Canon vs Nikon – Which is Better? As a professional wildlife photographer I have been asked this question too many times to count and the short answer is Both! Each brand offers an incredible array of photographic products which assist the photographer in their quest to capture stunning images, however each brand also has its own strengths and weaknesses. Year on year, the two brands will release new products which leapfrog one another, however they are never too far apart!
If you are reading this post, chances are that you are looking to buy a new camera and want to know which is the better option. I would encourage you to first decide what purpose you want to use the camera for, decide on your price range and then only choose between these two brands. Both Canon and Nikon have a wide range of ‘point and shoot’, entry level DSLR and professional calibre camera bodies and lenses to choose from.
Here is a breakdown of my experiences with Canon and Nikon
What I really like about Canon cameras is that they are simple to use and each different model follows a fairly standard layout of the dials as well as the internal menu functions. If you buy a Canon body and then upgrade to a newer model later on, you will have no issue setting up and using the new model owing to this simple yet effective layout.
In 1987 Canon developed a new system of AF cameras and EOS lenses. Any camera or lens produced since then will be compatible with one another and this offers a great benefit to a fully integrated equipment.
Another reason I enjoy Canon is that they are spearheading the innovation of DSLR’s that shoot outstanding video in both full HD and more recently 4K. Having a body that takes outstanding images and video with the simple flick of a switch is a huge plus for me.
My experience with Nikon’s professional grade cameras, such as the D3, has been excellent and they are a pleasure to use. At times I have felt intimidated by the amount of options and functions available for customising my images, however as I have come to terms with using the camera I have grown to like it more and more.
High end Nikon bodies also shoot great video, however in the last 5 years they have been playing catch up with Canon and have yet to lead the field with DLSR video innovation.
I do not enjoy the entry level DSLR Nikon bodies as I have found the image color to often have a greenish or blueish hue which is not a true reflection of the image captured. The video capabilities on these cameras are also mediocre.
As Nikon has been making lenses since 1959, you will find that most Nikon SLR camera and lenses are pretty much compatible with each other. If you have access to old school Nikon lenses, you should be able to use them with todays modern bodies and create some interesting and unique images for yourself. With this said, please bare in mind that just because the lens is attached to your camera does not necessarily mean that it will be able to autofocus itself!
To understand more about the secrets behind the growth and popularity of Canon and Nikon, take a look at this fascinating infographic below:
I have found that each brand gives you a slightly different colour and tone. Nikon bodies often have a slightly greenish tinge to them which can be compensated by customising the color balance in the menu. Personally I find the color and tone of Canon products to be truer to the image, however Canon products do not offer the same degree of color customisation as Nikon does.
Both Canon and Nikon have approximately 70 lenses in their ranges. Canon’s top end lenses will often come in a grey color with a red ring indicating that is it part of the L-series. All of Nikon’s lenses are black, however all you need to do is look at the price tag of the lens to get an indication as to whether it is an entry level or professional grade lens.
If you are new to photography or enjoy it as a hobby then you cannot go wrong with either of the products which these brands offer. It is worth spending a bit of time playing with different models of each brand to feel which you like best and decide how the layout of buttons, menu selections, etc work for you personally.
For those more serious about their photography and the amount of money they are willing to spend on gear, then look to the top end models of each make to decide what works for you. As the evolution of these cameras progresses, full frame sensors, video capabilities, wireless functionality and software plugins are becoming an increasingly important part of the product offering.
A while ago I tweeted a post which provided an infographic breakdown of which photographic brand is better: Canon or Nikon. Given that many photographers and guides often debate this subject, I thought it would be useful to take a look below and decide for yourself which you think is better.
Everybody has their own personal preference and reasons for their choice of brand. For me, personally, I started photography with Canon cameras and thus have always used the brand. I like the look achieved from the Canon lenses and find the bodies easy to work with. The complexity of Nikon bodies is what makes me hesitant to use them. I would be interested to hear which brand (Canon or Nikon) you prefer and your reasons why. Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.
If you have any questions about which brand to buy, please feel free to ask me in the comments below as well…
A Guide to Wildlife Photography
For many people who come on safari, the anticipation of capturing truly outstanding images is what brings them back again and again. Photography allows for unlimited freedom, flexibility and artistic expression, and what better environment to practice in than the African wilderness.
The Londolozi Family is passionate about photography and we want to ensure that each and every photographer who joins us on safari comes away from their experience with wildlife photographs to be proud of.
To help photographers of all experience levels we put together a brand new eBook to guide you through the joy of wildlife photography:
A Guide to Wildlife Photography is the definitive digital guide for photographers who enjoy the natural world. Filled to the brim with technical advice, practical examples and hi-res video and images, this book is presented by Londolozi based wildlife filmmaker and photographer, Rich Laburn.