Canon vs Nikon – Which is Better?

by on May 27, 2011

in Photography

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

Canon

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.

Nikon

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!

History

To understand more about the secrets behind the growth and popularity of Canon and Nikon, take a look at this fascinating infographic below:

The secrets behind the growth and popularity of Canon and Nikon.

The secrets behind the growth and popularity of Canon and Nikon.

Finer Details

I have found that each brand gives you a slightly different color 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 of 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.

Canon vs Nikon- Which is Better?

Canon vs Nikon- Which is Better?

Canon vs Nikon: Financial Sales

Canon vs Nikon: Financial Sales

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 - now available on the Apple iBookstore

A Guide to Wildlife Photography – now available on the Apple iBookstore
A Guide to Wildlife Photography - Richard Laburn

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.


Other Articles You May Enjoy

Below mom for safety, but also after a quick meal. Much needed nourishment from protein rich milk, keeps these cubs growing in their first few months alive. Kate Neill A Cheetah Family: The Rise and Fall
Winter is (21 of 21) Winter is: Colour and Light
TWIP 137 (7 of 19) The Week in Pictures #137

  • Shawn

    after comparing camera to camera, the best camera from what i listed for under $1000 is the Nikon D7000. the components i found to make it the clear winner is shutter speed ; battery life ; weather sealed ; image quality ; color depth ; video auto focus capabilities. the only downside to the camera for me is the flipout screen (still for reasons unknown), and the price is upwards of $900. but comparing numbers, its worth the little extra for it being ready to do anything i need it to.

  • Nina

    Hii,
    Am willing to buy a professional camera soon, and am a lil confused about what should i buy.. Canon or nikon or other..
    The problem is that i take pictures of EVERYTHING so i cant tell what kind of pix ill be taking :/
    P.s : i need pictuers with SUPER best clearness And clean views, the colors should be rich, fun and bright.. Or maybe should i saaayy, kinda cartoonish..?!

    Can you please help ?
    Thanx alot.

  • Henrik

    Keep in mind there are other brands to consider. While Nikon and Canon are the most popular. other brands offer some alternatives. and to me the glass is far more important than the body. Thechnology is progressing so fast now that as soon as you buy a body, its obsolete so dont worry too much about the body, if you’re getting an interchangable lens camera, make sure you get good glass that will serve your purposes well. To that end, study, study, study. Read lots of photography books especially ones with photos that give you picture taking information like the kind of lens, the aperture, the focal length, the light, etc. Then rent some cameras and lenses and experiment. with this last step you may be limited to the two popular brands. Fuji XE1 is excellent people camera with superior lenses, but limited selection. Olympus is also excellent with more lens choices.

  • Yuna

    I found this very interesting!

    Well, I’m very stuck on either canon rebel t3i or canon rebel t2i vs. Nikon d1500.
    I would be using the camera for more portraits, nature life, action shots? well mostly for all types of photography!
    Plus im a beginner so something that is easy to learn, and takes very good quality shots!
    Your thoughts on this?
    Thanks -Y

    • Rich Laburn

      Id probably go for the rebel as I favour Canon, however Nikon is truly fantastic as well. I just know that the rebel is a really good camera to start photography on.

  • Israel

    Really nice work, however; I was looking at the graphics for round one and the winner for that round should have been NIKON just from looking at your graphics and you gave it to canon (just like real boxing) the loser wins!!! Lol

    • Rich Laburn

      Agreed.

  • pavan

    which one best nikon coolpix s6500 or canon range 12000 rs.

    • Rich Laburn

      They are both great, however I would probably recommend the Canon as I have had good experiences with this little camera.

  • Meenakshi

    i wanted to buy a point and shoot camera ,i liked the canon digital ixus 510 ,so just wanted to know if its nice…..

  • vikrant auti

    nice post first of all.
    actually i am looking forward to buy a dslr and am doing research for the same.
    i happen to come across many sites with diffferent opinions.
    im stuck between canon 600D and nikon D5100.
    can you suggest the better one.

