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First DSLR - Canon vs Nikon

by saycheez / June 21, 2008 6:12 PM PDT

I have decided to buy my *first* DSLR. I need to choose between Canon or Nikon and was wondering if I could get some advice from this forum.
What works and what doesnt work with Canon vs Nikon? What features I should look out for?
If you have any recommedations for any model, please share.

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either one
by kalel33-20416052469708587370302374692233 / June 21, 2008 7:31 PM PDT

Both Canon and Nikon make great DSLRs and you need to go to the one that you feel most comfortable with in your hand. They pretty much leap frog each other on ability, but they're always very close. Unless you plan on doing studio shots or setting up shots ahead of time, I wouldn't worry about the live view. It's pretty much a hassle and not as good as shooting normally.

If you want image stabilization in the beginning then you'll have to look at the Nikon D60 or the Canon XSI. Like I said, either one would be a great camera.

When you asked for features to look for, they pretty much have the same features as any other DSLR. DSLRs don't have features like the point and shoots because they figure the photographer will control most of the things on the camera. So there won't be any facial recognition, video, and a ton of auto settings.

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You can't go wrong with either one
by jump1127 / June 21, 2008 9:56 PM PDT

Nikon and Canon are among many choices. Not sure what model to go for. Please specify the budget.

In common, Canon DSLR cameras mostly suit for portrait type shooting while Nikon is extremely outstanding for landscape and macro type photography. Nevertheless, the pictures can be manipulated for the way you want. Photoshop can make the outcome of these DSLR camera alike any way. You can't go wrong with either Nikon or Canon.

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canon vs nikon
by saycheez / June 22, 2008 3:47 AM PDT

Thanks for the wisdom.

My budget would be around 500-600 and may be 700 if it really brings lot of difference for an extra 100.

With many models within Nikon and Canon I am still confused as to which model of Nikon (D40, D40x, D60, D80) stands against which model of Canon(XT, XTI, XSI).

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Comparisons in your price range.
by HTHMAN / June 28, 2008 2:40 AM PDT
In reply to: canon vs nikon

Take a look at this link.

There are 4 cameras in your price range to compare. Although it does not list it, Sony makes the sensor for Nikon, so those are the same. For all of these, there are higher and lower models with different features like live view or more megapixels that you can look at as your budget allows. Remember, you will probably have to add a memory card and case to your budget.

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Don't limit yourself
by HTHMAN / June 22, 2008 3:50 AM PDT

Also look at the Olympus E510 and the Sony Alpha line. These have the advantage of anti-shake built into the camera rather than the lens. This can be less expensive in the long run as you add lenses.

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agree with HTHMAN
by kalel33-20416052469708587370302374692233 / June 22, 2008 4:17 AM PDT
In reply to: Don't limit yourself

except on long run advantage. The Nikon VR lens and Canon IS lens actually cost about the same or less than the same focal length lens for the other manufacturers. I don't think Sony or Olympus has a 55-250mm lens for less than $300 that performs as well as the IS version from Canon.

I agree on the fact that the Olympus E-510 and Sony A300 would give you IS from the beginning. If you don't plan to buy lens later on then those would be the better choice. The only other option you have, with that budget, is to buy the XTI body and then buy the 18-55mm IS lens. If you waited until later on in the summer, you could buy the Canon XS.

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Not much of a difference...
by forkboy1965 / June 23, 2008 9:41 AM PDT

Like the others have stated there really aren't any differences of note between the Nikon and Canon lines at any comparable price point. The best bit of advice I can offer (and I just went through the process of making my first dSLR purchase in December 2007) is to carefully consider the fact you are buying into a camera system and not just a camera. If you take this purchase to the next level you will want to acquire different lenses, at least one flash and other accessories.

That said, both Nikon and Canon offer great lenses and flash units. And both are comparably priced. But there is one caveat in regard to lenses and the purchase of the entry-level dSLRs of which you mention. Be aware that some models of entry level dSLRs do not include the older screw drive that allows the camera body to drive the focus mechanism of a given lens. Some of these entry level dSLRs only use an electronic connection in conjunction with a drive motor built into the lens. Be certain to ask or look for such information about the camera so that you won't make any mistakes in the purchase of lenses.

From the year of research I performed before making my final choice I can honestly say you cannot go wrong with either a Canon or Nikon, but I cannot speak of the others as I did not research them.

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My outlook
by oct2274 / June 24, 2008 4:23 AM PDT

both companies are great, but there is actually one very important issue that would keep me from buying the nikon in the cheaper dslr line. The cheaper nikons don't have an internal focus motor on the body like the mid to upper range models. This limits what lenses you can use. I would highly recommend going with a canon if you are going to go with the lower end dslr's like the nikon d40x.

