New Workshop: Photographing Group Portraits!


Should I Buy a Canon or Nikon Camera? The Never Ending Debate

By Pye Jirsa on May 16th 2009


If you are passionate about photography, then you probably get asked one of two questions from friends and family. The first, “What Camera Should I Buy?” Well, that is a subject in and of itself, which is why we addressed it in its own article that you can read by clicking here.

The second question we frequently get asked, “What camera brand is better? Canon or Nikon?” We have been asked this question so many times that we thought we would address this question as well.

What’s Better, Canon or Nikon?

Most friends and family are probably going to ask the question, “Canon or Nikon?” This is for the simple reason that Canon and Nikon have sunk so much money into marketing that really they are the first two brands of camera that come to the consumer’s mind.

That being said, beyond Canon and Nikon cameras, today’s marketplace is filled with amazing cameras from plenty of different companies.

Panasonic has an amazing line of Micro 4:3 cameras with the Panasonic GH3. Sony has stepped up their game with new professional level full frame cameras such as the Sony A99, and they are soon to be releasing additional full frame cameras aimed towards advanced consumers.

I could continue and name off several brands and camera models, each with their respective strengths and weaknesses. But, the main point that I am hitting at is that there are plenty of amazing camera makes and makers available in the marketplace.

As consumers, rather than asking the question “Which camera is better?” we should be asking the question,

Which camera is better for me, my needs, and my intended uses?

Each Camera has its Strengths and Weaknesses

Regardless of the brand, model or even the price, there will never be a camera that is simply the clear cut best camera in every aspect. Let me explain.

If someone were to ask me, “What camera produces the best image detail and most accurate colors?” I would probably respond by saying the Phase One IQ180 Digital Back with a 645DF Body. It has an incredible resolution of 80 megapixels and a wonderfully broad dynamic range of 12.5 stops. Does that mean it is the best overall camera? Absolutely not.

The Phase One IQ180 is large and bulky making it terribly cumbersome for the on-the-go shooter. It can only capture around 1 frame per second making it a terrible camera for shooting live action and sports. It does a poor job with low light in comparison to something like a Nikon D800 or Canon 5D Mark III. Oh yeah, and it costs about as much as a decent European luxury car.

Let’s speak for a moment on the other side of the spectrum and talk about the Canon PowerShot S100. This camera little $300 advanced point and shoot can’t really touch the resolution, detail and color that could be produced with the Phase One. Does that make it a bad camera? Of course not.

The Canon PowerShot S100 is a beautiful advanced point and shoot camera offering photographers the ability to create great quality images with camera that is so small and light you can keep it in your shirt pocket. It gives advanced users the flexibility of controlling the cameras exposure settings and shooting in RAW; Yet if the user knows nothing about photography, it provides enough automated control to still create a great and usable image.

Of course this is a bit ridiculous comparing a $40,000 camera to a $300 one. But, hopefully you understand my point. Both of these cameras are designed for completely different purposes. While their features and abilities are completely different, both are great cameras in their own right.

It’s silly to think that there is some sort of clear cut ‘best’ all-around-camera on the market. If that camera existed, every other company would be out of business.

Different Makes, Similar Models? Nikon D800 vs Canon 5D Mark III

Even when comparing similar models of cameras across two different makes, each is going to have its strengths and weaknesses.

For example, one of the most debated camera comparisons would be the Canon 5D Mark III against the Nikon D800. Both are full frame cameras, both offer great low light sensitivity, a broad dynamic range, etc. So, which one is better?

Once again, the answer isn’t very clear cut and the best camera is really going to depend on you, your needs and your photographic style.

Let’s talk about the Nikon D800 for a moment:

D800 is Better in Low Light

– The Nikon D800 still edges out the Canon 5D Mark III when it comes to low light performance. Don’t get me wrong, both cameras are amazing in low light situations, but as of this particular moment, Nikon is just a bit ahead in this area.

D800 has a Higher Dynamic Range

– The D800’s approximate 14 stops of dynamic range and 25 bit color depth also trounces the 5D3’s 12 stop dynamic range and 24 bit color depth.

