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Which One: Nikon D3200 or Canon Rebel SL1

by Chris Gampat on 07/22/2013

Canon-SL1-vs-the-Nikon-D3200-The-Phoblographer

If you were to try to get into the whole DSLR game today and you wanted to go super-entry level, what would you go with? Many people spring for Canon or Nikon, and both companies have some very good options. We’ve reviewed both the Canon Rebel SL1 and the Nikon D3200 extensively and have come to the point where we believe that it’s time to make a full comparison and conclusion to help you pick the right camera for you.

So what’ll it be? Canon, or Nikon?



Tech Specs at a Glance

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Canon Rebel SL1 product photos review (3 of 9)ISO 4001-80 sec at f - 4.5

Canon Rebel SL1

The Canon SL1 houses an 18MP APS-C sized sensor, but in a smaller 1.6x crop factor than Nikon’s larger 1.5x crop factor. It shoots 4fps, has a touch screen, boasts an ISO range from 100-6400 with an extension of up to 12,800, and has a revamped autofocusing system for Live View use.

Nikon D3200

Nikon’s D3200 has a 24.2MP APS-C sized sensor, which is a bit bigger than Canon’s. This camera shoots 4fps, has a beautiful LCD screen and has an ISO range from 100-6400. One of the biggest selling points of this camera is the ridiculously detailed imaging sensor in the camera.

Winner

For the most part, you might want to spring for the Nikon D3200 in this case. Essentially it can be overkill–but for the money it is totally worth it.

Ergonomics

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Canon Rebel SL1

When Canon designed the Rebel SL1, they had people with smaller hands in mind–specifically women. Though many female photographers that I talked to didn’t think that the camera was comfortable in their hands, a smaller woman found it to be very comfortable. For the advanced user and the person with bigger hands, you’ll not find this camera as comfortable.

Nikon D3200

Nikon’s D3200 is small–in fact it is the smallest DSLR in their lineup. However, the buttons are very ergonomically placed, and there are more of them than on the SL1. One can say that for this reason, it might be easier for the person to grow along with this camera due to the direct button access.

Winner

This one depends really on what you want: you can either shoot the camera in auto all day and not think twice or you can try to take it more seriously. The Rebel SL1 is better for the automatic crowd while the D3200 might be better for the more discerning shooter.

Autofocusing

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Canon Rebel SL1

Canon’s Rebel SL1 is fast to focus and also quite accurate in most situations–even in low lighting. We found that it became a tad problematic when using 3rd party glass.

Nikon D3200

The D3200 has 11 focusing points and overall, we found it to have very little issues with focusing in most situations except for those in low light.

Winner

This one is a tie for the most part. They both focus quite snappily and have slight issues.

Build Quality

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Canon SL1 review images extras (8 of 17)ISO 4001-500 sec at f - 3.5

Canon Rebel SL1

The camera is made of plastic for the most part and feels nowhere as solid as Canon’s higher end DSLRs.

Nikon D3200

Once again, this camera is nowhere as well built the higher end cameras.Nikon seemed to put more into image quality than overall build quality with this camera.

Winner

In the hands of the advanced user, both of these camera will feel like a toy–and almost no one will see a difference.

Ease of Use

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Canon Rebel SL1

The Rebel SL1 has a touch screen and the same exposure control settings as the Nikon D3200. But the touch screen makes it much easier for you to access some settings quicker. It might indeed be for the more modern person due to the layout.

Nikon D3200

Nikon’s D3200 has loads of buttons with direct access, but admittedly you’ll probably need to look around a bit for them at first if you’re not used to Nikon’s layout.

Winner

If you’re going to set either of these cameras to auto and forget about it, then you’ll have no problems at all. But if you want to have more direct control and access, the Rebel SL1′s touch screen provides better and quick manipulation. And for that reason, it can cut down how much time you spend in the menus.

Image Quality

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Canon SL1 review images even more (6 of 6)ISO 64001-50 sec at f - 1.4

Canon Rebel SL1

Canon’s Rebel SL1 has an awesome sensor with excellent image quality. We found the high ISO images to not be as noisy as Nikon’s. The Canon also delivers spectacular color and we also found that the images that it puts out are more than adequate for professional work.

Nikon D3200

Nikon’s high ISO image quality isn’t as good as Canon’s in this case, but one can’t deny the characteristic Nikon colors. For years, the company’s colors and sharpness right out of the camera has been unparalleled. Even though  it is 24mp, we must note the D3200 is also a little older.

Winner

Canon takes a slight edge here with the Rebel SL1. Besides, 18MP is more than enough for most people.

And the Winner Is…

If you add up all the comparison points, Canon takes the win. But in reality, you’re going to get such similar results with each camera that you won’t be able to tell the differences except in the user interface.

In the end, we really don’t think that you can go wrong with either.

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