Canon vs. Nikon: Which is better?

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Difference between Canon and Nikon

For professional photographers and hobbyists, few names carry the weight that Nikon and Canon do. While both companies actually started out as lens manufacturers, both have also largely reinvented themselves as camera manufacturers with pretty respectable models having been released over the years. You could certainly do a lot worse than to pick up a Canon or a Nikon for your arsenal, although each does have its strengths and disadvantages. Let's take a closer look at both.

Canon
Nikon

Origins

The Nikon Corporation first saw the light of day in 1917, having been established a full two decades earlier than Canon. The company came about as the result of a merger between the three foremost optical manufacturers of the day and it has managed to secure a favored position as one of the top optical lenses and equipment manufacturers in the world.

Canon for its part started out as the ‘Precision Optical Instruments Laboratory’ when it was established in 1937 in Japan. The name is actually derived from the Japanese name ‘Kwanon’. 1947 saw the revamp of the company into a camera manufacturer and Canon Camera Co. Inc–later renamed Canon Inc–was born.

Significant Achievements

Many of Canon’s cameras actually used Nikon lenses at various points in its history, although the company was the first to manufacturer the first Japanese-made 35mm camera. This was followed several years later by Nikon’s release of their own 35mm model in 1948.

Nikon was also responsible for the introduction of the DSLR model in 1999. Called the Nikon D1, this model largely dominated the digital photography market for a few years until Canon’s release of its own DSLR model, the D30. The D30 offers pretty much the same features, functionality and quality as the Nikon model, albeit at a much lower cost.

Compatibility

Nikon wins out in terms of compatibility with most cameras and lenses manufactured since the late 50s being compatible with each other. In fact, the multi-decade interoperability of Nikon cameras is well known among photography buffs and professionals alike.

Canon for its part doesn't seem all that concerned with backwards compatibility, with the introduction of the EOS line in 1985. This effectively cut any compatibility ties between models produced before and after this year, although the EOS system clearly offers numerous advantages over the old Nikon mount system.

Summary

Nikon

  • Was established before Canon
  • Came out with its own camera more than ten years after Nikon
  • Released the first DSLR model
  • Cannot be fitted with Canon lenses

Canon

  • Came out with its own camera long before Nikon, although Nikon has been around longer
  • Its cameras used Nikon lenses at various stages in the company’s history
  • Offered a cheaper DSLR model with similar quality to that of Canon’s offering
  • Can be used with Nikon lenses 

Which is better?
  • Canon
  • Nikon
 
 

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