{ 49 comments. } Add a Comment

1 Lisa R August 12, 2009 at 2:55 pm

I am in the process of purchasing two camera bodies, lenses and flashes.

I would love more insight into the lower res. but higher priced Canon ID Mark III vs. the 5D Mark II. What is the benefit to the lower res. camera? I see that it has dual card slotsand faster fps. Are those the major selling points of the Mark III?

It seems that you are in favor, at this point, of going with a Nikon system, yes?

I don’t really have other equipment that is high quality enough to inform my new equipment purchase. In essence, I’m starting from scratch.

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2 Neil August 29, 2009 at 2:56 am

Lisa, the 1D mk3 is a more durable camera in build quality and sealing. The shutter is also rated for a much higher frame count.

The higher resolution of the 5D mk2, while required for some areas of photography such as landscapes, it can be overkill for other types of photography.

If you’re a wedding photographer and mainly shoot for album size, then a 12 megapixel camera is already a high-resolution camera. In other words, you might not need more pixels … and then you’d have to look at features and spec.

Neil vN

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3 Pawel December 9, 2009 at 8:04 pm

Hi!!!
In the beginning I want to say that Your Blog is the great source of learning for me and I admire your work. Thanks for it.
As You have great knowledge of photo gear, You might be able to explain me this strange phenomen:
It is said that full-frame cameras are so much more expensive than cropped-sensor-size cameras, because of the cost of production of FF sensor. This statement i read couple of times in different sources.
Phisycally, FF sensor is about 2x larger than APS-C, what logically can double its price and therefore produce entry-level-body-FF-sensor-camera for only a little more money than cropped-sensor-camera. We can even take away higher cost of miniaturization, certainly involved in packing 12 or so megapixels in a smaller sensor. Where is the catch? Is there any?
Of course, FF cameras are designed for the Pros, so they have excellent specification and build quality, what makes their price. But what stops the producers from making cheap FF cameras? And why anyone at all had the idea of making DSLRs with smaller sensor than film? Is it another conspiracy theory if I say that this was done to divide the market and make the people pay a lot of money for quality that should be available for much less? Any idea how to explain it?
P.S. I hope my English is understandable :) if not, ignore me :)))

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4 Neil December 11, 2009 at 2:10 am

Check out this article. It was written a few years ago, if I go by the cameras they mention, but it should still be entirely relevant. Scroll down to the section on Cost of Producing Digital Sensors.

Neil vN

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5 Martin Doyle January 29, 2010 at 4:40 pm

Neil,

Any plans to offer updates here for the 1D MkIV and the D3s? Would love to know whether you’re still a Nikon man with the new Canon now out.

Martin

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6 Neil January 29, 2010 at 6:40 pm

Martin … I’d love to take the Canon 1D mk IV for a spin, but for a number of reasons, I can’t see myself changing back to Canon again. Scroll down to my comment (#20) in that linked post.

Neil vN

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7 Martin Doyle January 29, 2010 at 7:05 pm

Thanks, Neil.

I hadn’t seen that comment. Makes a lot of sense though.

Martin

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8 Dendy March 17, 2010 at 6:34 am

Hi Neil, do you recommend for Canon 50D? Thanks Neil

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9 Neil vN March 17, 2010 at 9:30 am

Dendy … the 50D is an awkward choice in a way. If you’re buying a new camera, then the Canon 7D is a better choice in my opinion.

If you’re buying a used camera … many Canon users insist the 40D is better than the 50D. And for my tastes, I still like the classic 5D. It’s still an excellent buy as a used camera.

Neil vN

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10 Neil March 22, 2010 at 1:29 am

Neil

Would you recommend the D300s for someone getting into wedding photography or should the money be spent on a 70 – 200 2.8 to go on the d200 that I have. I am thinking along the lines of natural light photography.

Kenrone

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11 Neil vN March 22, 2010 at 5:24 am

Kenrone … tough choice to make, since I believe that both those pieces of equipment – D300s and the 70-200mm f2.8 will change the way you shoot.

