Nikon and Canon are highly competitive with each other. Depending on what you're trying to do, one or the other will be better, but overall, everyone has many, many decades of experience in producing quality products. Both manufacture a wide range of products, from multi-million dollar optical systems for the industry to fully professional cameras, consumer cameras and point-and-shoot. Which is the best depends on what is important to you and will vary as the years go by.
Today, Canon is the leader in full-frame and high-end APS-C cameras. The two are quite similar at the middle and low ends of the APS-C world. Of every 100 camera buyers, almost 85 prefer a Canon or a Nikon camera. While other first-class brands such as Sony, Pentax and Samsung make high-quality cameras, the debates between Canon and Nikon digital SLRs have always enjoyed, and continue to enjoy, cult status among camera users.
So what are those little secrets of Canon versus Nikon cameras that drive the dreams of so many camera enthusiasts? Scroll down to learn more about Canon and Nikon digital SLR cameras and the differences between the offerings of these two legendary and heavy brands. Professional photographers use both types of cameras. Both brands have a lot to offer. What a particular photographer chooses comes down to their preferences and the lens and equipment they have or plan to buy, as well as the type of photograph they intend to take.
Canon and Nikon are the two titans of the photographic industry, who have been fighting for more than seventy years for who makes the best cameras. Basic Canon and Nikon cameras (such as the Nikon D3500 or Canon EOS Rebel camera series) are a great way to learn photography. After that, there's a route that leads from enthusiastic models to flagship equipment used by experienced professionals. One of the advantages of choosing either of these two brands is that, being so large, there are a lot of options.
Not only do Canon and Nikon produce a wide range of equipment, but there are also a large number of third-party manufacturers who create affordable alternatives or specialized equipment. When you choose between Nikon or Canon, you're buying a complete system, so it's definitely a good idea to get it right from the start. Sony was once the market leader, but now Canon has definitely caught up, releasing a series of firmware updates that now make Nikon's eye autofocus look limited. Canon doesn't maintain this feature just for its more expensive cameras either.
Like Sony and Nikon, Canon has included ocular autofocus in its basic full-frame mirrorless camera, the Canon EOS RP. When it comes to pioneering lens design, Canon not only surpasses Nikon, but arguably every other camera manufacturer on the market. For several reasons, there are far fewer third-party options for Nikon, although this is likely to change. So far, while there are some manual focus lenses on the market, there are no third-party lenses for Nikon's new Z-mount cameras that feature autofocus.
Canon is larger than Nikon and also has a larger customer base and, given the sharp decline in the number of cameras sold worldwide, it is perhaps for this reason that it is the more recent of the two to launch a specially designed astrophotography camera. Editor update: There's also the Nikon D810A, designed exclusively for astrophotography. Nikon may be considered to be the smaller of the two titans, but there are some areas where it puts Canon in the shadows. Nikon's lens options might be more suitable for you, given what's currently available, and the amount of information you can drag from RAW files can also be a factor.
Deanne Mushins's Nikon team on Shotkit. During the transition to the world of mirrorless cameras, Canon and Nikon took very different approaches to developing their initial line of lenses. For this reason, Nikon's full-frame mirrorless cameras are much more accessible. If you don't need crazy bokeh (and the vast majority of photographers don't), Nikon is the better and much more affordable option.
One aspect where Canon never seems to have fully matched other manufacturers is the dynamic range and low light performance. Many will argue that the difference is negligible, but other professionals will insist that the RAW files that come out of a Nikon camera are simply more versatile than those produced by Canon. If you regularly shoot photos in low light or if you want to maximize the amount of dynamic range you capture with the camera, Nikon might be the best option. If you're not sure, you can go to DXOMARK to see how the different sensors compare.
Keep in mind that if you look at the classification of the sensors, you'll have to overlook quite a few Nikon before finding the first Canon. On the contrary, Nikon doesn't have this problem, and while people are still speculating about whether Canon will produce an APS-C camera with an RF mount, Nikon has already moved on. The Nikon Z50 didn't grab much of the headlines when it was released, but it's a compact, high-capacity camera and is compatible with all of Nikon's new, affordable Z-series lenses. In addition, we can't forget the peculiar Nikon Z fc, a mirrorless camera designed to look like an old movie camera.
