I have here the T4i (650D) and the D5200 -Shown below is both mounted on my super fancy side by side comparator board-

 

Canon T4i vs Nikon D5200
Canon T4i vs Nikon D5200

Now with video

These two cameras are very similar in size and shape. You may want to put your hands on both to see what feels nicest and watch my video comparing and contrasting the physical differences and similarities D5200 and T4i. I also have a page of High ISO Sample photos and video from the Nikon and the Canon.

 

What the T4i has that the D5200 doesn’t:

  • Touch screen – use is optional as all physical buttons are still present but it does allow access to all features of the camera in quick and efficient manner.
  • Silent Auto Focus during video when paired with the 18-135 STM lens.  Nikon also offers full time AF but does not have a silent lens.
  • Wireless Flash Control – ability to fire external flashes that are not attached to the camera
  • The ability to adjust your aperture during live view – Useful for learning.
  • Shooting in various aspect ratios 1:1, 4:3, 3:2. 16:9 but only when shot through live view
  • A bit more space on the back of the camera for larger hands.
  • Built in focus motor – the T4i will auto focus with all EF and EF-S lenses. D5200 lacks focus motor which limits lens selection – this is not nearly as big a deal as it was a few years ago, Nikon has released plenty of lenses that will AF with the D5200.
  • Custom Menu to save your most used settings.

What the D5200 has that the T4i doesn’t:

  • Faster focusing brain with 39 AF points – Focus performance was occasionally slightly faster through the viewfinder and in live view.  T4i has 9 focus points.
  • Better low light performance.  Below 1600 ISO the two cameras perform similarly, above you start to see a difference with less noise and more detail out of the Nikon.
  • More megapixels 24 vs 18 – not nearly as big a difference as it looks on paper.  (Illus coming)
  • Small light for low-light auto focus assist. T4i has flash that pops up and annoyingly strobes.
  • More shutter modes – a slow burst 3FPS versus normal 5FPS(same as T4i) and a Quiet Shutter that doesn’t sound much quieter.
  • 1080i at 60fps. T4i only offers 1080p at 30fps. At the 60 frame rates the video is interlaced and cropped a bit more.
  • Additional Scene Modes and effects (video coming soon) and a more robust HDR feature.
  • Wireless dongle accessory($60) makes it easy to use phone as live viewfinder/remote and download photos to phone/tablet.
  • Built in intervalometer for shooting time lapse.
  • A retouch menu with a several more options.
  • A few quirks: aperture changing, tendency to lean greenish though it can be argued that the Canon leans redish and an intervalometer that seems to just stop.

Canon T4i vs Nikon D5200 Summary:

If you were to just count the bullets Nikon would get a fairly clear K.O but not every bullet is worth the same weight and it depends on your needs and use case.  Both cameras produce excellent images in a variety of conditions.  If I had to pick highlights for each –

On the Canon side I would mention that user friendly touchscreen which makes the whole camera a bit simpler to operate and the pairing with the 18-135 that provides silent and smooth auto focus during video -this is a very family friendly feature.

On the Nikon side I would mention that the focus brain, ISO performance and general feature richness of the camera.

Another Item worth mentioning – Nikon’s track record of customer service is a bit less than stellar, they have had a few camera models in recent years shipped out with serious issues that they denied for way to long and their general average repair time is often several times longer than Canon.  I really haven’t heard of any customer horror stories with Canon, although they too have shipped cameras with problems they seem to deal with the issue quickly enough and fairly.

So which should you buy?  You are going to make the best pictures with the camera you are most comfortable using and I think for many of you this will be your first DSLR and that friendly touchscreen and user interface of the Canon is worth lots.  If you are willing to work a bit harder it is *possible” to get better photos out of the Nikon but I don’t think for many of you that it is worth the quirks and in my opinion the more difficult operating system.

Would you like a personal recommendation? Leave me a message on my Facebook page or a comment below letting me know about you, what you like to photograph and where you hope to be as a photographer in a year or two.

Buying

Buying the Nikon or Canon through my links supports this site and costs you nothing extra.

Coming Soon –

Cat at ISO 3200 Nikon D5200
Cat at ISO 3200 Nikon D5200

Next Steps – Price out lens packages for general use.  What does Nikon offer for general walk around, good zooms for wildlife, portraits, street, primes, macros etc.    External Flash options – Articles/Videos are coming along with “What would be your cost of owning”

 

 

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 I love traveling with other photographers on #mckaylive trips. Kari, a trip participant, noticed this line of trees and shared her perspective with me. I had glanced at them but hadn't noticed how nicely they lined up when standing at a certain spot #teacherbecomesthestudent :) We had a great day leaving behind the cherry blossom crowds for a much quieter walk around #HarpersFerryWV. And a visit to #BolivarHeights a much fought over hilltop during the civil war and the site of the largest surrender of Union troops - over 12,000 men surrendered to Stonewall Jackson. *  Captured with the #Panasonic #GH4 and #1235mm lens
 "Such a blunder sometimes it makes me wonder why I even bring the thunder" * The Jefferson Memorial might be my favorite. Jefferson's quotes inside, the circular structure surrounded by the columns, the fact that it is perched on a more organic, curving body of water. There is much to love here! Inside I chose to go wide with the 12mm Laowa to capture that awesome dome and offer a different perspective. * Captured with the #Sony #A7RII and @venuslaowa #12mm f/2.8 lens
 Up early and rewarded with another fantastic sunrise. The colors were brief but beautiful. There were literally thousands of photographers lined up along the tidal basin. The reflections were beautiful but those can be captured anytime of the year, it was important to include some of the blossoms. *  Captured with the #Sony #A7RII and #Canon 24-70 lens


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15 COMMENTS

  1. Very nice. I think ill ultimately go for the Canon. My plan is to invest on good lenses after getting the cam. Canon seems to dominate over the video compared to Nikon and I need a cam which takes good photos, videos and ultimately easy to use for everyone including my family. Kinda a bummer it doesn’t have the same ISO performance as the Nikon’s though but I could get used to it. But in the end they’re great in their own ways.

