Canon XS vs Nikon D5
The Canon EOS Rebel XS (called Canon 1000D in some regions) and the Nikon D5 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in June 2008 and January 2016. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on an APS-C (XS) and a full frame (D5) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 10.1 megapixels, whereas the Nikon provides 20.7 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 XS and the Nikon D5? 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 XS and the Nikon D5 are illustrated 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 measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D5 is considerably larger (106 percent) than the Canon XS. Moreover, the D5 is substantially heavier (182 percent) than the XS. It is noteworthy in this context that the D5 is splash and dust-proof, while the XS 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 compare the optics available for the two cameras in the Canon EF Lens Catalog (XS) and the Nikon Lens Catalog (D5).
Concerning battery life, the XS gets 500 shots out of its LP-E5 battery, while the D5 can take 3780 images on a single charge of its EN-EL18a power pack. As can be seen in the images above, the D5 has a battery grip built in. This facilitates image-taking in portrait orientation and gives it additional battery power. In order to provide similar functionality for the XS, Canon provides the BG-E5 vertical grip as an optional accessory (see here on ebay).
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. 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 XS||126 mm||98 mm||65 mm||502 g||500||n||Jun 2008||449||ebay.com|
|2.||Nikon D5||160 mm||159 mm||92 mm||1415 g||3780||Y||Jan 2016||6,499||ebay.com|
|3.||Canon T7||129 mm||101 mm||78 mm||475 g||500||n||Feb 2018||449||amazon.com|
|4.||Canon T100||129 mm||102 mm||77 mm||436 g||500||n||Feb 2018||399||amazon.com|
|5.||Canon 1D X Mark II||158 mm||168 mm||83 mm||1530 g||1210||Y||Feb 2016||5,999||ebay.com|
|6.||Canon T5||130 mm||100 mm||78 mm||480 g||500||n||Feb 2014||449||ebay.com|
|7.||Canon T3||130 mm||100 mm||78 mm||495 g||700||n||Feb 2011||449||ebay.com|
|8.||Canon SX20||123 mm||88 mm||87 mm||600 g||..||n||Aug 2009||399||ebay.com|
|9.||Canon T1i||129 mm||98 mm||62 mm||520 g||400||n||Mar 2009||799||ebay.com|
|10.||Canon SX10||123 mm||88 mm||87 mm||600 g||..||n||Sep 2008||399||ebay.com|
|11.||Canon XSi||129 mm||98 mm||62 mm||524 g||500||n||Jan 2008||799||ebay.com|
|12.||Canon 40D||146 mm||108 mm||74 mm||822 g||750||n||Aug 2007||1,299||ebay.com|
|13.||Canon XTi||127 mm||84 mm||65 mm||556 g||370||n||Aug 2006||799||ebay.com|
|14.||Nikon D6||160 mm||163 mm||92 mm||1270 g||3580||Y||Feb 2020||6,499||amazon.com|
|15.||Nikon D4S||160 mm||157 mm||91 mm||1350 g||3020||Y||Feb 2014||6,499||ebay.com|
|16.||Nikon D750||141 mm||113 mm||78 mm||750 g||1230||Y||Sep 2014||2,299||ebay.com|
|17.||Nikon D610||141 mm||113 mm||82 mm||850 g||900||Y||Oct 2013||1,999||amazon.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 manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The XS was launched at a markedly lower price (by 93 percent) than the D5, 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.
The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors 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 more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon XS features an APS-C sensor and the Nikon D5 a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the D5 is 161 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.
With 20.7MP, the D5 offers a higher resolution than the XS (10.1MP), but the D5 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 6.44μm versus 5.71μm for the XS) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the D5 is a much more recent model (by 7 years and 6 months) than the XS, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units.
The resolution advantage of the Nikon D5 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the D5 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 27.9 x 18.6 inches or 71 x 47.1 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 22.4 x 14.8 inches or 56.8 x 37.7 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 18.6 x 12.4 inches or 47.3 x 31.4 cm. The corresponding values for the Canon XS are 19.4 x 13 inches or 49.4 x 32.9 cm for good quality, 15.6 x 10.4 inches or 39.5 x 26.3 cm for very good quality, and 13 x 8.6 inches or 32.9 x 21.9 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Canon EOS Rebel XS has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 800, which can be extended to ISO 100-1600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon D5 are ISO 100 to ISO 102400, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-3280000.
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.