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by oct2274 / June 24, 2008 4:26 AM PDT
In reply to: My outlook

here is a link that explains what I said about the cheaper nikons not having the internal focus motor and only being able to auto focus with certain lenses because of that.

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Sony Alpha 200
by timinkc / June 27, 2008 11:34 AM PDT

I just bought the sony A200 last week, I looked at the canon and nikon competition, and for the price the sony was a way better value... some say you're buying a lens system when you buy a dslr, well that may be true, but realistically I'm not buying any more than 3 or 4 more lenses, and the Zeiss lenses for the sony, and just as good (In my opinion for an amateur). Sony doesn't have the name yet, but the camera is GREAT!

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would hope
by kalel33-20416052469708587370302374692233 / June 27, 2008 12:11 PM PDT
In reply to: Sony Alpha 200

I would hope the Zeiss lens were as good as the Nikon and Canon lens...their more expensive. One Zeiss lens would cost double of what the A200 body cost, but most people that buy a low entry level camera are not looking at upgrading lens anytime soon.

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by Travis Ernst / June 27, 2008 11:43 AM PDT

Consider this when buying dSLR's. The Body (no lens) will be about HALF of your investment in a lot of the cases.

You will find you will buy most likely at least 3 lenses, 4 is better to cover the Macro to tele photo range. If you want to shoot pictures indoors without flash you will have to buy a large aperture lens (f1.2 or so) to receive enough light and not hold the shutter open longer and get "blurry" pictures.

THEN it's the tripod, proper rated head. If you will be mobile, a monopod may be a good idea, that may need a secondary head.

FLASH will likely be a good idea, but that can wait. See if you need it before you invest a couple hundred. Always have an extra battery for the camera, and an extra memory stick/card. If you are taking pictures at a wedding or family event you don't want to run out of memory.

In the end BOTH are great names.

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UN is going to get you for this!
by Kutusov / June 27, 2008 12:24 PM PDT

You just started a war that is going to have more blood and guts spilled than WWI! Silly

This is almost like asking which car is better, a Porsche or a Ferrari. Canon fans are going to say nikons are nice but not good enough comparing to canons. Nikon's fans are going to say the opposite.

Although I'm a Canon fan and still use one 350d (rebel xt in the US, i think) I can tell you that both are great. You can't go wrong with either one but you'll have to look into specific models for details. Think about what you need first and the money you can spend. Some SLRs, with the assorted lens and accessories you might need, can cost as much as a car, so...

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Think things have changed
by kalel33-20416052469708587370302374692233 / June 27, 2008 12:38 PM PDT

If you go on any forum now there is not the snobbery for one side or the other when it comes to Nikon and Canon. Two or three years ago, you could say that Canon had the technological and lens variety advantage. Nikon is catching up and surpassing in some areas. Now, Canon and Nikon fans are saying if you like the other then good for you and have fun shooting photos.

I remember a couple of months ago someone asked the same question and Snapfish said that this should start a fight. It didn't and I think that's because Canon and Nikon shooters respect each other's equipment as "just as good or close enough that most wouldn't notice".

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So... no blood and guts!!???
by Kutusov / June 27, 2008 1:04 PM PDT

Boy, I'm getting old and already missing the old days! xD
A question like this would really start a fire on any forum a couple of years ago.

But seriously, it's good to know that this silly habit is over. Both cameras are great and, like everything else, it's a lot more the shooter than the camera.

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It's your choice
by afolickman / June 27, 2008 1:25 PM PDT

It really is your choice.

Both Canon and Nikon make great cameras.

I use Canon because I like there top-line lenses (the "L" series) better. Canon lenses have better image stabilization in their lenses in my opinion. Also Canon produces better accessories I believe.

With regards to cameras themselves, I think you have more of a choice with Canon. For example, Canon came out with the first full-frame DSLR, the EOS 5D, in September 2005. Nikon didn't even come out with their first full-frame DSLR until within this past year. I think Canon is more on the cutting edge in other ways.

Research, research and more research. Read opinions on the internet about what people like and dislike. Decide how much you want to spend and what is important to you.

Here are some good links for you to look at:

It can seem overwhelming picking your camera, but it is also fun. You get to learn a lot and end up being a better photographer too.


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Canon or Nikon important consideration...
by stevelink33 / June 28, 2008 4:23 AM PDT

Greetings! For most people, the question of whether to go with Nikon or Canon (or any other system, for that matter), really boils down to ERGONOMICS! In other words, you need to actaully handle each DSLR you are considering, and make sure that the controls, button, switches, menu layout, etc., is to your liking. In general, the quality of lenses and sensors today is so uniformly high that unless you are a pro in need of certain specific functionality (super-fast shutter speed, low-light capability, high flash sync, etc.), you will have the ability to produce technically excellent images with any system! (I said "technically"...the aesthetics are up to you!). Go out and compare cameras, make sure the system has the lenses you think you'll need, and go for it! Good luck!

