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DPChallenge Forums >> Hardware and Software >> Switching Systems - advice on Nikon vs Canon
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01/11/2009 12:53:37 PM · #1
Hello All,

I am saving up to upgrade my current camera and lens. I currently have the Olympus E510, which I like (as my first DSLR) but I am looking to get into one of the more mainstream systems (Canon or Nikon). Here are some shortcomings of the E510 that are pushing me to look for something better:

1 - Poor low-light performance (ISO 1600 is too noisy for my taste, compared with both Nikon or Canon offerings)
2 - Focus-by-wire irritates me (when compared to 'real' manual focus systems)
3 - Small viewfinder is cumbersome, especially when trying to manually focus.
4 - limiting 3-point AF performance.

I'll be looking to spend about $1,000 on a body and lens - and I am absolutely willing to buy one generation behind the cutting edge.

Now my question to DCPers... assuming I'll build on my camera/lens system over years, which direction would you recommend for the Enthusiast Level photographer: Nikon or Canon?
01/11/2009 12:58:19 PM · #2
Canon seems to have a better range of glass at more affordable prices, for the enthusiast. Also, the lower-end Nikon models only work with lenses with a built-in focusing motor, whereas Canon has the motor in the body with all its models. My gut feeling is Canon makes more sense, but ergonomics could swing the balance either way for you. Both are excellent systems. It is best that you handle both cameras, paying particular attention to the layout of the controls, and go with what feels right to your hands.

R.
01/11/2009 01:13:58 PM · #3
Nikon Woop!!

I got my D90 yesterday and it's amazing. Posting up some first shots soon...
01/11/2009 01:18:06 PM · #4
Originally posted by JimiRose:

Nikon Woop!!

I got my D90 yesterday and it's amazing. Posting up some first shots soon...


We'll see how that Nikon whoops against my Canon in the head to head friend. :D
01/11/2009 01:25:03 PM · #5
Originally posted by Bear_Music:

... Also, the lower-end Nikon models only work with lenses with a built-in focusing motor, whereas Canon has the motor in the body with all its models.

Both are excellent systems. It is best that you handle both cameras, paying particular attention to the layout of the controls, and go with what feels right to your hands.

R.


Ummm...there's no focusing motor in any of Canon's bodies, the motors are all in the lenses.

And I concur with your latter statement. Select the system that you feel most comfortable with.
01/11/2009 01:25:58 PM · #6
Originally posted by Bear_Music:

It is best that you handle both cameras, paying particular attention to the layout of the controls, and go with what feels right to your hands.

R.


I'd have to agree. I think it's best for you to get hands on with the cameras and really see which one feels better to you. Also browse through the menus and see which one suits your style of shooting.

Message edited by author 2009-01-11 13:26:27.
01/11/2009 01:30:38 PM · #7
Originally posted by ShutterPug:

Originally posted by JimiRose:

Nikon Woop!!

I got my D90 yesterday and it's amazing. Posting up some first shots soon...


We'll see how that Nikon whoops against my Canon in the head to head friend. :D


Them's fighting words - I'm going to rinse you out like a hot flannel!
01/11/2009 02:10:43 PM · #8
You should consider looking at a D80-- In terms of price:performance ratio, there's nothing quite like it on the market right now.

But I do mostly agree that you should choose a system that you're comfortable holding and operating, as that's what really counts. People can pick nits about the differences between Nikon, Canon, Sony, whatever, but at the end of the day they're all pretty much gonna do the same thing, and it boils down to how easily YOU can make them work.
01/11/2009 02:22:26 PM · #9
The advice to get what feels good when you hold it is very true. I use the S3 Fuji's because my first one was a gift from my nephew who shoots architecture for a living. He moved to the Canon Mk series. The S3 has served me well, and I love the fact that it, like most of the Nikons can use the older and much less expensive manual lenses. Since most of my shooting is out door stuff, so that suits me perfectly. The S5 Fuji has better noise control, but probably not equalling the recent Nikon and Canon systems.
I hope you get a good deal on a system you will be happy with for a long time.
01/11/2009 02:55:04 PM · #10
You've done a good job identifying what you'd like to see in your new camera; I think you are going to get a bunch of biased answers that you'll completely ignore when you hold the cameras in your hand. It really is a question of ergonomics and whether the menu system seems intuitive for you.
01/11/2009 02:56:37 PM · #11
Originally posted by AlphaBeta:

Hello All,

Now my question to DCPers... assuming I'll build on my camera/lens system over years, which direction would you recommend for the Enthusiast Level photographer: Nikon or Canon?


