Should you buy a Canon DSLR or a Nikon DSLR?

Your point-and-shoot smartphone camera is fine for some things, but you’ve developed an interest in photography and are ready to move up to a full-featured camera. Why not start with the type the pros use — the digital single-lens reflex camera?  

Canon and Nikon both make exceptional DSLR cameras that are highly regarded around the world by professional and amateur photographers alike. Which one of the many Canon and Nikon DSLRs should you choose?

What is a DSLR camera?

DSLR cameras let you see exactly what the lens sees. Many mistakenly believe that DSLR is synonymous with digital, but it isn’t. While all DSLR cameras are digital, not all digital cameras are DSLRs.

DSLR cameras have several advantages over smartphones and simple point-and-shoot cameras.

  • Flexibility: The DSLR camera body is made so you can quickly swap lenses when you want to take closeup, wide-angle and telephoto shots. Using a single camera body with interchangeable lenses lets you get the shot you want.
  • Power: Charged batteries last longer because DSLRs only light the viewing screen when you’re shooting.
  • Lighting: The larger sensors on DSLRs capture more light and work well in dimly lit situations where point-and-shoot cameras don’t.
  • Speed: DSLRs have quicker autofocus so you can get high-quality shots more quickly.
  • Function: DSLRs are prized for their performance as cameras, but DSLRs from Canon and Nikon shoot excellent video, too.

Most first-time buyers of DSLR cameras are aware of two classic brands, Canon and Nikon. The differences between them are a matter of which features are most important to you.

Canon

Canon sells a wide range of imaging equipment. Maker of printers, scanners and professional cinema gear, Canon also is known for some of the best DSLR cameras and lenses. Canon makes DSLRs that cost from $500-$6,500, so you can choose the level of performance that’s right for you. 

Pros

  • Lenses: Canon has long been an innovator in lens design. It builds its own lenses to exactly fit its camera bodies.  
  • Autofocus: Canon uses dual-pixel technology to deliver fast, smooth and accurate autofocus in all of its DSLRs. 
  • Eye autofocus: The camera automatically finds one of the subject’s eyes, then continuously tracks it as it moves, keeping it in focus and ready for the shot.
  • Memory slots: All of Canon’s DSLRs have one, and some models have two. 
  • Customer service and support: Canon has more customers than Nikon and its customer service is widely acclaimed by professional and amateur photographers alike.

Cons

  • Cloud storage: Canon is still working out the bugs of a new system.

Best Canon DSLRs

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV DSLR with EF 24-105-Millimeter Lens

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV DSLR with EF 24-105-Millimeter Lens

Canon’s most comprehensive DSLR, it has a 30.4-megapixel full-frame sensor and a 3.2-inch liquid crystal touch screen monitor that displays 1.6 million dots. 

Sold by Amazon

Canon EOS 250D Rebel SL3 DSLR with 18-55-Millimeter Lens and Accessory Kit

Canon EOS 250D Rebel SL3 DSLR with 18-55-Millimeter Lens and Accessory Kit

This 24-megapixel camera has built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth and comes with a high definition wide-angle lens, 2x telephoto lens, tripod and 32-gigabyte SD memory card.

Sold by Amazon

Canon EOS Rebel TZ DSLR with 18-55-Millimeter Lens and Built-in Wi-Fi

Canon EOS Rebel TZ DSLR with 18-55-Millimeter Lens and Built-in Wi-Fi 

A lightweight camera with all the essential features in a small package, it has a 24-megapixel sensor and Near Field Communication wireless data transfer capabilities.

Sold by Amazon

Nikon

Nikon is a camera-specialist company that uses its lens technology to make binoculars, too. Nikon, like Canon, is known for making great DSLR cameras. Nikon prices vary by the product specifications and features. Depending upon what you want your DSLR to do, plan on spending anywhere from $500-$6,500. 

Pros

  • Cost: Generally speaking, Nikon lenses are more affordable than Canon’s. 
  • Image sensor: This is the digital equivalent of the rolls of film used in pre-digital days. Nikon’s sensors are great, especially the full-frame versions.
  • Zoom: Nikon has more great zoom lenses, the choice of outdoor photographers who work at long distances from their subjects.
  • Low light: Nikon delivers great pictures in low light without a harsh flash that puts glare on the subject. 
  • 4K video: Nikon delivers the finest quality 4K ultra-high-definition video.

Cons

  • Adjusting settings: It takes more steps to change settings on a Nikon than it does on a Canon.

Best Nikons

Nikon D6 (Camera body only)

Nikon D6 (Camera body only)

This is Nikon’s most powerful autofocus DSLR, using 105 fully selectable autofocus sensors to deliver glorious image quality in the widest range of lighting conditions.

Sold by Amazon

Nikon D3500 24.2MP DSLR with Two Lenses and Accessory Kit

Nikon D3500 24.2MP DSLR with Two Lenses and Accessory Kit

You get an 18-55-millimeter closeup lens and a 70-300-millimeter telephoto lens along with two batteries, a camera bag, filter kits and a 64-gigabyte memory card.

Sold by Amazon

Nikon Z 711 FX-Format DSLR Mirrorless Camera Body

Nikon Z 711 FX-Format DSLR Mirrorless Camera Body

This 45.7-megapixel camera has stunning resolution with the ability to record video in 4K Ultra High-Definition.

Sold by Amazon

Should you get the Canon or Nikon DSLR?

Both Canon and Nikon make terrific DSLRs and offer many great cameras. For superb image quality, choose the Nikon Z 711 FX-format with its stunning 45.7-megapixel images. If you want the best all-around DSLR, choose the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV DSLR with 24-105 mm lens.

 

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David Allan Van writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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