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Nikon D3300 versus Canon SL2

The Nikon D3300 and the Canon EOS Rebel SL2 (labelled Canon 200D in some countries) are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in January 2014 and June 2017. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with an APS-C sensor. Both cameras offer a resolution of 24 megapixel. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their size, their sensors, their features, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison: Nikon D3300 vs Canon SL2

The physical size and weight of the Nikon D3300 and the Canon SL2 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are presented. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter. You can also use the toggle button to switch to a percentage comparison if you prefer that the measures are being expressed in relative terms (in this case, the camera on the left side – the D3300 – represents the basis for the calculations across all the size and weight measures).

Snapsort Nikon D3300 vs Canon SL2
Compare D3300 versus SL2 top
Compare D3300 and SL2 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon SL2 is notably smaller (7 percent) than the Nikon D3300. However, the SL2 is markedly heavier (5 percent) than the D3300. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the D3300 nor the SL2 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 find an overview of optics for the two cameras in the Nikon Lens Catalog (D3300) and the Canon EF Lens Catalog (SL2).

Concerning battery life, the D3300 gets 700 shots out of its EN-EL14a battery, while the SL2 can take 650 images on a single charge of its LP-E17 power pack.

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.

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)
Nikon D3300» 4.9 in 3.9 in 3.0 in 15.2 oz 700 n Jan 2014 499- i
Canon SL2« 4.8 in 3.7 in 2.8 in 16.0 oz 650 n Jun 2017 549 i i
Canon T7« » 5.1 in 4.0 in 3.1 in 16.8 oz 500 n Feb 2018 449 i i
Canon G9 X Mark II« » 3.9 in 2.3 in 1.2 in 7.3 oz 235 n Jan 2017 529 i i
Canon T7i« » 5.2 in 3.9 in 3.0 in 18.8 oz 600 n Feb 2017 749 i i
Canon M5« » 4.6 in 3.5 in 2.4 in 15.1 oz 295 n Sep 2016 979 i i
Canon M3« » 4.4 in 2.7 in 1.7 in 12.9 oz 250 n Feb 2015 679- i
Nikon D3400« » 4.9 in 3.9 in 3.0 in 15.7 oz 1200 n Aug 2016 499 i i
Nikon D5600« » 4.9 in 3.8 in 2.8 in 16.4 oz 970 n Nov 2016 699 i i
Nikon D5500« » 4.9 in 3.8 in 2.8 in 14.8 oz 820 n Jan 2015 899- i
Nikon D7200« » 5.4 in 4.2 in 3.0 in 27.0 oz 1110 Y Mar 2015 1,199- i
Nikon D5300« » 4.9 in 3.9 in 3.0 in 16.9 oz 600 n Oct 2013 799- i
Nikon D7100« » 5.4 in 4.2 in 3.0 in 27.0 oz 950 Y Feb 2013 1,199- i
Nikon D3200« » 4.9 in 3.8 in 3.0 in 17.8 oz 540 n Apr 2012 599- i
Sony A6000« » 4.7 in 2.6 in 1.8 in 12.1 oz 360 n Feb 2014 599- i

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 D3300 was somewhat cheaper (by 9 percent) than the SL2 at launch, but both cameras fall into the same price category. 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: Nikon D3300 vs Canon SL2

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 SL2 is 10 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have format factors, respectively, of 1.5 (D3300) and 1.6. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Nikon D3300 and Canon SL2 sensor measures

Even though the D3300 has a larger sensor, both cameras offer the same resolution of 24 megapixel. This implies that the D3300 has a lower pixel density and larger individual pixels (with a pixel pitch of 3.91μm versus 3.72μm for the SL2), which gives it a potential advantage in terms of light gathering capacity. It should, however, be noted that the SL2 is much more recent (by 3 years and 5 months) than the D3300, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that at least partly compensate for the smaller pixel size. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the D3300 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

D3300 versus SL2 MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). The Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar image quality. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Nikon D3300» APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.312.8138582
Canon SL2« APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.613.4104179
Canon T7« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p----
Canon G9 X Mark II« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p21.912.552265
Canon T7i« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p----
Canon M5« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.412.4126277
Canon M3« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.811.8116972
Nikon D3400« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.813.9119286
Nikon D5600« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.114.0130684
Nikon D5500« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.114.0143884
Nikon D7200« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.514.6133387
Nikon D5300« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.013.9133883
Nikon D7100« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.213.7125683
Nikon D3200« » APS-C 24.1 6016 40001080/30p24.113.2113181
Sony A6000« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.113.1134782

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, and both provide the same movie specifications (1080/60p).

