If you’re finding it hard to choose between Canon T7 and Nikon D3500, you’re not alone. These entry-level DSLR cameras are quite similar when it comes to overall shooting performance, but there are a few features that make one better than the other.
In this guide, we’ll compare them side-by-side to see which one is a better buy. We’ll also share some tips for choosing the right camera for beginning photographers.
What Makes A Good Entry-Level DSLR?
Before you drop a significant amount of money on Nikon D3500 or its Canon equivalent, you should first understand what makes a good entry-level DSLR.
Here are some factors to consider:
Having a DSLR camera gives you full control of the settings on your camera. But if you’re looking for entry-level DSLR cameras, there’s a good chance you might still need a little help when tweaking the settings. You should look for a camera that offers both automatic and manual modes so that you can either let the camera do all the work or take control once you’re ready.
There are some entry-level DSLRs that have specific modes depending on the type of shot that you’re going for. You can simply choose “landscape photography” or “sports photography”, and it will automatically adjust the settings for you.
Sensor Size And Design
Having a DSLR gives you better image quality compared to using a compact camera or a smartphone. That’s all thanks to the sensor size – DSLR cameras have larger sensors that let them capture more detailed images.
While most entry-level DSLRs come with APS-C sensors, pro-level DSLRs have full-frame sensors (35mm). The former is about 3/4 the size of the latter. Both are a few centimeters larger than the sensors on point-and-shoot cameras.
Aside from sensor size, you should also consider the sensor design. Some cameras have an optical low-pass filter that helps prevent distortion when taking photos of patterns like stripes. This is quite helpful if you’re interested in fashion or product photography. However, cameras with no low-pass filter tend to capture finer details and more vibrant colors.
Megapixels are computed by multiplying the number of horizontal pixels by the number of vertical pixels, then dividing the number by 1,000,000. For example, if a camera has 2000 pixels along one side and 3000 on another, it has a total of 6,000,000 pixels (or 6 megapixels). The higher the count, the higher the image resolution. More detail allows you to print larger photos or crop images with ease.
Since most entry-level DSLR cameras have APS-C sensors, you can’t compare them based on sensor size alone. That’s where it’s useful to compare them based on megapixels.
Bit Rate And Dynamic Range
Bit depth shows how much information your camera can capture for each pixel. In general, higher bit depths are better, as they create a more noticeable difference between tones. This difference is what is commonly called dynamic range.
Most cameras will be able to shoot up to 8 bits in JPEG and can shoot up to 12-16 bits in RAW format.
Image stabilization prevents images from blurring. This is especially helpful if you want to take beautiful images in dim lighting.
Lenses built by Canon have built-in image stabilization. Meanwhile, those built by Nikon have vibration reduction (VS), which works in much the same way.
The continuous shooting rate shows how many shots a camera can do per second (also known as frames per second or fps). A camera with about 10 fps is quite useful for those who are interested in sports photography since it allows you to capture moving subjects with ease. For entry-level models or those only shooting static subjects, 3 to 5 fps should be sufficient.
Aside from the frame rate, you should look for a camera with a good autofocus (AF) system so that your subjects come out sharp. This is especially useful if you’re in continuous shooting mode and trying to capture a moving subject.
To learn how well a camera can focus automatically, check the AF points. Each AF point is the specific part of the frame where the camera can focus. Most entry-level cameras have AF points clustered at the center, while professional cameras have more AF points around the frame, allowing them to focus more effectively.
Videographers love using DSLR cameras because they can manually control the settings and use various lenses. If you’re interested in recording videos, look for cameras that can shoot in Full HD (1080p) or 4K.
It would also be helpful if the camera has a headphone or a microphone port. This will allow you to record high-quality videos with minimal background noise.
Since you’re going to be holding your DSLR camera for several hours, you need to purchase one that feels great in your hands. The manual control buttons should be easy to reach and the unit itself should be easy to hold and grip.
Size And Weight
Size is an important factor you should consider when picking a camera. If you don’t want to lug around a large, heavy camera, then a professional DSLR might not be the ideal camera for you. In this case, you can look for smaller entry-level models. A mirrorless camera is another option if you want to try using manual controls but would prefer a lightweight unit.
One of the biggest factors that affect the weight of cameras is the material used for the body. Most cameras are made out of a combination of metal and polycarbonate. All-metal designs offer better durability but they tend to add some extra pounds to the unit.