Canon doesn't have anything like it in its range. This is a controversial question, but while the Nikon Z5 didn't set the world of photography ablaze when it was announced, it does offer tremendous value for money when you consider that it has a full-frame sensor, two card slots, IBIS and weather sealed. Its biggest flaws are the measly burst speed of only 4.5 frames per second, and the cutout in 4K video is quite severe. However, at this price, the Nikon Z5 still offers a lot for relatively little money.
While the Canon EOS R and the RP have severe cuts in 4K video, the Nikon Z6 and Z7 use the full width of the sensor. Canon may have its range of EOS M cameras, but if you're looking for an incredible range, Nikon has everything you need with its excellent bridge cameras. The Nikon Coolpix 950 has an 83x zoom, while the Coolpix 1000 has a ridiculous 125x zoom, which is the full-frame equivalent of a 3000 mm lens. The Nikon team from LaFugue Logos on Shotkit.
Canon and Nikon have been selling the best digital SLRs for beginners for decades, and all the phenomenal advances being made in their flagship models are slowly trickling down, even to the cheapest APS-C SLRs. Don't worry too much about the differences between Nikon and Canon: one brand isn't better than the other when it comes to choosing digital SLRs for beginners. In this case, the brands are on par: consider the Canon EF-S and Nikon F-mount lenses offered before selecting the right DSLR camera for you. The Nikon team from The Gehrmans at Shotkit.
That said, the selection between these slightly older DSLRs is great, and the offerings from Canon and Nikon match perfectly. Nikon can also adapt its old DSLR glass, but it doesn't have a full-frame mirrorless camera in this price range. However, this is where the Z50 gives Nikon the advantage. This crop-sensor camera makes the upgrade process much more enjoyable, and the Z-mount glass is more affordable when it comes to investing beyond the kit's wonderful, compact lens.
Once again, the advent of mirrorless technology has complicated the picture when it comes to choosing between Canon or Nikon. When it came to mirrorless systems, things were more even, as the Nikon Z6 and Z7 faced the Canon EOS R fairly evenly. The Z6 has IBIS, while the EOS R has a fully articulated screen. While both offer excellent image quality, the Canon has more megapixels, but the Nikon records more frames per second.
All that said, for a semi-professional photographer on a budget, the Nikon Z5 makes much more sense. Weatherproof, 24 megapixels, double card slots and a selection of lenses specially designed not to be ruined, it's no surprise that the Z5 is the preferred choice of many wedding photographers. Do professional photographers use Nikon or Canon? Well, professional photographers have been using Nikon and Canon SLRs for decades, and it's possible that the Nikon D780 is the last DSLR camera seen from either manufacturer. For professionals, the industry is in an awkward position right now, as owners of Canon 5D Mark III, 5D Mark IV, 5DS and 5DS R expect truly viable “professional” bodies from Canon.
The story of Nikon, unfortunately, is much less exciting. While the Z6 and Z7 have strong specifications for the most part, the lack of dual card slots continues to prevent many from being upgraded. The world is waiting to see what Nikon will produce next, but it will have to create something truly spectacular if it wants to be in the same league as Canon. Nikon camera equipment by photojournalist Alex Kuhni on Shotkit.
The vast majority of sports shooters around the world will use the Canon EOS 1D X Mark III or the Nikon D6, and while their choice will often be determined by the agency they work for, most will have a preference. In the land of mirrorless, Canon's margin is even sharper. The Canon EOS R5, despite all the fuss over its overheating problems, currently has no competition from Nikon. The camera industry has experienced some dramatic changes in recent years, with an almost catastrophic drop in sales, and Canon and Nikon have finally moved from digital SLRs to mirrorless cameras.
Canon has the deepest pockets and has invested resources in research and development, ranking ahead of Nikon in the top of the range on the market. That said, the battle between Canon and Nikon is far from over, and while Canon grabs many of the headlines, Nikon continues to produce excellent cameras. The Z5 is an excellent full-frame option for those who need professional-level features with intelligent compromises, and Nikon's decision to introduce a series of cameras with Z-mount crop sensors could eventually prove to be a smart choice, as it would offer a better option for upgrades and would make it the most attractive system for amateurs and semi-professionals. If you're planning to improve your photography so you can take professional-level images for a day, you might at least want to take a look at the full-frame professional cameras from Nikon and Canon.
Only an online photography course can allow you to rate Canon cameras versus Nikon as a professional and get the best one. Andy Day is a British photographer who writes, lives and works in France, specializing in adventure, travel, architecture and landscape photography. That means you have a long list of photography equipment that would still work on your modern digital camera. .