D800 has a Higher Resolution

– Megapixels aren’t everything, but they definitely play a part in overall sensor quality. The higher the resolution, the more detail a sensor can generally resolve as we discuss in The Truth Behind the Megapixel Myth. Boasting over 36 megapixels, the D800 once again trounces the 5D3’s paltry 23 megapixels. Sorry, 23 megapixels isn’t really “paltry”, you know what I mean :D

These are three major factors that would point to the Nikon D800 being clearly better, at least on paper, than the Canon 5D Mark III. Not to mention the fact that the Nikon D800 is currently a bit cheaper as well.

So, why would anyone want the Canon 5D Mark III?

Canon has a Broader Line Up of Lenses

– While Nikon has some great glass in its line up, Canon simply offers more. There are more lenses in the Canon lens lineup, more consumer zooms, more professional primes and even cinema primes.

5D3 is the Leader in DSLR Video

– It’s arguable whether the D800 produces better video with its higher dynamic range and color depth. What isn’t arguable is that Canon has the market when it comes to DSLR video support. There are simply far more 3rd party companies producing products and support for Canon DSLR cinematographers than Nikon. If video is important, this is a major factor.

Canon’s More Flattering Skin Tones SOOC

– While the Nikon D800 produces more dynamic range and better color depth, images coming straight of the camera tend to be a bit more green and require a bit of manipulation to achieve more natural, warm and flattering skin tone. Photographers are generally more satisfied with the skin tones straight from the Canon 5D Mark III.

Crap, OK… So 5D3 or D800?

The arguments above are of course just a few of the features of each of these cameras. While you could say the D800 is technically a better “camera” there is still an overwhelmingly strong reason to use the Canon 5D Mark III. So much so that it is currently by far a more popular camera than the Nikon D800, despite its technical drawbacks.

In addition, each camera maker tends to one up each other year after year. While Nikon may be leading in certain areas, Canon might be leading next year in those same areas and vice versa.

Again, there is no clear cut winner and it still is going to come back to which camera is right for you and your specific needs? So to help you out, we are going to help you make a decision based on some factors you may not have thought of.

3 Not So Obvious Things to Consider

Obviously your budget, and the camera’s features are going to be the primary considerations. You want to choose a camera that fits your overall ongoing budget, and you want to choose a camera that has the features that best fit your needs. So, let’s skip over these two obvious considerations.

1. What do your friends/family shoot with?

You might think that this question is irrelevant, but in our opinion it is actually one of the biggest factors in making the decision. Why? Because if you choose the same camera brand as your friend/family, that means you can share lenses, flashes, equipment, knowledge, everything!

This can be a huge factor in a photographer’s growth because not only can you share and access more gear, you can also learn from each other’s experience.

2. Think Towards the Future

You may not currently be interested in shooting video, or capturing landscape images, or becoming a wedding photographer. But, take a moment and just look towards the future for a moment. If you feel that at some point in the future, you would like to explore a certain type of photography or cinematography, then that should play into your decision now!

For example, perhaps at the moment you don’t have time to travel, but your passion is traveling and travel photography. Well, don’t go investing in a heavy DSLR and lenses that would be cumbersome to carry around when you do start traveling! Instead, I would go with an advanced point and shoot such as the Canon PowerShot G12, or even step up to a Micro 4:3 system such as the Panasonic GH3.

In the future, if you think you may end up getting into cinematography, then choosing a Canon camera will help you down the road. Not only can you continue using your existing lenses as you upgrade your camera body, but you will also be familiar with using Canon cameras, working with camera footage and so forth.

So think forward when you are making your decision.

3. Marrying the brand.

If you choose an interchangeable lens camera system, then you need to keep in mind that you will essentially be “marrying” the brand you select.

While your camera body may only cost $1,000, a nice set of lenses and equipment can easily run you an additional $10,000. At that point, it becomes quite difficult to switch brands down the road (unless you are willing to eat the financial loss of selling and switching). So, spend a bit of time and choose wisely.

Hopefully this has been of some help to those of you trying to make this decision. Please also add your comments and ideas below!


