New Cameras: Canon vs Nikon Showdown!

Canon vs Nikon

It’s finally here – a showdown between Canon and Nikon, right here!  I’ve said in the past that I only shoot Canon gear and that when push comes to shove, that gear doesn’t matter as much as who’s behind that gear.  However, with the recent flurry of releases, people have been asking me my thoughts on the latest and greatest releases from all the vendors, ranging from Canon announcing the 5D Mark III, the folks at Nikon releasing the D800, and Adobe, announcing the release of Lightroom 4 on Tuesday.  Since the first two are gear-centric, and the last is software centric, it’s easier to split this up into two separate posts.  The upshot here is that we finally have a camera showdown here:  Canon vs. Nikon!  Can you guess the winner?  Keep on reading!

Gear hounds like to compare technical data, and I could go back and forth with the Canon and Nikon bodies, explaining each and every nuance, but it seems that it would be easier to just show the specs side-by-side, so take a gander at how they line up!

Canon vs Nikon

As you can tell, the Canon 5D Mark II was also thrown in for comparison, primarily to illustrate how things have changed in Canon land.  Kind of an interesting result, eh?

So, where do the specs leave us?  Well, this kind of helps demonstrate that it really is not the gear rather the person behind it that ultimately matters.  Does gear get better with time?  Absolutely, and in the hands of a talented photographer, added tools can really help you take your photos to the next level.  Having the fundamentals, a dose of inspiration, and vision are required elements though, and without these it doesn’t matter what gear you have.

So, how can you make a decision when I am basically telling you that either will work in the right hands?  The answer is simple – try them yourself!  Believe it or not, some people intuitively enjoy the look and feel of one brand over another.  The buttons just make sense, they feel ergononmically better for your particular way of controlling the mechanisms, and where you would think that the buttons should go.  This could be either the Canon or the Nikon model….heck, you may even prefer a Pentax or Samsung body in your hands.

One might argue that you can’t really hold these in your hands and get a good sense of how each works without paying a lot of money to get them out in the real world.  While this may be true for the 5D Mark III and the Nikon D800 – they have some earlier siblings that are available in the rental market and for pennies when compared to the latest offerings.  For as little as $100, you can take earlier models home or on a test shoot to get a feel for the ergonomics and layout of each.  I wish I had known about this rental option before I bought my first DSLR.  I may very well have still chosen Canon, but I might have started with a prosumer model rather than an entry level model camera.

Some reputable outfits that I’ve rented gear from include RentGlass and LensRentals.  I’ve also found a local shop here in Denver that has comparable prices if I need to get something in a pinch.  You may want to check your own local markets for similar shops (it’s always a good idea to support the local economy too, right?).

Last but not least, I would also recommend considering what your friends and colleagues shoot with.  Some may say that this can lead to biased opinions, but I say this leads to more accessory compatibility!  Ever try to put a Nikon lens on a Canon body or vice versa?  It can be done, but adapters and such make pairing accessories tough, and you will almost always lose some of the optical quality when doing these kinds of conversions.

So, it may not be a decisive victory either way, but if you are considering getting into the DSLR market with a professional grade camera, now is a great time.  Even if you can’t swing the latest and greatest, there will likely be a flood of the previous generation versions in the after market for the 5D Mark II and the D700.  A great place to go for used items is the Fred Miranda Buy/Sell forums.  If you want to sell you need to pay $5 to register, but buyers can purchase for free!

Got your own thoughts on these latest and greatest bodies from the biggest camera vendors?  Which is your inclination?

Getting Started in Landscape Photography

Joe Farace Photography

Guest post by Joe Farace

Joe Farace Photography

I’m not a serious landscape or nature photographer but I do enjoy making these kinds of photographs for fun. And one of the guiding philosophies over at my own blog is to have fun with your photography.” Back in the Jurassic era, as a student at the Maryland Institute, College of Art in Baltimore, I developed a series of guiding principles―you can call’em suggestion if you like, on the “what” and “how” for photographing landscapes that I still follow today.

These four principles are not cast in concrete and are presented here only as guidelines for your own explorations in genre of landscape photography. Feel free to use’em or lose’em:

1. Photograph locally

2. Use a wide angle-of-view

3. Create the maximum depth-of-field

4. Saturate the colors

Let’s look at #1 today: While it may be a gross oversimplification to say that anybody can make a great photograph in Monument Valley the truth is that that the art of landscape photography often seems to get confused with the real estate business because of it’s emphasis on location, location, location.

Tip: Each weekday and some weekends―no matter the weather―I take a three-mile walk and usually take along a camera because I never what I may want to photograph. Using images captured during these walks, I produced a presentation called “Right in Your Own Backyard” that I present to various groups and people are always surprised what I can find within a short walk from my home. You can do it too; just give it a try.

A four hour drive may not be “local” to some people but that’s how long it takes to get to Aspen from where I live. The Maroon Bells in the Elk Mountains near Aspen Colorado consists of two peaks. South Maroon Peak (14,156 feet) and North Maroon Peak (14,014 feet) that are separated by about a third of a mile. This view is often cited as most-photographed spot in Colorado and that’s because it’s an easy one to make if the weather cooperates. You get off the shuttle bus and can walk up to the side of Maroon Lake and click! I was lucky to catch the effects of the first snow of the season and on my wife’s birthday.

Visit Joe Farace at his blog “Saving the World, One Pixel at a Time.” (