Canon or Nikon !

Canon or Nikon !

Canon and Nikon are most popular still camera brand in the World. As I’m professional photographer, I’ve been asked so many times by my friends, Canon or Nikon? Which is better camera brand and which one should I buy to starting photography joinery or profession. This is very complicated to answer because both brands are well-known and popular for their superb image quality and innovative features. They both are manufacturing different types of camera models and vast accessories to give optimum satisfaction to their user or fans.

Here I’m giving some of my experiences and knowledge about those brands. I’m not describing about camera features, build quality, extra function and price comparison. In this article, I’d like to write focusing on major five fundamentals, those are, White balance, Dynamic Range, High ISO, Lens and Movie mode. Let’s understand in briefly.

Both cameras have their effective white balance settings. Canon has good preset white balance as well as custom white balance. Some canon users claim that canon has superior custom white balance than Nikon. In some condition, I agree with them but in my experience Nikon has very good Auto white balance. Custom white balance setting is very useful and necessary for professional photography. Amateur and enthusiast DSLR users do not have an idea how to use custom white balance and they shouldn’t have compulsory the knowledge of that. Canon and Nikon both have default Auto white balance setting in their auto exposure modes. In critical or mix color lighting condition, especially indoor, Nikon’s Auto white balance gives better result than other presets. So Nikon’s Auto white balance is very useful for non-commercial photographers.

Because of good result of custom white balance, Canon users claim that Canon gives superb skin tone so that very suitable for Wedding, Fashion, Modeling and Portrait photography. It doesn’t mean that Nikon isn’t good for that kind of photography. Nikon users claim that white balance and skin tone issue is limited only in JPEG image. That is not big problem for Nikon’s NEF (RAW) images because Nikon has provided superior NEF (RAW) image processing software such as Capture NX-D, and I agree with this.

In the topic of Dynamic Range, I can say, minimum 80% of worldwide professional photographers stand with Nikon. Nikon’s Dynamic Range plays great role in the shadow parts of the image. Because of High dynamic range Nikon creates very good shadow detail images. Active D-Lighting feature also helps to improve shadow detail.  Comparatively, Nikon is very good for Nature, Landscape and evening photography. Canon creates 72 dpi (dots per inch) images but Nikon 300 dpi. DPI is not big issue for viewing images on digital monitors but plays great role in printing section.

Every year Canon and Nikon improving High ISO performance than previous year. We know that newer model gives superior image in high ISO than same level previous model. Both brands have noticeably controlled High ISO noise in their full frame camera. Crop sensor cannot deliver as superior image quality as full frame. It’s very hard to judge fairly which brand is superior. If I need to say on the basis of till this date, luminance and color noise are noticeably controlled up to 1600 to 2000 ISO in their crop sensor cameras. 2000 to 3200 ISO deliver good image in evening or Low-light photography but slightly increase both types of noise in shadow parts.

Over 3200 ISO photography, better to upgrade full frame sensor. In full frame sensor, luminance noise is noticeably controlled up to 6400 ISO. Over 6400 ISO, luminance and color both types of noise start visible. Canon EOS 5D Mark III & IV both are superior DSLR for High ISO photography.

Canon and Nikon both have manufactured and distributed different variety of lenses for their user’s requirement. Both have wide range of Prime and zoom lenses. Canon has IS (Image Stabilization) lenses and Nikon has VR (Vibration Reduction) lenses, both are manufactured on the basis of shake reduction technology.  Canon has superior L series lenses and Nikon has superior N series lenses. L stands for Luxury and N stands for Nano Crystal Coat which includes effective anti-reflective coating, both are superior lens series for their professional users.

Canon has manufactured very well-know DSLR camera models for videographers. Besides Canon 5D Mark series, canon has also brought semi-profession DSLR series with effective movie features such as Canon EOS 70D and EOS 80D which are very loved by videographers. Canon has STM and NANO USM lenses which are specially developed for movie shooting. STM (Stepping Motor) lens is developed to enable smoother and quieter AF for movie shooting. NANO USM (NANO Ultrasonic Motor) lens is newly developed to enable smooth and quiet autofocus for still image as well as movie capturing.

On the other hand, Nikon has also manufactured well-competitor semi-profession DSLR series for movie shooting lineup such as Nikon D7100 and D7200 but one very bad point is they both don’t have Touch Screen Focusing System like in Canon EOS 70D and 80D. Nikon has superb quality G and N series lens for movie shooting. Bothe types of lenses give enrich color and super contrast image. Besides G and N series lenses, Nikon’s full frame and semi-profession (Crop sensor) DSLR series both can use old type D series lens. D series Prime lens are very useful for documentary and time lapse shooting because D lens has separate aperture ring with various f-stops setting and depth-of-field marking. D lenses also have distance scale (or distance indicator) and wider-range focusing ring. All those features of D lens are very much useful for manual operation.

