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Introduction

The Canon EOS Rebel SL2 is an excellent, entry-level choice for novices who want to pursue their dreams in the field of photography, because this camera packs many useful features that will allow the photographer to have a huge freedom in photographing steady and moving objects. In fact, this camera is also lightweight and compact enough to be taken anywhere you go without any problem, hence, it is exceptionally easy to use, an attribute that comes handy for the novices!

On the other hand, we have the Nikon D3400, a camera which is currently one of the best entry-level DSLRs that you can encounter on the market, mainly because of its ability to offer the photographer a high-end control over the focus and exposure, and since it is extremely compact, by default, it makes it an ideal option for beginners who want to shoot on the go!

In this article, I will make an in-depth overview of both products and name their strengths and weaknesses, so that you would be able to have a better insight of their qualities and choose the one that you think would help you achieve better results.

Head To Head Comparison

Canon SL2

The Canon EOS Rebel SL2 features an attractive, black-finished polycarbonate construction that measures 3.7 x 4.8 x 2.8″ (HWD), has an approximate weight of a pound, and if you take a closer look at these specs, you can conclude that we are actually talking about an impressively compact and lightweight camera!

In addition, the grip is deep, and it is covered with faux leather which is really cool due to the fact that you, as a future owner of this camera would have a secure and comfortable handhold regardless if you’ve been shooting for a long period of time!

The control layout is really well-made and each control is intuitively placed so that you can reach them and take advantage of the settings in order to tailor the picture however you want. Namely, there are dedicated buttons for adjusting the ISO, Exposure Compensation, Playback, Menu, single command dial that is placed on the top, Live View button, and etc.

On the top-rear part of the camera, there is an optical ( pentamirror) viewfinder that distributes 95% frame coverage, and has a 0.58x magnification, while also on the rear, you can notice the presence of a 3″ vari-angle LCD touchscreen that occupies the central position of the unit. In my opinion, the display does really output an accurate color representation along with great viewing angles and I think that you will like it!

On the right side, under the rubber cover of the camera, there are connection ports such as a micro HDMI port and USB port, and there’s also a 3.5mm microphone, and a single UHS- SD/SDHC/SDXC memory card slot. What’s even more interesting is that this unit is Wi-Fi and Bluetooth-enabled as well, which by default means that you will have a reliable and fast transfer of your captured content!

Performance-wise, the EOS Rebel SL2 packs a 24MP APS-C image sensor, Dual-Pixel CMOS AF, continuous shooting rate of 5 fps, an ISO range of 100-51,200 and a 9-point AF!

For your information, this model does a really good job in controlling the image noise at low sensitivities. Namely, most of the captured images will look overwhelming and are going to be filled with numerous details and well-saturated colors up to ISO 3200. At ISO 6400, you will be able to notice a bit of a noise.

Moreover, what really got my attention regarding this camera is that even if you shoot through ISO 12,800, the imagery is going to be fairly usable, although the noise will be more pronounced which is normal though.

Before we move to the next section, I’d like to note that you can use this camera for shooting wildlife and sports because its continuous shooting rate is decent, albeit not the best since we are still talking about an entry-level camera, and it outputs an average performance for portrait and landscape photography.

In terms of the video, the Canon EOS Rebel SL2 records 1080p videos at 24/30/70 fps, 720 and 640x 480 videos at 60/30fps in MP4 format, but lacks 4K, unfortunately, however, for the price you pay I think that this camera will do its job really good!

The overall quality of the video very sharp and let’s not forget that the focus and the exposure as accurate as well, so you can experiment a bit any time you want!

Canon SL2 Sample Images:

Nikon D3400

Aesthetically speaking, the Nikon D3400 looks nearly identical to D3300, although it has some changes, but what’s interesting is that in comparison to the Canon EOS Rebel SL2, it also has a polycarbonate construction, and measures relatively the same as the Rebel SL2 ( 3.9 x 4.9 x 3.0″ opposed to 3.7 x 4.8 x 2.8″ respectively), and for this part, both cameras receive points regarding their compactness.

Furthermore, you will notice a soft rubber that wraps the grip, and if you ask me, I really like this inclusion mainly because of the fact that this aids the softness and comfort while you’re holding this camera in your hands!

