Canon or Nikon? Yes, I know it has been discussed before :)

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by valiar, Jul 12, 2006.

  1. valiar macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2006
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    Washington, DC
    #1
    It is time for me to part with my beloved Sigma SD9 :( . While it is an exceptional camera, it simply starts to show its age, and the body upgrade options are nonexistent as of now.
    Thus I am starting to look at the logical upgrade path - i.e. to a Canon or to Nikon system.
    I am considering either a 20D, 30D, D70, or a D200 body, and a fast normal (50 f1.4), a wide angle (20 or 24mm), and a long telephoto zoom (70-200 f2.8, possibly stabilized, if I will be able to afford it). I am going to start with the body and the normal lens, and get everything else later on.
    So which body/system would you go with, and why?
    I have browsed the bodies in a local shop, and left confused.
    I was left with an impression that Canon cameras require giong in the menus to change a lot of creative parameters (yuck), whereas the Nikons had more of a film-SLR feel to them.
    On the other hand, most Canon lenses, including the 50/f1.4 seem to use USM, while Nikons seem not to have it in the lenses I am specifically interested in...
    What to choose?
     
  2. JFreak macrumors 68040

    JFreak

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    #2
    Choose your lenses first and then see what body they want to be connected to ;) I mean, that telephoto lense you're planning to get, it can be very expensive and you can get better deal if you can choose your body (Canon/Nikon) based on that decision.

    Myself, I like Nikon D200 body better than Canons, but on the other hand, I really LOVE Canon EF L-series lenses, tele zooms in particular. If i was buying, I'd choose lenses first as glass matters more than body.

    Canons are just as simple, if not simpler.

    USM and internal focusing is VERY nice feature, imho.
     
  3. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #3
    Yeah, I like Nikons as well for a similar reason. Oh sorry, I like low-end Nikons better than low-end Canons. :p However, I thought the same thing after using the 20D. The button layout on the Nikon was just more natural for me to use, so I chose Nikon. I also chose it because of several lenses that I'll get in the future. Funny thing is that my list of lenses to buy has changed recently, so it really didn't matter whether I got a Canon or not. :p However, the Nikon body still makes the difference and I would have gotten the Nikon if the lens lineup from both companies was identical.

    After all, you need to hold the camera in your hand to use it, so the ergonomics is worth it.
     
  4. gwuMACaddict macrumors 68040

    gwuMACaddict

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    #4
    Play around with each... see what feels better

    Each brand takes excellent pictures
     
  5. Phil A. Contributor

    Phil A.

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    Apr 2, 2006
    Location:
    Telford, UK
    #5
    Having used Canon and Nikon cameras extensively I've finally settled on the Canon and currently use a 20D. It's a fantastic camera and I love it, but it has one (potentially) serious flaw over the Nikons: The shutter is much, much noisier than the Nikon one. Normally, it's not an issue, but I do a lot of wedding photography, including occasional candid shots during the ceremony. You wouldn't believe how loud the shutter sounds inside a quiet church!!
    I put up with it because I like the rest of the camera so much, but if you have a big requirement for a quiet shutter, then look to the Nikons
     
  6. timnosenzo macrumors 6502a

    timnosenzo

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    #6
    This is actually really good advise. Nikon and Canon will go back and forth with body technology and features--the lenses life cycles aren't nearly as short as digital bodies.
     
  7. maxi macrumors regular

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    Buenos Aires, Argentina
    #7
    I like Nikon (Though I may be a little biased because I'm a reseller :) )

    The bottom line is preference. I think Nikons are much better ergonomically, they are so simple to use and you do not need to enter a menu to change most of the settings you'd most often need (WB, ISO, AF type, Metering type, etc).
    Most Nikon lenses now have AF-S: Autofocus silent wave motor which was designed to compete with USM, so that may not be a problem anymore.

    Check out the (relatively) new AF-S DX VR 18-200mm F3.5-5.6G IF-ED Zoom-Nikkor. It's an amazing lens for the price (around $700 if you can find it) which has been getting rave reviews all over the place. With that and a nice 50mm, you are set for most daily tasks.
     
  8. timnosenzo macrumors 6502a

    timnosenzo

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    #8
    The 20D is notorious for this--however the Rebel XT and supposedly the 30D have much quieter shutters. My friend XT is much quieter than my 20D--I haven't seen (or heard) a 30D in person yet though.
     
