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Canon versus Nikon

by Philip Greenspun, 1997

Canon Nikon
viewfinder insufficiently high-eyepoint for many eyeglass wearers, EOS-1v is probably the best excellent for eyeglass wearers on big expensive bodies (e.g., N90 and up)
autofocus superb with ultrasonic lenses, especially with higher-end bodies where the focus and shutter release can be put on separate buttons, thus allowing MF and AF simultaneously superb with rare and expensive AF-S lenses and newest bodies; cumbersome with most AF lenses
best lenses big long image-stabilized glass (100-400/4.5-5.6 IS, 300/2.8 IS, 600/4 IS) and unique pieces such as 35-350 wide angles and macro
best body EOS-1V for the viewfinder, Elan 7E for the low cost, light weight, built-in flash, and eye-control focus gimmick, Rebel 2000 for ultimate light weight. F100 or N80; the F5 has great features but it weighs more than most medium-format cameras
fill flash very good with newest bodies and EX flashes superb with D lenses
macro difficult to use macro lenses with studio strobes or handheld light meter because bodies don't compute effective aperture, latest macro lenses (100, 180) include ultrasonic motors, no bellows but MP-E 65/2.8 lets you go beyond 1:1 conveniently; current 50mm macro lens is weak (only goes to 1:2 and lacks ultrasonic motor) superb 60, 105, and 200, lenses, all of which go to 1:1, bodies compute effective aperture, e.g., marked f/16 on the lens turns into indicated f/32 in the viewfinder at 1:1
durability incredible with EOS-1 and EOS-3 bodies, which are impervious to rain; excellent with consumer bodies incredible with water-sealed F5 and F100; excellent with consumer bodies
perspective correction lenses superb, auto aperture and both tilt and shift in 24, 45, and 90mm focal lengths two primitivelenses, 28 and 35, available with manual aperture. Shift is useful for control of architectural perspective, but lack of tilt prevents useful depth-of-field control. ( Kirk Enterprises will convert Canon TS lenses for Nikon use for about $200.)
film transport revolutionary in speed and noise with the rubber-belt systems in the mid-range consumer bodies (e.g., Elan 7) but remember that infrared diode fogs IR film nothing special
starter system
(for serious photography)
Elan 7 (EOS 30 outside US), verticalgrip, 17-35/2.8L, 50/1.4, and 70-200/2.8L N80, 20/2.8, 28-70/2.8 AF-S, 80-200/2.8 AF-S
starter system
(for one-lens travel photography)
any low-end body ( Rebel G is incredibly light but doesn't let you shift AF off shutter release), 24-85 USM lens or 28-135 USM image-stabilized lens. N65 or N80, 24-120 lens

Readers' Comments

Add a comment

Glen Johnson , January 09, 1997; 01:17 P.M.

As I've participated in photo.net, it has become clear that there are a lot of folks whose budgets won't allow them to buy one of the proposed starter systems. Here I offer some alternate starter systems for EOS. These may appeal to people with limited resources.

First of all, someone who is just getting started in photography rarely knows for sure what kind of pictures they would like to take. Accordingly, I would suggest that the first lens that you buy ought to be what is considered to be the "normal" lens for the 35mm format, .i.e., a 50mm lens. If your budget is really tight, you should get the 50mm f/1.8. If you can afford it, there are enough nice things about the 50 f/1.4 to make it worth the extra $280. If you think that you are going to be very interested in shooting closeups and doing copy work, you might consider the 50mm f/2.5 macro lens as a third alternative for your first lens purchase.

Now you need a body. The entry level body right now is the Rebel G. This is a very capable, modestly priced, light weight, well supported, camera body - and a great choice for someone who is just getting started in photography. It has all of the EOS special image zone programs so that you can take pictures as soon as you take the camera out of the box. It also has the capability to be operated in full manual mode, and in several special modes that Canon calls "creative zone" modes (like aperture priority, shutter priority, and others). This will allow you to grow in photography. Some people will recommend that you use the manual mode right from the beginning. I actually think that you can learn a lot from the image zone and program modes if you pay attention to what the camera is recommending when these settings are used. You can always use manual when you want to, and you will probably go through phases where manual is all that you use. Still, it is nice to have the other modes on the camera, especially when you are starting out.

If your budget will allow it, the Elan IIe is even more capable than the Rebel G, and it is better built. The Elan IIe is often chosen by serious amateurs, and is even occasionally chosen by professionals as a second or third body. I am one of the persons for whom the eye controlled focus cell selection system works well, so I think this option is worth the money. If you don't like it, you can save about $40 and get the Elan II instead.

The next thing that you buy should be a tripod and ball or panhead. The ballhead may be the best choice for most users. It is easier and faster to use. Bogen is probably has the least expensive solidly built tripods and ballheads. There are nicer products out there, but they can get pretty expensive pretty quickly. The Arca Swiss B1 w/ quick release on Gitzo Mountaineer legs will set you back nearly $900 before you've even bought a single mounting plate. Beginners should get a Bogen rig, and you can get a decent one for between $100 and $150.

You should probably also buy a $50 Porta-Trace 1012-2 light table and a Schneider 4x or NPC 5.5x lupe so that you can fully understand your progress as you learn about photography.

You will also need film. B&H sells Fuji Sensia RD 100 slide film for $6.58 per 36 exposure roll with Fuji processing included. It is a great way to be able to afford to shoot a lot of pictures. Try to learn something from each roll that you shoot.

Eventually you will decide that you want to add lenses. Which lens to add first will depend on your interests. If you decide that you like landscapes, street scenes, and pictures of groups of people, you should add a wide angle lens. Inexpensive choices are the 28mm f/1.8, which will offer significant advantages if you shoot in existing light. Slower 28mm lenses are less expensive, and can prove more than satisfactory as long as you make sure you use your tripod. Some people recommend that you go even wider, especially if you really like the dramatically composed "near - far" images that can be shot with extreme wide angle lenses. The 20mm and 24mm lenses are inexpensive choices to achieve these results. If you've got a lot of money, the 17-35mm f/2.8L is a great lens, but the single focal length lenses that I've mentioned will produce beautiful images at a fraction of the cost.

If you decide that you really would like to be able to photograph animals, you will want to add a telephoto lens, or possibly a telephoto zoom lens. You might consider the 200mm f/2.8L and one of the Canon EOS teleconverters. If this is too expensive for your budget, consider one of the zooms. Perhaps the 100-300L, or the 75-300 IS. Or maybe even one of the cheaper ??-300 zooms that Canon offers. The image quality that you get with these lenses will not be as nice as the image quality that you get with the 70-200L, or a fixed focal length prime. But you may find it perfectly acceptable. Later, when you strike it rich, you can always replace your lower priced gear with high end equipment. If you buy the lower priced gear now, you will be able to shoot pictures and learn about composition, lighting, and many other important aspects of photograhy. The slower speed of the consumer grade lenses will literally force you into using your tripod more, and this will be a positive side affect of opting for the more modestly priced optics. You can use this zoom for portraits if you like. If you shoot close enough to fill the frame and if you shoot wide open, you will still be able to blur the background very effectively, even at apertures as small as f/5.6.

If you decide you like closeups, you may want to add a close up lens or extension tube for use with your 50mm or wide angle prime. If you have a little more money, you might consider a macro lens. If you buy the 100mm f/2.8 macro, you will also add a short telephoto focal length to your camera bag. In spite of the fact that this lens doesn't have the ultrasonic motor, it is a very nice lens, and capable of producing wonderful macro images.

If you want a macro lens, and you can't swing the 100 f/2.8, consider the 50 f/2.5 macro, even if you've already got a 50mm normal lens. If you like the 50mm macro for regular shooting, you can always sell your other 50mm lens once you've figured this out. Personally, having owned a 50mm f/3.5 macro and a 55mm f/1.4 normal lens in another camera system, I would prefer to have both, rather than to make the macro lens do double duty.

From here out you are going to add lenses for special purposes. Or another camera body so that you have a back up body that you can also load with a second type of film. If you bought a Rebel the first time, now is the time to consider a move up to the next level.

If you like existing light photography or portrait photography, you might want to consider the 85mm f/1.8 or the 100mm f/2. Or possibly the 135 with the soft focus feature. Once you've got one of these lenses, you've pretty much run out the useful string of the modestly priced EOS gear. By this point you will surely know whether or not you like photography, and whether or not springing for expensive gear is worth it to you.

There are other ways to crack this nut. I just thought it might be useful for some folks to realize that some of the fixed focal length prime lenses are even nicer than the L series zoom lenses, and also to realize that you don't have to have every focal length available, right from the git go. You can start slowly and work up. Eventually, you may sell the consumer grade zoom and buy a 70-200 f/2.8L. Eventually you may add the 17-35 f/2.8L or the 28-70 f/2.8L, or the 35-350 f/??-5.6 L. You don't have to have them on day one to use your system to learn a lot about composition, lighting, exposure, etc.

Good luck as you build your system.

John Hilsinger , January 10, 1997; 09:16 P.M.

Since this is the Canon versus Nikon section, you might be interested in my experiences with the two. I have been a Nikon user since 1987 when I bought my F-3. In 1990 I bought my first 8008 and eventually sold the F-3 because the 8008 focusing screen was so much better, even with a Beattie screen in the F-3. I ended up with two 8008 bodies, a 20 mm f/2.8, a 24-50 mm f/3.3-4.5 zoom, a 60 f/2.8 mm micro, and an 80-200 mm f/2.8. All my lenses were auto focus. I recently sold all my Nikon gear after buying a Canon EOS 5/A2E with a 28-105 zoom and a 75-300 IS zoom. So far, I am really glad I did it. The A2E is a wonderful camera and does many of the things I always wished my 8008 would do. The first time I used it, my model asked "why is it so quiet?". The eye controlled focus works pretty well for me. The middle and far edge sensors work best. I still use it most of the time. I would prefer a depth of field button to the eye controlled depth - but at least it has it. Canon focus is much faster, more sure, and it rarely has to search. The five focus zones reduce the need to focus and then recompose the picture. I hated using a tripod with the Nikon because I always had to switch to manual focus to avoid the "focus-focus lock-recompose image-shoot" sequence required with the 8008. That isn't so bad hand held but it is not so easy with a tripod. With my 8008, auto focus searching was the rule - not the exception.

The built in flash works well for me. I don't have any L lenses so the shadowing problem with the built in flash is not a problem. The SB 24 on the Nikon worked very well but who wants an accesory flash stuck on top of your camera while you are king salmon fishing on the Kenai River or riding your mountain bike to McCarthy. The close up mode works great with the zoom lenses. Slides viewed with a 10x loupe are very sharp even with a Christmas tree ornament filling the frame.

The 75-300 IS lens is a great accomplishment. It makes handheld telephoto work a reality. I especially like it for portraiture because of the flexibility to move freely around the model and zoom in for tight head shots. I also like the fact that the A2E sports a flash sync connection - something I missed and had to purchase separately for the 8008. I also like ability to set half stops on the A2E.

Granted the 8008 is an older camera now and the N90s is very well regarded. However, I bought the A2E with the 28-105 zoom for the price of an N90s body alone. Buying into a faster, quieter system with better auto focusing was well worth the money. In the future I look toward buying a 20-35 zoom, 100 macro, and a VG-10. That should pretty well meet my 35 mm needs for now.

Thom Hogan , February 03, 1997; 01:24 A.M.

The Canon/Nikon comparison chart is pretty well done, IMHO. A couple of years ago I decided to make the switch from Minolta Maxxum to something else. What pushed me over to Nikon was the N90S, which is a better camera in most ways than the F4, albeit not as flexible. Also, the flash system is far better, and the cost of lenses is less on the Nikon side.

The new F5 is a dream. I don't think the exposure system of the Canon's is close, and with many lenses, the Nikon's focusing is now as fast. Don't believe what people are saying about the F5 being bulkier and heavier than the F4. Look at the numbers, try the camera. You'll find that it is neither.

For those on a budget, the best entry into the Nikon system right now probably is the N70 (or a used N90s) with one or two decent lenses. For a single lens, carry anywhere system, try the new 24-120, which is a nice lens that covers virtually everything except the exotic ranges. Also, get an external flash if you can afford one--the N70's internal flash (like all such beasts), is just too close to the lens and you'll get lots of interesting problems like lens shadows!

Frank Sheeeran , May 30, 1997; 03:47 P.M.

A couple corrections of the above, from an owner of both the IS and 70-200L. The IS and L zooms are both equally hand-holdable, unlike John seems to say. (The big aperture offsets the IS.) The IS has sharper corners the L, both wide-open and at f/8, and can be used wide-open, while the L vignettes. My Velvia/Schneider 4x tests lead me to use the IS when possible, unlike Glen seems to say.

Frank Sheeeran , May 30, 1997; 04:02 P.M.

Canon "Best Lenses" must include the TS-E lenses - many Nikon owners buy a Canon body just for these. It must also include the 135/2.0L and 180/3.5L Mac, the two sharpest lenses Canon has (according to both my tests and Canon's MTF simulations). Any 135/2.0 will be excellent for portraits and hand- held telephoto work, but Canon's is especially sharp and near-focusing, and takes teleconverters. The 180Mac has unique inner focusing, that is thus very fast and quiet with lower light loss.

Glen Johnson , June 25, 1997; 10:39 A.M.

Frank's 70-200L sounds like a lemon to me. I've had both the 70-200L and the 75-300 IS lenses for quite a while now, and I ran a comparison between them last Fall. My 70-200L does quite well wide open. On a tripod, it blows any other zoom I've seen away. It is also a good choice for indoor sports. My 75-300 IS is a great lens for photo journalist style walking around photography when a tripod is an unacceptable obstacle. The IS lens is definitely more hand holdable for folks who have hand holding characteristics like mine. It even makes shots that are taken at 1/200th, and higher shutter speeds seem crisper. For folks who can hand hold like Frank, apparantly the IS doesn't offer an advantage, but it is a distinct advantage for me.

My comment was pretty much intended for someone who is a beginner and just starting to build a system. If you're buying $1500 lenses as a beginner, you probably have more dollars than sense.

Allison Blum , July 03, 1997; 01:49 P.M.

I hate to say this because I'm a big Canon fan, but the Eos Rebel G is about the worst body you could ever buy. If you ask any camera dealer ( who can be honest and not just be trying to sell you the more expensive camera) they will tell you the same. My personal experience with the camera is having a friend try to mount a lens on the body and making one wrong move. Not even forcing the lens, it craked the entire body, because it is made out of PLASTIC. If you want a great start up SLR in an in expensive Canon, try an AE1 Program. It's an older model that offers you a chance to learn photography without doing everything for you. It does not give you an autofocus mode, which is ridiculous if you're trying to learn. It has a solid body yet is still very light weight. It has an internal meter and even a self timer. You can set your aperture and depth of field your self or you can turn on the program mode that will do it for you. Lenses are FD mounts made out of steel. No cracking on these!!! Try it oiut. If you don't like it, believe me, you can trade them. They are making a huge come back (with the newer models being so unreliable)and many people are willing to buy.

John Hilsinger , July 16, 1997; 01:41 P.M.

I agree with Glenn in regards to the 75-300 IS. I bought the lens with exactly photo jounalism in mind. I don't think you can beat the combination of price, practicality, light weight, and image quality. I don't think you can compare a 300 f/2.8 costing thousands with the $600 zoom and say the extra f/stop negates the need for the IS for hand holding. The fact that Canon brought out the 300 f/4 IS would seem to bear out its success and desirability in making a smaller cheaper lens more holdable. Unless of course you don't mind carrying the extra weight and spending the extra thousands for the f/2.8.

David Longerbeam , January 27, 1998; 02:44 P.M.

As a former Canon manual focus user who has switched to Nikon autofocus several months ago, I would say that Philip has done a great job of synopsizing the differences between the two.

I will add my own experiences:

I have owned a Canon FTb since 1975 and love the camera for its sturdy all-metal construction and match needle metering. I also own a Canon A1 and T90 and like them too, although manual metering is awkward with them. I would have stayed there happily but wanted to take advantage of newer lens technologies, and I found myself in a dead-end system since the Canon EOS mount is imcompatible with the old Canon FD mount. (And, I don't want to rely only on 3rd party manufacturers for my new lenses.)

I decided to upgrade to autofocus and started comparing. I think either choice would be perfectly valid. I chose Nikon and the N70 body for the following reasons: (1) The viewfinders are much better for me as a large-nosed eyeglass wearer. This was always a problem for me with Canon FD gear as well. (2) I could get the FM2 at some point as a replacement for my no-worries FTb body - although the FM2 doesn't have the nice match-needle metering, it's got a silly +/- diode display instead. (3) I decided to go for the 80-200/2.8 and it's $400 cheaper in Nikon than Canon. (4) The 24-50/3.3-4.5 is a highly rated consumer zoom in a focal length range I like (5) I can buy great, slightly older Nikon lenses used for a good price and still use them on my autofocus body. (5) The Nikon N70 has a spot meter, feels more durable to me than the Elan II at an equivalent price point, and has more sophisticated flash technology. The downsides of the N70 are that the user interface is cumbersome and it has no depth-of-field preview.

So my choice boiled down mostly to: Comfort for me as an eyeglass wearer and getting the lenses *I* wanted. There are both advantages and disadvantes in either system.

Chris Brown , June 25, 1998; 12:26 P.M.

After browsing this sight, I am a little disappointed with the lack of technical data for various camera systems. I was hoping to find MTF curves and, say, shutter testing failure rates, but most of what I read is based on subjective obsrvations and experiences. Any camera system is first and foremost an optical instrument. And for me, whose sole income is from commercial photography, I use technical data to evaluate new products and camera/lens systems. After the data is distilled down to where I know what will benefit me and my work, then the subjective characteristics are evaluated.

I currently own a Canon F-1N system with seven lenses and am looking to upgrade since this equipment is being phased out. Serviceability is important when my next paycheck depends on my camera functioning properly.

I recently visited Helix in Chicago to evalute the EOS-1N and the Nikon F5. Feature for feature the Nikon body wins. Here's why: 1) If the batteries fail I can still rewind my film. 2) The one piece body to contain the motor drive and battery compartment offers more mechanical integrity than the two piece system of the EOS-1N 3) Compatibility with more lenses than Canon

As for lenses, I did not shoot any film to test for sharpness, color balance, mid-tone gradation imaging (flesh tone areas). But I am a little skeptical about Nikon's in-house "Optical Transfer Funtion Tester". Did they invent this (their wording) to test all lenses or just to make theirs look better? Canon publishes MTF curves in the "L" brochure, Nikon does not. I do like the complete electronic interface between the Canon bodies and lenses, although mechanical interfaces have worked very well for 40 years.

And then what about Contax. Zeiss lenses are supposed to be as good as Leica. In my opinion, optics first, bodily comfort second. But nowhere on this site do I see optical bench comparison. Oh well.

Bill Scheuernstuhl , August 06, 1998; 10:36 A.M.

I don't really have a big long commentary on different cameras, but I would have to say that the Nikon N70 is an excellent camera, especially the beginner who wants to grow with their investment. I have only had my camera for three months and have enjoyed every aspect of it. Everytime I use it I learn a new perspective on photography.

Ellis Vener , December 28, 1998; 01:47 P.M.

A very fair straightforward evaluation of the current state of these two fine systems. I did notice a couple of omissions on the Nikon side though: 1.) viewfinder: With Nikon F, F2, F3, F4 and F5 you can remove the standard pentaprism and replace it any of several special viewers; a waist level finder; a "stove pipe" 6x magnifier (wonderful loupe when not on the camera); and for the F and F2 a special sportsfinder the size of a small LCD TV screen. Or you can just remove it and use with with a cheap 8x Agfa loupe.

2.) Macro: the really superb 70-180mm AF macro-zoom lens has been availible since early 1998.

Stanley McManus , January 21, 1999; 05:06 P.M.

For a one lens travel system for the Nikon you might also consider the new 28-105 zoom. while you lose some mm range at each end you have a faster lens.

