Canon vs. Nikon: What’s the difference? (Updated for 2012)

Canon versus Nikon

I know what you’re thinking, and I think you’re wrong.  That may be a confrontational way to start this post, but this Nikon vs. Canon DSLR debate is fueled by such passion in 2012 that I have to explain what we’re discussing here.

Both Canon and Nikon DSLR cameras provide fantastic image quality and similar features.  Because there are so many similarities between the brands, many people think that it makes no difference which brand you choose.  While I agree that either brand will give great results, I believe there are important differences between the brands that may inform your decision.

I must mention that there are–obviously–other brands to choose from.  Sony and Pentax also make great cameras that are on-par or even exceeding many Canon and Nikon models.  The only reason I haven’t included more about them in this article is because more than 90% of the people who use this site shoot Canon or Nikon.  I have other articles where I discuss Sony and other brands.

Advantages of Nikon DSLR Cameras

  • Low-Light Performance.  Over the past two years, few people would disagree that Nikon has generally served up superior low-light cameras than the comparable Canons.
  • Number of autofocus points.  This one is controversial, but I think most people would agree with me.  Head-to-head, most Nikons have more autofocus points than their Canon equivalents.  When you get your camera, you’ll realize how important this is because sometimes the low number of autofocus points on Canon cameras means there isn’t an autofocus point for where you want to focus in the frame, forcing the photographer to focus and then recompose.
  • Flash Control.  Nikon has had better built-in options for controlling off-camera flash for years.  Canon has recently caught up, or almost caught up, with its new built-in flash triggers in the 7d, 60d, and T3i.
  • Larger APS-C sensors. Nikon uses slightly larger sensors in their crop sensor DSLR cameras.  You can read about the difference between crop and full frame cameras here.
  • Availability of minor features.  Over the years, Canon has been notorious for refusing to add in easy-to-fix features to their cameras.  For example, Nikon has been better about including geotagging via GPS in the camera, and expanded auto-exposure-bracketing sequences.  In this way, Nikon is more responsive to adding the “little features” into DSLRs–even if the two brands are mostly equal in all other respects.

Advantages of Canon DSLR Cameras

  • Video.  No question on this one.  Canon has creamed Nikon in terms of video performance.  Nikon is starting to catch on with 1080p video and a basic autofocus system in its most recent releases, but still lags far behind Canon in this aspect.  Canon DSLRs offer more frame rates, some Canons offer better codecs, etc.
  • Price.  Nikon cameras and lenses are often slightly more expensive than Canon.  Obviously, there are exceptions, but if you check the range of DSLRs and popular lenses, Nikons generally cost approximately 8% than the comparable Canon gear according to my calculations.
  • Megapixel Count.  Most photographers don’t care about this, but it is handy to be able to crop in tight with more megapixels.  Canons have outperformed Nikons in terms of pixel count for a few years now.
  • Availability.  When Canon announces a new camera, you can generally expect to get it in your hands within a short period of time.  When Nikon announces a new camera or lens (especially higher-end gear), it frequently takes 4 to 6 months before it is available…. sometimes longer!
  • Focus motors.  All modern Canon lenses have built-in focus motors.  While most Nikon lenses (and certainly all the pro lenses) have focus motors, the beginner DSLRs made by Nikon cannot use all of the Nikon lenses.

Differences That “Might” Matter

Canon is a much larger company than Nikon.  It creates printers, cameras, video equipment, binoculars, calculators, and more.  Nikon is a much smaller company which focuses almost exclusively on cameras (though they also make sports optics and film scanners).  This factor may or may give an advantage to one company or the other, but I’ll let you draw your own conclusions here.  Canon may have an edge for the resources of a huge mega-company, or Nikon may have the edge for being focused on one main product.

The “cool” factor.  Come on, we all know that the huge cream-colored lenses on the sidelines of sports events always catch our eyes.  Admit it.  The Canon L lenses look cooler than the dull black Nikons :-)  Canon actually claims that the white lenses aren’t a fashion thing, but actually an engineering decision to lower heat, among other things.  (If you’re a law nerd, you’ll recognize this as extremely stupid, because it militates against them getting a trademark for cream-colored lenses if it the trademark is functional).

So what DSLR camera is best for beginning photographers?

Both the Canon Rebel DSLRs and the entry-level Nikon DSLR cameras are very good.  I know that it can be agonizing to choose between them.  Generally, I recommend this Canon camera for beginning photographers who are interested in DSLR video or portraits.   If you’re more into wildlife, landscape, candids, or flash photography, then I’d give a slight edge to this Nikon camera.  By the way, I’m continually updating these camera recommendations as both companies release new products.  I changed these camera recommendations most recently on September 15, 2011.

What’s your personal choice?

I’m personally a Nikon photographer, having recently jumped ship from the land of Canon.  I switched for the low-light performance of Nikons, but I’m sure Canon will catch up very soon and then I’ll look longingly to the other side of the fence.  It was a fit for me at the time, but I think Canons are just as good or better in other respects.

The purpose of the post was to inform you of some of the differences, not to persuade you one way or the other.  Do you disagree with me on my analysis?  Send in a comment below and tell me how wrong I am.  I don’t mind :-)  Also, make sure to LIKE ImprovePhotography on Facebook so you can get our daily photography tips.


  1. Geoff Coates

    Nikon lenses fit all cameras that Nikon make some may not have full functionality but work fine in manual

  2. P.N

    I may add the fact that Nikon entry cam’s needs a motorized lens wich are very expensive. On the canon-hand it is not the case. The EF-S range is a recent invention by canon, for the needs of APS-C’s. That is not really a problem for the rest of canon user’s, since it doesnt fit only on APS-H and FF cam’s. I am a canon girl, but the decision came to Canon for mainly ergonomic reasons for me.

  3. Stan

    Because Sony is late to the party, there is little “system” to their system. They sell cameras and lenses, not systems.
    Another issue is passion. Sony is a big company that looks for niche markets and tries to buy market share instead of focus on a field of interest. Canon is all about visual imagery(cameras, printers, etc). Nikon is all about precision optics(cameras and lenses, optics and steppers for microelectronic fabrication ) so their products seem to be driven by engineers who are focused on these fields. Sony makes 500,000 products, a similar number to Panasonic, so products are designed primary by the sales and marketing department, which responds to what it thinks customers want or will sell instead of what can be made superior. They have no corporate passion for photography, it is not in their blood. I was in the pro recording field and witnessed the same thing when they tried to buy their way into that realm in the 1980s. All their products were good on paper and well made but it was obvious no one actually used them before putting them on the market. My recorders were all Swiss made Studers but bought a reel to reel Sony Digital deck when it became available. Sure it was cool but Sony had no passion for sound recording, they made products for it but did not care about it like the smaller specialty companies like Studer. A few years later my $124,000 investment was worthless because Sony never provided parts access as a system. My Studers were still worth money most of what was invested in them because their only business was recording and broadcast sound and knew that parts and support were a fundamental requirement for pro usage. I will never buy another Sony major product, one expected to be kept for a period of time. I do have a phone made by them which is not a risk because phones are throwaway items.
    Spec wise Sony DSLRs are competent but none are items that instill passions of users because it is obvious the designers and planners are not photographers, they are salesmen. Nothing stands out as the pinnacle of the craft. Another issue is that they abandon product lines when they do not return the profits headquarters expect for a division. That means long term support, parts etc is a problem and can ruin the resale value of the item. Sony will always be in that second tier of company’s in the minds of photographers, large companies fighting for market share in the mass market. They compete well in the phone, point and shoot, and camcorder market because the casual user is familiar with the name and they have advertising clout. But so do Samsung, Panasonic and a dozen other maga companies with hundreds of thousands of products. They make products for markets, not for photographers.
    Overall, they are in the middle of the pack of performance, their a900 looks great on paper but you know when you pick it up, it was loaded with features but there is no system of long term commitment by the company so influential photographers, pros, ignore them.
    At least Pentax, which has its own set of problems, fights for a spot in the sun by innovation and good ideas that are focused entirely on photography, sometimes to the detriment to sales or marketing.
    How many serious pros can you name who uses the Sony system. Why don’t they?

    For full disclosure, I am a Nikon shooter and will continue to be. I used Canon for years but when they changed their mount and made my considerable investment in accessories obsolete overnight, I have not been anxious to invest in them either. All the companies make decent cameras, no bad clunkers in the bunch but right now Canon and Nikon are the only ones that people can trust to be in it for the long haul.

  4. Author
    Jim Harmer

    Good reply, Stan. I might add that Sony is not profitable. Scares me to invest in a system from a company that could just slash the entire line any day.

    Sony makes good DSLRs, but their lens line up is too shallow.

    To me, it comes down to one point Stan made. Nothing Sony make (in the DSLR world) is the top of the line. There is not even ONE feature that I’m dying to get that would even make me consider leaving Canon or Nikon. They just don’t have any serious feature to add.

    Also, I can’t stand that Sony always locks you into proprietary memory cards and such. They are notorious for annoying policies in that regard.

    Last, Sony’s pellicle mirror love is driving me wild. It’s cool, but it cuts low light performance. If they had listened to photographers, they would know that low light performance is ALL WE CARE ABOUT right now.

