Ergonomics question to Canon users from a Nikon user

Started Sep 30, 2013 | Questions
DigitalPhilosopher
DigitalPhilosopher Contributing Member • Posts: 999
Ergonomics question to Canon users from a Nikon user

I'm a Nikon user. Whenever someone asks me the silly question "which is better, Nikon or Canon", I tell them they're both excellent systems, with plenty of options, and that they should try them both to see how they fit in their own hands.

Having used both Nikon and Canon, but being an active Nikon user, the one thing that for me personally seals the deal for Nikon is the horizontal orientation of the dial(s). I just can't get used to the Canons' vertically orientated dial on the top.

Canon users who have also tried/used Nikon:

Purely in terms of ergonomics, why do you think you prefer Canon? Just curious

-- hide signature --

Check my blog for reviews, tips & tutorials:
Amateur Nikon
Follow me on Twitter:
@amateurnikon

ANSWER:
Westkip Contributing Member • Posts: 515
Re: Ergonomics question to Canon users from a Nikon user

Well - having a friend who recently switched from C to N  I've had the opportunity to play with his new toy and I like it very much. Might Nikon have the tiniest edge in build quality? Not much in it. But, and this may just be decades of Canon familiarity speaking, I find the right hand ops just that bit more user friendly than the Nikon. I mainly use the 17-40L and the 100-400L. The former comes in for some criticism but the latter is a terrific lens for the money. I doubt if anyone is going to improve their photo performance simply by switching to or from either of these makes. Great cameras.

(unknown member) Veteran Member • Posts: 5,590
Re: Ergonomics question to Canon users from a Nikon user
3

DigitalPhilosopher wrote:

I'm a Nikon user. Whenever someone asks me the silly question "which is better, Nikon or Canon", I tell them they're both excellent systems, with plenty of options, and that they should try them both to see how they fit in their own hands.

Having used both Nikon and Canon, but being an active Nikon user, the one thing that for me personally seals the deal for Nikon is the horizontal orientation of the dial(s). I just can't get used to the Canons' vertically orientated dial on the top.

Canon users who have also tried/used Nikon:

Purely in terms of ergonomics, why do you think you prefer Canon? Just curious

People adapt and usually prefer what they have got used to.  Unless you you have abnormally small or large hands, or some impairment that makes a particular movement difficult then I'd suggest that a well developed system, which Nikon and Canon both are, are going to be much of a muchness after a short time of use and familiarity.

Lee Baby Simms Contributing Member • Posts: 874
I wish Canon's 2nd control was a thumb wheel, but ...
1

it hasn't forced me to switch back (yet, lol).

After 100 weddings or so I got used to the command wheel.

-- hide signature --

wedding shooter - canon gear (currently) - not a brand zealot
http://www.flickr.com/photos/tomkphoto/

 Lee Baby Simms's gear list:Lee Baby Simms's gear list
Canon EOS 7D Mark II Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Canon EF 135mm F2L USM Canon EF 100mm F2.8L Macro IS USM Canon EF 24-70mm F2.8L II USM +6 more
Pritzl Senior Member • Posts: 1,474
Re: Ergonomics question to Canon users from a Nikon user

I prefer the top dial as it keeps my hand in a better shooting position. it's in keeping with the divergent philosophies they use for general UI.

I find Canon's UI, esp. the menu system, more approachable for the novice. For one thing, it lends itself a lot better for one handed operation; whoever put the iso button on the left of Nikon bodies must have 3 hands. More advanced functionality is unnecessarily complicated on Canon ( was it CFn ii or iii?).

On the flip side, Nikon's UI offers a lot more external controls (obviating visits to its relatively more complex menu system) which advanced users would appreciate once the muscle memory is in place.

The first time I held a Nikon I was lost for quite a bit, looking all over the camera body for various buttons and dials. Still, I could appreciate how quick camera operation would become once I figured them out.

I guess what I'm saying is the shape of the learning curve is quite different between the two. Nikon's is more front-weighted from my limited experience while Canon's ramps up later and never quite achieves fully menuless operation. Which you prefer will be a very subjective proposition.