Quang-Tuan Luong , February 16, 1999; 08:05 P.M.

Now that with the F5, F100, and AFS lenses nikon has catched up with canon in terms of handling and autofocus, in my opinion the most significant advantage of canon resides in their stabilized lenses. the importance of that innovation seems to have been overlooked. you gain 2 shutter speeds. this is very significant, when you think what you pay in terms of price, weight, and bulk, for a f2.8 lens as opposed to a f4 lens.

Andrzej Wrobel , February 23, 1999; 12:09 A.M.

For quite some time I found myself stuck between a Canon T-50 and a Praktica MTL-5. Finally I decided to go for Nikon N-70. It is an afordable camera that allows one to use most of the options that used to bea available in proffesional cameras in the eighties. With Nikon it is relatively easier to build a set of affordable quality lenses (even second hand manual ones) and still using the same mm 52 filters. I personally use 28-70 F 3.5-4.5, 80-200 F 4.5-5.6, and 50 F-1.4. I can try to extend this range with 28 F 2.8 and 105 F-4 Micro (Superb lenses) without having to spend additional money on all the filters that I use.

Michael Oersigh , February 26, 1999; 07:11 P.M.

Nikons metering is a big plus compared to Canon. Metering in 3d and in color campared to Canon's 2d and black & white, <1% spot meters compared to 3-4%. Now we have AF on the fly, Nikons AF is now 50% faster(this is not an exaggeration,if you have read the reviews). There is not much left to compare anymore. Image stabilisation is a good feature but is way oversold by some users, that why not much has been made of it in the press or on the internet, which is a shame because it could be a very convenient feature for certain types of lenses. However an Eos 100-400 4.5-5.6 IS lens cannot really give you 2 to 3 stops because the lens does not compensate for lesser light levels but only for camera movement caused by the user i.e it all depends on how good you are at handholding a lens in low light levels, sports photographers cannot freeze the action with this lens but they can with a 80-200 & 400 2.8 and the 100-400 is quite a big and bulky lens. What's more moving elements in an IS lens are a further compromise to optical quality in addition to zooming elements. Like I said before it is a convenience feature not a performance feature. More likely I think Nikons probably will still produce sharper images is due in part to built in engineered solutions like precise counterbalancing,instant return mirrors and floating chambers.

Mo Ersher , March 04, 1999; 02:58 P.M.

There are a great many Nikons out there and each user has their favourites. For me it was the FE2 and I then used an F90x and got an FM2 (what a great combination,one all electronic and the other all mechanical, and they both use the same lenses, it is a shame that the qualities of a fully manual/mechanical camera are denied to Dynax/Eos users with incurring additional expense)these are great cameras and teamed up ith a 20-35,35-70 or 28-70 and a 80-200(all 2.8)forms a team capable of producing oustanding prime lens quality right across the range and in practically any situation now that fuji multispeed (which gives an extra 3 stops+ for all situations and just for alleviating camera shake)has arrived. But if you now add the 300 2.0, 300 2.8 AFS, 400 2.8 AFS, 500 4.0 AFS and 600 4.0 AFS, add exotics like the 1200-1700 5.6-8.0 and the 2000 f11,then there is no contest and the bodies and lenses keep their value so well.The 28 1.4 represents the best of the new wave and will I am sure be the new standard. But I think there is more to lens quality then just sharpness, because nikkors are sharp like other makes but are indefinably better when you obtain your slides or prints. Therefore I think it boils down to individual preferences when it comes to comparing lenses.However bodies are a different matter,and there the F5 , F100 & F90X are very hard to match in terms of ruggedness and matchless specifications. You forgot to mention macro zooms like the 28-105 & 70-180, PC & Mac interface, Continuous Silent Winding, very low or non existent motor drive noise compared to the Canon Eos 3 & 1n, fast AF start ups due to in body AF and in lens AF and interchangeable finders on the F5.

Marc Alberts , March 05, 1999; 05:38 P.M.

Even though my lenses could probably be upgraded to the more expensive variety, I will throw in my $.02. I went out looking for a camera system (I had used an old Canon FTB for a long time, but hadn't really used it in years--therefore, I would call myself a beginner). I chose the Nikon system. I was able to buy a used N90 body, and several lenses for less than $2000 with the bag, filters, photography class, etc. I love it! It weather-proof enough for me to take action photos of my rugby team in our rainy weather here in the Northwest. Also, the choice of Nikon lenses out there that I can borrow are superb. There is only one problem that I do have with the Nikon (now that I have learned something), and that is that the depth of field preview doesn't show the true apterture, but instead closes the diaphram to the smallest possible opening. Great if you are looking at using f/16, but useless if your photo is going to be f/8 or larger. And, since I still fall into the "dickless yuppie" mode as far as equipment goes, you will be happy to know that I have begun (slowly) to add the prerequisite Nikon lenses in. So far, I think the brand new 28-105/3.5-4.5 Nikkor is an absolutely fantastic lens that has produced tremendous sharpness in black and white, and it has a good feel to the hand, unlike the Sigma I replaced.

Bottom line, I chose the Nikon because I found a body I knew I could grow into at a great price. Could I have done the same with Canon? Probably. Although I find the N90 more intuitive to use.

Timothy Lo , March 06, 1999; 01:36 A.M.

Some of you may doubt Nikon's OTF (Optical Transfer Function) evaluation system, as you all always hear MTF's. But as far as I remember, OTF is the "absolute value" version of the MTF and is said to be more accurate. That is what I read in a very technical book about MTF. The book's name, however, has slipped out of my memory. Please correct me if I've put it wrong.

George Spinner , April 21, 1999; 01:20 A.M.

Well, there many cameras and even more opinions on this. I'm a long time Canon user, started with FD and now in the EOS system. I have all the respect for Nikon, even considered to switch to Nikon at one point. But NOBODY can convince me that N70 is a good camera. I have a friend with one and - "MY GOD" nobody can figure out how to use the darn thing. And my ElanIIe - you don't even have to open a book to start using. As far as lenses - canon's L lenses are great and fastest on the market - based on how they are made and that's why most pros who shoot sports use them.Now, don't get me wrong, Nikon is a fine system, and cameres like F5 or N90 would be a great choice. And yes, there is one thing about Nikon I wish Canon had - old FD lenses worked on EOS, but I guess it's the price to pay for having fastest AF on the market. And lenses like Canon's 80-200 L , or new 70-200 L - mostly used and best performing zooms , plus unmatched quality TCs keeps me a loyal Canon user. George

Timothy Breihan , May 03, 1999; 03:25 P.M.

I like photo.net very much, but I think that Phil forgets sometime that not all of us are wealthy enough to build a serious beginner system that includes, among other things, a pair of $1400 zooms. I am certainly no beginner, but I cannot afford such lenses either. In my opinion, zoom lenses are detrimental to someone who is just beginning photography because they don't force the user to think about the perspective and image size at a particular focal length. It is certainly much easier to crop a scene by zooming in or out, but I think that having to decide on a focal without seeing is a more useful skill to learn. If you are a beginner, I think that you should stick to prime lenses, especially when you consider that a prime will produce an image with much more contrast an sharpness than any zoom that most beginners (not rich hobbyists) can afford. I have a manual focus Minolta system from the late 70's with four excellent lenses, 28/2.8, 50/1.7, 135/3.5, and 200/4. None of these lenses cost more than $150, and all are in great shape, with superb optics. Furthermore, they are all razor sharp. Also, regarding the automatic/computerized v. manual debate. I know that any AF body can be set to full manual mode, but what is the incentive to do so if one can so easily switch back to the idiot mode for landscape or portrait or whatnot and take mediocre pictures? You also seem to forget that the complex electronics of AF cameras are more susceptible to damage from trauma than a simple manual SLR. A repair-man friend said that the N90s with everyone seems to lavish praise upon is the camera that shows up in his shop most often. Maybe if you're Phil, and $1500 means nothing to you, buy one. But if your camera is an investment, consider one that can take some knocks.

J. O. , August 19, 1999; 11:36 A.M.

I'd like to correct a point made above. The N90 (F90) bodies don't automatically stop down to f/16 when using the DOF preview. They stop down to whatever the lens is set to. On the "P" modes, that means you'll be at the minimum stop on the lens, thus causing the condition mentioned above. My Konica Autoreflex bodies work the same way in their autoexposure mode, so this isn't just a weird Nikon thing.

Canon items I miss as a Nikon owner: the EOS RT, an affordable pellicle mirror camera. Tilt/shift wideangles.

Nikon things I can't imagine giving up: the F3/MD-4. The Nikkor 85/1.8 AFD and 28/2.8 AFD. Removable prisms. Manual-focus helicals. The SB-26 & D flash. Ease of macro with bellows, tubes, and macro lenses. Using IR film in any body I want to.

Nikon things I hate: $100 electronic cable releases. The expense of some items in the system -- can we say AFS lenses?

Last but not least, partisan speculation: I'm hoping that Nikon users eventually benefit from the current trend in digital SLRs, what with Nikon and Kodak producing bodies for the Nikon F mount. Hopefully, next generation digital SLRs will be close to film SLRs in price (for Nikon).

James Taylor , August 30, 1999; 12:06 A.M.

AS a pro I have owned both canon and nikon top of line systems and have sided with Nikon for the past 4 years. My big fancy EOS 1-N Died two weeks after I got It. Had to finish my assingment with my old F4, which has had over 550,000 frames thru it. I did like the Canon for sports stuff, I now let my wife and kids use it as it failied again 1 year latter with some sort of internal breaker problem. The flash technology on the Nikon is leaps and bounds ahead. Try and find a good used f-90x as a good all around Camera. If you really want to be tough grab an F4 and feel your bicep cramp. Oh yea the stupid door fell off my 1N.... Where are the good old Canon A1 Camera's from days gone by?. I wish I still had mine... I traded it for an E2

Tom Rose , October 08, 1999; 09:17 A.M.

Both systems are excellent, and you can take great or lousy pictures with either. I used to use a Canon EOS 10 with a few USM lenses. I now use Nikons (FM2, F3 and F100) with a motley assortment of manual and AF lenses. (I switched mainly because I wanted a PC lens and couldn't, at the time, afford a 24mm TSE). I am jealous of the near silent focussing of the Canon USM lenses, the TSE range, and the new IS lenses, but I know that if I was still using Canon stuff I'd hanker after the solid feel of Nikons, the brilliant macros, and the potential for completely manual (battery free) operation when I want it. Incidentally, to support our hosts oft-made statement, my old Dad still uses his K1000 with a couple of prime lenses, and yes, he takes better pictures than me.

Roberto Burgos S. , October 13, 1999; 11:03 P.M.

After reading most of the comments about the Nikon vs Canon debate, including some of Phillip's comments on how to pick up a system, this thing is turning more and more into the "ford vs chevy crap", with thousands of wannabe's pro's praising one or the other, without noticing that Chrysler is catching up and even surpassing most of the so called features. The bottom line is that the music comes from the performer, not the instrument. Yes, the instrument may give nice music, buy only if the performer knows what he's (she's) doing. Many comments here talk about the infamous K1000 (Pentax) and even treat it as a "throw away... (Phillip's own comment), whithout knowing that this camera has surpassed the test of time and with it, thousands of people has learned the craft. Yes, the K1000 is a basic all manual camera. There is nothing that the camera can do for you, except probably, advice around the proper exposure, but that's it. I still think it's the best learning tool in photography. Electronic gadgets turn people lazy. Yes, they can achieve wonderfull results, but who are we tricking when we don't even know what happened when the film was exposed?. BTW, I guess Pentax is the ONLY camera manufacurer that has kept full compatibility in K mount lenses, from the first K camera to todays ZX5N and PZ1P. That is something to praise and thank about. Also, I don't think pentax lenses are throwaways too. Yes, there are some dogs (as in others like Canon4s or Nikon's plastic mount lenses) but there are many fine and superb lenses too. Wan't to go serious in photography, get ready to download plenty of cash and et into medium format from the beggining.... do you think its wise or intelligent? Nah. Better get a used K1000 (too bad its discontinued) and when you know what you are doing ten years from now, then decide on what type of photography you want to do and purchase your gadgets accordingly. Just remember, a Clavinova may sound good and impressing, but only playing the "prerecorded" tracks... better learn to play the piano...

Scott Moreland , October 15, 1999; 05:35 P.M.

While a major disappointment listed on this page has been that Canon changed its mount, thus making it impossible to use the old manual focus lenses, this is what has allowed Canon to take the jump ahead in lens technology. By changing the interface from lens to body, Canon has opened up a whole new set of posssibilities in information exchange between the lens and camera. If Nikon is going to get back into the lens game, they will have to do something similar. Sorry all you Nikon users out there. Your company will probably mess you up too eventually - it's just a matter of time.

Jim MacKenzie , October 15, 1999; 06:35 P.M.

The last poster stated that Nikon would inevitably have to change its mount.

Perhaps that's true. If it is, that means Canon will have to do the same (again).

However, Canon has yet to do anything that Nikon cannot do. Many said that lens-mounted ultrasonic motors would be impossible; they're not. Yes, Canon has image stabilization technology, but this has nothing to do with the mount.

The only obvious thing Canon can do that Nikon probably can't is make a 50mm f/1.0 lens. This is such a special-purpose lens that I can't even say I care. (On the other hand, Nikon makes a 28/1.4 and Canon doesn't.)

I suspect that as long as Nikon is able to maintain its mount, it will do so. It's been able to do so for forty years so far. The mount is showing no signs of its age yet. It still works and it allows all the new technologies.

One huge advantage Nikon has over Canon is the ability to use Nikkors (AF or MF) on a manual-focus body (such as the FM2, which does not require batteries to function except to power the light meter). Lots of pros (and quite a lot of amateurs, like me) have such a body for this very reason. Nikon's mechanical aperture linkage ensures that this will always be possible. The exposure accuracy of Nikons has been at least the equal of Canon's, so I don't think an argument can be made about inherent improved reliability.

Graham Barkus , November 05, 1999; 02:33 A.M.

Excellent site that addresses some of the key issues that probably occupy the minds of all serious photographers at some time or other in their quest to acquire "the perfect system".

I was a dedicated Nikon user for 14 years, having gone through FEs, FE2s, FM2s, and F4s and an F90. A photojournalist friend of mine in Hong Kong "turned me on" to Canon when he ditched his 22 year collection of Nikons for the EOS-1n when it first came out.

He lent me one for a weekend and suffice to say I took the best pictures I had ever taken and the following Monday traded all my Nikon gear in for an EOS-1n, 20-35 f2.8L, 85 f1.2L and 80-200 f2.8L. I've subsequently added another EOS-1n and other bits and pieces and been absolutely happy.

And there is exactly the issue. I personally am 100% happy with my system, I've taken better photographs with it than ever before, and it has been 100% reliable. The primary reason is that it just happens to suit the way I work. Simple example: I use my left eye and the display in the EOS-1n is brilliant for a left-eye viewer. The display in the Nikon FE2 was a nightmare, as it is down the left hand margin of the viewfinder - so I found it really difficult to use. It didn't mean the camera was not good - it simply didn't suit the way I shoot.

I love the Nikon F5 as well - it seems to handle brilliantly and the manual rewind and removable prism are real bonuses that I often wish Canon offered. But at the end of the day, will those features really make much of a difference to the photographs I take? Probably not.

As a final note, I also use a Contax G2 and Hasselblad 500CM. I showed a few people a series of photographs taken with all the equipment I have, plus some with my old Nikon system. Nobody could pick which was which - even across formats, let alone manufacturers.

Changing systems always costs you money - and the return in terms of better work is often pretty marginal. If you're happy with what you've got and know how to use it well - in spite of whatever quirks it has - chances are you've already got the best system. No matter who made it.

Frank Yang , November 19, 1999; 06:35 A.M.

I have been observing the battle between Nikon & Canon for years now and it is interesting to see the power shift back and forth. I've been a Nikon user since high school with FM being my first camera then to a FM2n then N90 and N90s at the present. I think people would agree back in the manual focus era Nikon IS the system to own with their durability, fastest shutter/flash sync. speeds and lense/optic quality. Minolta actually dominate the market for a while when they first introduce their auto focus Maxxims then Nikon with their N series and now it's Canon's term. I stick to Nikon because when I switch to a auto focus body I can still use my manual focus lenses at the beginning and slowly build up my AF lenses with my needs. I think that was a smart move by Nikon since you can retain your core user and bring them up to the Auto focus format and attract new users at the same time without losing market share, unlike Canon and other manufactures. If I can't use my existing lenses on the new AF bodies then there's a good chance I will try other systems since I have to start fresh anyways ( Canon lost some user's to Minolta during the early AF era).

Now Canon is at the top of the charts. Ive tried the new F5/F100,Eos 1n/3 and in terms of ergo's, focus speed and quietness I admit the Canon's are faster, smoother,quieter and easier to use then Nikon. Attach that with Canon's Ultrasonic motor and image stabilizing lenses one can understand why nobody can touch Canon at the present. Most dealers I talked to tells me that Nikon is losing market share big time and in the realm of action or sports photographpy Nikon has become the exception not the rule. I don't understand why Nikon and others can't match Canon in focusing, frames per second, quiet motor or their own version of image stabilizations. I think either Nikon just can't catch up which is hard to imagin or there are some patends around Canon's focusing and IS/USM functions that Nikon just can't get aroung right now.

I for myself will stick with my N90s and FM2. I photograph mostly landscapes and architectual buildings, I don't need 10 frames per second, image stabilizing, 1/12000 shutter speeds and 1/300 flash sync. My subject is not going to run away if I dont got it focus in a nano second. I only got three lenses, 28-105D, 70-300D ED and a 60 Macro along with the Kodac color enhancing film and the right filters it has gotten me great pictures every time. It is what you do with the equipments and not what equipments you have that produce great pictures.

A T , December 01, 1999; 10:31 P.M.

I shoot a Nikon F4. Yeah, yeah, yeah... it is solid and heavy duty. No will argue that. It is about halfway between a totally manual camera and a total automatic camera. You must understand photography to get good photographs from the F4. I think it's AF is fast enough, particularly with Nikon's AF-S lenses. It's matrix meter is not as advanced as the Nikon F5's but it is still nothing to shake a stick at. I like Nikon and it is my opinion that it offers the best quality 35mm equipment.But wait, if you are going to mention old reliable cameras then you must mention the Nikon F3. This is a great camera As for the Nikon not making a f=50mm 1:1.0 lens let me say this: Have you ever seen a picture taken with the Canon f=50mm 1:1.0 lens? This lens totally sucks. It stinks! It is not very contrasty or that sharp and the flare is horrific. Nikon does make a f=50mm 1:1.2 lens though. This is only a half stop from the Canon's 1:1.0. The Nikon f=50mm 1:1.2 lens takes excellent photos and it is a whole lot more compact too! Try it

Umit D , December 03, 1999; 04:57 A.M.

Let me first state I am a Nikon user and had the N/C dilemna a while ago.

First factor in my decision was pricing, like a 80-200 2.8 Nikon was much cheaper than Canon equivalent (USM is not essential for everbody).

Second was, Canon is competing in AF arena only but Nikon has a full line of MF lenses, cameras and accesories as well. Not everybody needs AF and a lot of photographers including myself use MF even on AF bodies. MF lenses are usually better constructed than their AF versions. Canon viewfinders are awful for MF (I think they deliberately make it this way, to make it seem like AF is sent by God)

However, I wish gems like 24TS and 100-400IS were available by Nikon.

I S , December 05, 1999; 04:29 P.M.

