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Old Jun 9, 2010, 11:11 AM   #1
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Default nikon vs canon lenses

For the sake of discussion, let's pretend we can put both a canon lens and a nikon lens on the same camera, so the playing field is level.

I'm familiar with Canon lenses, so, again, for the sake of discussion, let's use the L series lenses with IS. And let's also use the top of the line Nikon lenses as well.

In what ways would you say one is superior to the other?

Are either lenses sharper than the other when compared to an accurate counterpart?

Is it possible that Nikon has a better 24 - 70 lens, but Canon has a better 70-200? I'd imagine you can go back and forth from lens to lens.

I imagine that certain Canon lenses would be considered superior in certain situations or characteristics and the same is probably true for Nikon.

I really have no idea which manufacturer has an edge on the other, but I'd love to read about it.

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Old Jun 9, 2010, 11:47 AM   #2
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Zeiss lenses trump everybody else's, but they don't AF on either Canon or Nikon bodies. That's the only generalization I'm prepared to make.
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Old Jun 9, 2010, 11:57 AM   #3
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There's no good generalization comparing nikon to canon glass. Each and every lens is a case by case basis. What you find is that a given system will have a gem the other system lacks. In canon for instance, the 70-200 f4. Nikon has no such lens. Nikon has a 200-400 f4, canon has nothing like it. Lens AF performance is comparable according to the sports shooters I've read. Sharpness, bokeh, etc. are all comparable. Now, when you're at the pro grade, then canon lenses are a bit more affordable. But the biggest differences are the BODIES at the pro level and in niche lenses that are in one system not the other.
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Old Jun 9, 2010, 1:03 PM   #4
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affordability wise canon are better. quality wise similar lenses are comparable. As john said some lenses are unmatchable because the system doest have such lenses.

400mm DO, sigma 120-300, canon 85mm F1.2, canon 800mm, canon 17mm TSE, canon 24mm TSE, canon 90mm TSE, Nikon 14-24, Nikon 24-70 with VR....

Its about collecting lenses...body i dont see a big deal. One way or the other the bodies keep replacing themselves. So wait and switch is my plan

I have my mark III for over 2 years now.My next one will be somewhere at either 5D mark IV or ID mark VIII ..

or i may add a nikon set up just for the heck of it.
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Old Jun 9, 2010, 2:30 PM   #5
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The biggest difference in bodies at the pro level is the notion of how each system has used full frame. Nikon chose with their D3s/D700 to go with small number of pixels - 12 - and the smaller files that go with it. Fabulous dynamic range and high iso performance and the same DOF benefits as Canon. Likewise Nikon has a more advanced focus system in the D700 than the 5dII. Canon on the other hand went for megapixels. So I think it's important to decide which approach to full frame you prefer.
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Old Jun 9, 2010, 4:11 PM   #6
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Canon has a bigger range, and therefore some unique options that Nikon lacks.

Nikon has a few lenses that are better, but most are more expensive.

Both have their share of dogs.

The reason Canon won (some) market share from Nikon in the end days of film was the effort they put into their lens range. Then in the early days of digital Nikon lagged behind a lot and Canon won a lot more of the market.

For people starting from scratch now it very much depends on your needs.

Canon have some excellent lenses where Nikon doesn't have anything decent at the moment. The 24-105L is stellar. The equivalent Nikon is horrible. The Canon 70-200 f4 L IS is stellar. Nikon don't have an equivalent. Canon have the very fast L primes which mostly have a 1/2 stop advantage over the Nikon lenses. 24 f1.4, 35 f1.4, 50 f1.2, 85 f1.2, 135 f2. Actually I prefer the slightly slower and much smaller Nikon primes, but Canon has some good non-L primes too.

In particular the Canon 5DMkII and 24-105L kit lens is an absolutely incredible combination for quality and price, with the versatility for weddings, landscape, studio work, documentary and even family snaps. It's a truly stunning all-rounder, like the 5D before it.
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Old Jun 9, 2010, 8:38 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peripatetic View Post
Canon have some excellent lenses where Nikon doesn't have anything decent at the moment. The 24-105L is stellar. The equivalent Nikon is horrible.
The Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 USM L IS has more barrel distortion than the Nikon equivalent. (4.2% at 24mm on a FF DSLR) I wouldn't call that stellar, but that's only my opinion!!
Actually Nikon doesn't have an equivalent at the moment. They have a Nikkor AF 24-85mm f/2.8-4 D IF, and Nikkor AF-S 24-120mm f/3.5-5.6G IF-ED VR. Neither can be described as horrible, in my opinion.

