I get a lot of people asking me which camera they should buy. I think the expectation is that since I shoot with Nikon, I would always recommend Nikon, but that’s not the case at all.
In my opinion, both Nikon and Canon make fabulous cameras (though I’d give the nod to Canon in the point-and-shoot and prosumer product categories) and anyone ought to be damned happy getting either of them. And the same could be said for Sony, Pentax and Olympus. If you have any of these five brands and you can’t take a great picture, it’s not the camera’s fault. That being said, I do feel that Nikon and Canon are the market leaders in the DSLR category and I believe that Canon is better for those who want to shoot video while Nikon’s auto-focus system is better.
I generally advise people to go down to a camera shop and get them to pull out one of each brand in their price range and play with each for awhile. The menus are very different and the control layouts are also different. Which camera feels better in your hands? Which one’s control layouts feel “right” to you? Which one’s menu system makes more sense? That’s the one to buy.
That being said, I did come across an interesting infographic at Digital Photography School that compares Nikon and Canon from “a financial and consumer” perspective. It’s kind of interesting though I suspect flawed. Canon’s net sales would certainly include their revenue from printers and copiers, a significant product area for them and not a category of product offered by Nikon. Nikon has a lot of types of products that Canon doesn’t – scientific instruments, eye glasses, etc. So Nikon’s quarterly revenues are almost the same as Canon’s annual ones? And while Canon is shown as having a far larger market share the chart doesn’t tell you what products they’re comparing. Something’s off here. But worth sharing anyway. Click on the image to see it full size.