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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2006

    An honest look at Nikon Vs Canon

    Lets get a discussion going.

    Which system you choose and why?

    What are the differences/advantages of each system?

    Please no flaming. I hope this gets good enough that it becomes a sticky so new people on the forum have a place to get honest, thoughtful advice and information.

    I'll start by saying I bought my Canon XT because it was on sale. Not the best reason to choose a camera.

    From what I understand the major differences are:

    Canon has better ISO performance.

    Nikon has a better flash system because of it's wireless flash sync.

    Canon has a better lens selection or should I say they have more lenses to choose from.

    I have heard many say that Nikons are more intuitive and have better controls and ergonomics. I have never used a Nikon so I can't confirm or deny that.

    Please add to or correct me.

    Let the games begin
    5D MK III, 50D, ELAN 7E, 17-40mm 4, Sigma 10mm 2.8 fisheye, 18-55mm 3.5-5.6 IS, 30mm 1.4, 85mm 1.8, 580 EX, 430 EX speedlight, Pocket wizard flex and mini.
    Canon G10

    Pentax P30, 50mm 2.0

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Chicago, IL USA
    If I were to do it all over again, I may go with a Canon. But I certainly dont feel limited at all with Nikon. I just didn't like the feel of the entry level Canons. Too much plastic, and cheap feeling. Perhaps if I were to go with a 30D my feelings would change.

    The huge amount of Canon lenses is nice, however, I cant afford a first party lens anyways, so thats kind of a moot point in my case.

    I would like a little better ISO performance however. The Nikon takes great pictures, and even at ISO1600 the photos look just fine, but there is still more noise than I would like, unless I convert the photo to black and white.

    I havent tried out a D80 or D200, but Im sure they have much better ISO performance than my D50.
    Nikon D300 | MB-D10 | Nikkor 12-24/4 | Nikkor 50/1.8 | Nikkor 70-200/2.8 VRI | Sigma 18-50/2.8 | SB-800 | SB-80DX (x4) | Radiopopper JrX Studio |

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    I have a Nikon D70s. I purchased it over Canon primarily because I have a slight Nikon bias, even though I have a little Canon P&S.

    I look forward to getting the Nikon 18-200 lens which fits the majority of my shooting and, to my knowledge, Canon doesn't have.

    I have no regrets and would purchase another Nikon without hesitation.

    Last edited by murrays; 01-31-2007 at 12:41 PM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Des Plaines, IL

    Cool A choice hobby

    My tale is a little weirder than most. Okay, with that said, grab a cool one ... the down arrow, 'cause here goes:

    Since the introduction of the Minolta Maxxum AF line in 1985, I have been shooting with it ... and still do. Great cameras ... but improvements have been made. Unfortunately, in 2005 ... Minolta fell on hard times. Their "digital" cameras were riding that wave when it crashed.

    Rather than buy into the "doomed" system, I opted to go elesewhere. I ordered both the Nikon D70s and the Canon 20D, considered to be the foundational (not intro-, I was beyond that) APS-C offerings, at the time.
    • The Nikon D70s only has a 6.1 MP sensor, the Canon EOS 20D -> 8.2 MP. Point for Canon in sheer Sensor-Size (at the time).
    • The Canon also had a better ISO-setting range and response. Point for Canon for ISO.
    • The Nikon could trigger remote flash ... cool, but with an ST-E2 add-on, the Canon actually had light-RATIO control over the slave flashes (420EX, 430EX, 580EX). It may not be "built-in", but only takes a moment to slip it on the hot-shoe. Point for Canon for excellent Remote Control.

    It was at this point, since the two systems were a "wash", being pretty much the same from there on down ... I went with the Canon. Also, Canon allows you to graduate your lenses to Full Frame sensors, when that day comes. You can instantly use all your EF-glass (not your EF-S glass ) on those cameras and that is very desirable, in my estimation, as Nikon does not even have a full-sensor offering, it's 2007 and Nikon only has the enhanced D2Xs 12MP. Point to Canon for Growth Factor

    Of course, like anything else ... what gets resurrected nine months after this "system-changing" decision? The Minolta-digital system, wrapped in a SONY suit (along with the Nikon D200 10.2MP sensor built into it). Okay, so another $800 for the new SONY A100 and I had immediate re-use of all my previous 35mm-film Minolta AF-glass. (Oh, if only they had done this that prior October. Probably could have saved me $5000 in Canon and some pretty impressive third-party Canon-mount glass.)

