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Canon vs. Nikon SMACKDOWN!

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  • Cameras: Canon vs. Nikon SMACKDOWN!

    Ha, the title makes this thread sound really exciting but it's not, just an informal comparison between two cameras I am currently using.

    For the past couple of years I have been using a non-DSLR Nikon Coolpix L810 for general shooting. My favorite feature on this camera is the huge zoom range (since switching to digital I always missed the long lenses I had with 35mm cameras). The photos from the Nikon are decent overall; you've seen them on my website and in my ezine.

    Just a couple of weeks ago I needed to buy a DSLR for my daughter's college photography class which starts next week. Of course I've always wanted one but since I only shoot "stock" photos for my own use, I couldn't justify the expense. But her class needs made it a good time to go shopping.

    I was open to either Canon or Nikon (I used to shoot both in the film days), and found a great deal on a 9 condition used Canon Rebel T3 at B&H (the same thing cost $100+ more in a local used camera shop, sorry guys...). Then a friend gave me his unneeded 75-300 Canon zoom, so we now have a nice complete kit going on.

    Yesterday we went out shooting for practice while I explained f/stops and shutter speeds (etc.) to her. I also took the opportunity to do some informal comparisons between the Nikon and the Canon.

    The photos attached show the zoom range comparison (turns out that even with the Canon 18-55 and 75-300 zooms, the Nikon's permanently attached zoom lens has a slightly longer range on both ends, wide and tele). Note the different image dimensions from each camera, the Canon being more strongly rectangle. [The Canon sequence shows the widest and longest end of both lenses and is of reduced dimensions due to file attachment size limits.]

    Of course I was interested in image quality, and obviously a DSLR would have an advantage, but I wanted to see exactly how much I had been missing. The attached comparisons are actual size screenshots from Photoshop with the images displayed at 100% (both cameras were shooting high-quality JPEGs). While the full frame photos from both cameras looked remarkably similar at smaller on-screen magnification (25/33%), the 100% view clearly revealed where the prosumer Nikon camera falls short. And of course a Nikon DSLR would have rivaled the Canon.

    All of the two-image side-by-side comparisons (Canon on left, Nikon on right) were shot at or near the extreme long end of the focal range from a distance. You are only seeing a small section of the overall image.

    The wood bench set with our unwitting model doesn't show a huge difference in image detail. But the other three sets show the dramatic resolving difference between the two cameras. Both sets were auto-focused, which may be a factor in softening either/both shots. The set with the trees is from the extreme upper-left corner of the images, and you can see where the Nikon introduces edge-of-frame distortion as well.

    Obviously even a starter DSLR is better than a prosumer camera (and you can see how much more so), and if the brands were switched in this test, the results would likely still be the same.
    Attached Files

  • #2
    Re: Canon vs. Nikon SMACKDOWN!

    I personally am torn between a Canon EOS Rebel T3i and a Nikon D3200, just can NOT make up my mind. Sometimes I am leaning towards the Canon because last summer I bought my daughter a waterproof Nikon ($120). Takes GREAT shots underwater but horrible ones everywhere else (unless poolside) even though it was advertised as an everything camera. Need something that takes high res pictures of artwork and old photos.

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    • #3
      Re: Canon vs. Nikon SMACKDOWN!

      Yeah, those two models are mentioned side by side often. Perhaps you should consider availability of lenses in making your choice. I learned that Nikon has maintained a consistent lens mount all along while Canon changed theirs over the years. That means you can still use old 35mm Nikon lenses on Nikon DSLRs, but not old Canon ones on Canon DSLRs.

      However! I also read old Nikon lenses can be mounted on Canon cameras...

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      • #4
        Re: Canon vs. Nikon SMACKDOWN!

        Guess I'll have to sleep on it some more - seems like pros and cons are about equal (but different) on both. Thanks!

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        • #5
          Re: Canon vs. Nikon SMACKDOWN!

          Compare prices too and see where the best deal is.

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          • #6
            Re: Canon vs. Nikon SMACKDOWN!

            Prices are similar! Even for bundles - decisions, decisions.

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            • #7
              Re: Canon vs. Nikon SMACKDOWN!

              both cameras were shooting high-quality JPEGs
              IF both camera systems shoot raw, you'd have a much better test of their abilities rendering them in the same raw converter, eliminating the camera processing, picture styles and all that 'stuff' that bakes the image. Even if the eventual output is a JPEG (kind of a big mistake IMHO), it pays to look at the data in it's rawest form when comparing, using the same raw converter but not necessarily the same settings.

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