I’ve updated Canon vs Nikon lens on Fall 2009. I recommend to check it out first because it is updated with current price and new lenses.
There are many debates about who has the better lens collection, Canon EOS or Nikon? I did full research on lenses available in the market Spring 2009, and find out that overall, Canon EOS lenses are cheaper toe to toe compare to Nikon.
Before buying a camera, Lens collection is one of the important consideration and for that, I try to answer that nagging question. Before I get started, keep in mind that I am not owning or testing all the lenses by myself, I gathered this info from many review sites on the web.
Legend: IQ = Image Quality, BC = Built Construction, DIF = difference in price (Canon minus Nikon). $ is USD 5 is Excellent, 4 is Very Good, 3 is Average, 2 is bad, 1 is crap, 0 is junk.
For wide to standard prime categories, Canon has more professional grade lenses than Nikon such as Canon 35mm f/1.4, Canon 24mm f/1.4 and Canon 50mm f/1.2 USM. In this category, Nikon recently updated its standard prime, such as 50mm AF-S f/1.4G and 35mm AF-S f/1.8 DX.
But both Nikkor lenses still fall behind Canon lenses in maximum aperture and build quality. Furthermore, Nikkor 35mm f/1.8 is a DX lens, only compatible with crop sensor cameras, while Canon 35mm f/1.4 USM is compatible both for full frame and crop sensor cameras.
In telephoto prime category, Canon has extensive collection of lenses which produce great image quality such as Canon 85mm f/1.2 and 135mm f/2. In super-telephoto range, Canon has 800mm lens and even built-to-order 1200mm lens for $75000.
Now we enter a very interesting category and also most important especially for new photographers: standard zoom lens category.
In this category, Nikon has some good quality general purpose lenses for beginners especially 18-105mm VR and 18-200mm VR. Canon has 28-135mm IS and 17-85mm IS. Canon general purpose lenses are not as good as Nikon’s lens in image quality.
Nikon’s also has 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6 VR, is a lens with amazing built and image quality and also versatility at its price. This amazing lens is priced around $600 which is a great deal
In contrast, Canon strength is in its “L” or professional grade lenses, especially medium zoom, EF 24-70mm L USM is $600 cheaper than Nikon’s counterpart. Canon L 17-40mm is whopping $825 cheaper than Nikon 17-35mm, although Nikon 17-35mm has advantage of one stop.
Nikon 24-120mm, which is designed for full frame camera, is not as good as Canon general purpose EF 24-105mm IS L USM.
Now, we have telephoto zooms lenses category
In this category, Canon has formidable 70-200mm quartets that are so powerful, beside that, Canon has a huge choices from EF-S lenses to DO lenses, and variety of lenses and price according your budget and needs.
The last one is Macro Lenses.
Canon has new EF-S 60mm lens, this macro lens is amazing, but unfortunately, this lens is EF-S means full frame camera can’t use it.
Nikon also has new 105mm with VR. Probably it is the only macro lens with VR. It will be helpful for people that lazy to put tripod on, or setting tripod is impossible. But the VR increase the lens price to a whooping $800.
Overall Canon has better lens collection than Nikon’s in many aspects: built quality, maximum aperture, USM (fast and silent auto focus). Many Nikon lenses do not have AF-S (USM equivalent) yet. That is the reason why professionals might like Canon lenses collection more than Nikon’s.
It is a shame because Nikon does manufacture excellent top of the line DSLR cameras such as Nikon D3X, D3, D700, D300 and Nikon D90. In my opinion, Nikon cameras are better than Canon dslr cameras except D40 and D60.
Canon lenses are also generally cheaper than Nikon when compared toe to toe. Budget minded enthusiasts who is interested to build a collection of lenses should consider this.
In consumer grade lenses category, especially general purpose lens, Nikon’s lenses image quality surpass Canon lenses’ image quality.
Great general purpose lenses, great value in consumer grade lenses.
Great for professionals, generally cheaper than Nikon lenses.
I also recommend you to look for third party pro grade lenses such as Sigma, Tokina and Tamron.Related Post: