• Canon and Nikon: A Photographer's Comparison (Part 3)

      In continuation to our series of articles for the Canon and Nikon comparison, we will now venture into The Digital Noise Test and the Auto Focus Function.

      Links to Previous Series Articles:
      Part 1: Skin Tone and Color Tone Tests
      Part 2: Controls and High ISO Color Test

      5. Digital Noise Test at 15800

      Note: Both camera's noise reduction are turned OFF. Don't mind the sharpness, I didn't focus on this part.

      This is the same image as my previous post but the "FIXED" versions. I cropped it for us to do a pixel peep at ISO 12800! Left - Canon, Right - Nikon. It is so obvious who's the winner here.

      This is not just about "my personal taste" because anyone can see the difference. Nikon wins a big margin, maintaining their colors and detail, most especially the BLACK part while you almost see no digital noise at all.

      Canon obviously has a lot of white spots and I think the noise made a bit of modification in the image, it's like over-sharpening it. Again noise-wise, D3S should be compared to 1D Mark 4, but we don't have one here for testing. Also, I think they have almost the same sensor as D700 and D3. So basically, we have an even match except for Nikon D3S' 12MP vs 5D2's 21MP. Nikon's image is a bit stretched, so it's a handicap.

      6. Auto Focus and a bit of controls (this is more of READING)


      I had a Canon EOS 1D Mark III which I sold last year to a good friend. I'll be comparing the D3s' AF speed with it, 5D2 is just too slow as a comparison.

      I don't have a photo to show you the camera's AF speeds because it's not possible. With my experience on 1D3's AF speed and testing the D3S now, in terms of continuous AF / AI Servo, for me, both are just as fast. I don't have any device here to measure that, or is there any?

      Now, in terms of single shot AF mode, Nikon D3S maintains its AF speed while 1D Mark III drops down a bit (just a bit). This is true, my Canon friends.


      This time, I'll be comparing D3S with my current 5D Mark II. Somehow I think it is more accurate in terms of AF then the 1D3.

      Just when I got my hands on the Nikon camera, the first thing I did was to try its AF. Before really pressing the shutter button all the way down, I played with the "half-press" thing, in bisaya "malmal" LOL! To my surprise, the AF accuracy is amazing or awesome like me (errrrr).. I really can't describe it. It's really that good! I never thought there's a camera with an AF as accurate like this.

      Comparing it with my 5D2, I had to go to "AF micro-adjustment" option in Custom functions menu to manually calibrate EACH of my lenses. I had to download a lens calibration sheet for it. There was one time that I had to borrow a 24-70 from a friend because mine was in my bag and it wasn't in the area and I had to change lenses immediately. I used it for a few shots. The frustrating part was, my camera was calibrated to my 24-70 and NOT his. Well, all of my shots were NOT focus-sharp.

      When I checked the D3S' custom function menu, there's no AF micro-adjustment option or anything like it. That means, Nikon has a great standard in camera and lens calibration.

      A bit of controls / a bit of looks:

      I have to do a critic on Nikon's ergonomics, looks and their scroll control. First off, what's with the large spaceship-like head, he one with Nikon logo on it? The ergonomics that Nikonians are bragging with (I'm sorry Nikon friends)are not that bad but, Canon's 5D and 1D series is waaaay better. No bias here, check out my AF review again hehehe.

      Last but not the least, the scroll control infront of the camera just near the grip, it's in a very bad location, why is it there? All other brands are placed before the shutter button. It's hard for my finger to get on it most especially in a hurry or holding the camera with one hand (i usually do that, make exposure adjustments while talking to my subjects). Though other buttons and shortcuts AROUND the Nikon camera will pretty much save your time when you get used to it. At first, it's too confusing but then its an advantage again when you are used to it.

      Conclusion to this part of the review: Nikon has an unparalled Auto Focus system, exudes Canon (except MAYBE for 1D4 and 1DX) BIGTIME!!! For the controls part and looks, Nikon should have hired Steve Jobs years ago just to do a bit of simplification to its controls, ergonomics is actually ok for some but not for my taste. The looks? Canon 1D series is just the best looking cameras so far. As for Canon's controls, more shortcut buttons will help but I guess the new models have those already.

      Again, this is not a Canon vs Nikon thing. It is educational and it is just most of the FACTS I have seen, experienced, tried and felt on both systems.

      EXTRA: I love the sleek design of Nikon lenses compared to barrel-like ones of Canon. Nikkor 24-70 and 70-200 VR. Also the quality of their finish, both lens and hood! What beauties!

      Before we continue with our next bases of comparison, let's have a game. Check picture below and tell me which photo is shot by Canon and which one is shot by a Nikon. Exhibit A or B? Those who played this game before, please do not give hints. hehee... Thanks and I will reveal the answer in our next series! Thanks for following!

      Comparative Analysis by:

      Lito C. Inso
      Forever Amateur/Newbie Photo Enthusiast
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      Comments 13 Comments
      1. reload's Avatar
        reload -
        Canon shot - B
      1. unique's Avatar
        unique -
        A - Canon shot
      1. pepponeskie's Avatar
        pepponeskie -
      1. sevmik's Avatar
        sevmik -
        Yeah, Nikon's AF system is better even sa lower end bodies. In low light conditions I hate how Canon bodies doesn't seem to have AF assist illumination other than that series of flash bursts. As for the noise handling at extreme ISOs, well, not much surprise there.

        My guess is also Nikon for exhibit A and Canon for B. ^_^
      1. rayfloyd_170's Avatar
        rayfloyd_170 -
        canon for A and Nikon for B
      1. wonsters's Avatar
        wonsters -
        After reading your 3-part article,
        I believe A-Nikon, B-Canon if I'm right it means I learned something tnx
        I agree with sevmik, nikon's AF is better. I tried nikon D3000 & D5000 and I feel its better than my 60D
      1. CrasHBURN's Avatar
        CrasHBURN -
        Update: We did a quick test on the new Canon EOS 5D Mark III (3)'s AF. Somehow it feels like, this one beats Nikon's D3s. Haven't tried the D4 and D800, so that's it for now. So 5D3 has the best AF, so far... I'll see if I could make a quick review on the 5D3 when I can get my hands on it.
      1. tingwaltz's Avatar
        tingwaltz -
      1. alwin's Avatar
        alwin -
        A- nikon
      1. jamesregino001's Avatar
        jamesregino001 -
        A - canon
        B - Nikon
      1. vixenshoppe's Avatar
        vixenshoppe -
        i think A canon
      1. Businessmind's Avatar
        Businessmind -
      1. rhyan23's Avatar
        rhyan23 -
        A - Nikon
        B - Canon

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