The lens perhaps more so. However, I can’t imagine going on any professional shoot without a back-up camera. So just using a single camera is asking for disaster to strike.

Neil vN

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12 mike May 18, 2010 at 9:43 am

neil,
do you think the D3 or D3S is a major improvement over the 5D mark II?? is it worth selling all my gear for a D3S, 24-70 and sb900?? i will be giving up my 70-200 2.8 IS and will not be able to replace it immediately……..thanks again

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13 Neil vN May 19, 2010 at 3:44 am

MIke, check out this posting, and my comment at # 20 with the photos of the repair slips. This will explain my frustration with Canon, and why I felt compelled to use Nikon as my primary system.

Even with that in mind, I would recommend the Nikon Ds3 anyway, since its specification is superior to the Canon 5D mk2 in nearly every respect except resolution.

Neil vN

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14 shantanu June 5, 2010 at 2:13 pm

After a lot of reading I went in for D90 (even contemplated the D5000). Is it so inferior to the D300s?

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15 Neil vN June 6, 2010 at 7:54 am

As far as I know, the D90 and the D300 has the same (or similar?) sensor, so image quality should be on par. So nothing inferior there. : )

Neil vN

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16 Teri Davis August 9, 2010 at 10:36 am

What site do you suggest to purchase used cameras.
i am going to take your advise and purchase a used 5d.
I have a 50D and am very dissapointed with the camera, as you mentioned above as well.
or should I just get the 7d? The 7D is not full frame. Is there an advantage to getting the full frame 5 over the 7?

Thanks so much
Teri

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17 Neil vN August 9, 2010 at 12:44 pm

For used equipment, also check out the Fred Miranda forums.

The 7D has remarkable noise performance. In my opinion, better than the 5D … but my preference would still be for the older 5D.

Where full-frame has an advantage, is that in equal-generation cameras, the noise performance of the full-frame cameras will be better. In the case of the 5D vs 7D, the newer generation camera wins out in noise performance (and specs). Tough choice.

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18 Anthony September 22, 2010 at 3:08 am

Hi Neil

“MIke, check out this posting, and my comment at # 20 with the photos”

I saw this reference twice in this post but it only goes upto comment #17 or am i missing something?

and if you get a chance I’ve left another comment on your softboxes and speedlights.

and just like to comment on your book as well, great read very imformative, it has already improved my photos, cant wait for the next addition – Off camera Flash.

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19 Neil vN September 22, 2010 at 3:51 am

Hi there Anthony .. you have to click on the link.

Seems like I might have missed replying to your other comment. Do you have the link to the post?

Neil vN

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20 Athanasios Retzonis October 26, 2010 at 10:59 am

Hi Neil
I want your help to chooze :

1) D700(2 bodies) + 24-70mm f2.8N ( or 24-120mm f4 VRII)+ 14-24mm f2.8N

2) D3s + D300 + 24-70mm f2.8N ( or 24-120mm f4 VRII)+ Tokina 12-24mm

I shoot weddings and now i have Canon 5D + 5DII + Canon 17-40mm f4L + Canon 28-70mm f2.8L

Thanks

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21 James Kriha December 26, 2010 at 5:41 am

Hey I’m just out of film school and trying to make my way as a photographer. Absolutely in love with the art of it! Just started shooting just over a year ago. My first DSLR was a T1i and I just upgraded a couple months back to a T2i. I own a 85/1.8, 50/1.8, 70-200/2.8 (older one, not the newer one unfortunately), and I just got a Tamron 17-50/2.8 as well as my first flash, a 580 ex ii. My questions to you are why do you recommend a Nikon over a Canon? Also, knowing the equipment I own…what is my next best move in terms of upgrades? What would you recommend for upgrades? And any other advice you could give a photographer just starting out would be tremendous! Thanks! My main focus is weddings and portraiture work…

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22 Neil vN December 28, 2010 at 5:55 am

James .. the reasons why I prefer Nikon over Canon are partially explained there.

Your next move for an upgrade? I’d say either a Canon D7 or a used classic 5D.