  5. Ali

    Let’s get back to Canon-Nikon
    I’m a Canon user but have no fanaticism on it either
    I’ve heard Nikon fans saying the colors and tones in Nikon are better for landscape while Canon has better portrait results. It seems a very shallow defense to me though because one can change colors and tones in PP

  6. Brenda Lindfors

    I am a Canon user currently, but have been thinking about switching to Nikon. I bought a Canon DSLR while in school when my photo classes switched to digital shooting and 90% of my classmates (and my instructor) had digital Canons and raved about them. I’ve had focus issues with several Canon cameras/lenses, and I don’t always feel I get the color I expect. I’d like to try out some Nikon gear to see what it is like.

  7. Jennifer

    I have worked at Harold’s Photo Center (photofinishing retail store) for 3 years now (I started at the age of 20 and really had NO IDEA about digital cameras) and this is one of the BIGGEST questions asked. My answer “personal preference” both Nikon and Canon make excellent cameras… I personally find myself drawn to Canon. I like how user friendly Canon is. Every time I pick up a Nikon I get lost in the menus. As far as the colors(yes I know you can fix them in PS) I really do prefer Canon to Nikon. I feel more “warmth” The colors are more saturated than with a Nikon. I haven’t ever been satisfied with Nikon’s colors and that is with BOTH their point and shoots and their DSLRs. I do agree Nikon takes the cake for low light situations though. Its noise reduction system is top notch. I feel they are a little bit sharper too. The only other thing that bugs me is Nikon’s LCD screens, I don’t know if its just me but they seem duller than Canon’s. (not that this would make or break the deal on a Nikon) just something I wanted to point out. YES! Nikon is sooooo slow when it comes too shipping their products. One other fact you should know is canon lens only have a one year warranty on them as were Nikon has a 5 year. Now I personally use Tamron lens but I wasn’t sure if you guys were aware of that… we have a lot of customers who will go with a Nikon over a Canon because of that reason. Finally I strongly believe YES a 5D MARK 2 or a Nikon D700 will give you good pictures… but honestly I think it is the photographer and how they see the world. How they try to capture it. A camera is just a tool along with lens that help you to capture what you want. :)

    1. Thuan Bui

      Totally agree. Thanks Jennifer for saying what I have had in mind.

      For background, I started with Nikon D40, D5000, and more recently D7000. Later on, I let go D40 and D5000, kept D7000, added a Canon 6D and 5Dm3. Most recently, a Sony RX100m2 arrived and stayed along with others.

  8. A Canuck

    I went with Canon, as they had the best price and features (e.g., video) when I was researching entry-level dSLRs. Now I’ve invested so much in the Canon system, I am locked in. There are valid arguments on either side of the Canon/Nikon debate. However, I see no comrpelling reason to switch, and would not want to take the financial hit. I’m an enthusiast, not a pro, so switching costs would be borne by my personal, after-tax dollars. No thanks. I will happily stick with Canon.

  9. Richard Cole

    This debate is brought up in EVERY meeting of photographers… You claim that Nikon has had better auto-focus… I have not found this to be the case. I mainly shoot Canon (50D, 1Ds series) but I also have owned a Nikon D700 (which I HATED) and a D90… on both of these Nikons I found the auto focus to be slow and regularly inaccurate! I gave up using the D700 because time and time again I was losing necessary shots (when shooting theater productions without a flash). I went back the next day and used the Canon 50D and got every shot I needed. Since then I have gotten rid of the Nikon D700… and kept the D90 to use in classes for those students with Nikons.

  10. Michael Ty

    As a Nikon user there are a few things I envy about Canon:
    1. Availability of modern f/1.2 primes.
    2. A used 5d (mk I) is much more affordable than a used D700. Not counting the Kodak slr/n, it’s the most affordable full frame DSLR.
    3. Canon’s point and shoots are ahead of Nikon. A Canon shooter could use a g12 as a casual camera and be able to use his Canon flash whereas I have to choose between an inferior camera or get a G12 and a separate Canon flash.

    On the Nikon side I know at least one wedding pro who switched from being a user of both to Nikon because he found his Canon to be less reliable and require more repairs.

  11. Bill

    Nikons are the best – period. Made by photographers for photographers. Don’t crap out, don’t have recalls, JD Power highest rated every year. Plus, Nikon is a camera company. If I want a photocopier or fax I’ll use a Canon.

  12. Gwen

    Great post!

    I entered the DSLR market with a Sony – and did most of my PBing with it. While it has treated me well I’ve already made the decision that I’ll be upgrading to a FF Nikon come this fall. The biggest factor in picking Nikon is their noise performance – other than that, it simply boils down to personal choice and ergonomics. I like how the Nikon body feels in my hand more than I do the Canon.

  13. Heather

    Good point Gwen! I completely agree with your comment about liking how a Nikon body feels in your hand. I feel like I have something in my hand. It’s heavy, it feels like it is made of something, like it isn’t going to fall apart. I shot Cannon before I moved to Nikon, and honestly, I feel like the Cannon isn’t made of good quality material. Simply put, it is all about personal choice.

  14. Matt Hyatt

    I shoot with a Nikon out of personal preference. However, I’d challenge anyone to look at a photo and tell me whether it was shot with a Nikon, Canon, or any other brand of camera.

    1. IrishMurph

      Challenge accepted Matt.
      As Jennifer mentioned in an earlier post, Canon has a slightly warmer tone, or maybe feel, to their images, and I can tell the difference. Not in every shot, but in a lot of them.
      And it’s pretty obvious too if you have a photographic eye.
      And also there’s a DOF difference, the way the Canon vs. Nikon lenses transition from in focus to bokeh, how smooth, sharp etc.
      It’s there, there’s a difference.
      And FTR, I’m a Nikon shooter.

  15. Albert

    The Nikon D7000 (6 fps) seems to have a better burst rate over the Canon 60D (5.3 fps).
    But in practice the Canon 60D has a better buffer.
    The Canon will take well over 50 shots at full quality jpeg, that’s more than 10 seconds of action.

    The Nikon D7000 will only take about 15 shots at full quality jpeg, that’s only about three seconds.

    I love the better low light advantage and AF fine tuning of Nikon but when it comes to action photography Canon gets my vote.

  16. Sean

    I’ll stick with Olympus equipment. You wanna talk low light situations, try shooting with an endoscope or some of their other medical equipment. Just kidding, I don’t use their medical equipment just their great DSLR cameras. I won’t switch either because of their great customer service. Long Live Oly!

  17. Ted

    I just recently bought my first DSLR and I went back and forth between Canon and Nikon for MONTHS before finally deciding on a Nikon D3100. I almost bought a Canon T1i kit, but a couple factors sold me on the Nikon. First, the T1i is now 2-years old and the $750 price tag includes only the 18-55mm kit lens. By comparison, the D3100 came out just late last year and thanks to a $200 instant rebate promotion from Nikon during the month of April, I was able to get the kit with both the 18-55mm VR lens and the 55-200mm VR lens for the same $750 the Canon would have cost me. I know they both take great images and have tons of lenses available, so for me, the decision came down to price and value. Nikon won out and I couldn’t be happier with my D3100. It is a FANTASTIC camera that I’m sure I’ll enjoy using for years to come.

  18. Markus A.

    I think that the main difference is the Usability of the systems. The menus gave different structures etc. You can only find out which one you will prefer by actually trying them out thoroughly.

    Best wishes


  19. Joey

    Did you use the Sandisk extreme pro 45mbs sd cards when testing the d7000 frame rate and buffer speeds?

  20. Alex

    I haven’t herd anyone talk about Nikon photos having a warmer/lighter color tone to them, as ware Canon colors are a little cooler/brighter. I’m currently looking at both, it’s a difficult decision since when you start buying glass and get invested your pretty much locked in.

  21. Jassim

    Well, I loved reading all the comments. And I think all the commentators (almost all) are canon. But what about Nasa’s Nikon project. Thats so cool. When I hear that I never turn towards canon!

  22. Rhys

    Mimi & Jassim:

    The 5D Mark II was the first digital camera used for an official U.S. Presidential portrait, that of Barack Obama taken by Pete Souza in 2008.

    So there’s a feather back in canon’s cap. It’s really 6 of one, half a dozen of the other, as far as I’m concerned. My friend who got me into shooting shoots mostly Canon- when he’s not driving a Hasselblad MF or something silly.

  23. damian

    I have 2 PS Canon cameras and honestly am not happy with both of them. Okay, I know DSLR quality cannot be judged from how they make PS. However, I thought it’s time to give Nikon a try, and that’s why for DLSR I bought Nikon D5000. I’m happy with it. It produces excellent images! But I still keep my Canon printer…:)

  24. damian

    Rhys, Obama picts would look like Obama whether they’re taken by Canon, Nikon, or Casio. But Nasa project is something else…:)

  25. Steph

    I agree with Heather and Gwen. I shoot with a Nikon D80 and this camera is a solid workhorse.

    Prior to making my purchase, I was set on getting a Canon EOS 400D based on the specifications, better high ISO performance (at that time) and the glowing reviews. However, when I tried out demo units of both models, the Canon simply felt awkward. The body felt flimsy, and I wasn’t in love with the UI. Even though the D80 body is also constructed out of plastic, it felt so much more solid. I also fell in love with the extra large grip. I just made steadying the body and composing my image that much easier. I also found the various buttons and dials to be far more ergonomic, and the UI to be easier to navigate.

    The feel of a camera is so important, more so than the specs and the bells and whistles. When you’re shooting, the camera is ultimately an extension of you and your imagination. If your camera doesn’t feel intuitive, then you’re going to have a much harder time creating your art.