  9. jared_kipe macrumors 68030

    jared_kipe

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    #9
    Ok, I'm going to go onto the fence and say that I prefer images from Canon cameras to Nikon ones. However the D2X is a very nice body, and the D200 is probably about as good as the 30D, but not enough to really warrant the difference in price.
     
  10. law guy macrumors 6502a

    law guy

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    #10
    It's a tough decision and despite the thread title, I do feel for you. I was a Nikon film shooter for a decade and when I went digital SLR, I originally brought home a D50 for a week. The layout was very familiar, but in the end, it wasn't for me. There were some missing features. Moving up then to either the D70s or the 20D, I was really impressed with the 20D although the D70s felt more familiar. I purchased a 30D the first day it was available locally back in March. For a few days I wondered if I'd missed it despite liking the technical qualities (can't say enough out low noise, love picture styles for JPEG, custom function button assignment) because the feel was different. I have some threads on MR from during that period - deciding, noting that many of my favorite photographers were using the Canon system, etc. After I adjusted, I ended up liking the layout as much or more than what I had got on so well with from Nikon.

    The 30D and the 24-105 f4L (another saga choosing between the 24-70 f2.8L and 24-105 - my two weeks with both lens and my experience is posted over on the POTN Canon forum) are my standard set up now and I enjoy it so much.

    I don't know that you can lose either way - and why that's a great position to be in, it also makes the decision that much more difficult. It's a lot of money to most of us and we want to get it "right" the first time. It's frustrating when there perhaps isn't a "right" answer (and perhaps there is for you)- just different options.

    Good luck - LG.
     
  11. paleck macrumors 6502a

    paleck

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    #11
    I started with a Canon and have never had a reason to switch. So I guess I am saying go with what works for you! :cool:
     
  12. Obsidian6 macrumors 6502a

    Obsidian6

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    Apr 29, 2006
    Location:
    Laguna Niguel, CA
    #12
    I started with canon a long time ago, and have just moved up with the ranks.

    however...

    If I had known more about photography way back then, I would have found a camera shop so I could get my hands on both brands to see what felt best ( this was back in the film days :) ) I didn't do this. In my opinion, Nikon's cameras have a far better feel to them, they just fit better in your hands. using the controls? that's another story. Nikon's cameras ( this is just my own opinion, take it with a grain of salt ) are geared towards people with a slightly smaller hand, I found it quite difficult to manipulate the controls on the D2x single handedly like i would on my Canons. this is not to say either brand makes a superior camera, they both have strengths and weaknesses over each other.

    Looking back now at my choice I am glad i stuck with canon, while they dont "feel" as good in my hands, the controls are very very easy for me to navigate with my larger hands. and the 1D bodies feel very comfortable to me.

    I also like the fact that i can have a full frame high resolution camera in such a compact package when needed ( 5D ).

    all in all, the most important thing you need to worry about is your glass. the bodies will come and go, but you buy the best glass you can. period. Once you decide how you want to focus and mount your lenses ( twist to the left or twist to the right ) then you will know which brand.. haha!

    seriously though. think about the future and which lenses you would like to own, try some out, do some rentals. Not one of us can make this decision for you, this is an on-going Holy War of battles, and you have to decide what will work the best for you.


    and for the record - I did make an attempt to switch to nikon, a very serious attempt. but it wasn't going to be financially viable for me ( not when i've got $10k invested in canon! ), so i backed out and got my 1DmkII :)
     
  13. beavo451 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2006
    #13
    Out of curiosity, what lenses are you interested in? The Nikon 50mm do not have AF-S yet, but I don't see that as a problem. The AF on a 50 isn't very loud and since it is so small, it is fast as well. Nikon makes lenses in AF-S across all major focal lengths. 12-24mm, 17-55, 28-70, 70-200, 18-200, and all the telephoto primes (105, 200, 300, 400, 500, 600) are a few AF-S lenses. The ones I wish for AF-S are the 85mm f/1.4 and maybe the 50mm f/1.4.

