New Workshop! Lighting 3 | Advanced Off Camera Flash

Gear & Apps

Canon vs. Nikon: Why I Want To Switch To Nikon, But Can’t Fully | Tony Northrup

By Kishore Sawh on September 3rd 2014


Probably few comparisons, if any, stir the fervent loyalty of photographers like that of Nikon vs Canon. As the two primary photographic gear brands, the offerings from these two make up the bulk of the market, and so it’s natural that such a rivalry would develop. Like other notorious rivalries such as Army vs Navy, cream vs milk, and Zoolander vs Hansel, it’s difficult to give a definitive call on which is ‘better,’ much less ‘best.’ Mind you, that hasn’t stopped anyone from trying, nor ceased the vehement verbiage from fanboys on either side of the fence.

In the informative video featured here, Tony Northrup, once more, pits the two brands against each other, but does so in what seems to me to be the only really sensible way. He recently shared his views of the Nikon D810, and was so smitten with it, seemed ready to jump the Canon ship he’d been riding, in favor of going fully Nikon. What he takes you through is really his thought process and comparison points used to arrive at his decision.


Let it be said here, that this isn’t a rant for any one company, nor is it an exercise in reaching the decision once and for all which brand is better, but rather which brand is best suited for particular needs, and ‘better’ only drawing definition through measurable points. Along the way, Northrup goes through the differences between bodies from the two companies, as well as lenses, flashes and flash systems, ultimately discussing his findings and giving suggestions for specific types of photographers based on those findings.

[REWIND: Canon Lens Experience | A Truly Comprehensive & Interactive Lens Guide]


This has to be one of the more enlightening videos I’ve come across in some time. Tony’s technical narration about the actual resolution of a given lens and body pairing is sure to have many photographers listening intently, and rushing over to DxO Mark to tally their gear stats. Likewise, his discussion about focus breathing and the differences between a 70-200 2.8 from Canon or Nikon will have some reaching to test their gear, and others to buy new ones.

It’s strange to me that Tony seems to come under some flack from some in the photographic community for his work. His methods seem sound, and his approach is often different from the average, which to me, makes it appealing. I’ve featured a number of his videos here, and before you ask, no I’m not affiliated with him in any way so I’ve got no dog in this fight, I just think he is one of very few who is putting out broadening information many wouldn’t even know to ask about, but want to know.

For more from Tony be sure to check out his YouTube Channel, website, and Facebook.

This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links, however, this does not impact accuracy or integrity of our content.

A photographer and writer based in Miami, he can often be found at dog parks, and airports in London and Toronto. He is also a tremendous fan of flossing and the happiest guy around when the company’s good.

Q&A Discussions

Please or register to post a comment.

  1. | |
  2. John McCosh

    A very interesting comparison between the two systems. As a wedding photographer 80 – 90% of my shots are shot using my 28 – 75mm f/2.8 Tamron lens. In most comments I have seen from other wedding photographers is this is pretty standard for them also. Therefore Nikon seems to be the best brand especially with their higher dynamic range for weddings.

    However I am disappointed in Tony’s research on the 70 – 200mm range for Nikon, why are companies allowed to advertise something that it is not. Fair enough allowing a small percentage of discretionary in focal length but what Tony has mentioned are not even in the small ballpark and if Nikon and third party manufacturers weren’t allowed to advertise their lens as a 70 – 200mm then I am sure they will be putting their full efforts into creating such a lens.

    | |
  3. Dre Rolle

    Awesome post, I love that it’s such a detailed explanation about which system is good for what.

    | |
  4. Chuck Eggen

    I like watching their videos but I think Tony was looking for a reason “not” to switch to Nikon. The issues he finds insurmountable haven’t held back some of the hottest photographers out there right now. Just my opinion.

