Canon XT vs Nikon D5000
The Canon EOS Rebel XT (called Canon 350D in some regions) and the Nikon D5000 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in February 2005 and April 2009. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 8 megapixels, whereas the Nikon provides 12.2 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 XT and the Nikon D5000? 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.
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Canon XT and the Nikon D5000 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 size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The XT can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the D5000 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 D5000 is notably larger (11 percent) than the Canon XT. Moreover, the D5000 is markedly heavier (9 percent) than the XT. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the XT nor the D5000 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 (XT) and the Nikon Lens Catalog (D5000).
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, just select a new right or left comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.
|Canon XT||5.0 in||3.7 in||2.5 in||19.0 oz||400||n||Feb 2005||899|
|Nikon D5000||5.0 in||4.1 in||3.1 in||20.8 oz||510||n||Apr 2009||749|
|Canon 77D||5.2 in||3.9 in||3.0 in||19.0 oz||600||n||Feb 2017||899|
|Canon T6i||5.2 in||4.0 in||3.1 in||19.6 oz||440||n||Feb 2015||749|
|Canon T6s||5.2 in||4.0 in||3.1 in||19.9 oz||440||n||Feb 2015||649|
|Canon T4i||5.2 in||3.9 in||3.1 in||20.3 oz||440||n||Jun 2012||849|
|Canon T1i||5.1 in||3.9 in||2.4 in||18.3 oz||400||n||Mar 2009||799|
|Canon XSi||5.1 in||3.9 in||2.4 in||18.5 oz||500||n||Jan 2008||799|
|Canon 30D||5.7 in||4.2 in||2.9 in||27.7 oz||750||n||Feb 2006||1,399|
|Canon XTi||5.0 in||3.3 in||2.6 in||19.6 oz||370||n||Aug 2006||799|
|Canon 20D||5.7 in||4.2 in||2.8 in||27.2 oz||700||n||Aug 2004||1,499|
|Canon Rebel||5.6 in||3.9 in||2.8 in||22.9 oz||400||n||Aug 2003||899|
|Nikon D5100||5.0 in||3.8 in||3.1 in||19.8 oz||660||n||Apr 2011||749|
|Nikon D3100||4.9 in||3.8 in||3.0 in||17.8 oz||550||n||Aug 2010||599|
|Nikon D3000||5.0 in||3.8 in||2.5 in||18.9 oz||500||n||Jul 2009||599|
|Nikon D60||5.0 in||3.7 in||2.5 in||18.4 oz||500||n||Jan 2008||629|
|Nikon D90||5.2 in||4.1 in||3.0 in||24.8 oz||850||n||Aug 2008||1,299|
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.
(1) Number of images that can be taken on a full battery charge according to the CIPA-standard; (2) Official announcement.
Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. 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 D5000 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 17 percent) than the XT, 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.
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 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 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 D5000 is 13 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have format factors, respectively, of 1.6 (XT) and 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
With 12.2MP, the D5000 offers a higher resolution than the XT (8MP), but the D5000 has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.53μm versus 6.41μm for the XT). Yet, the D5000 is a much more recent model (by 4 years and 1 month) than the XT, 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 D5000 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the D5000 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 21.4 x 14.2 inches or 54.5 x 36.2 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 17.2 x 11.4 inches or 43.6 x 28.9 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 14.3 x 9.5 inches or 36.3 x 24.1 cm. The corresponding values for the Canon XT are 17.3 x 11.5 inches or 43.9 x 29.3 cm for good quality, 13.8 x 9.2 inches or 35.1 x 23.4 cm for very good quality, and 11.5 x 7.7 inches or 29.3 x 19.5 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Canon EOS Rebel XT has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 1600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon D5000 are ISO 200 to ISO 3200, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 200-6400.
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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 D5000 offers substantially better image quality than the XT (overall score 12 points higher). The advantage is based on 0.9 bits higher color depth, 1.7 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.4 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.
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The D5000 indeed provides for movie recording, while the XT does not. The highest resolution format that the D5000 can use is 720/24p.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The XT and the D5000 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 D5000 has a higher magnification than the one of the XT (0.51x vs 0.49x), 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 XT and Nikon D5000 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
The Nikon D5000 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 XT writes its imaging data to Compact Flash cards, while the D5000 uses SDHC 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 XT and Nikon D5000 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
Both the XT and the D5000 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The XT was replaced by the Canon Xti, while the D5000 was followed by the Nikon D5100. 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 how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Canon XT or the Nikon D5000 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Advantages of the Canon EOS Rebel XT:
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in February 2005).