 Pritzl's gear list:Pritzl's gear list
Fujifilm X10 Canon EOS 70D Fujifilm X-T2 Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Tokina AT-X Pro 12-24mm f/4 DX II +9 more
selected answer This post was selected as the answer by the original poster.
apersson850 Senior Member • Posts: 1,679
Re: Ergonomics question to Canon users from a Nikon user
3

Personally, I consider Nikon cameras to be an ergonomic disaster. They are far to obsessed with keeping levers and buttons where they had to be in the electromechanical days, instead of making good use of the fact that pure computerized control doesn't require buttons to sit on top of their mechanical counterpart, but can be wherever they are easily accessed. Just look at the pentaprism - it was just a model away or so that Nikon finally realized that the metering switch (I think it was) didn't have to be there any longer.

And the ISO button mentioned above - sigh. The AF switch hidden down under the lens to the left side, a remnant from when the drive had to be decoupled from the camera's motor right there.

-- hide signature --

Anders

 apersson850's gear list:apersson850's gear list
Canon EOS 40D Canon EOS 400D Canon EOS 7D Canon EOS-1D X Canon EOS-1D X Mark II +26 more
rickyred Contributing Member • Posts: 529
Re: Ergonomics question to Canon users from a Nikon user

This is from a left handed person who chose Canon for better lay out for me. Among other preferences. I find it an advantage to hold a camera in my right hand and adjust the  camera with my left hand. The 7D has a great lay out of the buttons, at least from my view point. How many lefties are out there and what do you think?

 rickyred's gear list:rickyred's gear list
Canon EOS 7D
DigitalPhilosopher
OP DigitalPhilosopher Contributing Member • Posts: 999
Re: Ergonomics question to Canon users from a Nikon user

Thank you all for your comments so far.

Speaking about the menus, I have had hard time understanding the philosophies of the Canon menus (although I'm sure this is just my fault, coz I'm used to Nikon's) but on the other hand the grouping of the Nikon menus is rather poorly designed, I think.
Argh, sometimes it feels things would be ideal if we got back to the 70s style shutter speed knob

-- hide signature --

Check my blog for reviews, tips & tutorials:
Amateur Nikon
Follow me on Twitter:
@amateurnikon

Jeff Peterman
MOD Jeff Peterman Forum Pro • Posts: 12,888
Re: Ergonomics question to Canon users from a Nikon user

Back at the beginning, I was trying to decide between the then-new Canon 10D and the Nikon D100. I tried both several times, and to me the Canon just felt natural in my hands while I felt that I had to stretch for some of the controls on the Nikon. So, I went for the Canon.

Now, when someone asks me what camera I'd recommend, I suggest that they handle several and see what feels good in their hands and THEN come back and ask me my opinion.

-- hide signature --

Jeff Peterman, Moderator 7D and Phone/Tablet forums.
Not a staff member, or paid employee, of DPReview.
Any insults, implied anger, bad grammar and bad spelling, are entirely unintentionalal. Sorry.
www.pbase.com/jeffp25
www.jeffp25.smugmug.com

 Jeff Peterman's gear list:Jeff Peterman's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ40 Canon PowerShot S110 Canon EOS 7D Canon EF-S 10-22mm F3.5-4.5 USM Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM +18 more
J A K Forum Pro • Posts: 15,833
The camera differences are not too important to me.

DigitalPhilosopher wrote:

I'm a Nikon user. Whenever someone asks me the silly question "which is better, Nikon or Canon", I tell them they're both excellent systems, with plenty of options, and that they should try them both to see how they fit in their own hands.

Having used both Nikon and Canon, but being an active Nikon user, the one thing that for me personally seals the deal for Nikon is the horizontal orientation of the dial(s). I just can't get used to the Canons' vertically orientated dial on the top.

Canon users who have also tried/used Nikon:

Purely in terms of ergonomics, why do you think you prefer Canon? Just curious

From my perspective it's all about the lenses.  IMO Canon's 100-400 was a better choice over Nikon's near equivalent (the Canon will focus faster).  Additionally Canon's 400 f/5.6 is superb for BIF (very fast to focus) and my 800mm is in a class of its own.