One more here I need to say about entry level (basic) camera. Nikon D3300 and D3400 both have 60 fps (frame per second) 1080 HD movie option but they don’t have touch screen focusing system. Canon EOS 1200D (Rebel T5) and EOS 1300D (Rebel T6) don’t have 60 fps 1080 HD movie option and touch screen focusing system too. Besides this, their latest midrange cameras such as Nikon D5600 and Canon EOS 800D (Rebel T7i) both have 60 fps 1080 HD movie option and touch screen focusing system too. Keep this in your mind if you going to buy such camera for movie capturing.

By Purushottam Pokharel
Executive Member

Canon camera bodies are mostly made in Japan, even the cheaper ones, a few that are made outside are made in Taiwan, on the other hand Nikon makes only the top of the line flagship series in Japan, the rest are made in Thailand, the main reason to point out where anything is made is, Nikon parts seem to be inferior to Canon ones, the grip rubbers tend to peel off easily on recent Nikon bodies as opposed to sturdy ones that do not to peel off on Canon cameras. Same is true for the lenses, Nikon lenses recently are being made with more and more plastic while newer canon lenses are still being built with reasonable amount of metal on them, as with the rubber grips on camera bodies, the lens rubber grips on Nikon tend to peel of easily as opposed to more durable ones on Canon.

To summarize, Nikon has best wide to super wide angle lenses and Canon offers world’s best telephoto lenses, if you shoot with lenses of 300mm and wider, the choice is Nikon, if one shoots with telephoto & super tele lenses Canon is the way to go. A note here on Tele-super tele lenses, Nikon’s latest release like the AF-S NIKKOR 300mm f/4E PF ED VR, AF-S NIKKOR 400mm f/2.8E FL ED VR, AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/4E FL ED VR, AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4E FL ED VR & AF-S NIKKOR 800mm f/5.6E FL ED VR super tele lenses are on par with latest Canon offerings but are slightly on the expensive side, a special note on Nikon’s AF-S NIKKOR 300mm f/4E PF ED VR lens here is that this lens is world’s best 300mm f/4 lens at the moment, this lens weighing in at only 760 grams is world’s lightest and among the sharpest lens out there.

  • Lenses that only Canon has are1) EF 11-24mm f/4 L USM & 2) EF 400mm f/4 DO IS ISM II
  • Lenses that only Nikon has are 1) AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G, 2) AF-S NIKKOR 300mm f/4E PF ED VR & 3) AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR

All modern sensors are equally good in today’s cameras, Canon’s strongest points are that they use tried and tested reliable technologies even if they are a generation behind the competition, canon’s sensors are very reliable in the field, ability to shoot video is a strong plus for canon, specially the dual pixel AF on Canon live view is among the most reliable AF systems on current DSLRs, the camera menu system is also simple and easy to use on Canon, sensor efficiency is not exactly on the top specially the dynamic range is still one to two stop behind the Nikon sensors.

On the other hand Nikon is among the leaders in proving latest technology to the users, it offered a 36MP sensor without an Optical Low Pass Filter on Nikon D800E when the rest of the competition was offering only 24MP sensors, Nikon was also ahead of Canon to offer a 24MP sensor without optical low pass filter on cameras with a smaller APS-C size sensors, decent video shooting is available on Nikon but Nikon’s Live View AF is not as fast as the Canon’s Dual Pixel AF, it still uses a slower contrast detect AF system. A big plus for Nikon sensor is the highest dynamic range on offer; on base ISO settings Nikon APS-C sensors rival the full frame Canon sensors.


Here we’ve expressed our experience and opinion with our own ways. We do not claim that our opinion is exactly match with your experience or we’re 100% true. Users may have different experiences in their own photographic field. Here we didn’t include any comparison images with this article because, 1st reason, we already said, maybe our opinion won’t be matched with your experiences. 2nd reason, our comparison illustrations may not be satisfactory for you in all conditions. 3rd reason, It’s better to do test and compare results with your own way. Actually there is no winner or loser it’s depending on people’s choice in different conditions. If you have any other experiences please feel free to express in the comment section. Thanks.     

Ruman Shrestha

Ruman Shrestha

Hello! Professionally I’m photographer, Photoshoper, Illustrator and graphic designer. I had taken photography training with Photojournalism in 1996. I’m self-learned Photoshoper and Illustrator. I'm fully freelancer. I love to learn new tools of Photoshop and Illustrator then create various kinds of artwork and vector graphics in my free time. On long days vacation, I would like to travel and trek high-altitude area to celebrate my leisure time. I’ve deep interest in Nature photography. Landscape and Wildlife are my favorite subjects. Moreover, I like also birding and bird’s photography. I'm general member of 'Bird Conservation Nepal' too. I am the founder of TutsGallery. I’ve founded this website to share my knowledge and experience to new generation in photography. I hope, you’ll like this. If you also like to contribute such kind of knowledge and experience, I request you, start from today and contact me. Let’s enjoy photographing!

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