Canon T3i vs Nikon 1 V2
The Canon EOS Rebel T3i (called Canon 600D in some regions) and the Nikon 1 V2 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in February 2011 and October 2012. The T3i is a DSLR, while the V2 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on an APS-C (T3i) and an one-inch (V2) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 17.9 megapixels, whereas the Nikon provides 14.2 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 T3i and the Nikon 1 V2? 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 T3i and the Nikon 1 V2 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 V2 can be obtained in two different colors (black, white), while the T3i 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 1 V2 is considerably smaller (33 percent) than the Canon T3i. Moreover, the V2 is substantially lighter (51 percent) than the T3i. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the T3i nor the V2 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.
The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, you can move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.
|1.||Canon T3i||133 mm||100 mm||80 mm||570 g||440||n||Feb 2011||599|
|2.||Nikon 1 V2||109 mm||82 mm||46 mm||278 g||310||n||Oct 2012||799|
|3.||Canon SL2||122 mm||93 mm||70 mm||453 g||650||n||Jun 2017||549|
|4.||Canon T6s||132 mm||101 mm||78 mm||565 g||440||n||Feb 2015||649|
|5.||Canon T5||130 mm||100 mm||78 mm||480 g||500||n||Feb 2014||449|
|6.||Canon SL1||117 mm||91 mm||69 mm||407 g||380||n||Mar 2013||549|
|7.||Canon T5i||133 mm||100 mm||79 mm||580 g||440||n||Mar 2013||649|
|8.||Canon G1 X||117 mm||81 mm||65 mm||534 g||250||n||Jan 2012||799|
|9.||Canon M||109 mm||66 mm||32 mm||298 g||230||n||Jul 2012||599|
|10.||Canon T4i||133 mm||100 mm||79 mm||575 g||440||n||Jun 2012||849|
|11.||Canon T3||130 mm||100 mm||78 mm||495 g||700||n||Feb 2011||449|
|12.||Canon T2i||129 mm||98 mm||62 mm||530 g||440||n||Feb 2010||699|
|13.||Canon T1i||129 mm||98 mm||62 mm||520 g||400||n||Mar 2009||799|
|14.||Fujifilm X-M1||117 mm||67 mm||39 mm||330 g||350||n||Jun 2013||699|
|15.||Nikon 1 V3||111 mm||65 mm||33 mm||381 g||310||n||Mar 2014||799|
|16.||Nikon 1 V1||113 mm||76 mm||44 mm||383 g||350||n||Sep 2011||799|
|17.||Panasonic GX1||116 mm||68 mm||39 mm||318 g||320||n||Nov 2011||699|
|Notes: 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 T3i was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 25 percent) than the V2, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. 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 sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units 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 associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon T3i features an APS-C sensor and the Nikon 1 V2 an one-inch sensor. The sensor area in the V2 is 65 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.6 and 2.7. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
With 17.9MP, the T3i offers a higher resolution than the V2 (14.2MP), but the T3i nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.31μm versus 2.86μm for the V2) due to its larger sensor. However, the V2 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 8 months) than the T3i, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels.
The resolution advantage of the Canon T3i implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the T3i for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 25.9 x 17.3 inches or 65.8 x 43.9 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 20.7 x 13.8 inches or 52.7 x 35.1 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 17.3 x 11.5 inches or 43.9 x 29.3 cm. The corresponding values for the Nikon 1 V2 are 23 x 15.4 inches or 58.5 x 39 cm for good quality, 18.4 x 12.3 inches or 46.8 x 31.2 cm for very good quality, and 15.4 x 10.2 inches or 39 x 26 cm for excellent quality prints.
The V2 has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.
The Canon EOS Rebel T3i 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 1 V2 are ISO 160 to ISO 12800 (no boost).
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"). Of the two cameras under review, the T3i provides substantially higher image quality than the V2, with an overall score that is 15 points higher. This advantage is based on 1.9 bits higher color depth, 0.7 EV in additional dynamic range, and 1 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
| DXO |
|2.||Nikon 1 V2||1-inch||14.2||4608||3072||1080/60p||20.2||10.8||403||50|
|8.||Canon G1 X||1.5-inch||14.2||4352||3264||1080/24p||21.7||10.8||644||60|
|15.||Nikon 1 V3||1-inch||18.2||5232||3488||1080/60p||20.8||10.7||384||52|
|16.||Nikon 1 V1||1-inch||10.0||3872||2592||1080/60i||21.3||11||346||54|
|17.||Panasonic GX1||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60p||20.8||10.6||703||55|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the V2 provides a faster frame rate than the T3i. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60p, while the Canon is limited to 1080/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the V2 has an electronic viewfinder (1440k dots), while the T3i has an optical one. Both systems have their advantages, with the electronic viewfinder making it possible to project supplementary shooting information into the framing view, whereas the optical viewfinder offers lag-free viewing and a very clear framing image. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon T3i and Nikon 1 V2 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|2.||Nikon 1 V2||1440||n||3.0||921||fixed||n||1/4000s||15.0||Y||n|
|8.||Canon G1 X||optical||n||3.0||922||Swivel||n||1/4000s||1.9||Y||Y|
|15.||Nikon 1 V3||optional||n||3.0||1037||tilting||Y||1/4000s||60.0||Y||n|
|16.||Nikon 1 V1||1440||n||3.0||921||fixed||n||1/4000s||10.0||n||n|
The reported shutter speed information refers to the use of the mechanical shutter. Yet, some cameras only have an electronic shutter, while others have an electronic shutter in addition to a mechanical one. In fact, the V2 is one of those camera that have an additional electronic shutter, which makes completely silent shooting possible. However, this mode is less suitable for photographing moving objects (risk of rolling shutter) or shooting under artificial light sources (risk of flickering).
