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Canon T5 vs Nikon D3100

The Canon EOS Rebel T5 (called Canon 1200D in some regions) and the Nikon D3100 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in February 2014 and August 2010. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with an APS-C 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.

Headline Specifications
Canon T5 VS Nikon D3100
Canon T5 Nikon D3100
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Canon EF mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
17.9 MP, APS-C Sensor 14.2 MP, APS-C Sensor
1080/30p Video 1080/24p Video
ISO 100-6400 (100-12800) ISO 100-3200 (100-12800)
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
3.0" LCD, 460k dots 3.0" LCD, 230k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
3 shutter flaps per second 3 shutter flaps per second
500 shots per battery charge550 shots per battery charge
130 x 100 x 78 mm, 480 g 124 x 96 x 75 mm, 505 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS Rebel T5 and the Nikon D3100? 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 T5 and the Nikon D3100 is provided in the side-by-side display below. 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 width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The D3100 can be obtained in two different colors (black, red), while the T5 is only available in black.

Size Canon T5 vs Nikon D3100
Compare T5 versus D3100 top
Comparison T5 or D3100 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D3100 is notably smaller (8 percent) than the Canon T5. However, the D3100 is markedly heavier (5 percent) than the T5. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the T5 nor the D3100 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 (T5) and the Nikon Lens Catalog (D3100).

Concerning battery life, the T5 gets 500 shots out of its LP-E10 battery, while the D3100 can take 550 images on a single charge of its EN-EL14 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, just use the right or left arrows in the table to switch to the respective camera. Alternatively, you can also navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from the full list of cameras there.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Canon T5» 130 mm 100 mm 78 mm 480 g 500 n Feb 2014 449iCanon T5
 
Nikon D3100« 124 mm 96 mm 75 mm 505 g 550 n Aug 2010 599iNikon D3100
 
Canon T100« » 129 mm 102 mm 77 mm 436 g 500 n Feb 2018 399 iCanon T100
 
Canon T6« » 129 mm 101 mm 78 mm 485 g 500 n Mar 2016 449iCanon T6
 
Canon T6i« » 132 mm 101 mm 78 mm 555 g 440 n Feb 2015 749iCanon T6i
 
Canon T6s« » 132 mm 101 mm 78 mm 565 g 440 n Feb 2015 649iCanon T6s
 
Canon SL1« » 117 mm 91 mm 69 mm 407 g 380 n Mar 2013 549iCanon SL1
 
Canon T5i« » 133 mm 100 mm 79 mm 580 g 440 n Mar 2013 649iCanon T5i
 
Canon T4i« » 133 mm 100 mm 79 mm 575 g 440 n Jun 2012 849iCanon T4i
 
Canon T3« » 130 mm 100 mm 78 mm 495 g 700 n Feb 2011 449iCanon T3
 
Canon T3i« » 133 mm 100 mm 80 mm 570 g 440 n Feb 2011 599iCanon T3i
 
Canon T2i« » 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 530 g 440 n Feb 2010 699iCanon T2i
 
Nikon D3200« » 125 mm 96 mm 77 mm 505 g 540 n Apr 2012 599iNikon D3200
 
Nikon D5100« » 128 mm 97 mm 79 mm 560 g 660 n Apr 2011 749iNikon D5100
 
Nikon D7000« » 132 mm 105 mm 77 mm 780 g 1050 Y Sep 2010 1,499iNikon D7000
 
Nikon D3000« » 126 mm 97 mm 64 mm 536 g 500 n Jul 2009 599iNikon D3000
 
Nikon D5000« » 127 mm 104 mm 80 mm 590 g 510 n Apr 2009 749iNikon D5000
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. 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 T5 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 25 percent) than the D3100, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. 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.

 

Sensor comparison

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to 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 D3100 is 7 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have format factors, respectively, of 1.6 (T5) and 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Canon T5 and Nikon D3100 sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the Canon T5 offers a higher resolution of 17.9 megapixels, compared with 14.2 MP of the Nikon D3100. 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 4.31μm versus 5.01μm for the D3100). However, it should be noted that the T5 is much more recent (by 3 years and 5 months) than the D3100, 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 T5 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the T5 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 25.9 x 17.3 inch or 65.8 x 43.9 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 20.7 x 13.8 inch or 52.7 x 35.1 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 17.3 x 11.5 inch or 43.9 x 29.3 cm. The corresponding values for the Nikon D3100 are 23 x 15.4 inch or 58.5 x 39 cm for good quality, 18.4 x 12.3 inch or 46.8 x 31.2 cm for very good quality, and 15.4 x 10.2 inch or 39 x 26 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Canon EOS Rebel T5 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 D3100 are ISO 100 to ISO 3200, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-12800.