I never had the N/C dilemma because my parents both use Canon. Since I was 12 when I started in photography (I am 17 now) I had no real choice because I used a small legacy I received to buy my first camera ( an EOS 1000FN (Rebel)) I could not afford any long lenses. Therefore I went into canon in order to borrow lenses from my parents. (not a good move considering I now own an L-series which they can "borrow"). However, the way I see things now, and what I say to any of my friends who are considering getting into photography is this: Nikon: Decidedly conservative. will only do something if someone else has and it works well (eg AF-S is obviously a copy of the Canon motor-in-lens system.) Canon: Decidedly radical. Will push new technology. Eg USM, Image Stabilisation, Eye Control, Barcode programs, Fluorite, UD, S-UD. Minolta: Can get a decent photo but not anywhere near as good lenses as C or N (L-series or ED/AF-S series). System backup not as good. Gimmicks (1/12000 shutter speed - why? when did you last use 1/8000?). Not as durable (shutter test had Minolta Dynax 9 shutter explode at 82,000 exposures, Nikon F100 die at 142,000 and Canon EOS 3 give up at 438,000). If you still don't believe me look at the pro scene. NO minolta. General press work about 50/50 N/C. Sports 95% Canon, 5% Nikon. Go Figure.

Eric Hanchrow , January 03, 2000; 04:30 P.M.

Note that on the Nikon F100, like the higher-end Canon bodies, "the focus and shutter release can be put on separate buttons". (It's a custom function.) However, you cannot manually focus the lens unless it's an AF-S.

Janik Zikovsky , January 08, 2000; 11:29 P.M.

In your page you recommend and N70 or N90 as a starter system, for 1 lens travel photography. Doesn't the N90 cost about 1000$? I'd say that's a bit much for a "starter" system... You should remember that most people aren't willing to spend 15,000$ or even 1000$ on their photo equipment. That doesn't mean they don't want something good. But someone who's just starting doesn't need an N90.

TONY L. SILVA , February 04, 2000; 12:45 P.M.

BODY: Here my questions: I used and still use LEICA R & M and CONTAX/Zeiss SLR or G series, NIKON and CANON. But this what I don't get in the 35mm camera world: When LEICA makes the best lenses in 35mm, they also make the worst SLR cameras around with exception for the M series(they are clumsy and not very pro oriented with low speed sync, but they have a great bright viewfinder). *Zeiss lenses maybe very sharp. But the color and B&W prints when you put them side by side with Leica/Leitz tell me otherwise. The Leica/Leitz lenses are just incredible and I believe the best in 35mm. The contax cameras, like the under-rated Contax S2 SLR is just great mechanical camera is much like a Nikon FM2. More you use it, more you like it, is small and well built. But why couldn't they built a camera with center-weighted and spot in one. I have one and I love it. Like I said more I use more I like it and makes think allot more when all you have a spot meter. But talking about best cameras: Nikon makes the best PRO camera (the F100)also the best flash system around and more.But why can't they (Nikon) produce a camera like CANON A2 or the Canon USM 28/105. This Is a great PRO camera with basic features: pop/flash, really fast drive and many more. Please stop making cameras like the NIKON N60 or N70 and give us more of 6006's 8008's N90 (CANON A2)type cameras with pop/flash that can be very handy in many ocasions and they are very durable and reliable. Canon makes the best amateur/pro camera like mention the CANON A2. But why couldn't CANON give us a great 3D flash system like on the Nikon cameras.

Thanks Tony

Edvin Ong , February 08, 2000; 04:05 A.M.

Ove rthe years I have moved from a Minolta SRT101 to Nikon FE2, F801 and now I am with a F90X. Generally, I think at the end of the day, it makes no difference what system you use as long as it gets used often. My favourite camera now is the P&S Olympus Mju 2 which I outshot my F90X 10 rolls to 1 last year. (I am talking about personal pictures and not when I am shooting serious pictures where I need to control the settings.) I admire Canon for their range of lens and also the wider choice of cameras they market in the lower end but given the choice of what new camera I would buy, I would go for a compact Nikon 35Ti camera for I prefer convenience over performance anytime. (Those who have lugged a heavy SLR complete with 2-3 lenses, flash and tripod during an overseas trip normally spend more time guarding their precious equipment with their lives then take photos!) So to all those C&N supporters, try getting yourself a P&S (I recommend the Olympus series) and shoot more photos instead of wishing you had the other system. You will also find that you will have more photos of yourselves, for you will be more willing to give the P&S to someone else to shoot a picture of yourself. (My wife takes better pictures of my kids with the Mju 2 compared to my big bulky F90X!)

The Mju 2 is the first P&S I have ever owned and I regret not buying one earlier for I am very surprised at the sharpness and resolution of its pictures. In all my years of owning a SLR, I only have a handful of pictures of myself for my friends normally feel too shy to bring out their P&S to take pictures when I bring out my SLR. With today's films, using ASA400 films will still give you reasonable shots and the Mju 2 has a 35mm f:2.8 lens. Enought said!

Chong Oh , March 05, 2000; 05:10 P.M.

Canon or Nikon, consumer AF bodies don't seem as reliable as old manual versions they used to make(IMHO). A friend of mine has a Nikon N70 that now gobbles up batteries completely within a day and now I am a proud owner of a Canon EOS A2 with bad dial. My friend's Nikon, seemingly new when bought used, developed this problem only after about 10 rolls. As for my EOS, well, granted it was bought used(in mint shape, like new actually), did the control dial really have to go bad after 10 rolls(I heard this is a very common problem with A2 and A2e)?? As for the feel of the camera, A2 isn't that great in my opinion. Squeeky grip(also doubling as battery compartment door) really compromises the feel of the camera. And I've already lost 1 rubber eyepiece which falls off way too easy(I suppose this is not critical). I don't see why some people think this camera feels so solid. It does however do all the bells and whistles(less the dial click, as it now turns freely) it promised to deliver, until now that is. Just cannot help but think. . . what were those engineers thinking when they designed this damn dial and that battery door?? I know they probably calculated out Mean Time to Failure and all that junk on the paper, but that certainly didn't work out for the command dial on MY camera.

Gene Paull , March 13, 2000; 12:23 P.M.

I've read everyone's comment about everything in trying to decide what camera to buy (archaeology, outdoors, backpacking, field conditions). What I finally decided upon was the Nikon FE2n. Phil's original comment (a 13 yr. old with a K1000, 50 mm lens, and a tripod will take better pictures than a new Nikon/Canon AF SLR with a standard zoom lens) had a lot of bearing on this. I need a good exposure system - everything else is secondary. What good is a modern electronic AF if one spends more time configuring the damned thing than actually shooting. I'll set the FE2n on f16, and play with the shutter for the correct exposure. And my guess is it will be shooting long after whatever else I could have purchased has short-circuited.

Anthony De Cristofaro , March 15, 2000; 02:50 A.M.

From 1970 through 1994 I shot exclusively with Minolta (SRT 101, SRT 202, XE-7 and finally XK). It was a great system and anyone can find these cameras and a series of high quality prime lenses (use the 85 1.8 as a "normal" lens) for great prices on the used marketplace. With a decent tripod and Vivitar 283, you will have an affordable system that will allow you to learn photography and still play the lottery. These cameras are still in great shape for my children when and if they get the bug.

After you hit the lottery, buy Nikon. I chose Nikon for the feel of the camera in my hand, the legacy of older lenses, and the comfort level I felt dealing with grey market equipment in order to get quality but save $$$.

I learned a lot up until 1994, but nonetheless, the quality of my images jumped ahead leap years when I made the switch to the N90s. Initially I went for the series of pro-zooms (20-35, 35-70 and 80-200 all f2.8 D). My one initial prime was the 105 f2.8D Mikro-Nikkor.

Nikon pro zooms are great but under less than ideal conditions, they are heavy and are still zooms. Learn to love your tripod and walking around to get the best shot. My lottery money and salary have gone to the 16mm 2.8, 24mm 2.8, 85mm f 1.4!!, 180 f 2.8 and the entire range of Micro-Nikkors 60, 105 and 200). No I do not carry them all at once. My action shots of swim teams & cross country meets, concerts, family shots, photojournalism, and landscapes are amazing with prime glass in this modern system.

If you are planning to shoot many portraits, do not overlook one of my favorite portrait lenses -- Nikon's 135mm Defocus Control. While you can count eyelashes with the 35-70 f2.8D Zoom and the 105mm F2.8D Micro-Nikkor, the 135 DFC allows you to experiment with a range of softer effects. A cheap plastic filter will not suffice in this arena.

With your tripod/monopod and ballhead, don't forget to get a quick release system to get your camera on and off the tripod quickly as the sun sinks slowly to the west. There is NONE better than the Really Right Stuff that Bryan and Kathy Geyer sell. (BTW: Get a good local newspaper so you can track sunrise and sunset times!)

Finally, if you want a starter system and plan to shoot landscapes that make others drool, do NOT forget the $20 accessory that makes those pictures in Nat Geo so great -- a graduated neutral density filter. The Cokin Grad ND +2 (at around $17 USD) is the entry point that allows you to see in your photos the effects that Galen Rowell and others get with the more expensive Singh Ray alternatives. You can buy those filters after you start selling the great images you get with all this quality equipment.

It is almost Cherry Blossom season so let me get off this computer now and GO SHOOT!

Colin Povey , March 31, 2000; 04:10 P.M.

I would like to add two little comments in the Canon vs. Nikon "war".

First off, I want to say that I am a long-term Nikon user, but I used to work in a camera store that sold both brands, and so have experience with both systems.

There are two advantages to the Nikon system, one is seldom mentioned, while the other is brought up at least from time-to-time.

The seldom mentioned one is that Nikon still (early 2000) makes two manual cameras, the FM2 and the F3. While the F3 does require a battery for all shutter speeds to work, it is a very long lasting battery, as all it does is run the meter and time the shutter. The F3 will even operate at two speeds without a battery.

The FM2 has a completly mechanical shutter, and only uses the battery for the meter. Mechanical cameras are a great thing for certan specialist situations, like trips in areas without access to stores, long time exposures, which run normal batteries down, and astrophotography for the same reasons. For use in extremely cold (read artic) situations, where the batteries in other cameras will freeze up, the FM2 when winterized (special lubricants) is generally considered the only suitable camera.

The second point I would like make is the longevity of the Nikon lens mount. This is poo-pahed by many, but is very important to me and many others. The 24mm f/2.8 Nikkor I bought new in 1972 is still usable on my F5. Yes, I had to have it 'modified' to an AI lens, but that was only $20 or so. And while many say that it doesn't provide all the functions of a current lens, that's true, but it still makes glorious images. And there are people around who still convert older Nikkor lens to provide AI functionality, and install CPU chips in most lenses, which provides all other functions, except auto focus. I know this, because I had my 400mm f/3.5 converted and it provides matrix metering on my F5. Thus, for very little money, a person can use essentially any Nikkor lens on any Nikon body. This can be a great money saver, by buying used lenses.

In the roughly fourty years Nikon and Canon have been making SLR's, Nikon has had one lens mount, while Canon has had three (FD, FL, EOS).


david howells , April 07, 2000; 12:45 P.M.

I thought that the end result i.e the picture was the object of photography,not the camera. I use a canon kit for my work, and my old nikons for playing with. I think that which ever system you use day in day out, it becomes totally second nature, and you know what your camera will produce in any given day. In any event if you can't see a good picture a $1500 lens is not going to help. I switched to canon because my nikons F3,F4 and F90 were all unreliable, ony my FM2 has stood the test of time, while my 2 canon 1n's have been round the world and never a problem. Final note get the 35 1.4 L if you want quality wides, this is canon's most impressive tech advance, it makes everything else look like it's been shot through a beer bottle!

Fredrik Olsson , May 26, 2000; 04:40 P.M.

If you are a beginner, not knowing much about the whole jungle of gear available, and thinking of buying your first SLR-system, you might want to do it the way I did. I bought a Canon EOS 650 (from 1987, I think) from a friend of mine. It came with a 35-70mm f/3,5 lens. For this system I paid about $220. I shot about 50 rolls of different film during about 9 months before getting anything else. As I learned more, I got curious and wanted all sorts of gear. So I bought a Sigma 100-300 f/4,5-5,6 lens for about $60. I've been using it for bird photopgraphy and portraits. No problems. Recently I also bought a Manfrotto tripod and a 50mm 1,8 lens.

For all this equipment, which in my opinion is more than enough, I didn't pay a lot of money. It was cheap. But, it allowed me to add on a lot of stuff, since Canon systems allow a wide range of lenses and other equipment. For most beginners, like for me, the budget is very tight. Best advice is to buy cheap stuff (you won't be able to take advantage of expensive cameras and lenses if you're a beginner anyway), and then buy lots of film. Also find the best lab in your area (this is important).

I'm satisfied with all my gear, and now I'm moving up to slide film and pro labs. I feel I can use my 650 for a long time, it's me, not the camera, that constitutes the limits.

Bottom line is, I got my hands on a Pentax ME (1975 or so) with a 50mm 1,7 lens. I take better pictures with it than the EOS + 100-300mm lens. Anyway, my point is that when pros like people on this list are trying to give tips to beginners, they think that just because their lenses cost around $1500, other people will find $500 cheap. For a young student even $500 is impossible. So compared to the alternatives, an old EOS like the 650 + 50mm 1,8 + 100-300 4,5 + 35-70 3,5 + tripod +skylight filter for a total of $600 is a pretty damn good bargain. Remember that after you've bought the system, you'll spend a LOT of cash on batteries, film, developing, books, magazines, repairs, net surfing, travels, enlargements, lost gear, filters etc...

regards, Fredrik (satisfied Canon customer)

Christian Becker , May 30, 2000; 09:12 A.M.

few ramblings...

Your Canon EOS 650 goes for $220. It comes with a 35-70 lens. In two years it is still worth maybe $100, in ten years it is worth approx. $50. The lens has fallen apart.

The oh-so-expensive Leica comes for three times as much as the Canon. It is manual and has only a 50mm lens. In two years it is worth maybe $1500, in ten years it is worth approx. $2000. In fourty years - the Canon doesn't exist anymore - it is still worth $2000. Even if it is beaten up.

Question: Which one is cheaper?

You've bought a EOS3 or Nikon F100. Fastest AF and so. Five years later the Canon EOS4 and Nikon F110 are fully digital. Film is only available from small stores in limited amounts - and b/w only. The F100 and EOS3 become obsolete. Another five years later both Canon and Nikon don't have spare parts (namely LCD pannels) for the EOS3 and F100 anymore.

Question: Canon vs. Nikon or time vs. user?

James Bender , June 22, 2000; 03:42 P.M.

As an amatuer, but passionate photographer, I would like to relay an experience I had this winter. I purchased a Canon T70 about six years ago with 50/1.8 28 - 70/3.5 and a 80-200/f4. I really cut my teeth shooting live music in small clubs with no flash. Needless to say, pushing 1600 speed film gives some crazy results - but like anything else, the more rolls I shot the better I got.

For about a year I have started spending much more time outdoors in beautiful Wisconsin taking landscapes and other various things that cross my path. In December, during the largest full moon of my lifetime, I went to a position where I could shoot the moon rising over a large well-lit church. As the moon was about to rise, I could not believe that I was the only person there to take a picture. Sure enough, a big van pulled up with four people climbing out.

It was a photography class led by a serious pro. The back of his van had so much Nikon equipment, it just made my draw drop. I was instantly jealous, and intimidated. Me and my little Canon T70 with a 200mm lens and 100 speed slide film - who was I kidding.

Fortunately, I had the best spot because I was there first, so all four people set up very close to me. I heard the leader of this class telling the people how to shoot. He told them what to focus on - how to bracket the exposures and what to use as a basis for the exposure.

I really felt intimidated then - because it sounded off to me. In my brain - using the internal exposure meter in the Canon, I had a very good idea of what was going to happen. But, because I was obviously in the presence of greatness, I shot my last roll in the manner that he had suggested.

I packd up and left, after getting one of his cards, of course. I felt terrible, because the first part of the moon rising was the best. And according to his set-up, mine was all wrong.

When I picked up the slides the next day, I could not have been more impressed with myself. The film that I had shot turned out great. It was exposed properly and very crisp. The last roll, shot to his parameters, was junk and underexposed severely. Just goes to show you, it makes no difference what brand name is on your camera. It all comes down to how well you know your equipment and apply it.

So I sent him a scan of my photo via email. I asked to see one of his photos from the day but never got one back. He did invite to come to one of his seminars where I could pay him to teach me how to shoot. Right.

Mihai Preda , July 03, 2000; 05:27 A.M.

Let me share my experience with N/C debate. 3 years ago, I was trying to decide wich way to go Canon or nikon. My goals were clear: a body which would suit my needs as an ocassional snaphooter and allow me to control everything to perfect my photography skills. I also wanted built in flash. I didn't need many fps, or super fast focusing speed (I'm not into sports). On the Canon side I was looking at the RebelG(EOS500N), ElanII(EOS50). The Rebel was ruled out because it didn't allow too much control, and it had a not so good built quality. Elan II had everything I dreamt of: full manual, shutter/aperture priority, DOF, mirror lock-up, exposure/flash compensation, AEB ... Trying to find a Nikon body with all these features and same price range proved to be futile. In order to get all the features in Elan II I would have needed to get N90 which was almost 3 times more expensive (and still didn't have built-in flash, altough the specs were better). Also the ergonomics of the ElanII are better, IMHO. So I got the Elan II and 28-105 (altough Nikon had a 24-120mm that was appealing to me), and I'm perfectly happy. I still think that Elan II is the best camera money can buy for the features. It has everything a pro body has (less performance though).

Paulo Bizarro , July 06, 2000; 11:10 A.M.

These sort of discussions inevitably end up with confrontations between such and such camera bodies or lenses. It's ridiculous. I have been using EOS for 10 years now, and I currently have 4 prime lenses (24, 50, 135, and 180) that completely fullfil my needs. I have recently bought an FM2n with a Nikkor F 50 1.8 for B&W work with Tmax/Tri-X film. This small kit is a joy to use, and it enables me to get shots in an unobstrusive and care-free way. Just use whatever feels good in your hands and suits your style. Grow up!

erin o'neill , July 27, 2000; 09:18 P.M.

I have a nikon FM2 with 2 lens. I mostly shoot wide angle. I really like my FM2, but now I need a small, sturdy autofocus camera to shoot in clubs. I first got a point and shoot Canon Z135 but the pictures just aren't sharp enough. I've looked at the Contax G2 which is the perfect size for my small hands. I love it. But a photo pro friend said he bought it and had to return it becuase the autofocus didn't.

Recently when I was in the camera store I asked about the Nikon N80 and the salesperson wanted to show me the F100 and a number of Canon systems. My big problem with every Canon system was that they were much too big and I had difficulty reaching all the functions with out drastically moving my hands. It seems to me that Cannon systems are designed for larger hands.

I still don't know which system I'll get. I just really wish my FM2 came in autofocus, either that or I wish the Contax G2 autofocused better. I did like the nikon N80. It was the closest to the FM2 and contax in size. I still have to do research.

Piaw Na , August 01, 2000; 10:18 P.M.

I'm a Canon user. As late as a year ago, I could never recommend a new starter Nikon system that cost less than $1000. Without DOF preview, I felt that it was impossible for a beginner to teach herself with a cheap Nikon system. Obviously, you can get reasonable Nikon systems used, but beginners are typically not qualified to evaluate used equipment. (The 8008s, for instance, would be a great camera, but the 8008 wasn't as great --- the proliferation of similarly numbered models is confusing)

But recently, with the advent of the N80, F100, it's been possible to build a capable mid-range Nikon system for a relatively well-off beginner. Canon still holds the low-end range, with the Rebel 2000 being the only entry level camera that these two big camera companies offer which has DOF preview as a feature. (DOF preview is essential for serious landscape work, and is a great tool to teach beginners how to pick the proper aperture with)

At this point, except for the proverbial beginner who can literally only own a cheap body and a 50mm/1.8, the Nikon/Canon choices are a wash for a beginner. There are certain ergonomic choices that one camera company makes over another, but by and by, it is up to each individual to figure out what is best for him or her.

Still, I can't help cursing every time I have to teach a beginner with an N60 (purchased either by a friend as a gift or on a recommendation that he buys a cheap Nikon) what those f-stop numbers mean. Ironically, it's always the high end cameras (F5, F100, EOS-1 series and EOS-3) that make the best teaching tools, because they're simple, have features that can best illustrate concepts (viewfinder display and DOF preview button).

