Canon vs. Nikon
The digital camera debate of Canon versus Nikon is one of those aspects of photography that will never go away, especially as each brand continues to develop their lineups of compact and DSLR cameras. As I continue to develop my photography skills, I’ve been paying a little more attention to this debate, especially since I’ll be camera shopping again in a couple years. From what I’ve seen come out of both DSLR’s and my P80, I have to say I’m fully in the camp of Team Nikon.
Even though a lot of things have changed since I started to get interested in photography back in 1999 (and was working with film), I have taken enough photos to observe a greater degree of color consistency with Nikons. Flesh tones, in particular, are smoother even without retouching. When I was using film, I had a Kodak, which was generally true to life with colors, although anything in the blue family came out a little dark. My first digital camera, the Fuji A340 (which will get its own post; I promise), had a default cool white balance that took awesome photos in the winter but could make skin tones look abnormally red. In natural light it worked fairly well, and it had a good flash. However, from the standpoint of color, not being able to alter the white balance proved to be the Fuji’s weak spot. Cameron (my current Nikon) has enough manual controls that I can adjust the white balance with ease, helping me better maintain the authenticity of the colors of my subjects. The photos I’ve seen from Canons (mostly in the intermediate to advanced amateur categories) are more in line with what I’ve seen from my Fuji. In particular, there’s a picture of me my cousin-in-law took with a Canon, and I look like I have Rosacea. I do not have Rosacea. This suggests a lack of user friendly design within the Canon DSLR’s, as my cousin most likely did not change the white balance settings. It is also very likely that she used the camera’s default auto settings, which proved to be very unforgiving with skin tones. Heck, even my grandmother (who was also in the picture and had very good skin tone all her life) had skin flaws etched into photography memory thanks to the Canon. I have also seen a difference in the Nikon’s colors in natural light situations what with brighter greens, realistic yellows and wonderfully spot on brick reds. Okay, all the reds look nice, but when you photograph a lot of bricks like I tend to do, that particular shade of red just sticks with you.
Another thing I’ve noticed with Nikons are the ease of usability. From the positioning of the controls to the readibility of spec pages and instruction manuals, Nikon is all around top notch. The feel of a Nikon (any kind) in my hand is kind of hard to describe other than balanced. The grip comes naturally, and I never ever feel like I’m fighting the camera. I even tried out a D5000 last month, and the only difference was a few extra ounces in comparison to the P80. Granted, some of the Nikon models have controls on the left, which can take some getting used to, but the accessibility is similar to those models like the D5000 and D5100 (my next camera) which have the controls on the right. Another bonus is that Nikon cameras mostly use SD cards, which are easiest for most people to use. When I worked as a photo specialist at Walgreens, I always dreaded having to deal with CompactFlash cards and Memory Sticks because they’re fragile, somewhat corruptable and not at all user friendly. SD cards are pretty consistent with file stability and ease of use, and their use in Nikons eliminates the need to plug the camera into your computer. Since the vast majority of computers on the market include SD card slots, it’s easiest to pop the card out of the camera and insert it into the computer slot. Most Canons continue to use CompactFlash cards, which means the user has to be rather careful when inserting and removing cards. CompactFlash cards also take up more space than SD cards, and if you want to remove the card from the camera, you’ll need a special reader hooked up to your computer. The ultra professional Nikon DSLR cameras (D3s and D700) still use CompactFlash, but it’s not likely that I’ll be purchasing either one of those anytime soon.
Canon versus Nikon is very much like PC versus Mac, XBox versus Playstation, and ACI versus WinTotal (have to give a shout out to all the residential appraisers out there). Those on a particular side are almost fiercely loyal to their chosen team. This gives you an idea on why I choose Team Nikon. If all that text was too much for you, have a couple photos taken on Cameron. Then you should get the picture (pun very much intended).