the dan milner photography blog: tales of an adventuring photo chimp

March 3, 2010

Nikon or Canon: car keys in the middle, please people!

Filed under: photography — danmilner @ 9:20 pm

I’ve been turning heads recently with the new Nikon 14-24/2.8 G lens stuck on the front of my Canon bodies. Easily the sharpest wide angle lens I’ve ever used, and better than the majority of prime lenses if other user reports are to be believed, this one lens has got me pondering what else Nikon has to offer?  Well its D3 for starters.

Sharp objects and skinny tyres: Nikon 14-24/2.8G & Canon EOS 5D


We sport photographers are pretty much either Nikon or Canon, and that’s the  way we stay, usually. Having invested vast amounts of hard earned cash on one or other of the two systems, the sheer cost involved in swapping between them means once you’re in with one, you’re in for good. Canon got the heads up at the start and for that reason most snowboard photographers like myself plumped for the big C. Now, no matter how good my EOS digital and previous 1V film bodies have been, Canon’s offerings have their limitations. Their wide angle zooms (the 16-35 and previous 17-35 2.8) leave a lot to be desired in edge sharpness, and while the 1.3x factor on their 1D (Mk2, 3 and 4) pro-sports bodies is good for long lens work, it makes shooting close up, atmospheric wides a cropped pain. The beautifully sharp, eye catchingly wide 14mm end of my new Nikon 14-24 becomes a less dramatic 18mm equivalent on the 1D bodies (OK it’s still wide, but see the potential in 14mm). And that’s what Canon offer for sports, I guess believing that sports photographers always shoot from the football/rugby/tennis/GrandPrix sidelines with long lenses. Makes sense… why would you need a full frame sensor and a sharper wide angle?

I have had the chance recently to handle Nikon’s D3 though. The seeds of change have been sown.

Full frame, with a decent 12.1 MP sensor, great low-light-low-noise usability is topped off with a true sports shooting capability of 9 FPS and a RAW buffer capacity of 40 frames (try sequencing today’s massive snowboard kicker tricks with less and you’ll lose the landing). The more I look at its specs, the more I realize that Nikon has the edge over Canon when it comes to more creative ‘on-slope’ sports photography. Now all I got to do is find the cash to make the break. Hmmm, after 15 years with Canon, it wont be easy. Watch this space.


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