Canon XSi vs Nikon 1 J4
The Canon EOS Rebel XSi (called Canon 450D in some regions) and the Nikon 1 J4 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in January 2008 and April 2014. The XSi is a DSLR, while the J4 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on an APS-C (XSi) and an one-inch (J4) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 12.2 megapixels, whereas the Nikon provides 18.2 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 XSi and the Nikon 1 J4? 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 XSi and the Nikon 1 J4 are illustrated 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 J4 can be obtained in four different colors (black, silver, orange, white), while the XSi 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 J4 is considerably smaller (53 percent) than the Canon XSi. Moreover, the J4 is substantially lighter (56 percent) than the XSi. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the XSi nor the J4 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 following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. 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 XSi||129 mm||98 mm||62 mm||524 g||500||n||Jan 2008||799|
|2.||Nikon 1 J4||100 mm||60 mm||29 mm||232 g||300||n||Apr 2014||549|
|3.||Canon G9 X||98 mm||58 mm||31 mm||209 g||220||n||Oct 2015||529|
|4.||Canon T6i||132 mm||101 mm||78 mm||555 g||440||n||Feb 2015||749|
|5.||Canon T6s||132 mm||101 mm||78 mm||565 g||440||n||Feb 2015||649|
|6.||Canon SL1||117 mm||91 mm||69 mm||407 g||380||n||Mar 2013||549|
|7.||Canon T4i||133 mm||100 mm||79 mm||575 g||440||n||Jun 2012||849|
|8.||Canon T3||130 mm||100 mm||78 mm||495 g||700||n||Feb 2011||449|
|9.||Canon T2i||129 mm||98 mm||62 mm||530 g||440||n||Feb 2010||699|
|10.||Canon T1i||129 mm||98 mm||62 mm||520 g||400||n||Mar 2009||799|
|11.||Canon XS||126 mm||98 mm||65 mm||502 g||500||n||Jun 2008||449|
|12.||Canon 40D||146 mm||108 mm||74 mm||822 g||750||n||Aug 2007||1,299|
|13.||Canon XTi||127 mm||84 mm||65 mm||556 g||370||n||Aug 2006||799|
|14.||Canon XT||127 mm||94 mm||64 mm||540 g||400||n||Feb 2005||899|
|15.||Nikon 1 J5||98 mm||60 mm||32 mm||231 g||250||n||Apr 2015||399|
|16.||Nikon 1 V3||111 mm||65 mm||33 mm||381 g||310||n||Mar 2014||799|
|17.||Nikon 1 V2||109 mm||82 mm||46 mm||278 g||310||n||Oct 2012||799|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
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 J4 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 31 percent) than the XSi, 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 size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better 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 XSi features an APS-C sensor and the Nikon 1 J4 an one-inch sensor. The sensor area in the J4 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.
In terms of underlying technology, both cameras are build around CMOS sensors.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the J4 offers a higher resolution of 18.2 megapixels, compared with 12.2 MP of the XSi. 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 2.52μm versus 5.19μm for the XSi). However, it should be noted that the J4 is much more recent (by 6 years and 2 months) than the XSi, 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 J4 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Nikon 1 J4 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the J4 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 26.2 x 17.4 inches or 66.4 x 44.3 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 20.9 x 14 inches or 53.2 x 35.4 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 17.4 x 11.6 inches or 44.3 x 29.5 cm. The corresponding values for the Canon XSi are 21.4 x 14.2 inches or 54.3 x 36.2 cm for good quality, 17.1 x 11.4 inches or 43.4 x 28.9 cm for very good quality, and 14.2 x 9.5 inches or 36.2 x 24.1 cm for excellent quality prints.
The J4 has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.
The Canon EOS Rebel XSi has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 1600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon 1 J4 are ISO 160 to ISO 12800 (no boost).
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. Of the two cameras under review, the XSi has a notably higher overall DXO score than the J4 (overall score 8 points higher), which gives it an advantage in terms of imaging quality. This advantage is based on 1.1 bits higher color depth, 0.1 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.7 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.
| DXO |
|2.||Nikon 1 J4||1-inch||18.2||5232||3488||1080/60p||20.8||10.7||426||53|
|3.||Canon G9 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||21.5||12.3||495||63|
|15.||Nikon 1 J5||1-inch||20.7||5568||3712||4K/15p||21.1||12.0||479||65|
|16.||Nikon 1 V3||1-inch||18.2||5232||3488||1080/60p||20.8||10.7||384||52|
|17.||Nikon 1 V2||1-inch||14.2||4608||3072||1080/60p||20.2||10.8||403||50|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The J4 indeed provides for movie recording, while the XSi does not. The highest resolution format that the J4 can use is 1080/60p.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the XSi has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the J4 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon XSi and Nikon 1 J4 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|2.||Nikon 1 J4||none||n||3.0||1037||Fixed||Y||1/4000s||60.0||Y||n|
|3.||Canon G9 X||none||n||3.0||1040||fixed||Y||1/2000s||6.0||Y||Y|
|15.||Nikon 1 J5||none||n||3.0||1037||tilting||Y||1/4000s||60.0||Y||n|
|16.||Nikon 1 V3||optional||n||3.0||1037||tilting||Y||1/4000s||60.0||Y||n|
|17.||Nikon 1 V2||1440||n||3.0||921||fixed||n||1/4000s||15.0||Y||n|
One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The J4 has a touchscreen, while the XSi has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.