Founding Partner of Lin and Jirsa Photography and SLR Lounge.

Follow my updates on Facebook and my latest work on Instagram both under username @pyejirsa.


Please or register to post a comment.

  1. Dave

    This is an old thread but thought i’d chime in…

    I started with a Canon 30D and switched to a Nikon D200 (at the time) because I was in mist and rain a lot and it became important for me to have a weather-sealed camera and you could get into a Nikon one for a lot less than a canon (D200 vs 5d).

    Funny thing is most ppl I know shoot Canons and almost every single of of them has asked me how I get such great colors and I answer “because I don’t shoot with a canon” lol

    I hated my 30D and I’ve noticed that once you get to a 5d and above the image quality and colors become similar. The cheaper ones can take great pix but in most cases on the cheaper ones I can tell if it was shot with a nikon or canon, the Nikons seem to have a deeper, richer color. Look at a scott kelby book and you’ll see what I mean.

    | |
  2. Andre

    what about Pentax? The K-5 is considered to be one of the best APS-C bodies out there, because of its insane durability, nice sensor, and compact size. Plus, it is now reduced to $880 new, considerably less than the most equivalent Canon and Nikon models, the 7D and D7000, respectively. In addition, for anyone who enjoys manual focus, there are 50 years of lenses available in K-mount, most of which will have full functionality on a Pentax DSLR. Although the Pentax TTL flash system is considerably less advanced and supported by fewer manufacturers than Canon/Nikon, there are 3 Pentax flashes of different sizes, which an amateur could find useful. Although I do not deny that at the pro level, Canon and Nikon are the only choice right now, Pentax cameras are a very viable option as an advanced amateur/semi-pro system. As the K-5’s replacement is due out this September, its price will probably continue to drop before it is finally discontinued.

    | |
  3. Alex Sutherland

    I personally use both, as a student its pricey but there are different situations where they both shine. I could go on to say what my favourite is and why like everyone else but i doubt it’ll help with so many opinons flying around. My best advice is do your reasearch and try some cameras, internet shopping wil save you fortune but testing a camera should be top priority.

    | |
  4. Deweysmith

    This question comes from a newbie, so be easy on me. Can’t we buy adapters and use canon lenses on Nikon camera bodies ? This would seem to be good for everyone involved. 

    | |
  5. Florante

    Hi Pye! It’s Florante from GearBundles. Nice
    post – can we feature it on

    our Canon and Nikon page? Drop me an email at [email protected]. Thanks!

    | |
  6. Anonymous

    iPad is the new advocate electronic artefact by Apple. It is a book PC
    with awful avant-garde appearance meant for Internet browsing, gaming,
    media consumption, and ablaze agreeable creation.

    | |
  7. Micalaryas Micalaryas

    Time ashen on selecting a camera is time ashen on acquirements how to
    use the apparatus and yield acceptable pics. Period. Both Canon and
    Nikon are solid.

    | |
  8. Ryan

    I edit photos for a wedding studio that shoots both Nikon and Canon. For me it really breaks down to this: The Canons usually have more accurate color when exposed correctly while using auto-color-balance, where-as Nikons tend to be a bit on the magenta side. The Canon 7D is great for sports photography and fast motion because of it’s AF system and the crop sensor, whereas the Nikon sensors (in general) handle high-iso and low-light shooting with much less color noise but a bit more luminance noise (which is better in my opinion because the luminance noise can look more like film grain to the untrained eye). If shooting HD video is your thing, Canon’s currently the leader in my opinion because the Nikons don’t have any 60fps shooting modes, while Canon’s 720p mode only shoots in 60fps (without moded firmware AFIK). Those are the major differences I’ve come across, so if the factors I’ve mentioned here don’t really concern you, go with ergonomics. I grew up shooting Nikon 35mm, but I like the button layout on the Canon dSLR bodies much better.

    | |
  9. iLifephotography

    wow, this got some serious responses, is the camera not but just a tool to lay down our creativity, its your mind that sees the picture the camera just captures it for you !!!

    | |
  10. Fried Toast

    I’m a bit squeezed for time, so I didn’t have a chance to read every single comment. However, in glancing over the last few, I didn’t see any reference to the point I want to make.

