Is My Nikon to Your Canon Like My PC to Your Mac?

Is My Nikon to Your Canon Like My PC to Your Mac?

In my own little blinkered world, Nikon have always made the best camera system and Microsoft the most utilitarian operating system. Do you fall in to that camp?

My earliest computing memories are of typing lines of BASIC code from a magazine in to a Sinclair ZX81. However it was when I went to university that I got my first taste of PC computing, notably an Amstrad 2086 running Windows 2.1. Since then it's been a marriage mostly made in heaven. PCs and Windows did everything I wanted and more. I briefly toyed with a friend's Mac. It looked nice and shiny but always felt a bit like, well, a toy. More importantly it didn't run some of the key software programs I used so at that point it got ditched.

In a not too dissimilar vein, in the digital world I've always been a Nikon shooter. Other than a brief foray in the 1980s with a SureShot AF35M, I've never owned a Canon. Like many students, I started out with a Pentax (P30) before coming back to photography with a Nikon D70.

Now I'll freely admit that I've not shot with a Canon DSLR for more than about ten minutes, but that's because it felt all wrong. Nikon seem to have nailed the ergonomic design so that that my D700 feels like a natural extension of my hand. My fingers rest under the grip, curling in to place, the camera ready. With AutoISO set, I can happily shoot one-handed in aperture-priority, knowing I can use single spot continuous focus, moving the focus point to exactly where it is needed. What can I say? Nikon make the best camera system… for me.

My penchant for shooting Nikon and processing on a PC made me wonder if there were those who shot Canon and processed on a Mac. At the simplest level, that clearly can't be true because there are plenty of other camera manufacturers out there but it made me think, from Fstoppers' wide readership, what camps do people fall in to?

So, limiting it to the big three, here's your chance to have your say! Vote below then leave a comment as to why you shoot on a particular camera system and whether you use a PC or Mac.

Lead image courtesy of Pexels via Pixabay, used under Creative Commons.

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Spy Black's picture

Detonation in 3, 2, ...

Alexander Petrenko's picture


R. Derrick Thomas's picture

Wow, that takes me back. I recently moved and came across my Sony Mavica. I don’t have the floppy discs to use in the camera but it was amazing when I used it. Interesting to see how far Sony has come since their Mavica days.

David Arthur's picture

I had always shot Nikon and always thought Canon was way too awkward. Then I got a corporate job and they already had Canon. Now on the rare occasion I use my Nikon it feels so awkward. It's all what you are used to. While I was used to Nikon I am now used to Canon. So my Nikon is for sale and I've switched to Fuji at home. Fuji and Canon are such different form factors that I don't subconsciously get them confused anymore.

Deleted Account's picture

Bored Friday night fight starter?

Harald Schmidt's picture

M43 shooter running a Linux system here... the options in the poll are a bit limited, aren't they?

Jonathan Ferland-Valois's picture

Yay, an other Linux user! What is your distro of choice?

Dennis Billstein's picture

Wow, both Linux users on the same website.

Jaden Brown's picture

I guess that makes me the third, ouch.

Jonathan Ferland-Valois's picture


Harald Schmidt's picture

The current Ubuntu LTS... I don't even know from the top of my my head what version that is right now :-) I use Geeqie for the first round of editing, Darktable for RAW conversion, Gimp for retouching and Nik collection with Wine for final touches and b/w conversion. I keep Windows as a dual boot system but haven't really used it in years... I only fire it up if I absolutely have to use Olympus Viewer to get that gorgeous Oly JPEG look from a RAW file.

Jonathan Ferland-Valois's picture

Thanks for your response, I hadn't seen it earlier! And I didn't know about Geeqie, I'll look it up! Thanks!

Andrzej Muzaj's picture

So, now there's two of you guys! :D

JetCity Ninja's picture

since i no longer use or own a nikon, sony or canon, i'll address the question that makes up your post's title: no.

Mihnea Stoian's picture

Nikon vs Canon is like Dell vs Lenovo brands of PC - so close in practice that ppl outside the 2 brands can't tell them apart. Mac would have to be Leica or maybe Fuji, I think.

Jesse Merz's picture

Exactly. I think Mac is like Leica, they are both consistently years behind the competition in terms of everything that actually matters, but they'll always have an intense cult following because of the aesthetic and "coolness". And with that comes a ludicrous price tag way above market value. The only big difference I can think of is that Mac enthusiasts seem to always want the newest release, whereas Leica enthusiasts are always going on about the old lenses being better than new ones.