I think either would satisfy your needs. Both have their weaknesses and strengths. I found that Nikon bodies just seemed to fit my hand. The only switch on any of their bodies that causes me troubles is the C/S/M autofocus switch. I think previous advice is sound: Go handle the cameras you think you'd like and see how they fit your hand and how you shoot. Only the D40/60 cameras lack an interal screw focus motor. Almost all modern Nikkor lenses have a built in focus motor. (AF-S equals modern fast built in coreless motor)
If company loyalty to lense mount is important, Nikon is the only system that will mount almost all lenses made since 1972.
01/11/2009 03:12:46 PM · #12
Originally posted by Spazmo99:

Originally posted by Bear_Music:

... Also, the lower-end Nikon models only work with lenses with a built-in focusing motor, whereas Canon has the motor in the body with all its models.

Both are excellent systems. It is best that you handle both cameras, paying particular attention to the layout of the controls, and go with what feels right to your hands.

R.


Ummm...there's no focusing motor in any of Canon's bodies, the motors are all in the lenses.

And I concur with your latter statement. Select the system that you feel most comfortable with.


LOL, I had that backwards sorry. The point being, all the Canon lenses will focus on any Canon body they can mount to, where witht he Nikon lenses this is not true, and it gets confusing.

R.
01/11/2009 03:13:39 PM · #13
Originally posted by fir3bird:

Originally posted by AlphaBeta:

Hello All,

Now my question to DCPers... assuming I'll build on my camera/lens system over years, which direction would you recommend for the Enthusiast Level photographer: Nikon or Canon?


I think either would satisfy your needs. Both have their weaknesses and strengths. I found that Nikon bodies just seemed to fit my hand. The only switch on any of their bodies that causes me troubles is the C/S/M autofocus switch. I think previous advice is sound: Go handle the cameras you think you'd like and see how they fit your hand and how you shoot. Only the D40/60 cameras lack an interal screw focus motor. Almost all modern Nikkor lenses have a built in focus motor. (AF-S equals modern fast built in coreless motor)
If company loyalty to lense mount is important, Nikon is the only system that will mount almost all lenses made since 1972.


Not quite true:) All Pentax lenses fit their range of DSLR and the K20D is a great camera too. Reading reviews will help you to gather info, then go try them all out. Good Luck with your choice:)
01/11/2009 05:17:25 PM · #14
Thank you all so much for your input! That's exactly the kind of advice I was looking for - I knew I was going to like this place ;)

I have two good photo shops in my town, so I will go in to both and try and get my hands on anything I can. 31.gif Anti-Martyr, I will try to give the D80 a test run if I can find one. That camera was already on my 'short-list', but I have yet to try one out.

Thanks again for all your input, DPC! :)
01/11/2009 05:35:12 PM · #15
You can't go wrong with either Canon or Nikon. The two things that made my decision were, the way the D70 felt in my hand, and the fact that I can buy older (read less expensive) pro quality lens that will work on my D70, and will on the next body too.
01/11/2009 05:38:59 PM · #16
Originally posted by AlphaBeta:

Hello All,

I am saving up to upgrade my current camera and lens. I currently have the Olympus E510, which I like (as my first DSLR) but I am looking to get into one of the more mainstream systems (Canon or Nikon). Here are some shortcomings of the E510 that are pushing me to look for something better:

1 - Poor low-light performance (ISO 1600 is too noisy for my taste, compared with both Nikon or Canon offerings)
2 - Focus-by-wire irritates me (when compared to 'real' manual focus systems)
3 - Small viewfinder is cumbersome, especially when trying to manually focus.
4 - limiting 3-point AF performance.

I'll be looking to spend about $1,000 on a body and lens - and I am absolutely willing to buy one generation behind the cutting edge.

Now my question to DCPers... assuming I'll build on my camera/lens system over years, which direction would you recommend for the Enthusiast Level photographer: Nikon or Canon?


Sorry to hear that. I've always enjoyed the performance of Olympus cameras. However, it sounds like everything except for #3 has more to do with how you choose to use your camera than an actual limitation of the camera. I would have suggested upgrading to or trying an E-3 with some of the SWD lenses before switching to another brand of camera. However, to each their own. Good skill in finding what you're looking for.

TANK
01/11/2009 05:48:16 PM · #17
I moved from Olympus to Nikon myself, and can honestly say it was an excellent choice. The thing about Nikon is, as several people mentioned, its backwards compatibility with lenses back to '72. I recently got a 300mm lens for $50 and it works beautifully--only catch is manual focus, which is hardly a catch.

Something else to consider--Nikon's flashes are some of the best around, and their iTTL system works wonders.