Neil vN

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23 Alfredo Medina January 18, 2011 at 4:02 pm

Hi Neil,

Dpreview, in the conclusions of its review of the Nikon D7000, says “Exceptionally low shadow noise in RAW files”. I do not like the shadow noise because sometimes it is very noticeable in the skin of people.

Can you tell me, as you know which camera is better handling the issue of the shadow noise?

Alfredo.

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24 Neil vN January 21, 2011 at 4:51 am

If you’re seeing shadow noise in the skin tones … what ISO are you using?
And is your exposure good?

Which camera is better than the NIkon D7000 in terms of high-ISO noise? The Nikon D3s .. which is currently the champion.

Neil vN

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25 Brad KIng February 4, 2011 at 12:10 pm

Neil –
I currently own a Canon 7D and a number of L lenses plus canon accessories. My interests are landscape and on location portrait photography (inspired in large part by you). I am getting close to take the next step to a high end pro body i.e. 1D MkIV or the D3? I figure if I switch to Nikon this would be the time.

I’m curious, when you made the switch to Nikon did you hold one to your Canon inventory in anticipation of Canon coming out with their own killer 14-24, 24-70 and revolutionary body? Or did you sell it and plan on never looking back?

Since I haven’t made the switch I’ve been holding off hoping Canon would catch up with Nikon the the above mentioned areas

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26 Neil vN February 10, 2011 at 9:48 am

Brad … I kept a small Canon system because I need to remain familiar with the Canon system for the flash photography workshops. And even to be able to reply to questions here about Canon equipment.

The lens that did tip me over into switching back to Nikon, was the Nikon 14-24mm f2.8
The Nikon 24-70mm f2.8 also has no peer. It’s just a superb lens, unmatched by other mid-range zooms.

Neil vN

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27 Patrick O'Driscoll February 11, 2011 at 3:49 pm

I haven’t had the pleasure of using Nikon cameras , but I can see , from your site , that you are much more enthusiastic about Nikon , than Canon . I’ve used Canon equipment for some years ,and must say that I’m 100% satisfied with the results . My first DSLR was 350D Canon Eos , which has been totally reliable and has produced almost 100% of good , well exposed photos . I still use it , as it is so light and portable . I bought a 40D Eos a few years ago , and found it very good in every way . For my birthday , last year ,i was treated to a 50D … it is definitely a superior camera to the 40D in many ways . I wonder about your adherence to Nikon when a good 80% of all great photos printed on the many Photographic magazines on this side of ” the Pond ” ( Atlantic ) are produced on Canon 5Dmk2 … Can all these ( very ) serious photographers be wrong ..? I doubt it !

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28 Neil vN February 12, 2011 at 11:43 pm

Patrick, as you may have noticed, I shy away from the usual Nikon vs Canon discussions on my website. (Other than the one comment in the ‘Best Camera’ thread that I posted here.) I just think that those discussions tend to derail what we really should be concentrating on .. getting damn fine photographs.

So even while this website is mostly about technical aspects of photography, it is with the intention of helping photographers get to where they want to be. And I include myself here, since this entire blog shows a definite arc in how I improved as a photographer over the years, even the past few years. So really, it is about the photography in the end.

I mainly use Nikon, but I do have a Canon 5D mk2. It’s a fine camera too. :)

In the end though, I was driven to my choice in using Nikon,
– because of reliability issues with Canon,
– and the subsequent high cost of repairing and maintaining a full Canon system, compared to a Nikon system. (As noted in that linked post.)

It wasn’t a trivial decision.

But really, it is about the photography in the end.

Neil vN

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29 Kevin Deibert March 22, 2011 at 8:49 pm

N,
I shoot Pentax so I have to ask…….. Am I doomed from the start? Before delving into the world of photography I inherited my grandfathers Pentax gear. I learned that I was able to use his old glass on the new bodies and went from there. Now I’m too far vested to switch brands but often wonder why I don’t see more Pentax shooters and if I made the wrong choice. Although I’m addicted to the pastime, I’m still just an amateur with a day job. My question is….Will this boutique brand limit my potential growth and quality of my images? I’ve noticed its sometimes difficult when reading your books and trying to figure where my bodies fit in. Pssst….its closer to Cannon btw.
Best,
K

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30 Neil vN March 23, 2011 at 12:06 am

Kevin … my first camera was a Pentax ME Super which I dearly loved .. nearly as much as the Pentax Super-A that I replaced it with when the ME Super was stolen. Decades later now, I still own a near-mint Super-A just because it is such a sweet camera.