    And to answer your gear question, here is my choice:

    Body and accessories:
    D200 - Magnesium body, available vertical shutter release, good image quality, commander mode for flash
    SB-800 flash - Off camera flash for more power and lighting options, add a flash bracket for even more options (requires SC-28 or SC-29 off camera cord), more power than the SB-600, comes with diffusion dome and two color correcting filters, commander mode (even though the D200 has commander mode, the SB-800 is more versatile in this role and if you decide to upgrade to a D2 series, you will need it)

    Lenses (Nikon unless otherwise noted):
    50mm f/1.8 - Image quality virtually identical to the f/1.4, cheaper by $200
    18-70mm DX - One of the best value for the money, if money is no object, then the 17-55mm f/2.8 DX
    70-200mm VR - Spectacular lens for general use, I use it for tight portraits
    12-24mm DX - Best wide angle zoom for Nikon digital. I would get the Tokina 12-24 for half the price IF you can find it (too popular >.<)
     
  14. javabear90 macrumors 6502a

    javabear90

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2003
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    #14
    It seems like you have a good bit of money to burn on this so what I would do is go for the D200. From what I understand the D200 is superior to the 30d in almost every way except noise. However, it seems that you will be getting very fast lenses and so the need for that will be reduced. Anyways, if you don't have enough money for all of the lenses at once, you could go for the 18-200mm and the 50 f/1.8; this would cover 90% of what the other lenses give you and then you can upgrade later. Also... if you need a wide-angle lens, get the Tokina or the Sigma... they are half the price at not much of a quality loss.
     
  15. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

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    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    #15
    It is hard to choose in a case like yours. The interface on the Nikon is pleasant to use. As to lenses, both Nikon and Canon go back and forth. Most, if not all new Nikon lenses are being in introduced in the AF-S format (a clone of the Canon USM IMO). ces

    Lens choices do drive the final descision in some cases. For me it was Nikon offering these lenses; the 10.5 fish-eye, the 18-200VR, and the 105VR; that made me to decide to sell off my Canon gear, and "focus" in on Nikon (sorry for the bad pun).

    I just returned the Nikon 50/1.8 for a used 50/1.4 at my shop, for the used 50/1.4 was not much more for than the 50/1.8. I am sure that the Canon 50/1.4 would have been quieter and faster; but in my shooting I would never see the difference IMO.

    So what lenses does Canon offer that Nikon does not?
     
  16. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

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    Northern Virginia
    #16
    Hey Maxi, do you say this because you are not authorized to resell Canon? Or is it that your shop's personnel are biased towards Nikon.

    I know that in my shop we have some that are biased towards Nikon or Canon. But since we sell most brands we try to present the best of all worlds.

    I hitched my star on Nikon because of some of the lens selections I mentioned above.

    If in the near term, that I thought a FF DSLR was my future, I might have stayed with Canon. Then we have Pentax with a depth of new and old lenses that would make many happy. Olympus offers a series of lenses that are ALL digital specific. Some we all can afford, and others are for a long over due DSLR body IMO. And then we have the Sony/Minolta. The blend of the old with the new; along with the specialty dealer and the Big Box store.
     
  17. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

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    #17
    Cameras are tools

    One thing in my "old age" - soon to be 48 - is that the internet has too great an influence on what we do with our lives. What we buy. Who we stay with. Should we sell (insert your choice here).

    In photography, it is about the "tools". Or how we chose to use them. One of the best photo exhibits I saw was m any years ago, it showed large (24x24 IIRC) from "renowned" photographers that used only the Kodak Instamatic 104 camera.

    We (including myself) can rationalize all we want about our lens choices. As mentioned above, I made a choice that Nikon was the way to go. I could have stayed with Canon with certain "mechanical" limitations.

    If it were not for the Nikon 18-200VR, I might have stayed in the Canon camp. Waiting for their 10mm fish-eye.

    I will add that those looking at the D70s or the D200 will save about $250 on wireless TTL flash by going with Nikon.
     
  18. Obsidian6 macrumors 6502a

    Obsidian6

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    #18
    your statement of " cameras are tools" is right on the money chip!
    I just don't agree with all this battle between Canon and NIkon, you should find the lenses that will suit your shooting style, and buy the body that goes with it ;)

    I chose canon because of lenses like the 35mm f/1.4L, which is my personal favorite in my lineup.

    Nikon has some awesome lenses though. I would love to get some leica R lenses on my canons though ;)
     
  19. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

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    #19
    But this is a great example of the tools comment from myself.

    You found a great tool for your shooting. If rumors from this past PMA in Feb, Nikon may be poised to make their DX format worth while for those of that desire single focal length lenses.
     
