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Nikon vs Canon: A beginner’s perspective

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Canon, Nikon or something else? Every photographer has had to go through this question. Especially for beginners, the choice can seem daunting.

A Camera is a lot of money for a lot of people, and part of making the right decision is choosing the right brand. Make the wrong choice, and your money goes down the drain.

Every brand has its unique characteristics that differentiate its cameras from the rest. At the core, all of them are same. They’re still black boxes with a shutter mechanism and image sensor inside. How they behave, that’s where the brand comes in.

What it boils down to is personal preference. Some people like several specific characteristics of a particular brand while others might hate it.

Personal choice along with specific requirements, these are the two primary factors you should be taking a decision. If the camera you’re browsing ticks these parameters, buy it right away.

That said, let’s talk about these characteristics in detail

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Canon vs Nikon: Which one stands out?

Nikon vs Canon: Which one should you buy? A beginner's perspective


Both Nikon and Canon offer similarly sized sensors. However, there’s more to image quality than mere sensor size.

Not to confuse you with sensor jargon, Nikon’s latest DSLRs use a new sensor design that allows these cameras to eliminate the optical low pass filter which ultimately increases lowlight performance and overall quality.

Canon’s latest DSLRs, however, seem to be more focussed on megapixels. Both the manufacturers are focussing on different aspects of sensor technology and hence produce different results (image colours and so on). Which one do you prefer? Well, that’s up to you.

On paper, both do great.


Autofocus speeds are more or less same between both manufacturers. However, burst speeds do differ.

Canon usually has faster burst speeds when it comes to higher-end cameras. On the lower end of the price spectrum, Nikon seems to do better.

Make your decision wisely.


While overall operation may seem quite similar between the brands, when it comes to individual cameras, there’s a world of differences.

I feel like the Canon in-camera software and UI is easier to use for a beginner. Even for pro photographers, the Canon UI stands out.

That doesn’t mean that Nikon does not has firmware on their cameras. They have their own set of pros and cons though.

The most significant feature that differentiates these two manufacturers is that in the ‘Live View’, Canon cameras update the image as you change the settings. This means you get exactly the image you’ll get after pressing the shutter on your screen.

This saves a lot of time in setting up the frame and other parameters. Nikon cameras (again, in my experience) seem not to have this feature. That might not be a deal breaker for you, but makes a hell of a difference for a beginner.

Video Quality

Traditionally, Canon offers better video quality.

Canon cameras also offer hybrid autofocus that keeps a subject in focus during recording. Nikon took some time to get there.

Canon mastered video recording on their cameras long before Nikon and since then have pretty much perfected them. Nikon, on the other hand, is still catching up with their latest developments.


In my experience Canon lenses tend to be cheaper than Nikon’s. Also, the entry-level Canon cameras are quite affordable as well.

However, at the lower end of the price spectrum, Nikon offers a better set of features for a little more money.

In higher-end cameras, Nikon’s still got some catching up to do.

Which one to choose?

As aforementioned, choosing to go with what brand is entirely a matter of personal preference. However, here are some pointers that can help you decide

  • What’s the most important thing in the camera to you? Burst speed? Auto-focus? Video Quality?
  • Price to feature ratio according to your budge
  • Future upgrade possibilities, like lenses, flashes, filters and so on

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Yadullah Abidi

Yadullah is a Computer Science graduate who writes/edits/shoots/codes all things cybersecurity, gaming, and tech hardware. When he's not, he streams himself racing virtual cars. He's been writing and reporting on tech and cybersecurity with websites like Candid.Technology and MakeUseOf since 2018. You can contact him here:

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