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enigma

Canon vs Nikon DSLR

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I have been thinking to buy my first DSLR for some months now, but I can't decide if I should get a Canon or a Nikon. The camera will be used more in daylight for family photography, than in the night for astrophotography. At the beginning I intended to get a Canon as this is what everyone seems to be using for astrophotography, but after more careful reading it seems to me that Nikon models (D3100, D5100) are newer than Canon (1100D, 550D) and have better specifications. Can anyone explain why I should get a Canon and if a Nikon will also produce good results?

Edited by enigma

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to put your problem into perspective. You wouldn't see any difference in quality of images taken on either camera make under normal daylight photography.

However, the Canon bodies have a significant advantage for astro work mainly from the software that is available and also some of the hardware.

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My son is a professional photographer. He tells me he has used both camera brands, and the Nikon lenses are far better for sharpness and contrast than the equivilent canon lenses.

The only advantage I can see for Canon cameras would be if you want to use a modified camera for astro-photography. The modification consists of removing the IR filter in front of the sensor as to allow the camera to be sensitive to Ha emissions. ( they show up as red on such objects as the Horsehead, California Nebula, etc. ) However, in order to use a modified camera for "normal" photography, you then have to equip your lenses with an external IR screw-on filter.

Nikon cameras are REALLY GOOD. If you intend to go with mostly "normal" photography, my vote would be for one of them. A D-80 or 90 in the "consumer" grade camera, or a D-200 or more expensive in the "enthusiast-professional" grade of camera.

( you could probably buy 2 or more D-80s for the cost of one "professional" grade Nikon )

Jim S.

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If you have any interest at all in using the DSLR for astronomy then the answer is Canon.

It can be easily modded to improve the Ha response ( and CWB does a pretty good job of the corrections to allow it to be used for "family shots")

Well supported and well known.

My 2c

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I've recently worked in an organisation with 100+ cameras, all Nikon. I asked the pro photographer why and not Canon, and he said "they work after you've dropped them, and the lenses are better"....

Chris

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If I'm not mistaken, Canon has a true raw mode, while Nikon RAWs are slightly processed, including some noise reduction that can destroy some astro details. That is just what i have read, so hoepflly someone more knowlegeable can confirm or correct.

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My understanding is that Canon DSLR's have less Amp glow which makes them less noisy for long exposure times , also Nikon's take longer to cool down between exposures.

Edited by reddoss

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I shoot photos on a semi-pro basis and would always go with Nikon. They are well designed, easy to get to grips with and have some cracking lenses and accessories. Ultimately, though, it comes down to what you want to do with your DSLR. If you want to use it for astro stuff then Canon might be better. Before making any decision, I would thoroughly recommend you go and handle any cameras you are interested in. Personally, I find the ergonomics and layout of the Nikons to be much nicer than Canons.

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Nikon cameras are REALLY GOOD

So are Canons.

They are well designed, easy to get to grips with and have some cracking lenses and accessories.

So are/do Canons.

Fact is both cameras can take equally good photo's. A lot of it comes down to your skill. For astro work there is no doubt the canon is much better supported, just go with whichever camera feels better in the hand if the main use is for daytime.

Edited by shaunster

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I use Canon's for astro (got 3 of them) and Nikons for everything else (got 2 of them) ... I might change next time after buying as couple of L series lenses but it will be a close call...

I still prefer the handling of My Nikon over the Canon cameras but I have used a prosumer range Canon camera in anger...

For a split with astro bias...

It would have to be Canon - availability of cheap and superb software - APT Backyard EOS, ease of modification availability of replacement filters etc...

Edited by Psychobilly

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Nikon cameras are REALLY GOOD. If you intend to go with mostly "normal" photography, my vote would be for one of them. A D-80 or 90 in the "consumer" grade camera, or a D-200 or more expensive in the "enthusiast-professional" grade of camera.

Jim S.

I wouldn't advise a D-200, it's an old model and compared to the newer ones, not very good.

The latest models D5100 and D7000 are cracking cameras but, of course, it comes down to what the budget is. A D7000 body can be had for £775 and a D5100 about £520.

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I do not intend to modify a Canon and I think software is not a major concern compared to hardware differences. I read that newer Nikon models should handle noise at higher ISO speeds as good as Canon if not better. Also Canon (especially 1000D/1100D) do not seem to be of the same build quality as Nikon (I do not like the plastic bodies). I am thinking about the Nikon D3100 or the D5100 (and D90 but I read that D5100 should perform better as it is a newer model).

Edited by enigma

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I was faced with the same problem recently and ended up going for the Canon 1100D.

I think it comes down to motivation really. My aim was to learn first principles and edge into basic astrophotography - I'm never intending to take more than a single 60 second exposure for example.

The arguments I've seen though tell me Canons are great for astrophotography because of the noise reduction, software and hardware advantages, while NIKON seems to be a very closed system - the best I can make out, control of the camera from a laptop requires an extra purchase if you have a Nikon, but comes in the box with a Canon.

I chose Canon, but if I had the capability (read 'funds') I would have a Canon for the skies and a Nikon for terrestrial photography. Much as Psychobilly does.

Alan

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If you will use the camera for serious astro work then definitely get Canon.

I have both a Nikon D200 and D7000 and they are excellent cameras for more traditional photographic work but for astro work they are a pig.

Despite the comment above about the D200 not being very good as its an old camera - it is a very good camera despite its age and still used my many togs. All bar the West Bay shots on my gallery are taken with my D200 (Lee Diggle).

