canon vs. nikon

Ah, the age old debate in the photography world: Canon vs. Nikon.

I am proud to say that I have never said one brand was better than the other. Proud as well as pleased, or else I would look like a real hypocrite right about now…

my new toy, the Canon 5D Mark III

As far as photography goes, here’s my own personal timeline of events:

– I began shooting in 2000 with a Canon Rebel, the film kind. I photographed High School football and lacrosse.

– After a few point & shoots because that’s all new married life with an infant would allow us, my husband bought me a Canon Rebel, or a “dRebel” as we called it the time because it was digital. This was my first digital SLR camera. I was hooked!

– After shooting casually with the Rebel for maybe 2 years, I switched over to a Nikon. At the time, I didn’t have any money invested in glass so it didn’t matter either way to me. I upgraded to a Nikon D80. Why did I switch? I honestly have no idea. Probably the same reason I went to three different colleges and studied everything from Apparel Design to Business Law to Psychology to Medical Transcription. I like trying new things and proving to myself that I can do them/use them/make them/etc.

– After using my D80 for 2 years, I upgraded to the Nikon 300s. This was in April 2010. I now had a little bit invested in glass. I thought about changing to a Canon at the time but I told myself to stick with what I knew.

– Currently, I was due an upgrade. (Why? Because I told myself I was. =D) I saved and put a deposit towards the brand spankin’ new Nikon D800. Only thing is it’s sold out everywhere. Perhaps this was a blessing in disguise. I really didn’t think I was growing impatient but in true Gina form, I suppose I was. I decided to upgrade in March, so I waited for two months without another thought about it and then, I just got impatient and needed a new camera, stat. I thought “Maybe I’ll get a Canon. Maybe I’ll make the switch”. Why? Why not! Aside from family, I have never been cemented down to anything. Perhaps this is why I am so attached to my town and family and have never left here: being stuck to the extreme in this aspect of life has left me open to changing the small things on a whim.

The funny thing is, I hate change.  I usually adapt fine, but I feel sick and nauseous during it. Unfortunately, my son gets this from me. He was only 3 years old but he was so mad at us when we got rid of our old white Jimmy GMC to get a better car for our growing family. I have a video of him crying because we got new couches two years ago. He wanted the old, ragged ones to stay put. (We compromised. I saved one of the pillows).

At this point in my photography career, I do have quite a bit invested into my gear. I have some sweet lenses, none of which will work with a Canon. It didn’t make sense to switch but then again, many things I do, don’t.  I just felt ready. My Nikon was good to me. I’ll admit, I felt sad for it when the Canon arrived. I did. But it was time to move onto something bigger and perhaps… better? I don’t know. So far I am loving my new, shiny toy with it’s new camera smell (ok, it doesn’t really smell. It is shiny though!) The only thing about the Nikon that I will discuss in a negative light is the fact that I was getting a little tired of it’s color. I felt my images were tinged ever-so-slightly green lately and I had to do a lot of editing to get everything looking right. Not anymore. The images coming straight off of my new MKIII are amazing! I replaced my 50mm 1.4 lens (my fave!) with the Canon version so that’s all I was shooting with this past weekend. I can’t believe at 1.4 how tack-sharp it can be. It’s still taking me some time to get used to where all of the buttons, switches and controls are. I guess I may have taken for granted how well I knew my Nikon inside and out. I keep reminding myself that I hated my MAC for the first few days that I owned it and now, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. So I’ll just keep playing. The Nikon will go later this week because I need to re-purchase my 24-70mm 2.8 lens since that’s my workhorse during indoor sessions.

If you’ve asked me for a camera recommendation in the past, I am certain that I started by telling you that both Canon and Nikon made great cameras. And yes, then I went ahead and recommended a starter Nikon because I pride myself on being a loyal customer. And yes, now I will recommend a starter Canon because again, loyalty and all that. :) And hey, I started on that Canon Rebel years ago, so I can recommend from experience here. It all boils down to personal preference after. I would never tell you one camera is better than the other. It’s like comparing apples to apples. One is most likely going to be better for me, but you need to decide for yourself what is best for you. I will go ahead and tell you that if you’re thinking about switching but are too afraid to, just do it! If you can re-purchase your glass and aren’t afraid of a learning curve, go for it. My Grandma always told my Mom “Don’t ever be married to a house” when she was growing up (yet she’s lived in the same house since 1976. Go figure). I am going to tell you “Don’t ever be married to a camera”. Life is too short. Have fun!