Since new cameras come with a wide range of features, it’s no surprise that they consume a lot of power. Generally, you should be able to take about 320 shots on a single charge. Check the battery capacity under specifications and you should be able to see which model has longer battery life.
Using your camera’s viewfinder saves battery life and also lets it focus faster. Plus, holding the camera near your eye gives it more stability, allowing you to take sharper images.
Typically, DSLR viewfinders have either a pentaprism or a pentamirror design. Pentaprisms, which are made from glass, provide you with a bright image through the optical viewfinder. Meanwhile, the pentamirror system creates a slightly darker viewable image by combining a set of mirrors. Most entry-level DSLRs use pentamirror systems because they’re smaller and lighter.
When comparing the viewfinder on two cameras or more, you should also check the frame coverage. Some cameras cover 100%, which means that you can see everything in the frame through the viewfinder. Others only cover up to 95%, which means that you won’t see a small part of the image when trying to compose your shots.
The rear LCD screen is quite useful if you prefer not to look through the tiny optical viewfinder. Some newer designs feature a tilt-swivel screen that allows the user to frame selfie images with ease.
When choosing which camera to buy, pay attention to the LCD screen size. Smaller screens make it harder for you to see and frame your shots. Look for cameras that have LCD screens that measure 3 inches or more.
Some LCD screens prevent glare so that you can see your image clearly under direct sunlight. There are also cameras with a swiveling touchscreen LCD.
These days, cameras need to be able to connect online and give you the power to upload raw files while you’re on the go. Most DSLRs have built-in WiFi or Bluetooth connection that allow for easy image transfer.
One reason to choose either a Canon or a Nikon camera is the wide range of lenses and accessories available. For example, people interested in wildlife photography would find it helpful to use a telephoto lens with their DSLR.
If you like photos with bokeh – that is, images where the subjects stand out because of the blurry background – it would be good to purchase DSLR units with an additional 50 mm F1.8 lens.
Between the two brands, it’s worth noting that all Canon EOS lenses have autofocus. Meanwhile, you will need to adjust the focus manually for Nikon AF-S lenses.
Aside from the lens, buying cameras from these brands means you won’t have trouble looking for a detachable flash. Sure, all cameras have a built-in flash, but having an external flash gives you more consistent and noticeable results.
Nikon D3500 vs Canon T7
Nikon D3500 and Canon EOS Rebel T7 always go head-to-head because they’re both excellent entry-level cameras from two established brands. The two cameras fall within the same price range and are both ideal for amateur photographers.
Not only that, the Nikon D3500 was first released in August 2018 while the Canon T7 was launched in February 2018. Since they were launched fairly within the same timeframe, you can expect that they would be somewhat equal in terms of age and technology used.
To help you quickly decide between Nikon D3500 vs Canon T7, check how the cameras compare in terms of technical specs:
|Features||Canon T7 (EOS 2000D)||Nikon D3500|
|Megapixels||24.1 MP||24.2 MP|
|ISO||100-6400 (Extended 100-12800)||100-25600|
|Exposure Compensation||-5 to +5 EV in 1/3 or 1/2 EV Stops||-5 to +5 EV in 1/3 EV Stops|
|Metering Range||1 to 20 EV||0 to 20 EV|
|Continuous Shooting||3 fps||5 fps|
|Video Resolution||Full HD (at maximum 29.97p)||Full HD 1920 x 1080p at 59.94|
|Built-in Mic Type||Stereo mic||Mono|
|AF Points||9 AF points||11 phase-detection AF points|
|Cross-type AF points||1||None|
|Monitor resolution||920,000 dots||921,000 dots|
Ease-of-use is a major factor when comparing entry-level cameras. When it comes to the Nikon D3500 vs Canon EOS Rebel T7, we find that the latter is easier to use. It has a dedicated ISO button and a white balance button, making it easy to manually control the camera without having to change the settings on the LCD screen.
Another reason to like the Canon T7 is the creative filters. You can take photos with Miniature Effect, Fisheye Effect, Grainy B/W, Toy Camera Effect, and Soft Focus. You won’t find filters on the Nikon D3500 camera, so you’ll have to manually adjust the settings to get the exact shot you’re looking for.
Winner: Canon EOS Rebel T7
Like most entry-level cameras, both the Canon EOS Rebel T7 and the Nikon D3500 feature APS-C sensors. The Nikon D3500 has a slightly larger sensor, but the difference is so marginal that it won’t make much of a difference in terms of image quality.