  • Kubra

    Hi, i want to know which is best? because my friends say that “Canon is the best” but my photographer friends say “Nikon is the best” …
    I want to buy a camera. but i dont know which one. Canon 600D or Nikon D5100?
    thanks from now :)

    • http://www.gnnphotography.weebly.com Garrett N

      I would go with Canon. I have been shooting with Canon cameras for about 4 years now. I had the XSI and have the T3 now. I have plans to upgrade to a full frame. I would half to say Nikon is the value brand, and their cameras feel and preform cheap (I had a full week with a d5100 and put it threw all my tests.) Canon is the best for beginners and Pro’s, and Nikon is best for people who want more customization in their cameras. So my advice is go with Canon you wont regret it!

  • Eldefonso Verdeflor

    Hi’

    Which is better, nikon 3200D or canon eos 1100d?

    Thanks

  • Tara

    My daughter is turning 16 and is very interested in photography. We are looking to buy her a camera for her birthday and are struggling between Cannon and Nikon. We want a camera that she can grow with and not outgrow too quickly. Obviously price will also have to be considered. We have looked at Nikon 3200 and 5200 and were thinking about Cannon Rebel T4i or T3i. Any thoughts?

    • James Tyrrell

      Hi Tara,

      Those are all perfectly good cameras that you mentioned. The problem with digital cameras these days is that technology is advancing so rapidly, before you know it there is a newer version of your camera on the market! I wouldn’t worry about that too much though for a beginner photographer :)
      Opinion will always be heavily divided between Canon and Nikon; the ranging team at Londolozi has a slight lean towards Canon, but reasons are varied. I started using Canon as my father uses their equipment and it would be convenient to borrow his lenses.
      Different cameras are better suited to different things; wildlife, studio work etc. based on things like sensor size, FPS (frames per second) and a whole variety of factors.
      I started off with a Canon Rebel, and used it for a couple of years at Londolozi photographing wildlife before I bought a 7D. It was more than adequate for job.
      Your best bet would be to discuss cameras with someone at your local camera shop, as obviously prices will vary and the guys selling the equipment will probably have a better idea of the ins-and-outs of the various models.

      Hope that helps a bit.

      James

  • http://anantbassi@yahoo.in Anant BASSI

    Nikon 3200d or 1100d ?

    • Rich Laburn

      I would recommend the 3200d

  • kaycee

    interesting! i learned a lot.

  • hari

    Canon 60d is good one ?…

  • Dhineshkumar

    I Want to buy a new DSLR and i am stuck with canon D600 and Nikon D5100.
    I am new to photography, Can you please suggest which is best for me
    I would like to take portrait, landscape and nighttime photography .

    • Rich Laburn

      Hi Dhineshkumar, I would suggest trying each out at the store to see which feels better in your hand. Weight, texture and ease of use. I personally find Canon easier to use, whilst Nikon offers a few more technical functions. Hope that helps?

  • http://rajnikant.verma@rediffmail.com Rajnikant verma

    Hi,

    Im looking for an entrly level DSLR,have compared canon 600D
    & Nikon D5100 but not able to declide which one to go,Most of
    the reviews are in favour of Nikon.

    Pls suggest,as im a new user.

    Regards

    • Rich Laburn

      Hi Rajnikant, its hard to offer any new suggestions if you have compared both. I would suggest trying each out at the store to see which feels better in your hand. Weight, texture and ease of use. I personally find Canon easier to use, whilst Nikon offers a few more technical functions. Hope that helps?

  • Tracie

    Hello which do you recommend for artsy types of photos. I am a beginner and I have spent a year trying to compare the two so I don’t make a mistake with my purchase. Which would you recommend for the creative photos? I want to do the double exposures. for example a flower over a human face. I do a lot of art work on nails and I am making a portfolio that I really want to stand out. Please help. and Thanks

    • Rich Laburn

      Tracie, both are great for creative photographs, what really matters is the creativity of the photographer. Both cameras will have multiple functions that allow you to express yourself in various different ways once you grasp the technical side of the camera.

  • archit gupta

    want to buy a dslr between 50-60 thousand rupees. which one should I go for?

    • Rich Laburn

      I would suggest the Canon 7D

  • Bijunarayanan Palakkad

    I feel Nikon is great Dslr stunning Image quality and ergonomics
    low light conditions very comfortable to shoot. strongly I recommended “Nikon D600″

  • http://www.sharinglanguage.com Jose

    Hi,
    I am not sure whether to go for Canon EOS 600D or for Nikon D3200.
    Is it true Canon is better for video and also the battery last (uncharged) for longer?
    Then, what the advantages of the Nikon´s would be?
    I would also like to take into account the lens, in the future; which camera brand/model requires cheaper lens or has more lens to choose from.
    Thank you in advance!

