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I might soon buy a new camera and I am hesitating between the Canon T5i and the Nikon D5300 on snapsort the D5300 is winning but I am wondering if it is that much better...

I am wondering about this because when I look at some samples of the T5i (or even of it's predecessors such as the T4i or even T3i) and when I compare them to the samples of the Nikon D5300 I don't find them as much different.

The only thing where I do really see a difference is about the ISO, where the Nikon seems to perform better. The color depth is also better on Nikon (24 bits vs 22 bits) does it makes a big difference ? I also see on the comparison website that the overall image quality is apparently much better for the Nikon that scores at 83 vs 61 for the Canon, what do you think about that?

Maybe am I just hesitating because of the very bad experience I had with a Nikon 1 V1 (which broke 3 times and now doesn't work any more), but without knowing exactly why, I am actually much more attracted by Canon than Nikon... and that's why I would need your objective opinions about that...

  • We generally don't make camera buying decisions for people (see the site help) — camera models change so much, and individual decisions really come down to non-objective personal factors. I've edited the question very slightly to focus more on the cause for your concern: the snapsort results. I think you'll find this helpful. – mattdm May 16 '14 at 15:23
  • For making the brand decision in general, you may be interested in Is there any significant difference between Nikon and Canon? and also What do Pentax, Sony, and Olympus DSLRs offer that differs from Canon and Nikon? – mattdm May 16 '14 at 15:25
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    There are too many sites with actual reviews by real photographers to bother with snapsort. Snapsort is flat out wrong a lot of the time. For example, the Fujifilm X-Pro1 has a terrible rating on snapsort, yet it's one of the better mirrorless cameras and highly rated by real people. – Jeremiah May 16 '14 at 15:55
  • If you are hesitant to buy Nikon because a previous Nikon model was a lemon for you, do you expect that snapsort will advise you based on reliability? Seems like your mostly concerned with durability and or reliability vs feature set or image quality. – dpollitt Mar 6 '15 at 2:49
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If things are remotely close on Snapsort, then Snapsort is generally agreed to be a poor judge of which is best. It can reliably tell you that a D800 is better than a T5i since it is a huge difference, but Snapsort overall scores and the noise and IQ ratings rarely relate that closely to real life experience.

What is a little more telling though is looking at the actual stats. The Nikon has far more AF points available, which increases flexibility unless there is some other problem with using those AF points. It also has slightly less shutter lag (takes photos closer to when you push the button) though both are still not super fast (compared to other DSLRs), nor super slow (compared to P&S cameras). The slightly larger sensor on the Nikon is also an advantage as it means it can collect more light, which probably does help it on low light performance. The GPS and extra megapixels are both nice to haves for the Nikon, but generally not major deciders. Similarly 60fps 1080 video is nice for doing anything slow motion, but is not a deal maker or breaker.

Unfortunately however, the way that Snapsort handles noise measuring makes this comparison pretty hard to trust, so the best bet is to look at real world photos and see how the two compare for low light shots.

The Nikon probably does actually have a slight lead (I say that reluctantly as a long time Canon fan) but it also costs slightly more. My recommendation still would be to go with whichever system you feel is more natural to you when you hold them in your hands and try using them. Also compare actual real world photos taken with both and see which you prefer. Both are fine cameras and there really isn't a wrong choice that you can make. Either will serve you well.

  • Thank you for you answer ! What do you think about the durability of the Nikons/Canons ? Do you think that I was unlucky with my Nikon 1 V1 or is it something frequent for this brand ? (FYI I live in a region where there is a lot of humidity). About the noise, here is a comparaison, this is for the T5i and this is for the D5300 what do you think about it ? – Trevör May 16 '14 at 13:57
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    Nikon and Canon both make pretty reliable products, though reliability can always very from model to model. Both the T5i and D5300 are part of the entry level line up (one level above the bottom) so they will have limited durability. That said, my xTi still works from 7 years ago and I know people with Nikons of similar age. They won't be as durable as a D800 or 5D Mark iii would be, but then again, you can buy 4 or 5 of the entry level model before you reach the cost of those two as well. Long story short though, there isn't a significant durability difference. – AJ Henderson May 16 '14 at 14:05
  • Also, if durability is a chief concern, look at Pentax. They aren't one of the big two, but they have a healthy enough showing in the fringe and are known for building their cameras like tanks all the way down to the entry level models. I wouldn't expect issues from either the Canon or the Nikon under normal use conditions though. Just don't get them wet, too too cold, really dusty or sandy. – AJ Henderson May 16 '14 at 14:07
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    Just be aware that the brand of camera you choose locks you into a mount system, so if you go Pentax--be sure their lenses can cover your needs. Most folks recommend the Big Two because they have the largest systems overall, so the most bases are "covered" lens-wise. With system cameras, the body is only half your camera--the other (more expensive and permanent half) are the lenses. – inkista May 16 '14 at 17:53
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    We have a question on that, too: How much do lens lineups vary across DSLR platforms? – mattdm May 17 '14 at 13:44
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NO

Snapsort just pulls various numbers from other sites and weights them in a way that has nothing to do with what matters most or least to most photographers. For example, their sensor rating scores are taken from DxO Mark without any sense of context or any recognition of the way different manufacturers scores are affected at DxO Mark by such things as how they do noise reduction (more or less on sensor vs. in the camera's processor), whether the manufacturers encoding/demosaicing algorithms are public/available/used by DxO Mark or not, etc.

What snapsort is good for is seeing a quick list of comparative features between specific models. But even then be sure to verify the listings somewhere else - I have seen inaccurate specifications listed for cameras on Snapsort.

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Should I worry about a camera I am interested in “winning” on Snapsort?

Snapsort is probably better at arriving at a shortlist than making your final choice.

Really, there is no wrong choice between Nikon and Canon unless you have an existing investment in lenses.

I suspect many people make the choice based on handling the cameras. Some people prefer one brand's ergonomics over another's.

Maybe am I just hesitating because of the very bad experience I had with a Nikon 1 V1 (which broke 3 times and now doesn't work any more)

I would be cautious about applying your experience with the Nikon-1 series to their DSLR ranges.

I have both Nikon DSLR and Nikon-1 cameras and lenses. I drop both occasionally, sometimes I accidentally bang them into things. Maybe more so with the 1 series as I often stuff it into a coat pocket.

I have had to have my Nikon-1 body repaired once and I have a Nikon-1 lens which no longer functions correctly (some electronic glitch, not optical) that I am considering having repaired. I found repairs were surprisingly cheap.

I have never needed to have my Nikon DSLR repaired. I do have a zoom lens that is a bit stiffer in part of the zoom range than it should be but it is still optically good and perfectly usable. Both body and (several) lenses have been dropped several times.

Both these units are entry-level, like the D5300 you mention, and I would not expect them them to be as rugged as the more prosumer/pro ranges.

However, for me, the DSLR kit has been more robust than the Nikon-1 series. Even so, I just bought two more Nikon-1 lenses (18.5 & 10-100).

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