Falling into the upper echelon of the entry-level DSLR market, the Canon EOS 600D is aimed at serious photographers who want to make the leap from digital compact cameras to DSLRs.
Boasting a 18.0 megapixel CMOS sensor, a DiG!C 4 Image Processor, an ISO range of 100 to 6,400 and Full HD (1920 x 1080p) video recording, the Canon EOS 600D looks to be every bit as impressive as its Canon EOS 550D predecessor. Chief amongst the new features is Scene Intelligent Auto, an advanced automatic mode that presents a gentle introduction to the world of DSLR cameras.
A recommended retail price has yet to be announced for the Canon EOS 600D, but it should cost somewhere in the ballpark of $1500 (it slots in-between the EOS 550D and EOS 60D, priced at $1349 and $1599, respectively).
In terms of price and features, the Canon EOS 600D’s closest rival is probably the Nikon D3100, which was released in late 2010 (you can read our review of the Nikon D3100 here). Both cameras are top-of-the-range entry-level models aimed at the same type of user. They also have identical shutter speeds (1/4000 sec).
So which stacks up better on paper in terms of value for money and features? In the following article, we compare the Canon EOS 600D against the Nikon D3100 in an attempt to determine which camera is the best for your money.
[Note: We have yet to test the Canon EOS 600D, so the comparison is based on features and specifications only.]
Size & Dimensions
Entry-level DSLRs are built to be reasonably lightweight and portable – they’re essentially aimed at the same crowd that uses digital compact cameras. The Canon EOS 600D’s body weighs in at 515g and measures 133x99x78mm. By contrast, the Nikon D3100 weighs 455g and has dimensions of 96x124x74mm. To be honest, the difference in size is pretty marginal, but those who prefer to travel light will be better off with the Nikon D3100.
The D3100 has a lower pixel count of 14.2 megapixels, though not necessarily an indicator of lower image quality
When it comes to pixel count, the Canon EOS 600D comes out on top. Its Canon-branded APS-C CMOS sensor boasts a total pixel count of 18-megapixels, compared to 14.2 megapixels for the Nikon D3100. Naturally, a higher pixel count does not guarantee better picture quality, but if Canon’s previous DSLRs are any indication, the EOS 600D is certain to be a winner.
Both cameras come with a solid array of lens attachments. Some of the lenses compatible with the Nikon D3100 include AF-S and AF-I, Type G and D AF NIKKOR, Type D PC NIKKOR, AI-P NIKKOR and Non-CPU. (Note: some functions may not be supported on some lenses.)
The Canon EOS 600D will be compatible with all EF and EF-S lenses, including the new EF-S 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 IS II kit lens and EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS.
The Canon EOS 600D has an ISO speed range of 100-6400 (expandable to 12800). The Nikon D3100, meanwhile, has a maximum ISO level of 3200 (expandable to 6400). The picture quality of photos taken at high ISO levels varies wildly, so we’ll hold off on our verdict until we test the Canon EOS 600D for ourselves.
The Canon EOS 600D wins this category, but only by a hair. It boasts a continuous burst speed of 3.7fps (frames per second), compared to 3fps for the Nikon D3100.
Both cameras sport Full HD video modes, however, the Canon EOS 600D provides three selectable frame rates (24fps, 25fps and 30fps). The Nikon D3100 makes do with a fixed frame rate of 24fps.
The 7.7cm Vari-Angle LCD display on the 600D has 1,040,000 dots
Again, the Canon came up trumps in this category, boasting a 7.7cm Vari-Angle LCD display with 1,040,000 dots. By contrast, the Nikon D3100’s LCD is fixed and has a resolution of just 230,000 dots. We don’t need to see the Canon EOS D600 to tell you that its display will be better. The EOS D600 is protected by anti-reflective and smudge resistant coating
Based on the provided specifications, the Canon EOS 600D seems to be superior to the Nikon D3100 in several key areas. And in previous reviews we've been very impressed with the image quality of Canon cameras.
Nevertheless, the answer over which camera to buy will probably come down to price. With a current RRP of $949, the Nikon D3100 is significantly cheaper than its D600 rival. We’ll draw a definitive conclusion after putting the Canon EOS 600D through our test labs, and also once we know exactly what price you'll pay for the 600D.