    • Bagher

      Hi
      I have the same question
      Any Idea?
      Did u made you decision Jose?

  • http://www.pahiyaa.in Himanshu

    Hi sir,
    I’m traveler, used to travel on bicycle to see nature more closly. Currently I’m using Digital Camera “Samsung ES-28″ and mobile. Photographs are almost good.
    Now I want to go for entry level DSLR … So which one is best for me for nature photography in low budget..

    Regards

    • Rich Laburn

      I would highly recommend the 60D or 7D from Canon and the D3100 from Nikon.

  • Paula

    Hi, I’m interested in photography, which camera would you recommend for Nature, Macro and Action photography? I’m still in school and too young to get a job so i cant afford a really expensive camera right now.
    Thanks In Advance

    • Rich Laburn

      Hi Paula, I would recommend a G12 from Canon. Its compact, relatively inexpensive and takes great images. rich

  • amit

    i can not deside between two. nikon d5100 or canon 600d. size and waight dose not matter. between this which camera give me perfect pictur and vedio? pleas help me out.

  • http://gmail sanjiv

    can u suggest me the best camera in clearty and looks..is it cannon,nikkon or olympus???

  • http://trapezaries.Webstarts.com/ trapezaries.Webstarts.com

    Wow, wonderful weblog layout! How long haqve you ever been blogging
    for? you make running a blog glance easy. The total glance
    of your site is fantastic, as smartly as the content!

  • Roger Vondrasek

    I bought a Canon Rebel T ( it was the 1st upgrade from Rebel). I couldn’t get it to get sharp pictures. I had it into Canon 5 times in the first year I had it! They returned it “fixed” every time. My opinion was NOT fixed! They agreed to call me and compare the pictures I’d taken, allowing me to discuss what I was seeing! They tried once! I was then dropped like a hot rock!!

    I sold it and went and purchased a Nikon. It has preformed as I feel the Canon should have! I wouldn’t go back!

  • ziad

    is Nikon D5100 is good for a beginner or not

    • Rich Laburn

      Yes it’s an excellent model

  • ziad

    which model is better Nikon D5100 or canon 600d

  • Dinesh A Khopkar

    which model is better Nikon D7000 or canon 650d or canon 600d For professional photography

  • adithyan b

    i have a nikond7000 camera and i have been interested only in wildlife photography,i have a thought of exchanging my d7000 instead to get a eos7d as the prime lenses are of my budget.there are no nikkor prime lenses except the one nikor300mm f4,what do u think on my opinion

  • Yuvraj Patil

    sir,
    You have actually confused me more right now.. as i am a Nikon p&s user.. wanted to get my hands on a DSLR . .m a wildlife photographer by interest..
    i read a lot about Nikon 300mm f2.8 and 400mm f4 and D4 ,D3s .. but after reading the reviews i think i should consider canon as well .. can you please suggest best (economical,portable,good quality,longer reach ) camera and lens combo from canon for that purpose? how are they in comparison with that of nikon ?
    thank you..

    • Rich Laburn

      Yuvraj, they are both excellent cameras and its purely a matter of personal choice as to which body, lens and brand suits you in terms of usability, image preference, handling, look and portability. IF you want the best wildlife body/lens combo on the market I would strongly recommend the Nikon D3 with the 200-400mm f4.o lens. You will get the most outstanding image from that setup. The Canon 1DX and new 200 – 400mm lens is also a brilliant setup for wildlife photography. I hope that helps a bit more?

  • http://www.clicklikeshare.blogspot.com Funny Photographer

    can u please suggest me the best camera for easy to use and looks..is it cannon,Nikon or any other

  • Clark Geonzon

    Hi,

    which is better camera?canon or nikon?
    primarily used for special occasion like weddings & parties..
    which has a better resulotion?or which of the two are also better in night-shots?
    My choices either 600d for canon or d3200 or d5200 for nikon.

