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?

LDP Podcast: #66 – Third Generation Cameras

3rd Gen Cameras

3rd Gen Cameras

The latest and greatest from the podcast laboratory is a discussion with my good friend Kerry Garrison, and we tackle this hot topic of 3rd generation cameras.  Are these for real?  What is the deal?  What to look for,  pros and cons…and a teaser about the DIY Prequel!  All that bundled into a great episode of The Learning Digital Photography Podcast! (Episode #66).

For another bit of maintenance, I was reminded that the January contest ended and I never launched the February contest, so apologies to all who waited so patiently!  Bragging rights for January (and February I guess), go to:

Evelyn B

Evelyn gets to pick the theme for the March contest!  And it’s with great excitement that I share the news there will be two winners for the month of March!  My new friend Joe Farace (fellow photographer and Coloradan, as well as an esteemed journalist and long-time writer for Shutterbug magazine) has contributed not one but two copies of his book titled “Studio Lighting Anywhere”!  You can read reviews and catch a sneak peak of his book over on Amazon, or simply submit your photo to the March contest thread, which is open early!

So, get shooting, and look for the word from Evelyn (hopefully in this thread) on what our theme will be.  Standard contest rules apply!  The thread will go live hopefully by the end of the weekend (this also gives Evelyn some time to both brag about her win and think about the theme!)  Before we sign off for the weekend though, here’s the show notes for the 75 minute podcast with Kerry!


3rd Generation Cameras


1st Generation digital cameras – characterized by low MP counts,  “jaggies” and major deficiencies in tonal range

2nd Generation digital was/is today’s classification – basically the maturity of the DSLR

3rd generation – what we can expect in the future

Defining the Future

1.No more mirror – Good vs bad?

2.No more view finder – Real time versus almost real time

3.Sensor sizes – non-full frame, how important is it?

4.New lens sizes

5.Frame rates

Models on the market today

1.Nikon 1 Series


i.J1 – $650

ii.V1 – $900



ii.30-110mm – $250

iii.10mm f2.8 – $250

iv.10-100mm – $750

2.Sony NEX

a.16mm lens


c.Nikon adaptor

3.Leica M7, MP, M9 & M9P


4. Samsung NX200 NX100, NX10


5.Olympus – EP1

Where does that leave the consumer?


Phew, long post and tons of content today, but hopefully enough to get you through the weekend!  Happy shooting and we’ll see you back here on Monday!  Special thanks again to Kerry Garrison for taking the time out of his schedule to sit in on the podcast, and to Joe Farace for his contribution to the monthly contest series.  You can find out more about them on their website and social media presences:

Kerry Garrison, Twitter

Joe Farace, Twitter


A Pro Level P&S?


I need some help!  Recently I had the idea of creating a Pro P&S camera review corner as an interesting addition to the blog.  To that end, I am compiling a short list of P&S cameras that would be useful material here for the reading audience to have.  However, since most of my experience thus far has been with SLR gear, I could use some help in ensuring my final selections are both useful and of interest to the audience here.  So – I need your help!

You see, it’s a given that there are limitations to the “point and shoot” grade of cameras.  You simply don’t have the same degree of flexibility – no changing out lenses, a smaller sensor, more inherent noise, etc., etc. etc.  Yet, when you take an SLR, there’s a lot more gear involved, even if you “go light”.  At a minimum, you’re likely to have a camera body, a lens, a flash, and a tripod.  So, which do you do?  Thankfully, with the advancement of the “P&S” grade cameras, the differences between SLR’s and the “P&S” category has narrowed substantially.

So, the question becomes:  which P&S is a good alternative for the SLR when you just want to take something and go, yet still have the malleability to capture the kind of images you want?  Now, if you ask ten different photographers this same question, you will likely get ten different sets of cameras in varying degrees of priorities.  That being said, a short list of high-end P&S cameras is always helpful to consider.  Here’s the short list I picked:

CanonPowershot S95, Powershot G12
Nikon:  Coolpix P7000
Sigma: DP1x

There were some others I considered including a few from Panasonic, Sony, and Olympus, but in looking at the specs of those, all had an interchangeable lens feature, which makes them more SLR-like than most P&S counterparts, so I removed them from consideration.  Here’s the criteria I am using to consider cameras for inclusion in a P&S review section:

1.  True point and shoot design (no interchangeable lenses)

2.  Cost should be less than the entry level SLR for that vendor

3.  Raw or sRaw capacity is probably going to be a requirement…most high end P&S cameras I’ve seen have this feature.

These are of course, just subjective takes on which P&S cameras stand head and shoulders above the rest, and the criteria to classify ones for inclusion as “true P&S cameras”.  As they come through the doors, I’ll share thoughts and feedback with you, but for the time being, I’d also like to hear what others think of these selections.

Can a P&S really stand toe to toe with an SLR?  Is it even worth looking at?  What about the cameras themselves?  Are there others that you wish were included?  Do you own any of these?  What have your own thoughts and experiences been?  Sound off in the comments, and I’ll see what I can to do add others to this roster for upcoming review!  In the meantime, happy shooting, and we’ll be back tomorrow!