T5 versus D3100 MP

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 consideration, the D3100 has a markedly higher DXO score than the T5 (overall score 4 points higher), which will translate into better image quality. The advantage is based on 0.6 bits higher color depth, and 0.3 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
 
Canon T5 APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.911.372463Canon T5
 
Nikon D3100 APS-C 14.2 4608 30721080/24p22.511.391967Nikon D3100
 
Canon T100 APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.911.469563Canon T100
 
Canon T6 APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p........Canon T6
 
Canon T6i APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.712.091971Canon T6i
 
Canon T6s APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.612.091570Canon T6s
 
Canon SL1 APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.811.384363Canon SL1
 
Canon T5i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.268161Canon T5i
 
Canon T4i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.272262Canon T4i
 
Canon T3 APS-C 12.2 4272 2848720/30p21.911.075562Canon T3
 
Canon T3i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.579365Canon T3i
 
Canon T2i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.578466Canon T2i
 
Nikon D3200 APS-C 24.1 6016 40001080/30p24.113.2113181Nikon D3200
 
Nikon D5100 APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.513.6118380Nikon D5100
 
Nikon D7000 APS-C 16.1 4928 326410800/24p23.513.9116780Nikon D7000
 
Nikon D3000 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.311.156362Nikon D3000
 
Nikon D5000 APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.712.586872Nikon D5000

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the T5 provides a higher frame rate than the D3100. It can shoot video footage at 1080/30p, while the Nikon is limited to 1080/24p.

 

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The T5 and the D3100 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 D3100 has a higher magnification than the one of the T5 (0.53x vs 0.50x), 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 T5 and Nikon D3100 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.

Core Features
  Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
 
Canon T5optical n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Canon T5
 
Nikon D3100optical n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Nikon D3100
 
Canon T100optical n 2.7 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Canon T100
 
Canon T6optical n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Canon T6
 
Canon T6ioptical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n Canon T6i
 
Canon T6soptical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n Canon T6s
 
Canon SL1optical n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/4000s 4.9 Y n Canon SL1
 
Canon T5ioptical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n Canon T5i
 
Canon T4ioptical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n Canon T4i
 
Canon T3optical n 2.7 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Canon T3
 
Canon T3ioptical n 3.0 1040 swivel n 1/4000s 3.7 Y n Canon T3i
 
Canon T2ioptical n 3.0 1040 fixed n 1/4000s 3.7 Y n Canon T2i
 
Nikon D3200optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 4.0 Y n Nikon D3200
 
Nikon D5100optical n 3.0 921 swivel n 1/4000s 4.0 Y n Nikon D5100
 
Nikon D7000optical Y 3.0 921 fixed n 1/8000s 6.0 Y n Nikon D7000
 
Nikon D3000optical n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Nikon D3000
 
Nikon D5000optical n 2.7 230 full-flex n 1/4000s 4.0 Y n Nikon D5000

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the T5 and the D3100 write their files to SDXC 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 T5 and Nikon D3100 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
 
Canon T5Ymonomono--mini2.0---Canon T5
 
Nikon D3100Ymonomono--mini2.0---Nikon D3100
 
Canon T100Ymonomono--mini2.0YY-Canon T100
 
Canon T6Ymonomono--mini2.0YY-Canon T6
 
Canon T6iYstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-Canon T6i
 
Canon T6sYstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-Canon T6s
 
Canon SL1YmonomonoY-mini2.0---Canon SL1
 
Canon T5iYstereomonoY-mini2.0---Canon T5i
 
Canon T4iYstereomonoY-mini2.0---Canon T4i
 
Canon T3Ystereomono--mini2.0---Canon T3
 
Canon T3iYmonomonoY-mini2.0---Canon T3i
 
Canon T2iYstereononeY-mini2.0---Canon T2i
 
Nikon D3200YmonomonoY-mini2.0---Nikon D3200
 
Nikon D5100YmonomonoY-mini2.0---Nikon D5100
 
Nikon D7000YmonomonoY-mini2.0---Nikon D7000
 
Nikon D3000Ynonenone--none2.0---Nikon D3000
 
Nikon D5000Ymonomono--mini2.0---Nikon D5000

Both the T5 and the D3100 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D3100 was replaced by the Nikon D3200, while the T5 was followed by the Canon T6. 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 conclusions can be drawn? Is the Canon T5 better than the Nikon D3100 or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.

