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Entry Level Cameras Canon vs Nikon | Gear Talk Episode 11

By Joseph Cha on December 5th 2014

DSLR Rivals

History is full of great rivalries such as Thomas Edison vs Nikola Tesla; Magic Johnson vs Larry Bird; and Eminem vs M&Ms. In the DSLR world, there is no greater rivalry than Canon vs Nikon. Check out our video as we compare the entry level cameras from both Canon and Nikon.

Watch Entry Level Cameras Canon vs Nikon | Gear Talk Episode 11

Canon vs Nikon: Quality

Both Canon and Nikon make quality products, but Nikon does have the edge when it comes to build. We were using inexpensive prime lenses from both manufacturers, and when compared to each other, the Nikon lenses felt solid and robust while the Canon lenses were built from more plastic and felt like toys. Our good friend John Solano also mentions that he shoots Nikon because his mother picked Nikon over Canon due to the build quality (by doing the knocking test). Obviously, when you move into the more expensive lenses and cameras, the margin between Canon and Nikon’s build quality diminishes.

Winner: Nikon

Canon vs Nikon: Performance

The Nikon also has the edge in performance, and I’ll give you 2 reasons why: Dynamic Range and Autofocus. Across the board, from their entry level cameras to their professional cameras, Nikon cameras have better Dynamic Range and Autofocus. The Nikon also has better low light performance.

canon vs nikon

Winner: Nikon

Canon vs Nikon: Features

When it comes to features, the Canon has the advantage. The Rebel features a touch screen and Canon has invested heavily into the video functions in their cameras, so the Rebel doubles as an excellent film camera. If you’re looking to buy a camera that does photo and video well, then the Canon is the clear choice. The Rebel also has a live-view Histogram, which is a huge plus for Pye.

Winner: Canon

Canon vs Nikon: Value

Even though these cameras are considered “entry level,” their value is incredible. Both these cameras are capable of producing professional images, and we prove that in our “The Camera is Simply a Tool” video from our Photography 101 workshop.

Winner: Draw

Conclusion and More Gear Talk!

If you’re looking for an excellent stills camera, then the Nikon is the one we recommend, but if you’re looking to do both video and photography, then you want to go with the Rebel.We hope you enjoyed this episode of Gear Talk! For all the latest updates, be sure to subscribe to our Youtube Channel!

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I’m a photographer and cinematographer based in Southern California. When I don’t have a camera in my face I enjoy going to the movies and dissecting the story telling and visual aesthetics.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Branko Sreckovic

    Gee… I have just run into this nice chat. What was the saying…’the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence’. Yes we talk of entry level cameras. But take a peek in gear bags of hard pros working for National Geographic. Choose any 10 of them. More or less the result is Nikon 2 : Canon 8.
    Back in 1980s choice was more ample. Yet many people have chosen Nikon because it was proclaimed the most durable camera or system. The lens which earned them glory during Korean War was exactly that 10.5cm.
    People tend to forget that Canon lenses had more natural, warm or pleasing color rendering. Somehow they have managed, in my opinion, to keep that secret today in lens-sensor-processor combo. Both BIG companies presented certain amount of greed. I am Nikonian but I believe that Canon acted better in fair-play or more honest. After all, more of their gear is produced in Japan. On the other hand I was ‘blessed’ with D7000 with severe autofocus issue then D 600 arrived with oil (they could easily be bloody) spots. First was corrected but no such luck with D600. Why was that? I live in Serbia and some things are not easily done here. So I lost confidence for the future.
    Maybe the Fujifilm would be the answer. Real command dials, real metal body, real metal lenses…
    Or some future Pentax.
    Or Olympus…

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  2. Murray Severn

    I’ve also heard that for a beginner, it’s also good to consider what is being used by the people you know, so that it’s easier to get help on particular quirks of the brand you choose.

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  3. Basit Zargar

    great battle :)

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  4. Ian Sanderson

    I’ve just switched from Canon to Nikon. I was pretty shocked at the Canon prices here in the UK, you’re looking at an extra £250

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  5. James Pacheco

    When I bought my “entry level”, I went with “hand feel”. I was deciding between Canon and Nikon, and one felt more comfortable in my hand.

    I’ve since switched to a Fuji X-T1… Go figure.

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  6. Ryan Orcullo

    No Canon shooters or users commented :P #canonuserhere

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    • Ralph Hightower

      Hey, I commented that I shoot with three Canon cameras. I still shoot with the Canon A-1 that I bought new 34 years ago. BTW, I also own a 5D III.

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    • Ryan Orcullo

      Ah yes I read it hehe there is! :)

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    I love my Nikon D5300 …..its a great camera esp with the 50 f1.8 and my Rokinon 16mm f2.0 ………The battle usually is in the glass that you decide to put on your camera whether its a nikon canon or any other brand

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    • Matthew Saville

      Yeah, but at 16mm the battle is pretty easily won by that Rokinon, isn’t it Martin? I’m always blown away by the sharpness that thing manages to pull off, considering that Nikon crammed 24 megapixels into a 1.5x crop sensor. Those must be like, the smallest pixels ever! (And therefore, the most demanding on any lens, ever!)

      What a lot of people dont’ realize is that, despite cropping in from the edges of what is usually a softer corner on a full-frame lens, crop sensors also demand much more resolving power from a lens. For example a D5300 (24 MP, 1.5x, no AA filter) versus a D750 (24 MP, FX, AA filter) will make any lens actually appear more SOFT on the D5300, in the central area, if that lens is barely able to resolve the full-frame resolution.

      But that’s wayyyy off-topic lol. The bottom line IMO is that the D5300 is one of the best beginner / hobbyist DSLRs ever, and I’m really glad I own one; I use it for both casual and professional work, despite also owning multiple FX bodies and lenses!

      It’s a shame that, up until recently, Canon has blatantly crippled its APS-C sensors to the same standard they achieved 5-10 years ago WRT dynamic range and low-light performance. However, here’s to hoping that we see this new 7D mk2 sensor trickle down to all the Rebels and such, maybe even an EOS M, soon!


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  8. Ralph Hightower

    Canon vs. Nikon. Chevy vs. Ford. The classic battle!

    When I bought my first SLR, I had a wide range of manufacturers to choose from: Canon, Nikon, Minolta, Pentax, Olympus. I went with the Canon A-1 in 1980 since it was the more innovative offering shutter-priority, aperture-priority. and Program mode, besides manual.
    I still shoot with that A-1 besides the F-1N (July 2013) and 5D III (December 2013).

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  9. Brandon Dewey

    I wish this video would have been posted 2 days ago. This would have been helpful trying to explain to by brother-in-law which entry level camera he should get his wife.

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  10. Greg Silver

    Had a Rebel (T3i) at one time. Loved it, learned lots. Also used an older Nikon D50 (for work).
    Both the Canon and Nikon worked great for what they were.

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