Keep in mind that the Nikon D3500 does not have a low-pass filter. This makes photos sharper but also increases the chance of moire. Moire refers to repetitive patterns getting distorted when taking photos of textile, hair, or scenes.
The Nikon D3500 also has a higher extended ISO at 25600 compared to the Canon T7’s 12800 ISO. This makes the Nikon D3500 better to use under low-light settings. If you want to take photos of landscapes or concerts at night, then this camera will be a great fit.
Because of these factors, it’s important to ask yourself what type of photography you’re interested in when choosing between the Canon T7 or Nikon D3500. The former might be better for fashion product photography, while the latter may be better for landscape photography.
Bit Rate And Dynamic Range
The 14-bit Canon T7 slightly edges over the 12-Bit Nikon D3500. Given that, you can still use it to take vibrant and colorful photos of food or commercial products.
Winner: Canon T7
The Nikon D3500 has a 24.2 MP resolution while the Canon T7 has a 24.1 MP resolution. They’re almost identical, so you won’t notice a big difference when comparing images from either camera.
Most entry-level cameras are extremely lacking when it comes to auto-focus points. The same is true for both the Nikon D3500 and the Canon EOS Rebel T7. The Nikon D3500 only has 11-phase detection AF points, but none of them are cross-type. Meanwhile, the Canon T7 has 9 auto-focus points with 1 cross-type.
Continuous Shooting Speed
With the Canon T7, you can shoot 11 RAW files at 3 fps. Meanwhile, the Nikon D3500 can shoot at 5 fps.
If you like shooting sporting events or other moving subjects, we suggest that you go with the Nikon D3500. You will have a better chance of capturing the perfect shot because of the frame rate.
Still, if you prefer shooting in JPEG format, the continuous shooting speed of both cameras should be more than enough – both shoot about a hundred images at a press of a button.
Winner: Nikon D3500
Both the Nikon D3500 and the Canon T7 can shoot videos in full HD (1080p). The former shoots at a frame rate of 60 fps, while the latter shoots at a maximum of 30 fps.
Regardless, the Canon T7 still comes out on top. It comes with a built-in stereo microphone while the Nikon D3500 only has a mono mic. Plus, the Nikon D3500 doesn’t have a microphone port, so you can’t use external accessories to improve the audio quality.
Winner: Canon T7
Like most entry-level cameras, both the Canon T7 and the Nikon D3500 have pentamirror viewfinders that display 95% of the frame. This means you could capture unwanted objects in the background while composing an image, like a person or a bush.
There’s no real difference between the optical viewfinder of either the Nikon D3500 and Canon T7, so they’re fairly equal in this category.
Rear LCD Display
The LCD screen is one of the most important aspects you should look at when choosing which unit to buy. It’s where you can adjust most of the shooting modes and check the photos you’ve taken.
Both cameras have a basic 3-inch LCD screen. Neither of them features a touchscreen, but it’s fairly easy to use the buttons to navigate your way around the camera’s features and modes.
When it comes to layout and interface, we find that the Nikon D3500 is easier to use. It has interactive graphics that will help a lot of beginners understand the camera’s features.
If you want to take selfies using the camera, you’re out of luck. Both the Nikon D3500 and the Canon T7 have a fixed rear LCD screen, so you won’t have an easy time trying to frame your shot.
Winner: Nikon D3500
Size and Weight
The Canon T7 measures 5.1 x 3.9 x 3.1 inches and weighs 1.05 pounds. Meanwhile, the Nikon D3500 measures 4.9 x 3.9 x 2.8 inches and weighs 0.8 pounds.
With that said, it’s pretty important to note that the Canon T7 is a little heavier. If you expect to travel with your camera often, the Nikon D3500 may be the better choice because of its lighter body.
Winner: Nikon D3500
When it comes to ergonomics, it’s easy to compare Nikon D3500 vs Canon EOS Rebel T7 side-by-side. The Nikon D3500 has a better grip and a lighter body, making it easier to hold for people with smaller hands.
Meanwhile, the Canon EOS Rebel T7 feels heavier and more compact. If you like feeling the weight of a premium camera in your hands, you might want this instead. Ultimately, it still depends on your personal preference.
The Nikon D3500 offers SmartBridge Connectivity via Bluetooth. This lets you pair the device with your smartphone and share <2 MP files instantly. This resolution should be enough for social media and small image prints, but won’t work if you’re trying to transfer larger files.
Meanwhile, the Canon T7 has built-in Wi-Fi and NFC. This lets you share images on a smartphone app quite easily. It also lets your smartphone act as a remote control for the camera.
