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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55 Comments

Previous comments

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.

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.

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

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

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.

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

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.

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.

user-206807'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.

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.

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.

Hasan Akay'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.

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.

The headline is a bit different than the question the story asks. To honestly answer the headline question , I would say, No - comparing Nikon to Canon is *not* like PC to Mac. Nikon to Canon is more like comparing two equivalent brands of PC. Neither Nikon or Canon are drastically different regarding ghe technology or software in the background. Neither is severely limited with regard to accessories (like software available for Macs). Granted, I have never shot with Nikon, but I know lots of respectable photographers who have, and in general, the opinons are that both are good, just different. Most end up shooting one or the other because that is what they started with, they inherited lenses from one or the other systems, etc. Computers, on the other hand, are differnent. One chooses one platform over the other for whatever reasons -and Mac people make do with what they have and take "pride" that they can say I use Mac.

user-164303's picture

First used Canon in film days, the first digital was a Nikon Bridge camera but when I went to dSLR returned to Canon because the body felt better and the menu system made for sense to me. Have used Mac and Windows but preferred Windows so stuck with that. I doubt I will change from Canon or Windows anytime soon as I don't want to relearn everything.

No, it isn't. My Mac and my Nikons are the best!

I don't think Canon is over-priced in comparison to Nikon. Are they a little lacking in camera feature? Yes, but in terms of glass? My experience is that Canon has better build quality. Let me be clear in that my experience with Nikon is limited to my brother's 24-120 f4, 24 f1.4, and 50 f1.8 and his D750.
The build quality just seemed lacking. The zoom in particular was not very smooth compared to my 24-70 f4 which cost around $200 less. The 50mm cost about $100 more and while it does have a focus meter unlike the Canon's it felt around the same level of build quality. The one thing I am jealous of is the under $800 wide angle prime which Canon doesn't offer. The D750 also felt more plasticy compared to my 6DII which I was surprised by. Finally, he doest have a 70-200 f2.8 lens but if he did it would cost about $500 more than how much I had to spend for my 70-200 f2.8 IS II.

TLDR: Nikon's are more expensive overall than Canon and has IMO worse build quality so comparing Canon to Mac isn't really accurate.

Paolo Lubrano's picture

Ok this old debate of MAC vs PC I purchased 4 mac since 1993 (a 6000 something a apple cube and an 2 iMac ) in the life of this machine I never had a single problem mechanical, electrical, or software ( a lot come read installed and work can be saved in a lot of way to comunicate with PC ) and no viruses the only extra software was Photoshop, as i am a very good photographer, later discarded because I do not like to line the pocket of Adobe, i now use Affinity and ON1. I am member of a photographic society and the computer used during photo competition it is a PC and, not going in to detail, but I am very glad I am using a mac. I suppose is what one is used to