    So ... I have both full-blown Canon and SONY digital and 35mm-film systems. If one is busy, I have the other in reserve. I didn't plan it this way, but it is what it is ... my hobby of choice.
    Last edited by DonSchap; 01-31-2007 at 02:34 PM. Reason: Clarification
    Don Schap - BFA, Digital Photography
    A Photographer Is Forever
    Look, I did not create the optical laws of the Universe ... I simply learned to deal with them.
    Remember: It is usually the GLASS, not the camera (except for moving to Full Frame), that gives you the most improvement in your photography.

    flickr & Sdi

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Delfgauw, The Netherlands
    First of all, I apologize if this post is too long-winded, it has become a little longer than I thought it would be.

    Nick, it's a great idea starting a thread like this. There are few honest comparisons between the two systems on the internet in my opinion. Most internet reviews don't compare the systems any further than noise levels and burstmodes. Let's hope that everyone will keep it friendly.

    I have the Nikon D50 and am very happy with the camera. The reason I chose Nikon over Canon 350D was mainly the cheaper price of the Nikon, though I also prefered the ergonomics of the Nikon. When comparing the features and performance of each camera I found that each had some advantages over the other, but not enough to give one of them an edge over the other.

    However, now that I have made my decision I will stick with the brand I chose for, because I have already invested quite a lot in accessories and lenses. Also, and I know this may sound silly, I have developed a certain brand loyalty to Nikon .

    Now, on to the comparison of the two systems.

    For those starting out:
    When you are new to dSLR and have no prior experience with SLR cameras, the Nikon D40 might be a better choice than the Canon 400D. The Nikon has more automated options (for instance auto-ISO) and an in build help function explaining several of the functions. Its less versatile, since it can only use af-s lenses (Nikkon's version of USM).

    Each brand has many great lenses in their line-up. For most Nikon lenses there's a Canon counterpart and visa versa. One could argue that Nikon's line-up is a bit more consumer orientated. They for instance have the Nikkor 18-200VR. Canon, on the other hand, has some professional grade lenses that Nikon does not have, for instance the 70-200 f/4. One thing that also strikes me when comparing the line-up of both systems is that Canon's professional primes (with autofocus) often have a larger apperture than Nikon's. Canon, for instance, has a 85 f/1.2, while Nikon has the 85 f/1.4. Also, Canon has an 24 f/1.4, while Nikon has a 24 f/2.8 as the largest apperture prima at that focal length. Canon has a 200 f/1.8, while Nikon has a 200 f/1.8. These are just some examples.

    On the other hand, Nikkor does have the 10,5mm fisheye, a 180 degree diagonal fisheye (the field of view of a 15mm fisheye on a full frame camera). Furthermore, Canon is known to have focussing issues with some third party lenses, especially Sigma, while Nikon has this issue to a much smaller degree. This opens up many opportunities for the Nikon user, because many third party lenses are really good bargains.

    Nikons Creative Lighting System is superior to Canons flash system. Of course, using specialized equipment you can get almost identical set-ups with either system, but Nikon's system is much easier to set up, simply a couple of flashes on tripods and a (D70 and above) body as a commander to trigger these flashes.

    High ISO:
    Canon clearly has the edge over Nikon when it comes down to high ISO. All Canon dSLR bodies have a better high ISO performance than the Nikon alternatives. Furthermore, Canon makes full-frame cameras with even lower noise levels. However, Nikon's system is improving, the noise levels on the D40 and D80 are already a lot lower than those of the previous generation of dSLRs.