    | |
    • Michael Young

      So now he has two systems instead of one. Sounds like the best of both worlds to me :)

      | |
  5. Mark Iuzzolino

    As usual it seems there will always be pluses and minuses no matter what you buy. I’ve come to the conclusion there is no perfect camera. As Tony illustrated, you may need two different brand bodies for different uses. Great job breaking it all down!

    | |
  6. Trey Mortensen

    This is a complement to those of us who are on SLR Lounge. I went over to PetaPixel to check out the comments on the same article and most of the comments were just criticisms. It was so negative. Over here, (minus mine), the comments are extremely positive.
    Way to go SLR Lounge faithful! You are above trolling!

    | |
  7. Trey Mortensen

    The only thing I would argue with this video is how necessary megapixels are. I feel the whole premise of this video is based on the megapixel war. Granted that extra detail is nice, but how realistically necessary is it? I have friends who have huge prints with the original 5D which was only 12MP. As much as I loved the scientific-ness (new word?), I think that sometimes we forget that generally the system we have is good enough and changing brands won’t significantly affect your business.
    Anywho, just goes to show you that investing in great lenses is WAY more important than a camera body. Those will always get better, but a great lens will last (which is why I’m saving my pennies right now)

    | |
  8. Christopher Snyder

    Interesting video, however I looked up the same Nikon combo and found different results with the sharpness. I’m showing it green all the way through. I’ll give ya the focal length difference, but I disagree with it turning red in the longer lengths.

    | |
    • Michael Young

      You probably made the same mistake I did and compared it to the VR2. The chart he’s showing is for the VR1, b/c that’s the one he’d more likely get for the sake of compression.

      | |
  9. Herm Tjioe

    Nuthin but net !!!!

    | |
  10. claude laramée

    Good review Tony ! You are so coolheaded and a pleasure to listen to !
    I did rent a 70-200mm ƒ2:8 using a Canon MK II for portrait and fashion … I was blown away with the focusing speed & accuracy + details !
    Keep up the good work !

    | |
  11. Connor Katz

    He could just get a Nikon 200f2 and be done with it. Yea its an expensive specialty lens, but well, it pretty much made for exactly what he likes to shoot.

    | |
    • Kishore Sawh

      GIven the statistical breakdown he gave, he shoots only about 1/3 of his shots with a 70-200 racked out at 200. Part of the whole appeal is the versatility – something the prime would not have on tap. That said… that f2 is pretty sick

      | |
  12. George Hamma

    I made the system choice by renting sets of gear, going out to do a shoot, noting how each system was to work with, then looking at the results. Canon focused faster, had the 70-200 I found I was using, and pretty good flash units – so I went Canon. This video provides excellent real-world information that would be very helpful to lots of working-on-it photographers. Thank you, Tony Northrup!

    | |
  13. Tom Marvel

    You forgot Ginger vs Mary Ann!

    | |
    • Ralph Hightower

      Canon vs Nikon is like Chevy vs Ford.

      | |
    • Ralph Hightower

      When I was researching for a DSLR to buy in 2013, I just focused on Canon. Sure, I could’ve switched brands since with either brand I bought, I would have to invest in new glass; the Canon FD mount that I own for my A-1 (bought new 34 years ago) and F-1N, won’t mount on Canon EOS DSLR. But, I’ve been shooting film for 34 years with Canon, why switch brands when going digital?

      | |
    • Michael Young

      Ralph: “Why switch brands when going digital?”

      Because digital and film aren’t the same? I guess in the grand scheme it doesn’t matter, b/c they’re both great camera companies. But with film, you were tied to just one film. With digital, unless you’re shooting medium format with a removable back, you’re tied to one sensor. If you want to change sensors, you’re going to be stuck waiting a few years to buy a new camera.

      | |
  14. Eric Sharpe

    Cheezus! I really enjoy Tony’s videos.

    | |
  15. Tyler Rippel

    Awesome video and explanation. I loved his 70-200 comparison as well. Thanks for sharing.

    | |
  16. Kim Farrelly

    That Tony Northrup, he’s so hot right now!

    | |