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Canon T3i vs Sony HX400V

The Canon EOS Rebel T3i (called Canon 600D in some regions) and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX400V are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in February 2011 and February 2014. The T3i is a DSLR, while the HX400V is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on an APS-C (T3i) and a 1/2.3-inch (HX400V) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 17.9 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 20.2 MP.

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

Headline Specifications
Canon T3i
versus
Sony HX400V
Canon T3i   Sony HX400V
Digital single lens reflex Fixed lens compact camera
Canon EF mount lenses 24-1200mm f/2.8-6.3
17.9 MP – APS-C sensor 20.2 MP – 1/2.3" sensor
1080/30p Video 1080/60p Video
ISO 100-6,400 (100 - 12,800) ISO 80-3,200 (80 - 12,800)
Optical viewfinder Electronic viewfinder (210k dots)
3.0" LCD – 1040k dots 3.0" LCD – 921k dots
Swivel screen (not touch-sensitive) Tilting screen (no touchscreen)
3.7 shutter flaps per second 10 shutter flaps per second
440 shots per battery charge300 shots per battery charge
133 x 100 x 80 mm, 570 g 130 x 93 x 103 mm, 660 g
Canon T3i:
Check Ebay offers
Sony HX400V:
Check Amazon price

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS Rebel T3i and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX400V? 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

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Canon T3i and the Sony HX400V is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Canon T3i vs Sony HX400V
Compare T3i versus HX400V top
Comparison T3i or HX400V rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony HX400V is notably smaller (9 percent) than the Canon T3i. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the T3i nor the HX400V are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the HX400V has a lens built in, whereas the T3i is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup. You can compare the optics available for the T3i and their specifications in the Canon EF Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the T3i gets 440 shots out of its LP-E8 battery, while the HX400V can take 300 images on a single charge of its NP-BX1 power pack.

The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. 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 T3i 133 mm 100 mm 80 mm 570 g 440 n Feb 2011 599i
2.
 
Sony HX400V 130 mm 93 mm 103 mm 660 g 300 n Feb 2014 499 i
3.
 
Canon SL2 122 mm 93 mm 70 mm 453 g 650 n Jun 2017 549i
4.
 
Canon T6s 132 mm 101 mm 78 mm 565 g 440 n Feb 2015 649i
5.
 
Canon SX60 128 mm 93 mm 114 mm 650 g 340 n Sep 2014 549i
6.
 
Canon T5 130 mm 100 mm 78 mm 480 g 500 n Feb 2014 449i
7.
 
Canon SL1 117 mm 91 mm 69 mm 407 g 380 n Mar 2013 549i
8.
 
Canon T5i 133 mm 100 mm 79 mm 580 g 440 n Mar 2013 649i
9.
 
Canon M 109 mm 66 mm 32 mm 298 g 230 n Jul 2012 599i
10.
 
Canon T4i 133 mm 100 mm 79 mm 575 g 440 n Jun 2012 849i
11.
 
Canon T3 130 mm 100 mm 78 mm 495 g 700 n Feb 2011 449i
12.
 
Canon T2i 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 530 g 440 n Feb 2010 699i
13.
 
Canon T1i 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 520 g 400 n Mar 2009 799i
14.
 
Sony HX350 130 mm 93 mm 103 mm 652 g 300 n Dec 2016 449 i
15.
 
Sony HX90V 102 mm 58 mm 36 mm 245 g 360 n Apr 2015 429 i
16.
 
Sony H400 130 mm 95 mm 122 mm 628 g 300 n Feb 2014 319 i
17.
 
Sony H300 128 mm 89 mm 92 mm 590 g 350 n Feb 2014 219 i
Note: 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 HX400V was launched at a lower price than the T3i, despite having a lens built in. 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.

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. 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon T3i features an APS-C sensor and the Sony HX400V a 1/2.3-inch sensor. The sensor area in the HX400V is 92 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.6 and 5.6. The sensor in the T3i has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the HX400V offers a 4:3 aspect.

Canon T3i and Sony HX400V sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the HX400V offers a higher resolution of 20.2 megapixels, compared with 17.9 MP of the T3i. 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 1.18μm versus 4.31μm for the T3i). However, it should be noted that the HX400V is much more recent (by 3 years) than the T3i, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the HX400V has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

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 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX400V are ISO 80 to ISO 3200, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 80-12800.

T3i versus HX400V MP

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 table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.

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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 T3i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.579365
2.
 
Sony HX400V 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p20.111.462945
3.
 
Canon SL2 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.613.4104179
4.
 
Canon T6s APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.612.091570
5.
 
Canon SX60 1/2.3 14.2 4608 30721080/60p19.210.812739
6.
 
