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Introduction

DSLRs are uniquely designed cameras that share two technologies within, the single-lens reflex technology and the digital aspect of the camera. Just as these names state, the single-reflex technology is able to determine how the shutter will operate in order to let the light through the lens onto the sensor, while the digital aspect of the camera basically tells us that it uses a digital sensor for capturing images instead of a piece of film.

Maybe you’ve heard of DSLRs before, or maybe you’re using one right now, however, we mentioned it just to make sure that you know exactly for what kind of cameras we’re talking about.

If you’re just starting out, then these two entry-level DSLRs are the ideal choice for you, no matter what you choose, they both perform remarkably, however, in this article, we’re going to try to compare them and mention even the slightest details and differences.

Some short description on the Nikon D3200, it is an entry-level DSLR that is designed for comfort, intuitive use, and durability, while with the compact and lightweight body it makes for a perfect camera for travelers. It is also a popular option among photographers because the Nikon D3200 lets you optimize your camera settings in an easy way as turning a dial.

Now, for our second camera, we have the Canon T3i. I’m pretty sure you’ve heard of this camera somewhere, or maybe you’ve seen it in action, either way, this camera has been and it is still a popular option among people that are just starting out or people who just want a second camera for their hobby or work.

This also is an easy-to-use camera and it also comes in a compact design without sacrificing performance.

Comparing these two cameras will not be easy, since they both come at a similar price, while they also share similar specs and performance. Nonetheless, by the end of this article, you will know which one meets your requirements the most, and which one beats the other in different aspects.

Head To Head Comparison

Nikon D3200

To start off this review, let’s just mention one important fact that you need to know about this camera. The Nikon D3200 is perfect for beginners and for people who are just starting out, which is why we don’t recommend this camera to people who are used to more premium ones with premium features and so on.

Nonetheless, just as we stated, this camera will get you through your starting phase with ease, due to the user-friendly features and controls given. Even though there are new models of this camera available, the D3200 is still one of the best options for beginners.

In terms of the design, this camera is quite small, although, it has a deep grip while if you combine it with the weight, you will be provided exceptional comfort while holding this camera. A sensible addition to the design of this camera is the new buttons, such as the Live View button which is something sensible for new users who may be used to composing images on an LCD screen. Speaking of the screen, Nikon D3200’s screen has 921,000 dots, while the screen feels premium with its bright and clear view, and it has a good angle of view from different positions and it performs well under different lighting conditions.

To get more into the specifics, let’s start by pointing out the fact that this camera has a 24.2MP sensor, and for the price, it’s definitely a lot more than it should really be.

Even though this camera is more oriented towards novice users, I still think that the manufacturer could have done a better job with the ISO, to be more specific, this camera boasts an ISO range of 100-6,400 while it can be also expanded to 12,800. This is one of the weakest points of this camera since many rivals out there as well as other cameras found in this price range feature more than the Nikon D3200.

However, there is though one good thing that deserves your attention. Matrix Metering does a really good job on the majority of occasions, while even though many people report that it struggles a little in high contrast or in other mixed lighting conditions, from my experience, I find the matrix metering to be good enough in any of these situations.

Another thing that some users may be disappointed at is the AF system. If you’ve used other premium cameras before, this camera is unlikely to satisfy you in this case, since it only has 11-point AF, while one of them is cross-type AF point. Apart from that, I also think you’ll struggle finding this option in the camera since it is a more advanced option, it is hidden away in the menu, in short term, it can be frustrating finding it.

Although, autofocus acquisition is fast in many cases, but it drops in low light situations, since it is not a premium DSLR, don’t expect this camera to perform as speedy as those high-cost DSLR cameras out there.

Moreover, before we end, let’s also mention that this camera can shoot in 4fps continuous rate, yet again, if you’re used to more high-end cameras, then you’ll unlikely to be satisfied with this, but for beginners, this camera is still a bang for the buck.

Simply put, it is affordable, it has the most common features of a DSLR, while it may be a little bit weak in terms of specs, it is still a good performer for novice users and people who are just starting out.