Having said the above please note that I've lusted over the Nikon's 14-24; it's magnificent.  Unfortunately I shoot in the southwestern deserts a LOT and need a filter to protect the glass; if not for this factor I'd be shooting Nikon for all of my landscape shots.

IMO Canon needs to improve on the sharpness of their WA lineup (I'm okay with the distortion).  As far as ergonomics go ... I'm willing to adapt to either Nikon or Canon if that's what the cost of doing business requires.

Regards,
Joe Kurkjian
Galleries: http://www.pbase.com/jkurkjia

Flying Fish Veteran Member • Posts: 4,476
That Canon 400 f/5.6L is reason enough to choose Canon over any other maker

Nobody else makes anything remotely like the Canon 400 f/5.6L, and all things considered, it's a great bargain. Nothing else out there comes close to the optical quality, light weight, and fast AF at 400 mm at any price, let alone $1200.  You'd have to pry it out of my cold dead fingers, and the Canon body as well.

Of course, if you don't need or want a lens like that, then the story is different.

FF

 Flying Fish's gear list:Flying Fish's gear list
Canon EOS 7D Canon EOS 550D Canon EOS 6D Canon EOS 7D Mark II Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM +2 more
Pritzl Senior Member • Posts: 1,474
Re: Ergonomics question to Canon users from a Nikon user

DigitalPhilosopher wrote:

Speaking about the menus, I have had hard time understanding the philosophies of the Canon menus (although I'm sure this is just my fault, coz I'm used to Nikon's) but on the other hand the grouping of the Nikon menus is rather poorly designed, I think.

Neither manufacturer got it quite right overall imo. Canon's menu is easier to navigate but it's not always easy to tell what a particular function does exactly without referring to the manual (and sometimes not even then). Maybe it's a translation thing?

Nikon's menus on the other hand, as you noticed yourself, are much more of a chore to navigate. Generally though, I find that once a particular function is located it's a lot easier to anticipate what it actually does.

That said, I think both have improved in recent years. e.g. the Q menu and touchscreen on newer Canon bodies are quite a big step in the right direction. It makes sense if you think about it as they were not really "digital" companies until recently and understanding the nuances of menu-driven UI's requires significant background and experience in both the domain (digital photography) and digital UX design. While they arguably have decent domain experience now, I think they are only now starting to invest in the latter.

 Pritzl's gear list:Pritzl's gear list
Fujifilm X10 Canon EOS 70D Fujifilm X-T2 Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Tokina AT-X Pro 12-24mm f/4 DX II +9 more
fishy wishy
fishy wishy Veteran Member • Posts: 9,358
Re: Ergonomics question to Canon users from a Nikon user

I started with the Nikon but never liked the front dial and usually changed the function. Doesn't project enough & too difficult to turn. Got a surprise when had to dial exposure compensation on Canon's "image viewing" dial during a shot.

The D300 looks like a camera with lots of handy buttons but I preferred the Canon 40D from the same era, with those RH dual function buttons with the dials.

Also, one curious thing was that with the fatter but less wide Nikon bodies I had a tendency to twist the camera in the RH when pressing the shutter which was particularly bad with telephotos. I had to remember to discipline myself about that with the Nikons in a way that wasn't necessary elsewhere.

-- hide signature --

(Of course, you could argue the toss just to please yourself)

NancyP Veteran Member • Posts: 6,391
+1 Re: That Canon 400 f/5.6L - and don't forget the MP-E 65!

OK, for most mortals who aren't chasing the very distant or the very small, that is not much of an answer. I do nature photography and liked the Canon lens options better, so I learned to like the Canon ergonomics. I haven't shot Nikon. I imagine that I would like that fine too.

-- hide signature --

NancyP

 NancyP's gear list:NancyP's gear list
Sigma DP3 Merrill
jonrobertp Forum Pro • Posts: 12,880
Re: Ergonomics question to Canon users from a Nikon user

I've had both, and have both.  I prefer the Canon.  Seems a bit easier to follow logically.  IMO.

 jonrobertp's gear list:jonrobertp's gear list
Canon PowerShot G7 X Canon G3 X Panasonic ZS100
Lemming51
Lemming51 Forum Pro • Posts: 15,114
control dials, horizontal v vertical.
2

DigitalPhilosopher wrote:

I'm a Nikon user. Whenever someone asks me the silly question "which is better, Nikon or Canon", I tell them they're both excellent systems, with plenty of options, and that they should try them both to see how they fit in their own hands.