The Pentax LX … I do believe it was a better camera than the Nikon F3 or Canon F1. (Except for the sticky mirror problem that would appear after a few years of use.)

So I do hold Pentax dear to my heart. However, I switched to a NIkon F90x when I calculated the cost of owning a Pentax 80-200mm f2.8 … it was less expensive to get a used Nikon 80-200mm f2.8D and Nikon F90x, than it would’ve been to own the Pentax 80-200mm f2.8

It just made more sense financially to switch to Nikon then. Pentax professional gear was just too expensive.

So here we are now. As wonderful as Pentax gear is (or was, depending on how you want to view it) … as wonderful as Pentax gear is, you just don’t have access to the same kind of system than you would have if you were using Nikon or Canon. That’s the inescapable fact.

Are you doomed from the start now? Not at all. As I re-stated in this recent post (check my comment #1 specifically) .. as well as in other articles … the specific camera and lens is most often just the layer of technology we use to get the images we want.

However, we need to have access to the specific lenses and cameras that will enable us. If you’re missing out on a specific lens for example, then your chosen system might be a limit. If not … then not. : )

And btw … I always felt that Pentax’s engineering philosophy was more closely aligned to Nikon. Eg, the direction of the aperture ring, and the direction that the lens focuses in.

Neil vN

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31 Chris K. July 26, 2011 at 3:33 pm

Hi Neil, love your work and site;) hey right now I shoot with Canon for years (right now 5D II and 7D) and want to make the switch to Nikon because I tried my friends Nikon D300s and really like the features it has, especially the multiple exposure and interval timer for some stupid reason Canon does not have them, when you say for studio work Nikon and Landscape Canon what do you mean Cropping wise? if so I really don’t crop my images because I do most of that in camera and if I do it is very little, but when I do switch it will be with their new releases from what I hear announcements next month thanks;)

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32 Neil vN July 30, 2011 at 12:29 am

Chris, you misunderstood my comments. I didn’t say that specifically the Canon is good for landscapes. I was talking about the high resolution of the 5D mk II. So my comment would apply to any high-resolution camera.

Personally, I wouldn’t jump to the Nikon D300s from the Canon 5D mk 2 or Canon 7D.

Neil vN

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33 Chris K. July 30, 2011 at 6:36 am

Thanks Neil, I probably won’t but it is the multiple exposure and interval feature in Nikon that has me hooked.

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34 Caylena February 17, 2012 at 3:41 am

Hi, Neil.

I’ve been looking into cameras and upgrades. Currently I am using a Canon xti from 2007. I’m not impressed with it anymore, the more close I come to professional work and other pro photographers, therefore, I’m looking to upgrade. At first I wasn’t open to switching to Nikon, but in the interest of making a well informed decision, and because I’m so undecided on the 7d vs the 5d MK II, (and because I love that Nikons have so many AF points compared to Canon), I started to research what Nikon has available, but I’m really overwhelmed by the Nikon list of cameras because I’m really unfamiliar with everything about them, from the naming system to the FX vs DX sensors, etc. I also noticed they have some full frame cameras with lower MP than the cropped sensors. I’m curious about how that plays out in the end in terms of noise, ISO and image quality? Is a lower MP res on a full frame better than a higher MP on a cropped sensor or vice versa?

What would you say is the best camera body in the $1000-$2500 range in terms of low-noise high-ISO, overall image quality, etc?

I’m really stuck between the 5d mk ii and the 7d because overall it seems that the 7D is a better camera/has better features, but the 5d is full frame. Do you by any chance know how either/both of these hold up in low-light situations (like a church where flash is not permitted, for example)? I’m interested in doing events, so I know it’s really important to have low-light capability – as well as having fast glass. I’m also interested in other types of work, such as on-location portraits, studio and still life work, photojournalism and architecture, but not so much sports – where a really fast speed is necessary.

