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Canon XTi vs Nikon D3200

The Canon EOS Rebel XTi (called Canon 400D in some regions) and the Nikon D3200 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in August 2006 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 10.1 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.

Headline Specifications
Canon XTi
versus
Nikon D3200
Canon XTi   Nikon D3200
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Canon EF mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
10.1 MP – APS-C sensor 24.1 MP – APS-C sensor
no Video 1080/30p Video
ISO 100-1,600 ISO 100-6,400 (100 - 12,800)
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
2.5" LCD – 230k dots 2.5" LCD – 921k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
3 shutter flaps per second 4 shutter flaps per second
370 shots per battery charge540 shots per battery charge
127 x 84 x 65 mm, 556 g 125 x 96 x 77 mm, 505 g
Canon XTi:
Check Ebay offers
Nikon D3200:
Check Ebay offers

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS Rebel XTi 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.

Body comparison

The physical size and weight of the Canon XTi and the Nikon D3200 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 dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The D3200 can be obtained in two different colors (black, red), while the XTi is only available in black.

Size Canon XTi vs Nikon D3200
Compare XTi versus D3200 top
Comparison XTi or D3200 rear

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 larger (12 percent) than the Canon XTi. However, the D3200 is markedly lighter (9 percent) than the XTi. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the XTi 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 (XTi) and the Nikon Lens Catalog (D3200).

Concerning battery life, the XTi gets 370 shots out of its NB-2LH battery, while the D3200 can take 540 images on a single charge of its EN-EL14 power pack.

The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. 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.

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Body Specifications
    Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Canon XTi 127 mm 84 mm 65 mm 556 g 370 n Aug 2006 799i
2.
 
Nikon D3200 125 mm 96 mm 77 mm 505 g 540 n Apr 2012 599i
3.
 
Canon T6i 132 mm 101 mm 78 mm 555 g 440 n Feb 2015 749i
4.
 
Canon T6s 132 mm 101 mm 78 mm 565 g 440 n Feb 2015 649i
5.
 
Canon T4i 133 mm 100 mm 79 mm 575 g 440 n Jun 2012 849i
6.
 
Canon T3 130 mm 100 mm 78 mm 495 g 700 n Feb 2011 449i
7.
 
Canon T2i 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 530 g 440 n Feb 2010 699i
8.
 
Canon T1i 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 520 g 400 n Mar 2009 799i
9.
 
Canon XSi 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 524 g 500 n Jan 2008 799i
10.
 
Canon 40D 146 mm 108 mm 74 mm 822 g 750 n Aug 2007 1,299i
11.
 
Canon XT 127 mm 94 mm 64 mm 540 g 400 n Feb 2005 899i
12.
 
Canon Rebel 142 mm 99 mm 72 mm 649 g 400 n Aug 2003 899i
13.
 
Nikon D5600 124 mm 97 mm 70 mm 465 g 970 n Nov 2016 699 i
14.
 
Nikon D3400 124 mm 98 mm 76 mm 445 g 1200 n Aug 2016 499i
15.
 
Nikon D3300 124 mm 98 mm 76 mm 430 g 700 n Jan 2014 499i
16.
 
Nikon D5300 125 mm 98 mm 76 mm 480 g 600 n Oct 2013 799i
17.
 
Nikon D3100 124 mm 96 mm 75 mm 505 g 550 n Aug 2010 599i
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. 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 XTi, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. 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.

Sensor comparison

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.

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 (XTi) and 1.5. 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.

Canon XTi and Nikon D3200 sensor measures

With 24.1MP, the D3200 offers a higher resolution than the XTi (10.1MP), but the D3200 has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 3.85μm versus 5.71μm for the XTi). Yet, the D3200 is a much more recent model (by 5 years and 7 months) than the XTi, 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 XTi 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 XTi 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.

XTi versus D3200 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 D3200 offers substantially better image quality than the XTi (overall score 19 points higher). The advantage is based on 2 bits higher color depth, 2.2 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.8 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.

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Sensor Characteristics
    Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
1.
 
Canon XTi APS-C 10.1 3888 2592none22.111.066462
2.
 
Nikon D3200 APS-C 24.1 6016 40001080/30p24.113.2113181
3.
 