In summary: stay away from the N60 if you're a beginner and on a budget. Buy the Canon Rebel 2000 instead if you don't have money. If you have money, the higher end Nikons and Canons are now all equivalent.

Igor Bitman , August 07, 2000; 12:32 P.M.

Hello. I'm using Nikon FE and FM-2 and many prime lenses from 24 to 300, also zooms 28-50 and 50-135. I build this Nikon gear for several years. Now I'm planning to sell at least 75% my gear including old Autocord and Yashica TLR for new AF system. So money a very important for me. I think nobody will see different at picture quality between N90, F100, EOS 1N, A2, EOS3, and Minolta 9. I ask myself, which lens I will buy first, which second, to make final about system. 1. For first lens 24-85, 28-105, 24-120, 28-135is, I like Canon 28-135IS more when Nikon 28-105, or minolta 24-85 2. For second, I like wide zoom like Canon 20-35/3.5-4.5. Nikon 20-35/2.8 very expansive for me. So lenses, is a answer why I maybe will buy Canon, if can sell my Nikon gear.

If money not important to my, my choice Leica M6.

Sorry for my broken English thank you

Adrian Kuryliw , August 12, 2000; 06:58 P.M.

As a serious amateur, I wonder why there is so much derisive commentary on which is the best 35mm system. 35mm format has serious shortcomings because of the size of the negative, not the equipment. In fact, the amount that Canon and Nikon squeezes out of the film is astounding. Here is a less costly option that I have had the fun of building over time.

I have long had a simple Nikon F-801 (8008) system (a mechanical FM2 would do as well) with some Nikkor and Tamron primes that are wonderful for available-light candids and wildlife shots. I added a simple and oft-criticised Kiev 88 Medium Format (6x6cm) system for landscapes which blows away 35mm in the detail (what I desire in scenics), and I recently traded some of my non-essential Nikkor glass for an Olympus C2000 digicam for experimental digital darkroom experiences. The total price of the 3 format systems is well below the price of any "serious" 35mm outfit and I have enjoyed learning the different formats rather than sticking to one. Just another option to consider.

Alexander M. Dunlop , September 04, 2000; 12:49 P.M.

Well, let's begin with the basic idea that is behind photography. Taking pictures. This is done by letting light reach a chemical substance that reacts on it. These are the basics. I will not say anything about digital stuff because it is still not on the same level of quality as "conventional" photography. No matter what sort of camera you have these are the basics. And a manual camera is the ONLY way to understand these basics. I own a Nikon FM2n and I love it. Just the few basic things that change a photograph. F number and shutter speed. These are the only things that matter to a photograph. 3D flash etc only make you lazy. They are OK for sports or parties but serious photography is about basics. Just look at the works of Ansel Adams, Edward Weston, Yousuf Karsh etc. The camera is a tool, you must know how it works and reacts. The brand does not matter. There are only two things that matter in a camera: the basics must be changeable and you must trust it's quality. For me the FM2 has it all. For my father it's an F3, for my girlfriend it's an AE2. They both make great pictures because they trust their camera.

bert greaney , October 17, 2000; 11:54 P.M.

I wonder if Ansel Adams was still around what his choice would be? He always emphasized the creative abilities of the photographer not the camera. hmmm...

Lakhinder Walia , December 19, 2000; 02:20 P.M.

One thing I must commend Canon is for keeping in its pro cameras an analog exposure meter display which goes from +3EV to -3EV. If you look at the older style of needle based meters, there were so many cameras which would show you at least 6EV range (and possibly more), so that if I wanted to just scan my viewfinder for the exposure range, it was easy to find, just by seeing how much has the meter differed between the max and min. And this is very practical, considering a b/w film easily has range of 6EV. Maybe it is useful for color negative films. Best is that the same exposure meter is also available in the top LCD panel of Canon EOS-1. One does'nt have to look always through the viewfinder to see how light is changing. What amazes me is how certain pro cameras clearly miss this: look at Nikon F4/F5, N100 and F90. F4/F5 have only +2EV to -2EV. But F5 does not even show it in its top LCD window, but only in its viewfinder. And it costs $2000! N100 is okay with +2EV to -2EV in both viewfinder and LCD panel -- same as its grandparent, 8008s. F90 shows only +1EV to -1 EV which is a pathetic range.

I guess this feature is not important to a lot of people who want to shoot in some kind of automatic mode. And in a world where pro cameras compete on the basis of how many frames-per-second and how many seconds to rewind a film! But I think this is the most fundamental thing a modern gizmo could easily display in its LCD panel and its viewfinder! I just hope Canon does not break away from this tradition. Good Job Canon.

Ben Welch-Bolen , December 25, 2000; 11:29 A.M.

Ansel Adams does not appreciate people putting words in his mouth :)


John Fredriksson , January 04, 2001; 08:26 P.M.

I can not agree with those who don’t approve Canon vs. Nikon discussion. It is very important (especially for the beginners) and also interesting! I am a professional photojournalist with 25 years of experience and (like many folks in my age) went through long “manual era” to AF. During that time I owned more than 20 cameras including Minoltas Nikons and Canons. It is absolutely clear that Nikon is BEST OF THE BEST. I will not describe all my experience on that matter (it would take too much time and space). In brief, Nikon makes best pro cameras and F5 is a “pearl”. Exposure metering of Canon EOS3 looses to F5, AF systems are identical fast. For “lower” level cameras important is lens compatibility and Canon looses again. I still use my old manual 500mm Tokina mirror lens on F100 and it is just GREAT! This combination allows me to shoot fast 10X in different situations without tripod! Finally about durability. Here Canon is really “bad looser”! Who needs all advantages of the Canon cameras if light accidental strike can destroy internal parts! Camera is not something you keep on your library just removing dust from time to time! Camera is for USE in real life and Canon’s PLASTIC parts are real nightmare! May be for someone who uses a camera once a year for the Christmas it is not a big deal, but for professional it is ABSOLUTELY unacceptable!! So, what is a bottom line? Sell your Canon equipment and finally discover for yourself REAL quality of Nikon!

Chris Hurt , January 06, 2001; 05:37 P.M.

Well, this debate has been going on for as long as I can remember, I've been on this site so many times over the past few years, and I cannot say how much I have learned and appreciated what everyone has said, I'm glad I think I may have something to contribute now after 4 good years of experience so here goes my $0.02 and my story: 4 years ago starting out I was in the same situation a lot of you reading this are probably in, budget limited (student) looking for a good camera. I looked at all the new canon stuff being awed by the technology, and knowing that it was what a lot of the photojournalists were going too b/c of the fast AF, in the middle of my quest I was offered a good deal on an old (non D) 80-200 2.8 from a photojournalist who was getting rid of a lot of his stuff to switch to Canon (I must digress here with obvious lesson in buying used equipment #1: Do not buy used eqipment from working photojournalists (at least stuff they use in the field), this is by no means a slam to all of you working pro's out there, I am in awe everyday at your work, but you really use your equipment (duh!), as opposed to those who buy the latest and greatest camera to take pictures of the baby and then learn they don't know how to use it and sell it... the 80-200 was in a lot worse shape than I thought (as I found out as I learned more) and would eventually sell it at a loss to get a new on (my favorite lens now)) but I digress... I also found an old N2020 body for $50 (valued at a whopping $120) and I cannot say enough good things about this little body, even now that I own better ones, I think I still may use it at least as much if not more than the N90s just because, I can take it anywhere with the 50 1.8 ais and not be afraid of something happening to it b/c a.) it's really rugged, not much to break on it, and b.) it's really cheap, in fact if you build yourself a grip for the bottom it's just a real joy to have, I carry it everywhere I go, it has it's problems: worthless AF, kinda loud.. bun on the all and all it's wonderful. As I went along I picked up lenses for what I needed, a 20 2.8, a 35-70 2.8 (gorgeous lens) 85 1.8 and a 135f2 DC (another real gem if you have never tried one) I also have an array of old MF lenses the 105 f2 a 24 2.8 and a couple of others I have gotten rid of, they are all just a lot of fun, and excuse me for saying it, but I learned so much about composition being all MF for a long time you have to really think about a lot more, and when I wasn't in such a rush to get every moment I was able to think more about composition. I use mostly primes save my 2 fast zooms, b/c I think most Nikon Primes are just wonderful, and a lot cheaper than good zooms (a good prime is SO much better than a bad slow zoom as well) and Unlike the differences between the Canon L series and the rest of their lenses I think there is much less of a gap in Nikon's Lens system (not to say that Nikon doesn’t make some flops but... overall...) and one cannot begin to mention the versatility, and affordability of using the MF lenses (if you get a 2020, don't even dream about using the AF, it's worthless, or just get the N2000, non AF version.) The last thing I bought was a newer body (N90s) as every time I almost bought a body I would sink more money into glass, however, in the end I can say that for someone beginning, esp. on a limited beget, that Nikon is really just the way to go, I have found that the availability of good cheap bodies (if you don't miss too many features, some of which on my N90 still mystify me) and so much good glass at reasonable prices is such a benefit. To top it off, I would rather have my N2020 and 20 2.8 a total of about $450 out there on the streets and not having to worry about babying it than I would a $500 A2e and a $1500 wide angle zoom (IMHO Canon doesn’t make a lot of good wide primes so you almost have to get the wide zooms to get the same effect) and the ability to build more of a custom system on a limited budget just seems to me to be the better option to those of us who don't do this for a living and can't afford a lot of the new cannon toys. I have no regreats about choosing that which I did, and even in the order I did, get the good glass first, then go for bodies. I hope this isn't too wordy to put here, and I really hope I haven’t offended anyone, this is just how I see it.

Tommy Huynh , January 15, 2001; 09:49 P.M.

Minolta makes the best bodies??!! *gulp* I'd say Marketing is the only thing they are good at.

IMO, if you can't afford to go all out with an F5 with AF-S lenses, you should go Canon. Lesser Nikon bodies simply are more costly, slower, and have less features than their Canon counterparts.

If you can afford it though, the F5's AF is on par when used with AF-S lenses. Also, I think their mirror balancer is valuable when shooting from 2sec-1/100sec(most of the time) to reduce vibration. To Canon's defense, I like the mirror pre-fire on my A2E when shooting at these speeds. If you rely on Program Metering, Nikon's Color Matrix metering is top notch IMO since in order to properly evaluate the metering, the camera should be able to recognize the scene(blue skies, green grass, etc..) and compensate for the subjects, this is what Nikon does.

Overal structural integrity of Canon cameras using polycarbonate is a non issue. Nikon users often make ignorant remarks about the Canon's "plastic" bodies but keep in mind that PC is what is used in bulletproof glass(Lexan) and is more resilient and transmits less shock to the internals when dropped. I have had several impacts with my A2E and it is still chugging along. Canon did make the mistake of not properly designing some secondary "plastic" components of the 1st production A2E. My control dial went bad but was partly the fault of my friend who used it without properly pushing down on the release button before taking it out of "Lock". After 7 years and heavy use, me lens release button also broke, but this was after being bumped against a rock.

Another key issue is weight. Everytime I go hiking, I am relieved that I am not carrying a bulky Nikon system. If the F5 was more modular like the EOS1, I might switch.

I suppose if you are really rich and starting out, I would start with an F5 system. If not, I would go with an Elan 7 outfit with some good USM lenses.

Umit D , January 19, 2001; 06:58 A.M.

Two cases about body construction materials: First one is about a Nikon FE I witnessed being sucked out of a moving bus at about 90km from an accidentally opened door. It came back to bus in ONE piece, no major dent, and WORKING, even the 50mm lens was OK. Only impact was inside the pentaprism, some part of the prism glass had been cracked and could be seen in the bottom left corner of the viewfinder image.

Second was a Canon body (can't remember the model) I saw at the local repairshop. It had a HOLE on it! Probably from a dropped solvent liquid or touch of something very hot.

Mark Mitchell , January 19, 2001; 06:58 A.M.

Perusing this site is a wonderful thing just by virtue of what you can learn from others. I've got nothing but enjoyment for the past 4 years in logging on to Photonet to answer a question, read an equipment review, or view someone's work. However, this N vs C vs M debate has become silly and trite. In 35mm, I've yet to see the real differences between any of them. I shot with an F5 for 2 years, too heavy, color metering borderlines on a hoax and found it couldn't do anything a Eos1N, A2e, 9xi, or others could do save for burning film faster. I found none of them compensated for my shortcomings as a photographer. Since then I have come to a complete realization they're nothing but tools, like a good power saw or drill, to do a job. Without the operator's skill, they're nothing. And for me, there doesn't appear to be a dimes difference. Most lenses made today are sharp enough for most all of us, it is what's done with them. Yes, there are some dogs, but even those are generally superior to what was available to consumers 15-20 years ago, and great shots where made then as well. The sooner people get of of the 'brand' bandwagon, and start conveying ideas and talk of skill and technique, the better off we all are.

David H. Hartman , January 30, 2001; 01:50 P.M.

Have A Bowel Of Wheaties And Stop Complaining!

Philip: Why The Obsession with Nikon F4s and F5 Weight?? A Canon EOS-1v HS weighs more than a Nikon F5 (1381g v. 1211g w/o batteries). MASS = INERTIA! There are many situations where the mass and inertia of these cameras is an asset like Available Darkness Shooting. A large lens with a light camera feels unbalanced like a large lens with NO camera.

Have A Bowel Of Wheaties and stop complaining or at lest be fair and complain about Canon EOS-1v HS, Better Yet Send Me The EOS-1v HS! <g>.

H.D. Shin , February 16, 2001; 06:06 P.M.

DOF preview with Nikon AF bodies (other than the F5): I shoot macros with an N6006, and I've always used a workaround that's sometimes suggested, but generally as a nutty demonstration of cleverness that's not really workable in practice: You unlock the lens and turn it just a bit in the lens mount, just enough to pull it off its electronic contacts, after which the aperture ring closes down the diaphragm mechnically. There's really no danger of the lens falling off if you're careful, since the lens is as firm up against the lens mount just off the locked position as locked.

In sum, this amounts to a slightly clumsy two-handed DOF feature. But then most of the rarely-used features on the AF bodies require two hands to set anyway, and DOF's generally used in situations where the photographer has plenty of time.

I should add that this assumes aperture's set by the aperture ring on your camera. I've heard that newer bodies control aperture from the camera body, with the aperture ring locked at minimum aperture. In that case, you'd also have to unlock the ring; visually inspect the ring for desired aperture after DOF sighting; lock the ring once again; then set the aperture from the body, which really amounts to an impossible procedure. On the other hand, even the N80 has built-in DOF...

alessandro seletti , March 12, 2001; 09:21 P.M.

I'm italian,and I've been a nikon user for two years(f 90x 80-200,28-70).Now I've got a eos 1v hs,eos 30,100-400is,28-70 2,8,100 macro,300 f4.Last week I made a test with a friend of mine:Eos 1v hs+100-400 VS f5+ 80-400......: There is only a winner: CANON!!!The zoom is easy to use,autofocus is fastest and much more silent and careful than nikon.The stabilizer canon is the best.Why doesn't nikon use a silent wave motor on his zoom?And why the new 300 afs f4(or new 300 2,8) is not VR? Because nikon has less technology!In the last ten years nikon is running after vainly........And now canon users are waiting the D.O. technology......... excuse me for my english.

alan arsenault , March 21, 2001; 10:33 A.M.

I work at a studio as well as freelancing for newspapers. I'v had and tried it all and I find that for me Canon is better. I find the ergonomics better as well as reliability. Also I find the features of lenses such as USM and Image Stablization to be incredible. When I shoot 35mm I reach for a Canon. And to the complaints about eyeglasses, I wear them and have no problem with the viewfinder on my eos 1's.

Carlyn Morgan , April 14, 2001; 02:43 A.M.

You might call me an amature proffesional photographer. My first real job was shooting portraits for a cheesy promotional company. I used their N90s with a 24-120 lens. I loved it. Of course it was my first experience with auto focus. I am now buying new equipment, after much research, and have decided on the Canon A2. Main reason: it was the cheapest camera with the features that I need. In my breif experience with it, I like it. I am the poor photographer buying her starter kit! As many people have said, it is the musician that creates, not the instrument. If you are competent with a camera you will manage just fine with a wide angle zoom as I am doing. If you keep in mind that the zoom ring isn't just an easy way of framing your shot, it can be a very versitile system.

As for the great debate: for me there isn't one. I have had a 35mm Mamiya, Minolta, Yashica. I have have put some heavy miles on a Nikon(very durable camera, I might add). It really comes down to which one will best suit your needs. It also seems that some people have forgotten the lemon factor. Both companies make them on occasion and if you have a bad experience it may just be that you've gotten hold of a bad one. Bottom line is cameras are like cars. One brand is not patently better than another. You can't drive an Escort like a Corvette and expect it to handle. You can't expect the longevity of a Honda from a Yugo. Find someone who understands what you want and can help you decide for yourself.

Joe Adnan , April 22, 2001; 11:42 P.M.

An update: the newly released Nikon AF24-85 f2.8-4 probably makes a better alternative to the (pricey) 28-70 AFS in the starter system and a better travel lens than the 24-120 because of its faster maximum aperture.

Tommy Huynh , May 03, 2001; 01:45 A.M.

I have to recant my statement about Minolta. I used to hate Minoltas with a passion. I even refused to sell them and forego my commission when I worked at a camera store. It wasn't until I picked up my friend's recent minolta body that I was thoroughly impressed. The days of crappy xi, si, i and x000 series are gone. The ergonomics and the layout made so much sense. The dials and knobs were very intuitive and better than any layout Nikon or Canon ever made IMO. I mean it's like minolta is giving us all the features that we always wanted and the ones the other guys hold back on to sell us more accessories.

* Things like a built in flash *with balanced fill* that could also be used to control the wireless flashes! No SU-4s or ST-E2s needed! * The interface is simply awesome. You could close your eyes and change all your settings and know exactly where they are at. * Manual shift is fantastic. I use M the most and being able to shift is much faster than counting steps and hoping you diealed it in the right direction. * The AF/M button at your thumbtips is exactly what I need. Shooting scenics, I often toggle between AF and M a lot on my Canon. I never found much use for full time manual since it resets after I let up on the shutter release(although the Maxxum offers this also). * AF illuminator which should be on every AF camera IMO. This makes shooting the EOS 1v/3, F5 a nightmare under extreme low light situations(unless you want to attach the flash). * The AF area selector is so much faster and simpler than Canon's QCD or nikon's AF button plus it has a quick return button for the center sensor IMO. Exactly what was needed. * I haven't used ADI but it looks just as good as E-TTL and 3d Matrix.

However, USM and IS are 2 VERY valuable features (to me anyways) that may keep me in the Canon camp, at least for now. I guess I will have to agree with your friend Phillip, the ultimate system would have Minolta designing the body, Nikon doing the glass, and Canon working on the gizmos.

Ramin Mohammadalikhani , May 11, 2001; 06:54 P.M.