  26. valerie

    my camera isn’t even in the game with this one. lol. i shoot with an olympus. i like being weird 4/3 and noisy. every camera maker has their pros and cons, where they slack i make up in talent. i think. hahaha. enjoying your blog as you can see

  27. Mark

    It should be noted that Nikon briefly offered tan colored telephoto pro zooms a few years back. I know I”ve seen the 80-200 af-s and I think it was the 300 f/4 af-s (no VR)… Canon therefor might not be able to get a copyright on it, and nikon might have quit it because it’s such a symbolic canon thing…

  28. Geoff

    I shoot a Nikon D80 and I do agree with most everything in the blog. However I think the AF point is a little off. I find that Canon has the better AF system for sports while Nikon is better in lower light situations.
    (I have shot with borrowed newer Nikons and Canons in both situations.)

  29. Steve

    I choose which one is cheaper and has better deal!

    Side note: why don’t they make a DSLR that’s water proof? I enjoy going to the beach, water parks with family and it’s impossible to take photos having constantly worry about camera getting wet from some kid splashing water at me!

  30. Javier Cancino

    Nikon for ever,. they just make you look better, so i don’t see my self with a canon, when i see somebody with a Canon i just think in printers.

  31. dannygirl

    I’ve been a Canon-fan for most of my life, and shoot with a 30D and 40D (would love to upgrade to full-frame, though).

    I hear what is being said about low light and focus points, but honestly, the ONE thing that would make me switch from Canon to Nikon is the fact that the Canon’s shutter is so damn noisy!!!! I’ve missed a good few shots during events because I simply could not bear to click that awful loud noise in a quiet intimate moment…

  32. Ridwan

    i shoot Nikon…

    not only because their Image Quality..

    but simply… i can operate my camera with my single hand. from turn on,to change my setting (if u use Func Button for custom Menu), change Focus, anything….
    and the most every photographer want,very good AF assist light… even Pentax could not caught up with their K-5 (dont mention Canon their sucks)

    its true every camera can produce great image… but not every camera can fit in your hand and imagination…


  33. Nikil

    As far as Nikon goes, you pay for better quality not just in terms of pictures, but a number of aspects.
    Easy Accessibility of controls, Better Low Light performance.

    When you see companies like Nasa going with Nikon it also speaks volumes.

    Canon maybe be a bigger / wealthier company that doesn’t mean they make better products. Huge % of there profits come from other sectors other than cameras like printers, xerox machines etc …

    That’s probably why you see a lot of Canon dedicated stores while you often find Nikon selling there camera’s through authorised Resellers (atleast in the middle east).

  34. manola

    I am still so confused. I need a camera that will take a great sport shot, but I don’t want to give up an low light advantage. I’m thinking of the canon 7D or the Nikon 7000. At some point I will upgrade to a higher end camera, but plan on investing $ in a fast lens now so when the decision is made I’ll be stuck with that product. Any suggestions???

  35. Sam

    Hi All, Great Post!

    Last year I bought the Nikon D5000, but returned it – as I heard there was new cameras coming out – was hoping for a newer model, or better price.

    Fast Forward to this year… recently went to BB to get the D5100, and then held the Canon 60D and I was sold – bought it immediately – never researched the Canon, but knew everything about the D5100.

    After awhile of use, I found the images would never be as sharp as I would expect – now it could be me (I am a newbie) or the lens (18-200).

    I then saw the D7000 online for the same price I got the 60D for – got BB to price match, and now own the D7000.

    Quality – much prefer the images from the Nikon than the Canon – and again, many factors involved here…but sharper and clearer.

    Differences that I found:

    60D vs D5100 – when you hold the 6)D it just feels comfortable. Nice in the hand and feels like a good camera. The D5100…was good, but not as good.

    D7000 vs 60D

    In my hands – felt practically the same – great build quality, and you feel like you have a good camera.

    Menus – Canon easily takes the cake here – their menu system is easy and understandable.

    Image quality – I found that the Nikon had a better and sharper IQ – again, weigh in that I am not a expert and the difference in the glass – especially the latter, could be the entire reason for it. (Nikon was with a 18-105)

    Colors – Canon’s colors are warmer than Nikon’s – out of the box – but you can achieve practically the same results by changing your settings – it is all a personal preference on what you want the shot to look like. Someone in the post mentioned – take a photo and by looking at it determine if it was shot with a Canon or a Nikon – you cannot tell.

    Honestly, I think I would have been happy with either product, so choose what works for you. I am not a believer in movies on DSLR’s – nice to have some capabilities, but there is so much more that can be achieved by a dedicated video camera – except the DOF!

  36. wolfie

    My first foray into dslr is my Canon 550d with a good walk-around lens 18-135, and a Sigma 50mm 1.4.
    I’m having a fantastic time.I don’t even know all my camera can do, I’m just happy with what it does.
    As for Nikon? I’m sure they are great, but I DON’T CARE!
    And I bet NASA get a fantastic deal on nikon equiptment and nikon get to use nasa’s name.
    Thats why they do buisiness!!!!!!!!

  37. Natalie

    I have just brought myself the Nikon D7000 and what I can say, it’s superb. The sharp colours, the feel, the user friendliness. I’m happy.

  38. wolfie

    Hi, I’m new to this and was worried about future upgrades too
    Almost all Canon EF-S lenes will fit almost all canon eos systems and work correctly!!
    Nikon lenses dont

  39. Mr Noob

    Honestly i have used Nikon for about 5 years…now I’m switching to Canon Digital SLR. I just pick up the intermediate one. then i see the powerful of Canon compared to Nikon. For me the best is Canon. Sorry to say but this is the fact. Using Nikon for 5 years cannot beat the excellence I’ve get from using Canon just for 2-3 month only. Love Canon 😉

  40. Lale

    Hi , I want to buy canon which kind of it do u recommend me to buy .. Thanx for the good points

  41. wolfie

    The best entry level is the 550d, the 600d gives a swivel screen fot video, costs a lot more, but is the same in every other way. You can find a used (slightly) 550d for under £500 (ebay)
    I hear the 5d mark ii is a good pro model but I can’t afford one (yet)

  42. jhun

    I bought my first dslr camera recently. i was suppost to buy a nikon d5100 but i ended up buying canon 550d.. i am trully satisfied about my 550d. never regreated buying it… canon really gives what u want. ill be recommending canon for pips out there who wants to buy dslr.

  43. Carl

    Arrrrg! As Charlie Brown would put it. I am in the market for my own personal DSLR now, and the decision is maddening.

    I have professionally used a Canon Rebel SXi, Canon 20d and Canon D5 for the past 6 years. My employer(s) furnished the cameras and equipment. I own none of the equipment I currently use, so I am not tethered to the Canon brand. In the past I have owed a Canon FTb, Canon AE-1 and a Canon EOS 800 film cameras. I own one AF lens for the EOS, and none of the older bayonet lenses will fit the newer cameras.

    These past five years I have seen great accomplishments from both Canon and Nikon in the DSLR market. Yes, millions of pixels are inviting, but image quality to me is essential. Both give great results, but a lot of reviews comparing the two in image quality and sharpness include Post Processing. But is that really fair?

    I personally am leaning towards the Nikon’s because of a slightly larger imaging sensor and lower noise when shooting higher ISO’s. I like natural lighting. A lot.

    I am not really interested in video production, which Canon would have my attention in this category. Granted Canon has warmer colors (the yellows seem to pop more), and Nikon a little more contrasty, but color and contrast can be adjusted in any post production program. I shoot in RAW format 95% of the time anyway. So all of my color information is there, regardless.

    It’s a personal decision. I used to sell cameras 30 years ago, and the question I always asked people, “What are you using it for?” The second question was, “How much do you want to spend?” Both have great lens selections, flashes and accessories.

    Do your own due diligence and research. There will be one brand/camera that will stick out more than the other. There are different cameras for different skill levels. One is not better, but one will be better for YOU! :)

  44. Raj

    I am a Nikon user. After I decided that I wanted to take my photography on another level, I took a good look at both brands. I had a D40 at the time, a camera that I kept and love to use still.
    I bought a D90. After comparing all the various features, I decided to go with the D90 for the noise control. I even chose it over the D300s. The 7D was also considered because you are getting a lot for your money, such as weather proof, excellent shutter speed, and pixels…but the cost did not justify it over the D90. I also preferred Nikon’s remote flash system, its AF assist light(hate that series of preflashes from Canon)
    I would actually love a D700, again due to its noise control in low light.
    Lastly once you are accustomed to one with its menus, buttons, terminology, is hard to change.
    I agree that Nikon’s colors are cooler with generic settings, however that was easily solved on the D40, by adjusting the auto white balance to -2. On the D90, it is less of an issue because I try to shoot with preset white balance or adjust in PP.

    Canons are more popular today with the …because of their video features and a better ad campaign. As a pro, I don’t care about that…i have only used video once…plan to in the future but I am too busy taking pictures.
    My next camera will be full frame Nikon…hopefully a nikon FF with weather proofing.

    If you love photography, it shouldn’t matter, don’t worry about the specs..”focus” on the art..and just how they feel in your hand.
    Always a great topic…but real photographers know that they are almost equal enough to where they will not make the difference in getting that great shot…the buck stops with you!

  45. IJdo D

    I went Canon when I bought my first DSLR simply because of ergonomics in my price range at the time. Since then the investment in glass pretty much decides things for me. If I had to start again it could go either way again.

    Both Canon and Nikon are continously trying to beat each other, so any to hold the crown on some aspect is bound to lose it sooner or later. As such, I put little faith in those who claim one brand or the other as the outright victor, period.

