Building a Film and Digital System - Age Old Canon v Nikon

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by Buceph, Nov 22, 2011.

  1. Buceph

    Buceph Member

    Messages:
    17
    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2011
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Within the next two weeks I'll be slapping down my cash and finally dedicating myself to a system. I've had on loan to me a DSLR (Nikon D40) and an SLR (Eos 3000v.) Up until an hour ago I was pretty much decided on Nikon without looking too hard at Canon. The Nikon F5/F100 choice makes for a compelling argument for them, seeing as good examples of both cameras are readily available. However, I was becoming increasingly dismayed with the differences in Nikon's systems, different lenses worked with different cameras (beyond the FX/DX dichotomy,) certain modern flashes wouldn't work with older bodies, etc. I was resigned to put up with that, until an hour ago. And I saw a Sigma 300mm F4* available for dirt cheap for the Canon. While I had resigned myself to no sports photography (I simply couldn't afford long, fast lenses for the foreseeable future) this is offering something new. I could shoot sports on B&W film and develop them myself on Canon. In theory I could move onto shooting colour film and developing myself.

    The debate between the two systems doesn't really amount to much, for me, when I compare their digital offerings side by side. To me they're much of a muchness. However, Canon's integrated post-FD world has suddenly become a possibility for me.

    Am I mad to abandon the F100/F5 idea that I had latched onto? (Mainly for the feel of the cameras and the look of them.) Or is Canon going to win out in the final furlong? If I am going towards Canon, what should I be on the look out for? At least with Nikon, however divisive we may be, there is always Ken Rockwell to steady your thoughts with.

    I think I need a bit of coaching when it comes to Canon.


    *I can't post links yet, but it's at the Ffordes second hand shop, under Lenses > Canon> EOS Fitting > Page 6 (Cost £199)
     
  2. ChristopherCoy

    ChristopherCoy Member

    Messages:
    1,428
    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2011
    Location:
    The Armpit o
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I can't speak for film, but trying to decide whether or not you like Nikon by using a D40, is like trying to decide if you want to ride a bike by trying out a childs tricycle. Not only is the D40 an older model, it is the very very very basic entry level DSLR. The "pro-sumer" and advanced level cameras have many more options to choose from.

    Since I'm a Nikon digital shooter, I chose to start buying Nikon film gear. With the exception of the "G" lenses, any other Nikon lenses should work as long as they have an aperture ring... or so I've been told. I have yet to put my 80-200 2.8 "D" on my Nikon FM however. I've been using a 50mm and 28mm series "E" lenses on my film cameras.
     
  3. brucemuir

    brucemuir Member

    Messages:
    2,266
    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2007
    Location:
    Metro DC are
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    One advantage for Canon is you can mount many more types of MANUAL focus lenses via adapters.
     
  4. Buceph

    Buceph Member

    Messages:
    17
    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2011
    Shooter:
    35mm
    It was the G lens business that got to me with Nikon (along with their flash system.) There's already going to be lenses that aren't suitable for me because I'd be using an FX and DX system (there's no way I can afford an FX digital system.) Case in point here being the 35mm, I can go for a DX lens, which won't work on my film body. Or I can go for a D lens which won't work on a DSLR I'd be able to afford (unless I was to go for a D90 where there's no guarantee that such functionality would exist in future models.) Or I can go with a G lens, which won't work on certain older film bodies. Then there's flashes, if I was to get an F100/F5, I'd be limited to second hand SB28s or being able to pick up whatever shops have left over from their SB600s. And Nikon seems to have made a point of not including backwards compatibility with their newer flashes on their old film based flash systems.

    Like I said, I've probably only been looking at Canon for the past two hours. And that was simply because I saw a 300mm F4 that could be had for cheap, along with people hinting at Canon's better interoperability between their lenses and range of (D)-SLRs. I'm still investigating. And to be honest, Ken Rockwell's site is a great facility for finding out these interoperability issues for Nikon systems and I haven't found something similar for Canon. So I'm hoping to tap into the hivemind here for that.
     
