Out of the thousands of questions I’ve received here at Photofocus, Nikon v. Canon is right at the top of the list. People ask me this question as if the right answer will be the difference between a successful photo or a failure. Nothing could be further from the truth. I am in a unique position to know that. I own and use both systems.
Like clockwork – if I post a review or a news item related to Nikon, the Canon fans accuse me of being a Nikon fanboy – merely for posting the information mind you. Also, if I post a review or a news item related to Canon, the Nikon fans accuse me of being a Canon fanboy – again – merely for posting the information.
Now this doesn’t bother me a bit. You should see my email. I get called much worse all the time. But I thought I would take this topic on in a serious manner, for those few out there with an open mind. Once and for all, I want to settle the Nikon v. Canon debate.
The real answer to which you should use boils down to three simple things.
1. Which you can afford
2. The one you like the most
3. The one your friends use
I’ll break these down individually.
In GENERAL, the Nikon gear costs a bit more than the Canon gear. Depending on the body/lens choices you make, that may not be the case. But for most people, the cost will be anywhere from marginally higher to noticeably higher. So if price is an issue, Canon tends to win more than it loses – but not by much.
Since both brands do an excellent job, choosing between them often merely boils down to nothing more than personal preference. Things that cannot be quantified such as look and feel might play a part here. One brand may offer a particular body/lens configuration that just better suits your INDIVIDUAL style. Does this mean that configuration will be right for the next photographer? Nope. It just means it’s right for you. And that’s okay.
The reason that your friend’s choice of DSLR is important is simple. This means you’ll have a better chance at being able to share lenses and other peripherals. It also means you’ll have a broader support network to answer your gear questions and give you tips. If you’re the lone wolf in your group, you might miss out on lots of advantages.
So what is the answer?
It doesn’t really matter all that much! That’s the answer. Other than the three criteria above, there’s very little reason to pick one over the other. Buy what you want. But don’t assault and assail other photographers who make a different choice. THEIR choice doesn’t impact YOUR choice in ANY way. So why do you care?
It’s important to compare camera features, NOT name recognition. You won’t look any “cooler” shooting one over the other. Each company has it’s high and low points. Neither is perfect. Both make great cameras. Both make cameras that are probably superior to the skill levels of the photographers who use them.
So pick the one you like. Don’t worry about what the posters on the camera forums say. At this point in the game, both Nikon and Canon are very similarly situated. Between them they have almost 90% of the DSLR market. They dominate for a reason. They both make great gear. So flip a coin if you have to and move on. There’s no need to defend or second guess your choice. In the time you spend worrying about and debating the Nikon v. Canon wars, you could have been out making great photos.