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Canon T5i versus Nikon D3

The Canon EOS Rebel T5i (called Canon 700D in some regions) and the Nikon D3 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in March 2013 and August 2007. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on an APS-C (T5i) and a full frame (D3) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 17.9 megapixel, whereas the Nikon provides 12.1 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their size, their sensors, their features, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison: Canon T5i vs Nikon D3

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Canon T5i and the Nikon D3 is provided 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 measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter. You can also use the toggle button to switch to a percentage comparison if you prefer that the measures are being expressed in relative terms (in this case, the camera on the left – the T5i – represents 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Compare Canon T5i vs Nikon D3
Compare T5i versus D3 top
Compare T5i and D3 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D3 is considerably larger (89 percent) than the Canon T5i. Moreover, the D3 is substantially heavier (124 percent) than the T5i. It is noteworthy in this context that the D3 is splash and dust-proof, while the T5i does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.

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. A larger imaging sensor will tend to go along with bigger and heavier lenses, although exceptions exist. You can find an overview of optics for the two cameras in the Canon EF Lens Catalog (T5i) and the Nikon Lens Catalog (D3).

Concerning battery life, the T5i gets 440 shots out of its LP-E8 battery, while the D3 can take 4300 images on a single charge of its EN-EL4a power pack. As can be seen in the images above, the D3 has a battery grip build in. This facilitates image-taking in portrait orientation and gives it additional battery power. In order to provide similar functionality for the T5i, Canon provides the BG-E8 vertical grip as an optional accessory (see here on eBay).

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, 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)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
Canon T5i» 5.2 in 3.9 in 3.1 in 20.5 oz 440 n Mar 2013 649- i Canon T5i
Nikon D3« 6.3 in 6.2 in 3.5 in 45.9 oz 4300 Y Aug 2007 4,999- i Nikon D3
Canon T7i« » 5.2 in 3.9 in 3.0 in 18.8 oz 600 n Feb 2017 749 i i Canon T7i
Canon T6i« » 5.2 in 4.0 in 3.1 in 19.6 oz 440 n Feb 2015 749- i Canon T6i
Canon G7 X« » 4.1 in 2.4 in 1.6 in 10.7 oz 210 n Sep 2014 699- i Canon G7 X
Canon T5« » 5.1 in 3.9 in 3.1 in 16.9 oz 500 n Feb 2014 449- i Canon T5
Canon SL1« » 4.6 in 3.6 in 2.7 in 14.4 oz 380 n Mar 2013 549- i Canon SL1
Canon M« » 4.3 in 2.6 in 1.3 in 10.5 oz 230 n Jul 2012 599- i Canon M
Canon T4i« » 5.2 in 3.9 in 3.1 in 20.3 oz 440 n Jun 2012 849- i Canon T4i
Canon T3i« » 5.2 in 3.9 in 3.1 in 20.1 oz 440 n Feb 2011 599- i Canon T3i
Canon T2i« » 5.1 in 3.9 in 2.4 in 18.7 oz 440 n Feb 2010 699- i Canon T2i
Canon T1i« » 5.1 in 3.9 in 2.4 in 18.3 oz 400 n Mar 2009 799- i Canon T1i
Canon 1D Mark III« » 6.1 in 6.2 in 3.1 in 40.7 oz 2200 Y Feb 2007 4,499- i Canon 1D Mark III
Nikon D4« » 6.3 in 6.2 in 3.6 in 47.3 oz 2600 Y Jan 2012 5,999- i Nikon D4
Nikon D3S« » 6.3 in 6.2 in 3.5 in 43.7 oz 4200 Y Oct 2009 5,199- i Nikon D3S
Nikon D3X« » 6.3 in 6.2 in 3.5 in 44.4 oz 4400 Y Dec 2008 7,999- i Nikon D3X
Nikon D700« » 5.8 in 4.8 in 3.0 in 37.9 oz 1000 Y Jul 2008 2,999- i Nikon D700

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The T5i was launched at a markedly lower price (by 87 percent) than the D3, 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.