    Before buying, go hang out w/ friends/fellow shooters and see if you can’t borrow some of the cameras throughout the day to shoot with for awhile. Flickr meets are especially good for this. You’ll get a great idea of how the camera(s) operate and how easy they are for you to use.

    If that’s not an option, then perhaps renting would be an option. There are places online that one can generally rent from. Definitely something worth checking out.

    If renting is also a no-go, then last resort would be to go to a camera store and hold them there. I put this option as last simply because you don’t have any time with it. And bright lighting in the store isn’t exactly a great way to test out the camera (esp. if you’re looking at a high-ISO cam).

    Try not to make any judgements on the cameras based on the lenses (for example a Canon 30D w/ kit lens vs a Nikon D700 w/ 24-70mm f2.8 would be completely unfair). Glass is important! Yes! But, just like picking a monitor that is comfortable for you to look at, I think it’s just as important to find a body that fits your hands. If it doesn’t feel right, then are you going to *want* to go outside and go shooting? Are you going to want to carry it around all day on hikes or trips if it doesn’t feel right in your hands? Ergonomics is VERY important, IMO. One of THE most important points, IMHO.

    Good luck!

    | |
  11. Pye


    You make a good point. Sony, does make great camera systems as well. The reason why I didn’t include them in the article is because most amateur to new professional photographers are better served by choosing either Canon or Nikon. Why? Because of the support system and availability of manufacturer lenses and components, as well as third party lenses and components.

    Sure, Sony makes a good camera and there are many people that use their systems. However, if you are new to photography, you would definitely be at a disadvantage as most in the industry is using Nikon or Canon. You wouldn’t be able to share lenses, equipment, experience and camera system knowledge with friends.

    Hopefully, that helps in clarifying why we stuck to Canon and Nikon.

    | |
    • Scott Trombley

      I realize this article and post is from 2009… just wondering, do you still hold the same opinion now? With the release of the upcoming A7R II and metabones adapter you no longer have to be married to either right?

      | |
    • Scott Trombley

      I like looking at older articles like these and seeing how things were looked at before, as well as what use to be current tech. How does everyone feel now and would you include the upcoming A7R II as a formidable contender? With all that it offers and the ability to adapt to other lenses with close results to their brands.

      | |
  12. Sarah


    I think you may have missed the entire point of this article. The writers specifically mentioned that this was not a technical article, but rather an article to help you make the decision based on what really matters. Obviously both cameras are great systems, and you are better off choosing the system that let’s you share and grow with your friends that already may be using one or another.

    | |
  13. Tara Bradford

    You haven’t mentioned Sony, which in the last two or three years has become a real innovator in digital DSLRs. The Sony A900 with 24.6 megapixels and sharp, clear Carl Zeiss lenses is top of the line, comparable to the Canon Mark II. It’s priced the same as the Mark II and while it doesn’t have video, it matches the Mark II in quality of shots. I know one photographer who took two Sony A900 bodies to the Arctic and now says he’d use nothing else.

    Besides, it’s not a question of which manufacturer produces the best gear. In photography, it’s the person behind the lens that matters more than the gear itself.

    | |
  14. Kim Johnson

    Ummmm. I learned nothing from this article at all. No specifics, lots of fence-sitting. Boring.

    | |
  15. New Mexico Photographer

    Nice post. However, I think it excludes other camera lines that are more than worthy of consideration by pro photographers such as Pentax and Olympus. The bottom line is that it is still the eye, skill, and marketing skills of a photographer that matter far more than the camera of choice!

    | |
  16. admin

    Good comments Teki,

    When writing the article, I try to make sure that it didn’t sound biased as I have and continue to shoot with both systems. In addition, we are not sponsored by either Canon or Nikon. I even mentioned strengths of each camera systems trying to make sure I wasn’t biasing one way or the other.

    We could both throw articles and reviews around saying which one is better and why, and really not get anywhere. There are just as many articles that claim Canon has a slight edge on low light performance. Even my peers who shoot exclusively Nikon say the same when they got their hands on a 5D Mark II.