Arguments in favor of the Nikon D5000:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (12.2 vs 8MP), which boosts linear resolution by 24%.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (12 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (1.7 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (0.4 stops ISO advantage).
- Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 720/24p video.
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.51x vs 0.49x).
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (2.7" vs 1.8") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (230k vs 115k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a full-flex screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (4 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (510 versus 400) out of a single battery charge.
- More affordable: Was released into a lower priced segment (17 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 4 years and 1 month of technical progress since the XT launch.
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the D5000 is the clear winner of the contest (15 : 1 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 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 XT and the Nikon D5000 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 says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the XT and the D5000 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 expert reviews are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major 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.
|Canon XT||80/100||+ +||o||o||..||Feb 2005||899|
|Nikon D5000||+ +||75/100||4/5||5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2009||749|
|Canon 77D||..||82/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2017||899|
|Canon T6i||..||75/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||749|
|Canon T6s||+||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||649|
|Canon T4i||+ +||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2012||849|
|Canon T1i||+ +||74/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2009||799|
|Canon XSi||+ +||+ +||4/5||5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2008||799|
|Canon 30D||+ +||+ +||o||o||..||Feb 2006||1,399|
|Canon XTi||+ +||+ +||o||4.5/5||4/5||Aug 2006||799|
|Canon 20D||..||+ +||..||o||..||Aug 2004||1,499|
|Canon Rebel||..||+ +||..||o||..||Aug 2003||899|
|Nikon D5100||+ +||76/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2011||749|
|Nikon D3100||+ +||72/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2010||599|
|Nikon D3000||+||72/100||4/5||3.5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2009||599|
|Nikon D60||80/100||+ +||4/5||o||4.5/5||Jan 2008||629|
|Nikon D90||+ +||+ +||4/5||5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2008||1,299|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
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. 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. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, 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.
- Canon 5D Mark III vs Canon XT
- Canon 5D Mark III vs Nikon D5000
- Canon SL3 vs Nikon D5000
- Canon XT vs Leica M8
- Canon XT vs Leica S Typ 007
- Canon XT vs Olympus TG-5
- Canon XT vs Panasonic GF6
- Canon XT vs Sony A77 II
- Nikon D2X vs Nikon D5000
- Nikon D5000 vs Panasonic FZ100
- Nikon D5000 vs Panasonic GF6
- Nikon D5000 vs Sony A7R IV
Specifications: Canon XT vs Nikon D5000
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 XT||Nikon D5000|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF mount lenses||Nikon F mount lenses|
|Launch Date||February 2005||April 2009|
|Launch Price||USD 899||USD 749|
|Sensor Specs||Canon XT||Nikon D5000|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||22.2 x 14.8 mm||23.6 x 15.8 mm|
|Sensor Area||328.56 mm2||372.88 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||26.7 mm||28.4 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||8 Megapixels||12.2 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||3456 x 2304 pixels||4288 x 2848 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||6.41 μm||5.53 μm|
|Pixel Density||2.42 MP/cm2||3.28 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||720/24p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 1,600 ISO||200 - 3,200 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||200 - 6,400 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC II||EXPEED|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||60||72|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||21.8||22.7|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||10.8||12.5|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||637||868|
|Screen Specs||Canon XT||Nikon D5000|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%||95%|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||1.8inch||2.7inch|
|LCD Resolution||115k dots||230k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fully flexible screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon XT||Nikon D5000|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||3 shutter flaps/s||4 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||50 000 actuations||100 000 actuations|
|Time-Lapse Photography||no Intervalometer||Intervalometer built-in|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||CF cards||SDHC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon XT||Nikon D5000|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Canon XT||Nikon D5000|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||400 shots per charge||510 shots per charge|
127 x 94 x 64 mm
(5.0 x 3.7 x 2.5 in)
127 x 104 x 80 mm
(5.0 x 4.1 x 3.1 in)
|Camera Weight||540 g (19.0 oz)||590 g (20.8 oz)|
Did you notice an error on this page? If so, please get in touch, so that we can correct the information.