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Thread: Canon vs nikon lens disparity?

  1. #1

    Canon vs nikon lens disparity?

    I want to make this absolutely clear to everyone. This is not to create a flame war or heated debate of any kind. It is undignified and not the least bit appreciated!

    Anyway, I was wondering is canon's USM autofocus really faster than nikon's af-s" I get this impressions from some websites (some of questionable reliability).

    http://photo.net/canon-eos-digital-camera-forum/006EP2 (2003, so slightly outdated)

    I think it's because Canon sells so many more of their best lenses than Nikon sells of their best lenses. When I shoot sports I'm surrounded by a sea of Canon EOS shooters and there are very few Nikon shooters in the photo pit. I doubt that they are optically that far apart, most of the Nikon shooters with newer AF-S/II lenses I know are producing excellent images. But most of them are also very open to the idea of switching to Canon for the EOS's faster AF, the fact that all the good lenses are USM (S-Wave), lenses, for IS and the more affordable prices of lenses in general. I've loaned out an EOS 1D and EF 70-200 2.8L IS and EF 300 2.8L IS to two dedicated Nikon sports shooters and they are both trying to imagine a way to switch. But as you know it will cost them very dearly so they sit on the fence for now.
    I also have a few questions.

    1) Specs to specs, is Canon gernally cheaper than nikon?
    2) What naming system does canon employ? To me, it's kinda confusing.
    3) Does Canon really have a more extensive lens collection?

    Thank you very much!

  2. #2

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    Re: Canon vs nikon lens disparity?

    Quote Originally Posted by Blazing fire View Post
    I want to make this absolutely clear to everyone. This is not to create a flame war or heated debate of any kind. It is undignified and not the least bit appreciated!
    That's OK - we don't do flame wars here anyway

    Anyway, I was wondering is canon's USM autofocus really faster than nikon's af-s"
    I don't know - but what I can tell you with the Canon lineup is that AF speed also depends on what camera is driving it. On the Canon 1D3 and 1Ds3 they actually dedicate to processors just to the autofocus (one to do the calculations and the other to do the lens drive) - in practice this means that with many lenses they focus - literally - faster than I can blink.

    I also have a few questions.

    1) Specs to specs, is Canon gernally cheaper than nikon?
    2) What naming system does canon employ? To me, it's kinda confusing.
    3) Does Canon really have a more extensive lens collection?
    1. I suspect that it varies across the range - I believe that the entry-evel models are probably similar in price whereas I believe that the RRP of Nikon's D3X - here in NZ is now $18,000 -v- $12,000 for the Canon 1Ds3.

    2. For cameras? For entry-level they use a xxxD format (exclusing the 1000D which is lower in spec again), and the range seems to jump in lots of 50 (300D, 350D, 400D, 450D) - in some markets they're also called other names like Rebel and Kiss ... don't ask!), In the mid "pro-sumer/advanced amateur" range they have an xxD format, that jumps in lots of 10 (10D, 20D, 30D, 40, 50D etc) - and at the high-end they have the 1x series that is either 1D Mkx series (1.3 crop-factor for later models) and 1Ds Mkx series (full frame for later models) (1Dmk2 (1D2) 1Ds2 1D3, 1Ds3). Occasionally they throw a few curve balls into the mix like the 5D, 5D2, 1D2n. As a rule, the lower the number, the better the camera.

    3. For lenses designed to work fully with these cameras (eg EF series for Canon) my understanding is yes - for example a popular site that gives reviews of all curently lists 75 Canon lenses -v- 58 for Nikon - however one might well argue that so long as either camp has the lens length and quality you need, "who cares" how many other lenses are available.

    These days I tend to think of both camps haveing models that are more than adequate for any task. I think it's true to say that each camp have different ways of doing some things, but the end result is much the same. If you're trying to decide, some suggest playing with both and seeing which you prefer - but I find even this misleading as I'm sure that anyone would get used to either platform with a little time, and in reality more often than not the final decision is probably determined by a nudge nudge wink wink from the salesman who'll tell you that "Brand X" is really the better one to go for.

    It's an interesting study (well I find it so anyway) - personally I'm very happy in the Canon camp - I'd probably be just as happy in the Nikon camp, but I've long since passed the threshold where my investment in lenes makes it impractical to change -- and keep in mind that the two brands regularly swap places on who has the technological lead (and often it's debatable as to just how much of an advantage various technologies are in the real world) ... throw in a whole bunch of bias and mis-information and "welcome to the internet"

    Hope this helps!

  3. #3

    Re: Canon vs nikon lens disparity?

