Canon XSi vs Nikon D3200
The Canon EOS Rebel XSi (called Canon 450D in some regions) and the Nikon D3200 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in January 2008 and April 2012. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 12.2 megapixels, whereas the Nikon provides 24.1 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 D3200? 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 D3200 are illustrated 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 dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The D3200 can be obtained in two different colors (black, red), 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 D3200 is notably smaller (5 percent) than the Canon XSi. Moreover, the D3200 is slightly lighter (4 percent) than the XSi. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the XSi nor the D3200 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 (XSi) and the Nikon Lens Catalog (D3200).
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. 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.
|1.||Canon XSi||129 mm||98 mm||62 mm||524 g||500||n||Jan 2008||799|
|2.||Nikon D3200||125 mm||96 mm||77 mm||505 g||540||n||Apr 2012||599|
|3.||Canon T6i||132 mm||101 mm||78 mm||555 g||440||n||Feb 2015||749|
|4.||Canon T6s||132 mm||101 mm||78 mm||565 g||440||n||Feb 2015||649|
|5.||Canon T4i||133 mm||100 mm||79 mm||575 g||440||n||Jun 2012||849|
|6.||Canon T3||130 mm||100 mm||78 mm||495 g||700||n||Feb 2011||449|
|7.||Canon T2i||129 mm||98 mm||62 mm||530 g||440||n||Feb 2010||699|
|8.||Canon T1i||129 mm||98 mm||62 mm||520 g||400||n||Mar 2009||799|
|9.||Canon XS||126 mm||98 mm||65 mm||502 g||500||n||Jun 2008||449|
|10.||Canon 40D||146 mm||108 mm||74 mm||822 g||750||n||Aug 2007||1,299|
|11.||Canon XTi||127 mm||84 mm||65 mm||556 g||370||n||Aug 2006||799|
|12.||Canon XT||127 mm||94 mm||64 mm||540 g||400||n||Feb 2005||899|
|13.||Nikon D5600||124 mm||97 mm||70 mm||465 g||970||n||Nov 2016||699|
|14.||Nikon D3400||124 mm||98 mm||76 mm||445 g||1200||n||Aug 2016||499|
|15.||Nikon D3300||124 mm||98 mm||76 mm||430 g||700||n||Jan 2014||499|
|16.||Nikon D5300||125 mm||98 mm||76 mm||480 g||600||n||Oct 2013||799|
|17.||Nikon D3100||124 mm||96 mm||75 mm||505 g||550||n||Aug 2010||599|
|Notes: 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 listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The D3200 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 25 percent) than the XSi, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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. 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 associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.
Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the D3200 is 9 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have format factors, respectively, of 1.6 (XSi) and 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
With 24.1MP, the D3200 offers a higher resolution than the XSi (12.2MP), but the D3200 has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 3.85μm versus 5.19μm for the XSi). Yet, the D3200 is a much more recent model (by 4 years and 2 months) than the XSi, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units.
The resolution advantage of the Nikon D3200 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the D3200 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 30.1 x 20 inches or 76.4 x 50.8 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 24.1 x 16 inches or 61.1 x 40.6 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 20.1 x 13.3 inches or 50.9 x 33.9 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 Canon EOS Rebel XSi has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 1600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon D3200 are ISO 100 to ISO 6400, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-12800.
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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 D3200 offers substantially better image quality than the XSi (overall score 20 points higher). The advantage is based on 2.2 bits higher color depth, 2.4 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.7 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.
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The D3200 indeed provides for movie recording, while the XSi does not. The highest resolution format that the D3200 can use is 1080/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The XSi and the D3200 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 XSi has a higher magnification than the one of the D3200 (0.54x vs 0.53x), 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 XSi and Nikon D3200 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|1.||Canon XSi||optical||n||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.5||Y||n|
|2.||Nikon D3200||optical||n||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/4000s||4.0||Y||n|
|3.||Canon T6i||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n|
|4.||Canon T6s||optical||Y||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n|
|5.||Canon T4i||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n|
|6.||Canon T3||optical||n||2.7 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|7.||Canon T2i||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.7||Y||n|
|8.||Canon T1i||optical||n||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.4||Y||n|
|9.||Canon XS||optical||n||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|10.||Canon 40D||optical||Y||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/8000s||6.5||Y||n|
|11.||Canon XTi||optical||n||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|12.||Canon XT||optical||n||1.8 / 115||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|13.||Nikon D5600||optical||n||3.2 / 1037||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n|
|14.||Nikon D3400||optical||n||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n|
|15.||Nikon D3300||optical||n||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n|
|16.||Nikon D5300||optical||n||3.2 / 1037||swivel||n||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n|
|17.||Nikon D3100||optical||n||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
The XSi writes its imaging data to SDHC cards, while the D3200 uses SDXC cards. The D3200 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 D3200 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Canon XSi||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|2.||Nikon D3200||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|3.||Canon T6i||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|4.||Canon T6s||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|5.||Canon T4i||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|6.||Canon T3||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|7.||Canon T2i||Y||stereo / -||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|8.||Canon T1i||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|9.||Canon XS||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Canon 40D||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Canon XTi||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Canon XT||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Nikon D5600||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|14.||Nikon D3400||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||Y|
|15.||Nikon D3300||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|16.||Nikon D5300||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|17.||Nikon D3100||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
Both the XSi and the D3200 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The XSi was replaced by the Canon T1i, while the D3200 was followed by the Nikon D3300. 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 conclusions can be drawn? Is the Canon XSi better than the Nikon D3200 or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Advantages of the Canon EOS Rebel XSi:
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.54x vs 0.53x).
