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Canon XTi vs Nikon D80

The Canon EOS Rebel XTi (called Canon 400D in some regions) and the Nikon D80 are two digital cameras that were announced in August 2006. 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 10 MP.

As their names suggest, both the Canon EOS Rebel XTi and the Nikon D80 belong to Canon's Rebel line of DSLR cameras. This range of APS-C cameras, which started out with the Canon EOS Digital Rebel in 2003, has been a big commercial success and the backbone of Canon's dominance in the digital camera market. The popularity of the Rebel cameras is the result of them inheriting much of the sensor and shooting technology from earlier released professional DSLRs, while being sold at a much more budget-friendly price point. The strong brand reputation of Canon and the comprehensive EOS system of compatible lenses and accessories further contributes to the appeal of the Rebel cams, including the Canon XTi and Nikon D80. Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Canon XTi   Nikon D80
Canon XTi Nikon D80
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Canon EF mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
10.1 MP, APS-C Sensor 10 MP, APS-C Sensor
no Video no Video
ISO 100-1600 ISO 100-1600 (100-3200)
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
2.5" LCD, 230k dots 2.5" LCD, 230k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
3 shutter flaps per second 3 shutter flaps per second
370 shots per battery charge600 shots per battery charge
127 x 84 x 65 mm, 556 g 132 x 103 x 77 mm, 668 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS Rebel XTi and the Nikon D80? 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 D80 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 size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Canon XTi vs Nikon D80
Compare XTi versus D80 top
Comparison XTi or D80 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D80 is notably larger (27 percent) than the Canon XTi. Moreover, the D80 is markedly heavier (20 percent) than the XTi. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the XTi nor the D80 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 (D80).

Concerning battery life, the XTi gets 370 shots out of its NB-2LH battery, while the D80 can take 600 images on a single charge of its EN-EL3e power pack.

The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, just use the right or left arrows in the table to switch to the respective camera. Alternatively, you can also navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from the full list of cameras there.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Canon XTi» 127 mm 84 mm 65 mm 556 g 370 n Aug 2006 799- i Canon XTi
 
Nikon D80« 132 mm 103 mm 77 mm 668 g 600 n Aug 2006 999- i Nikon D80
 
Canon T6i« » 132 mm 101 mm 78 mm 555 g 440 n Feb 2015 749- i Canon T6i
 
Canon T6s« » 132 mm 101 mm 78 mm 565 g 440 n Feb 2015 649- i Canon T6s
 
Canon T4i« » 133 mm 100 mm 79 mm 575 g 440 n Jun 2012 849- i Canon T4i
 
Canon T3« » 130 mm 100 mm 78 mm 495 g 700 n Feb 2011 449- i Canon T3
 
Canon T2i« » 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 530 g 440 n Feb 2010 699- i Canon T2i
 
Canon T1i« » 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 520 g 400 n Mar 2009 799- i Canon T1i
 
Canon XSi« » 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 524 g 500 n Jan 2008 799- i Canon XSi
 
Canon 40D« » 146 mm 108 mm 74 mm 822 g 750 n Aug 2007 1,299- i Canon 40D
 
Canon XT« » 127 mm 94 mm 64 mm 540 g 400 n Feb 2005 899- i Canon XT
 
Canon Rebel« » 142 mm 99 mm 72 mm 649 g 400 n Aug 2003 899- i Canon Rebel
 
Nikon D5000« » 127 mm 104 mm 80 mm 590 g 510 n Apr 2009 749- i Nikon D5000
 
Nikon D90« » 132 mm 103 mm 77 mm 703 g 850 n Aug 2008 1,299- i Nikon D90
 
Nikon D50« » 133 mm 102 mm 76 mm 620 g 400 n Apr 2005 749- i Nikon D50
 
Nikon D70s« » 140 mm 111 mm 78 mm 679 g 500 n Apr 2005 899- i Nikon D70s
 
Nikon D70« » 140 mm 111 mm 78 mm 679 g 400 n Jan 2004 999- i Nikon D70
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as 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 XTi was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 20 percent) than the D80, 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

 

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. 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 D80 is 13 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.