    As for Nikon and NASA, it rather depends on *why* NASA chose Nikon. I can think of a lot of reasons, quite a few of which have no bearing whatsoever on actual quality in the context of this article.

  46. Blue Aquan

    I do not own a Nikon or a Canon, but have been contemplating on one of these for more than a year

    now, my priorities are different at the moment, therefore its on hold endlessly.
    Meanwhile, I’ve been doing extensive research on this very subject, through magazines, Photoblogs, Technical sites and comparing them back and forth with images taken by these Cameras and Lens on popular websites like flickr. I do this because the day when I have to buy a Camera and Lens, I do not have to waste even a second to rethink what I want.
    Please also note, a photographer’s expectations are different like some shoot Landscapes, yet others are into Wildlife, but the results given below are based on my requirement which is Portraits.

    My requirements : Good quality portraits.
    Budget : Approx $1500 (For both Lens and Cam)

    Now here are my findings and they are sincere since I do not belong to the Canon or Nikon world.

    Nikon cameras are (Always) better in
    A: Low light photograpy (quality retained in higher ISO)
    B: Better colour depth
    C: Better dynamic range

    Canon cameras are (Always) better in
    A: Video quality

    I am purposefully omitting the megapixel factor as most who know photography will agree that’s only required to get a better crop and used during printing and both these Cameras are equally good in it.

    Now looking at the above comparision an amateur may be tempted to go with Nikon, but that’s not all.
    When I mentioned Nikon cameras are “Always” better in A,B,C it does not mean Canon is bad, it just means they are slightly behind and that applies in terms of video quality too in Nikon.
    So where is the differentiating factor…? Well that lies in the inconspicuous world of “Lens” that nobody bothers about because unlike the Cameras that are countable few, there are hundreds of Lens.
    My dear friends, Canon makes excellent quality Lens at affordable price where as Nikon too make good quality lens, but you have be those financially gifted ones to buy them.

    For most people one Photograph is no different from an another, I am not gloating here, but I’ve gone through thousands of Photographs on the Internet and without an iota of doubt I can say, and most Professional photographers will agree with me, that top quality images are always taken from fast primes( Lens that have a fixed focal length and a large aperture like 1.4, 1.8, 2 or 2.8).
    Now if an amateur like me with a moderate budget, wanted those kind of quality photographs, I am stuck, it is the end of the road for me in Nikon land! Not because Nikon does not make fast primes, but they are insanely priced and it would make you fall off your chair if I were to mention it.

    However in the Canon land with little investment, an amateur like me has access to semi professional or professional grade lens in Canon world (the L series) at an affordable price.
    For example the EF 85mm F/1.8 USM gives you excellent quality (Logon to flickr and search under groups with the above name, you will see for yourself). It has a built in fast ultra sonic motor and gives you out of the world quality and costs about $520.
    The near equivalent in Nikon world the Nikkor AF 85mm f/1.8 D is a lens that’s made since the 1987 and cannot auto focus on the entry level cameras since it does not have a built in Motor. It will not auto focus even on D5100 because the Camera also lacks a built in Motor.

    If you think okay, what if I buy a Nikon Camera with a built in motor, you are presented with the D7000(Bye bye amateur)! The incredible D90 has been discontinued (great marketing strategy, isn’t it?).
    Now if you think, okay let me hold on to the entry level D5100 and buy an 85mm Lens with an internal silent wave motor, you are presented with the top quality Nikkor AF-S 85mm f/1.4 G at a cost of nearly $1800.
    Those of you who have recovered from the shock, let me also add that in the Canon world if you are serious amateur and are willing to invest close to $1000, then you also get access to the indomitable “L” series professional lens like the Canon EF 135mm f/2 L USM and the Canon EF 200mm f/2.8 L USM II.
    In the Nikon world there are no equivalent to the professional 135mm Prime and the 200mm prime cost $6800(it is a beauty, no doubt about that, but only the gifted can
    dream of it)

    The conclusion is that Nikon makes slightly better Cameras but terribly expensive lens, therefore you scope is very limited.
    Canon on the other hand too makes quality Cameras which may be slightly behind(Just slightly) in those A,B,C points, but make excellent Lens at affordable price. Therefore the end result is that if you are an amateur with an Entry level Camera like the EOS 550D and one of those affordable Primes, you could get quality that only a professional dreams off in the Nikon world!
    That makes all the difference!

    Cheers, Blue

  47. Marcelo

    Guys guys guys! I’ve taken my best pictures with cameras that fit my front pocket. Yes you camera will not only help but will take your “eye” to the next level.
    Just remember”it is not the tool, it is the fool” who takes/gets the photograph.
    Canon, Nikon, Sony, Olympus, etc., are made for each one of us. Just pick you partner an get great pictures and share them with the world. With years one learns and improves. As one improves the “tool” must improve too! My present camera is terrible at low light, it is slow focusing, it could be a nightmare for anyone, but as I good fotographer I’ve taken advantages of those handicaps and turned them into $$$!
    Thanks to the companies I mentioned above and their continuing competition and upgrades and updates, etc. I’ll be able to get my next dream camera. The camera that will be perfect for me and only me!
    All of you guys made a few very valids comments in favor and against one company or the other, but my desicion won’t be made on that alone, it will be made by experience, knowledge, needs and expectations. Thank you to all and I’ll let you know next year what I got! Ha!

  48. Blue Aquan

    Undoubtedly Marcelo, I agree with you! No matter what equipment you own, its the skill and creativity of the Photographer that is important at the end of day!
    However that does not mean, one can use a point and shoot camera and get quality and details like a combination of professional camera and lens does. If that were the case, every skilled professional Photographer in the Country would be using a point and shoot camera instead.

    What I mean is skills are definitely the priority, nobody in this long list of contributors would disagree on that point but in addition to that you also need good equipment to complement and do justice to that skill.

    Cheers, Blue

  49. virtual

    nikon entry slr should be banned. consumers are forced to upgrade to motor cameras just to enjoy a 50mm f/1.8. don’t kid yourself d5x00 and d3x00 users.

  50. Perci

    After I read all your post I had finally made up my mind and grab A Nikon D90… As a newbie to photography passion the price for Nikon with regards to my level is such wonderful.

  51. Tirish

    To me it’s all about personal preferences. Ergonomics, esthetics…
    To some, the Nikon fits better in the hand, to others the Canon White L lenses are sexy looking… :p
    Some photographers still prefer film than digital so… we can’t really fight against what artists prefer to work with.

    Canon vs Nikon :
    Both companies make great cameras and great lenses. Though, i seen many reviews tend to say that Canon is much better for video. I guess Canon chose the video way and Nikon stuck with the “traditional” photographic tool and low light killer machine.

    So yeah, to me that’s pretty much it. Be happy with the gear that u have right now and keep making great pictures :)

  52. Ravialmighty

    Hi all,

    I’m new enthusiastic photographer and about to join DSLR group and would prefer Nikons D7000 as my choice over Canon 550D.

    As a amateur when speaking of lens what should be appropriate lens which covers almost basic of Portrait, landscape, sports picture range,
    1. 18-105mm
    2. 18-200mm
    3. 24-70mm

    All suggestions are welcome!


  53. Tirish

    Hello Ravialmighty 😀
    Portrait, landscape, sports in one lens = 18-200 (don’t forget to x1.5 for the DX size sensors)

    The 24-70mm in my onion isn’t that great on a DX camera. Better go with a 17-55mm but my choice would be a 10-20 f3.5 (sigma), Nikon’s 35mm DX F1.8 and a 70-200 2.8 (Nikon or Sigma… Whatever you can buy. The sigma will give you great great images)

  54. Rschoone

    Nikon seems to have better build quality in their cameras. I’ve held many Canons and found them to be “plasticy”. Nikons tend to have a more substansial “feel” which gives me the confidence that it will last over time. This opinion is based on my handling of mid to upper cameras of both brands. I’m not that familiar with the entry level cameras.

  55. daria

    I am planning on buying my first DSLR camera and i’m really stuck between Nikon and canon as i guess most people here are. i’ve been thinking of getting a Nikon D5100 but i’m really not sure and i’m so tired of the research. How can i know which is better for me? i really hope someone can help me with this decision

  56. shanon

    well, I am new with digital cameras. I did not have a cam yet. I just decided to buy one and again the comparison comes between Nikon P500 vs Canon SX30IX. I don’t know but somehow I am tending towards Nikon P500. CMOS lens, 3 inch LCD, 1080p video, lower price are the advantages for Nikon. At the other hand, better image stabilization and hot shoe is the advantage for Canon. Still in a dilemma though..Thinking….thinking….

  57. Author

    @Shannon – I’d opt for the Nikon in that situation.

    @Lisa – Yes. Any Nikon lens will fit on that camera, but there are a few older lenses that won’t autofocus. I doubt you’ll ever need any of the older lenses.

  58. Ryan

    So…I have a Canon Rebel XSi, and my question is this…do any high-end Canon users notice a difference in the noise their shutter makes versus a Nikon? I was at a wedding where the photographer was shooting Nikon and every time she clicked the shutter it was just this almost silent, “Flbp.” I was shooting a friend’s son’s Eagle court of honor a few weeks ago, and of course it’s all quite in the room and then you hear me take a photo: “CHIKAAAANK!!” Drives me NUTS.

    Anyway, my question is – do higher end Canons have loud shutters like this, or is it just a Rebel thing?

  59. Author

    @Ryan – Higher end Canons have a quieter shutter than the entry-level Canons, but I have to say that Nikon has always dominated the “really cool shutter sound” space.

