- Autofocus system
- ISO performance
- LCD features
- Continuous shooting speed
- Battery life
- Video capabilities
- Connectivity features
So, you've tested your photography skills for a few months with your smartphone or point-and-shoot camera. Now it's time to upgrade.
The question is, what entry-level DSLR is best for you?
Naturally, the answer to that question depends on a wide-range of factors, but for most beginner photographers, it really comes down to a few factors, not the least of which are ease of use and price.
Two of the best entry-level DSLRs on the market today come from Nikon and Canon.
Editor's Tip: Looking for a new camera but don't want to spend your life savings? Consider buying a pre-owned camera to stretch your budget.
Essential Specs of the Nikon D5600 and Canon T7i
It would be a really, really long article if I gave an overview of how these cameras compared on every single feature, so I've boiled it down to some of the most essential specifications:
To begin, both of these cameras have 24-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensors, a level of resolution that's excellent for beginner photographers (and enthusiasts and pros, too!).
The Nikon's sensor lacks an anti-aliasing filter, which improves sharpness, so in a head-to-head matchup on sharpness, the Nikon wins out.
The Nikon also has a slightly larger sensor, though the difference is negligible and won't have much impact on the quality of your photos.
Sensor Winner: Nikon D5600
The autofocus systems on these cameras are also highly similar.
Both have contrast-detect and phase-detect capabilities, which improves the ability of the cameras to focus, even in more challenging lighting conditions.
Both also have face detection technology with the ability to tap to touch for focus in live view.
The major difference, however, is that the Canon T7i has 45 autofocus points compared to the Nikon D5600's 39 autofocus points.
Autofocus Winner: Canon T7i
The Nikon and the Canon have identical native ISO ranges of 100-25600.
With that range, you can push the ISO to brighten your images in dark situations, and while digital noise can become a problem on both cameras as you push the ISO higher, a well-exposed image with a little noise is better than no image at all.
Speaking of pushing the ISO higher, the Canon offers an expanded ISO range to 51200 where the Nikon doesn't even have an extended range.
Though you might not use that extended ISO range very often, it's still nice to have that feature.
ISO Winner: Canon T7i
These camera share similar LCD features that make them tough to differentiate at first glance.
Both have fully articulating touch screen LCDs that allow you to tilt them up or down for better low-angle and high-angle shots. You can even flip the screen around so you can see what you're doing when taking a selfie!
So, on the one hand, the Nikon's display is slightly bigger, but on the other hand, the Canon's has slightly more resolution.
Either way, these LCDs offer flexibility, brightness, and touch capabilities, too. The negligible difference in size and resolution is not likely to play much of a factor at all.
LCD Winner: Draw
Continuous Shooting Speed
Continuous shooting speed refers to how many frames the camera can take rapid-fire fashion when shooting in burst mode.
The Canon T79 is capable of taking up to 6 frames per second (fps), which is excellent for an entry-level camera. The Nikon D5600 isn't far behind with the ability to shoot at 5fps.
The difference in continuous shooting speed between these cameras is small enough that you likely won't notice a difference in performance when shooting action shots of things like wildlife or sports. Either way, you get solid performance, even if the Canon is slightly faster.
Get a complete review of the Canon T7i in the video above by Chris Winter.
Continuous Shooting Speed Winner: Canon T7i
One of the features of cameras that beginners often neglect is how many shots they can take on a single battery charge.
The Nikon D5600 has good battery life with 820 shots possible per charge. The Canon, however, offers just 600 shots per charge.
It's always good to have a spare battery or two when you go out to shoot, but understanding how much mileage you can get from each battery is a good thing to know.
Battery Life Winner: Nikon D5600
These entry-level DSLRs have identical video capabilities.
They both shoot in full HD at 1920x1080 resolution in MPEG-4, H.264 format.
Both cameras also have a microphone port (though, for higher-quality video you'll want to invest in an aftermarket mic). Neither camera has a headphone port.
You aren't going to make cinematic-quality videos with either camera, but for casual videography - including producing videos for YouTube - either of these cameras can suit you well.
Video Capabilities Winner: Draw
Editor's Tip: Your old gear isn't doing you any good sitting in your closet. Sell your old camera and lenses and upgrade your kit using the proceeds. Start the process here.
Again, these cameras are well-matched with identical connectivity features.
Both cameras have WiFi, Bluetooth, and NFC, making it easy to connect to other devices.
Learn more about the Nikon D5600 in the video above by Chris Winter.
Connectivity Features Winner: Draw
Nikon D5600 vs Canon T7i Price
For many photographers, the price of gear is the overriding factor when deciding what to buy, and in the case of these cameras, their prices are more than reasonable.
And since these are popular cameras that have been out for about a year-and-a-half (in the case of the Canon) and nearly two years (in the case of the Nikon), there are plentiful opportunities to save money and buy a pre-owned rig.
Price Winner: Draw
Nikon Compared to Canon: Which is Best?
In fact, the biggest difference between these cameras is the fact that one is a Nikon and one is a Canon.
With virtually identical technical specs and features, and used and new pricing that's very similar as well, it's hard to determine a clear winner in the Nikon D5600 vs Canon T7i battle.
Technically, the Canon T7i won three matchups while the Nikon D5600 won only two, so if we're going by that margin, the Canon gets the slight edge.
However, either way, you're getting a solid entry-level camera that has a good feature set, solid capabilities, and can grow with you for the next few years.
In the end, it will likely come down to whether you're drawn more to the Nikon or the Canon environment.
See a head-to-head matchup between these two cameras in the video above by Jared Polin.