Vu Nguyen's picture

Apple is so out of touch. $1200 for a MacBook Air with dual core Intel Core M, err... Y series processor and 128 GB of storage. That's insane. Thinking that the average person wants to pay $1K-$1.4K for a phone... Madness...

michaeljin's picture

This has got to be the most random thing I've read on here.

Robert Escue's picture

I shot with Canon and Nikon, as well as Mamiya and Bronica when I was in the Navy. My personal gear has always been Nikons. Shooting with a Canon isn't all that different to me, I just like the ergonomics and glass Nikon has.

I have used PC's and Macs (System 7.5 days) and I prefer a PC. I have used Solaris, HP-UX, AIX, SCO Unix and Linux, out of all of them Windows on a PC gives me most of what I want except an enterprise grade filesystem, fortunately I use FreeNAS to give me ZFS.

Deleted Account's picture

I legitimately don't understand the purpose of this.

Unless you are trying to provoke argument.

I'm absolutely certain that there are a huge number of people who use brands and systems that I don't use, and who are better than me.

Andrew Townsend's picture

I have to agree. The troll here is the author.

RT Simon's picture

The original analogy made between comparing PC vs MAC users was written in a semi-political essay by Umberto Eco with the premise, are PC users more likely to be protestant, and are Mac users mostly Catholic? Eco’s analogy is thought provoking, It is the predecessor of every PC-MAC user-question ever asked.

Your question is provoking a war of brands, with a new spin. Does it really mean anything?
There are so many reasons why photographers choose PC.
-They are generally cheaper.
-You can build your own.
-The type of software one uses might not be running on a MAC (and vice versa)

Mac generally have a better architecture.
Retain greater value.
Are status symbols.
Are well made. (And they do not run Windows)
I think an iPad is incredible tech to use.

As an example, on a higher end PC or MAC, when exporting 25 x 16 bit 40 megabyte TIF files out of Capture One to Photoshop, we all know what matters, which is productivity (versus value.)

I would think many photographers would rather put their money into high end lenses if the productivity of both PC and MAC, performing the same tasks, is the same.

Perhaps you should ask, who uses both?

David Fletcher's picture

I use both PC and MAC and own almost every brand of camera...guess I just don't fit!!!

Carl Murray's picture

Mac vs PC, Canon Vs Nikon. I'm sure the comments section will end up as a complete dumpster fire. But only because Nikon shooters are jealous of good Canon always is.

Steven Pryor's picture

I've shot both Canon and Nikon, many times on the same job. I am a Canon owner, the Nikon is fine, it's just that everything is backwards (zoom ring, light meter, aperture and shutterspeed dials, etc). It just comes down to what tool you need for the job and what you are comfortable with. I've shot on 35mm, 46mm, 70mm, 220, and digital. It doesn't matter, just so that you get the job done.

Bert Nase's picture

Hmm, you can setup the dials in the Nikons to your prefered direction. Zoomring with farest away point to the right (i.e. clockwise) feels natural to me. Like volume knobs that are also going clockwise.

Ivan Lantsov's picture

Is supposed to funny?

darrell miller's picture

i'm a canon shooter that converted to sony.. i moved over bc of the low light performance and high MP of the a7r series camera. Its not perfect, the interface is rough around the edges, but i've shot canons, nikons, even some medium format.. and i get images out of the sony, i just cant seem to get out of the other systems.

my day job is high-performance computing and analysis. i use all kinds of computers mac, windows, linux, super computer clusters.. but when i come home.. i use a mac.. we can talk about price.. we can talk about more power out of a pc.. more options.. but i just want to sit down open up my laptop and know its going to work.. if there is a problem (there never is) i know i'll get really really good support from the apple store less than 3 miles away.. Windows 10 is much better than previous iterations.. microsoft surfacebooks are really nice.. but my mac just feels natural and right. Over 4 yrs that price difference is worth the stability, support, and interface and scripting options that windows just cant match.

Brian B's picture

My first computer was a mac (the original in 1984), I have always used mad and love it. If my first computer had been a PC, I would likely feel the same about PC's. For cameras, I started with Minolta SLR, then went to Canon DSLR. If for some reason I had bought a Nikon at that time I would likely be using Nikon now, but never have used one. People like what they like for whatever reasons. This bickering about which is best is utter nonsense. They all work fine if you know what you are doing. Find something useful and helpful to write about or stop writing.