    Things I mentioned in this article are based on practical experience, not benchmarks, tests, or numbers which often don’t paint a fully accurate picture. Bottom line is —- based on thousands of images from our experience —- low light images shot from the 5D Mark II do not end up with as much yellow/green tones as the D700. Bottom line is, Nikon flash systems dominate Canon’s. And the real point of the article, was to break down the whole argument of a “clear cut winner” because both are amazing camera systems which enable a photographer to do anything he/she can think of.

    | |
  17. teki

    “While numbers say one thing”

    They say: D700’s sensor has less noise, more dynamic & tonal range and color sensitivity at all ISOs.

    “(which by the way who knows how they even came up with those numbers)”

    You can read it here:
    dxomark is a well established sensor evaluation site.

    “Both are amazing camera systems with great low light ISO performance,”

    Neither of them would limit me in any way.

    “but the 5D Mark II produces much more accurate colors at high ISOs than the Nikon D700. The D700 images become more and more yellow/green as you exceed 800 ISO where as the Canon stays much more color accurate.”

    This is your opinion/experience. You can find thousands of people with the opposite opinion. The key is to learn to use a system and produce beautiful pictures. It’s hard to buy a bad DSLR these days, the lenses are more important (and expensive).

    “I recommend you get a hold of both systems and try it out yourself.”

    I am happy with my D90, I am just my family’s photographer :).

    My problem with the article is that it states something as a fact which seems to be not true, which in turn suggests that the writer had a reason to favour a camera brand over the other one based on something (don’t want to be rude, I am nice person who hates unbalanced articles).

    | |
  18. Pye


    While numbers say one thing (which by the way who knows how they even came up with those numbers) I can say from first hand experience in using both camera systems. Both are amazing camera systems with great low light ISO performance, but the 5D Mark II produces much more accurate colors at high ISOs than the Nikon D700. The D700 images become more and more yellow/green as you exceed 800 ISO where as the Canon stays much more color accurate.

    I recommend you get a hold of both systems and try it out yourself.

    | |
  19. teki

    “For example, currently at the professional level Canon’s 5D Mark II beats out the equivalent Nikon D700 in the area of low light/high ISO sensitivity,”


    dxomark 5dII vs d700

    | |
  20. Joe Decker

    Your point #1 is one of my favorite points when folks ask me this question. It’s not just borrowing gear (although that’s a biggie), it’s also having folks around who know their way around that gear.

    (I also have a longer rant that takes a different tangent on the subject I did over at Photocrati a while back ( ), but that’s more about the folks who obsess over the question for years.)

    | |
  21. Michael Harris

    Lol – well, I would never call a brand that produced professional 645 and 6×7 cameras where Nikon and Canon did not ‘marginal’. :) (btw, on a side note with an adapter you can use those 645 and 6×7 lenses on the DSLR’s and they will be image stabilized). Pentax is a brand that not only has catered to professionals for years but has also introduced a lot of professionals to their first serious camera experience. I myself started with a K1000. Pentax is making a serious dig into the market. I’m watching them with interest personally. Honestly, if they keep their feature set and improve their high ISO performance – things will get very interesting I think.

    Nikon’s flash system – wow. It’s always been a step ahead. Also, the 14-24mm may be the best lens made. Personally I think someone at Nikon sold their soul to make that lens. It’s sharper than most primes at 14-20mm even wide open. Just dumbfounding.

    | |
  22. Rob Brown

    If you’re just getting into wedding photography and don’t own either Nikon or Canon, go with what Kate says (no not Nikon! – just kidding) – go with what your circle knows best.