Let me tell my story about different camera brands, as an owner of Canon EOS camera (EOS 650, 100, ELanII) for more than 7 years. My comments about EOS cmaeras mostly go to those in particular i have owned then to the rest as far as they share the same feature in common. I was frustrated with EOSs' control design since very early that i have owned them and never been able to get used to their user- interface's aspect. Of course they are fine if you let the camera decide about different functions, but once you decide to adjust some function say choosing the focus point, or having the flash exp. compensation, or having focusing on some subject and then recompose while still keeping DOF right at hand to use or indepnedent AF activatoin (from shutter release button(srb)), then you start feeling how much the camera is unfriendly to use. Or when with so short 6sec time you have after AF/metering on to adjust everything and then the LCD illumination goes off so that you have to push srb partway down(pwd) to activate it again which means you lost your previous AF&recompose and having to do it again. That for many adjustments you have to lower the camera from eye-level to operate it. And that you have to go through several steps to just choose the focus point or have flash esp. comp., or have indep. AF or AF/AE lock (having to go through the process of changinf a custom function and means loosing DOF as long as you need the other functions of that button: buttons which are to do several jobs. 8-( And either trying hopelessly to decide on different functions by yourself meaning some times to raise the subjects' impatience who are sitting in front of the camera waiting for you to adjust the camera, or loosing the right moment, or let the camera decide by itself meaning having to use it as a full-auto point&shoot camera as i have seen many users do with it. Well, at first i thought these problems are god-given and i have to simply accpet them without having any choice. When i was to decide which camera to buy a three years ago,I got scared about Nikon F70 being even worse than elanII regarding control layout. I was not aware of Minolta maxxum600si which was avaiable at the time i was thinking to buy a camera, simply due to my ignorance of any brand other than Nikon and Canon. Why did i ignore other brands? Well, simply because i accepted what other people had told me that Canon and Nikon are the best and the rest just not as good as these two prestigous brands. Many of those who had told me this, had never actually had any of these cameras, or done any study on the different brands. They had simply accepted what they had heard without any specific reason. I also accpeted what i heard without any reason. Gradually, my knowledge of photography grew up and i became more aware of the truth of the story while at the same time i lost a big portion of my interest in photography for elanII was so exhuastive to use and its metering so inaccurate and unreliable. When i was using elanII, once I decided to write down the exposure and metering data to see why so many times the camera gives a wrong exposure, but found this vitually very exhuastive or even impossible in some situations. Until, i put the camera aside for a long time without using it. Until, i lost my EOS for some reason and after a while i decided to buy a new camera. This time i knew i don't have to restrict myself to Canon or Nikon. I was sure i am not going to buy another Canon and fortunately this time, my budget was less limited so that i could look at more expensive cameras as well. Certainly, i wanted a camera with a reliable and effective AF as my eyes are astigmatic and i wear glasses, often having difficulty focusing manually. I was not concerned about quietness of Canon USM lenses as AF noise level of other brands is usually ignorable comparing to sr noise level. For example, I have checked that EOS1n has such a loud sr noise that i find it mostly pointless of having noiseless AF while pressing srb produces such a loud noise (have heard EOS3 is also very aloud). on the lens aspect of the situation, of course it would be nice to have IS technology, but the problem here is that these lenses are often so expensive that fall beyond my current affordable prices). Besides they are not a substitute for tripod. The good effective one like Canon100-400mmL-IS is too expensive and heavy for me, not practical to carry around. Whlie i was searching around and trying different cameras in stores, i got to discover Minolta maxxum7. Of course, i hesitated at first to purchase it, got the catalogue and studied it very carefully. I found out that its control layout is almost what i was dreaming before when i owned EOS cameras: fantastically logical and easy to use. Main functions that one needs to operate during the work all have dedicated dials and buttons so that they can be adjusted just in one step making working with the camera several times fater than that with EOS cameras! And then, data saving capibility: my other dream has come now true. It saves all data for each shot so that i can return and check them. A great tool to improve the photographing skills. Its metering has proved to be very reliable and accurate. Its AF is amazingly fast better than EOS cameras that i had and better that my friend's EOS1nRS as once i got the chance to compare them side by side. I have owned maxxum7 since about 2 months ago. Now, i know how much working with a camera can be a great pleasure! My interest in photogrphy has revived again even more than before. This was my experience. And my conclusion: while listening and considering othe people's comments and advises can be very helpful, they can also be misguiding without putting enough self thoughts and independent study beside it. Also: It is non-sense to say Canon is better than Nikon, Nikon is better than Canon, ... in the sense that novices and fans of different brands may say. They are all about the same and one needs to have first hand experience to see which works better for him/her. Ramin

Charles Griffin , May 18, 2001; 08:05 P.M.

I've been shooting professionally in small markets for 33 years, Started with an Olympus Pen FT, and used Yashicas, old and new Contax, Nikons, Pentax, Leica, Mamiya, Hasselblad, Graphix, and Canon. I initially resisted the newer AF cameras, but now have a Contax G1 and G2 with four lens and an EOS kit ranging from 15mm to 200mm with extenders. Also have a Mamiya 645 system and have a pretty large collection of Canon FD stuff that I'm selling off. I've been working at a large camera store the last few months and have seen the kind of shape used equipment is in and what kind of repairs come in and here are my conclusions based on all the data: Minolta, despite their innovations, build weak bodies. The lower the price, the more shoddy it is. The same is true for Nikon's lower end bodies. Body for body and at every price level except the very top, Canon is superior. At the top all three have very good bodies, Minolta is still number three, Nikon doesn't seem to fit my needs although the viewfinder is great, and I live with the excessive options that an EOS 1/Elan 7E offer. All three offer great optics. An argument can be made that Nikon lenses are superior to standard EOS lenses. It ends at the door to L-ville. My L lenses are only comparable to my Contax G Zeiss lenses. As for durability. My answer is that I'm giving my 35 year-old F1 to my daughter and selling my F1n and T-90 and 13 lenses. I think my EOS bodies will hold up. Lastly, every newspaper I've worked at has had Nikon equipment as their standard. Nikon made them better deals. But the equipment rapidly began to look like crap and function as badly. I, and quite a few others I met along the way, used our own Canon equipment. It always stood up to the use and it was accepted in courtrooms easier because of the lower noise levels. I could go on, but that's enough.

Sam Samaha , June 10, 2001; 10:53 A.M.

Aside from the Zeiss powered N1 from Contax, which lacks a bit in lense choices, the only other camera that I think fits the 'best all around" is the F100, sure the F5 is a bit more powerful for twice the price, and the EOS 1 is aswell, but neither by much, and with the right Nikon lenses (D) and flash (SB26 or 28), you have a powerful system that will work for all professionals except in rare cases, and all amatures in all cases. Canon is a great camera but it just doesn't have the Nikon optics, and it doesn't have the same response for me. I thinks it's like comparing a Lexus with a Mercedes, the Lexes seems to have all of the features and quality, and costs as much, but it's still doesn't have the same feel. I think it is an issue of personal choice, but the Nikon seems to be geared more to the professional, and has the feel of quality I expect from a professional body.

Again, F100, with an all around lense and am SB28 is a great pro level system for about $2200, the same price of an F5 or EOS 1 without any thing else.

Alexander Sverdlov , June 16, 2001; 09:20 A.M.

Forgive me for mine bad English. I use Nikon F2 already almost 20 years, I experimented with Canon, Minolta and has understood, that the best system for the professional photoreporting it Nikon. An opportunity to use MF-lenses, complete compatibility of accessories, incomparable flares... Mine $ 0.02

Kristian Dowling , July 06, 2001; 09:37 A.M.

There aren't too many people out there that will initially agree with what I have to say; especially in the arrogant way I am going to make my point. All I ask is to give my view a little thought before jumping to conclusions, and I am confident that you may see some truth in what I have to say.

Firstly, Canon and Nikon are both excellent brands. They both will achieve the same or similar results in many of the same situations, but they will achieve these results in different ways, using different functions. Their lens quality compares equally in most aspects, although there are particular lenses that compare more favourably than others. i.e. Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 macro is overall a better lens by both design (USM, focus speed, IF, etc), and optically. Nikon however has a better AF-S 17-35mm f/2.8 than Canon as the Nikon is better made, and from my own experience, it performs much better. My opinion this is the case, but not necessarily to others, but I guess you catch my drift.

Secondly, certain cameras and lens combinations will work better in certain situations, because of particular standout features. i.e. The Canon EOS 3 will be great for quick response focusing if the eye control can be mastered correctly, rather than pushing the focus point selection button, and then turning the dial to the selected area. It would also be better than moving the joystick around to focus on a Nikon F100. Though this example may not always work better in many situations with many different people. On the other side, the Nikon F5 has no parts to disassemble, giving (potentially) extra reliability to weather resistance, unlike the EOS 1V, when using the PB-E2 booster. But then again, the weather resistence of the EOS 1V is excellent, so here we go again!!!! This never ends...

Thirdly, the layout of controls and ergonomics affect a photographer’s ability. This also includes the steps taken to actually utilise a feature. This includes time, ease of use, placement of control, and it's ability to be executed at the time you need, and with great accuracy. The basic fact is that many cameras, will work differently with different people. Instead, of seeking features that can carry out particular tasks, look to the end result desired, and seek out the features that enable you to achieve those results with maximum enjoyment. Not necessarily ease, as this will most likely lead you to creative destruction. Many photographers think that a camera that thinks for them (exposure, focus) allows them to concentrate more on composition, and making the picture work. This tends to be the trend at the moment, and honestly, I believe that this will lead to the destruction of traditional photography, with the help of the digital era.

Lastly, my honest advice is to choose a camera SYSTEM that suits both your current style of photography, and you potential style, or style you'd like to achieve. Don't let MARKETING lead you to a tool that won't necessarily get you the best results. Whenever you feel that a camera or system lacks certain features you need, remember that many of the best photographers have used manual cameras such as Leica with great success for many years. A camera is just a box that allows you to record light onto film. The extras are there to assist in your ability to learn, not to sit back and be lazy. In terms of Canon versus Nikon, there is no competition. In my eyes we should not let the competition between the companies affect our choices. At the end of the day, we should not be competing against each other. We should be pulling together, to assist one another with our skills, and share experiences (Isn't the internet great!?) When you see certain newspapers using certain cameras, remember that they are probably not using them by choice, but because the company was given the best deal by either Canon and Nikon.

So where to from here? You need to be optimistic about your purchases, and be careful in your equipment evaluations. I.e. testing of exposure accuracy is better tested using transparency film rather than Negative film. A correct exposure is also a matter of opinion and individual perception, rather than a scientific yes/no answer. You need to try and visualise the type of photography you will be doing, and make a selection of focal lengths to match your style. Then you must decide, fixed or zoom lenses? This brings me to the top 5 things to do when deciding on brands and camera: 1. Decide what focal range is required, and choose appropriate lenses. 2. Choose a camera based on control, “required” features and feel. 3. Consider accessories required to make the system work. 4. Consider the back up service available in your area/country. Consider future trends in photo equipment, and re-sale value, especially if you fell you may be taking a big chance on your equipment. 5. Conisder the financial risk and implications involved. Value for money is only perception, and don't just go with the opinion of others.

Remember, you are purchasing a system, not just a camera. Well I am assuming that that is what you are doing or you’d be looking at a Pentax, as it is cheaper and performs well. I personally use a Nikon F5, AF-S 17-35mm f/2.8 and 28-70mm f/2.8 with a Nikon SB-25. I also want an AF-S 80-200mm f/2.8, AF 28mm f/1.4 and 85mm f/1.4 to complete my kit. Am I a fanatic? Probably, but I keep my focus on my pictures, rather than the equipment, and that’s my point! I choose Nikon as I like the feel, and way the functions are executed. I could almost as easily like and use Canon, as I have done successfully in the past. Good luck.

Klaus Schaaf , July 09, 2001; 02:02 P.M.

I just was on a trip in Africa: a friend had a Canon EOS3 with 100-400 UMS IS - a combination that simply made me jealous (Nikon N90S, Tamron 200-400mm). Superb autofocus lens that can even combine autofocus and manual focus - why can't Nikon build one like that? I still like the Nikon's handling better (except for Canon's super focussing system), and it is very reassuring to find batteries for the camera in virtually every store in the bush. Why can't someone make an adapter to use the Canon lens with the Nikon???

TC Low , July 12, 2001; 12:05 P.M.

After reading all the comments from your readers, I've decided to write this in order to mention something that has not been brought up in the N vs C vs others discussions.

I have owned EOS 630 and at present still have with me EOS 100 and 500, EZ 430 flash and a bunch of zoom and prime lenses. All the 3 bodies, after a few years of use developed sticky shutters because of some sponge material melting in the hot Malaysian weather. I came across the same problem being mentioned on an EOS mailing list by a EOS 1000 owner from Pakistan. My initial thought that this sticky shutter problem was confined to Canon's lower range was proven wrong when during a visit to a 2nd hand camera shop in S'pore, I opened up the backs of 4 EOS 1s and found that 2 of them had the same tell-tale streaks on the shutter blades. The shopowner, whom I have known for a long time, admitted that this problem was much more prevalent on EOS bodies. The Canon people I have spoken to said that it was a form of wear and tear and to regard servicing a camera like servicing a car, ie change parts (replace shutter) every few years.

Now, even the rubberised grip on my remaining EOSs and the circular rubber piece on the EZ 430 have developed sticky spots and I eventually tackled it by peeling off the rubber leaving behind the bare plastic. By comparison, neither of the Pentax SFXn and Nikon N2020 I have picked up along the way have had such problems be it the shutter or the rubber coverings. I remember that the foam strip for dampening the mirror on my old MX and ME Super had disintegrated due to the hot weather but they were easily cleaned and replaced with better material and their shutters have continued to work without problem in our climate. Although I have managed to clean off most of the gunk on the blades of the EOS shutters using lighter fluid and both cameras seem to be working fine, I do not have the confidence to use the Canon system for important occasions particularly when travelling in spite of their excellent optics, features and other advantages mentioned in photo.net. Naturally, I have also stopped acquiring any more EOS lenses/accessories.

Babatunde Martins , July 29, 2001; 09:59 P.M.

I like reading all of the opinions of other readers of this page. Canon Vs Nikon will not likely end with any words from us weather people become intelligent enough to see the cameras as the tools they are.

I shoot more medium format now with my hasselblad and started out with a Canon A2 after much researching features found of canon and nikon bodies(Iknew that I would swap out my A2 body at some point)For the price starting out I didnt see the features that were on the A2 body on anything but the much more expensive nikon f100(drive speed mirror lock up etc.) I am about to swap out my A2 body for a Eos1v(with 70-200L,100-400ISL 28-135IS). Shutter tested past 150,000 shutter-cycles, 10 frames per second and the ability to take off the drive when I want to go lighter and since in my field I use computers alot, the custom functions I believe are what tops it off for me since I can stream line this camera to make it super fast to operate stripping away modes I dont want so I can flip to ones I choose and I can even load profiles!.

I think that is as a modern artist I would expect in a camera that offers custom functions at all. I first thought that 45 focus points were overkill until I used them. wow. I didnt know you could set them up to be spaced how you want them.

I was looking at the F5 for a while but like the f100's detatched virtical grip better plus I felt that the virtical grip on the F5 to be too narrow,my A2 with the dettachable virtical grip had a much better feel. L lenses in my opinion especially the 100-400 IS L and 28-135 IS (ok and the70-200 2.8L) are great. I didnt go with the Nikon F5 since It as a 35mm camera is slower, not as versatile(no detachable grip) not as customizable as the eos 1v (half the custom fuctions) and the lenses are behind. Im not a conon or nikon person. I just wanted the most customizable fastest system for 35 since I already have my hasselblad system covered for higher image quality in format.

I would have gone for the F5 if canon only had an eos1 and an eos 3 but they have an eos1v and the "option" of the bpe2 ! wow. Its just a light box as an inteligent person put it. Im glad I can step out of this market research and take some pictures now. I will put a piece of tape over the name either way while I m outside . Im buying it to take pictures (lots fast)not go on a gear fashion show!

have fun take pictures :)

Bob Yarsh , August 04, 2001; 11:07 A.M.

For several years, I owned a Canon A2. While there were some aspects I loved, several factors finally pushed me back to Nikon. I am an eyeglass wearer (deep-set eyes), and I just couldn't see information on the bottom of the viewfinder and the view at the same time. And I couldn't easily tell if the subject was in focus, making me depend on autofocus. Those things made it too much like a great point-and-shoot. After looking at an EOS3, I finally switched to Nikon (an F100 and used FE-2 for hiking), and for me they have a much better feel. I think Nikons are better for photographers who like the feel of or want to use their lenses in a manual camera (and now the FM3a) and don't want to feel as dependent on the auto features. Especially if they wear glasses. As Phil says, both systems have their strengths and annoying problems -- the cohesiveness of the EOS system is a real plus for Canon, and I haven't been able to find information on Nikon's flash and other algorithms that Bob Atkins and others have described on photo.net for Canon. But for those who like photographing in a manual mode (especially if they wear glasses), I think Nikon has a real edge.

Jim Frahm , August 21, 2001; 03:34 P.M.

I've seriously used (just counting SLRs) Minolta, Nikon, Canon and Leica-R equipment, but for pro work in the field I've favored Nikon since the early '70's (when my editor gave me a nice new F2AS & some lenses that are still used!) That's mostly because Nikons (at least the pro models) are built like tanks. I also like the FM2n - which is nearly as robust - since it particularly suits my style of work: remote, hot/cold, dusty/wet - and very deliberate. The FM2n is my idea of the perfect "serious" amateur's camera...

I like Canon lenses as well as Nikon's, but nobody can honestly make a blanket statement that one firm's optics are "better" than anothers... It depends on the particular lens. (OK, I'll qualify that: You can *almost* claim that Leica optics are the best, 'cause usually they are, at least slightly! Also better built than anything else on the market.)

My problems with Canon are (1) their planned obsolescense - I don't want to change my whole kit every time they go to a different mount! - and (2) their obsession with high tech plastic and automation. Alas, Nikon seems to be going the same way, if somewhat more slowly.

Since my photography now is more rec than pro, I'm slowly migrating to the Leica-R - which finally has some decent bodies (R6.2 & R8) to go with those wonderfully sharp, flat and contrasty lenses! The R6.2 may even be rugged enough for pro use... but it's still too early to tell about the R8 in that regard... their early examples certainly had reliability problems.

My problem with Leica-R: They are horribly expensive (so I invariably buy used) and I have to tape over the 'Leica' label to (hopefully) avoid attracting unwanted attention... I may have the only R8 disguised as a (never-was) 'Nikon F1'!

Dominique Pajanacci , September 29, 2001; 05:46 A.M.

Well, after reading some of those articles posted here I had to give some feedback.

For 17 years I owned a CANON A-1 with a few zoom lenses and a Speedlite 199A, this outfit suited my photography very well but in 1994 I got attracted to autofocus and decided that I may as well switch to NIKON (Bit of a change).

So I sold my old CANON gears and bought a F90X with a 28-70mm F2.8 and a SB-26 to start with.

In 1998 I got a Nikon F5, (Sold my old 35-70mm F2.8... big mistake...!)17-35mm F2.8 AFS, 70-200 F2.8 AF-S, 60mm Macro, 50mm 1.4, the system was pretty good however I found a few things I did not like; the autofocus is quite noisy for the non-AFS lenses and the weight of the outfit was just too much...! The price of any accessory made by NIKON was sometimes 20% more expensive than it's CANON equivalent...

I was waiting for a new NIKON 300mm F4 which only came out last year...!

After using for a while the 17-35mm I was not really impressed with it's overall sharpness and contrast level, my old 35-70mm F2.8 was much better... so... I switched back to CANON 1.5 year ago (Again sold everything....).

I got a EOS-1V (Version HS), 50mm F1.4, 300mm F4.0 IS, 24mm F1.4, 135mm F2.0, 15mm Fisheye, 28-70mm F2.8 (My main lens at the moment), 100mm F2.8 MACRO USM , (I did not want the CANON 17-35mm F2.8 L because I thought it might produce the same problems than the NIKON AF-S) flashes 550EX and 420EX + Accessories...

Why...? Because I found my new system much lighter in weight (I am not obliged to carry the motor drive all the time) I think that my CANON L lenses have a better definition that their NIKON counterpart AF-S or not(Overall image quality, contrast ...) and the flash system is absolutely great; I am particularly fond of my 135mm F2.0 which I use systematically for portrait and I have constantly some excellent result. The 28-70mm F2.8 is probably slightly better than my old NIKON 35-70mm F2.8 and the 24mm F1.4 as superb resolution as well as my 300mm F4.0.

I think the CANON autofocusing is superior to the Nikon autofocusing and the lenses manual override while in autofocus mode means you are always in control.

The construction (All magnesium) of the EOS-1V is I think better than the F5 and the camera is more user friendly (The F5 is built like a tank and the EOS-1V is a much more refined package with a superior level of waterproofing ), I found the controls easy to use and straight forward, you set your custom functions to tune the camera to your shooting style once and everything after that is quite simple.