Having used both Nikon and Canon, but being an active Nikon user, the one thing that for me personally seals the deal for Nikon is the horizontal orientation of the dial(s). I just can't get used to the Canons' vertically orientated dial on the top.

At the beninning of the era of all-electronic AF SLRs, controls no longer needed a mechanical connection to the shutter or aperture.  In light of that design freedom both Nikon and Canon carefully studied the ergonomics of control placement.   Nikon chose horizontal orientation of the shutter speed dial (adjusted with right index finger) and aperture dial (adjusted with right thumb) with their first F401/N4004 in 1986 and have continued it ever since, though the dials have moved from next to the pentaprism to directly in front and behind the shutter button.  They're not about to change it.

With the very first EOS in 1986, Canon chose to mount the control dials vertically and have continued that placement on every model since.  They're not about to change it.

You prefer the Nikon horizontal orientation, I prefer the EOS vertical orientation.  Both are very good ergonomically.  Neither one is "right" or "wrong", just different.

Not everyone's hand/finger dexterity is the same.  Isn't it wonderful that users have a choice? 

-- hide signature --

Unapologetic Canon Apologist

 Lemming51's gear list:Lemming51's gear list
Canon EOS 40D Canon EF 50mm F1.8 II Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS STM +5 more
R2D2 Forum Pro • Posts: 19,774
Re: +1 Re: That Canon 400 f/5.6L - and don't forget the MP-E 65!

NancyP wrote:

+1 Re: That Canon 400 f/5.6L - and don't forget the MP-E 65!

Funny that you should mention those two lenses.  They were exactly the deciding factor in my choice between Canon and Nikon.

R2

-- hide signature --

Good judgment comes from experience.
Experience comes from bad judgment.
http://www.pbase.com/jekyll_and_hyde/galleries

 R2D2's gear list:R2D2's gear list
Sony RX100 II Canon EOS 7D Mark II Canon EOS M6 II
scorrpio
scorrpio Veteran Member • Posts: 3,595
Re: Ergonomics question to Canon users from a Nikon user

DigitalPhilosopher wrote:

Having used both Nikon and Canon, but being an active Nikon user, the one thing that for me personally seals the deal for Nikon is the horizontal orientation of the dial(s). I just can't get used to the Canons' vertically orientated dial on the top.

An absolute opposite for me.   I find Nikon's horizontal dials physically painful to operate.   Could be the result of an old skiing injury.   After 5 minutes with a Nikon, I put it down with my right thumb on fire.

Canons, especially the larger ones (XXD and XD), felt like a natural extension of my hands right away, with no prior experience with either brand.   60D in particular, felt like it was designed specifically for me.

DigitalPhilosopher
OP DigitalPhilosopher Contributing Member • Posts: 999
Re: Ergonomics question to Canon users from a Nikon user
1

Well, like someone mentioned before, isn't it great there are options to fit everyone's needs?

-- hide signature --

Check my blog for reviews, tips & tutorials:
Amateur Nikon
Follow me on Twitter:
@amateurnikon

Jeff Peterman
MOD Jeff Peterman Forum Pro • Posts: 12,888
Re: Ergonomics question to Canon users from a Nikon user

I think that too many Canon Lovers/Nikon Lovers miss that: just because I prefer Canon doesn't mean that there's anything wrong with Nikon. And of course, Nikon lovers shouldn't complain about Canon cameras.

-- hide signature --

Jeff Peterman, Moderator 7D and Phone/Tablet forums.
Not a staff member, or paid employee, of DPReview.
Any insults, implied anger, bad grammar and bad spelling, are entirely unintentionalal. Sorry.
www.pbase.com/jeffp25
www.jeffp25.smugmug.com

 Jeff Peterman's gear list:Jeff Peterman's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ40 Canon PowerShot S110 Canon EOS 7D Canon EF-S 10-22mm F3.5-4.5 USM Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM +18 more
Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum MMy threads