Any advice?

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35 Stephen February 18, 2012 at 11:19 pm

Caylena,
I’m not Neil…

On the Nikon side, these are the cameras you probably should look at for professional work:

DX (not full-frame):
D300s / D7000

FX (full frame):
D700 / D800 / D3 / D3s / D4

Now, the D3, D3s, and D4, are out of your budget. The D800 retails for $2999, which is just outside your budget. Your best bet is the Nikon D700, should you go with Nikon. It retails for $2500, but it is getting hard to find. This is the camera I have, and it has great low-light capabilities. If you need workhorse fast lenses, you are looking at the 24-70mm f2.8 and 70-200mm f2.8 VR II to start. If you are doing enough business, then you probably want two D700s to back each other up.

Don’t fall for the megapixel myth. You will get good images for digital and print at 12 megapixels. You’ve seen my photos, so that should give you an idea what the D700 plus high end lenses are capable of. The rest is your own skill.

I don’t own any Canons, so I can say nothing about them.

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36 Aaron March 20, 2012 at 6:49 pm

Hi Neil,
First of all I want to tell you that I love both of your books.
Is there really that much difference between shooting Full Frame (Fx) versus DX?
I have been shooting Nikon DX, and I have the 17-55mm f2.8 lens, 85mm f1.8, 50mm f1.8. I have a home studio, and I am starting to do some events.
Recently I have looked at buying a used D700, since prices ha come down in this model. The problem is that if I buy an Fx camera, I would have to buy a 24-70 ($1700) and sell my 17-55 ($1000), and probably buy a 70-200 ($1700-$2300) at some point. The FX glass is big $$$.
Do you think it pays to buy a D700 now? (3 year old technology being phased out)
Or would you wait to see what Nikon will announce to replace the D300s? (D400??)
Any advice?

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37 Neil vN April 1, 2012 at 10:42 am

With the release of the Nikon D800 and Nikon D4, a used D700 or a used D3s, would probably be the best choice in terms of quality vs price.

Neil vN

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38 Kinley April 11, 2012 at 1:14 am

Hey hey Neil,

I’ve followed you for a couple of years and have your books. You are a “virtual” mentor and have helped my understanding of photography more than I can express! I am retooling my business and focusing more on Weddings, Family Portraits, and Youth Sports. I currently have a D300 + D700. I was considering selling both to upgrade to the D800. Was wondering your take on this new body and if my “mentor” thought it was a good idea to consolidate and take advantage of the new technology, ultra high resolution, video capabilities, etc.

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39 Neil vN April 11, 2012 at 10:41 am

This is a tough call. I don’t need the high resolution of the Nikon D800 with wedding photography. Even with the 12 megapixel Nikon D3 / D3s, I am down-sampling for the wedding albums. So for me, 12 megapixels is already “enough”.

With that, I was happy to order my Nikon D4 bodies (18 megapixels), and pass the opportunity to get a D800 immediately.

Now, for portraits, and for nature photography, etc … the D800 would be ideal.

I haven’t had opportunity to play with the D800 yet, but from what I’ve seen in online comparisons, the D800 has remarkable high-ISO quality for such a high-resolution camera. But really, this is a tough call.

Neil vN

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40 Aaron November 13, 2012 at 8:09 pm

Neil,

Do you have an opinion on the Nikon D600?
New D600 ($2,100)versus Used D700 ($1,500 -$1,600)?

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41 Neil vN November 19, 2012 at 3:45 am

A tough decision, especially because you can pick up a used D700 for a really nice price now.

But I would have to say that the D600 is the better camera since it also features 1080p video capability.