  60. Aykut

    As a photographer who started with Canon, then switched to Nikon, then used Canon systems wherever they are needed I have my points as well.
    “I think” Nikon mid and high end cameras are more user friendly,that saves a lot of time when i’m shooting.

    Nikon and some other 3rd party lenses that i own somehow gave me better results than some Canon USM lenses that were told to be epic, I had to use my lenses on Canon bodies even.

    Canon’s image processors are better for fashion and portraits, gets rid of unnecessary detail.

  61. nilz

    Is it true that cannon lenses dont fit wiht other cannon body, while all nikon lenses fits with all nikon body.

  62. Santanna

    I am researching till my eyes in trying to find the right camera for me. I want to shoot local high school sports, weddings, portraits.

    1. Should I buy a kit or just the body?
    2. What lens should I get?
    3. Is it true that Nikon lenses are so expensive that Canon is a better choice for those with a budget?
    4. Are 3rd party lenses of good quality?
    5. Is it better to buy a cheaper camera (T3i, D5100) and a seperate nicer lens or a more expensive camera (7D,D300s) and a cheaper lens?

    Cameras I am eyeing
    1. T3i

    1. D5100
    2. D90
    3. D300S

    Thanks for all help offered

  63. Tirish

    Hey Santanna! First of all, i know more Nikon than Canon. Both of the systems are great. It just want u prefer as tool 😉

    1. Buying a kit is quite useful? Though, the lens given isn’t a superb piece of glass. Still i like the 16-55 that Nikon gives… Even it’s super plasticky. If you know what kind of lenses you are looking for, no need to buy useless lens kit :)

    2. For what you wanna do, there’s lots. Sports, a zooms lens like the 70-300 Nikon is a nice one. Ideally, the 70-200 2.8 is waaaay better. Sigma can be a very nice option too 😀
    For Portrait, idk… Some photographers like their 70-200 2.8. Honestly, i prefer primes such as 50mm 1.4, 85mm 1.4 (85mm F1.2 for Canon… Nom nom nom! Bokeeeh) or even better, the 135 F2 * drools* If you take a 70-200 2.8, that could be ur portrait lens as it covers a nice focal range for portraiture :)

    If you are going with Nikon: 35mm F1.8DX is a lust have lens :)

    3. Meh! I find that when going on good lenses, it’s almost the same price. ^^”
    Just take want is available for you! :)

    4. Mmmm… Carl Zeiss is indeed good lol
    Honestly, i like Sigma a lot. 10-20 3.5 sigma is such a nice lens on my DX camera 😀 Depends on what kind of focal and aperture you are looking for. Check out for reviews on the internet. There are more and more good stuff now :p

    5. I’m those guys who prefer to buy quality glass over the body but for sports…
    I think you shall go with something like the Nikon D7000, even it’s doesnt have a 9FPS or idk what. “Spray and Pray” = not cool. Just wait for the good moment and press the shutter. That will make u a better photographer :)

    Hope it helps :)

  64. Kristiana

    Thank you for all of your wonderful advice! I have soo enjoyed reading all of the articles on your site!!

    I just recently bought a Nikon d3100 and have been very impressed! I love Nikon and wouldn’t change to Canon. I like how comfortable my Nikon is compared to the Canon t31. It (the Canon) does have some advantages but I really don’t mind…. so does Nikon! :)

  65. Graystar

    As someone who wants his camera to feel like an extension of himself rather than something I’m just holding, there are other important reasons to choose Nikon over Canon.

    Nikon’s exposure controls are more flexible than Canon’s. Nikon’s Auto-ISO lets you set a minimum shutter speed so that you can match the slowest allowable speed to the subject matter at hand. Canon doesn’t described how their Auto-ISO selects the ISO. Nikon allows the use of Exposure Compensation with Auto-ISO in manual mode, turning M mode into a hybrid auto mode. Canon doesn’t allow EC in manual mode. Nikon allows an AE Lock to be held across multiple images without any input. With Canon, you have to press a button immediately after taking a picture to maintain an AE Lock across multiple shots. Nikon has a method for setting a custom white balance in 5 seconds. With Canon you have to work with menus to set a custom WB.

    For me, this extra flexibilty for setting exposure put Nikon above Canon.

  66. Thushara

    Don’t too much worry about the body, but worry about the lens. The best example is a human body. Even though, u r a healthy person, u can’t see anything with an unhealthy eyes. so cameras have the same practice too. Therefore, don’t too much worry about the camera body or pixels, but always go for good lenses. Nikon has a better lens system and Nikon offers a longer warranty period than canon for their lenses, don’t they?

  67. Nikki B.

    I have had a Nikon D300s for a year now. I got it for the video capability but now I’m thinking it isn’t the best choice. Where do I go from here? I like the camera, I def. have to invest in better glass. I have never tried Canon but it’s tempting. Any advice???

  68. Jay K

    Nikon – simply the best – I use a D700 to take high quality photos
    If I want to shoot video I use a deicated
    HD video camera.
    I don’t see the point of trying to mix & match the same out of one unit.

  69. kelly

    Even though I have a Canon, I’d gladly own a Nikon also….and I appreciate this sight to being self taught friendly, thank you. :)

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  71. Ernest

    Someone said it up there earlier…think his name was Matt. He said something on the lines of challenging someone to look at an image and tell me whether it was taken by a Canon/Nikon/Sony/etc…most people would be guessing and possibly get it correct. I personally shoot with both (Nikon D90 and Canon 60d) I love them both. I use my Canon for portraits and Nikon for landscape. Not intentional but based on some of the comments I would assume I was drawn into the categories each camera performed well at. Canon – portraits Nikon – scenery.

    When it comes down to it, all personal preference.

    The photographer, experienced in whatever their ‘specialty’ is essentially creates the image using the tool that they are most comfortable with. People could sit here all day long NIKON CANON NIKON CANON! Give me any camera and I will adjust the settings the same on all of them depending on what I am shooting and get the result I want.

  72. Diana

    Im going to get a DSLR camera and needed input on which is better. I held the Nikon D7000 abd fell inlovee! But I cant afford it! Does any one which is the one before that one? Is it the D5100?

  73. Brandon

    The main thing you want to consider when choosing which brand to go with is what brand your friends shoot. This way you have people you can talk to if you have problems and you can also try out your friends new camera body or lens to see if you would like to buy it. Or if you doing a shoot and need back up gear you know someone with the same camera set up.

  74. Jenna

    I got a D7000 for my birthday. As my first DSLR I was confused at first on which platform to choose. Nikon ended up beating out Canon for the low light performance, focal points, and the overall feel. It just feels more substantial to me!

    While both companies have their advantages, I wouldn’t switch for the world. I love my Nikon and couldn’t be happier!

    1. Karen

      I read with interest all the responses to Canon vs. Nikon – the pros and the cons and the personal preferences. One in particular from Sarah – short and sweet – caught my interest: “It’s got to be Nikon for the professional photographer! No competition.” No reasons why…just a flat-out comment.

      I know several very talented, credentialed (not self-proclaimed) professionals – some who shoot Nikon and some who shoot Canon, so I took this statement as a challenge and picked up 3 random copies of Outdoor Photographer magazine and took a tally of the makes of digital cameras used by the contributors (where identified). Sad to say, Sarah, that Canon significantly outshone Nikon: Issue 1 – Canon 6, Nikon 3 (plus one film camera), 1 Fuji; Issue 2 – Canon 3, Nikon 1 (plus one film camera); Issue 3 – Canon 9 (plus one film camera), Nikon 2 (one used a Sigma lens). Interestingly, in that third issue there was an article entitled “What gear would Ansel Adams carry today?” and it was a Canon in the shot, not a Nikon.

      Obviously Sarah doesn’t have a leg to stand on with her defense of Nikon for professionals and is not likely a professional photographer herself. A photographer who is truly a professional is more likely to judge another’s images based on the vision and creativity of the photographer, not on the brand of his or her equipment.

      As for me, I own, use and love my camera – one of the two major brands – and have not used the other, so I can hardly provide a comparison, and wouldn’t be so bold as to say that mine is better than the other – it just suits me. A camera can come to us via personal choice, a gift, or even a hand-me-down. Use it to your best advantage without running down the other brands. And make up your own mind when choosing a camera, don’t let someone else do it for you.

  75. gShawn

    I think Blue Aquan nailed the comparison. Nikon makes the better bodies for the money and Canon the better lenses for the money. The ruggedness, quality and dependability of the old Nikon FM series made many lifelong Nikon fans among professionals. Nikon still crafts very high quality bodies, but Canon has long had Nikon beat for the breadth and depth of quality lenses.

    I like to use some of the old German Web sites (like that do detailed testing of lenses, comparing MTF scores, among other attributes, and Canon has always been ahead in the number of optically superior lenses. Even Minolta at one time had a broader set of optically superior lenses than Nikon (I recognize that this comment will engender some scorn).

    I am biased; I believe that optics rule when it comes to equipment. You should choose your lens or lenses first and then choose your body. I transitioned to Canon many years ago and have upgraded through several bodies, from film to digital, now with a 5D. I still use some of the same fast primes I owned over a decade ago and used on my film camera. The bodies have made little difference compared to the lenses. I now use most my expensive Canon 24-70 L lens, but I can still often get better results with my cheap and light-weight fast 24mm prime or 50mm prime. An earlier poster said he was disappointed in the results of his Canon 60D and that the “Nikon had a better and sharper” image quality. Well, he was comparing his Canon with an 18-200 zoom to his Nikon with an 18-105 zoom. That’s comparing apples to oranges. No one makes an 18-200 zoom lens that will produce optically superior results of sharpness without fringing. This narrower-range Nikon lens beats the Canon lens in MTF scores at wide aperture substantially at 24mm and 100mm (the Canon does well in center, but collapses in the borders)–nikkor-aps-c-lens-tests/634-nikkor181053556vr?start=1.