    For me (and many others) who ‘switched over’ from film, the choice was a little easier – you went with what you owned already. Or, if you just started with digital prior to late 2007, unless you had your head in the sand the majority went with Canon simply for the superior images that came from their bodies. Personally I’m a Canon guy and I had 3 L series lenses, a 501.4 and two Canon film bodies when I went digital, plus at that point in time Nikon was, well awful in the digital department and as I had mostly primes, there was no way on earth I was trading my system in for a 1.5 crop camera. Up until a couple of years ago when the D3 and D300 got released there was no way on earth that I would have ever recommended Nikon as a digital option to anyone. Canon image quality blew them away. Of course now the story is different and both are neck and neck, give or take a few minutia of feature matching. I’ve written more on my flickr profile about why I ended up with what I did . Now that I have invested so much in the Canon system I’m certainly one of those who won’t be a fickle switcher. Plus, despite some of the downsides, I really like the Canon professional series (that’s 1D/1DS) bodies and love the lenses.

    So here’s my thoughts:
    – 12 vs 21 megapixels: neither here nor there. The fact that you can’t tell the difference in big prints is down to the harsher anti-moire filters they have to stick in front of the higher res sensors. Nothing to get around that – laws of physics. If I compare the images from my 1DS (11.1mp) vs my 1DS2 (16.7mp) I’d say that the 1DS actually looks a fair bit sharper out of the camera. So really I don’t need more than 12, so I wish Canon would end the megapixel race and stop pandering to the Japanese market and shareholders who go all goggly eyed over ‘more megapixels’. Nikon won the war with the D3 there; they proved that low noise and less megapixels = creamy sharp images.
    – After looking at Nikon RAW images compared with my Canon images I personally prefer the skin tones from the Canon (if a little red sometimes).
    – Apparently if you shoot a lot of bands, the Canon’s over-responsiveness to red just blows out red totally; but that was back when Nikon was still CCD and not CMOS sensors so maybe that’s different now.
    – Nikon’s CLS is better than Canon’s ETTLII system. Enough said except wake the hell up Canon, get off your high horse, smell the coffee and do something. Buy pocketwizard or something.
    – Canon’s prime lens lineup ROCKS. Until not so long ago Nikon’s zooms sucked, but now they’re making a stellar comeback (14-24, 24-70, 200-400) but still lacking in the 70-200 department with their 2.8 VR – wow that lens vignettes REALLY badly. Plus with the new 50 1.4 it looks like they are paying close attention to the prime market, but still have a lot of catching up to do. If you like primes with fast silent wave motors don’t expect Nikon to suddenly have them all for you – it will take a couple of years. Just take a look at Canon’s amazing array of L primes: 14 2.8, 24 1.4, 35 1.4, 50 1.2 (actually I prefer the sigma 50 1.4 HSM!), 85 1.2, 135 2, 200 f2, 300 2.8 and 4, 400 2.8, 400 4 DO, 400 5.6…. all of which with ultrasonic motors, now Nikon has… the 50 1.4.
    – Canon’s 1 series bodies are amazing. Fast, responsive, incredible. Though on the mark 3s they screwed up the AF big time and also messed up with the way in which the focus points are selected. Completely retarded Canon! I think that made a lot of people walk to Nikon. Now Canon’s 5D and lesser bodies are a little on the sloooww side when you compare them to Nikon and the 1 series Canons. The 5D2s shutter only x-syncs to 1/200, it has a pitifully slow mirror lag (you cannot see subjects blink and after owning a 5D I felt completely divorced from the subject), it inherited the same archaic 9 autofocus points that the 5D had (come on Canon the 1998 semi pro EOS-3 had 45 AND eye controlled AF – now give me that in a 5D and I’ll consider it!) and the autofocus is no way as good as the 1 series cameras.
    – Compare the last point with Nikon. The D300, D700 and D3 are all incredible cameras. Great image quality, great AF in all 3 (with 51 focus points in all 3 – hellooooo Canon – 51 focus points should be in a 5D!), lovely fast mirrors with hardly any blackout and shutters that x-sync to 1/250 on all three. Wow – again wake up Canon! The 5D2 should have had 50 focus points, 1/250 x-sync and a mirror blackout equal to the 1DS3. When Nikon went to market with their trio they utterly trounced Canon.
    – Once more thing. Yes, try to invest the big bucks in glass and where possible go with the (usually better) Nikon or Canon glass. If you are starting out some of Canon’s cheaper primes are surprisingly good and have great AF. There are a few exceptions though – the Canon 50 1.4 has pretty good image quality but the build quality sucks. I dropped mine onto my foot and had to get it repaired. Ended up replacing it with a Sigma 50 1.4 EX HSM, which is a monster 77mm filter thread lens, but the images are insane! Works on Nikon too. I wouldn’t invest too much in Sigma though and if you do, do your homework. The lens reviews on are always a good resource – they’ll give you a good run down on whether quality is terrible. On more tip, in flickr, search for groups for your lens. There’s usually a group for a lens you want like the 135 f2L or 35 1.4. Gives you an idea what images really look like.