And Nikon's upper-level cameras all feel substantial and satisfying in the hand.

Definitely try 'em out yourself, of course. Canon's a great brand and I wouldn't blame you (too much) for going with them.
01/11/2009 06:47:44 PM · #18
I think everyone's already given you great advice already, just 1 more thing to consider especially if you have a photography buddy or buddies. If they are all just using 1 brand then you could lean more towards that brand so that you can share accessories and especially lenses. Won't go wrong with Nikon or Canon , both are great!
01/11/2009 06:57:56 PM · #19
Nikon = Conservative Democrat
Canon = Liberal Republican

All the cool kids that you want to emulate, the artisans, the Greenwich Village Art House post-modern hippies shoot Nikon. Any time you see an awesome avant-garde gallery show, selling prints for $1000, invariably they're shooting Nikon.

All the seasoned vets, the money-makers, the photojournalists, all the pro-sports shooters shoot Canon. Any time you see a double-truck in Sports Illustrated that must have made 6 figures for the photog, chances are it was a Canon.

lol. Does that help?
01/11/2009 07:10:26 PM · #20
Thanks again for your thoughtful advice everyone! I took a look at prices and specs on a D80 and it seems like that is right up my alley for what I was looking for. Which Canon body would be a fair comparison to a D80, in terms of price and specs?

I'd like to be able to have a couple models in mind when I get to the camera shop, so I can spend time comparing just a couple top contenders.
01/11/2009 07:47:17 PM · #21
I'm not certain about the Canon equivalent to the Nikon D80 since I'm much less familiar with Nikon than I am Canon, but my guess is that it would be the Canon 40D, which I treasure and love dearly. I kind of got locked in to the Canon thing because that's what my first DSLR was, so I really can't speak to the comparison between the two. But I can say I love the feel of the 40D in my hands. Some people prefer the smaller bodies, but to me the larger body feels more solid and just fits right. There's also the newer 50D which has an improved LCD screen, debatably less noise than the 40D, and more megapixels. If you're going to a camera store to compare bodies, I'd suggest asking to play with the Canon 40D which may be closer to your price range than the 50D.
01/11/2009 07:54:49 PM · #22
Canon = Holden/Chevrolet etc
Nikon = Ford

As you can tell I'm a Holden man too. :-D
01/11/2009 10:40:52 PM · #23
And for the Nikon and Canon glass, ED=Extra Dollars, and L=Ludicrous (price). But they are worth the extra money if you feel like you may shoot that "once in a lifetime" shot sometime, and want to have the right equipment ready for the moment.
I use a modern 18-70 Nikkor as a grab shot lens, but if there is time, I prefer to switch to the older manual glass at every opportunity. I like the feel of the older all metal lenses for their amazing machine work and attention to detail, as well as their prices and photographic abilities. I have about 6 or 8 manual Nikkor lenses in my collection that are just beautiful and render incredible detail, which none of them cost me more than about $50.
I was a Canon shooter until the end of the manual FD lens era, and loved them as well, for the same reasons.
01/12/2009 02:15:54 AM · #24
Originally posted by AlphaBeta:

Thanks again for your thoughtful advice everyone! I took a look at prices and specs on a D80 and it seems like that is right up my alley for what I was looking for. Which Canon body would be a fair comparison to a D80, in terms of price and specs?

I'd like to be able to have a couple models in mind when I get to the camera shop, so I can spend time comparing just a couple top contenders.


Compare the d90 to d80--I have both, and the d90 is so much better in many ways. Better sensor, better features, better LCD.... It would be worth waiting just a bit longer and saving for, in my opinion...

Message edited by author 2009-01-12 02:18:16.
01/12/2009 03:22:15 AM · #25
Originally posted by chromeydome:

Originally posted by AlphaBeta:

Thanks again for your thoughtful advice everyone! I took a look at prices and specs on a D80 and it seems like that is right up my alley for what I was looking for. Which Canon body would be a fair comparison to a D80, in terms of price and specs?

I'd like to be able to have a couple models in mind when I get to the camera shop, so I can spend time comparing just a couple top contenders.


Compare the d90 to d80--I have both, and the d90 is so much better in many ways. Better sensor, better features, better LCD.... It would be worth waiting just a bit longer and saving for, in my opinion...


Second that. The D80 meter is questionable.

Canon seems to have cheaper glass. Although I dont know much about the quality of the lenses. Also, Adobe seems to be able to read Canon RAW better than Nikon RAW. I end up using Nikon software to convert as Ive only found one other package that can read the colors really well (I guess ACR can do it as well with some tweaking). All that said, I do love my D300.
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