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). Of the two cameras under consideration, the D5 offers substantially better image quality than the XS (overall score 26 points higher). The advantage is based on 3.1 bits higher color depth, 1.4 EV in additional dynamic range, and 1.7 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.
|2.||Nikon D5||Full Frame||20.7||5588||3712||4K/30p||25.1||12.3||2343||88|
|5.||Canon 1D X Mark II||Full Frame||20.0||5472||3648||4K/60p||24.1||13.5||3207||88|
|14.||Nikon D6||Full Frame||20.7||5568||3712||4K/30p||25.3||14.3||2886||95|
|15.||Nikon D4S||Full Frame||16.2||4928||3280||1080/60p||24.4||13.3||3074||89|
|16.||Nikon D750||Full Frame||24.2||6016||4016||1080/60p||24.8||14.5||2956||93|
|17.||Nikon D610||Full Frame||24.2||6016||4016||1080/30p||25.1||14.4||2925||94|
|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 D5 indeed provides for movie recording, while the XS does not. The highest resolution format that the D5 can use is 4K/30p.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The XS and the D5 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 viewfinder in the D5 offers a wider field of view (100%) than the one in the XS (95%), so that a larger proportion of the captured image is visible in the finder. In addition, the viewfinder of the D5 has a higher magnification (0.72x vs 0.51x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Canon XS and Nikon D5 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|1.||Canon XS||optical||n||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|2.||Nikon D5||optical||Y||3.2 / 2359||fixed||Y||1/8000s||14.0/s||n||n|
|3.||Canon T7||optical||n||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|4.||Canon T100||optical||n||2.7 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|5.||Canon 1D X Mark II||optical||Y||3.2 / 1620||fixed||Y||1/8000s||16.0/s||n||n|
|6.||Canon T5||optical||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|7.||Canon T3||optical||n||2.7 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|8.||Canon SX20||202||n||2.5 / 230||swivel||n||1/3200s||0.7/s||Y||Y|
|9.||Canon T1i||optical||n||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.4/s||Y||n|
|10.||Canon SX10||202||n||2.5 / 230||swivel||n||1/3200s||0.7/s||Y||Y|
|11.||Canon XSi||optical||n||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.5/s||Y||n|
|12.||Canon 40D||optical||Y||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/8000s||6.5/s||Y||n|
|13.||Canon XTi||optical||n||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|14.||Nikon D6||optical||Y||3.2 / 2359||fixed||Y||1/8000s||14.0/s||n||n|
|15.||Nikon D4S||optical||Y||3.2 / 921||fixed||n||1/8000s||11.0/s||n||n|
|16.||Nikon D750||optical||Y||3.2 / 1229||tilting||n||1/4000s||6.0/s||Y||n|
|17.||Nikon D610||optical||Y||3.2 / 921||fixed||n||1/4000s||6.0/s||Y||n|
|Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The XS has one, while the D5 does not. While the built-in flash of the XS is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.
The Nikon D5 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.
The XS writes its imaging data to SDHC cards, while the D5 uses Compact Flash or XQD cards. The D5 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the XS only has one slot.
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 XS and Nikon D5 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Canon XS||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|2.||Nikon D5||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|3.||Canon T7||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|4.||Canon T100||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|5.||Canon 1D X Mark II||Y||mono / mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|6.||Canon T5||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|7.||Canon T3||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|8.||Canon SX20||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||YES||2.0||-||-||-|
|9.||Canon T1i||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Canon SX10||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Canon XSi||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Canon 40D||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Canon XTi||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|14.||Nikon D6||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||3.1||Y||-||Y|
|15.||Nikon D4S||Y||mono / mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|16.||Nikon D750||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|17.||Nikon D610||Y||mono / mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Nikon D5 (unlike the XS) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Both the XS and the D5 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on ebay. The XS was replaced by the Canon T3, while the D5 was followed by the Nikon D6. Further information on the features and operation of the XS and D5 can be found, respectively, in the Canon XS Manual (free pdf) or the online Nikon D5 Manual.
So what is the bottom line? Which of the two cameras – the Canon XS or the Nikon D5 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS Rebel XS:
- More compact: Is smaller (126x98mm vs 160x159mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 913g or 65 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 (93 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in June 2008).
Advantages of the Nikon D5:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (20.7 vs 10.1MP), which boosts linear resolution by 44%.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (26 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (3.1 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (1.4 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (1.7 stops ISO advantage).
- Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 4K/30p video.
- More complete view: Has a viewfinder with a larger field of view (100% vs 95%).
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.72x vs 0.51x).
- Easier setting verification: Features a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.2" vs 2.5") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (2359k vs 230k dots).
- Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (14 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- More portrait friendly: Features an integrated vertical grip for easier portrait shooting.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (3780 versus 500) out of a single battery charge.
- Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
- Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (3.0 vs 2.0).
- Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
- Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
- More modern: Reflects 7 years and 6 months of technical progress since the XS launch.
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the D5 is the clear winner of the contest (22 : 5 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera. A professional wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports 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 XS and the Nikon D5 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 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 XS or the D5 perform in practice. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.
This is where reviews by experts come in. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major 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.
|1.||Canon XS||..||82/100||..||+ +||3.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2008||449||ebay.com|
|2.||Nikon D5||..||..||4/5||89/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jan 2016||6,499||ebay.com|
|3.||Canon T7||..||o||3.5/5||..||3.5/5||3.5/5||Feb 2018||449||amazon.com|
|4.||Canon T100||..||o||3/5||..||3.5/5||3.5/5||Feb 2018||399||amazon.com|
|5.||Canon 1D X Mark II||..||..||4.5/5||89/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||5,999||ebay.com|
|6.||Canon T5||3/5||+||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2014||449||ebay.com|
|7.||Canon T3||..||80/100||..||69/100||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2011||449||ebay.com|
|8.||Canon SX20||..||+ +||..||73/100||..||4/5||Aug 2009||399||ebay.com|
|9.||Canon T1i||..||+ +||..||74/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2009||799||ebay.com|
|10.||Canon SX10||..||+ +||..||..||..||4/5||Sep 2008||399||ebay.com|
|11.||Canon XSi||..||+ +||..||+ +||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2008||799||ebay.com|
|12.||Canon 40D||..||+ +||..||+ +||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2007||1,299||ebay.com|
|13.||Canon XTi||..||+ +||..||+ +||o||4/5||Aug 2006||799||ebay.com|
|14.||Nikon D6||..||..||4/5||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2020||6,499||amazon.com|
|15.||Nikon D4S||5/5||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2014||6,499||ebay.com|
|16.||Nikon D750||5/5||+ +||4/5||90/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||2,299||ebay.com|
|17.||Nikon D610||4/5||+ +||..||87/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2013||1,999||amazon.com|
|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. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. 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. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
Specifications: Canon XS vs Nikon D5
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 XS||Nikon D5|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF mount lenses||Nikon F mount lenses|
|Launch Date||June 2008||January 2016|
|Launch Price||USD 449||USD 6,499|
|Sensor Specs||Canon XS||Nikon D5|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||Full Frame Sensor|
|Sensor Size||22.2 x 14.8 mm||35.9 x 23.9 mm|
|Sensor Area||328.56 mm2||858.01 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||26.7 mm||43.1 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||10.1 Megapixels||20.7 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||3888 x 2592 pixels||5588 x 3712 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||5.71 μm||6.44 μm|
|Pixel Density||3.07 MP/cm2||2.42 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 800 ISO||100 - 102,400 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 1,600 ISO||50 - 3,280,000 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 3||EXPEED 5|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||62||88|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||22||25.1|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||10.9||12.3|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||719||2343|
|Screen Specs||Canon XS||Nikon D5|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%||100%|
|Top-Level Screen||no Top Display||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||2.5inch||3.2inch|
|LCD Resolution||230k dots||2359k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Touch Input||no Touchscreen||Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon XS||Nikon D5|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||3 shutter flaps/s||14 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||100 000 actuations||400 000 actuations|
|Time-Lapse Photography||no Intervalometer||Intervalometer built-in|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDHC cards||CF or XQD cards|
|Single or Dual Card Slots||Single card slot||Dual card slots|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon XS||Nikon D5|
|Studio Flash||no PC Sync||PC Sync socket|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 3.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||no MIC socket||External MIC port|
|Headphone Socket||no Headphone port||Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Canon XS||Nikon D5|
|Environmental Sealing||not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||500 shots per charge||3780 shots per charge|
126 x 98 x 65 mm
(5.0 x 3.9 x 2.6 in)
160 x 159 x 92 mm
(6.3 x 6.3 x 3.6 in)
|Camera Weight||502 g (17.7 oz)||1415 g (49.9 oz)|
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