Canon T5 APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.911.372463
7.
 
Canon SL1 APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.811.384363
8.
 
Canon T5i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.268161
9.
 
Canon M APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.282765
10.
 
Canon T4i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.272262
11.
 
Canon T3 APS-C 12.2 4272 2848720/30p21.911.075562
12.
 
Canon T2i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.578466
13.
 
Canon T1i APS-C 15.1 4752 31681080/20p21.711.566363
14.
 
Sony HX350 1/2.3 19.9 5152 38641080/60p20.511.989649
15.
 
Sony HX90V 1/2.3 18.0 4896 36721080/60p20.211.673847
16.
 
Sony H400 1/2.3 19.9 5152 3864720/30p20.111.463045
17.
 
Sony H300 1/2.3 19.9 5152 3864720/30p20.111.463045
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 two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the HX400V provides a faster frame rate than the T3i. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60p, while the Canon is limited to 1080/30p.

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the HX400V has an electronic viewfinder (210k 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 following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon T3i, the Sony HX400V, 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 T3ioptical n3.0 / 1040 swivel n 1/4000s 3.7/s Y n
2.
 
Sony HX400V210 n3.0 / 921 tilting n 1/4000s 10.0/s Y Y
3.
 
Canon SL2optical n3.0 / 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0/s Y n
4.
 
Canon T6soptical Y3.0 / 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0/s Y n
5.
 
Canon SX60922 n3.0 / 922 swivel n 1/2000s 6.4/s Y Y
6.
 
Canon T5optical n3.0 / 460 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
7.
 
Canon SL1optical n3.0 / 1040 fixed Y 1/4000s 4.9/s Y n
8.
 
Canon T5ioptical n3.0 / 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0/s Y n
9.
 
Canon Mnone n3.0 / 1040 fixed Y 1/4000s 4.3/s n n
10.
 
Canon T4ioptical n3.0 / 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0/s Y n
11.
 
Canon T3optical n2.7 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
12.
 
Canon T2ioptical n3.0 / 1040 fixed n 1/4000s 3.7/s Y n
13.
 
Canon T1ioptical n3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/4000s 3.4/s Y n
14.
 
Sony HX350202 n3.0 / 922 tilting n 1/4000s 10.0/s Y Y
15.
 
Sony HX90V638 n3.0 / 921 tilting n 1/2000s 10.0/s Y Y
16.
 
Sony H400210 n3.0 / 460 fixed n 1/2000s 0.7/s Y Y
17.
 
Sony H300none n3.0 / 460 fixed n 1/1500s 0.8/s Y Y
Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.
The T3i 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 HX400V does not have a selfie-screen.

The T3i writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the HX400V uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo 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 T3i and Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX400V 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 T3iYmono / monoY-mini2.0---
2.
 
Sony HX400VYstereo / mono--micro2.0YY-
3.
 
Canon SL2Ystereo / monoY-mini2.0YYY
4.
 
Canon T6sYstereo / monoY-mini2.0YY-
5.
 
Canon SX60Ystereo / monoY-mini2.0YY-
6.
 
Canon T5Ymono / mono--mini2.0---
7.
 
Canon SL1Ymono / monoY-mini2.0---
8.
 
Canon T5iYstereo / monoY-mini2.0---
9.
 
Canon MYstereo / monoY-mini2.0---
10.
 
Canon T4iYstereo / monoY-mini2.0---
11.
 
Canon T3Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
12.
 
Canon T2iYstereo / -Y-mini2.0---
13.
 
Canon T1iYmono / mono--mini2.0---
14.
 
Sony HX350-stereo / mono--micro2.0---
15.
 
Sony HX90V-stereo / mono--micro2.0YY-
16.
 
Sony H400-mono / mono--micro2.0Y--
17.
 
Sony H300-mono / mono--micro2.0Y--

It is notable that the T3i has a microphone port, which is missing on the HX400V. Such an external microphone input can help to substantially improve the quality of audio recordings when a good external microphone is used.

Travel and landscape photographers will find it useful that the HX400V has an internal geolocalization sensor and can record GPS coordinates in its EXIF data.

The HX400V is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Sony. In contrast, the T3i has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the T3i was succeeded by the Canon T4i. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon and Sony websites.

Review summary

So how do things add up? Is the Canon T3i better than the Sony HX400V or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.

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Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS Rebel T3i:

  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • Better image quality: Features bigger pixels on a larger sensor for higher quality imaging.
  • Richer colors: The pixel size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
  • More dynamic range: Larger pixels capture a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Larger pixels means good image quality even under poor lighting.
  • 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.
  • More flexible: Can take a variety of interchangeable lenses, including specialty optics.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (440 versus 300) on a single battery charge.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in February 2011).