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Which system suits YOU
by WineO / June 27, 2008 3:28 PM PDT

As others have said both manufacturers produce excellent cameras and some third party manufactures do the same but there is a difference. It starts with your objectives - if you just want a DSLR for happy snaps then almost any modern DSLR camera will do but if you hope to become a competent photographer even as an amateur then you will one day migrate to Nikon or Canon. Herein lies the rub because it is the system you should decide upon not the camera. Lenses should be purchased for life and cameras should be looked at as having a maximum of five years (and thats a long time) before they are way outdated. That does not mean they won't work it just means that the results from the more modern camera will be noticeably better.
Both Canon and Nikon are market leaders and have the most comprehensive systems. Each has a minor advantage in certain areas but it is not something that would exclude you from one system or the other unless you are a specialist photographer where you would want to go for the strongest system in your area of expertise.
Results are dependent on the individual and their ability to use the system they shoot with. You need to learn how to use any camera and if you just use it like a point and shoot then expect average results.
Get both Canon and Nikon cameras that fit your budget into your hands and try them for feel and ease of use - this includes menu navigation as you will need to become familiar with this aspect to get the most from your purchase.

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First DSLR - Canon vs Nikon
by George Conklin / June 27, 2008 3:31 PM PDT

Several years ago I was in Tokyo and attended an important academic banquet - which was well reported in the media. The brother of the Emperor was among those attending.

When I looked at the journalists cameras, virtually every one was a Canon with the famous 'white' zoom lenses.

This is a marked change from a decade or more back when the film camera of choice in Japan and the world was the Nikon.

Times change. . .


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There's a reason
by kalel33-20416052469708587370302374692233 / June 27, 2008 4:09 PM PDT

I'm a Canon user, but the reason you see so many with Canon lens is because Canon had a good edge in product for quite awhile. Once someone goes with a certain brand then all that money in lens would be lost in going to another brand just for a body.

There's nothing that Nikon offers, substantially, that would deter pros from Canon and reinvesting in Nikon. In time that could change, but I think it would be more 50/50.

Kutusov.....see, things have changed. Not one person putting down the other brand as junk. Things could pop up with other brands vs Nikon/Canon though.

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The Main Difference
by Flatworm / June 27, 2008 6:55 PM PDT

Nikon makes what are generally considered better lenses, and they are certainly more compact and are therefore easier to lug around (an issue with DSLRs). Canons are a little cheaper.

I go with Nikon.

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by kalel33-20416052469708587370302374692233 / June 27, 2008 7:10 PM PDT
In reply to: The Main Difference

They are not rated better and they are definitely not more compact or lighter. I can go back and give you the dimensions and weight, but you are definitely wrong and giving bad information.

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First Digital SLR-Canon vs Nikon
by jowalters / June 27, 2008 7:59 PM PDT

I would suggest that you 1st ask yourself what type of pictures that you would like to take. Then, ask yourself what type of budget that you are working with. If you can answer the questions, then you can purchase the camera that you would like to use.
I had purchased a Nikon D50 with 2 lenses (the 18 to 55 and 55 to 200). Also, I have the Nikon SB600 Bounce flash unit for the said camera, and I have used it for the past 2+ years. I am extremely happy with the camera. I take it with me when I need to do some photography with a lot of different subject matter, and I have had nothing but good results from it. It is my 1st DLSR with interchangeable lenses, so I am extremely happy with it.
Also, don't just limit yourself to just Canon and Nikon brands. There are a lot of others out there that are just as good (like the Olympus).
Also, you may want to ask about the different types of media cards that each takes. The Nikon takes the SD media cards, which are very nice and easy to remove. I am not sure as to the type of media card that the Canon takes, though.
You may, also, want to have an actual demonstration of each in your hands to make sure that the camera will do everything that you want it to do. The dealers that sell the cameras will let you "play around" with them in the store, so you can have a feel for what it is that you want.
I wish you all the luck in the world with the purchase, and happy photographing.

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by MUSTANGPC / June 28, 2008 5:54 PM PDT

Hi Saycheez - You don't need to go for Canon or Nikon. Look at the new range of SONLY Alphas. These cameras are reliable and comes from the old stables of Konica/Minolta companies. SONY bought over their technologies and improved on them. Maybe you should begin with the 10megapixel Alpha300. Go to their website and check it out. Good luck. Alfred T.M. Kader

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Canona vs Nikon (Olympus ?)
by jdp357 / June 29, 2008 8:51 AM PDT

Take the website link on the "Htman" reply seriously.

