Canon T3 vs Canon T1i vs Nikon D3100
The T1i is the strongest of the three. Sensor-wise, they're all pretty evenly matched ( http://bit.ly/r0znIj ). However, the T1i, being a competitor of the D5000 has a number of additional features.
A D5000 would also be a good choice.
I was very surprised to learn (from comments at your other thread) that the T3 did not have sensor cleaning. To me this is a backwards step on the part of Canon. Folks have come to expect it, and the lack of issues with dirty sensors at these forums is testament as to how it has (almost) become a non-issue. I definitely will not be recommending the T3 based on that.
As to the T1i and the Nikon D3100, they are very close, and good entry-level cameras. I would Strongly suggest that you go to a store and try both in your own hands. This can make all the difference in the world as to camera satisfaction.
Canon T1i wins all the way. The first consideration to cross out is T3 , T3 is a poor comparison against T1i. Do a DPR Forum search, there are many similar thread on this matter and I have written some in-depth comparison before. The T1i is simply miles ahead of T3.
Check this simplify T1i vs T3 here:
Some additional advantage not mention (off my head) are:
Much Bigger Optical Viewfinder
Better Grip - as T3 lack any rubber grip at all
deeper RAW BUFFER - can be very important if you shoot raw
deeper JPEG buffer
T1i can shoot in 3 video mode: 1080p and 720p and 640p
T3 has only 1 video mode: 720p
If you can find a T1i at good price ( price is going up as stock is running out ), I definitely jump on T1i over Nikon D3100 and T3 in a heart beat. Another advantage is that T1i is the oldest and therefore available on USED market at great priced. I bought my T1i body for just $450 on Craigslist. A used Nikon D3100 cost around $550-$600, still quite expensive
For more Nikon d3100 vs T1i, see this:
I would prefer the T1i out of this lot, since it was meant to be competitive with the D5000 and is one step above the other two. That being said, I think that the bit extra money for the T2i would be worthwhile, for that improved sensor.
However, most importantly when buying a camera brand, Canon vs Nikon,
1. Go to the store and try them out, see which one is the most comfortable to hold and operate.
2. Do research and read reviews on the entire lens line. A body will be out dated in a few years, but lenses do not and you will be investing into the brand. Figure out which brand has the lenses you want at the price point that you will most likely be buying at in the future.
Also know that lower end Nikons do not have in camera AF motors, which would be fine if all Nikon lenses had their own motors, however they don't and this may cost you more money.
I would recommend the T2i or the D5000/D5100.
Canon T3 vs Canon T1i vs Nikon D3100
build quality and image quality are a must for me
and will the lack of focus motor on the d3100 be an issue ??
Image qualities of all three cameras are excellent. Build qualities are kind of the same (except, T3 lacks rubber in the grip. Go to camera shop to see whether you miss T3 grip rubber).
If budget is more important, go with T3.
If full HD video (1080p video at 24fps) is more important, go with D3100.
If features and lens compatibility are more important, go with T1i.
If budget is flexible and you want everything of all three cameras and even some more, go with T2i.
With a refurb. model, you have a better chance of it passing some sort of quality control inspection. With new cameras, QC is much more hit and miss. To prove that, just witness the amount of talk about "good samples", and "bad samples".
if taking 500D out of the question, D3100 is better than 1100D in just about every aspect of image quality. its only "darwback" is lack of AF motor, MLU and AEB.
nikon has been steadily releasing AFS prime lenses so I dont think it is really an issue, most modern zooms are already AFS anyway.
MLU is something you dont use unless you shoot long exposure, even when you do, the difference it makes is minimal.
AEB is helpful when shooting HDR, but against, not a must and most people go in and then straight out of their HDR phase.
I would go with D3100.
I interpreted BobT as saying the opposite; meaning that refurbished cameras are more carefully inspected than new cameras.
Hopefully, he will be back to tell us.
(Sorry to butt in BobT. I couldn't help myself. :-))
The lack of in body image stabilization is a drawback.
Kit lenses are slow in terms of aperture.
Therefore a Pentax K-x or K-r accompanied by e.g. the 16-45mm f4 is probably a better tool.
have you held any of these cameras in your hand to test yet?
no there's no cam store near me so ill be ordering online
I agree with Vtran008, Getting your Hand On Experience with Camera Body is more important than any web forum opinions here. You will naturally gravitate toward one camera and not the other .
My personal example is that I was going to buy Nikon D200 after reading numerous great reviews online. I didn't care for Canon 30d because it lost out to Nikon according to every photography magazines.
However, I hated Nikon D200 when I finally got my hand on it. The thing weights like a brick, controls are more confusing than piloting a 747, the menu is all over the placed. I have shot with Nikon D70s and Nikon D50, both I like. I just hate the D200.
Disappointed, I pickup a Canon 30d for fun. Wow, it fits in my hand like a glove. The menu is easy to understand, the camera is fast and easy to operates. I can figure out 95% of camera's function without ever reading the manual. Control is amazing. I like it so much, I bought a Canon 30d + 17-85mm IS that day.
What that lesson taught me is that other's opinion are rather meaningless in real life . Camera is a hand-on machines that requires hands-on experience . I like the Nikon D70s/D50, but I hated Nikon D200. Every camera is different, you really owed yourself to "handle one".
PS - I would not buy $670 Nikon D3100 I think it is too expensive for such a camera. I rather buy Olympus E-PL2 for less or even Pentax.