I am not saying that NIKON does bad things but after trying (To my expenses...) both system I rank CANON number 1, by far it is a more suitable system for me and the quality of it's glass is I think unmatched in the autofocus lenses world.

I am now back with CANON (18 years with the brand now), as far as I am concerned, I think that I never should have switch to NIKON 7 years ago...!

Dennis Lods , November 04, 2001; 02:34 A.M.

The solution to this debate is obvious. Own both. My autofocus stuff is Canon (because it really is faster and more reliable at focusing)and the manual stuff is Nikon (can't beat it for durability and reliability.) IS is fabulous, but so is the feel of a well- tuned FE2 on a walk through the pines!

Carl Smith , November 11, 2001; 11:05 P.M.

I think that with respect to Canon phasing out their EF mount, it is highly unlikely. Canon has obviously found a mount that people like, it has met with success, much like Nikons F mount. Canon has also seen how people feel about changing mounts. I suspect Canon will be wise and keep with the EF mount, as its greater size allows them to experiment and design new technologies a little easier than for Nikon with the smaller F mount. From personal experience I will say I prefer Canon for AF and Nikon for manual focus. I use an EOS 3 with various lenses, and I have to say that using it with either my 70-200 2.8L usm or 100mm 2.8 USM macro lenses is a dream. Both lenses are optically magnificent. I have used the EOS 3 without the PB-E2 grip when doing macro so it fits better on my tripod head. It definately feels considerably heftier with that grip on it. I find the plastic build of the EOS 3 to be excellent. Just given the basic nature of materials and engineering knowledge you can see that plastic will provide a more resilient shell that will take more kindly to being hit by something. However every material has its tradeoffs. Back to Nikon, I absolutely love my Nikon FM with 50mm 1.4 Nikkor. its great fun and I just wish I could find a 200 4 or something like that for a good price. But the EOS 3 is my workhorse and my money goes towards it usually.

Mojtaba Talaian , December 22, 2001; 04:55 P.M.

Neither Canon nor Nikon! If you are a beginner don't think about these major brands. Do not let yourself be amazed of 1/12000th shutter speed on Minoltas. Just buy a clean and good MF SLR from any brand with a non zoom lens on it, Usually a 50 normal lens. I got an EOS 1000 F and never had a ny progress in photography. I mean I learned a good deal about photo but it never appeared on my photos. I got tired of the damn machine and looked at eBay for a MF system. I got a Chinon CS (God knows from when). It came with an excellent 55 mm and an almost unused 130 mm. I paid only 50 US dollars. In another ride I bought a defect Chinon CE2 with a 55 mm Macro, 28 mm and 70-205 mm for another 50 Dollars. This one came with a flash and several filters. I paid only US 100 dollars with which I could only get an EF 50mm 1.8 for my EOS 1000. The good deal at the end was that I sold the EOS for 100 dollars and now I have a great sytem which I do not know how much would cost me if I wanted to follow EOS. The chinon camera I got is almost new. It has only a simple meter and nothing else. Instead of that crapy 35-80 EOS lens I have beautiful collection of good lenses. And who said it is not the instrument which produces the resulst? my pictures from Chinon have better sharpness. I only now can see Bokeh on my own photos. Simply my pictures have soul rather than those death images. And the best part is: They are produced in good coorporation between me and my gear. At the end I shall emphasise that I am not against big names. Canon EOS systems are of course one of the best in the market. But their quality range are far to reach for the poor hoby photographers.

Mark Wagner , February 03, 2002; 06:09 P.M.

Wow..what a page....

After owning a Canon AE-1P for over 20 years, I retired it for good and bought a Nikon F5...

Why dump Canon after so many years?? Well there are several reason. One, as a person getting into UW photography, Canon has been left high and dry (no pun intended) in regards to UW photography. The few companies that offer any housing for Canon SRLs offer only housings for Rebels..YUCK....

Also, the F5 offers the DA-30 Action Finder, which will be outstanding when housing a SLR. Canon offers nothing of the sort. Does this matter in the great Canon vs. Nikon debate??? If you are not interested in UW photography, then not one bit...

Second, Canon changes mounts and abandons many users (like my dad with his drawer full of old but wonderful lenses). What a nice things to do to your loyal customers. Well, never again.

Anway, the Canon vs. Nikon debate is useless...what is the point??? If you like Canon's ergonomics, go with Canon. If you feel you need "eye focus" go with Canon. If you have poor camera holding technique, go with the IS. Gad, who needs IS on a 500mm or 600mm tele?? Who hand holds super tele's anyway????

If you need 3 TS lenses, and want to pay $2500 for a 50mm f/1.0, then go with Canon. Personally, I do not want the one TS lens that Nikon offers.....

If you want superb autofocus that goes beyond the horizontal, go with Nikons' F100 or F5. Want only horizontal focus tracking?? Stick with the EOS-3 or EOS-1v....

Want Micro (well, macro to all other brabds) lenses that do a true 1:1, then go with Nikon

If you like the ergonomics of the Nikons, go with Nikon...I love the feel of the F5, and I did NOT the feel of the EOS-1v..that is only my opinion, not gospel truth. Does that make Canon bad and Nikon good??

In closing, while debating Nikon and Canon, I made up a pretty neat spreadsheet with Canon users on one side, and Nikon on the other side. Now, I am only interested in nature/wildlife/UW photography, so my list did not include any other type of photography.

In short, the Nikon users list simply outnumbered the Canon users about 3/1. The greats of nature photography simply dominate Canon. Frans Lanting, Galen Rowell, and Moose Peterson are only a few among MANY. Where as folks like Arthur Morris, Art Wolfe, and George Lepp represent only a few Canon nature photographers of whose work I am seriously familiar....



Meenakshi Krishnasamy , February 14, 2002; 02:41 A.M.

I am a beginner to photography. I was planning to buy an SLR and stared my research for an equipment. I was then caught up in the same Canon v Nikon dilemma and spend sleepless nite on the net to make my confusion worse. I just couldn't make a decision myself and e-mailed my friend who is an amateur photographer to solve my crisis. Instead of making a choice he offered me his Canon AE-1 (50mm/1.8)for $60.00. Now i started making pictures, the camera is in very good condition and results are very satisfactory. I will definetely buy an high-tech slr in future, till then i will have some mental rest atleast.

Carl Smith , February 17, 2002; 09:36 P.M.

Can't we all just get along, stop arguing, get the camera we like, use it and actually take some pictures? Nobody makes a better camera than anyone else anymore really. There are a couple of brands off in the weeds, but other than them, you probably won't be able to tell one manufacturer's equipment from the other based solely on the photo.

Zane Richards , February 25, 2002; 01:28 A.M.

To carl above...thank you. Nikon and Canon both make great cameras(sorry to the Minolta people...haven`t used one...yet). I used to shoot with the Canon Elan II, went to the Elan 7e(which I liked, but had to sell)and ended up with a great Nikon N80 that I`m using now. I`ve yet to own a camera that I don`t like...now, having said that I wished I had never sold the Pentax K1000 I had when I was a teen...

(PS a possible idea for a beginners set? The N80 with a Tamron 28-300 `D` model lens, it`s one of my favorites of my own).

Zane Richards , February 25, 2002; 01:55 A.M.

One more thing

`Just the few basic things that change a photograph. F number and shutter speed. These are the only things that matter to a photograph. 3D flash etc only make you lazy. They are OK for sports or parties but serious photography is about basics.`

This is pretty much a huge load...It`s interesting to me that when I go to look at photos at the mueseums, mostly done by the masters(Atget, Araki, Stechein(mis), and a huge list of others)the whole list of `important` technical details is usually never shown. Fstop such and such, shutter speed, etc. Curious. I`m certainly glad I had a manual camera at one time, don`t get me wrong. But my time in college was spent mostly learning aethetics(and not just those of photography-that would have been a waste of my time) as well as a few basic bits and pieces of the technical side of photography. Which is more important? Look at what the muesuems and history considers to be important. The canon(no pun intended)of work that`s already out there. I shoot fine(and once in awhile great)photos with my AF N80(and the Canons I had before it). I don`t expect to make a masterpiece with every click of the shutter...and I don`t care. I love photography. Enough said.

Carl Smith , March 03, 2002; 04:45 P.M.

If you've read this far, you've experienced the most ignorance that can be found in one place. You've reached the end of the world, and quite possibly, the end of the majority of these peoples' lives. Go take pictures and stop trying to prove AFS is faster (it isn't) or that IS is signifigantly better than VR (it isn't). GO SHOOT!

Ren Delloro , March 31, 2002; 12:46 A.M.

My interest in photography started about a month ago thanks to a friend of mine. I dug up an old Minolta XG-M with a 50/f1.7 lens that my dad gave me 10 years ago. My friend went through the basics of photography and I was off. I shot about 5 rolls and actually got some decent photos. I then decided that the MF was great to learn with but was also quite challenging for a beginner since I was more conncerned with focusing than concentrating on the basic photographic techniques So I decided to buy a newer camera and that has led to the Canon-Nikon-Minolta dilemma (my friend is a Minolta guy). After talking to people and reading your comments, I am even more confused than ever. But I realize that all 3 systems have advantages and disadvantages. After reading specs on the different cameras available I came to the conclusion that they are all basically the same. I derived a budget and went to the closest reputable dealer. The cameras in my price range were the Canon Elan 7 and Nikon F80. The Canon felt better but the Nikon's weight suited me more. I think I will do what some of the comments suggested. I'll buy a used cheaper body and purchase a better lens that is available in the package deals. I thoroughly enjoyed reading all of your comments. It was a totally entertaining and informative hour.


Nate Mertz , April 16, 2002; 10:02 P.M.

Okay, I've been listening to all you "WISE" photographers and I am really stupified. I cant believe how long you can argue about a camera system. Any proffesional photographer will tell you that the camera doest make you a better photographer. Its just a tool. Aside from true proffesionals the only one who owns a pro level camera is someone who, either is trying to show off, thinking it will creat wonderful pictures for them, or is a rotten photographer with tons of money. As a wise man once said "Nice camera, now show me your pictures!"

Lex Jenkins , May 06, 2002; 11:23 P.M.

I recently switched - almost unintentionally - from Canon FD to Nikon manual focus gear. I needed a tilt/shift lens (only the shift feature, actually, for an architectural project) and searched unsuccessfully for the Canon lens at a reasonable price.

Finally I said, heck with it, got a Nikon PC lens at a very good price, and the "shift" was on.

The result was a switch from Canon FTbn and T70 bodies to an F3HP and FM2N.

The Nikon's main advantage: those lenses. Nope, I'm not claiming Nikkors are universally superior to Canon FDs. Later Nikkors with the distinctive greenish multicoating are, IMO, more flare-resistant. But I prefer the bokeh of most Canon lenses. The real issue is long term compatibility and access to a greater number of lenses. Nikon wins that category.

Even the FM2N, despite lacking the hinged meter coupling doodad that can be flipped up out of harm's way for use with non-AI lenses, is compatible with a far greater range of lenses than comparable Canons like the FTbn. And most incompatible Nikon lenses can be modified to fit. Darned good deal for us manual focus diehards.

Another factor: since AF has all but taken over the SLR world prices of used manual focus lenses have generally become relatively better deals for buyers. Canonites long claimed their gear cost them less than Nikonistas paid. No longer true (if it ever was). The total for my handful of Nikkor primes (some purchased, some traded for) is approximately the same as equivalent Canons would cost. The Nikkor shift cost less (granted, it lacks the tilt feature; the Nikkor 105mm f/2.5 (non-micro) cost more, but is a better lens than Canon's 100mm f/2.8; Canon had no equivalent to the 180mm f/2.8 but the Canon 200mm f/2.8 costs about the same as the non-ED Nikkor and is not *quite* as good a lens, tho' they're awfully close; and Canon FD macro lenses have always been overpriced compared with Micro-Nikkors.

And while I can't fairly compared, lens-to-lens, Canon and Nikkor normal lenses, the Nikkor 50mm f/2 is more useful as a makeshift macro lens due to better edge resolution and less curvature than my Canon 50mm f/1.8 and f/1.4 lenses, which were otherwise outstanding lenses at their intended distances. Prices for used Canon and Nikkor normal lenses are about the same.

Another note in this lens digression...and keep in mind I was a longtime Canon FD user and fan. Nikkors have held up better, in general, than their Canon counterparts. Canons from the breechlock era were prone to focus ring skipping - as the ring is rotated the damping, or "feel", varies from smooth, to stiff, to slack. At worst, Nikkors of the same age have relatively little damping, feeling somewhat like a typical autofocus lens - that can be advantageous for literally slick one-finger focusing.

And while Nikonistas complain about cheapening present in some AIS era lenses - 3 screws replacing 5 on the AI mounts (true only on the lighter weight lenses where 5 screws were a bit of overkill anyway) - and E lenses (use of plastic), Canon lenses were equally cheapened and sometimes more so than were Nikkors. While the Canon mount was always - arguably - the strongest bayonet mount ever designed, I don't know of any Canonite who honestly believes the later pushbutton release lenses were as well built as the earlier breechlock variety. The pushbutton release was certainly more complex and expensive to produce - no third party lens maker ever used it. Pushbutton-era Canons weren't prone to skipping in focus rings but were prone to loosening up overall - I've even heard of entire lens barrels separating under normal use. The push-pull zooms were typically too slack. The aperture rings were too stiff with uncertain click stops.

Worst of all, those pushbutton-era zooms that featured a special ring to allow "macro" focusing (seldom with better than 1:4 magnification) did so at the expense of continuous focus to infinity and with generally abysmal results - poor resolution and contrast, loads of chromatic and spherical aberration. The only decent - actually quite good - zoom from that era was the last in the 100-300mm f/5.6 series, the one labeled "macro" on the lens. It provided continuous focusing from infinity to around 1:5 at 100mm and to around 1:3 at 200mm. And while it wasn't marketed as a close focusing lens at the 300mm focal length, actual magnification was the same as at 100mm, around 1:5. Image quality was very good throughout. This non-L version is a best buy among Canon FD zooms. And I traded it toward my Nikon FM2N.

That ought to tell you how much I like the FM2N.

Jino Lee , May 09, 2002; 02:40 P.M.

With regards to the Canon & Nikon 'war', I would like to share a few points: 1) If you're into Wildlife/Adventure go for the Nikon. (National Geographic Magazine's majority).

2) If you're into Sports & Press work go for the Canon. (F1, motorsports & sports/action magazine's majority)

3) If you're into General Photography go for either one. You can't go wrong with either one of the system. Choose the one that feels good in your hand, heart & soul. Forget all the media hype coz it was created by some 'unprofessional, selffish & childish' people who enjoys seeing you fight.

4) Among the pros, I think Nikon are more popular in the USA while Canon are stronger in Europe.

The bottom line is both systems are equally good. Just use your common sense, if one brand is predominantly better & stronger than the other, the weaker brand or so called 'loser' would have ceased production and operation years ago. Right?

This argument is totally ilogical, it's just like arguing about my religion is better than yours and vice versa. This world market is big enough for Canon & Nikon users to co-exist in harmony.

William Harrison , July 06, 2002; 09:18 A.M.

First, my history - I spent 20 years as a photographer for the US Military and am now an engineer in the civilian world, I look at a camera as an engineer (and the plastic in Canon IS a small concern). I've used Nikon, Canon and Minolta, among every other hair-brained film-holder known to the public as well as some you don't know about. I bought Minoltas when I started getting my own equipment. It was a mix of the best I could get for the cash at hand. The deciding factor was how the camera body fit my hands. Way back when, Minolta was a bit bigger than the rest and I have long fingers. My wife settled on Olympus (OM-1 and OM-2) because they were smaller, for her smaller hands. I have kept my Minoltas (SR-101, XG-7 & X-700, with MF lenses up to 1000mm) for knock-around shooting but have switched to the Canon EOS system for serious, sellable images, (AF lenses up to 300mm w/1.4 multiplier). The AF is great for these aged eyes and the eye-following ELAN 7e is appropriate for my uses - specifically wildlife shots with fast moving targets. The silence of the Canon cannot be discribed here. If you do not know what a silent camera really sounds like, go to a camera store and pick-up a ELAN 7 or 7e and give it a click. THERE IS NO BEST CAMERA in this contest, only the camera that best suits you and your usage. Do you wish to shoot static targets or fast moving birds of prey (manual vs AF)? Brightly illuminated or dimmly lit images(manual exp vs AE)? Action and/or Sporting events (Canon excels here) or scenics and/or macros(Nikon/Minolta). Are you a world travler, lots of airlines? Taxis? Serious mountain climbing (Nikon is a rugged traveler)? Each camera manufacture sells a varied line of product because there is no ONE Best Camera. With 20+ years of intellingence photography behind me, I choose Canon, it is light, solid, capable and faster at focusing than I am. And Ohhhh so quiet! Is Canon better than Nikon (or Minolta)? No! It's just better for me, where I am today in my photography interests. You have to read between the lines in all the messages above and decide how you will use your camera, grow with it, expand your lens collection and skills inorder to decide where you are today in YOUR photography, where you are going and what camera will get you there. Also: Don't be surpirsed if you change systems over time.

Nick Rosania , July 25, 2002; 02:07 P.M.

I am somewhat of a beginner when it comes to photography, but since I own both Canon and Nikon equipment I thought I would contribute a couple comments.

My dad was a professional photographer (primarily doing portraits, weddings, and event photography) for about 15 years. I am an architect major at UNLV and needed a professional system to do dramatic model photography and reconnaissance work. My dad used medium and large format cameras in the studio and for weddings, but on the road for everyday stuff (proof of performance work) he used Nikon mechanical cameras like the F and F2, his favorite workhorse being the rock solid Nikkormats. So his suggestion was get a mechanical nikon with a macro lense for close up stuff and a fixed focal length lense for other stuff. ("the lense is what makes the picture")

Well I wound up getting extremely lucky.... a friend of mine GAVE me a Canon AE-1 with a winder, 135mm, 50mm, 28mm, filters, teleconverter, flash, etc...... all in a nice aluminum case! This worked really well but soon after I got great deals on a Nikon F2a, a Nikkormat FTN, a Nikkor 43-86mm, and a Nikkor 50mm/f2 with a 2x teleconverter with 1:1 macro capability.

I love the rock solid heavy duty feel and ruggedness of these older METAL camera bodies and lenses. When my dad worked as a photographer during the late seventies and eighties, they bought up all of these older all mechanical bodies and they never failed.... they were trusted and loved and produced excellent photographs.

For now I think I will stick with these cameras, maybe someday I will go AF, the F-5 does seem pretty bad-ass, but maybe its nostalgia, maybe its like father like son, but whatever it is..... I think its important to get what you feel is right and get out there and make pictures! One could spend forever trying to decide on a system and in the meantime opportunities are lost. I spent a lot of time on e-bay trying to find the right stuff and as long as you are having fun then it's all good, but don't over complicate things.... have fun! My dads eyes lit up when he saw the Nikon gems that I got on e-bay and I'm sure he was reminded of all the experience he had with those cameras... and for me... that's what it's all about! God Bless!

Phil Wick , September 03, 2002; 08:47 P.M.

The comparison between Nikon and Canon can (and will) be debated until the end of time. Personally, I use Canon. I have an old T-70 and my favorite lens is a 35-105. Old, beat up, but still working like a charm and still pumping out great photos. Soon I will invest in an EOS Elan 7e. Sure, I could go with Nikon, but I like the features of Canon (except having to buy new lenses, but the image stabilization sure does intrigue me). As for which is better...to me its like asking which is better, strawberries or cherries, Ford or Chevy, or what’s a better color fuchsia or chartreuse. Its all in the mindset of who is behind the camera.

Jason Villafranca , September 17, 2002; 01:19 A.M.

