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Introduction

Entry-level DSLRs aren’t just a short-term camera, they are more like a start-up to your photography career, hobby, or work. Most of the time, people change from another type of camera to DSLRs, and then they end up not getting what they want. These affordable DSLRs are the ideal cameras for that since they come at really affordable prices, while they have the most common features used in mid-ranged DSLRs and some of the above.

However, they vary greatly when it comes to performance and specifics. They don’t have that same premium sensor used in high-end cameras, however, it will suit you just fine if you’re just starting out, or you just want a second camera to go with.

I’ve made hundreds of DSLR camera reviews, however, for those of you who don’t know, DSLR stands for Digital Single Lens Reflective camera, which means the light goes directly through the optical viewfinder, unlike mirrorless cameras who don’t use a reflex mirror.

They are simply called DSLR not Mirrored cameras due to the fact that DSLR cameras came first in line, whereas mirrorless cameras came second.

I’m more a fan of DSLRs than mirrorless cameras, but I must say, mirrorless cameras have a better design, they are more compact and they are very easy to carry if you’re a traveler. Okay, let’s get back to the topic, today, we’re going to try to compare these two entry-level DSLRs, the Canon T3i and the Nikon D3300, where we will also mention their slightest details and differences, so let’s get started, shall we?

Head To Head Comparison

Canon T3I

The Canon T3i has been, and it still is a top-option for novice users, while despite the fact that this camera has been discontinued by the manufacturer, you can still find it in various camera shops and stores. When it was first released in 2011, this camera became the hype in the DSLR industry, however, nowadays, there are many other premium models available, but nonetheless, this camera remains a favorite entry-level DSLR to this day.

First, let’s start by pointing out some interesting facts about the design. Considering the fact that this is a DSLR camera, the Canon T3i has a lightweight body nonetheless, while it packs incredible durability which can withstand years of torture. Now, apart from that, I find the handgrip to be very decent, it’s comfortable to hold, while the textured spots add some extra points to the comfortability, but in my opinion, they’re also a great addition to the overall appearance of the camera.

The button layout is very user-friendly where users are going to find it easy to change settings, controls about balance, autofocus, drive mode, exposure compensation, aperture/shutter speed, ISO, and much more.

Regarding the screen, the Canon T3i features a 3-inch Vari-angle screen which has a 3:2 aspect ratio, and it has a 1,040,000-dot resolution while it is scratch-resistant due to the fluorine coating, and it has a ClearView display technology which combines a layer of optical elastic material with the cover glass in order to deliver crisp images in whichever situation you find yourself in, indoors or outdoors.

However, as good as it may sound, for some users, it still may be disappointing due to the fact that this camera doesn’t have touchscreen capabilities, but in my opinion, the T3i offers plenty for the price.

Now, let’s jump to the performance and see what else does this camera offer.

Firstly, let’s just point out that the T3i has an 18-megapixel sensor, while it runs the DIGIC 4 image processor, and it has a native ISO range 100-6400, and a boosted ISO sensitivity of 12800. If you combine all of these specs into one piece, you’ll get a continuous shooting speed of 3.7 frames per second, which is great for novice users, while for those that have been using more premium cameras before, these specs might disappoint them.

In terms of autofocus, the Canon T3i has a 9-point AF system with a cross-type center point, which again, it’s not that impressive, but for the price you pay, it’s more than enough.

When it comes to video recording, this particular camera has a full HD 1920 x 1080 Max Video resolution, which is great, and with the help of the 9-point AF system, you’ll get a decent tracking with a successful focus on the subject across the entire frame.

Now, before we end, it’s also important to mention the connectivities. Considering the fact that it is a relatively old camera, the Canon T3i is compatible with Eye-Fi SD cards, which are outfitted with a Wi-Fi transmitter and an internal antenna for wireless, thus, it delivers a significant speed for image transfer. With an Eye-Fi card installed, the T3i can display the Eye-Fi’s connection status and error notes with ease.

Overall, I find the T3i to be a decent entry-level camera, it’s affordable, and what I like most about it is that it’s faster than any other DSLR at this price range, which is something most users want in the beginning.