 

Feature comparison: Nikon D3300 vs Canon SL2

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The D3300 and the SL2 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 following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Nikon D3300, the Canon SL2, and comparable cameras. The full specs-sheets can be found in the camera manual or, for example, in the dpreview camera hub.

Core Features
  Camera Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec))
Build-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Build-in
Image
Stab
Nikon D3300»optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 4000 5.0 Y n
Canon SL2«optical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 5.0 Y n
Canon T7« »optical n 3.0 920 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n
Canon G9 X Mark II« »- n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 2000 8.2 Y Y
Canon T7i« »optical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 6.0 Y n
Canon M5« »2360 n 3.2 1620 tilting Y 4000 9.0 Y n
Canon M3« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 4.2 Y n
Nikon D3400« »optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 4000 5.0 Y n
Nikon D5600« »optical n 3.2 1037 swivel Y 4000 5.0 Y n
Nikon D5500« »optical n 3.2 1037 swivel Y 4000 5.0 Y n
Nikon D7200« »optical Y 3.2 1229 fixed n 8000 6.0 Y n
Nikon D5300« »optical n 3.2 1037 swivel n 4000 5.0 Y n
Nikon D7100« »optical Y 3.2 1229 fixed n 8000 6.0 Y n
Nikon D3200« »optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 4000 4.0 Y n
Sony A6000« »1440 n 3.0 922 tilting n 4000 11.0 Y n

The SL2 is a current model that online retailers, such as amazon, will have in stock. In contrast, the D3300 has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the D3300 was succeeded by the Nikon D3400.

Review summary: Nikon D3300 vs Canon SL2

So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Nikon D3300 or the Canon SL2 – has the upper hand? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.

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Arguments in favor of the Nikon D3300:

  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (0.4 stops ISO advantage).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in January 2014).

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Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS Rebel SL2:

  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (0.6 EV of extra DR).
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 921k dots).
  • More flexible LCD: Has swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
  • Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
  • More modern: Reflects 3 years and 5 months of technical progress since the D3300 launch.

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the SL2 emerges as the winner of the match-up (6 : 3 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.

D3300 03:06 SL2

In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras is instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the handling experience and imaging performance when actually working with the D3300 or the SL2. 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. This is where reviews by experts come in. The adjacent table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). You can find the full text of the reviews by clicking on the site logo in the table header.

Review scores
  Camera cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Nikon D3300»Rec77/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jan 2014 499- i
Canon SL2«HiRec78/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2017 549 i i
Canon T7« »rev-3.5/5-3.5/5 Feb 2018 449 i i
Canon G9 X Mark II« »-75/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jan 2017 529 i i
Canon T7i« »-80/1004.5/54/54/5 Feb 2017 749 i i
Canon M5« »Rec82/1004/54.5/54/5 Sep 2016 979 i i
Canon M3« »rev75/1004.5/54.5/54/5 Feb 2015 679- i
Nikon D3400« »Rec76/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Aug 2016 499 i i
Nikon D5600« »-79/1004.5/54.5/54/5 Nov 2016 699 i i
Nikon D5500« »Rec79/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Jan 2015 899- i
Nikon D7200« »HiRec84/1004.5/54/54.5/5 Mar 2015 1,199- i
Nikon D5300« »HiRec79/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Oct 2013 799- i
Nikon D7100« »HiRec85/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Feb 2013 1,199- i
Nikon D3200« »HiRec73/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Apr 2012 599- i
Sony A6000« »Rec80/1004.5/55/55/5 Feb 2014 599- i

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price 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? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just use the search menu below. An an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool. If you do not see the camera that you are looking for, please contact me, and I will try to locate and add the respective data to the application.

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