Canon vs. Nikon is hot and ongoing topic since the film days. Competition is a good thing because it allows both companies to grow and make better products, and that is what we want; Better cameras and lenses.
I started my photography with Canon due to its significantly lower price and variety of lenses compared to the Nikons. I was focusing on my wildlife photography when I first entered the photography world. Used Canon 7D with refurbished 70-200mm f/4L USM lens gave me quite an awesome reach to the birds. I was considering to purchase the 400mm f/5.6L lens for a full wildlife photography gear. However, I realized my 7D was simply not good enough as I shoot more and more pictures for the clients and for myself.
1. 7D was Simply Too Old for Professional Work
I was at CES 2016 Intel’s keynote address photographing CEO of Intel, Brian Krzanich from the front seat. Canon 70-200mm gave me a great reach to the subject allowing me to do anything from head shots to full body shots. However, some images were simply not usable due to the noise. I don’t mind the grainy noise because it’s natural like what the film cameras did. But the noise in the 7D is color noise with the shades of blue and purple and ruins the picture. This was my first time for me to realize lack of dynamic range and ISO performance with the 7D.
2. ISO Performance & Dynamic Range
ISO performance is relatively similar between Nikon and Canon. However, like what all other people said, I was impressed by Nikon’s dynamic range. Sometimes, I have to bring the shadows all the way up to get the details of the bird. When I’m shooting portraits, I’m always in the shade, resulting some shadow recovery in the Photoshop which Nikon does such a phenomenal job. I tested DR for both Canon and Nikon for couple of days at local camera shop and other electronic stores and saw consecutive victory of Nikon.
3. Need of Full Frame Sensor
Nikon had much more selection with the full frame DSLRs. D610, D750, D810, and D810A, these are their full frame line up. They are relatively new while D610 being the oldest (2013). Canon also have great full frame DSLRs like 6D and 5D Mark iii. But, these are considerably old for me to buy new ones for a professional work. If they announced 6D Mark ii or 5D Mark iv during CES 2016, I would’ve waited. However, with the launch of D500 and D5 from Nikon, I was very disappointed with Canon for not updating their cameras. They released 1D Mark ii couple weeks ago, but let’s face it, who can really afford those? I could be shocked by 6D Mark ii and/or 5D Mark iv announcements; When ever it happens, but I needed the full frame right away to do my job.
With my budget, the best thing I could afford for Canon was 6D and D750 for Nikon. The autofocusing system was a big defeat for the Canon 6D. Canon 6D has 11 AF points with only one cross type at the center. Nikon D750 has 51 AF points with 15 of them cross typed. If you are shooting stills only, it won’t be an issue. I shoot wildlife, birds flying at 60 mph. I needed the best possible AF system, and Nikon won on this section.
Nikon or Canon, the choice is yours. Choose based on what you are looking for. I obviously wanted to stay with Canon because it would save me hell of a money with the lenses. However, Canon simply did not made a good enough full frame DSLR for me. 6D and 5D Mark iii is great, but is relatively old for me to do the job with.
I went with Nikon because I was impressed with Nikon, and disappointed with Canon. I’ve seen great and superb lenses coming out from Canon, but it always seemed to be Nikon’s win with the sensors. What do you say? Would you give up stunning L glass for Nikon sensors or stay with an L glass waiting for Canon to release a new camera body?