Canon XTi and Nikon D80 sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the Canon XTi offers a higher resolution of 10.1 megapixels, compared with 10 MP of the Nikon D80. 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 5.71μm versus 6.11μm for the D80). It is noteworthy in this context that the two cameras were released in close succession, so that their sensors are from the same technological generation.

The Canon EOS Rebel XTi has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 1600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon D80 are ISO 100 to ISO 1600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-3200.

XTi versus D80 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. The Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar imaging performance. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
 
Canon XTi» APS-C 10.1 3888 2592-22.111.066462Canon XTi
 
Nikon D80« APS-C 10.0 3872 2592-22.111.252461Nikon D80
 
Canon T6i« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p22.712.091971Canon T6i
 
Canon T6s« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.612.091570Canon T6s
 
Canon T4i« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.272262Canon T4i
 
Canon T3« » APS-C 12.2 4272 2848720/30p21.911.075562Canon T3
 
Canon T2i« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.578466Canon T2i
 
Canon T1i« » APS-C 15.1 4752 31681080/20p21.711.566363Canon T1i
 
Canon XSi« » APS-C 12.2 4272 2848-21.910.869261Canon XSi
 
Canon 40D« » APS-C 10.1 3888 2592-22.111.370364Canon 40D
 
Canon XT« » APS-C 8.0 3456 2304-21.810.863760Canon XT
 
Canon Rebel« » APS-C 6.3 3072 2048-21.010.854455Canon Rebel
 
Nikon D5000« » APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.712.586872Nikon D5000
 
Nikon D90« » APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.712.597773Nikon D90
 
Nikon D50« » APS-C 6.0 3008 2000-20.910.856055Nikon D50
 
Nikon D70s« » APS-C 6.0 3008 2000-20.410.352950Nikon D70s
 
Nikon D70« » APS-C 6.0 3008 2000-20.410.352950Nikon D70
Neither the XTi nor the D80 offer Live View, so that they cannot project the live image that the sensor receives onto the rear screen. Moreover, both cameras are still-image focused and cannot record videos.
 

Feature comparison

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The XTi and the D80 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 D80 has a higher magnification than the one of the XTi (0.62x 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 XTi and Nikon D80 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.

Core Features
  Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
 
Canon XTi»optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Canon XTi
 
Nikon D80«optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Nikon D80
 
Canon T6i« »optical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n Canon T6i
 
Canon T6s« »optical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n Canon T6s
 
Canon T4i« »optical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n Canon T4i
 
Canon T3« »optical n 2.7 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Canon T3
 
Canon T2i« »optical n 3.0 1040 fixed n 1/4000s 3.7 Y n Canon T2i
 
Canon T1i« »optical n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 3.4 Y n Canon T1i
 
Canon XSi« »optical n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5 Y n Canon XSi
 
Canon 40D« »optical Y 3.0 230 fixed n 1/8000s 6.5 Y n Canon 40D
 
Canon XT« »optical n 1.8 115 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Canon XT
 
Canon Rebel« »optical n 1.8 118 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n Canon Rebel
 
Nikon D5000« »optical n 2.7 230 full-flex n 1/4000s 4.0 Y n Nikon D5000
 
Nikon D90« »optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 4.5 Y n Nikon D90
 
Nikon D50« »optical n 2.0 130 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n Nikon D50
 
Nikon D70s« »optical n 2.0 130 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0 Y n Nikon D70s
 
Nikon D70« »optical n 1.8 130 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0 Y n Nikon D70

The XTi writes its imaging data to Compact Flash cards, while the D80 uses SDHC 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 D80 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Type
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
 
Canon XTi»Y-----2.0---Canon XTi
 
Nikon D80«Y-----2.0---Nikon D80
 
Canon T6i« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-Canon T6i
 
Canon T6s« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-Canon T6s
 
Canon T4i« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0---Canon T4i
 
Canon T3« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Canon T3
 
Canon T2i« »Ystereo-Y-mini2.0---Canon T2i
 
Canon T1i« »Ymonomono--mini2.0---Canon T1i
 
Canon XSi« »Y----mini2.0---Canon XSi
 
Canon 40D« »Y-----2.0---Canon 40D
 
Canon XT« »Y-----2.0---Canon XT
 
Canon Rebel« »Y-----1.1---Canon Rebel
 
Nikon D5000« »Ymonomono--mini2.0---Nikon D5000
 
Nikon D90« »Ymonomono--mini2.0---Nikon D90
 
Nikon D50« »Y-----2.0---Nikon D50
 
Nikon D70s« »Y-----2.0---Nikon D70s
 
Nikon D70« »Y-----1.0---Nikon D70

Both the XTi and the D80 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D80 was replaced by the Nikon D90, while the XTi was followed by the Canon Xsi. 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 the Canon XTi better than the Nikon D80 or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.