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 J4 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 XSi writes its imaging data to SDHC cards, while the J4 uses micro SDXC cards. The J4 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the XSi 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 XSi and Nikon 1 J4 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|2.||Nikon 1 J4||-||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|3.||Canon G9 X||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|15.||Nikon 1 J5||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|16.||Nikon 1 V3||-||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|17.||Nikon 1 V2||-||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
It is notable that the XSi has a hotshoe, while the J4 does not. This socket makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun.
Both the XSi and the J4 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The XSi was replaced by the Canon T1i, while the J4 was followed by the Nikon 1 J5. 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 what is the bottom line? Is the Canon XSi better than the Nikon 1 J4 or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Advantages of the Canon EOS Rebel XSi:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (8 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
- Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (1.1 bits more color depth).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (0.7 stops ISO advantage).
- Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (500 versus 300) on a single battery charge.
- Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in January 2008).
Arguments in favor of the Nikon 1 J4:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (18.2 vs 12.2MP), which boosts linear resolution by 22%.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/60p video.
- Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1037k vs 230k dots).
- Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (60 vs 3.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
- More compact: Is smaller (100x60mm vs 129x98mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 292g or 56 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- More legacy lens friendly: Can use many non-native lenses via adapters.
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (31 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 6 years and 2 months of technical progress since the XSi launch.
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the J4 is the clear winner of the contest (15 : 8 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 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 XSi and the Nikon 1 J4 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 says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the XSi and the J4 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.
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], 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 XSi||..||+ +||+ +||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2008||799|
|2.||Nikon 1 J4||3/5||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||Apr 2014||549|
|3.||Canon G9 X||3.5/5||+ +||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2015||529|
|4.||Canon T6i||5/5||..||75/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||749|
|5.||Canon T6s||5/5||+||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||649|
|6.||Canon SL1||4/5||+||78/100||4/5||4/5||Mar 2013||549|
|7.||Canon T4i||4/5||+ +||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2012||849|
|8.||Canon T3||..||80/100||69/100||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2011||449|
|9.||Canon T2i||..||+ +||77/100||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2010||699|
|10.||Canon T1i||..||+ +||74/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2009||799|
|11.||Canon XS||..||82/100||+ +||3.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2008||449|
|12.||Canon 40D||..||+ +||+ +||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2007||1,299|
|13.||Canon XTi||..||+ +||+ +||o||4/5||Aug 2006||799|
|14.||Canon XT||..||80/100||+ +||o||..||Feb 2005||899|
|15.||Nikon 1 J5||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2015||399|
|16.||Nikon 1 V3||3/5||..||76/100||4.5/5||4/5||Mar 2014||799|
|17.||Nikon 1 V2||3/5||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||Oct 2012||799|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.
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 use the search menu below. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.
Specifications: Canon XSi vs Nikon 1 J4
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 XSi||Nikon 1 J4|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF mount lenses||Nikon 1 mount lenses|
|Launch Date||January 2008||April 2014|
|Launch Price||USD 799||USD 549|
|Sensor Specs||Canon XSi||Nikon 1 J4|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||1" Sensor|
|Sensor Size||22.2 x 14.8 mm||13.2 x 8.8 mm|
|Sensor Area||328.56 mm2||116.16 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||26.7 mm||15.9 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||12.2 Megapixels||18.2 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4272 x 2848 pixels||5232 x 3488 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||5.19 μm||2.52 μm|
|Pixel Density||3.70 MP/cm2||15.71 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 1,600 ISO||160 - 12,800 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 3||EXPEED 4|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||61||53|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||21.9||20.8|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||10.8||10.7|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||692||426|
|Screen Specs||Canon XSi||Nikon 1 J4|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||no viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||230k dots||1037k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen|
|Touch Input||no Touchscreen||Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon XSi||Nikon 1 J4|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||On-Sensor Phase-detect|
|Continuous Shooting||3.5 shutter flaps/s||60 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||no E-Shutter||up to 1/16000s|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDHC cards||micro or SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon XSi||Nikon 1 J4|
|External Flash||Hotshoe||no Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||Wifi built-in|
|Body Specs||Canon XSi||Nikon 1 J4|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||500 shots per charge||300 shots per charge|
129 x 98 x 62 mm
(5.1 x 3.9 x 2.4 in)
100 x 60 x 29 mm
(3.9 x 2.4 x 1.1 in)
|Camera Weight||524 g (18.5 oz)||232 g (8.2 oz)|
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