    Thanks a lot…

  • Sachin

    Hi
    I am new in photography, really I love to capture around nature. Can you please suggest , which maker is more ideal for my purpose of use, I mean (nikon or canon)
    and one thing I need is the actual colour capture…
    Please given me a suggestion:-)

  • Mehak

    Hi,
    Please advise me for choosing camera: Canon 600D, Canon 700D or Nikon 5300? I want to use for wedding, occasion and for traveling
    Thanks in advance

  • Photography is an ART

    from where you got these all figures ?

  • Photography is an ART

    Nikon is 10 times better than Canon in every field. SALES Figure doesn’t prove anything. Otherwise Point and Shoot camera or Mobile Camera would be better than dslr as they better in sale concern to user.
    70% photographer in the world are just amateur and they mostly either own Point and Shoot or Canon Dslr. Either they read such post as your from the internet or never used a Nikon system (At least at any photographic stores) and easily misguided.
    and from the rest of 30% are professional photographer or enthusiastic and most of them choose gear as their likes and feedback from belongings or having a lot of Old Lenses from a particular brand. but individual liking are not all.. and even i am telling this all not to force author to agree anything. I am telling which is fact and truth.

    Build Quality of Nikon is 3times better than Canon. (if you dont trust me pick a Canon 5D Mark III and a Nikon D800, you will feel the difference, Nikon is Solid as Rock and fit perfectly in hand and its like a premium product, even Entry Level Nikon Systems are better feel in hand than Canon Entry Level Dslr.) Canon systems feel like bit Plastic and cheap and heavy and not durable.

    Image Quality, Just google or go to Flickr sites they are having a lot of sample images from both Nikon and Canon system. you will surely find that Nikon produce 2times better image than Canon in ‘perfect’ condition. Yes, Canon is a bit better in some circumstances like Dark or Night photography but, those cases are exceptional and Nikon is having D4S for that. but Canon 70D is definitely better than Nikon D7100 in that respect. But Ask yourself, you want a Average performer who will assure you average performance everytime or a Specialist Performer who will mostly assure you the best quality in the world but worst in some specific area. And Canon tends to fool the user by warming the image a bit to look is much more good. but actually they are not.

    Nikon is having much cheaper but Outstanding lenses than Canon. 70200 f2.8 VR II from nikon is cheaper than 702000 2.8 IS II from Canon but it produce better image than Canon. most of the lenses of Nikon are better than Canon and they are chaper and feel solid and premium in hand.

    But i must say some of the lenses from Canon are really awesome as 85mm 1.2 is a class from canon.
    But it just a specific reason for those 30% photographers who actually choose canon for their specific job or work which nikon can’t help. Who is going to shoot at 1.2 with a 85mm lens daily basis. noone else a studio photographer(portfolio). but but but….
    Just check it in “http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/ISO-12233-Sample-Crops.aspx?Lens=787&Camera=453&Sample=0&FLI=0&API=0&LensComp=648&CameraComp=614&SampleComp=0&FLIComp=0&APIComp=3″

    compare nikon vs canon lens you will definitely understand which one is better.

  • Photography is an ART

    Even few months ago i own a D7100 from Nikon, i had choice of 70D and read numerous posts and feedback and see a lots of sample images from flickr and pixelpeeper and used a lot D7100 and 70D at different photographic stores and finally decided to go for D7100.
    Trust me, for me image quality is the last word. and i want something who is a specialist. i dont need an allrounder who will going to give me average good images even at worst condition like dark or night situation, rather i will opt for a specialist who can’t perform best at those situation but can give me out-of-the world awesome fantastic breathtaking crip and cristal clear images in sweet conditions.. and thats the reason i have choose nikon. but 70% people in the world use a camera now a days for Fashion Trend or just to upload pics in Facebook and they hardly care about image quality or durability. for them even a 10megapixel mobile camera is a better choice at night club during party. :P
    and that is the reason they opt for Canon system, because they are lazy to experiment and innovate settings while shooting pics.. but they need something which will give them good images in ‘AUTO’ mode everytime. they hardly shoot pics in ‘A’,’P’or’M’ mode anytime. and that is the reason why Canon sales more camera than Nikon. coz they knows it and they know what most of the people want.
    But Nikon make camera for photographers or who actually take pics by a minimum sense of art. that is the major difference.

  • Photography is an ART

    where are my previous comments? :O