Why do I work exclusively with Nikon equiptment?... Because that is what I started with... A few years ago my brother and I purchased manual SLR's as Christmas gifts to ourselves... I got a Nikon FG with two inferior third party lenses and my brother got a Canon AE-1 with 3 inferior lenses... we both got all excited about our new toys and were soon building up to pretty substantial kits... Today I now own an F4S, N80, FG, D1, 50mm F1.8, 70-210mm F4, 20-35mm F2.8 and a 105mm F2.0 DC... I am extremely happy with my brand of choice and I do feel that my Nikons have served me well as a now professional wedding/portraite photographer... But what if I got the AE-1 instead of my brother?... I bet I'd be equally happy with an AE-1, Elan 7E, EOS 1V, D60 and canon lenses...

By the way, what's better - the Mustang or the Camaro?... Black shoes or brown?... I dunno - all I know is that when I'm thirsty either Pepsi or Coke will do the job just fine...

Albert Wang , October 18, 2002; 03:24 P.M.

I enjoy using Leicas and Canons. One of the pluses is that I can stick the Leitz glass onto my Canon bodies with an adapter. Although I enjoy the feel of my Elan IIe (relative to my old Nikon 8008s which cracked when I dropped it during an engagement shoot). The eye focusing is very nice and helps me quite a bit when doing street photography (similar to the M6 experience I have).

I don't dislike Nikon or Canon because it's a personal preference (especially if you shoot using Sigma lenses it's the same). So for me, I just prefer Canon and enjoy it and use it for my photo books alongside my Nikon Coolpix withe useful swivel lens thingey (although I prefer Canon metal bodies better) for my work.

I enjoy shooting period. Just give me a camera and let me make a picture...

Horst Heller , February 15, 2003; 06:00 P.M.

Last year, when I sold one of my old Nikon lenses, the buyer asked me why I would give it away. When I replied I was switching to Canon he looked at me and said: "You traitor!" Of course he was joking, but there was a grain of earnest in his words. A couple of years ago, I would have called myself a traitor, too.

I bought into the Nikon system in 1983 to end a two years's Leicaflex nightmare (believe it or not). I started with the FM2, which I still consider the "sexiest" camera Nikon ever made and eventually owned several FM2, Nikkormat and FE2 bodies and many lenses. The Nikon gear was at least equally beautifully made as the Leica, much more reliable and the technical service actually did what it's name was promising (provided you did not send your stuff to Nikon´s Munich contractor). Every item was a delight to use. I tried half a dozen third party cable releases, but most of them lived for a couple of weeks or so. In the end I bought the Nikon AR-3 which was somewhat expensive but lived forever (and is still living). This was Nikon in the mid-eighties.

As time passed by, the wish for a "modern" camera body arose, i.e. a camera with a built-in motor drive, TTL flash metering, high-eyepoint finder etc. Up to these days, Nikon's semiprofessional bodies had always been the much more interesting alternatives to the "F"s. At half the price, they were equally well built and left away the exchangeable finder, which I anyway find an error in itself. Things changed with the F-801 (N8008). Its workmanship was pitiful compared to the FM2. I could live with the plastic outer, but I could never resign myself to the uneven plastic baseplate and the protruding bottom thread making it impossible to attach a tripod rapid coupling neatly. I had a friend to file it off by about 1 mm to keep the camera firmly locked to the tripod.

Yet, the main nuisance of the F-801 was the lack of a mirror pre-release. This was a lesson learned the hard way! Yes, the FM2 and FE2 have it, I used it, and the Nikon idiots do not even mention it in the prospectus! I cannot believe nobody cares about this feature! IMO, a mirror pre-release is the most important feature of any SLR camera!!! If you think you don't need it, you just don't have to use it! Twenty years ago, it was a matter of course on every Nikkormat. Today, Nikon still does not not offer any mirror pre-release or lock-up on cameras other than the F5. "Though this be madness, yet there is method in it!" They do it deliberately in order to force us to buy this overpriced, overweight, battery-swallowing monster. Canon and Minolta have learned the lesson, they do offer MPR or MLU on their semiprofessional bodies. And unlike with the F4 and F5, the mirror pre-release of the EOS-1N works in the automatic exposure mode as well.

I have no idea why I eventually bought the F90X. It was no better than the F-801. In fact it was much worse, judged against Nikon's claim to be a "professional" camera. The screw thread was still that sloppy made, there was still no MPR. I knew this before, but I did not know that the beautiful ± 2 EV-scale of the F-801 had been compressed to pitiful ± 0.7 EV, making manual setting not more exact than with the FM2.

But you could take your camera to the Nikon service, pay some one hundred fifty Marks and have some custom functions programmed (with Canon you did the same thing yourself within seconds by pushing a button). One of the CFs was called "fast exposure compensation". This sounded great, as if Nikon finally had managed to copy one single feature of the Canon EOS-1 after it had been on the market for nearly ten years. But then you directed your re-programmed camera toward your subject, dialled in some compensation and waited for the right second to press the shutter. The instant came - and the compensation was gone. Why? Because when the camera automatically switched off the meter after a couple of seconds it reset the exposure compensation to zero, too. You constantly had to keep an eye on the finder display to check whether your compensation was still there. According to Nikon, this could not be altered.

Yet, I still could not make up my mind to be a "traitor". I bought an F4. Unlike the F-801/F-90 junk, this still was a Nikon-like camera reminding of the of the good old days. Everyting was thoroughly made, including the massive baseplate, and no setting changed deliberately. But "Nikon-like" always meant: way too big and heavy (though much lighter than the F5; you have to count the batteries as well, plus a set of spare batteries!) and still largely ignoring the innovative handling introduced by the Canon EOS-1. An AE-lock button or AF-lock button you have to keep pressed (instead of just tapping it one second) is almost useless, as is an autofocus that cannot be uncoupled from the shutter release button.

Then the Nikon F-100 was announced, and it still had no mirror pre-release. It became clear to me that there was nothing more to expect from Nikon. Meanwhile the Canon EOS-1N had been discontinued and the prices for a body in good condition dropped to affordable levels. I kept only my beloved FM2 and FE2 and a couple of MF-lenses and sold the AF-garbage. I use the EOS-1N for about one and a half years now, and, while it is not perfect, my only regret is not having made the change eight years earlier.

I am no longer interested in Nikon and only occasionally watch the endless story going on. When FM3A was introduced, Nikon annonunced it would come with a new bright focusing screen.I had been waiting for this screen for nearly 15 years. Because it was never offered by Nikon, I bought F-801 screens and pinched off their pin to make them fit into the screen holding frame of my FM2s. This was a 99% solution as the screen was too narrow by half a mm. It would have cost Nikon close nothing to offer the new technology as an upgrade to their old customers but Nikon does no longer care about their old customers. Nobody even tells the FM2 and FE2 users today, that the much better screens of the FM3A would perfectly fit their cameras as well!

And still there is no tripod collar available for the AF 2.8/180 and there never will be. (Remember the users of the 2.8/80-200 had to beg for 10 years before they were granted one!) You can buy it from Rainer Burzynski, a one-man independent manufacturer in Berlin. I think you could run a whole small business by offering "bugfixes" for the countless "bugs" in the newer Nikon system!

As for the alledged "system compatibility" within the Nikon system, this is a joke! In fact, there are countless incompatibilities concerning G-lenses, newer bodies without AI coupling ring, AF-S-lenses, flash, metering, converters, intermediate rings etc. Nothing fits nothing 100% and nobody knows what items fit together 10% or 50% or 80%.

This is my Nikon story. I am no traitor, I just got fed up of of my manufacturer making a fool of me for ten years on end!

Leif Goodwin , March 02, 2003; 04:32 P.M.

The problem I have with Nikon is the continual introduction of new incompatibility. Take the recent G lenses. If you own several recently bought F90x bodies, then hard cheese, they won't work with G lenses. And what about teleconverters? You might end up needing 3 different 1.4x ones to fit three different lenses. AF teleconverters? For most lenses the answer is no. AF extension tubes? Nope, out of luck there. Tilt and shift wide angle lenses? Nope, out of luck again. Lightweight pro-quality 70-200 zoom? Nope. AF 400 F5.6 lens? Nope. Use manual lenses on a new body? Yes, but on most bodies there is no metering.

A positive mark for Nikon is that Fuji, Kodak and Nikon all make digital SLR's with the Nikon F mount. Only Canon make ones with the Canon mount. Luckily for Canon their digital SLR's are amonst the best around though this may change tomorrow.

Nikon produce many first rate lenses and bodies. But it could be so much better.

Tom Rose , May 13, 2003; 08:12 A.M.

Let us face it, neither Canon nor Nikon makes exactly what we want in a camera, nor in a system of lenses. Both manufacturers have a vested interest in leaving SOMETHING out so that we will get dis-satisfied, and buy their next "improved" offering.

But Nikon really seems to be going down the tubes. Right now the EOS system hangs together much better than Nikon's. It is a system. Nikon just can't seem to get it right.

- Take the F100 for example. It is NEARLY perfect. It is tough. It has a nice viewfinder. You can change the screens. It is not too noisy. You can take AE and AF off the shutter release and put them onto two separate control. It uses AA batteries. But there is no mirror lock-up. Instead they give us the stupid selectable 5-AF points. I know which I'd rather have. And why is there no custom function to leave the film leader out when I rewind, for mid-roll film changes?

- There is still no wide-angle Tilt-shift lens in the line-up to replace the archaic 28mm and 35mm PC lenses. The 85mm TS macro is nice, but a 24mm or 28m TS lens like Canon's would have been more useful to me.

- The famous "system compatibility" is gone. You just can't rely on being able to use your old lenses with modern bodies, or modern lenses with older bodies. G-lenses don't work on manual bodies (and some AF bodies). There are random incompatibilities between particular lenses and bodies, or TC's and lenses, or TC's and bodies. The F80 is a nice camera, but it is spoiled by its inability to meter with non-AF lenses. My daughter has an F80 with 24-120 lens that she takes on her travels. She wants a faster, higher quality, portrait lens. I have a surplus 100mm f/2.8 E tat I'd like to give her - but the F80 won't meter with it. It CAN be used, but you have to either meter with a different lens first, or use a separate meter. It is too much hassle.

- Nikon eventually produced "Silent wave" to match Canon's USM, but why is it reserved for expensive versions of professional lenses and a handful of G lenses? Where is Nikon's equivalent of the 28-135 IS USM?

- To tackle all the subjects that interest me in 35mm I need 2 Nikon bodies and 6 lenses. I could get all the same capabilities, and a few more in ONE Canon EOS body, and three lenses.

- You could be forgiven for thinking that Nikon is trying to drive us all away and into Canon's arms.

Brian Cincotta , September 22, 2003; 12:42 P.M.

I hardly think Nikon is trying to drive people away, into Canon's arms. How stupid.As far as the equivalent of Canon's 28-135 lens, there is the new 24-120 with vibration reduction and AF-S. A big MINUS for canon, is the fact that you cannot use FD lenses on EOS bodies. Nikon's older lenses mostly work with the newer bodies, even if there may be a few restrictions. If you have an EOS 1V or EOS 3, etc. you can only use EF lenses on these bodies, so if you have the older lenses you're out of luck. I believe there MAY be some sort of an attachment to the eos bodies which permits an older lens, but again, it isn't 100% perfect and has its own limits.

Chuck Rice , November 23, 2003; 05:12 P.M.

I've read many interesting perspectives offered on the subject of Canon vs. Nikon. From reading, as well as from shopping, and use of the two brands it is apparent that, as has been the case for many years, both brands 'offer' excellent quality and each brand in some way offers superior performance to each photographer in some ways or for some uses. Both companies also have produced models that left much to be desired in the areas of ease of use, reliability, or durability.

I personally have primarily used Nikon, for 35mm work, since 1969 and as a result of AI modification or original purchase of AI or AIS, all my manual focus lenses may be used on my F2s, FE2, and my F100. Considering the price of several of the lenses, that is a strong point for me. I generally use my auto focus lenses on my FE2 or F100 but, if desired, I "can" easily add an indexing shoe to any of them to allow normal metered use on one of my F2 bodies though it's also important to me that I "can" use them as is with stop-down metering.

Due to increasing market pressures Nikon has in fact partially abandoned their traditional, and long advertised, "planned non-obsolescence" where lenses are concerned. The "G" lenses though offering lower price, and generally excellent performance are limited to use on the 'bodies' with aperture control. It was surely a much debated and considered marketing move. Conversely, the abandonment of the unique flash foot/shoe of the F, F2, and F3 in favor of the ISO foot/shoe improved the situation in that area. The situation regarding the various connecting cables has become an expensive maze during the past two decades and not likely to improve with either brand.

Canon also make a considered, and bold, marketing move when they abandoned the previous lens mount. While abandoning owners of previous bodies they also enhanced their ability to manufacture high performance lenses at lower manufacturing and selling cost. The sometimes ugly fact is that to survive in the modern mass marketplace of small format cameras, innovation has replaced tradition in some respects. Nikon and Canon will almost certainly be in an ongoing battle of price point vs. performance for the mass market models.

Because of the durability, and parts availability from used equipment, we are apparently well away from any end to the servicability of the F2 bodies or the lenses, also true of the Canon F1 and compatible lenses. My FE2 could be one electronic failure away from being a parts camera, and in not many years that will be true of my F100. Also true of Canon electronic cameras.

This brings me to the point that I think represents the greatest change in consideration of either brand. Virtually all of the cameras from Canon and Nikon since 1979 must be considered expendable tools. That of course is a hard realization for an amateur who has no, or limited, photo sales to balance against the cost. Once the warranty period has expired, many types of failures can render the camera economically unrepairable.

Twenty five years ago the amateur photographer could, for 35-50% more money, purchase, or trade up to, a pro line model from Canon or Nikon with confidence that it would offer additional features, perform well, and provide decent return if sale was desired for decades to come. That "decades to come" is probably invalid for all of the fully electronic models.

Just looking through photo catalogs of the past three years will demonstrate the number of model, lens, and price changes during the period. With few exceptions, 35mm format film cameras are just as vulnerable to market changes as digital cameras.

So I echo earlier suggestions that for most users, particularly amateurs (less than 50% of income from photography), the lowest priced body that offers the needed features along with carefully selected high quality lenses probably offers the best value.

Virtually all currently available lenses, and most lenses of the past 40+ years will provide superb results for all but certain technically demanding uses. My Nikkors from the early 70s offer virtually the same color balance and resolution as the newest models. Advances in coatings and lens elements enhance that in some situations but they basically had it right then, and now. I believe that to be true of Canon as well.

I also will echo that any camera that is out being used regularly will produce infinitely better photographs, and thereby photgraphers, than any F5 or EOS1V that resides in a case most of the time. Comparing charts, graphs, or specifications is informative but doesn't equal or demonstrate the real world results.

When using a reliable Canon or Nikon model with appropriate lenses over the range of general photography, if the photographs aren't meeting expectations the answer is probably not a different or higher priced camera or lens. Spending a fraction of the cost of a new camera on a good class, or just the price of film and processing for extensive practice will render greater positive results. That's only my opinon but it's worked for me since 1967.

Danny Andrew , February 02, 2004; 08:03 P.M.

I am really bored enough to read that far, and still have got something to contribute..

Long ago, in my high school ages (more than 10 years ago), when I have had enough with point and shoot and have saved enough for an SLR, I go through the choice between Nikon and Canon ... at last I go for a Minolta Dynax 600si.

Why? Nikons...in my eyes at that time its really good, but too expensive, out of my reach. Canons? USM? N frame per second? 'those are gimmicks only..' I thought. And Dynax (known as Maxxum in US) 600si was a new camera, a new design > nobs rather than star wars like switches on F70(N70?) is a real appeal to be when I was a beginner, it still is.

Ease of control is the first thing to be considered. Great optics does not lead to great pictures, but the right setting. Slowly I built up lens from 20mm up to 300mm, and I am a happy (young) man for many years. Plastic is not a problem, I have drop the 600si for a few times, and rather then straches I couldn't see any problem.

Until sometime ago, I dig out an FM from my uncle's storeroom, with some good AI lens. I really enjoyed using the FM and the excellent optics, plus it is rigid (I drop it from 2metres heigh) and , well I just enjoy the total control I get on manual cameras.

Soon I hate to bring 2 camera of different systems and want to use the quality AI lens, I trade-in for a F80, and it is the worst decision I have ever made. Soon I found that some lens would meter properly on F80. OKAY, I bough a light metre, but it is just too troublesome.

Compatability of F mount? No. Don't be misleaded. The only compatable mount for both MF and AF lens is make by Pentax with there K mount, not Nikon.

In this digital age, upgrade to DSLR is an long term target for many photographer. I have been waiting long for the D70, an affordable DSLR to answer Canon's EOS300D (Rebel D). I am just *TOTALLY DISAPPOINTED* that I heard AI lens wouldn't work (again). It is true that Nikon is driving there loyal customers to Canon, it is true. I just get an old Rebel G, and start to collect some Canon fit lens.

For Beginners, don't be afraid to choose a Pentax, an old MF camera are even better. All of them will let you built up your skill, learn all the basics of photography.

Raki K , March 14, 2004; 01:38 A.M.

I consider myself a semi- pro (excuse me, I do have a lot of problems with these kind of classification- some amateurs have better understanding of photography than some pros) and my income is primarily from photography. The first camera I have used was Pentax K 1000 and when I got into serious photography I switched to Nikon (news Photography). At that time most pros I knew were using Nikon and hardly anyone used to complain about Nikon. Basically Nikon was considered `THE' camera for pros.

The first time I started suffering from this so called "it's greener on the other side syndrome" was when I joined a photography magazine as an assistant to the technical writer. While shooting with both cameras ( Nikon and Canon) st a number of occasions, I found Canon photo quality superior to Nikon. Here I am not talking about features and technicality. I am talking about the over all photo quality in terms of sharpness, color saturation, balance between correctly exposed and under exposed areas etc. Even then I never thought of switching to Canon because I was so used to my Nikon cameras and lenses. It is like ending a relationship/marriage, it's not so easy to shift to another system. After all most photographers are not that rich to change their equipment each time someone introduces a new technology.

Also, from my experience of working with a photography magazine, what I found extremely disturbing with Nikon was; Nikon has the worst reputation for not being attentive to its customers queries and complaints. If you write to Nikon, you hardly get any replies whereas Canon gets back to you in few days. In this regard I must admit that Minolta and Tamaron are the best- they do care A LOT!!!

let me get back to the point- I am seriously thinking of switching to Canon for few reasons- at the same time I do have second thoughts too. Yes, I am in an perpetual dilemma

Advantages and disadvantages of canon and Nikon (correct me if you think I am wrong)

Canon: Great photo quality- sometimes it is a bit scary that the picture looks too unreal

Nikon: durability, resale value, wide range of accessories.

Canon: IS (image stabilization- Nikonians, ought to use this to know the difference!)

Nikon: AF illuminator on certain bodies like N 80/ D 70

Canon: AF illuminator is a pop-up flash which is highly irritating and idiotic ( Elan/Eos series )

Nikon: worst customer service

Canon: good customer service

Canon: A way too rebellious or stupid enough to change camera mounts overnight

Nikon: Old lenses are compatible with new "technically advanced¡¨ cameras (although u have to use a handheld light meter)

Nikon: price and availability. In the states Canon is cheaper but in Europe/Asia/Africa canon is more expensive.

Canon: You find more and more pros switching to Canon whereas you hardly find anyone going back to Nikon 0ļ

Nikon: Nikonians are outspoken (experimental) enough to talk bad or complain about their equipment whereas you find Canon users always live in this illusion that my gear and pictures are better than yours. This is actually very disturbing.

Anyway, the bottom line is the photo quality of Canon. Any suggestions or comments? Please don't tell me it is because of the film and processing No way- I use Fuji ( velvia)while shooting landscapes, Kodak for portraits and for architecture I use Kodak VS.

Thanks for reading.

Frank Rizzo , June 30, 2004; 06:32 A.M.