  20. valiar thread starter macrumors regular

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    Mar 14, 2006
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #20
    Thanks to everyone on great input.
    I have noticed that many people here have been praising the Nikon 70-200 VR lens, and some have chosen Nikon over Canon because of it.
    Is it really that much better than Canon's 70-200 2.8L IS? Or is it basically the same?
    Yet another question is normal lens quality.
    Can anyone give me any pointers to a comparison of Canon 50/1.4 to Canon 50/1.8 to Nikon 50/1.4 to Nikon 50/1.8?
    A 50mm prime will be the first lens I am going to buy, and it is probably going to be my main "walkaround" lens (right now I use Sigma's 50mm f2.8 Macro, which makes great pictures, but has a horrendous focusing mechanism).
     
  21. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    Jan 5, 2006
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    Redondo Beach, California
    #21
    I have the Nikon 50mm 1.4 that I have used on my film camera and on my D50. The limiting factor as for quality will be with your technique. Litle things like if yu place the focus plane on the end of the nose or on the eye's iris and what kind of flash defuser you use matter more then if you have the 1.4 or 1.8 lens. Fanatics will pick nits and compare MTF charts but they are all so good. One thing, with a SLR (film or digital) the faster lens will make for a brighter view finder and because you always focus wide open critical focusing is easier. While you might stop down to 2.8 for the photo your eye always sees the lens wide open, faster is better
     
  22. law guy macrumors 6502a

    law guy

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    Location:
    Western Massachusetts
    #22
    I would compare the Nikon 70-200 2.8. to the Canon 70-200 f2.8L http://www.nikonusa.com/template.php?cat=1&grp=5&productNr=2139

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/con...s&Q=&sku=274780&is=USA&addedTroughType=search

    The 18-200 is a slower, plastic lens compatible only with crop sensors (which won't matter to you if Nikon really stays 1.5x for the next several years). People seem to like the results, but the critical reviews do note that its a love of what it can do given the range. At roughtly twice the price, the Nikon 70-200 is a 3.2 lbs lens that is supposed to have some water dropplet resistance. The Canon 2.8L is represented by Canon to be weather sealed.

    People have said very good things about the Canon 1.4 USM and the 35L (more expensive) and 85 1.8 (there is an 85 1.2L that is more expensive).

    Lens comparison can be tough - what is the Canon equivilent of the 18-200? I suppose one could say the cheaper 28-200, http://www.usa.canon.com/consumer/controller?act=ModelDetailAct&fcategoryid=149&modelid=7443, which is fine but nothing extroniary from what I read. But it's cheaper and a little different range. My main lens is a 24-105 f4L IS (metal, weather sealed, amazing color / contrast) that goes for around $1200. The difficulty in direct comparison even shows with the Canon 2.8L you menioned - you can get an L (metal, weather sealed) version at f4 which is lighter than the f2.8 for under $600 and is only 1.5 lbs (that and the 17-40 f4 L) are considered the super Canon lens bargains.

    70-200 f4L http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/con...s&Q=&sku=435775&is=USA&addedTroughType=search

    17-40 f4L http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/con...s&Q=&sku=183198&is=USA&addedTroughType=search

    On the Canon lenses - this site may be helpful (this is the link to the Canon Zoom reviews; just go to the main site for prime and EF-S reviews as well):

    http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/Canon-Zoom-Lens-Reviews.aspx


    www.luminous-landscape.com also has some good write-ups - go to the review section.
    www.lensplay.com is a Bob Atkins site that can be useful.

    for users talking (and worrying themselves to no end about what to get) - http://photography-on-the.net/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=33

    For Nikon lens reviews, try:

    www.bythom.com (very objective and a little less emotional at times than Ken) Here's Thom Hogan's review of the 18-200 you were asking about: http://www.bythom.com/18200lens.htm
    www.kenrockwell.com

    Forums - www.nikonians.org or nikoncafe.com

    Both Nikon and Canon (and a very useful site in general) - www.fredmiranda.com - it's a great photography site to see what people are doing, ask questions, etc.

    Another multi-brand comparison site that have review sections for both Canon and Nikon zooms and primes is http://www.slrgear.com/reviews/index.php

    Good luck.
     
  23. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #23
    I have to agree here. Because Nikon does not have ASF is all of their lenses they put a very powerfull focus motor inside the body. Even my D50 can drive the 50mm f/1.4 lens very fast, I'd say even instantly to proper focus.

    One other thing to check is the quality of the manul focus ring. Some of them or very poor being thin and a slopy "feeL'. Also check if the filter ring rotates. Rotating rings are a major pain in the butt if yu use a polerizer filter ot a gradient filter -- mostly a problem for landscape photos.