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Advantages of the Canon EOS Rebel XTi:

  • Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (0.3 stops ISO advantage).
  • More compact: Is smaller (127x84mm vs 132x103mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 112g or 17 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced segment (20 percent cheaper at launch).

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Arguments in favor of the Nikon D80:

  • Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.62x vs 0.49x).
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (600 versus 370) out of a single battery charge.

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the XTi emerges as the winner of the contest (4 : 2 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 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 04:02 D80

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon XTi and the Nikon D80 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 says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the XTi and the D80 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.

Expert reviews

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 (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.

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Canon XTi»+ ++ +o4.5/54/5 Aug 2006 799- i Canon XTi
 
Nikon D80«++ +o4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2006 999- i Nikon D80
 
Canon T6i« »-75/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 749- i Canon T6i
 
Canon T6s« »+77/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 649- i Canon T6s
 
Canon T4i« »+ +77/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2012 849- i Canon T4i
 
Canon T3« »80/10069/1004/54/54.5/5 Feb 2011 449- i Canon T3
 
Canon T2i« »+ +77/1004/55/54.5/5 Feb 2010 699- i Canon T2i
 
Canon T1i« »+ +74/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Mar 2009 799- i Canon T1i
 
Canon XSi« »+ ++ +4/55/54.5/5 Jan 2008 799- i Canon XSi
 
Canon 40D« »+ ++ +4.5/5o4.5/5 Aug 2007 1,299- i Canon 40D
 
Canon XT« »80/100+ +oo- Feb 2005 899- i Canon XT
 
Canon Rebel« »-+ +-o- Aug 2003 899- i Canon Rebel
 
Nikon D5000« »+ +75/1004/55/54.5/5 Apr 2009 749- i Nikon D5000
 
Nikon D90« »+ ++ +4/55/54.5/5 Aug 2008 1,299- i Nikon D90
 
Nikon D50« »78/100+ +4/5o4.5/5 Apr 2005 749- i Nikon D50
 
Nikon D70s« »---o5/5 Apr 2005 899- i Nikon D70s
 
Nikon D70« »-+ +-o- Jan 2004 999- i Nikon D70
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (-) not available.

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, 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. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

Canon XTi:
Check Ebay offers
Nikon D80:
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 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.

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    Specifications: Canon XTi vs Nikon D80

    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 D80
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Canon EF mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
    Launch Date August 2006 August 2006
    Launch Price USD 799 USD 999
    Sensor Specs Canon XTi Nikon D80
    Sensor Technology CMOS CCD
    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
    Crop Factor 1.6x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 10.1 Megapixels 10 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 3888 x 2592 pixels 3872 x 2592 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 5.71 μm 6.11 μm
    Pixel Density 3.07 MP/cm2 2.69 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video no Video
    ISO Setting 100-1600 ISO 100-1600 ISO
    ISO Boost no Enhancement 100-3200 ISO
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 62 61
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 22.1 22.1
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 11.0 11.2
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 664 524
    Screen Specs Canon XTi Nikon D80
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95% 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.49x 0.62x
    Rear LCD Size 2.5 inch 2.5 inch
    LCD Resolution 230k dots 230k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Canon XTi Nikon D80
    Autofocus System Phase-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 3 shutter flaps/s 3 shutter flaps/s
    Shutter Life Expectancy50 000 actuations100 000 actuations
    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 XTi Nikon D80
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI no HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Canon XTi Nikon D80
    Battery Type NB-2LH EN-EL3e
    Battery Life (CIPA)370 shots per charge600 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 127 x 84 x 65 mm
    (5.0 x 3.3 x 2.6 in)
    132 x 103 x 77 mm
    (5.2 x 4.1 x 3.0 in)
    Camera Weight 556 g (19.6 oz) 668 g (23.6 oz)

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