Venson Stein's picture

MS DOS user shooting a Leica M2.

Charles Metivier's picture

Point me to the shutter release and the computer on button and I'm good to go!

Matt Beamish's picture

What about "Either shooting Nikon" or "Either shooting Canon"? For many years I've had a PC desktop and Mac laptop

Jonathan Ferland-Valois's picture

Oh, no "Other OS shooting X"? I use Linux Mint, and shoot Sony. Linux has been allowing me to do what I want quite well in the last couple years. No Lightroom or Photoshop, but I can do without the monthly subscription.

David Harrison's picture

I'm agnostic. I run Windows & Mac. I shoot Canon, Leica, Hasselblad, Nikon & Mamiya.

Anthony S's picture

I start by saying that I believe all the majors make great equipment. A preference for one system over the other, to me, seems more personal preference over any significant technical advantage. I purchased my first 'modern' camera in 2005 in preparation for my first overseas holiday. The local camera store had a Canon EOS 3000N on sale with two kit lenses, which suited me fine. Prior to that I was playing around with old 35mm cameras from decades past. Over subsequent years I would up acquiring accessories for the Canon system prior to purchasing my first digital camera, a Canon 600D, which led to more accessories and lenses, and it became too expensive to change. Not that I want to.

As for the computer, many years ago I vowed to never own an all-in-one, and never go Mac - I liked being able to tinker and adjust the system, and easily open the case to clean and upgrade the components. Now I sit in front of an iMac. I was looking for a replacement for my old Windows laptop at the time, and decided on a MacBook Pro to gain some experience with a different system. A year later I was hooked and had the iMac to go with it. It just suites me at this point in my life.

JL Jones's picture

Chrome user shooting Nikon

Mark Harris's picture

I'm a Nikon user because when I entered the market, the D70 was way ahead of the 300D. 6 months later I would have chosen Canon. I used to envy Canon users their spinning wheel for reviewing pics, but was very grateful for the wireless flash of Nikon. Now I would have trouble telling the brands apart, but I'm bound to Nikon by equipment and knowledge.
I use a Mac because it just works, and syncs with my phone without me having to do a thing. I understand the advantages of being able to fiddle with PCs, but I don't want to deal with that. And I know they are cheaper, but I'm happy to pay a one-off premium to avoid all the hassle my wife has installing stuff on her PC. I'm not surprised PCs dominate the polls, but for me I’m glad I paid a bit more for 5 years of simplicity.

Deleted Account's picture

I would say that my Nikon to your Canon is like my Mac to your PC…
I mean very better :D :D
But frankly I don't see a so huge difference between using Lightroom on Mac or on PC. It is just easier for me to use cmd + key on Mac that Ctrl + key on PC.

EL PIC's picture

Nikon lost me as a loyal customer when they fell behind Canon in Auto Focus Speed and Full Frame. It’s too late Now. Sports photographers agree and are still heavy Canon users because of AF speed.
Just look at those white lenes at Sports events.
In 2003 they were making excuses for not having Full Frame and saying APS was King.
But at that time secretly worked on Full Frame and came out with it latter.
They said lenes including theirs had too much light fall off in corners.
In late 90’s and early 2000’s the Corporation was in the red due to losses and write offs from failed Semiconductor x ray project. They also lost ground to Lieca on semiconductor metrogoly equipment.
They have recovered .. so did Apple .. but lost me. It is a sad situation.

Koen Miseur's picture

When I started digital photography (the stuff I used before was my dads old gear) I bought a Nikon D40 because it was the cheapest camera back than! After a year or so I got a Canon 350D from a friend of my dad with a couple of lenses. When it was time to upgrade it was easy to pick Nikon though, it is so much easier to use and the menu's of the 350D made no sense at all to me, I don't know if that's still the case, but that was the logical reason to stay with Nikon!
As for Pc or Mac, always used a pc always will, at least I can repair it myself when needed and to be honest everyone says Mac is easier to use, but I never found that the case, it's what u learn to use that's the easiest!