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Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS Rebel T5:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (17.9 vs 14.2MP) with a 12% higher linear resolution.
  • Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/30p versus 1080/24p).
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (460k vs 230k dots).
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced segment (25 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 3 years and 5 months of technical progress since the D3100 launch.

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Advantages of the Nikon D3100:

  • Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (4 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (0.3 stops ISO advantage).
  • Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.53x vs 0.50x).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in August 2010).

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the T5 comes out slightly ahead of the D3100 (5 : 4 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision on a new camera. 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.

T5 05:04 D3100

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon T5 and the Nikon D3100 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 technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the T5 and the D3100 in practical situations. 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.

Expert reviews

This is why expert reviews are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular 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.

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cam
era
  labs  
dp
re
  view  
e
photo
  zine  
ima
ging
resource
photo
graphy
  blog  
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Canon T5+..4/54/54.5/5 Feb 2014 449iCanon T5
 
Nikon D3100+ +72/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Aug 2010 599iNikon D3100
 
Canon T100o..3.5/5..3.5/5 Feb 2018 399 iCanon T100
 
Canon T6o73/1004/53.5/54/5 Mar 2016 449iCanon T6
 
Canon T6i..75/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 749iCanon T6i
 
Canon T6s+77/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 649iCanon T6s
 
Canon SL1+78/1004/54/54/5 Mar 2013 549iCanon SL1
 
Canon T5i..76/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Mar 2013 649iCanon T5i
 
Canon T4i+ +77/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2012 849iCanon T4i
 
Canon T380/10069/1004/54/54.5/5 Feb 2011 449iCanon T3
 
Canon T3io77/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Feb 2011 599iCanon T3i
 
Canon T2i+ +77/1004/55/54.5/5 Feb 2010 699iCanon T2i
 
Nikon D3200+ +73/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Apr 2012 599iNikon D3200
 
Nikon D5100+ +76/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Apr 2011 749iNikon D5100
 
Nikon D7000..80/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Sep 2010 1,499iNikon D7000
 
Nikon D3000+72/1004/53.5/54.5/5 Jul 2009 599iNikon D3000
 
Nikon D5000+ +75/1004/55/54.5/5 Apr 2009 749iNikon D5000
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. 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. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

Canon T5:
Check Ebay offers
Nikon D3100:
Check Ebay offers

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 make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.

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    Specifications: Canon T5 vs Nikon D3100

    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 T5 Nikon D3100
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Canon EF mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
    Launch Date February 2014 August 2010
    Launch Price USD 449 USD 599
    Sensor Specs Canon T5 Nikon D3100
    Sensor Technology BSI-CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 22.3 x 14.9 mm 23.1 x 15.4 mm
    Sensor Area 332.27 mm2 355.74 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 26.8 mm 27.8 mm
    Crop Factor 1.6x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 17.9 Megapixels 14.2 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 5184 x 3456 pixels 4608 x 3072 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 4.31 μm 5.01 μm
    Pixel Density 5.39 MP/cm2 3.98 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/30p Video 1080/24p Video
    ISO Setting 100-6400 ISO 100-3200 ISO
    ISO Boost 100-12800 ISO 100-12800 ISO
    Image Processor DIGIC 4 EXPEED 2
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 63 67
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 21.9 22.5
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 11.3 11.3
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 724 919
    Screen Specs Canon T5 Nikon D3100
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95% 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.50x 0.53x
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0 inch 3.0 inch
    LCD Resolution 460k dots 230k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Canon T5 Nikon D3100
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 3 shutter flaps/s 3 shutter flaps/s
    Shutter Life Expectancy100 000 actuations100 000 actuations
    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 no
    Connectivity Specs Canon T5 Nikon D3100
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI mini HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Canon T5 Nikon D3100
    Battery Type LP-E10 EN-EL14
    Battery Life (CIPA)500 shots per charge550 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 130 x 100 x 78 mm
    (5.1 x 3.9 x 3.1 in)
    124 x 96 x 75 mm
    (4.9 x 3.8 x 3.0 in)
    Camera Weight 480 g (16.9 oz) 505 g (17.8 oz)

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