Neil vN

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42 Brian December 29, 2012 at 6:02 am

Thanks for publishing this!! I have a very broad, versatile interest in photography and don’t favor any brands.. However, I would like to shoot freelance, sports, portraits, etc. I’m curious which system is better suited for such a range? I noticed with the Nikon D800 it seems directed at wedding and portrait photographers? I’m not sure if Canon has such a directing with their models? Either way, I’m going to start investing in the glass first and the bodies and flashes second…

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43 Neil vN December 29, 2012 at 6:06 am

There seems to be a gap in the Nikon line-up at the moment. Something like a D700x – a camera with 1080p video, with the AF beefed up a bit, and with more pixels perhaps.

The D800 has such big files that the frame rate is fairly slow. Not ideal for sport.

The perfect camera for what you want, is the Nikon D4. Spendy, but the best camera that you can buy at the moment. But really, there should be a D700x type camera. Something that directly competes with the Canon 5D mark III

Neil vN

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44 Dariusz January 7, 2013 at 4:30 am

Hello Neil. I’m hooked on your blog. Great thing to read for beginner like me. I have a question. I’ve noticed that you have both Canon and Nikon cameras.. Don’t you think that Nikon’s pictures often lack that magic that is present in Canon’s photos?? I don’t know how to explain it.. I guess it’s about the way Canon renders colors and contrast and bokeh. They are more pastel and dreamy and subtle. The Nikon photos look very flat and uninteresting often too.. I’m Nikon shooter at the moment and I love my 24mm 1.4 and 85mm 1.4d… but I watch Canon shooters galeries with envy. And I don’t think it’s down to post-procesing.. I’ve seen great Nikon pictures with Canon like qualities probably done in photoshop but generally that is what I think. I’d love to hear about my dilema from photographer like yourself with great eye for beauty. :) Kind Regards from Poland. Dariusz

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45 Neil vN January 7, 2013 at 9:54 am

You’re right – I’ve used (and still am using), both Nikon and Canon. As explained in that linked article, I have a strong preference for the one system over the other.

Canon does deliver nicer skin tones with less effort than Nikon, in my experience … if you use Canon’s DPP software, or shoot JPGs.

As for contrast and saturation, and so on … I’m very happy with what I get from my Nikon cameras. However, I do shoot in RAW. Then the subtle differences in image rendition, is kind of a moot point. As for bokeh, I’m not sure how this trendy catch-phrase made it into the discussion. It’s a lens thing; not a camera thing. It’s a lens thing; not a system thing.

So ultimately, if you’re not happy with the way your images look, then it might just well be a post-processing thing.

I have a few articles here on how to make your images pop more:

Neil vN

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46 David January 12, 2013 at 8:28 pm

Hi Neil, i’m just getting to grips with my new Nikon D4 and i noticed that you had not added the D4 to your list of camera gear on this page. Will you be doing an in depth review and sharing your preferred settings etc? Thanks again for sharing all your great work with us!

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47 steven June 16, 2013 at 9:10 am

Dear Neil,

I enjoy reading the quality content in your website and the way you communicate information simply and effectively. I am currently Nikon D7000 user and I want to upgrade to full frame. I am in cross road with two optons- Nikon D800E or Canon 5D Mark III. I am not a professional photographer. Photography is my hobby and I am interested in landscape and people photography.Since I am using the crop sensor now, anyways i have to change my lens too. Hence it will not be a problem if i need to switch over from Nikon. Awaiting for your reply

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48 Neil vN June 16, 2013 at 1:14 pm

I have a strong preference (based on experience) for the one system over the other:
Canon and Nikon,
and this will usually bias my recommendation when there is a straight choice between the two.

Neil vN

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49 Suzanne Young June 23, 2013 at 11:49 am

Hi Neil, thanks again for Tangents, & your books which I refer to a lot. You have a gift in teaching and your passion is contagious. You’re probably my no 1 reference out there amongst the myriad of info now available. That’s why I’d like your opinion on the D600, particularly the 1/200 sync speed factor. I just bought one. Do you think it’s a big issue. Mr Hobby considers major enough to dismiss buying one. I couldn’t bare the thought of processing 36mp images from the d800 & couldn’t afford the d4. I got an ND filter hoping that would make up for it! What do you think about the camera other than that. Thanks again

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