    I’m rambling. Get either – they are both great systems. Pick your favourite photo buddies, see what they shoot, find the most helpful person and buy into the system they have. Plus, why not buy a second hand body and save yourself some cash for lenses?

    | |
  23. Kate Duval

    I couldn’t agree more with your first consideration…I agree that both are great systems with their obviously bones of contention and positive marks and you can’t go wrong with either…but when a friend or a family member asks me which camera to purchase I always go with Nikon. Why? Because we shoot Nikon. I can tell them where to find certain functions, help them super quickly because I am familiar with the camera and overall we turn into their Nikon support system…so go with what you know, or what your friend knows…and if you have no friends, go with Nikon and come on over, I’ll help you figure it out!


    | |
  24. Rich Pizzuti

    Great Post! Insightful, unbiased and thoughtful. I agree with Michael’s post that the photographer is more important than the gear. I’m a Canon shooter, always have been, but there have been many times that I’ve wanted to make the switch to Nikon and I know Nikon shooters that made the switch back in 2004 when Canon’s chip was a step ahead of Nikon.

    Its pretty much a neck and neck race between these two, with Nikon having a slight advantage right now, which may change in a few years. I see Canon’s glass as a notch above, and I see Nikon’s flash as FAR superior than what Canon has ever offered. But others will see it differently, I’m sure.

    One thing I would stay away from (sorry Michael) is the marginal brands of Pentax, Sony, Sigma, Olympus, etc. As you mentioned early Pye, the photographer will be investing upwards of 10k for lenses and gear, so sticking with the big two will provide a safer investment in the future. Also Sigma and Tamron are an option, but could prove to be a liability if you get a lemon. Match your glass to the camera, even if it means saving some scratch or investing in medium level primes as opposed to the “L” series or zooms.

    Thanks for the post, I’m going to pass this on.

    | |
  25. Michael Harris

    Lol – I was invited to this, so here goes. ;)

    First thought – ultimately photography is in the photographer and not the camera. Time wasted on selecting a camera is time wasted on learning how to use the tool and take good pics. Period. Both Canon and Nikon are solid. A few subtle differences in reviews and most of those are from folks staring at charts and graphs and not real world examples. I have a D700. I was going back and forth between it and the Canon 5d MK II. I went Nikon specifically because I had a D1H and a Nikon speedlite in my bag. Period. The D700 handles a little faster – Canon is faster focusing maybe with the right lens, but getting a burst of frames off Nikon is better. Personally I think the Nikon is a little better in low light too. High ISO performance is just silly good. IMO a tad better than the Canon but really, we’re splitting hairs. Not a practical difference. Canon has the megapixel advantage, which is not as big a deal as you’d think. In printing images up to 24X30 even – it’s hard to tell the difference especially at normal viewing distances. The exception might be if you need to crop an image drastically – then more megapixels help. Also remember the file sizes though. I have a friend who has a 5d MK II and he goes through TB sized drives. Card dumps take him twice as long too. One BIG point – Nikon only gives you a ‘trial’ version of their RAW converter with the camera. You have to spend almost $200 more to purchase it. That stinks when you buy a $2500 camera.

    Lastly – there are other options besides Canon and Nikon, especially if you are shooting at a sub pro level. Pentax especially has some compelling cameras. If you’re looking at say a 50D or a D90, then I would STRONGLY suggest a LOOOONG look at the K20D by Pentax. Also consider 3rd party optics. Tamron and Sigma really are offering some stellar lenses these days.

    | |