    Color, contrast and sharpness has been veey good on ALL 50mm lenses for decades.
    I have an old Carl Ziess 50mm f/1.4 from the early 50's (Exacta mount), a 70's vintage Minolta MC rokker 58mm and 80's vintage Nikon 50mm f/1.4 and a newer nikon 50mm f/1.4AF and ALL of then are so good that differences between then don't matter. What's happened is thae engineers have known how to make nearly purfect 50mm lense for more than half a century.
     
  24. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

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    #24
    I have been a Nikon shooter for years -- film SLRs. Coolpixes and now DSLRs. Probably because of this, the first time I picked up a Nikon DSLR it just felt "right" to me and I didn't even consider looking at or handling other brands. Later on, I did have the opportunity to handle other brands and my opinion has not changed. I am now shooting with the D200, which definitely requires much less delving into the menu than the D70 does... I don't know about Canons, what the situation is there. Most of the critical functions are quickly accessible on the D200 by either buttons or command wheels, and it is great when you're in a situation where things are changing quickly. For this reason I definitely prefer the D200 to the D70/D70s.

    Aside from how the Nikon or Canon feels in my hands, there is the issue of lenses. This is critical when just starting out because one is actually not buying a camera body and lens, one is buying into an entire system. It is important to think about the type of shooting one does currently and the type of shooting one might want to get into doing later on, and whether or not there is also room for experimentation and fun. My first purchase of a DSLR was the Nikon D70, which came with the kit lens. The day I walked into the store, ready to buy, I also announced that I wanted the 70-200mm VR. At that point in time I knew that this would be one lens which would give me a lot of flexibility and reach. Now, some time later, I've added many lenses to my bag but that 70-200mm VR is still one of my favorites, stlll a shining star....Adding a teleconverter to it extends my reach further.

    Today I was at the camera store and I actually did something rather interesting, I bought lenses at both ends of the spectrum, a 300mm f/4 and a 14mm f/2.8.... Why? Well, because I went in there with the intention of buying the 300mm f/4 and then after we'd pretty much finished playing with that, we were talking a bit and then Chip said, "oh, have a look at this for future consideration some time down the road...." as he slipped the 14mm lens on to the store's demo D200 and handed it to me..... LOL!!! He really didn't intend for me to waltz out of there with that lens, too, but, hey....instant love, what could I do? Just like with Bertha, I found myself looking through the lens and loving what I was seeing and then, just as with
    Bertha, I was again standing there stroking the lens as we chatted.

    (I've already warned him, for heaven's sake, whatever you do, DON'T show me the D2Xs!!!)

    Anyway, the point here is that as one grows into this obsession -- erm, hobby or profession -- more than likely there will be a need or desire for lenses to fulfill specific photographic needs. It's important to be sure that the camera system into which one buys does offer a wide variety of lenses that will fit the camera owner's needs. I bought that 300mm for shooting at a greater tele distance than I can reach with the 70-200mm (without teleconverter) and bought that 14mm wide-angle for getting interior and exterior shots that don't have distortion and which show a lot of territory. I have enjoyed exploring wide-angle with my 10.5mm fisheye and other lenses, but this one adds its own special characteristics. I'm not in real estate, but certainly this is a lens which would serve nicely in that situation, so maybe I'll offer my services to a couple of realtors that I know....

    Definitely in choosing lenses it sounds as though you've got the basic ranges nailed down: a fast 50, a wide angle and the 70-200..... certainly both Canon and Nikon have excellent lenses to offer. I think you are just going to have to spend some more time in the camera shop handling each body and putting various lenses on it, seeing how everything feels and works for you.... In the end it is your money and it is you who will be using the camera and lenses, so regardless of what works for anyone else here on MacRumors or anywhere else, the bottom line is what works for YOU.
     
  25. valiar thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2006
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #25
    After reading, thinking, and evaluating, I have decided that I will go the Canon way for the following reasons:
    *All Canon lenses I want are available with USM focusing. Yes, Nikon has AF-S lenses, but most lenses I would want (including the 50mm normal lens) are not AF-S
    *I will be able to upgrade to a full-frame Canon body later on if I need to (5D or its better/cheaper successor). No such luck with Nikon as of now
    *On a Canon, I will be able to use M42 screwmount lenses with a cheap adapter, and they will focus to infinity. No such luck with Nikon because of registration distance issues
    *I will have less dust problems with a CMOS sensor
    *The difference in price between D200 and 20D/30D is completely out of line with difference in picture quality (which is very close)

    As far as my choice is cncerned, the only advantage of the D200 I can see is superior egonomics/controls.
     

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