC 4 EXPEED 4
    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 Nikon D3500
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95% 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.54x 0.57x
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 920k dots 921k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Canon T1i Nikon D3500
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 3.4 shutter flaps/s 5 shutter flaps/s
    Shutter Life Expectancy100 000 actuations100 000 actuations
    Fill Flash Built-in Flash Built-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDHC cards SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support no UHS-I
    Connectivity Specs Canon T1i Nikon D3500
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI mini HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Bluetooth Support no Bluetooth Bluetooth built-in
    Body Specs Canon T1i Nikon D3500
    Battery Type LP-E5 EN-EL14a
    Battery Life (CIPA)400 shots per charge1550 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 129 x 98 x 62 mm
    (5.1 x 3.9 x 2.4 in)
    124 x 97 x 70 mm
    (4.9 x 3.8 x 2.8 in)
    Camera Weight 520 g (18.3 oz) 415 g (14.6 oz)
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    Check T1i offers at
    ebay.com
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    Check D3500 price at
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