Canon T6i APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.712.091971
4.
 
Canon T6s APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.612.091570
5.
 
Canon T4i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.272262
6.
 
Canon T3 APS-C 12.2 4272 2848720/30p21.911.075562
7.
 
Canon T2i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.578466
8.
 
Canon T1i APS-C 15.1 4752 31681080/20p21.711.566363
9.
 
Canon XSi APS-C 12.2 4272 2848none21.910.869261
10.
 
Canon 40D APS-C 10.1 3888 2592none22.111.370364
11.
 
Canon XT APS-C 8.0 3456 2304none21.810.863760
12.
 
Canon Rebel APS-C 6.3 3072 2048none21.010.854455
13.
 
Nikon D5600 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.114.0130684
14.
 
Nikon D3400 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.813.9119286
15.
 
Nikon D3300 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.312.8138582
16.
 
Nikon D5300 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.013.9133883
17.
 
Nikon D3100 APS-C 14.2 4608 30721080/24p22.511.391967

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The D3200 indeed provides for movie recording, while the XTi does not. The highest resolution format that the D3200 can use is 1080/30p.

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The XTi 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 D3200 has a higher magnification than the one of the XTi (0.53x vs 0.49x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon XTi, the Nikon D3200, and comparable cameras.

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Core Features
    Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Specifications
(inch/000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Max
Shutter
Speed *
Max
Shutter
Flaps *
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
1.
 
Canon XTioptical n2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
2.
 
Nikon D3200optical n3.0 / 921 fixed n 1/4000s 4.0/s Y n
3.
 
Canon T6ioptical n3.0 / 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0/s Y n
4.
 
Canon T6soptical Y3.0 / 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0/s Y n
5.
 
Canon T4ioptical n3.0 / 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0/s Y n
6.
 
Canon T3optical n2.7 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
7.
 
Canon T2ioptical n3.0 / 1040 fixed n 1/4000s 3.7/s Y n
8.
 
Canon T1ioptical n3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/4000s 3.4/s Y n
9.
 
Canon XSioptical n3.0 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5/s Y n
10.
 
Canon 40Doptical Y3.0 / 230 fixed n 1/8000s 6.5/s Y n
11.
 
Canon XToptical n1.8 / 115 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
12.
 
Canon Rebeloptical n1.8 / 118 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5/s Y n
13.
 
Nikon D5600optical n3.2 / 1037 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0/s Y n
14.
 
Nikon D3400optical n3.0 / 921 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0/s Y n
15.
 
Nikon D3300optical n3.0 / 921 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0/s Y n
16.
 
Nikon D5300optical n3.2 / 1037 swivel n 1/4000s 5.0/s Y n
17.
 
Nikon D3100optical n3.0 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.

The XTi writes its imaging data to Compact Flash cards, while the D3200 uses SDXC cards.

Connectivity comparison

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 XTi and Nikon D3200 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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Input-Output Connections
    Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Mic / Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Canon XTiY- / ----2.0---
2.
 
Nikon D3200Ymono / monoY-mini2.0---
3.
 
Canon T6iYstereo / monoY-mini2.0YY-
4.
 
Canon T6sYstereo / monoY-mini2.0YY-
5.
 
Canon T4iYstereo / monoY-mini2.0---
6.
 
Canon T3Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
7.
 
Canon T2iYstereo / -Y-mini2.0---
8.
 
Canon T1iYmono / mono--mini2.0---
9.
 
Canon XSiY- / ---mini2.0---
10.
 
Canon 40DY- / ----2.0---
11.
 
Canon XTY- / ----2.0---
12.
 
Canon RebelY- / ----1.1---
13.
 
Nikon D5600Ystereo / monoY-mini2.0YYY
14.
 
Nikon D3400Ymono / mono--mini2.0--Y
15.
 
Nikon D3300Ymono / monoY-mini2.0---
16.
 
Nikon D5300Ystereo / monoY-mini2.0Y--
17.
 
Nikon D3100Ymono / mono--mini2.0---

Both the XTi and the D3200 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The XTi was replaced by the Canon Xsi, 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.