  2. I will have a video version of my review up tonight or tomorrow. Brandon I was able to easily make every T4i photo look as noiseless as the D5200 photos with one simple slider in Lightroom. Sure it is nice to have it straight out of camera but the difference isn’t great.

  3. Excellent reviews, and thank you for the balanced and thorough discussion. Looking at Nikon 5200, Canon T4i, and Sony SLT-A65VM [saw both your videos, which were great]. All with the 18-135 lens. How sharp are the lenses they sell in the kits? And do any of the three provide a superior lens over the other two? One camera dealer insisted the kit lenses were crap, and tried hard to push the Tamron as a better glass. Seems to me that if I want all those megapixels, it makes no sense unless the glass is crystal clear, delivering eye-popping clarity. Also, what difference does the 24 megapixel count make over the 18? Can I see the difference in the end product, when once again, eye-popping clarity is the goal?
    Thank you again,
    Morris Cottingham, first time viewer

    • Morris,

      Sorry for the delayed response. A few comments slipped of my list and yours was one. So the kit lenses are OK – Out of all the cameras I tested the Canon kit seems to be a good bit sharper, I have tried two Nikon kit lenses and they both were pretty soft and when zoomed to 100% you really could see that softness or blur. The 18-135 STM lens is quite good both in terms of sharpness and convenience and it would be my pick over the 18-55. Not a huge difference between 18 and 24 megapixels I think I briefly display a a graphic that shows the the difference in size during the video in the post. If your absolute goal is eye-popping clarity the D5200 is going to provide that when paired with a nice lens. In normal conditions with these images compared side by side there is very little difference, only when you pixel peep at 100% do you see that the Nikon is cleaner. Hope that helps.

  4. Great … But, what lens do best with nikon d5200 focus system … money matters … and can u post more low light photos with kit lens … i mostly use a camera for kids soccer photos and portraits … some times a landscape …

    YOURS,

    • I will be posting a few more low light photos soon, it continues to perform better than the Canon in low light – both in terms of lower noise and higher dynamic range. Not huge differences but noticeable differences when compared side by side at 100%. Lenses that do best with the focus system are going to be wide aperture lenses but that really isn’t as big a deal- Get the lenses that work for your needs. The Kit is an OK place to start but I wouldn’t stay there long, I have seen two copies and they both were on the soft side.

  5. I’m currently trying to decide between the Nikon D5200 or the Canon T4i. I will be doing video & still & live action photos. A few of my live action photos will be in low light. Which would you recommend? Thanks

  6. Hello,

    Thank you for such excellent reviews, I have enjoyed reading “real” write ups based on usage and not just numbers in the promotional material.

    I am undecided between the Canon and Nikon too, my main photography interests are landscapes and also photographing my young daughter and Labrador, not forgetting the obvious travel shots. I do enjoy taking unplanned pictures, just capturing the moment.

    This is my first DSLR and I plan on using the camera to its full potential and not just using it as a point and shoot. A camera that I can grow with and learn until the time that I am more capable and can upgrade the body would also be good.

    I had looked at the Nikon D3200 and D5100 but ruled them out.

    Would I be better going with the lower priced Canon and using the difference to put towards a better lense when I am ready ?

    Your time and advice is very much appreciated.

    Kind regards.

    • Hi Julieann,

      I appreciate the nice comment. Both the T4i and the D5200 will give you excellent results and offer room to grow. I find the T4i a good bit easier to use, certainly more beginner friendly. The Nikon offers an excellent sensor, quality is better than the T4i and if you are willing to work at it a bit the camera can produce some really nice images. Though as you hint at – ultimately it is the lenses that you own that determine the quality of the images you capture. The value of the t4i is excellent right now, is it a better value than the D5200. . . so close, so very close and it if lets you get an extra lens. It is a tough choice, I would probably get the Nikon and the first lens I would grab is the 35 f/1.8 af-s .

      I am happy to chat about this more.

      Best,
      Tobias

  7. I know the comparison is for the D5200 vs T4i. However, I used the Nikon D5100 for three months and returned it and bought the T4i.

    The D5100 came with the 18-55 and the the 70-300 kit lenses. The Nikon has a little better noise control and better high ISO performance than the T4i.

    But I got way better sharpness and image quality from the T4i and the Canon lenses, the 18-135MM STM lens and the 70-300 USM lens which I bought later. I bought the Canon 70-300 USM telephoto for wildlife shooting and got great results. I was glad I chose the the T4i over the D5100.

    Regards,

    Chuck

    • Chuck,

      thanks for sharing those thoughts. I have found the Nikon kit lenses to be quite soft, the Canon kit lenses seem to be a good bit better. The D5200 with a good lens can really shine, it is a great sensor but it is lost if one just keeps the kit lens on. The 70-300 is one of Canon’s best non-L lenses.

  8. Thanks for the comparison of them both, now my problem is the T5I has recently come out, make a difference? also need camera for Daughters Wedding and for Grandkids portraits, First digital camera, always used RB67 with 180 lens for portraits and Bronica ETRs for weddings, What lens or lens’s would work for me?? No longer doing professional work, digital age done passed me by. Do need a dependable system for Family and friends.

    Thanks

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