    Full frame or APS-C?
    If you are looking for full frame cameras, Canon is as of yet the only brand which produces such cameras (or did Kodak also produce them?). Whether Nikon will release one is still unclear. Judging from the amount of DX (digital only lenses) it may seem that Nikon will keep developing products in the APS-C format. While it can be said that larger sensors will give a better image quality, one can also say that if the rate of sensor development of the last ten years is kept, it will not take to long before clean, high resolution sensors can be produced at very small sizes. Also, with the current selection of ultra wide angle lenses available for APS-C cameras, full frame really cannot get all that much wider than APS-C. The widest you can go on a full frame camera is 12 mm with the Sigma 12-24 and 14mm with the Canon prime. The widest you can go on a APS-C camera is 15mm with a 10-2x zoom. (crop factors taken into account are 1.5 and fisheyes are excluded)

    Colour, build quality and ergonomics:
    This is entirely subjective. Some people tend to love Nikon for the Nikon-colour in the image. Others prefer Canon for similar reasons. People with large hands find that the Nikon entry level cameras fit in their hands much better than Canon's entry level camera. People with small hands think the opposite. Some think the Canon's have too much platic, others say the same about Nikon. It has been said that the 30D is better build than the D200, but on the other hand, the D200 is weather-sealed while the 30D is not.

    The bottom line
    With either system you can take great pictures. After all, it's the photographer making the picture, not the camera. Making a decision between the two is a tough one. I would say that if you are consumer getting started, Nikon might be a better choice, with its all-in-one consumer lenses and the D40 entry level camera. For (aspiring) professional photographers Canon might be better due to its superior high ISO, full frame bodies and more extensive lens selection. However, both types of customers can be entirely satisfied with either system.

    I hope that all the information I gave here is accurate, feel free to correct me if I got something wrong.
    Last edited by Prospero; 01-31-2007 at 01:31 PM.
    Nikon D-50
    // Nikkor 70-300 f/4-5.6 VR // Nikkor 50 mm f/1.8
    // Sigma 17-70 f/2.8-4.5 ...// Nikon SB-600
    // Sigma 10-20 f/4-5.6......// Nikon Series E 135 mm f/2.8
    // Kiron 105 f/2.8 Macro....// Manfrotto 190XPROB + 488RC4
    // Nikkor 35 f/1.8..........// Sigma 500 mm f/8

    My website: http://www.dennisdolkens.nl

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    City of Lights, City of Casinos, City of Sin -- Must be Las Vegas!
    I basically started out with a Pentax K1000 camera (beginner or student level, interchangeable lens, 35 mm film, single-lens reflex (SLR)) and after the person who was teaching me about photography died, I got out of photography for quite some time. Years later, I picked up an Olympus C3000 then sold it after picking up a small Sony point and shoot that I still own and enjoy since it still serves its own purpose.

    After seeing numerous R/C photos posted online and since my father had recently died, I wanted something "more" to take family photos. Sure, I checked out several brands, including both Nikon and Canon, but I still wanted to remain within a certain budget since I really didn't know (or know) how long this "phase" (if it is a phase) would last. After all, I've already spent $$$ on other hobbies.

    Then after holding several “beginner” level dSLRs (including the Canon XTi), I purchased the Nikon D50 because the price seemed good at the time. Soon after the purchase, a company asked me to take some photos and do an online review. A little later, I joined a local camera club where it appeared the XTi owners gave me a hard time, which I learned to ignore very quickly since the nicest photos I saw and still continue to see in the club were taken with a Nikon. This also included some underwater photography photos. Of course, after I upgraded, the petty comments stopped.

    After “learning” how to use the D50 and moving away from the pre-set scene modes, I soon wanted more from a camera and realized that an upgrade was inevitable, especially after moving up to some pro-level lenses—the Nikon D50 now felt too light to balance out the heavier 70-200mm F/2.8 VR lens compared to the larger Nikon cameras. I then tried out more cameras, including the Nikon D70s, D80, D200, and D2Xs (for that matter I also tried the Canon EOS 5D, 30D, and XTi (as well as the D40 and the new Pentax cameras).

    Since I came to the realization that I was going to spend more money, I purchased the D200 which appeared to have won numerous awards and received good reviews. The D200 was also faster than the D70s and the newer D80. I also preferred the feel of the D200 over the D80 (which feels like my D50 to me). To me the D2Xs is nice and faster yet, but out of my budget. In retrospect, I also don't regret starting out with the D50 since I believe that I learned a lot from using it. I've also since refused to sell it since I figured that I would simply keep it as a backup camera.

