What Makes Nikon Better Than Canon

Last Updated on April 18, 2021

nikon camera and lenses

Nikon is better than Canon. I said it.

But you can find many pros who will say the opposite so who do you believe? While I love my Nikons, I also have a number of Canon cameras that are just as fun to shoot. So why do I think Nikon is better than Canon? Let’s dive in!

Why Nikon Is Better Than Canon

The biggest difference is in the lens mount. Nikon uses an F-mount and Canon uses an EF-mount. (F-mount if you are using the full name, EF-mount if you are using the short form.) The difference in these two lens mounts is significant. Nikon cameras have always, since their inception, been designed with priority on smaller and lighter weight bodies rather than larger sensors. In fact, Nikon was the first DSLR company to reduce the size of the sensor by half while increasing the sensor’s resolution.

Together with a focus on lighter weight bodies, Nikon cameras have always been designed for “special” lenses. While Canon is designing their cameras to work with a wide range of lenses from different manufacturers, Nikon has focused on producing a small number of high quality lenses that are optimized to work flawlessly on each and every one of their bodies. This is not to say that Nikon doesn’t produce “normal” lenses, but the majority of their lenses are considered to be “specialty” pieces.

Since the introduction of the D40 (the first Nikon camera with an APS-C sensor) in 2006, every single Nikon DSLR that has been released has had a smaller, lighter body than any of its Canon counterparts. If a Nikon camera has the same sensor size as a Canon camera, the Nikon camera will always weigh less and be smaller.

Let me give you an example of this. The Nikon D800 has a full frame 36 megapixel sensor. Canon’s most comparable model is the 5Ds, which also has a full frame 36 megapixel sensor. However, the 5Ds weighs quite a bit more than what the D800 weighs. The Nikon D800 is also one third the size of the 5Ds.

I have owned a couple Canon 5Ds since their introduction and both of them have been a bit on the heavier side when it came to my DSLR kit.

What About Performance?

While a difference in sensor size is a huge part of the reason why Nikon cameras are better than Canon, that’s not the end of it. Canon has a wide range of cameras, and while Nikon has a very small range of cameras, each one of them is extremely well-engineered.

The Canon EOS 6D is a full frame camera with an APS-C sensor. It’s spec-wise it’s between the D800 and the D3s. The 6D has many of the same features as the newer model, the 5D Mk IV. However, I’ve never owned a 5D Mk IV because I have never been impressed with its performance. That’s just my experience but it’s been noticeable.

Again, it’s been my experience that the Nikon people are more interested in producing cameras for people who want the absolute best than they are producing cameras for average photographers. The Canon people seem to be more focused on producing cameras that will work well for most photographers.

Bottom Line

I have no issue with Canon cameras and use them regularly, but my heart belongs to Nikon. I don’t rag on Canon cameras because I think they are “bad” cameras, I just prefer the engineering and design philosophies behind Nikon.