Canon have an advantage in their lens designations. If you have an "L" lens, the chances are that it's very good. Sigma has "EX", Tokina has AT-X Pro, Pentax has "Limited" for top quality lenses. Nikon doesn't have any designation to discriminate between their best lenses and the rest. Nikkor "ED" only tells you there is an ED element in the lens, but it doesn't tell you if it's their best category.

How good a lens is, is sometimes in the eye of the beholder. (or one eye, anyway!!! )

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Old Jun 9, 2010, 9:31 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FaithfulPastor View Post
I really have no idea which manufacturer has an edge on the other, but I'd love to read about it.
Why limit yourself to just Nikon vs Canon?

Really... Olympus has some very nice lenses in their line that no one else carry, which BTW are faster by a stop (and much lighter too) in some cases than any other manufacturers and all excellent by any standard - All Oly lenses are image stabilized (Can't say the same for Nikon or Canon!):

o 14-35 f/2.0 (equivalent to a 28-70 f/2.0)
o 35-100 f/2.0 (equivalent to a 70-200 f/2.0)
o 50-200 f/2.8-3.5 (equiv. to 100-400 f/2.8-3.5)
o 90-250 f/2.8 (equiv. to 180-500 f/2.8) - WHOA!

How about some primes:
o Sigma 50 f/1.4 (one of the better 50's) but actually a 100mm f/1.4 equiv.
o Sigma 150 f/2.8 (if not the best macro) but 300 f/2.8 macro on an Oly ???
o 150 f/2 (that's a 300 f/2.0) or
o 300 f/2.8 (equiv to 600 f/2.8) WHOA.... add a 1.4xTC WHOAAAAAAA!!!

-> I think I just talk myself into an Oly... and micro 4/3 too (which can accept any mount)

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Old Jun 9, 2010, 11:57 PM   #9
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NHL,

If you go with m4/3 you are also opening yourself up to the great leica lenses that the high end panasonic m4/3 lenses use.
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Old Jun 10, 2010, 2:57 AM   #10
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Quote:
They have a Nikkor AF 24-85mm f/2.8-4 D IF, and Nikkor AF-S 24-120mm f/3.5-5.6G IF-ED VR. Neither can be described as horrible, in my opinion.
Speaking with the unshakeable confidence and authority of someone who has never owned a Nikon camera...

Reviews of these two lenses, in particular the 24-120 are unanimous. The lens is very poor.

Start at slrgear.com and photozone.de. Also they do not have a constant aperture, only one is stabilized, etc, etc. A few notches below the Canon for sure. Unless you happen to be one of the half-dozen people on the planet who can see the difference in barrel distortion and take the kind of pictures where it matters (remember that for many applications barrel distortion is a good thing) and yet are unable to correct it in post. :-)

Anyway, despite the advantage of the lens range, there is also the advantage of the Canon lens mount, which allows for the fitting of the lenses of most other makes' lenses with an adapter.

In general though my view is that where one can make a like-for-like comparison Nikon is usually better, though also more expensive.

Olympus of course make some wonderful lenses, if only they made some great cameras to match.

Don't like Sigma - the quality control is iffy, and the colours are very yellow. Yuck.

All-in-all though, if I were starting from scratch with a DSLR I would probably choose a D700 and the new 50mm f1.4 G over my current 5DMkII and 50mm f1.4.

Canon could completely win me over with some nice SLOW-er but very small L primes though! A 24mm f4 L, 35mm f2 L, 50mm f2 L and I would belong to Canon forever.

But I don't think I'm terribly likely to stick with the DSLR format: the new EVIL cameras will doubtless be my format of choice. Once the market settles I shall make a selection and probably ditch my DSLR, at the moment there's nothing quite right for me, though the PEN-EPL1 comes closest.
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