When I first got into photography I knew nothing about which had better features or otherwise, all I had to go on was what I could afford in high school and what was in front of me: Rebel G(original) or the N50. At first having a dot matrix lcd screen on the Nikon bothered me since I figured down the road that'd be the first thing to poop out but after I took the lens off and found metal in the Nikon(lens mount and heftier body)compared to the all plastic Canon I was sold on the Nikon. If I was going to spend $400 on a camera it seemed to me like it should weigh more than a computer mouse. After buying many lenses and now have a N80, overall Nikon builds A-10 Warthogs that might be slower but always get the job done and Canon builds the F-16s that are faster but definately not as reliable.

Yuri Yuryev , August 18, 2004; 01:48 A.M.

Great comments and opinions on this page. I really enjoyed reading all of them, despite the fact that it's a 7-year-long thread :)

A couple of people here were really dissatisfied with the "plastic" feel and make of the low-end Canon bodies, and I agree that some are too flimsy, perhaps. However, there's a benefit -- THEY ARE LIGHT!!! Now, I'm a Canon user, and I haven't dealt with Nikons much, but the Rebel 2000 + EF 50mm F1.8 is the lightest combination of an SLR and a superb picture quality. In fact, I not only carry this combination on hikes, climbs and backpacking trips, but I take it along for a run and practically don't feel the weight.

Is there a solution like this in Nikon/Pentax/Minolta world?


Taku Ogawa , November 25, 2004; 11:20 P.M.

Seems the F6 is shaking the world. I'm so pleased as the birth of the new F will prolong the supply of 35mm films at least for a couple of decades. Now let me introduce an opinion on "tastes" of lenses, which is largely accepted here in Japan. The two great brands, Nikkor and FD/EOS lenses, are developed against their own design backgrounds which are totally independent on each other. And it is generally said that the two taste so differently. They say Nikkors up to '80s in general tend to shoot pictures in extremely clear colors, and the edges of their subjects are put into dreadfully distinct lines. In short, they are so contrasty. That taste helps you to emphasize such as muscular strength of subjects or the burning hot weather or coldness of ice. It is advantageous to get fine monochrome prints as well. However some dislike it, saying they are too contrasty or even showy. On the other hand, FDs in those days are said not to go to such extremes. Their colors and contours are relatively mild and quiet. That property is favorable for subjects with a warm atmosphere or solem moments or subtle feelings inside. But some say they are a bit sulky. Some say they are dull in monochrome use. I might make myself understood better, if I mentioned the difference between the ukiyoe, or Japanese prints, and the oil paintings. Because of this prevalent opinion, Nikkors had been accepted especially in Jananese journalism, and FDs in commercial portraiture. Those tastes of the brands have been getting thinner through '90s, where the optical computaion designs swept around the lense breweries. Now the two brands seem to be walking toward each other. But watching closely, you could still find the relics of the good(bad?) old era in current AF lenses. Standard 50/1.4s at large apertures for example show respective tastes obviously. So my conclusion is; choose by tastes if you make much of it. (I slipped into a plight to own both on such a low salary.... )

John Fairweather , December 08, 2004; 07:49 A.M.

I am currently using Nikon equipment after trading in all my Canon gear. The main problem wasn't the expensive Canon zoom lens that stopped working after very little light use, or the Canon flash that always underexposed every shot, it was the way the Nikon bodies felt right in my hands and all of the controls seemed to be in the locations I would have chosen had I designed the camera.

Both Canon and Nikon make great lenses and great cameras. There are advantages and disadvantages to each brand and it should only come down to what works for you. When some of you are using the latest multipixel digital wonder, others will still be shooting with old Leicas or cumbersome view cameras. We all drive different cars that suit our needs and tastes and a camera purchase should use the same criteria. It's the final output that counts. If I displayed an 8x10 photo on this site, I doubt anyone would know for certain what camera I used.

Adron Gardner , December 15, 2004; 01:32 P.M.

I began photography using Canon equipment. My humble little camera was a Canon AE-1 program. I had a small selection of FD lenses including the 50mm 1.4 and the 28mm 2.8. I now use Nikon. My college's journalism department has a good deal of Nikon gear and lenses for students, and with that at my disposal, I went Nikon.

As a student, I have two digital bodies and most of the fast primes and zooms needed for photo-j and sports. My D70 is a very well made camera that produces excellent color. My D1h has the speed I want for sports. I like my gear and have no reason to jump on the Canon bandwagon. I have handled some of the newer Canon gear and found it to be nice, but there is no voice in my head pushing me to trade in.

Also, Nikon has that amazing rubber on their high end bodies. The F100, D1h and moreso with the D2h, all have a great feel in your hand. The D2h is as responsive as I can imagine any camera could be.

From what I have gathered, many people are going Canon for the higher res digital bodies. That's nice, as any photographer would like as much resolution as they can get. But some people like high res because it allows them to "crop aggressively." That isn't photography. The nice thing about my D1h, unless you shoot RAW all the time, is if you don't get tight when you take the photo, you can't crop much out without noticing some degredation. That is a good thing, as one should be cropping in the viewfinder not in Photoshop. If I want sharp workable high-res prints, I shoot with my Hasselblad on Fuji.

Wherever I end up working, if they supply the gear, I have no qualms about using any brand. I think Canon makes very good equipment. I also think Nikon makes very good equipment. But please don't let marketing tell you how good a photographer you can be with the latest greatest.

JuanCarlos Torres , April 09, 2005; 11:03 A.M.

At the end it doesn't matter what brand of equipment you use. It is the results that matter. There are good and bad photographers using Nikon or Canon. Both companies offer outstanding photo equipment.

Richard Crawford , November 12, 2005; 05:04 A.M.

Lenses are always a reason to get equipment. I just bought a nikon f5 so i could get a 17-35mm 2.8 ED lens - amazing. Heavy sure but then my Leica M4p and 35mm f2 are light so it all balances out somewhere.


Cristi Basarab , January 04, 2006; 03:18 A.M.

I started photographing using an old soviet P&S called Smena 8. Eventually I managed to get a Zenit ET with a prime Helios 44M 58MM/F2 lens. It works great btw. These are very basic cameras. Especially the Zenit since we're talking about SLRs here. When I wanted to move to more serious SLRs the move was done towards Nikon and the main reason was Nikkor. I meaan, let's face it, you're not going to buy a Nikon so you can shoot Sigma or Tamron or some other off-brand. Your buying into Nikon so you can shoot Nikkor. Likewise with Canon. But for me, the Nikon system still has many advantages: better optics, MF as well as AF, lens available for the last 50 years with adjustments and since 1977 without (I own a D70), better built, way better ergonomy, better operating speed, better balance between sports and non sports photography and also better price. So even if the D70 and the 20D for example are comparable and at par (I cannot seriously compare the D70 with the Digital Rebel) the D70 wins my vote. That of course is my personal opinion and if Nikon works for me it doesn't have to work for everybody else. The important thing is that we manage to get great pictures no matter the camera. Some of my favourite shots have been taken with the Smena 8 from the '70s not to mention some great shots I've taken with a <10CAD P&S camera called SKINA; some sort of sold-by-the-pound camera. So I guess the debate about Canon vs Nikon is a matter of taste at this point in time.

Have fun people; go out and take photos.

Can BAYTAN , January 22, 2006; 06:14 P.M.

It's not the equipment it's the quality of photographs including colors, so it's the lens not the equipment, plastic/rubber debate is pointless because they use polycarbonat used in NASA space technology resistant to +200C to -67C, so plastic is better and lighter and extremely durable. No metal surface enlarging or such with heat.

So choosing a lens system is a personal choice, borrow or rent both bodies and lenses, take pictures with same film, same scenes, then use same lab, have them print, check the prints and make your choice. Damn with the advice which camera is more durable stuff. All it take is two rolls of film, for God sake.

If you are just in 35mm B&W photography get a Bessa T for $185 then expensive corner-to-corner sharp aspherical Leica lenses, Heliars, Scopars, Noctons you name it. Or get a FED 5 as an ugly back cover for Leica lenses

If you want to get into digital indirectly by scanning 6x9 roll films with regular flat bed scanner with better results than todays digital technology, get a Fuji GSW690 III, then start collecting phenomenal Fujinon EBC lenses.

If you consider just digital Nikon dooms here (Also Nikon left film business with an exception of F6), they don't have a full frame sensor camera yet, they can't even produce their sensors, Sony claimed they won't give sensors to Nikon anymore, the future of Nikon digitals are definitely ambigious now so definitely get an EOS 5D, color saturation is lot better than EOS 1Ds MarkII, a graphics studio owner a friend of mine does have both, and I saw bunch of results. I recommend check it out by yourself.

Lets see what digital prices will be couple of years, thanks to expected Moore's law here.

Bests wishes to all.


Michael Blum , March 31, 2006; 01:59 A.M.

Here we are with the old nikon vs canon debate. The best camera is what is best for you. Don't listen to all these so called "experts" as to which is best. I sold cameras in the early 70s and because Canon was less expensive and the lenses were also, I went with Canon. Yhe funny part of it all is that many of both Canon and Nikon lenses are made by the same manufacturer. In a test of lenses from Canon, Nikon, and Sigma a year or so ago, The lenses were caompared by focal length. The sigma lenses took first place in something like 90% of the tests and the Canon in the rest. The best for Nikon in these tests was 3rd. So, for all you folks who think that if you have a nikon yiou have to get nikon lenses and so with Canon also. I have used Sigma and Soligor lenses for years and I have yet to see any reason to buy Canon lenses. And I blew up 35mm negs to 30X40 posters using the Canon F1 and these "no name" lenses. I am now using Russian lenses on my EOS digital and on my F1. They are better priced and I still can't see a difference between them and the Canon lenses. After all, I'm not shooting technical photography and if I were, I'd use either a 5x7 or an 8x10 view camera. In NYC I used a 20x30 horizontal process camera for that.

Some people in another thread were talking about tilt/shift lenses and how expensive they are. Well there is a choice. you can get MC ARSAT PCS lenses in at least 4 focal lengths, 45mm, 55mm, 65mm, and 85mm. These lenses are sold bt Arax Photo for a list of $349.00 each. Less than a third of the price of a Canon or a NIkon. And the quality is good. I bought a 16mm Arsat lens for $129.00 and it is great. You can also check with Kiev Camera in Atlanta, GAas I think they carry these lenses. There are alternatives.

Julius Wong , December 05, 2006; 07:59 P.M.

Phil wrote this article back in 1997 when there were basically only film cameras. A lot has changed and now digital is the main stream. It is time to update this article in light of the new developments in the digital era. As an IT person, I am looking forward to his insightful observations.

chelsea walker , January 23, 2007; 06:51 P.M.

ok Wow.

I'm only 16 and really into photography. I plan to be a photographer when I set off on my own but I need to start well.. now.

I've had two cameras but neither have prooved to have good capabilities. I'm debating which new camera I should get... the Canon or the Nikon. I know I'm young but I take photography very seriously.

Which do you think I should get?

hieronymus evers , February 27, 2007; 04:12 P.M.

Always good for hours of discussion, this 'Canon vs Nikon' thing! As a Nikon-user from the 70's on (FM FE F2 F2As F90x F5) I was very disappointed in the beginning of the digital era and even made a sidemove to Fuji (S3) but now I'm very happy(not because of my D200, although it ain't that bad) because I came across a Horseman Digiflex II........ in combination with my Leaf Valeo 11 back, all my old Nikkors (and the ones I recently bought on Ebay) leave me smiling when I think of the fullframe Canon users. I did a comparison test with this camera and back with the old Micro Nikkor 55 f2.8 and the results were even better than the same digital back on my Hasselblad 555 ELD with the new Planar 80 CFE !

Landrum Kelly , May 28, 2007; 03:33 P.M.

Hmmm, Hieronymus. I'm sitting here wondering what real advantage you have gained if you are using a Leaf Valeo 11-megapixel back. That you can use your old Nikon glass? I'm not being sarcastic here, just wondering how much better performance you are getting over the Canon 1Ds or the Canon 1Ds Mark II or the Canon 5D--or even the Nikon D2X, which is not 36x24. If you were shooting the 33-megapixel back, I can see why you would be smiling, but eleven megapixels? What is the real advantage of that?

Again, this is a serious question. I visited your commercial site and your work is beautiful, but I am still wondering how much of an advantage, if any, you have gotten with that arrangement--and at what cost?


James Von Steuben , July 25, 2007; 06:06 P.M.

I have read all your comments with a lot of interest, and I hope that everyone does keep in mind that when advising new photographers as to what is good equipment or not so good, that the equipment really is much less important than the photographer, with knowledge, getting to the right place at the right time, and composing the photo. When I think of the great photographs of our time, the camera brand ultimately didn't matter all that much. That said their may have been many great photos lost because of equipment not doing a decent job capturing the composition in the given conditions. That is partly prep on the photographers part, and sometimes may be the quality of the equipment - but I'd bet mostly it is the fault of not thinking. Most modern equipment in good repair is better than what came before and generally is capable of superb results in the hands of a thoughtful person. I am reminded of something unrelated when comparing racing bikes. Greg Lemond on a 24lb typical bike will kick your ass in a bike race no matter how much you paid to get your fancy carbon fiber 16 lb bike. Now, sure if you want to start comparing someone in Gregs class, then maybe the fancy bike could make a slight difference in the result.

I saw some of the suggestions did try to consider what would aid the new photographer in learning, and I honestly think those who believe a n AF body with AF lens is a good learning tool, ought to go back and recall if they used those types of cameras and understood much about depth of field. Most of you would agree that snapshots are rarely photographic art, and learning the skills of composition can mean something as simple as having depth of feild scales on the lens.

Ultimately I hope we don't get too snobby about what we recommend and how we communicate the value of different pieces of photographic gear. It shouldn't matter too much what one starts with, so long as it works well, and serves to educate how to take a photograph. To me that ought to be something one could do on a very limited budget.

James Von Steuben , July 25, 2007; 06:10 P.M.

I have read all your comments with a lot of interest, and I hope that everyone does keep in mind that when advising new photographers as to what is good equipment or not so good, that the equipment really is much less important than the photographer, with knowledge, getting to the right place at the right time, and composing the photo. When I think of the great photographs of our time, the camera brand didn't matter all that much. That said their may have been many great photos lost because of equipment not doing a decent job capturing the composition in the given conditions. Getting the shot is often a matter of prep on the photographers part, and sometimes may be the quality of the equipment - but I'd bet generally, it is the fault of not thinking.

Most modern equipment in good repair is better than what came before and generally is capable of superb results in the hands of a thoughtful person. I am reminded of something unrelated when comparing racing bikes. Greg Lemond on a 24lb typical bike will kick your ass in a bike race no matter how much you paid to get your fancy carbon fiber 16 lb bike. Now, sure if you want to start comparing someone in Greg's class, then maybe the fancy bike could make a slight difference in the result.

I saw some of the suggestions did try to consider what would aid the new photographer in learning, and I honestly think those who believe a n AF body with AF lens is a good learning tool, ought to go back and recall if they used those types of cameras and understood much about depth of field. Most of you would agree that snapshots are rarely photographic art, and learning the skills of composition can mean something as simple as having depth of field scales on the lens.

Ultimately, I hope we don't get too snobby about what we recommend and how we communicate the value of different pieces of photographic gear. It shouldn't matter too much what one starts with, so long as it works well, and serves to educate how to take a photograph. To me that ought to be something one could do on a very limited budget.

Michelle Maor , November 12, 2007; 01:06 P.M.

I am so glad that the previous person posted here. I have been reading through many threads about this debate of which is the ?best? lens, camera brand etc. I have seen some amazing photographers use very simple equipment and get great results. I have amateur equipment with a few good lenses. I do a great deal of photo editing to create a mood and a feel to the photos. Ironically I have learned how to take better pictures not from the limitations of my equipment, but rather from the lack of planning that I did when I took the shots. You can see some of the results at central Oregon weddings with my Nikon D70 and the 70-200 lens.

Tim Connor , November 14, 2007; 06:37 P.M.

Canon VS Nikon has been debated since the beginning of of TIME! Both camera systems are top notch. You can not go wrong with either of them. It is not the camera that takes the picture it is the photographer that takes the picture. The camera only records what the photographer tells it to! Even a $20 Holga toy camera can take great pictures if the photographer tells the camera to do so! My Boss at work and I proved this by taking one of the throw away kodak cameras into a studio and took just as good of shots with that as we did with my Nikon D200 or my Bosses Canon Rebel XTI.

With all that said just get a camera that feels good in your hands. The more comfortable you feel with the camera the better shots you can tell the camera to take.

Benedict Ong , February 17, 2008; 04:13 A.M.

Tim Connor got the point as what my other colleagues say so but for the color difference of Nikon is better than Canon since it's a bit muddy or brownish in color compare to Nikon which actually floats the colors of the image. IMHO the Nikon has been a primary camera of my father since he started with the FM series until his last F80 then bought myself a D80 and soon the D300. My studio uses Canon since it's a good camera brand too and can compare images.

It's better to research and compare cameras via dpreview.com since it has a comprehensive database of anything about photography.

Siggi Matos , February 17, 2008; 01:17 P.M.

Thank you, James von Steuben and Tim Connor for your posts above. I agree in what is most important to make a good photo is behind the camera and in front of the camera. I am only an amateur and have used an 801s (Nikon) since the early 90's.

This thead is Canon vs. Nikon. The latter have been in the photo business for much longer (or so I believe...) but Canon has done a noteworthy effort to be in the lot of the best prosumer D-SLR. The 'best' is a matter of individual taste with regard to menus and options, as quality in the final result nowadays in D-SLR is much more a question of the quality and ingenuity of the photographer. Last but not least: the lens!

As stated in earlier posts, the 'glass' in front is important. I think more important even than the camera!! What use is a 10 or 12 or 16 M-pix CCD or CMOS if it doesn't recieve a good image through the lens - right?!

My advise: Try Nikon, try Canon, try some others if you can! The best result depends on you (us!). If you are buying new (or 2nd hand) spare a few bucks and get a better lens for the spare dollars, euros or whatever. And good shooting ;-)

Thakur Dalip Singh , February 28, 2008; 01:31 P.M.

aerial landscape

I want to buy a full frame DSLR to shoot landscapes. I have both the systems with lenses. I only want suggessions from well expeienced knowedgable persons = which camera to buy-from -Nikon D3 or Canon 5D, for best image quality? when no other features are considerded, price no issue. Is there really any big difference in quality of Nikon D3 than 5D when pixel count and sensor size is almost same? Is there any good review of D3 with comparison to Canon 5D on any site? Pl help. Advise

Angela Smith , August 14, 2008; 10:32 P.M.

I had a Nikon D70 and had a lot of trouble with skin tones being off. I upgraded to the Canon 40D and love it. I'm now considering the Canon 5D.

Timothy Du Vernet , September 02, 2008; 12:56 P.M.

I have to disagree with a comment above about the equipment sold today being better than before. Certainly some camera features like autofocus, make photography much easier, but today's cameras offer less control in many ways because it is harder to tell them what to do. Less research and design is going into lenses the way it used to. With a Hassey or Leica system, the camera body was basically a solid, secure and light box to hold the film and to attach a lens. Today's bodies do so much image correction to make up for lens imperfections. I bought a Hassey to Nikon adapter. In similar shooting situations, I used a Planar 60 F.4 and a Nikon 28 - 105. I realize that a fixed focal length will be better in distortion, but the zooms usually have a sweet spot too. The, by comparison, antique Planar is so much better than anything I've seen on my D3 or D700. Sharpness isn't just about seeing tiny detail. The Planar has a 3D feel to it that is timeless. Don't be fooled into thinking new is better! If someone could make a digital capture device (for less than a Lexus) for TLR Rolleis and similar, the world would be perfect.

Michal Fanta , August 27, 2009; 08:26 A.M.

Is it really that important which brand are we using? I trully do not care, I just need a fully manual mode. BTW. I just made this http://www.redbubble.com/people/michalfanta/t-shirts/3658558-1-does-this-really-matter

Tomek Gooseberry , December 05, 2009; 06:44 A.M.

check out this video, guys -- hilarious! :D

Leonardo Villalobos , February 26, 2011; 04:12 P.M.

I found this interesting video about it:



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