    Tamron, Sigma and Tokina can also make some optically superior lenses, as well as some crap. I’ve long thought that Olympus made some nicely designed quality cameras, but the lens selection is very limited; however, if they have what you want at the quality and price you need, does it matter?

    Do your research and focus on buying your lens! Don’t expect superior results from any kit lens, regardless of your camera purchase.

  76. Aparecida

    there are many of the articles over internet but this one seems to be taking most of the time. i loved reading it

  77. Kevin

    I started with Sony went to Canon then to Nikon and back to Canon just feels better and great glass.

    No need to try and shout one down over the other, just shoot what feels good and IQ that you like!

  78. Carl

    I agree completely with this article. Though I have a Canon right now, I plan to have a Nikon in the future. Great article :)

  79. Rohan

    Its funny that someone today at work was asking me about whether Canon or Nikon made a better entry-level camera. My answer was probably in sync with the message of this article – Canon makes the better lenses and Nikon does a better job on the camera bodies. My dad is a hardcore Nikon guy and I have been shooting exclusively on Canon (current body is a humble 5D). Although, I got to say that Canon is more geared towards the prosumer with their wide choice of lenses. On the other hand, Nikon is probably more geared towards the specialists (e.g. wildlife, etc.) offering fewer lenses but more quality ones.

    All in all, a really good article – nicely balanced on perspectives weighing in both for Canon and Nikon.

    ~Happy Shooting!

  80. Kimberly

    People ask me this question all the time. While I am a Canon girl all the way and do no see myself switching to Nikon, I remain unbiased when speaking to people about this.

    Most have no clue what type of shots they want to capture. They have never had a DSLR and just want a general, all-purpose camera. They aren’t wanting to get serious with photography, just capture life’s memories.

    Here’s what I tell them in this instance. Go to a camera store and hold the different camera’s. Which on feels comfortable in your hand? Canon has a larger body than Nikon does. Nikon’s feel tiny in my large Norwegian hands and it’s awkward for me to maneuver around the controls. If the camera they purchase, usually as a kit so they aren’t spending a lot of money on expensive glass, isn’t operator friendly to them, it will sit on a shelf and not be used.

    To me, the best camera for the beginner is one that gets used, builds their confidence and allows them to grow in their skills and knowledge of the basic rules of photography. Then, when they upgrade from their first camera, they will know what type of photography they are drawn to and can purchase accordingly.

  81. Les Moore

    When I started out back in the film days, I was shooting with Canons. I had several bodies and lenses. Then autofocus came out. I was in the market for a nice upgrade to my lenses and wanted an 80-200 2.8 (or 70-200). I looked at lot and it was so hard to find anything at a good price for my Canons. Then I found a nice used Nikon lens at a camera shop…it was a push-pull auto focus 2.8. I put some money down on it and actually bought it before I even had a Nikon body! What sold me was the fact that Canon changed their lens mount when auto focus came out and Nikon didn’t. I still have that lens and even with the advent of the digital age I can use it! canon lost me way back then. Otherwise I’d still be shooting them.

  82. Brendan Moran

    Having spent nearly 12 months before buying my first DSLR a couple of years ago reading reviews, checking comparisons on numerous websites, annoying the hell out of my friends/family/anyone who’d listen,and revising my budget upwards many times, I eventually chose the camera that felt right in my hands, that felt comfortable, that made sense to me. As it happens, it was Nikon – I’d spent probably an hour in the shop holding, exploring and shooting with 3 different models from 3 manufacturers. In the end, the other 2 made less sense to me, whereas I felt I instinctively knew where everything was on the Nikon, I knew exactly where to find this or that button/setting/menu. And this has helped to sharpen my skills, not having to stop for 5 minutes trying to find something on the “wrong” camera. My 2 cents anyway :-)

  83. Marco

    I’m a Canon guy since I was a teenager so my input will be partial.
    I borrowed several Nikon SLRs from friends as I was curious and knew Nikons are as good as Canons. At that time (15-20 year ago) I tried a F-301 a F-401 and a F-801. Great solid feeling but I recall parameters on those bodies were so complicated and info in the viewfinder not clear enough. This is surely due to my long habit of shooting with Canon.
    Recently though, I made a new try with a DSLR from the yellow brand (D90 if I’m not mistaken). Again good feeling about the body itself but when I tried to exti from the all-auto-green menu, it quickly became a headache. I do not say that Nikons are not good, how could I? They’re as good as Canons but when I get a grip of any Canon, any EOS, old or new, digital or not, I exactly know in an eyeblink how to change settings. The wheel in the back is one of their greatest find ever! In manual mode I can set speed with one wheel and aperture with the other and it is a kid’s game.
    My old EF lens still perfectly work on my DSLRs, of course some are becoming outdated yet they are strong and the “L” world is a reference worldwide! Maybe I do not know Nikon lenses as well but it seems more complicated with their different systems and less coherent. Also it’s to me more difficult to identify the pro lenses within Nikon (Canon “L” equivalents).
    For sure if I were to change my bodies and lenses for another brand, I’d still opt for Nikon, rather than Sony, Pentax, etc.
    Both Canon and Nikon are way above the lot.

  84. Mary-Lynn

    Oh, good, the two cameras I’m agonizing between for my 1st are the recommended cameras. (Canon T3i & Nikon D5100) Super helpful. :-)

    I’m nearly ready to close my eyes and eenie-meenie-miney-mo to pick one. It’ll probably all come down to which package has the best offer at the store when I go to buy my camera.

  85. Michelle

    Take a look at the SONY A57 its faster, its got a much higher iso capability, the lens are as expensive and neither are the cameras. When they are compared head to head with the Nikon and Canon in terms of features they come out ahead in almost all categories.. Although they are a bit heavier..

  86. Stephanie

    I work at Best Buy in the Digital Imaging section, as I did go to photography school at Brooks Institute of Photography in Ventura, California. From what I’ve learned at school 8 years ago and what I’ve picked up and learned at work, I still see CANON as the superior camera. Yes, Nikon has SOME advantages (basically, only the 29 points fo focus, which I personally think is overkill), but I think Canon has the best low light performance! Both brands make equally good flashes so I could care less about that, but CANON is more cost friendly AND MUCH easier to use!!!! Obviously it’s video quality is perfection since the movie industry has been using Canon’s for filming for years now (i.e. The Avengers was filmed with 2 different Canon cameras — see Canon’s facebook page for that info).

    My associates and I sell more Canons than Nikons any day of the week due to what customers come in and feel comfortable with. Nikon confuses so many people with it’s overkill of buttons that you can barely figure out what they do.

    In photography school, my professors gave us all the rundown on Nikon vs. Canon, and in the end, these professional photographers who worked for National Geographic, national newspapers, and other magazines or sports teams preferred the Canon. Nikon is still a great camera, but there’s nothing the Canon company! Great company, well run. And the proof is in their cameras.

    PS I’m also sick of people coming is asking for the Ashton Kutcher camera. Makes me sick that’s the only reason they want it.

    1. Keli

      I have a Canon 40d and still producing great images. You just need to proper exposure and good to decent lens. I tried nikon before and its controls are way complicated than canon.

  87. Dave

    I come from an age where the SLR or the TLR where king and mostly Yashica or Ziess! and having spent my youth assisting my father with his photography business from the age of 10. His favourite always ended up back to the Zenith, he said if I drop it it’ll still work! So when this new fangled digital stuff came out me being the “youngster” got to play! My father bought an Olympus OM10, his first and last head nod to the digital upstart that was taking over the world!(he hated it) I duly dumped my SLR and its lenses and went digital! First a point and squirt Acer 6mp then an Olympus 10mp. But after a particularly wonderful cruise holiday taking in the south american countries I realised my mistake! The pictures I missed because of the limitations of the camera! (I never was or wanted to be a professional) But I know enough to see what I was missing! So the search started. I too ended comparing Nikon and Canon, Canon took the lead (just) but the limitations of Nikons video pushed me into the Canon family completely. I, as most people, started fairly low down the product range and increasingly moved up as I remembered things. I had settled on the 600D mainly because of the tilt n turn LCD, crucial for being able to see above the heads of other tourists! Then the 60D started to creep into my spec list, but could I justify the cost, no not really I will not be going professional I have nothing to prove being the very wrong side of 50, but something was not convincing me about the 600D. Then, bless them Canon bought out the 650D problem solved! this ticks all my boxes, but I can still hand it over to my wife on full auto and she can take a picture of an actual crocodile not the piece of driftwood she thought was one! I have yet to take “proper” pictures as at the moment I am trying to learn everything it does (a little daunting)for this old godgers brain at times. But at the end of it all it’s down to personal choice and what you need of a camera, myself having two grown daughters also think the 650D will take great pictures of any grandkids that come my way! As for my fathers view? He would have said, “yes all well and good but if you drop it?”
    note to self, does my insurance cover it?