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Arguments in favor of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX400V:

  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60p versus 1080/30p).
  • More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 3.7 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Ready to shoot: Comes with an integrated lens, while the T3i requires a separate lens.
  • Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
  • Easier geotagging: Features an internal GPS sensor to log localization data.
  • Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
  • Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
  • More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
  • More modern: Reflects 3 years of technical progress since the T3i launch.

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the T3i emerges as the winner of the contest (13 : 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 sports photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a street photog, and a person interested in family portraits has distinct needs from a landscape shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

T3i 13:11 HX400V

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon T3i and the Sony HX400V place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera and Best Superzoom Camera listings 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 T3i and the HX400V 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 why hands-on reviews by experts 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.

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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 T3i3/5o..77/1004.5/54.5/5 Feb 2011 599i
2.
 
Sony HX400V4/5+ +....4/54/5 Feb 2014 499 i
3.
 
Canon SL24/5+ +4/578/1004.5/54.5/5 Jun 2017 549i
4.
 
Canon T6s5/5+..77/1004.5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 649i
5.
 
Canon SX603/5+ +..75/1004/54.5/5 Sep 2014 549i
6.
 
Canon T53/5+....4/54.5/5 Feb 2014 449i
7.
 
Canon SL14/5+..78/1004/54/5 Mar 2013 549i
8.
 
Canon T5i......76/1004.5/54.5/5 Mar 2013 649i
9.
 
Canon M3/5+....4/54/5 Jul 2012 599i
10.
 
Canon T4i4/5+ +..77/1004.5/54.5/5 Jun 2012 849i
11.
 
Canon T3..80/100..69/1004/54.5/5 Feb 2011 449i
12.
 
Canon T2i..+ +..77/1004/54.5/5 Feb 2010 699i
13.
 
Canon T1i..+ +..74/1004.5/54.5/5 Mar 2009 799i
14.
 
Sony HX350..........4/5 Dec 2016 449 i
15.
 
Sony HX90V4/5+ +....4/54.5/5 Apr 2015 429 i
16.
 
Sony H400..o....3.5/53.5/5 Feb 2014 319 i
17.
 
Sony H300..+....4.5/54/5 Feb 2014 219 i
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. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price 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. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

Canon T3i:
Check Ebay offers
Sony HX400V:
Check Amazon price

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes 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 T3i vs Sony HX400V

    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 T3i Sony HX400V
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Fixed lens compact camera
    Camera Lens Canon EF mount lenses 24-1200mm f/2.8-6.3
    Launch Date February 2011 February 2014
    Launch Price USD 599 USD 499
    Sensor Specs Canon T3i Sony HX400V
    Sensor Technology CMOS BSI-CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor 1/2.3" Sensor
    Sensor Size 22.3 x 14.9 mm 6.17 x 4.55 mm
    Sensor Area 332.27 mm2 28.0735 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 26.8 mm 7.7 mm
    Crop Factor 1.6x 5.6x
    Sensor Resolution 17.9 Megapixels 20.2 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 5184 x 3456 pixels 5184 x 3888 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 4.31 μm 1.18 μm
    Pixel Density 5.39 MP/cm2 71.80 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter no AA filter
    Movie Capability 1080/30p Video 1080/60p Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 6,400 ISO 80 - 3,200 ISO
    ISO Boost 100 - 12,800 ISO 80 - 12,800 ISO
    Image Processor DIGIC 4 BIONZ X
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 65 ..
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 22.1 ..
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 11.5 ..
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 793 ..
    Screen Specs Canon T3i Sony HX400V
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Electronic viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95% 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.53x
    Viewfinder Resolution 210k dots
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 1040k dots 921k dots
    LCD Attachment Swivel screen Tilting screen
    Shooting Specs Canon T3i Sony HX400V
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 3.7 shutter flaps/s 10 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Built-in Flash Built-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards MS or SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support no no
    Connectivity Specs Canon T3i Sony HX400V
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI micro HDMI
    Microphone Port External MIC port no MIC socket
    Wifi Support no Wifi Wifi built-in
    Near-Field Communication no NFC NFC built-in
    Geotagging no internal GPS GPS built-in
    Body Specs Canon T3i Sony HX400V
    Battery Type LP-E8 NP-BX1
    Battery Life (CIPA)440 shots per charge300 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 133 x 100 x 80 mm
    (5.2 x 3.9 x 3.1 in)
    130 x 93 x 103 mm
    (5.1 x 3.7 x 4.1 in)
    Camera Weight 570 g (20.1 oz) 660 g (23.3 oz)
    Canon T3i:
    Check Ebay offers
    Sony HX400V:
    Check Amazon price

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