 

Sensor comparison: Canon T5i vs Nikon D3

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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 T5i features an APS-C sensor and the Nikon D3 a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the D3 is 159 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.

Canon T5i and Nikon D3 sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the Canon T5i offers a higher resolution of 17.9 megapixel, compared with 12.1 MP of the Nikon D3. This megapixel 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 8.43μm for the D3). However, it should be noted that the T5i is much more recent (by 5 years and 6 months) than the D3, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently.

T5i versus D3 MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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. Of the two cameras under consideration, the D3 offers substantially better image quality than the T5i (overall score 20 points higher). The advantage is based on 1.8 bits higher color depth, 1 EV in additional dynamic range, and 1.7 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.

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 T5i» APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.268161Canon T5i
Nikon D3« Full Frame 12.1 4256 2832-23.512.2229081Nikon D3
Canon T7i« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p----Canon T7i
Canon T6i« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p22.712.091971Canon T6i
Canon G7 X« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p23.012.755671Canon G7 X
Canon T5« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.911.372463Canon T5
Canon SL1« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.811.384363Canon SL1
Canon M« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.282765Canon M
Canon T4i« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.272262Canon T4i
Canon T3i« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.579365Canon T3i
Canon T2i« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.578466Canon T2i
Canon T1i« » APS-C 15.1 4752 31681080/20p21.711.566363Canon T1i
Canon 1D Mark III« » APS-H 10.1 3888 2592-22.711.7107871Canon 1D Mark III
Nikon D4« » Full Frame 16.2 4928 32801080/30p24.713.1296589Nikon D4
Nikon D3S« » Full Frame 12.1 4256 2832720/24p23.512.0325382Nikon D3S
Nikon D3X« » Full Frame 24.4 6048 4032-24.713.7199288Nikon D3X
Nikon D700« » Full Frame 12.1 4256 2832-23.512.2230380Nikon D700

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The T5i indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the D3 does not. The highest resolution format that the T5i can use is 1080/30p.

 

Feature comparison: Canon T5i vs Nikon D3

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The T5i and the D3 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 following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon T5i, the Nikon D3, and comparable cameras. If you need more detail on the specs, you can find comprehensive listings, for example, in the dpreview camera hub.

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)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec)
Build-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Build-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
Canon T5i»optical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 5.0 Y n Canon T5i
Nikon D3«optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 8000 11.0 n n Nikon D3
Canon T7i« »optical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 6.0 Y n Canon T7i
Canon T6i« »optical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 5.0 Y n Canon T6i
Canon G7 X« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 2000 6.5 Y Y Canon G7 X
Canon T5« »optical n 3.0 460 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Canon T5
Canon SL1« »optical n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 4000 4.9 Y n Canon SL1
Canon M« »- n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 4000 4.3 n n Canon M
Canon T4i« »optical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 5.0 Y n Canon T4i
Canon T3i« »optical n 3.0 1040 swivel n 4000 3.7 Y n Canon T3i
Canon T2i« »optical n 3.0 1040 fixed n 4000 3.7 Y n Canon T2i
Canon T1i« »optical n 3.0 920 fixed n 4000 3.4 Y n Canon T1i
Canon 1D Mark III« »optical Y 3.0 230 fixed n 8000 10.0 n n Canon 1D Mark III
Nikon D4« »optical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 8000 11.0 n n Nikon D4
Nikon D3S« »optical Y 3.0 921 fixed n 8000 11.0 n n Nikon D3S
Nikon D3X« »optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 8000 5.0 n n Nikon D3X
Nikon D700« »optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 8000 8.0 Y n Nikon D700

One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The T5i has one, while the D3 does not. While the build-in flash of the T5i is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.

The T5i writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the D3 uses Compact Flash cards. The D3 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the T5i only has one slot.

Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Type
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
Canon T5i»YstereomonoY-mini2.0---Canon T5i
Nikon D3«Y----mini2.0---Nikon D3
Canon T7i« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0YYYCanon T7i
Canon T6i« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-Canon T6i
Canon G7 X« »-stereomono--micro2.0YY-Canon G7 X
Canon T5« »Ymonomono--mini2.0---Canon T5
Canon SL1« »YmonomonoY-mini2.0---Canon SL1
Canon M« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0---Canon M
Canon T4i« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0---Canon T4i
Canon T3i« »YmonomonoY-mini2.0---Canon T3i
Canon T2i« »Ystereo-Y-mini2.0---Canon T2i
Canon T1i« »Ymonomono--mini2.0---Canon T1i
Canon 1D Mark III« »Y-----2.0---Canon 1D Mark III
Nikon D4« »Ymonomono--micro2.0---Nikon D4
Nikon D3S« »Ystereo---mini2.0---Nikon D3S
Nikon D3X« »Y----mini2.0---Nikon D3X
Nikon D700« »Y----mini2.0---Nikon D700

Both the T5i and the D3 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D3 was replaced by the Nikon D4, while the T5i was followed by the Canon T6i.

Review summary: Canon T5i vs Nikon D3

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon T5i and the Nikon D3? 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 T5i:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (17.9 vs 12.1MP) with a 22% higher linear resolution.
  • Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 1080/30p movies.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 922k dots).
  • More flexible LCD: Has swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
  • Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
  • More compact: Is smaller (133x100mm vs 160x157mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 720g or 55 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (87 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 5 years and 6 months of technical progress since the D3 launch.

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Arguments in favor of the Nikon D3:

  • Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (20 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
  • Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (1.8 bits more color depth).
  • More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (1 EV of extra DR).
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (1.7 stops ISO advantage).
  • Easier setting verification: Features a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (8000/sec vs 4000/sec) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (11 vs 5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More portrait friendly: Features an integrated vertical grip for easier portrait shooting.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (4300 versus 440) out of a single battery charge.
  • Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
  • Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in August 2007).

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the D3 emerges as the winner of the match-up (12 : 10 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.

T5i 10:12 D3

In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras is instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the T5i or the D3 handle or 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 where reviews by experts come in. The following table reports the overall rankings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). You can find the full text of the reviews by clicking on the site logo in the table header.

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
Canon T5i»-76/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Mar 2013 649- i Canon T5i
Nikon D3«-HiRec5/5rev4.5/5 Aug 2007 4,999- i Nikon D3
Canon T7i« »-80/1004.5/54/54/5 Feb 2017 749 i i Canon T7i
Canon T6i« »-75/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 749- i Canon T6i
Canon G7 X« »HiRec77/1004.5/53.5/54.5/5 Sep 2014 699- i Canon G7 X
Canon T5« »Rec-4/54/54.5/5 Feb 2014 449- i Canon T5
Canon SL1« »Rec78/1004/54/54/5 Mar 2013 549- i Canon SL1
Canon M« »Rec-4/53.5/54/5 Jul 2012 599- i Canon M
Canon T4i« »HiRec77/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2012 849- i Canon T4i
Canon T3i« »rev77/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Feb 2011 599- i Canon T3i
Canon T2i« »HiRec77/1004/55/54.5/5 Feb 2010 699- i Canon T2i
Canon T1i« »HiRec74/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Mar 2009 799- i Canon T1i
Canon 1D Mark III« »---rev- Feb 2007 4,499- i Canon 1D Mark III
Nikon D4« »--4.5/5-4.5/5 Jan 2012 5,999- i Nikon D4
Nikon D3S« »-89/1004.5/55/55/5 Oct 2009 5,199- i Nikon D3S
Nikon D3X« »-86/1004/55/55/5 Dec 2008 7,999- i Nikon D3X
Nikon D700« »89/100HiRec4.5/55/54.5/5 Jul 2008 2,999- i Nikon D700

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, 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? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just make your choice using the following search menu. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting. If you cannot find the camera you are interested in, please send me an email, and I will try to locate and add the respective data to the application.

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