  88. Elaine

    About a year ago I was wanting to buy myself a new digital camera. I had a point and soot Canon Power Shot S5is but I wanted a DSLR, I missed being able to take the sort of shots that can only really be captured with an SLR lens. I tend research things to death when I buy them because I don’t want to regret my decision.
    Outside of the cheap little cameras I got/used as as a small child all my cameras (film & digital) have been Canons, so you’d think that the decision would have been easy for me but it wasn’t.
    About 2 months prior to me buying my DSLR I was on a Greek cruise and the person I was paired with had a Nikon DSLR. The ability to manually change focus and lenses as well as the style of the camera body itself made me wonder whether I should leave the Canon family and go to the “other side” .
    When I came back my mind was made up to buy a DSLR so I could take shots at and around Christmas. I agonized going back and forth to the camera store trying out all of the models up to a certain price point. I decided that both companies entry level cameras were too basic for me so I decided to go one step up.
    In the end I went with the Canon because it just felt familiar like an old friend.
    I have friends who love their Nikon cameras but for me I love my Canon 60D.
    Who knows, maybe in a year or two when I am ready to trade up I will join the Nikon family? but until then I will happily continue to tote my Canon along as I travel the world.

  89. Jeremy Wallace

    I had to make this impossible decision about a year ago when deciding what camera brand to invest in. I ended up going with Canon because my grandfather had old Canon A-1’s that I had been using. I’m happy with my Canon, but I must admit I do sometimes dream about what it would be like to be a Nikon shooter 😛

    1. keli

      Both produce great I.Q. its just a matter of preference. I have both canon and nikon and if you were to ask me, its hard to say one is better than the other.

  90. joby

    u r creating wrong information by saying that nikon is only a camera company,correct yourselves nikon is into cameras,stepper machines,binoculres,microscopes,spectacle lenses,and also Nikkor

  91. Lee

    I am a working photographer and I am out and about in the industry on a daily basis. In my my travels I go to studios, meet fashion photographers, journalists, wildlife and landscape professionals, visit colleges, schools and universities. I went through the education system and have a diploma and a degree and I have worked in busy photography shops selling DSLR cameras and accessories. One thing I can tell you is that the majority of the pro’s I meet just do not care whether it is Nikon or Canon. They shoot with whatever is going to get the job that they are working on done, be it Canon, Nikon, Leica, Mamiya, Hasselblad etc etc.
    There is no such thing as one brand being better than the other, they are both better at some jobs and worse at others. The pro’s know this, they have moved beyond the childish arguments that seem to rage over the internet and are only focused on creating fantastic images. A lesson that perhaps we would all do with learning.

  92. Wlodek

    I used to have a lot of Canons previously (10D, 20D, 30D, 50D, 5DMk1). The thing in Canon which make me furious is AF performance! Year ago I bought Nikon D700. Since then I don’t know what the AF missfocus means. The build quality of Nikon BOTH pro grade lenses and semipro/higher but stil budget lenses is SIGNIFICANTLY higher than the comparative Canon lenses build. If we use automotive parallel if the Canon is Mercedes Nikon is Rolls Royce then. For sure! Of course I am comparing higher class cameras (two or one digits Canons and D700/D3 Nikons) I don’t have experience with Canon xxx or Nikon xxxx. After long years of shooting (21 at the moment) and trying in this period a lot of cameras I am very certain of my verdict.

  93. Teresa

    My dad got me my first DSLR camera for my birthday. I didn’t know what I wanted between Canon & Nikon. I chose the Canon because it was lighter & “felt right”. Although I have to say that flash red camera from Nikon was cool. So far I am enjoying it but is taking me some time to know my way around a DSLR camera. I mostly do nature & city photos but want to learn all different kinds of photography.

  94. David Lai

    I am a very long time Nikon shooter who went back and forth between Nikon and Canon over the 30 plus years I have been shooting and am now firmly entrenched with Nikon.
    Started with the Nikon F3, F4 then F5 in the nineties, switched to the Canon 20D, 30D, 5D then 1DmkIII in the mid 2000s. When that camera had focusing issues that could not be fixed, I went back to Nikon with the D3, then added the D700. My current arsenal includes the D4, D800e and D600 cameras. I briefly had the Canon 5DmkII because I needed it for it’s video capabilities which were then better than what Nikon was offering.
    Here IMHO is what I like better about Nikon.
    1) The handling and user interface. Hands down, I work faster chimping images and checking focus and deleting images in the Nikon. As a working pro this is essential.
    Canon makes you do several extra steps for the same result which results in extra time.

    2) The focusing system. My keeper rate is very high on the Nikon. I understand the new Canons have improved focus but look at what Canon has done with the upcoming 6D vs the NIkon D600. They handicapped it with the single cross type AF point just like the 5D MKII.

    3) Nikon was caught sleeping when it came to DSLR video. They woke us and have improved things tremendously. The video files from my D800e are unbelievably sharp and detailed compared to my Canon.

    In the end though, both marques are great, the camera is only a tool.
    Lee below says it best.

  95. Val

    Buy what you can afford. IMHO, the Nikon memus and features are easier to use and more powerful than the competition. As menitoned previously, by others, the camera is a tool. However, for most photographers, whether pro or amateur, keep in mind, when you ‘invest’ in glass (the lenses), that investment is hard to use on another manufactures camera body.
    So, whatever you purchase, love it, learn to use it, and keep shooting every day.

  96. chooi

    I’m a beginner of photography, and a Nikon Fans,just bought a D800+70-200mm ED VR II today, and i totally love it! I admit that i love Canon’s white lens. Hope that Nikon will also make some white, gray or whatever color they like for coming up lens. Agree with Val keep shooting everyday to improve and don’t regret once u have bought the lens, LOVE it!!

  97. David

    I’m not sure how you can say that Canon has an advantage in availability over Nikon. Take the current race for the “smallest lowest price full frame camera”. The Nikon D600 was announced and released almost immediately. The Canon 6D was announced and released at least 2+ months later(yet to be released). The Canon 1DX was announced October 2011, didn’t actually get shipped by most companies until July 2012. That is nearly 10 months! The same is true of most lenses Canon releases these days.

  98. Marco

    Advantages of Canon seem to diminish. As David has mentioned about, availability of Nikon cameras is pretty good and it seems that Canon announced the 6D in a reaction to Nikon’s D600.

    Video features and quality of D600, D800 and D4 is on par with any Canons cameras and Nikon offers uncompressed output as well on.

    Pixel Count / Resolution is larger on Nikon’s D800 then any Canon camera ever produced until now.

    I think Nikon made a good choice to start sensor development and production with Sony and it seems that Nikon sensors are (slightly) ahead of Canon sensors at this moment.

  99. Bigs

    For me I went Nikon… Why? Because my friends have Nikon and I can borrow their lenses! :) (Tip from a coworker that is a photographer and a Canon guy)

    As I’m a beginner I went with the D3200. I’m really happy but their could have included slave mode… How much more work would that have been Nikon?

  100. Bill S

    I use Nikon because they never changed the lens mount. I use manual focus lenses on my DSLRs. And use auto focus lenses on my manual focus bodies(however, they must have the aperture ring).

  101. Don R

    I bought a $350.00 Nikon camera about 3 years ago. To make a long story short, the camera/battery was obviously defective right out of the box needing a recharge after 20 photo’s. The ensuing contacts with Nikon’s customer service over this issue was a nightmare. I ended up sending the camera, at my expense, back to Nikon to fix. I never received a response if it was a production error in the camera or battery or whatever. After the camera came back I could take 250-300 pictures on a fully charged battery. I gave the camera to my 7 yr. old grandson and bought a Canon Rebel. I have taken over 10,000 pictures with my Rebel with no problems at all. On a scale of 1-10, 10 being excellent, I would rate the Nikon Customer Relations Dept. a very generous 1. I will never possess a another Nikon camera or anything made by Nikon.

  102. cory

    I’ve been Canon for at least 35 yrs. I do agree it would have been nice if they would’ve stayed with the FD mount like Nikon stayed with their Nikkor. In studio class 6 months we decided to test the ISO Noise (grain) of the diff brands of cameras in our classes,Beginner,Intermediate, and Advanced. We have about 50 students combined and about half are Nikon and the other Canon. We do have 1 Sony, 1 Fuji, and 1 Pentax K5. No one but the Canons made it to 3200 ISO without having some type of visable “Noise”. As far as low light from what I’ve read, is that not the main feature of the new Canon 6D other than being a new full frame? Thinking about making that purchase soon, only worry is my change from a crop camera to full frame and how big a deal that is. Is the 5D III just as good or not better? Some one please let me know how they feel. Now before I shut up I’m gonna be a Hippacrit!! PUT YOUR MONEY IN GLASS (or at least 1st put your money in tires then better motors)! Did I mention I’as born in Chicago, raised in Tn., and my nickname is Joebob??! LOL!! I’ll try and be more serious next time. Thanks, Cory

  103. jeanne

    I shoot Canon because I started with Canon in 1984. But if I were starting now I would go Nikon, there are more reasons that listed here where I think Nikon has thought more about the consumer and functionality.

  104. tedtedsen

    i shoot Nikon d4 and d7000 and 300mm 2.8 and sigma 800mm 5.6 and are happy With my gear perhaps canon is better i dont ceare

  105. Nat

    Canon actually has a more advanced wireless flash system since the 600 EX-RT came out. No need to use PocketWizard or RadioPoppers anymore! Nikon doesn’t have anything similar yet.

  106. Nat

    Oh and I think that Nikon actually wins on Megapixel count as of now. It’s actually a pain for a lot of wedding photographers shooting with 36 Mpx on D800.