Review summary

So what is the bottom line? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon XTi and the Nikon D3200? Which camera is better? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.

ilogo

Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS Rebel XTi:

  • More compact: Is smaller (127x84mm vs 125x96mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in August 2006).

ilogo

Arguments in favor of the Nikon D3200:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (24.1 vs 10.1MP), which boosts linear resolution by 55%.
  • Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (19 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
  • Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (2 bits more color depth).
  • More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (2.2 EV of extra DR).
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (0.8 stops ISO advantage).
  • Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/30p video.
  • Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.53x vs 0.49x).
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.5") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (921k vs 230k dots).
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (4 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (540 versus 370) out of a single battery charge.
  • More affordable: Was released into a lower priced segment (25 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 5 years and 7 months of technical progress since the XTi launch.

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the D3200 is the clear winner of the contest (13 : 2 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.

XTi 02:13 D3200

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon XTi 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 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 XTi and the D3200 in practical situations. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable.

Expert reviews

This is where reviews by experts come in. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear 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.

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Expert Camera Reviews
     Camera 
 Model 
 AP 
 score 
 CL 
 score 
 DCW 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Canon XTi..+ +..+ +o4/5 Aug 2006 799i
2.
 
Nikon D32005/5+ +..73/1004.5/54.5/5 Apr 2012 599i
3.
 
Canon T6i5/5....75/1004.5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 749i
4.
 
Canon T6s5/5+..77/1004.5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 649i
5.
 
Canon T4i4/5+ +..77/1004.5/54.5/5 Jun 2012 849i
6.
 
Canon T3..80/100..69/1004/54.5/5 Feb 2011 449i
7.
 
Canon T2i..+ +..77/1004/54.5/5 Feb 2010 699i
8.
 
Canon T1i..+ +..74/1004.5/54.5/5 Mar 2009 799i
9.
 
Canon XSi..+ +..+ +4/54.5/5 Jan 2008 799i
10.
 
Canon 40D..+ +..+ +4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2007 1,299i
11.
 
Canon XT..80/100..+ +o.. Feb 2005 899i
12.
 
Canon Rebel......+ +.... Aug 2003 899i
13.
 
Nikon D56004/5..4/579/1004.5/54/5 Nov 2016 699 i
14.
 
Nikon D34004/5+4/576/1004/54.5/5 Aug 2016 499i
15.
 
Nikon D33003/5+..77/1004.5/54.5/5 Jan 2014 499i
16.
 
Nikon D53004/5+ +..79/1004.5/54.5/5 Oct 2013 799i
17.
 
Nikon D31005/5+ +..72/1004.5/54.5/5 Aug 2010 599i
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. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

Canon XTi:
Check Ebay offers
Nikon D3200:
Check Ebay offers

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.

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    Specifications: Canon XTi 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 Specifications
    Camera Model Canon XTi Nikon D3200
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Canon EF mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
    Launch Date August 2006 April 2012
    Launch Price USD 799 USD 599
    Sensor Specs Canon XTi Nikon D3200
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    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
    Crop Factor 1.6x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 10.1 Megapixels 24.1 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 3888 x 2592 pixels 6016 x 4000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 5.71 μm 3.85 μm
    Pixel Density 3.07 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 II EXPEED 3
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 62 81
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 22.1 24.1
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 11.0 13.2
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 664 1131
    Screen Specs Canon XTi Nikon D3200
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95% 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.49x 0.53x
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 2.5inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 230k dots 921k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Canon XTi Nikon D3200
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 3 shutter flaps/s 4 shutter flaps/s
    Shutter Life Expectancy50 000 actuations100 000 actuations
    Fill Flash Built-in Flash Built-in Flash
    Storage Medium CF cards SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    Connectivity Specs Canon XTi Nikon D3200
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI mini HDMI
    Microphone Port no MIC socket External MIC port
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Canon XTi Nikon D3200
    Battery Type NB-2LH EN-EL14
    Battery Life (CIPA)370 shots per charge540 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 127 x 84 x 65 mm
    (5.0 x 3.3 x 2.6 in)
    125 x 96 x 77 mm
    (4.9 x 3.8 x 3.0 in)
    Camera Weight 556 g (19.6 oz) 505 g (17.8 oz)
    Canon XTi:
    Check Ebay offers
    Nikon D3200:
    Check Ebay offers

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