The Nikon 1 V2 has 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.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the T3i and the V2 write their files to SDXC cards. The V2 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the T3i cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD 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 T3i and Nikon 1 V2 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|2.||Nikon 1 V2||-||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|8.||Canon G1 X||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|15.||Nikon 1 V3||-||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|16.||Nikon 1 V1||-||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
It is notable that the T3i has a hotshoe, while the V2 does not. This socket makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun.
Both the T3i and the V2 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The T3i was replaced by the Canon T4i, while the V2 was followed by the Nikon 1 V3. 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 how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon T3i and the Nikon 1 V2? Which camera is better? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS Rebel T3i:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (17.9 vs 14.2MP) with a 12% higher linear resolution.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (15 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
- Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (1.9 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (0.7 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (1 stops ISO advantage).
- Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
- Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 921k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (440 versus 310) on a single battery charge.
- Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced segment (25 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in February 2011).
Advantages of the Nikon 1 V2:
- Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60p versus 1080/30p).
- Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
- More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (15 vs 3.7 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- More compact: Is smaller (109x82mm vs 133x100mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 292g or 51 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- More legacy lens friendly: Can use many non-native lenses via adapters.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More modern: Was introduced somewhat (1 year and 8 months) more recently.
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the T3i emerges as the winner of the contest (14 : 11 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.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon T3i and the Nikon 1 V2 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera and Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the T3i or the V2 perform in practice. 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 hands-on reviews by experts are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], 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 T3i||3/5||o||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2011||599|
|2.||Nikon 1 V2||3/5||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||Oct 2012||799|
|3.||Canon SL2||4/5||+ +||78/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2017||549|
|4.||Canon T6s||5/5||+||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||649|
|5.||Canon T5||3/5||+||..||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2014||449|
|6.||Canon SL1||4/5||+||78/100||4/5||4/5||Mar 2013||549|
|7.||Canon T5i||..||..||76/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2013||649|
|8.||Canon G1 X||5/5||+||76/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2012||799|
|9.||Canon M||3/5||+||..||4/5||4/5||Jul 2012||599|
|10.||Canon T4i||4/5||+ +||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2012||849|
|11.||Canon T3||..||80/100||69/100||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2011||449|
|12.||Canon T2i||..||+ +||77/100||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2010||699|
|13.||Canon T1i||..||+ +||74/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2009||799|
|14.||Fujifilm X-M1||3/5||+||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2013||699|
|15.||Nikon 1 V3||3/5||..||76/100||4.5/5||4/5||Mar 2014||799|
|16.||Nikon 1 V1||..||+||69/100||4.5/5||4/5||Sep 2011||799|
|17.||Panasonic GX1||3/5||+||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Nov 2011||699|
|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. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.
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.
Specifications: Canon T3i vs Nikon 1 V2
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 T3i||Nikon 1 V2|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF mount lenses||Nikon 1 mount lenses|
|Launch Date||February 2011||October 2012|
|Launch Price||USD 599||USD 799|
|Sensor Specs||Canon T3i||Nikon 1 V2|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||1" Sensor|
|Sensor Size||22.3 x 14.9 mm||13.2 x 8.8 mm|
|Sensor Area||332.27 mm2||116.16 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||26.8 mm||15.9 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||17.9 Megapixels||14.2 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5184 x 3456 pixels||4608 x 3072 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.31 μm||2.86 μm|
|Pixel Density||5.39 MP/cm2||12.19 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/30p Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 6,400 ISO||160 - 12,800 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 12,800 ISO||no Enhancement|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 4||EXPEED 3|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||65||50|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||22.1||20.2|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||11.5||10.8|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||793||403|
|Screen Specs||Canon T3i||Nikon 1 V2|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||1440k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||1040k dots||921k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Swivel screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon T3i||Nikon 1 V2|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||On-Sensor Phase-detect|
|Continuous Shooting||3.7 shutter flaps/s||15 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||no E-Shutter||up to 1/16000s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||no Intervalometer||Intervalometer built-in|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon T3i||Nikon 1 V2|
|External Flash||Hotshoe||no Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||no MIC socket|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Canon T3i||Nikon 1 V2|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||440 shots per charge||310 shots per charge|
133 x 100 x 80 mm
(5.2 x 3.9 x 3.1 in)
109 x 82 x 46 mm
(4.3 x 3.2 x 1.8 in)
|Camera Weight||570 g (20.1 oz)||278 g (9.8 oz)|
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