  5. Too old to care

    Too old to care Subscriber

    Messages:
    172
    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2011
    Location:
    DeLand Flori
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    May I recommend you also look at Pentax. I use my Pentax film lenses on my K5 with no problem. The older manual lenses are very good and dirt cheap on ebay. All mounts will work, even screw mounts with an adapter. However, you lose f-stop meter coupling unless you use KA mount lenses, which most of mine are.
     
  6. CGW

    CGW Member

    Messages:
    2,797
    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2010
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Nikon has the greatest scope for legacy lenses across their film/digital bodies.Friends and I swap digital and film bodies often and I've not really sensed much frustration with body/lens/flash issues. Frankly, early DSLRs and later film bodies are so cheap now that it's possible to cover all bases without going broke. Flash compatibility can be annoying but many people take the "Strobist" with older flashes and manual settings and work productively around it.
     
  7. Buceph

    Buceph Member

    Messages:
    17
    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2011
    Shooter:
    35mm
    To be honest, it's really the F4 300mm Sigma lens that got me thinking. I was happy to work around the Nikon shortcomings until that popped up in my view.

    This one: This one: http://www.ffordes.com/product/11080310210181
     
  8. OddE

    OddE Member

    Messages:
    34
    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2011
    Location:
    Aalesund, No
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Hi,

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but I was under the impression that current Canon lenses also are 'G' lenses - that is, they do not have a dedicated aperture ring, causing the same type of compatibility issues as G lenses do with older bodies.

    (Also, Canon revised their lens mount in the late eighties and again in the early 00's - effectively ensuring that pre-EF lenses only work on current bodies via an adapter, and the crop-sensor lenses introduced post-'00s-change will not work on EOS film bodies - which, arguably, isn't much of a practical inconvenience though some zooms may give a large enough image circle at some focal lengths to be used on a full-frame body...) All told, I don't think it fair to say that Nikon pays less attention than Canon does to product longevity.

    Depending on which Nikon you choose (and, obviously, which lenses you choose) you'll have a very versatile system indeed.

    For all-round compatibility the F4 is king - it takes just about every F-mount lens since the introduction of the mount in 1959, allowing you to use the latest G lenses in shutter priority mode. (No VR, though)

    Granted, my opinion is biased by the fact that I'm heavily into the Nikon F system - but for overall compatibility, I'd grab a decent Nikon APS-C body with an integrated autofocus motor (That is - just about anything except the D40(x), D60, D3000, D3100, D5000 and D5100 IIRC).

    As for flash photography, I was under the impression that current Speedlights would provide TTL on older, TTL-compatible bodies, but I'll have to check that out - I mostly use flashes for macro photography (Exclusively digital) and hardly at all on any of my film bodies.
     
  9. vpwphoto

    vpwphoto Member

    Messages:
    1,206
    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2011
    Location:
    Indiana
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    For me... Nikon, without reservation after the D700 (full frame digi) came along.

    And here is the big reason, I am not a huge fan of many of the plastic lenses,
    The 80-200vr and the 18-35 are the two I love and stand by.

    OTHERWISE.. it's old brass AIS for me.
    105 1.8 is my most used lens for film or Digi. It's at home on the F, or FM2 as it is on the D700.

    Same goes for an old 300mm f2.8 and my 55 micro nikkor which is crazy sharp.


    --
     
  10. blockend

    blockend Member

    Messages:
    1,637
    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2010
    Location:
    northern eng
    Shooter:
    35mm
    If you're going to shoot movie on a DSLR, Canon has the best system as things stand. I shoot Nikon MF lenses on a 550D body and for film use Nikon and Canon FD systems. If you have no intention of shooting movie, things are closer between Nikon and Canon.
    If you decide to buy a crop sensor camera, one side effect is your 50mm lenses become nice wide aperture short telephotos but if you err towards wide angle shooting it's likely to be on a zoom, with a less wide aperture. In truth, very little modern automation carries over between different camera eras from the same manufacturer (and never cheaply), but the good news is there are adapters available to convert pretty much any lens mount to any body, and they're cheap on ebay.
     
  11. Newt_on_Swings

    Newt_on_Swings Member

    Messages:
    2,129
    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2011
    Location:
    NYC
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I dont think anyone has brought this up but, I suggest testing the sigma lens, as they have a history of compatibility programs regarding their chips that may not work on newer bodies unless they were rechipped. This might hinder resale value a good deal, and maybe why it may be so cheap to you now.

