September 4, 2008 03:03 by Adrian

It brings me back to the time in which I myself was like any newbie checking out which is the best dSLR is out there. Oh come on, I'm not that old! my memories aren't in black and white ya.. Tongue out

Truth be told there are two front runners, Canon and Nikon. I've focused my review here on these two.

My purchasing decision bores down to 3 things, functionality, practicality and expandability.

Lets talk about functionality: -

 

  • • The dSLR needs to take photos.. duh!
  • • Has a good acceptable ISO, preferably 1600
  • • Accurate metering and fast autofocus.

 

In this area, Nikon is famous for their accurate metering system while Canon has the higher AF count (at that time of course), decided that I can still take the picture with fewer AF points (more recomposure work) as long I have a reliable metering reading. The last thing that I need is to take countless snaps to determine whether to + or - the exposure from scene to scene. Although granted that I would have needed time to check whether Nikon's fame in accurate metering is at all true, I didn't have that luxury to test either Canon or Nikon for any extended period of time. Hence I went with general wisdom. Nikon.

The second category is practicality.

 

  • • The grip design must be ergonomic enough for me to hold it for periods aka comfortable and yet fits securely on my hand.
  • • Placement of controls and buttons must be at easy to reach places.

     

    This category I feel that most people take for granted. Good ergonomics can mean either sitting on a hard plastic chair or sitting on a comfy sofa. I've tried all the Canon grips from the 350d, 400d, 450d, 30d and 40d and from Nikon starting from D40x, D80, D200, D300, D700 and D3. I can say both camps that their grips has been consistent throughout which is a good thing. The bad thing is whether it is consistently good or consistently bad that is the problem.

    Nikon ergonomics has been superb. Just hold it and you'll feel that the grip is made to be held where as the Canon grips never quite felt comfy no matter how I tried to accommodate to it. Which is also another thing, why must I accommodate to it? shouldn't it be the other way around?

    The other issue is the buttons or more importantly the command dials. These dials will be the ones that gives you instant quick changes to the camera settings. When taking events, moments disappear in split seconds and I need something that allows me to be quick. Strangely, even Canon's higher models like the 30D / 40D doesn't come with two command dials like the Nikon. No, the big round selector isn't a command dial and it is strange to put my thumb in such an angle to move it in the first place.

    Nikon wins again both with having 2 command dials neatly and practically placed both in front and back. Couple that with amazing ergonomics, it wins again.

    Finally, expandability.

     

    • • Need to have a wide range of lenses and other equipments such as flashes etc.

       

      In this category, Nikon and Canon are neck to neck with years of heritage of lenses in its stable. Nikon may argue that the EOS system uses a different mount which limits it to lens made since 1980's unlike the Nikon F mount, which is compatible to any Nikon made lens that dates back since 1959. Frankly I don't quite care since with newer technology in making lenses, their special coatings and gizmos literally guarantees that I won't be looking that far back for lenses. People who argues that older lenses are better (When there have new lenses with those ED glasses and Nano Crystal coating) are just being too nostalgic.

      I still say Nikon wins in this category. Not because of its F mount but rather the affordability of the lens itself. Canon's L range is simply crazy. 50mm f/1.2L lens will set you back RM8k, 85mm f/1.2L will further rape it by another RM3k. I'll write more about why I don't see that big a deal in f/1.2 and the price paid for it.

      Compare that with the 105mm f/2.8 Macro Nikkor which comes in at RM3k. Or better yet the best wide angle lens the famous 14-24mm f/2.8 Nikkor costs around RM5k. Now compare that with a 14mm f/2.8 II USM Canon that is selling for more than RM6k. Oh by the way, this Nikon's wide angle zoom is sharper than Canon's best prime within the same focal length. And its CHEAPER! 

      In the long run, it'll save me a lot of $.

      Conclusion,

      Do I even need to do one? Its no more a surprise that I end up using Nikon instead of Canon. With the D3/D300/D700/D90 line up, my choice to invest into the Nikon system is well paid of. Oh yeah did I mention that Nikon Malaysia provides free sensor cleaning at their main office at PJ State?

      Nikon the official camera for Ardent Expressions.

      Anyway, do check out Preston Mack who shoots for Disney, GM, Pillsbury, ESPN, Forbes, Business Weekly and etc. Do read his reasons for dumping Canon for Nikon. Read the article here .


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