    No wonder the 1d(s) mark III are targeted at sports photographers. But I hear people claiming the nikon d3 also autofocus fast, and in fact, one of the fastest one. I guess there are more than 1 factor determining the speed of autofocus. Light, type of lens (which I'm primarily looking at) and body.

    Opps sorry! I meant what system does canon lens employ!

    Alright! I'll try to try them out.
    Last edited by Colin Southern; 13th March 2009 at 12:40 AM. Reason: Remove unnecessary quoted text

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    Re: Canon vs nikon lens disparity?

    Quote Originally Posted by Blazing fire View Post
    No wonder the 1d(s) mark III are targeted at sports photographers. But I hear people claiming the nikon d3 also autofocus fast, and in fact, one of the fastest one. I guess there are more than 1 factor determining the speed of autofocus. Light, type of lens (which I'm primarily looking at) and body.

    Opps sorry! I meant what system does canon lens employ!

    Alright! I'll try to try them out.
    The 1D3 (not the 1Ds3) is the one targeted at sports shooters (kinda) - it turned out that not only was is a very capable sports-shooting camera but also an extremely versatile camera for other uses as well - since the only appreciable difference compared to the 1Ds3 is fewer pixels, which has been pretty much a moot point for most shooters since we surpassed 8MP.

    Canon lens naming is pretty straight forward with all current lenses being either EF (Electro-Focus) or EF-S (Electro-Focus, Short back focus). The EF-S lenses can only be used on 1.6x crop-factor cameras. Apart from that the rest of the name simply gives focal length(s) and max aperture(s) so an EF70-200mm F1:2.8L IS USM would be ...

    - Electro-Focus series (can be used on any EOS camera)

    - Has a focal range of 70 to 200mm

    - Has a maximum Aperture of F1:2.8

    - Has image stabilisation (IS)

    - Has an Ultra-Sonic Motor for focus drive

    - Is a member of the L-Series (professional grade of lenses) family.

    Is that what you meant?

    Easy eh?

  5. #5

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    Re: Canon vs nikon lens disparity?

    I think it's because Canon sells so many more of their best lenses than Nikon sells of their best lenses. When I shoot sports I'm surrounded by a sea of Canon EOS shooters and there are very few Nikon shooters in the photo pit. I doubt that they are optically that far apart, most of the Nikon shooters with newer AF-S/II lenses I know are producing excellent images. But most of them are also very open to the idea of switching to Canon for the EOS's faster AF, the fact that all the good lenses are USM (S-Wave), lenses, for IS and the more affordable prices of lenses in general. I've loaned out an EOS 1D and EF 70-200 2.8L IS and EF 300 2.8L IS to two dedicated Nikon sports shooters and they are both trying to imagine a way to switch. But as you know it will cost them very dearly so they sit on the fence for now.

    With regard to the above quote which is from 2003, I suggest you look at the photos of the photo shooting pits at the last olympics, usually more Nikon than Canon. Times change and so does gear, and for the very reason that Colin has stated many, but not all, photographers are economically locked to one brand or another.

    Bear in mind that in the early days of digital, Canon was far in advance of Nikon. This is arguably not the case now.
    Last edited by Colin Southern; 13th March 2009 at 01:37 AM. Reason: Fix quote tags

  6. #6

    Re: Canon vs nikon lens disparity?

    Thanks colin! That is exactly what I was asking.

    Times change and so does gear
    I fully agree! Anyway, I shall test some gears soon. I really hope the shop would allow me to explore the 2 cameras I'm looking at now - canon 5d mark 2 or nikon D700.

  7. #7
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    Re: Canon vs nikon lens disparity?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill44 View Post
    With regard to the above quote which is from 2003, I suggest you look at the photos of the photo shooting pits at the last olympics, usually more Nikon than Canon. Times change and so does gear, and for the very reason that Colin has stated many, but not all, photographers are economically locked to one brand or another.
    Bear in mind that in the early days of digital, Canon was far in advance of Nikon. This is arguably not the case now.
    You also have to factor in the fact that some commercial shooters if not freelance will use whatever their employers give them. The comment about the Olympics was certainly true, but what I would ask is, what do YOU need from the camera.

    The debate will go on and on. About three years ago I considered changing after 18 years with Nikons, but enter the Nikon D3 and a couple of new lenses and there was no need. Don't forget it is the lens not the camera that is most important.

    It really boils down as to what suits you best, what produces your customers requirements and how deep your pockets are.

    The debate continues ad finitum.

  8. #8

    Re: Canon vs nikon lens disparity?

    Quote Originally Posted by shreds View Post

    The debate continues ad finitum.
    Or perhaps more accurately... ad nauseam.

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