Graham Glover's picture

Mac, Canon. In the life that pays for my camera gear, I'm a scientific programmer, working in R&D. My OS love is Unix/Linux. Mac OS comes in a close second, as its core is Unix. I cannot say enough bad things about Windows and the wretched things on which it tries to run. But then, Windows speaks for itself, especially in the middle of self-defenestration.

Terje Bergesen's picture

My Nikon to your Canon/Sony/Pentax/Panasonic is like my PC to your PC or my MAC to your MAC. Anyone who thinks there is a significant difference is a moron.

Halexan Akayinski's picture

I was a Canon / PC user. Switched to Nikon after my 40D crapped out at about 20k shutter. I had several Nikon bodies, still have them. It's fantastic camera system compared to Canon. So much more flexibility !. Now I use Olympus OMD system. Nikon seems so outdated now. It's all what you get used to. However I can never get used to the MAC !. The File Finder is so archaic compared to File Explorer that it feels like a toy computer. I cannot understand how anybody can put up with this primitive file system and still gush about MAC's. Finder has not made any improvements in decades. Windows 10 is centuries ahead of it. (Finder has no directory tree, no way to look at files while seeing the directory tree on the left AND select from multitude of file icons, lists, thumbnails etc) Honestly it is so productivity limiting that I don't know how professionals put up with it....This is my personal opinion and everybody is entitled to their own.

Niels Hansen's picture

Canon, Nikon, Sony or Pentax, to be honest when you compare specs and functionality over time they have all been #1 in some point in time. But if you take a new camera and hold it up against your collection of lenses, flashes etc. and knowledge (they rarely do a 100% turn-around on handling) you'll 98%++ of time purchase as you did last time. When I talk with others they actually do not compare between Canon - Nikon, they just evaluate when enough upgrades are achieved to provide proper arguments for the price.
I knew someone who owned a Nikon, I could borrow some extras if I had Nikon. So it became...

For the other part I have been more around. Going back a long time in digital image handling I have worked on several systems - some not around anymore - like SGI Iris 6.x, Solaris 5-6.x, Windows NT, Windows 3.1->, MacOS 7.01->, RedHat, Ubuntu

Privately I have landed on Ubuntu with DarkTable.

If I'd change camera or PC OS I'm sure it would cause a few days or more of cursing while finding the way back to level of quality and some more to rectify the change.

Fritz Asuro's picture

I remember back in college days where me and my friend always bashed each other's camera brand. I like Nikon because it's the brand of my first camera, that simple. And always felt it's better in so many ways compared to Canon (kill me)

10 years after, using Nikon, Canon, Sony, and Fujifilm, camera brands for me are associated with specialties. IN MY OPINION:

Nikon - Dynamic range and my choice of brand as a personal camera.
Canon - Best for media/press industry because of customer service and third party accessories support.
Sony - I like it for video, not so much for photos.
Fujifilm - Travel camera and also amazing JPGs!

Daniel Lee's picture

Would have been good if there was PC/Mac user shooting dual brands. I am a Sony and Canon shooter that has always used PC and always will. I build my PC's too so prefer the choice of components for the much cheaper price.

Don Payne's picture

I had a PC for many years... started with MS DOS 2.1. My camera system was all Nikon. Loved it all. I was shooting weddings. Photojournalistic style. I was missing shots because Nikon's focus drive was in the body and was constantly hunting. I noticed that many pro photographers at NBA games and NFL games had white lenses. These were all Canon.... so I switched. Canon's focus motors were in the lens and could focus faster and with less light. So I traded all my Nikon gear for Canon. Never looked backed. I've been very happy. Yes it took me some time to get used to the Canon, but I did. I think Nikon makes a great camera system.

MS DOS kept growing and bloating. Then it became Windows. Then I had blue screens, crashes, viruses, worms, etc. I got tired of rebooting, spending hours on the phone with tech people. So I bought a Mac then a MacBook Pro. Ha.... no more problems. It always works. I've never had to call tech. I don't have to buy anti-viral software. Apple builds encryption and anti-viral protection into their software and hardware. It took me a while to learn Mac. It's been 11 years now and I'm a happy camper. I think PC's are terrific systems.

So I'm not really sure what the point of this article is. It looks to me to be more useless content. The haves vs. the have nots maybe. You're only cool if you shoot Nikon and use a PC because that's the "IT" club. It's like the only acceptable thought in the USA is from Democrats. Or its like the "IT" University, and education from all others are not worthy. However, in reading the comments, it looks like this is just more useless content.

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