  107. ambrose mcauliffe

    Dear sir I have a Cannon eos rebel T4i eos 650 D i have also purchased a panasonic model no. TC-L32X5 T.V. this is 720p lcd hdtv 32″ this is a sdhc compatable and usb flash memory,i am using Roxio Nxt Pro to make my movies am a novis-novis,now that i have all this hopefully up front my question is: My project is i want to video my Border Collies in action not pictures, but video,have a wireless sdcard to send to my lap top how do i get the video transfered to my sdhc chip.

  108. Bill Butcher

    what are the noise difference between say canon 7d and a d300s nikon then versus a full frame..because in my ever so humble opinion they advertised the 7d as low noise to iso ration but if i even get over iso400 noise is quite evident in certain colors and especially in the skies in the pictures .. and gets worse as you go up..does Nikon handle it any better?

  109. Joe

    I agree with the analysis
    Well, kind of agree, because I lack experience and knowledge but what you say kind of resembles my first impressions. I may change my mind as I progress but so far it seems to me your analysis is quite right.

    I must add that I feel Nikon cameras and gear are more “honest” than Canon ones. What you read in their website or ads is what you get.

    On the other hand, Canon advertisement is much more aggressive, fancy and misleading.

    Canon products are always giving you with one hand but taking you out with the other hand. Ok, all brands do that and it happens in every market as in cars or cell phones or computer or any other highly advanced stuff. But, seems to me, Canon does it in a more dishonest way, I find Canon advertisement highly misleading and making you think you are buying wonders.

    Nikon is kind of more honest, they tell you what to expect, technical specs, overall overview avoiding fancy words and avoiding fancy names like “new digic 5 processor super fast, extremely sharp colors, unmatched reliability” man you think you are buying wonders. And indeed Canon gear are wonders but Nikons are as well.

    What do I have? I have both, Nikon and Canon and I believe they are one and the same company whose stakeholders invest in both at the same time and creat an artificial competence.

    A company is nothing without a nemesis.

    All great powers need a nemesis, an adversary, an enemy, a competence.

    Canon would cry blood if Nikon gets into bakruptcy and Nikon would be shattered to pieces if Canon ever goes into bakruptcy.

    The whole competence among the big two is just a hoax.

    I bet they are the same company and their research scientists get together to drink some beer after work hours in the same bar sharing their “secrets”

    They need each other.

    Both are superb!

  110. Clueless_Wanderer

    Just as a side note to the Canon-Nikon debate. I’ve noticed a trend with ‘Head space and brands’ A certain kind of person seems to favour a certain brand. The Canon crew seem to be more of an artistic/creative, “I just want the machine to do what I want it to do and I dont need to know the why’s. The vast majority of these are also Apple users.
    The Nikon Crew seem to be more technical in their way of thinking, and they seem to favour using PC’s “I want the machine to do what I tell it do, but I want to know how and why it does it”.

    Put in the context of a racing car:

    The Canon/Apple users are the race car drivers. Anything wrong with it and leave it to the mechanic. Where as Nikon/PC users are the race car driver but also want to know how to change the oil and the spark plugs..

    Check for yourself; Ask around. If you see someone shooting canon,ask them and I bet you they use a Mac. I must have asked this question about 20 times and only once have I met a canon shooter who uses a PC for editing..

  111. Maria

    Sure enough, that’s pretty I shoot Nikon my best friend shoots Canon. She’s Apple all the way, I’m PC. What’s up with that? Funny observation.

  112. Photoboothgirl

    awwww Charles! I started out with my Canon Rebel and a Window PC. Then, those darn Apple people who entice, trick, and get you so addicted, had me and forced me to buy a Macbook Air, Macbook Pro, iMac 27 in and 2 ipads. Oh, yea and the iphone. Ooops going off the topic.

    Back in 2006, I shot with the Canon Rebel and it was an amazing camera. Slap the Nifty-Fifthy and I was all that and a “bag of chips”. Then something strange happened in Nov 2010 and I jumped over to Nikon. I grabbed that beast, D7000 and never looked back. I heard nothing but great things about the Canon 60d, 7d, 5D, 5D MK 2 and 3 (awesome AF). But I love the D7000. I am still learning how to use it to the fullest and that’s why I have not upgrade to a full sensor yet (maybe later this year).

    So now for more than 3 to 4 years, I am a Mac with a Nikon. And I want the darn camera to figure everything out. I just want to click and have the best images EVER!

    I know a lot of people using PC because of the price and they love the Canon cameras (tons of lens choices).

  113. A.Vandelay

    I’d like to add that the ergonomy approach between Canon and Nikon differs a lot. Ergonomy is essential to good usability but I rarely see this topic discussed.

    Canon tend to make most of the main adjustments of the camera body readily accessible within the reach of the right hand fingers. Nikon distributes them to both hands.

    It’s of course a personal preference, and although I’m a long time Nikon user, I think Canon approach makes more sense, since it keeps your left hand free to control the lens while right hand operates the camera body.

  114. Jithin

    I’m a Nikon family! Coz I started learning on my sister’s Nikon D3100 and got used to it for a month and now I’m a proud owner of D3200! I have used both Canon and Nikon cams and I find Nikon’s ergonomics more comfortable!

  115. Eric

    I started in the DSLR world with a D70s in 2007 and loved that camera. I was waiting for the the D7100 to be announced last year to upgrade to it, but the army issued me a T3i to use while I’m the Public Affairs Rep for the battalion, so I sold all my Nikon gear to focus on the Canon system since the T3i was a better camera relatively.

    This past Feb I purchased the 60D, last month my roommate stole my gear except my T3i, thank god because I have to turn that in eventually. I thought about using this as an opportunity to finally get the D7100, I tried it out at my local shop and I can’t stand the ergonomics of the body. Selecting focus points is so much easier on the Canons, along with the placement of the AF button on them is better for Back Button Focusing (I use the * button though).

    I really wish I could get a camera with the button placement of the Canon with the focus points of the Nikon, GPS expansion ability, and dual SD card slots without having to pay over $2500 for it.

  116. Photo DeLux

    I recently switched from Canon gear to try using the Nikon D7000 to test the ergonomics and extra button availability. General Nikon advantages:
    * Panoramas and HDR – bracket shooting and changing shutter frequency (single, continuous, etc) is done instantly with a dial and without going into menus.
    * Dual-SD card body with lens for < $1000 (only the Canon 5Dmk3 years later and 3x the price has dual memory cards)

    Disadvantages for Nikon:
    * Autofocus point selection is a mystery – seriously, I constantly have to reference the manual to know to push a blank button and turn a dial to be able to select my "point of focus"
    * No visual confirmation that focus is acquired. While Canon has the little red focus point dots, Nikon uses a square and pressing the shutter halfway only makes the square blink red – without acquiring focus necessarily – especially if the lens is locked in focus (for a panorama). I have many shots out of focus because the lens was set to manual while I could only tell the focus was off for close subjects and zooming in on the image.
    * Random "Err" error messages
    * The dials rotate backwards compared to Canon

  117. JB

    I use the Nikon D7000 and it has a green focus confirmation dot to tell you that focus is acquired. It’s at the bottom of the viewfinder beside the shutter speed. When using manual focus, left and right green arrows appear to tell you if the focus is off and which direction you should turn the focus ring. Once the proper focus is acquired, the green confirmation dot will replace the arrows.

    I assume that other Nikon models also have the same or similar functionality for focus confirmation. I hope this helps.

  118. Charlotte

    I’ve had both Canon and Nikon, they both have their own better features. I’m looking for a new DSLR and haven’t decided which to get yet. I love taking landscaping or anything that has to with the outside world 😉 Does anyone have any suggestions?

  119. Mohammad

    Thank you for your article.
    But i think “MegaPixel” and “price” of Nikon(s) are better than Canon(s). with a same range of price, nikon gives a better camera.

  120. Jeff

    If you believe DxOMark (Canon users generally don’t) Nikon lens, as a rule, blow Canon lens away. There are exceptions but you have to dig hard to find them.

  121. Jeanne

    Wow, wish I would have seen this sooner! I use a Nikon D60 with a 28-300mm lens and a old Sony DSC-H1 for an infallible point & shoot. I wanted to get my son a DSLR and after gathering some recommendations (mainly from Canon users) and reading an article that said that Canons were good for beginners and Nikons were for people more interested in the technical aspects, I went with the Canon EOS T51 with an 18-135mm lens. I started on a Canon AE-1, so I thought this was an acceptable choice. The camera takes beautiful shots, no question about it. When we shoot side by side, I find where the Nikon under performs, the Canon gets it just right. However, there is one thing that absolutely drives me nuts…the autofocus points. I was wondering if that would change with the lens. I thought if I added a lens that wasn’t wider than 24mm or 28mm to the Canon, would I be able to focus better on the foreground and background? I have no complaints with the Nikon, because I feel like I have really good control. It can be hinky in low light, but I attribute that to the lens length. Would I realize better control with the Canon with a different lens or is this just something I have to live with? I do also have a full HD Canon video camera to go with my Nikon, I have not had much luck operating the built in HD camera on the Canon T5i, but I haven’t spent a ton of time working with it, either. Suggestions?

  122. DTC

    Company I use to work for doing auto design research switched from Nikon to Canon when I prove to them the efficiency and quality of Canon. The image quality of the L series lens of Canon impressed them very much and the simplicity of the function on professional EOS series.

    For any beginners I come across I always tell them to invest in the Canon L series lens to begin with, because it’s a lens they’ll will use all the way up to professional stage. As for the body it could be upgraded as peoples career improves and also as Canon technology keeps improving.

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