If you ask photographers they will say its the glass you use thats important as this will largely determine the quality (sharpness, contrast etc) of an image whereas the body just records the data.

Having said the above, Nikons are known as star crunchers as they apply noise removal algorythms even to RAW files. Whilst later models do have some excellent noise control at higher ISOs they are just not that good for astro work.

This may be some interesting reading:

Nikon vs Canon DSLR Cameras for Astrophotography

HTH

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Alan makes a very good point about camera control with PC - this is much more readily available with Canon and not so easily done with Nikon. Another good reason to go with Canon.

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I'd agree totally about the glassware. If your lens are a lot cheaper than the camera body then in all probability you aren't doing the camera body justice anyway

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If your lens are a lot cheaper than the camera body then in all probability you aren't doing the camera body justice anyway

Thats a good way of putting it, never really thought about it like that. Of course there are exceptions to every rule :) I think both Canon and Nikon (well, I know Nikon do as Ive got one, lol) do a cracking nifty fifty lens which is sharp as a razor and cheap.

Anyway, Im drifting OT a bit.....If I wasnt saving up for a dedicated CCD for astro imagining I would be considering a Canon like Psychobilly did for pure astro work.

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I currently have a Nikon, great little camera and was my first DSLR.

Since getting into astrophotography I have decided im going to sell my Nikon and swap to a Canon for Xmas. I cant comment on the techy camera bits and pieces but from personal experience so far the Nikon's lack a good piece of tethering software so I cant fully automate my exposures at the moment.

Canons also seem to be better supported for astro in terms of modifiers, clip filters etc.

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I currently have a Nikon, great little camera and was my first DSLR.

Since getting into astrophotography I have decided im going to sell my Nikon and swap to a Canon for Xmas. I cant comment on the techy camera bits and pieces but from personal experience so far the Nikon's lack a good piece of tethering software so I cant fully automate my exposures at the moment.

Canons also seem to be better supported for astro in terms of modifiers, clip filters etc.

Very true. I plan to persevere with my D200 as I got a Hahnel intervolometer which will allow me to use my D200 and let it run for a series of exposures, that way I am not too bothered about not being able to connect to my lappy. The next problem however is ampglow - im hoping to get a power adapter for it to see if that helps.

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I'd just like to add that I don't know any way to drive the Nikons exposure longer than 30 secs under software control. With the Canon it is easy. The Nikon star eater is now consigned to the dustbin since you will not see the difference post D5000's.

Mike

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The Nikon star eater is now consigned to the dustbin since you will not see the difference post D5000's.

Mike

What do you mean by this?

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What do you mean by this?

The algorithms used to deal with noise are less aggressive so stars are no longer treated as noise. :)

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If your going Nikon then Wilkinson Cameras had an offer on the Nikon D90 18-200 lens for £500, the D90 is a blindingly good camera.

My personal choice would be an Canon EOS 550D £500 ish

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Very true. I plan to persevere with my D200 as I got a Hahnel intervolometer which will allow me to use my D200 and let it run for a series of exposures, that way I am not too bothered about not being able to connect to my lappy. The next problem however is ampglow - im hoping to get a power adapter for it to see if that helps.

I bought one of these ( the Chinese knock-off, anyway ) from a web dealer for $20.00 U.S. plus a minor S&H charge. It is a very nice piece of equipment. You simply set the camera to the "bulb" setting, and manual operation, and let the device determine the length, interval between shots, number of shots, etc. etc. The timer will allow you to go up to 99 hours and 59 minutes, and take hundreds of individual exposures, but unless you are using an external battery pack, you will never see that kind of exposure use. ( who would want it , anyway ) The battery will discharge long before that!

I am not sure about the "Star Eating" noise reduction that people are complaining about. My D-80 has four levels of NR, ( IIRC ) including an "OFF" mode, in both the Hi ISO and the long exposure modes , so I suspect that the problem no longer exists on the newest cameras.

Of course, if the only reason you are going to use the camera is for astro-photos, the better choice is probably a medium or high-end Canon, but if you already own , or are considering getting one for general purpose photography, don't be afraid of the Nikons.

Jim S

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After trying to use the Nikon D200 for about 18 months I buckled and bought a 2nd hand Canon 350D which evne out of the box was a huge improvement... When I took the filter out even more so... The 1000D waas a lot less noisy than the 350D and doesent suffer from ampglow unless you use Liveview when you have to wait for the sensor to cool down... the 500D has lower noise again....

I have a considerable investment in Nikon Sytem Glass and Accessories (mainly for Macro and Technical Photography) but have Recently bought a Pair of Canon L's series Lenses 24-105 f4L IS USM and 70-200 f4L since the lower spec lenses just didnt cut it with the higher MP sensor of the 500D...

Having bought these lenses the choices next DSLR (my eigth) which will most likely be a full frame sensored camera will be a bit more difficult... as the D200 is still my real workhorse camera... It might be old but it ain't broke (and it survived a 1m fall onto concrete of the scope with no replacment parts as did the 18-70 AF-S needed when Nikon serviced them)

IIRC correctlky thre are 3rd party tethering apps for the Nikon camera I use Nikon Capture 2 which I bought for less than a fiver in a "junk box" at an auction...But I don't think there's anything like Astrophotography Tools (APT) or BackyardEOS available as reasonable cost...

You pays your money and takes your choice...

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