Photo Tips #5 : Canon’s Numbering Scheme

Posted on Saturday 10 September 2011

As a follow up to my DSLR guide, here’s a quick explanation of Canon’s DSLR numbering scheme which will hopefully clear up some common confusion!

All Canon DSLRs have a model number starting with 1, 2, 3 or 4 digits and ending in D. For example you have the 5D, the 60D and the 600D. Here’s how to tell what you’re looking at:

  • The fewer digits, the higher end the camera is. So a 1000D is basic, 500D is entry level, 50D is mid range and 5D is pro.
  • Except for the single-digit numbers, higher is newer. So the 40D replaced (and is better than) the 30D, which previously replaced the 20D.
  • For the single digit numbers, lower is better. The 5D is awesome, the 1D is the ultimate. Newer models in this range get suffixes, e.g. the 5D mkII.

I believe Nikon use a similar scheme (although I’m not a Nikon expert) but they put the D at the beginning!

Now just to confuse us, Canon sometimes use different names for their entry level cameras in different regions. For example, you may hear about a Canon “Rebel” – this is the brand name sometimes used to refer to the 3 and 4-digit entry level models in the US (in Asia they’re “Kiss”!). But they’re the same camera, and most people I know use the  standard number to avoid confusion. Here’s the current cross reference guide in order of newness:

  • 600D = Rebel T3i = Kiss X5
  • 1100D = Rebel T3 = Kiss X50
  • 550D = Rebel T2i = Kiss X4
  • 500D = Rebel T1i = Kiss X3
  • 1000D = Rebel XS = Kiss F

You’ll see the name “EOS” floating around as well – that’s the overall name Canon use to refer to their whole DSLR and lens system.

    September 11, 2011 | 5:44 am

    Damn, looks like I need a new body first

    September 11, 2011 | 7:50 am

    This is an informative series. Thank you. I am learning. However, the frame-able photography will be left to your good talents, not mine 🙂

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