Help deciding between Canon and Nikon

Started Mar 19, 2012 | Discussions thread
Bjorn_L Veteran Member • Posts: 5,770
Re: Help deciding between Canon and Nikon

I'm going to disagree with most of the other posts here.

Given your type of photographic goals, you would benifit from a different camera.
Before you act I would suggest that you sit down and think through your goals.

Consider that for every wanted feature there is normally added cost or at the very least reduced selection.
Do you need video?

How much lowlight or sports shooting do you really want to do? (has to do with the need for ISO performance)
Do you need weather sealing?

Do you want full-frame? Are you willing to pay the extra needed for full-frame lenses and the extra weight that a full-frame kit includes?

How much resolution do you really need? Very good cameras can be had from 12mp to 36mp, but for most uses even 12mp is more than is needed.
What are the three key features for your intended use?

I would rule out the Canon 5dmk2. It is a fine camera for video and studio work. It just isnt't that good at sports. The Canon 1d series or 7d are much better. The main reason is AF. The FPS is also an issue for some, but not me. Build quality is "ok", but like you said not as good as some of the other options.

The t3i and 50d are also not ideal for your stated task. I shot a Canon 500d (same body as a t3i, same sensor as a 50d, but w/ video); it took good photos but struggled at children’s sports (soccer mostly).

The Canon 7d is a very good camera with good focus. It is not as good as the newest APS-C cameras from other brands in ISO or dynamic range. This camera will work in a way you are likely to feel at home with.

The Nikon d3 is a pro level camera at a level above any of the others you are considering. It is big, heavy, and to those who need such a camera it is completely wonderful.

The Nikon d700 is a Nikon d3 sensor in a d300 body. I have used mine in a moonsoon without issues. It is built better than the Canon 5dmk2. It focuses much faster. It is better at tracking. It has extremely good ISO performance. Like every full-frame camera, the lenses are generally large, heavy and costly. Long lenses are a problem for most; a lens which like the 70-300 gives the same field of view as a 44-188 lens would on your current cameras. But if you want ISO essentially 2500 noise free there are not a lot of options (only the Nikon d3 and d3s do as good or better). The d800 might also be better at ISO, but it will be a week or two before anyone gets a chance to test one. Finally there is video. It has no video. So if video was on your list, drop this camera and the d3 from your consideration.

In the same class of body is the Nikon d300 & d300s (the 's' has a just slightly improved sensor & adds video). These are very tough build, very fast AF, but get noisy over iso 1250 or so.

The Nikon d7000 is probably a better fit. It is not as expensive nor as heavy. It is well sealed and very well built (just not pro level). It has very good video. It has the best ISO performance of any APS-C camera out today. AF is "ok". Better than what you have, not as good the 7d, d300s or d700 for example.

Make a check list. Sort out what is important to you. Don't listen to anyone who is trying to tell you how to spend or not spend your money. Just take it in as opinions. It is also important to try out a few bodies to check the ergonomics.... think it over and have fun.

In my case: I was on a Minolta DSLR (last version before they were bought out by Sony). I was tempted to stay Sony since I had the lenses and flashes. I decided I wanted the better lens selection you can only get with a Canon or Nikon. I liked the Canon 50d, but was concerned about the noise. Out came the Canon 500d which was supposedly a minor update to the sensor (was not, was the same sensor) and they added video. So I bought it based on specifications and the dumb expectation that it would be a 50d without weather sealing, but with video and better a little better noise handling. So a couple of 1000 photos later I gave up. In the meantime I had tried a Nikon d90 and bought that because the d300 (same sensor) did not have video. The d90 had the better ergonomics and controls that the Canon 500d lacked. It was also faster, particularly at sports (although not d300 or 7d fast). Around 13,000 photos later the d300s with video came out, and I was tempted; I had decided I needed a weather sealed body. But after thinking it over long and hard, I decided that I could live without video. So then I considered the d700 as well. I bought the d700 and have been very happy with it. I am tempted by several things. Mostly by the d800 (can't afford it right now), or adding the d7000 for macro and the long telephoto shots (not sure I want both an DX & FX body, and I might regret not saving up for the d800 instead).

I have now had the d700 for around 50,000 photos. It is truely a dream camera for me. It makes for alarger and heavier camera bag than the d90 or 500d. But the results are what I want. Fast focus for sports. Weather sealing since sports sometimes happens in poor weather. Brilliant low light capabilities. And all around excellent ergonomics. I would only "trade it" for a Nikon d4, d800 or d3s. Since no other cameras suit MY goals as well. Your goals are likly not the same as mine. For example, if video and sports tie for most important the 7d might be preferable to the d7000. But all that is stuff you and your list need to sort out.

Go to to compare sensor performance. Keep in mind a camera is more than raw sensor performance.

See my plan (in my profile) for what I shoot with. See my gallery for images I find amusing.

 Bjorn_L's gear list:Bjorn_L's gear list
Canon PowerShot SX30 IS Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 Nikon D700 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3 Nikon D750 +19 more
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