 

Nikon D3300

As we finished with our first camera, let’s start with the Nikon D3300, which comes with the same price as the Canon T3i, nonetheless, it has quite some advantages over it for which we’ll talk in a bit. First to introduce the camera, this particular model back in the day was one of the most popular entry-level DSLRs, while it still remains as such, but of course, there are some new high-end models available and some other cameras at similar price ranges who have a bit more features than this one does.

In terms of the design, the D3300 is well-known for its lightweight construction, and thus, it has been a top-option for travelers, and people who want to take their camera with them everywhere they go. Of course, there are better options available for that, such as mirrorless compact cameras and so on, but still, a DSLR is still better in many ways.

Similar to the T3i, I also find the button layout here to be quite easy to operate, very practical and pretty user-friendly for novice photographers. To continue, let’s start talking about the LCD screen.

The Canon T3i has a 3-inches screen which is placed on the rear, however, for those that are hoping for a touchscreen, you won’t get that here. Even though I really like touchscreen LCDs, I’m willing to make an exception when it comes to Nikon D3300, because it simply offers so many features, while it comes at a very affordable price, so it definitely pays the debt. Another important thing to mention is that the screen has a fixed design, which means you won’t be able to tilt it or swivel it in any way.

Before we jump to the performance, let’s also point out that the optical viewfinder has a field coverage of 95%, which means that in most situations you’ll be missing some details on the corners, however, most of the time, those are the unnecessary details.

Performance-wise, starting from the 24.2-megapixel sensor, the Nikon D3300 delivers stunning image quality with plenty of detail, sharpness, and vibrancy. It has the EXPEED 4 image processor within which when combined with the 11-point AF autofocus, it brings out a continuous shooting speed of 5 frames per second, which is better than T3i’s 3.6fps.

Since we mentioned the autofocus, that’s also an area where the D3300 outmatches the T3i’s 9-point AF system, which means this is a better camera for video recording due to its 3D tracking abilities to maintain focus even on fast-moving subjects.

In terms of video recording, the Nikon D3300 can capture Full HD at 1080p (60, 50, 30, 25, 24fps), while all of this can be done in MPEG-4/H.264/MOV. Therefore, for those serious videographers who are just starting out, this camera would be the ideal choice.

Regarding the ISO sensitivity, you’ll be happy to know that the D3300 boasts a native ISO range of SO 100-12800 and a boosted ISOo sensitivity to 25600. This being said, I can safely say that the Nikon D3300 performs well even in low light situations, while this is also an area where the D3300 outperforms the T3i.

Moreover, similar to Canon T3i, there’s also no built-in Wi-Fi, which means that you’ll have to use a WU-1A Wireless Adapter to pair with smartphones or tablets, but of course, they’d have to be Android. Afterward, it’s mandatory to have the Wireless Mobility Utility which allows for the connection of the camera with the smartphone.

To conclude, the Nikon D3300 delivers great value for the price, it’s one of my favorite entry-level DSLRs due to many things, starting from the lightweight construction to the top-notch specs, this camera simply has everything a novice user could ask for.

Feature Comparison

Canon T3I Nikon D3300
Camera Type
DSLR
DSLR
Megapixels
18.0
24.2
ISO Range
100-6,400(12800)
100-12800 (expandable to 25600)
Flip-Out Screen
Yes
No
AF Points
9 AF Points
11 AF Points
Viewfinder
Yes
Yes
Touchscreen
No
No
Video Recording
Yes
Yes
Sensor Size
APS-C
APS-C

Conclusion

As we got the comparison table out of the way, by now, I think you have enough arguments to support your decision, whether it’s the Canon T3i the right choice, or the Nikon D3300.

Nonetheless, I’ll still divide them by the purpose they serve the most, starting with the Nikon T3i, it’s pretty decent, it would be a great camera for landscape, still photography, and weddings.

As for Nikon D3300, it’s a great all-rounder which apart from photography, it’s also a great entry-level DSLR for videography, due to the amazing autofocus system and the fast performance.

All and all, you can’t really go wrong with any of these two cameras, they’re both very popular in the entry-level DSLR camera industry, while they also come at very affordable prices. If you were to choose between these cameras, if you asked me, I’d go for Nikon D3300 due to the fact that it has some advantages over the T3i, but yet again, the T3i is not a bad option at all.