 

Canon T3I

Back in the day, the Canon T3i was a very popular DSLR camera due to the excellent image quality, the good grip, and the plethora of features that it delivers. However, nowadays, this particular camera falls to the ranks of beginner and affordable cameras.

I’m not really a fan of this camera since it has a high-price for what it really is, however, it still makes it for a good option for entry-level DSLRs. Before we start, I’d like to state that the Nikon D3200 is better than this camera in many ways, however, the Canon T3i still makes it for an entry-level DSLR.

Design-wise, this camera has a composite body that provides the user with a sculpted handgrip, while the camera itself is well built, fit durable. I personally like the textured spots the most, because it provides great comfort, while when you’re shooting, the finger will fall naturally to the shutter button and there are also patches of rubberized material on the handgrip, thumb rest and left front/side of the body.

As for the controls, we mentioned that this camera has an easy-to-use control and button layout, while the controls are pretty straightforward and user-friendly, you can bring up the quick control screen if you wish to see shooting functions including white balance, autofocus, drive mode, exposure compensation, aperture/shutter speed, the ISO sensitivity, and so on.

Okay, now, let’s get more into the details and see what else is there to talk about this camera.
To start off the right way, let’s mention first that this camera has an 18MP sensor with a continuous shooting rate of 3.7fps, a spot-metering exposure option, an articulating 3.0-inch monitor, and 1080 HD video.

I’m not really impressed with these specs because as you saw, the Nikon D3200 comes at a cheaper price, while it can successfully outperform the T3i in terms of fps shooting since the Nikon has a 4fps continuous shooting rate, with 24MP sensor vs the Canon T3i that has an 18MP sensor, and much more.

However, there is an area where the T3i can outperform the Nikon D3200. The T3i features Canon’s DIGIC 4 image processor with an ISO range from 100 to 6400, while you are also given the option to expand it to 12800. Yes, you guessed it, this is the only thing that this camera has as an advantage compared to the Nikon D3200, the DIGIC 4 image processor.

To continue, exposure metering uses a dual-layer 63 zone sensor, while the autofocus can be reached from the 9-point system with a cross-type center point. Did you notice this as well? The Nikon D3200 has an 11-point system with 1 being cross-type, while the Canon T3i has only 9.

This is exactly what I’ve been saying in almost every review of mine, price doesn’t really matter, because the price can be so high, but it’s not because of the features nor the performance, it’s because of the built quality of the product sometimes.

All and all, the Canon T3i is a tad faster than the Nikon D3200, but it doesn’t mean that it is better in terms of performance. By knowing all these advantages and disadvantages between them, I believe you already know which one of these cameras meets your requirements the most.

Feature Comparison

Nikon D3200 Canon T3I
Camera Type
DSLR
DSLR
Megapixels
24.0
18.0
ISO Range
100-6,400(12800)
100-6,400(12800)
Flip-Out Screen
No
Yes
AF Points
11 AF Points
9 AF Points
Viewfinder
Yes
Yes
Touchscreen
No
No
Video Recording
Yes
Yes
Sensor Size
CMOS
APS-C

Conclusion

In our reviews, it has always been hard to compare two cameras of the same category, because not only that they have the same price, they are also both similar in features and performance. However, for this article, I can safely say that the Nikon D3200 is definitely better than the Canon T3i, it is better in terms of specs, better in terms of the design, and it also comes with a cheaper price than the T3i.

However, the T3i has a better image processor than the Nikon D3200, and as far as I know, that is the only thing that the Canon T3i can do better than the Nikon D3200, and maybe some features which are not present in the T3i.

Simply put, if you want to ensure yourself a good entry-level DSLR which packs the features and the performance of premium camera, at an affordable price, then the Nikon D3200 would be the ideal choice, but if you want a camera which is fast, easy to operate, a user-friendly button layout and with reputation, then the Canon T3i is your answer, as it is also a good entry-level DSLR.