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in January 2008).
Arguments in favor of the Nikon D3200:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (24.1 vs 12.2MP), which boosts linear resolution by 41%.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (20 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (2.2 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (2.4 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (0.7 stops ISO advantage).
- Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/30p video.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (921k vs 230k dots).
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (4 vs 3.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More affordable: Was released into a lower priced segment (25 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 4 years and 2 months of technical progress since the XSi launch.
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the D3200 is the clear winner of the contest (11 : 2 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 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 D3200 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 remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the XSi or the D3200 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 why hands-on reviews by experts are important. 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 XSi||..||+ +||..||+ +||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2008||799|
|2.||Nikon D3200||5/5||+ +||..||73/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2012||599|
|3.||Canon T6i||5/5||..||..||75/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||749|
|4.||Canon T6s||5/5||+||..||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||649|
|5.||Canon T4i||4/5||+ +||..||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2012||849|
|6.||Canon T3||..||80/100||..||69/100||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2011||449|
|7.||Canon T2i||..||+ +||..||77/100||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2010||699|
|8.||Canon T1i||..||+ +||..||74/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2009||799|
|9.||Canon XS||..||82/100||..||+ +||3.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2008||449|
|10.||Canon 40D||..||+ +||..||+ +||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2007||1,299|
|11.||Canon XTi||..||+ +||..||+ +||o||4/5||Aug 2006||799|
|12.||Canon XT||..||80/100||..||+ +||o||..||Feb 2005||899|
|13.||Nikon D5600||4/5||..||4/5||79/100||4.5/5||4/5||Nov 2016||699|
|14.||Nikon D3400||4/5||+||4/5||76/100||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2016||499|
|15.||Nikon D3300||3/5||+||..||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2014||499|
|16.||Nikon D5300||4/5||+ +||..||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2013||799|
|17.||Nikon D3100||5/5||+ +||..||72/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2010||599|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date 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? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just use the search menu below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
- Canon G7 X vs Canon XSi
- Canon M5 vs Canon XSi
- Canon XS vs Nikon D3200
- Canon XSi vs Fujifilm X-E2S
- Canon XSi vs Nikon D7100
- Canon XSi vs Nikon P7800
- Canon XSi vs Sony A5100
- Fujifilm X-A3 vs Nikon D3200
- Leica D-LUX 5 vs Nikon D3200
- Nikon D3200 vs Panasonic GH2
- Nikon D3200 vs Sony A7R III
- Nikon D3200 vs Sony RX100 III
Specifications: Canon XSi vs Nikon D3200
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 D3200|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF mount lenses||Nikon F mount lenses|
|Launch Date||January 2008||April 2012|
|Launch Price||USD 799||USD 599|
|Sensor Specs||Canon XSi||Nikon D3200|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||22.2 x 14.8 mm||23.2 x 15.4 mm|
|Sensor Area||328.56 mm2||357.28 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||26.7 mm||27.8 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||12.2 Megapixels||24.1 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4272 x 2848 pixels||6016 x 4000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||5.19 μm||3.85 μm|
|Pixel Density||3.70 MP/cm2||6.74 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||1080/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 1,600 ISO||100 - 6,400 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||100 - 12,800 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 3||EXPEED 3|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||61||81|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||21.9||24.1|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||10.8||13.2|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||692||1131|
|Screen Specs||Canon XSi||Nikon D3200|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%||95%|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||230k dots||921k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon XSi||Nikon D3200|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||3.5 shutter flaps/s||4 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||100 000 actuations||100 000 actuations|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDHC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon XSi||Nikon D3200|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||no MIC socket||External MIC port|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Canon XSi||Nikon D3200|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||500 shots per charge||540 shots per charge|
129 x 98 x 62 mm
(5.1 x 3.9 x 2.4 in)
125 x 96 x 77 mm
(4.9 x 3.8 x 3.0 in)
|Camera Weight||524 g (18.5 oz)||505 g (17.8 oz)|
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