Nothing draws as much controversy, notwithstanding political mudslinging, as a good ole "which camera is best" soapbox. I'm a Nikon user and your Canon sucks. Just kidding. I just wanted to kick it off with some spice. I was inspired by a twitter question from someone who wanted to know my opinion on why I prefer Nikon over Canon. I certainly have my reasons, and I will soon share them, but I thought it would be really interesting to be up front about something: I could be wrong. I'm a Nikon user, and an uber geek, so I am intimately in tune with what my cameras can do and each of the custom functions and menus. Yes, I actually do sit in bed and read through every page of the camera manual - physical camera by my side, charged up and ready to try each optional setting. Scary, I know.
The truth is that I am familiar with Canon cameras, but I don't own one. There may be many cool things about them that I don't have on my Nikons, that I would be quite envious of – if I knew about them. So educate me! Let's educate each other. I don't really care if I'm right or wrong about which camera is best. I'm very happy with my system and have way too much invested to switch - although I would if I weren't happy and had the budget to switch to something significantly better. For those on the fence, however, it may be educational to get some user feedback about what little details, custom functions, fantastic features, or tactile buttons make a system worth loving - or not loving.
So I'll share what I like and dislike about Nikons - why I choose this system over others. You can leave comments on why you like YOUR system - whatever it may be. If it's something you think is unique to your chosen brand, let it be known, but be open to the fact that you could be wrong, or just unaware, and that feature is availble on the other team. Keep it positive and informational. Let's just lay it out there and see what and why we really love our cameras. Feel free to leave a comment and correct me if I'm ignorant about a Canon feature and need to be informed. I'm hoping to learn as well as share.
What I like:
- Ergonomics. I've held and used both camera brands and have always felt that Nikons just made more sense, ergonomically. It seems to take less stretches of the finger, or button pushes to get to the most used settings. The features you need most just seem to be in the right place. Granted, much of this probably comes from my long time familiarity with the Nikon, but I do try to be objective when working with Canons to see if it truly is unfamiliarity or overall ergonomic design. Nikons seem to fit my hand better, with a more secure feel, and the buttons just seem to fall in to place under my waiting fingers.
- Build quality. To me, Nikons just feel solid. The higher-end cameras in particular have a tight, rugged feel that I have not had the pleasure of experiencing in any other camera I've held. This falls within my "Intangible Love Quotient" or ILQ rating, which is significant to many of my product choices.
- Customization. I love the ability to program almost anything to the custom FN buttons. There are 2 FN buttons on the right side of the lens, and 2 near the thumb - in the form of the AE-L/AF-L and AEL buttons. My favorite functions to program the FN buttons with are: instant flash disable, instant spot metering, bracketing burst (where you turn on auto-bracketing, hold the button and then it rips off all your bracketed exposures with one press of the shutter), and to make a shot of espresso. Unfortunately, you are limited to Nikon branded coffee beans.
- Auto ISO. Nikon was the first to add this feature to their DSLRs years ago and I still think it is the best implemented. You set your lowest shutter speed, the highest ISO, and let the camera do the work. It will always pick the most efficient ISO and it automatically knows to disable when you attach a flash. I use this religiously and it never fails me.
- Speaking of flash...Nikon flash systems have almost unquestionably been more reliable, consistent, and accurate than their Canon counterparts, especially in TTL modes and when working wirelessly. I am not basing this on any scientific study, but purely on feedback from users online and at the workshops I teach. I have always been amazed that it is almost impossible to get a poor exposure with a Nikon when the flash is set correctly.
- Exceptional low-light focusing ability
- Focus fine tune, exposure fine tune, and lossless compressed RAW options in camera. (which is different than small RAW, which is talked about below)
What I wish Nikon had:
- Not until the D800 and D600 came out did I wish for a small RAW option in camera. Canon have had this for a while, probably because they were the first to introduce ridiculously high-resolution DSLRs. This is the first time that Nikon have made a camera with such high resolution that it is pure over-kill for the average user. I would love to have a small RAW option for times when I really don't need those giant files (which is most of the time).
- 85mm f1.2 lens. Nikon only has an f1.4. I am jealous.