    But if your a dedicated manual focus user, go ahead! it will help alleviate some GAS.
     
  12. Buceph

    Buceph Member

    Messages:
    17
    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2011
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Like I said, it's really this lens that is causing me to rethink myself. http://www.ffordes.com/product/11080310214081

    If anyone has info on it, I'd appreciate it. I was resigned to thinking that I wouldn't be able to get sports shots (rugby.) So if I actually could do that, even if I could only do it with a film lens, I'd definitely reconsider things.
     
  13. OddE

    OddE Member

    Messages:
    34
    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2011
    Location:
    Aalesund, No
    Shooter:
    35mm
    -Please forgive me if you're perfectly aware of this, but reading the above, I think there may be a misunderstanding afoot here.

    Any film/FX lens will work perfectly fine on a APS-C (crop sensor) digital body; it is just a little bigger and heavier than what is required to accomodate the smaller sensor.

    As a further bonus if you intend to shoot sports - the smaller sensor size translates into a narrower angle of view for a given focal length, making the lens appear to be a longer tele than it really is. (While comparing to a film/FX camera using the same lens.)

    A 300mm lens on a DX/crop sensor camera will present the same angle of view (roughly, depending on the exact sensor size) as a 450mm tele on a FX camera.

    That being said, a 300mm f/4 tele for GBP200 seems like a very good deal!
     
  14. Sponsored Ad
  15. Buceph

    Buceph Member

    Messages:
    17
    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2011
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I understand that. It's just this particular lens says it won't work on DSLRs for electronic reasons. Maybe something about the contacts. And I was resigned to not taking sports shots because I wouldn't be able to afford a €1000 lens i.e. a 300mm F4, until I saw this which says it works on EOS Film bodies.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 22, 2011
  16. ChristopherCoy

    ChristopherCoy Member

    Messages:
    1,428
    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2011
    Location:
    The Armpit o
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I'm a bit confused. Are you basing a system choice by a third party lens maker? Because if that's the case Sigma is well known for its spotty quality control. As well, wouldn't they make the same, and/or similar model mount for Nikon?
     
  17. Buceph

    Buceph Member

    Messages:
    17
    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2011
    Shooter:
    35mm
    No.

    But the availability of a 300mm F4 lens for £200 would make a significant impact on my decision.

    I know that there is little difference between Nikon and Canon. I have read that Nikon are generally considered better when it comes to their flashes, and I have read that Canon are generally considered better when it comes to the availability of an option of prime lenses.

    I thought I had outlined my problems I had with Nikon (D versus G lenses and incompatibility between film and digital SLRs, and their compatibility with flashes.) I had pretty much accepted these problems, although I hadn't looked too close at Canon. This was because I liked the feel of Nikon. However being able to get a decent 300mm F4 lens for relatively little money, is making me reconsider.

    Many people have said there is relatively little between the two brands and systems. But I'm still asking how Canon shape up to Nikon in the area I've described as having problems with Nikon.

    I'm not deciding anything based on one aspect, I'm just looking for information. (Especially as I haven't found one stand-out site for Canon.)

    Edit: As for whether the lens is available for Nikon, I don't know. I know nothing about this lens, just that it is amazingly cheap for a 300mm F4. That's probably related to the way the seller is saying it won't work on a DSLR. But if I could even take sports shots on a film body, that'd do fine.
     
  18. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

    Messages:
    16,811
    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2005
    Location:
    Delta, BC, Canada
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    A 200mm F4 lens on a cropped sensor digital body will give you the same results (wrt image size on the frame) as a 300mm F4 lens on a full frame body.

    So I wouldn't base my decision on that 300mm lens unless it was compatible with a DSLR.

    IMHO sport photography is a genre where digital has some clear and demonstrable advantages over film - I would suggest that if you are examining which systems would be best for both digital and film use, you should concentrate on types of photography where both digital and film are strong.
     
  19. Buceph

    Buceph Member

    Messages:
    17
    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2011
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Is there a lens that will perform at F4 at 200mm on a crop bod, and that's only £199?

    The only thing that I can find is this at twice the price.
     