You'll find Nikon has lose a lot of business to Canon because Nikon dropped the ball in quality DSLR. Sensons, lenses, and software (Raw) are all inferior.

I even brought my Flash Cards to Best Buy and Circuit City and took pictures with Canon 5D and Nikon D300 to test my own pictures on my own computer. Canon beats Nikon hands down ! (and that's hard to say from a 49 year Nikon fan from film days). I still shoot with a Mamiya RB 67 Medium Format, so I can appreciate small differences in sharpness.

If you get on the website, so to "Camera Data" for reviews over 6 months old. Go to "Reviews" for new reviews. Find a camera and go to that review. Click on "In Depth Review". You will find a menu bar that give compares that camera to others in its class. by taking the exact same picture with different cameras. A very controlled test.

I found that the Olympus E510 beat all in it's class. Then I compared it to the Nikon D300. Olympus was much better. Then I compared it to the Canon 5D. It was as good, or perhaps slightly better if you are spliting hairs. The fact is, it was at leeast as good, for a much lower price.

So do get fooled by "More Megapixels is always better". Not when it comes to Nikon at least.

I ended up buying an Olympus E510.

If you are going high end, then teh Canon 21 Megapixel Mark III would be a good bet, but at $10,000 (by the time you buy a lense worthy of the back, it's a far leap in price as well.

Conclusion: Don't believe all the hype, and even articles written by professional who "Push" a certain brand of camera. You don't know who's paying them to say these things. Take your own pictures at Best Buy. Download the Raw software from the manufacture's websites. Then see for yourself. Then go to www.dpreview"com to confirm it.

Besides that. My Olympus takes far better pictures than a friend of mine who just bought a Nikon D80 for 1/3 more money than my E510.

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Even though I'm a Canon shooter
by kalel33-20416052469708587370302374692233 / June 29, 2008 11:39 AM PDT

The D300 is better than the E-510 and the Canon 40D for that matter. Comparing image quality to the 5D is not quite right because the 5D is a full frame sensor, which is a different category. The 5D has the benefit of the full frame images, but the D300 has it in every other area of a camera. The 5D is a 3 year old camera that's about to be replaced.

Nikon hasn't lost share to Canon. Canon has had the lead in the digital market since digital started. Nikon last year moved to within 2% market share of Canon(which was a huge jump). Canon had completely dominated before.

E-510 has a small sensor for a DSLR, lacks the dynamic range of other DSLRs, is kinda slow(comaparatively), very small viewfinder, cannot physically manual focus, only has three points of AF(compared to others with a minimum of 7), noisy in high ISOs compared to the Canons.....this compared to the competition.

The area that the E-510 excels on is an extremely light and small DSLR with a good kit lens. It will take great photos, but in the right hands it can't beat Nikon or Canon in image quality. It wasn't made for professionals though and that's why they made it entice the point and shoot crowd.

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Have to say though
by kalel33-20416052469708587370302374692233 / June 29, 2008 12:05 PM PDT

That the kit lens for the Olympus is probably the best kit lens of all the non-full frame cameras. Once you hit full frame, you end up with L series lens for the Canon. Let me also put out before I get a reply from the E-510 poster, the E-510 is a great DSLR and it performs very well....I'd just like the speed, more DOF, better AF, higher dynamic range, bigger/brighter viewfinders, and lower noise of the Nikon and Canon brand cameras out now.

To each their own though.

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Photo Album Software
by steev21 / November 1, 2010 9:34 PM PDT
In reply to: Have to say though

really nice information..

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All a matter of what is right for you
by jenjallan / July 2, 2008 1:47 AM PDT

I have read this thread with interest, and find a lot of really good advice on the choice. As a Canon user of more years than I care to count, from 35mm film days, until just recently I would always have recommended Canon. I now feel that Nikon have improved their DSLR bodies considerably, and if you don't have any lenses already then it is definitely down to what feels right when you get the camera in your hands. Size and ease of access to the main controls is very important to make sure you are able to change settings quickly and accurately. I have a very large investment in Canon L lenses to ever jump ship, but why would I ... I love my Canon gear.
One point to remember with Canon is that if you start out with an entry level 450D/Rebel XSi or the newer still 1000D, you may wish to consider getting a better lens than the 'kit' lens. It is the cheapest way to buy that better lens which you will surely want fairly soon. Another thing is to remember that the EF-S lenses will not work on the full-frame sensor models (5D and 1D series) if there is a chance you will want to upgrade eventually then get the EF lenses as you build up your kit. That way you will not have wasted any money on lenses you can no longer use. I have to admit that I personally prefer the full-frame sensor, at last I have back the familiar lens characteristics from film days. I do have a 450D though, as a 'take it everywhere' camera.
Whatever you chose, enjoy your photography Happy

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