Here are a few noticeable differences that I can tell right off the bat. None are going to make or break an argument in favor of Canon or Nikon. They are just things I’ve noticed since I’ve had the opportunity to handle both brands simultaneously.

  • The Canon is lighter than the Nikon. It bothered me for the first few minutes. I am already over it.
  • I really liked the dial on the back of the Nikon that was a touch-button that allowed me to easily scroll through menus. I am not all that crazy about the dials you need to wheel and turn on the Canon. I find the menus take longer to get through. I am pretty sure these menus will become second nature soon enough though so for now, I’ll deal with it. Camera dials are not something I’m losing sleep over.
  • The dial used to control shutter speed on the Canon is backwards! =P  I realize if you only use a Canon, you will think the Nikon one is backwards. ;) I was confused at first. I have to dial it towards my left to get a slower shutter speed and thus, a lighter picture. I had to wheel it to the right to do this on my Nikon. Just a silly, small obstacle to overcome.
  • This is the biggest difference: the 50mm 1.4 lens is just way more awesome on the Canon body. Now, I realize I am comparing the same lens on a full frame body (new Canon) verse a cropped sensor (old Nikon). To be fair, I am sure this plays some part. But the images I am getting on my new 1.4 are not anything I used to be able to get on the Nikon. And this leads me to believe I was right all along about the 24-70mm lens. I have always oohed and ahhed over friend’s images shot with this lens on a Canon. I got it for my 30th birthday was was less-than-impressed when it was paired with my Nikon. I have always felt and voiced my opinion when asked, that the Canon glass on this particular lens was better. I think I may be right. I’ll let you know when I get my hands on it. ;)
  • There’s no pop-up flash on the Canon. Not that this is something I use. I used it once or twice in a pinch in Disney World. The amazing clarity at higher ISOs take care of this. It certainly won’t be missed. Just thought I’d mention it.
  • This was weird to me. Weird and welcomed. There’s a green Auto button on the Canon. I couldn’t believe it. I was strictly 100% manual on the Nikon. Always. To hand my camera off to someone to get into a shot, I had to compose the shot first making one of my kids stand in for me. Then hand it off and hope for the best. I cannot believe that I am on a better camera and I don’t have to do this anymore. The green A+ square stands for Scene Intelligent Auto (really, just a fancy way to say Auto!) Will I use it myself? Nah. I love my Manual setting and controlling everything myself. However, this is totally awesome for when Vin or the kids want to take a picture with me in it. Yeah!
  • I do think finding focus is easier with a Nikon. Even with the added focal points on the MKIII I still give a point to Nikon in this column.

Today, I hook on my CyberSync transmitter and give the Canon + Alien Bee a whirl! Baby steps before I am ready to be a Canon girl 100% of the time (almost there!)

Here are a bunch of random images I shot this weekend, just to get a feel for my new toy. I walked around the yard and dug around in the kids’ bedrooms. The majority were shot at ISO 100 and f1.4. A few were at 2.8. Aside from popping the colors a smidge in Lightroom and re-sizing for the Web, I did nothing to these! This kind of warmer, creamier color was exactly what I was looking for.




















(Andrew sporting a fresh buzzcut and wiggling his tooth while watching Night At The Museum with me)

And lastly, a farewell shot to my Nikon. You were good to me!


So photogs, what do YOU shoot with? What’s your favorite body/lens combo?

6 Comments

  • I am a Canon girl. I tried a Nikon before I bought my first Rebel, but it just didn’t feel right to me. Of course, that’s just me. Nikons are still good cameras. I learned all I could on my Rebel before upgrading to my 60D. I primarily use a Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 and am lucky to have an incredibly sharp copy. I do love primes though and just sold my 50 1.8 to buy a 50 1.4. I can’t wait!!! I’m just waiting on an email to see if I can get a deal. I love your new photos with your MarkIII!! I can’t wait to see more!

  • I’m loving all your shots with the MkIII so far Gina, can’t wait to see more! I’m also a Canon girl (I now shoot with a 7D but am dying for an upgrade soon) and I agree the 50 1.4 is awesome, it’s definitely my most used lens!

  • Canon girl all the way, with my 5D mark ii. I love the 24-70mm 2.8. I’m saving for the 70-200 IS f2.8. I am so glad that you are in love with your new baby. Awesome photos!!

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