Ken Rockwell on Nikons vs. Canons

Yes, I’m a Nikon guy which is why I follow Ken Rockwell’s site, another Nikon guy. He actually reviews Canon’s as well where he especially likes their compact class of cameras. I like them too. I’ve never worked with Canon SLR gear so I have no first hand knowledge of the system. But if you’re thinking about buying a new SLR, Rockwell just posted a comparison of Nikon and Canon cameras which might be a good read among other research you might be doing. Skip to the My Personal Preferences section in the article for his thoughts. Here’s a few excerpts:

I love my Nikons because they put the important adjustments, ISO, DRIVE, WHITE BALANCE and QUALITY, right where I need them. I don’t need any menus to tweak them, and I need to adjust them many times each day as the light and subjects change. Canon hides more of this, like manual and trimmed white balances, in menus, which gets in my way.

I’m addicted to AUTO ISO. Canon DSLRs can’t do this in their program modes, which drives me nuts and wastes my time.

I always use the Smart Reset (two-green-button reset) of my Nikon DSLRs. They reset all the shot-to-shot stuff, like WB and ISO and selected AF sensor and exposure compensations and image and file sizes, and leave alone the rarely set items like file numbering, custom functions and beeps. Since the Canon DSLRs lack this, I have to drill down through all the menus exactly like a pilot’s pre-flight checklist. If I don’t, I’ll often have left the camera at a deep tungsten white balance and ISO 1,600, which of course ruins all shots made that way until I notice and reset them all by hand.

I get more consistent [autofocus] results on my Nikons. It’s not unusual to get an unfocused image with my Canons, with the camera’s AF confirmation light lit on an unmoving subject.

Canon, and no one, makes anything that can do what the life-changing Nikon 18-200mm VR does. There are loads of off-brand 18-200mm lenses, but they have no VR (critical at 200mm) and only have primitive focus control with no instant manual override.

Nikons are all one [sensor] size. Every lens does the same thing on every camera. Easy: I only have one set of lenses. My 12-24mm does the same great job on every camera.
Canon curses us with three incompatible sensor sizes. For two of the sizes, 1x as in the 5D and 1DS Mk II, we have to use the 16-35, 17-40 and 15mm fisheye lenses, and on the 1.6x consumer cameras (20D, 30D, Rebel) we have no fisheye, but do have the excellent 10-22mm. The pros using the 1.3x (1D) cameras are screwed: the pros who could make the best use of wide angle lenses in news reporting just don’t have them. There are no fisheyes and no ultrawide lenses for the 1.3x cameras.

More comparisons here.

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One Comment on “Ken Rockwell on Nikons vs. Canons”

  1. jfew says:

    I agree with his sensor size gripe. That said, Nikon gives you one choice: a 1.6x.
    Smart Reset is a very cool feature! I could totally identify with the “pilot’s pre-flight checklist” comment. At the EOS workshops I’ve been to, the instructor is always repeating, “Make sure to check those ISOs, check your white balance, check your autofocus mode, check your blah blah blah.” Nikon seems to have come up with a pretty elegant solution to the problem.
    If I didn’t have so much Canon glass and I wasn’t pining for a full sensor (is the 5D Mark II here yet?), I would certainly consider the D300 for my next DSLR.


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