Speaking of the control layout, well the controls are really well organized considering the camera’s small size, and there are dedicated buttons such as the Record, EV, Mode Dial, Info, programmable FN button and flash release that are positioned on the top, while on the rear, there are multiple buttons as well that are spread on the left and right side of the screen, and they are intuitively labeled and very convenient to use.

For your information, the 3″ screen has a crisp resolution of 920k-dots, however, it is fixed and therefore you can’t tilt it as well as lacks touch-sensitivity, although it is quality enough to offer you a clear sight in daylight and reveal numerous details. Here, D3400 loses the battle because Canon SL2’s screen is more flexible. Slightly above, there is a pentamirror viewfinder that will provide you with a higher level of color accuracy, as well as a well-defined bright rendition of the scene.

Moving on, the connections of the D3400 are composed of a mini HDMI port, micro USB port, single memory card slot that supports SD/SDHC/SDXC and as was the case with the Canon EOS Rebel SL2, it is also Wi-Fi and Bluetooth-enabled, and clearly, here the result is a tie.

Performance-wise, the D3400 utilizes a 24.2MP DX-Format CMOS Sensor, no-optical low-pass filter, EXPEED 4 Image Processor, has a native ISO range from 100-25,600, 11-AF points which is more than the SL2, and a continuous shooting rate of 5 fps which is same as the SL2.

At a glance, both cameras share relatively similar dimension, connections, and performance, but still, we aren’t finished, let’s see the capabilities of the D3400.

First and foremost, I’d like you to know that this camera maintains virtually noise-free performance when shooting JPGs through ISO 6400, and is quite good at maintaining the quality of the details at 3200. However, keep in mind that once you reach ISO 12800 or 25,600 images become blurry and it is advisable to avoid these settings as much as possible.

At the beginning, I’ve mentioned that this camera allows the photographer to have greater control over the exposure and focus, right? Well, as you’re evolving from novice to mid or senior photographer, you can try shooting Raw images and adjust exposure and color freely!

If you set the ISO levels at 3200, you will be amazed by the quality details, and here, the noise is minimal. However, as you’re setting the ISO higher, let’s say at ISO 6400, the noise is going a bit higher, but in comparison to JPEGs, RAW images look better. The same stands for ISO 12,800. Once you reach the top ISO 25,600 details are getting lost and the imagery look grainy but not as bad as the JPGs.

Finally, the D3400 is capable enough to record 1080p60 videos at 24/25/30/50 fps or 720p videos at 50/60, and there are two quality levels of which you can choose from such as Normal and High.

On the contrary with the EOS Rebel SL2, D3400 share almost the same performance, however, the Rebel SL2 has a vari-angle screen which by default makes your user experience more convenient, and here, I think that D3400 loses the battle, mainly because of the lack of flexibility.

Nikon D3400 Sample Images:

Canon SL2 vs Nikon D3400 Feature Comparison

Canon SL2 Nikon D3400
Camera Type
DSLR
DSLR
Megapixels
24.2
24.2
ISO Range
100–25,600 up to 51,200
100 - 25600
Flip-Out Screen
Yes
No
AF Points
9 AF points
11 AF points
Viewfinder
Yes
Yes
Touchscreen
Yes
No
Video Recording
Yes
Yes
Sensor Size
APS-C CMOS
APS-C CMOS

Similar Comparison: Canon 5D Mark II vs Mark III

Conclusion

In the end, both, the Canon EOS Rebel SL2 and the Nikon D3400 are an excellent option for novices who want to improve themselves continuously with the main goal to become professionals.

But, if you ask me which one is better, I will try to deliver the most simplified and accurate answer by making head to head comparison of the most important things.

Namely, both cameras have a 24.2MP sensor, and share the same native ISO range, however the SL2’s ISO is expandable up to 51,200. In terms of the screen, The SL2 has more dots, it is more flexible and has touch sensitivity, unlike the D3400.

On the other side, the Nikon D3400 has a longer battery life and it is pretty close to the EOS Rebel SL2 in terms of the performance, and its advantage is the price which is lower than Nikon’s, hence, it offers a better value for its cost and has 11-AF while the D3400 has 9.

Overall, Canon EOS Rebel SL2 can be considered as a winner here, although this is just a “Pyrrhic victory”.