  20. tomalophicon

    tomalophicon Member

    Messages:
    1,572
    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2010
    Location:
    Canberra, AC
    Shooter:
    Sub 35mm
    Terrible thread.
     
  21. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

    Messages:
    4,252
    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2009
    Location:
    Central Flor
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Do you HAVE to have f/4? You can simply bump up ISO one stop if necessary. My 55-200VR is f/5.6 at 200mm. It's a wonderful cheap lens. You can buy one for about $200US.
     
  22. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

    Messages:
    2,373
    Joined:
    May 10, 2006
    Location:
    Aurora, IL
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Canon EOS lenses are not compatible with any Canon FD mount bodies. However, this was back in the late 80's and all Canon made since then are compatible with the new EOS lenses (except EF vs EF-s which is the same as Nikon FX and DX) that is all these bodies have control of the aperture without using the aperture ring on the lens.
     
  23. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

    Messages:
    2,373
    Joined:
    May 10, 2006
    Location:
    Aurora, IL
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I have the feeling that your thinking is based on this lens alone which I am not sure why it would work on a Canon EOS film body but not with their DSLR. But since this is new old stock, and if there is a Nikon version of this lens it would be sold for about the same price.
     
  24. OddE

    OddE Member

    Messages:
    34
    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2011
    Location:
    Aalesund, No
    Shooter:
    35mm
    -I get the impression that you'd rather buy new than used gear (The F5/F100/3000V aside, for obvious reasons) - and that you want AF.

    Also, I do not have much experience with Canon and consequently know very little about the availability of primes for that mount.

    At least at the wide end (Where I spend most of my time), the Nikkor AF prime selection is good; fast-ish glass is available new for less than $500 at 20-24-28-35mm. These are all screwdriver AF designs, though, so they require an autofocus motor in the body itself. (Excluding the D40, among others)

    As for lens incompatibilities, I think you'll find the problem is a lot smaller in practice than you suspect. Unless you choose one of the most basic Nikon D bodies, the selection of compatible (AF) lenses is vast and reasonably priced - and, if one is to buy into a system, it really (IMHO, of course) does not make much sense to base one's ultimate decision on the limitations of the most basic model available - one you're quite likely to upgrade from in the near future if you like the system, anyway.

    If you'd rather buy a new flash unit (And I know I would; you never know what kind of use & abuse a Speedlight has seen) you're out of luck if you want Nikon's own offerings - they simply do not have any current Speedlights which will give TTL with legacy cameras. If you're open to third party flashes, though, I am 99% sure Metz flashes support both i-TTL (Which is what you want with your DSLR) and plain old TTL (Which will work a charm with film cameras.)

    Unfortunately, I cannot provide any detailed comparison to Canon (After all, most people choose a system and stick with it) - but I hope you'll have some detailed feedback on Canon as well, allowing you to make an informed decision.

    I'll readily admit that I am disappointed after finding that Nikon has ditched plain TTL support from their Speedlights; fortunately, I have a SB800 and a couple of SB600s around the house. :smile:
     
  25. ColdEye

    ColdEye Member

    Messages:
    879
    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2011
    Location:
    San Diego, C
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I second this, it's cheap, and you have a zoom so you cans choose different FLs.
     
  26. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

    Messages:
    8,004
    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2008
    Location:
    Los Angeles,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Nikon allows you to use AI and AI-S glass pretty much seamlessly on their mid-level-and-higher digital cameras, and back to the Nikon F. I also think Nikon's interfaces for controlling the camera, both electronic and physical, are way better. The lens compatibility has allowed me to have a kit of five lenses for my D700 for under $800 total, and that includes splurging on an unnecessary $400 Voigtlander 58mm f/1.4. See what you can get in terms of optical quality and versatility for a Canon EOS camera for $800. Maybe three optically-decent but poorly-built plastic lenses on the used market, not five outstanding Nikkor ones that will last a lifetime.

    That said, if all you ever want is modern AF cameras with modern AF lenses, I see no problem with Canons. When Nikon was still making crap for digitals, I shot Canon, and I liked the stuff fine. Always preferred the controls and compatibility of Nikons, but their image quality was far behind Canon at the time, at least for what I was shooting (maximum ISO most of the time).