If we were two compare Nikon D3500 vs Canon T7, we find the latter’s capabilities more convenient. The camera can transfer files in bulk and integrates with your smartphone more seamlessly.
Winner: Canon T7
Just by looking at the official numbers from the manufacturers, you can easily compare Nikon D3500 vs Canon T7 in terms of battery life. The Canon T7 can take 500 shots per charge while the Nikon D3500 is expected to last 1550 shots per charge. This will allow you to take photos for hours without depleting your battery.
Winner: Nikon D3500
Since the two cameras come from highly established brands, you won’t have trouble finding a wide range of accessories for either of them. Consider purchasing an external flash as well as lenses that fit your specific needs.
In that sense, it’s good to check product bundles when deciding between Nikon D3500 vs Canon T7. Based on that alone, we find that some Nikon D3500 product bundles can help save you more money compared to the Canon T7. Plus, Nikon D3500’s kit lens is sharper and collapsible when stored.
Winner: Nikon D3500
Frequently Asked Questions
With the wide range of choices available, choosing a DSLR camera isn’t easy. To help you with this matter, we’ve answered some of the frequently asked questions when purchasing a unit:
Is buying a DSLR camera right for me?
If you are willing to learn how to manually adjust the settings of your camera, then a DSLR is right for you. But if you prefer to use cameras in Auto mode, then stick with a regular point-and-shoot camera. Some point-and-shoot cameras with a large sensor area can deliver the same quality as a DSLR in Auto mode.
What makes DSLR cameras better than point-and-shoot cameras?
A DSLR has a larger sensor compared to a typical point-and-shoot camera. The large sensor allows it to capture more light, making details more vibrant. It also allows you to take photos with dark blacks and stark whites.
In addition, the larger sensors give DSLR cameras a wider ISO range. ISO refers to the camera setting that will adjust your camera’s sensitivity to light. The higher it is, the more sensitive your sensor becomes. DSLR cameras can reach higher ISOs compared to point-and-shoot cameras.
I have enough money for a professional-level DSLR. Should I still buy a Canon T7 or a Nikon D3500?
If you have no experience using a DSLR camera, it’s more advisable to start with entry-level models like the Canon T7 or the Nikon D3500. These cameras come with a limited range of features that are easy for a beginner to learn and understand. Cameras in the entry-level market also come in a more compact size.
Still, if you have some experience with manual photography, there’s no harm in buying high-end cameras. These models offer more control and versatility and they also typically have better builds.
Should I just buy a camera with a full-frame sensor?
In some cases, bigger doesn’t always mean better. If you’re using an entry-level DSLR with an APS-C sensor, you get a crop factor of 1.5x (or 1.6x for Canon). This means both the Nikon D3500 and the Canon T7 effectively crop out the edges of an image that would otherwise be captured by full-frame cameras.
This gives you a significant advantage when it comes to things like wildlife photography. You don’t have to get too close to subjects to get the close-up shots that you need.
Another advantage of getting a DSLR with an APS-C sensor is that it will be smaller and lighter compared to full-frame cameras. If you like to travel with your DSLR camera, this may be the better choice.
Should I buy lenses with a camera?
Most DSLR kits include one kit lens. It offers you better image quality than a typical point-and-shoot camera, but it won’t zoom too far. If you’re willing to carry multiple lenses at a time, you can look for Canon T7 or Nikon D3500 kits that come with two or even three lenses. This will give you better value for your money compared to buying lenses one by one.
Summing It All Up
Choosing between the Canon T7 vs Nikon D3500 is no easy task. Both Nikon and Canon cameras feature APS-C sensor systems and have comparable shooting performance.
Still, when it comes to the shooting speed, it’s clear which side wins the Nikon D3500 vs Canon debate. Nikon D3500 5 fps gives you a clear advantage when it comes to sports photography.
On the other hand, when it comes to dynamic range, the Canon T7 has a slight advantage. That allows you to take vibrant and striking images of food and commercial products. Plus, the Canon T7 has a low-pass filter that prevents moire.
If you want to capture video footage, it’s better to choose the Canon T7. It has a stereo microphone that drastically improves the quality of the recorded audio.
Finally, if you’re into shooting landscapes, both would make good cameras. They’re both handy, easy to use, and have good battery life.
In the end, the deciding factor between the Nikon D3500 vs Canon T7 is the features that are most important to you. Think of exactly what type of photography you’ll use the camera for and decide on which unit to buy from there.