    And after personally speaking with owners of both the Canon EOS 1Ds Mark II and Nikon D2Xs, I was informed that the Nikon D200 was a good choice. Either way, numerous photos of mine where published in the January 2007 issue of one magazine and the March 2007 issue of another magazine. Something, I’m happy about since I also received the cover shot on the March 2007 issue after someone initially referred me to cover the event.
    Last edited by TNB; 01-31-2007 at 01:33 PM.
    Canon G10 - Nikon D3 - Sony P&S - Flickr Account - Non-updated Website

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Nikon has a 18-200mm 3.5-5.6 VR lens. I think the closest thing canon will offer in that market would be the 28-135mm 3.5-5.6 IS. Lets keep in mind the wider range a lens has generally the IQ suffers and lens distortions, and vignetting are introduced. Also depending on your shooting style and type of shooting you plan on doing an aperature value of 3.5-5.6 will not be ideal on many occasions.

    VR or IS will not stop action it will only help improve camera shake blur.

    18-200mm is a very impressive focal range though, and would help reduce lens swapping.

    Ok so lets compare... if you wanted that focal range covered (as cheep as possible) with a canon system with IS you would be looking at.

    70-300mm 4-5.6 IS $549.95 (at B&H)
    17-85mm 4-5.6 IS $514. (at B&H)

    For a total of about $1065

    Compare that to $749.95 for the 18-200mm.

    I would suspect that the two canon lens are of better quality then the Nikon but maybe less convenient depending on your shooting style.

    Now that example would be the closest set of lenses to cover around 18-200mm, and I'm only dealing with Canon or Nikon lenses. Let us leave the third party lenses out because they are common to both systems anyway.

    Don: I didn't even know about the ST-E2. Lets keep in mind that the 580EX can also trigger slave flashes, but I think the Nikon has an edge because it's in camera. That reduces set-up time and hassle of having an other attachment on the camera increasing it's size and weight.

    We know the Nikon has the very versatile "vibration reduced" 18-200mm 3.5-5.6 lens. Personally I would not be interested in this lens because of it's relatively small aperature and it's questionable IQ. I prefer available light shots with as little flash as possible.

    Most of my shooting is indoors/low light/action. For this type of shooting it is hard to beat a fixed aperature 2.8 zoom lens or a prime. Canon has a ton of prime lenses, reasonably priced versions, and supper fast alternatives (expensive too!). Pair that with a camera with ISO 3200 like the 30D and you get results like this. CDI is a very talented photographer which doesn't hurt either. Those shots are at ISO 3200... CRAZY!
    Last edited by Nickcanada; 01-31-2007 at 02:06 PM.
    5D MK III, 50D, ELAN 7E, 17-40mm 4, Sigma 10mm 2.8 fisheye, 18-55mm 3.5-5.6 IS, 30mm 1.4, 85mm 1.8, 580 EX, 430 EX speedlight, Pocket wizard flex and mini.
    Canon G10

    Pentax P30, 50mm 2.0

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Canon. Because girls just swarm around guys with white and red ringed lenses.

    EOS 30D | EOS 350D | EOS 88 | A95
    EF 50mm f1.8 MKI | EF-S 10-22 | EF 28-105 mkII | EF 17-40 F4L| EF 70-200 F4L
    LowePro AW 200
    Canon 550EX Speedlite
    RC-1 IR Remote
    Dynatran Carbon Fibre CF881 Ballhead Tripod
    Dynatran Carbon Fibre CF901 Monopod

    Veritas Images


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Nsw Oz.


    For me the entry into DSLR was with Nikon. My reasoning at the time was to buy a Canon 20D as I have a Canon 35mm & just before I went to purchase it the Nikon D200 came out of which I thought that for the dollar the D200 was a better buy. I also believe that Nikon had the best glass although the flood of Canon lenses seems to have evened that score. Personally I don't think there is a great deal of difference, to me one is grey & the other is a darker shade of white.

    24-70mm f2.8 , 50mm f1.8, 70-200 f2.8 VR.more

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Des Plaines, IL

    Exclamation Order

    Quote Originally Posted by some guy View Post
    Canon. Because girls just swarm around guys with white and red ringed lenses.
    Excuse me?

    (hands on hips) ... and just where, my friend, are these so-called hordes of choice babes? My shutter-finger is at the ready ... and my 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM is waiting for a dead-on belly-button shot!
    Don Schap - BFA, Digital Photography
    A Photographer Is Forever
    Look, I did not create the optical laws of the Universe ... I simply learned to deal with them.
    Remember: It is usually the GLASS, not the camera (except for moving to Full Frame), that gives you the most improvement in your photography.

    flickr & Sdi

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