questionswhich is the better camera, nikon or canon?

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Choosing between Canon and Nikon is basically 6 of one, half dozen of the other. They are both the biggest names in photography and have been for decades, so either way you go, you'll get a quality camera. I'd say decide how much you want to spend, see what models have the features you want, then go from there.

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That's specifically a forbidden question on my camera groups. After a great deal of study two years ago when buying a camera for a trip to Australia I selected a Canon Powershot G11 (rather than the newer G12 based on reviews) and have really enjoyed it. The main thing is to pick a camera that has all the features you want.

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If you want action shots, you really should be looking at a DSLR. while the point and shoots have come a long way in the shutter lag times, they still don't compare to the speed of a DSLR in that regard, as well as for autofocus speed and zoom options.

As the others said, no real performance or quality difference between similar class cameras from Nikon and Canon. it comes to personal preference, or what glass you already own that would compatible.

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Sorry, I got interrupted when typing my previous post an in re-reading it might seem that I was chastising you for posting the question, when what I meant to illustrate is that it is a point of such contention in my camera groups that it's become a forbidden topic. Both companies produce high quality products and which are the best seems to be a matter of opinion (in some cases strong opinion). Make sure whatever camera you get has a viewfinder, they are becoming surprisingly scarce even on high end cameras.

This is what I can say about my G11:
Pros: The rotating viewscreen is just da bomb! I don't know how I ever lived without it.
My batteries will take 5,000 when fully charged. My SD card (I don;t recall if it's 8g or 16g) will hold 10,000 shots. So when I am traveling I can literally take every picture i might even think I want to and never have t worry about running out of battery or memory.
It's tiny, it has a smaller body than my much less sophisticated cameras.

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cont'd
One last Pro: It boots up like lightning. I've never missed a shot waiting for the camera to power up, it takes half the boot time of my friend's Olympus Tough.

G11 Cons: Although basic use is easy, it's a pretty complicated camera and takes some time (which I have not invested) to learn how to really take advantage of all the features.
It is small but quite heavy, and there is a row of buttons that run along the right hand edge. When I am shooting one handed the weight of the camera against the heel of my hand often pushes random buttons and I have to back out of these selections. I find myself using the flip screen to stabilize it, which makes me worry about wearing out the hinge.
This is probably my own stupid fault, but the power button is right by the shoot button, and although they look and feel nothing alike for some reason I sometimes turn off the power when I mean to take a shot.
It uses a proprietary battery, when traveling you need to be able to recharge it.

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PENTAX... But seriously I do shoot a Pentax K-5 DSLR and I love, love, love it, it beats anything from Nikon or Canon in the same price range. If you looking for something smaller don't limit your self. Fuji and Sony have the best micro four-thirds systems right now. Don't be a Canikoner.

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In my research in buying a DSLR, this is what I found out:

Canon cameras give you more for the price you pay. I just purchased the Canon 60D - there were other Nikons for a similar price, but they didn't offer the features I was looking for.

But, needless to say, I am a Canon fan, so I am biased.

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@jeremytheindian: I also have a Pentax DSLR (a K-x). You can use every lens Pentax has ever made, and that is a good thing. They have the reputation of making superior prime lenses (non-zoom). They also make some wonderful lenses right now that are really quite good (the FA Limited series). Some would call the lenses in the series among the best ever made. Also the current Pentax cameras are superior at low light performance than all but the highest end Cannons and Nikons. Pentax zoom performance though is also legendary - bad! I believe they currently contract Cosina to design their zoom lenses, which is good. They have used Tamron in the past.

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Canon has the better camera bodies/"features".

Nikon has the better lenses.

My wife shoots a Nikon, and I, a Canon.

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I am sorry to say that I hate my Canon. I have the 5D MK 11 and a lot of L (pro) lenses. Am a 40 year veteran pro and the Camera just doesn't focus in low light. I have an 85mm fl.2, a 135mm F2.0. a 50mm Fl.4. 17- 35 F 2.8 zoom.
And others.I used Nikon for 30 Years. have used Canon for 15. I wish that I had a Nikon. IF I wasn't so heavily invested in the glass I would go Nikon. Almost all of my pro friends have gone Nikon. They are HAPPY!
Sharper lenses and focus is a snap in low light.
Canon has taken a step backwards. I didn't have this problem with their film cameras. 50 Years ago they knew to make a locking mode (speed) ring.
Now they want over $100 to retro fit it. Did they forget in 50 years that we don't want a knob that changes your mode with simple pressure on it.?
I have that problem every time I use it. Ask Canon owners about Low Light Focus issues.