Canon vs Nikon for Beginners: How To Find The Perfect DSLR Camera

canon vs nikon beginner photography holding both cameras

Trust me, I’ve been there as a new photographer: sitting, pondering and wanting to know what the best camera brand I should get. Should I go for Nikon? Should I get Canon? Which one is better and am I going to regret my decision later? The world of photography was brand new to me and I didn’t want to make a mistake when it came to the equipment I was going to be using every single day. It’s a Canon vs Nikon story – the age-old debate on which is better and why…

Don’t want to read? See what Nikon and Canon cameras I recommend for beginner photographers

Does any of this sound familiar? Well, you are definitely not alone. I am writing this quick guide just for you because I wish someone would have given me this information 12 years ago when I jumped into photography and was trying to decide between joining the Nikon or Canon family.

Reasons To Choose Nikon

Considering Nikon? Here are my top reasons you should go with Nikon as your first, beginner camera:

Better Quality & Selection of Wide to Zoom Lenses – As a beginner, I think it’s important that one of your first lenses be a do-it-all lens like this Nikkor 18-200mm from Amazon. With these wide to zoom ratio lenses, it gives you a lot of flexibility and really allows you to dial in what range you shoot at most. As your photography advances, you’ll know what higher end lenses fit your best and can purchase them accordingly.

Camera Ergonomics Feel Great In The Hands – I’ve used both Nikon and Canon over the years, and I have to say that Nikon fits my hands perfectly. While this may not be true for everyone, I have small to medium sized hands and feel like it fits their cameras very well. For some reason, Canon cameras tend to hit my thumb area weird and over time can become quite annoying.

My Favorite Nikon Cameras for Beginners

With that said, I’ve rounded up a few of the best DSLRs for beginning photographers in the Nikon lineup:

  1. Nikon D3400 with 18-55mm kit lens (see on Amazon)
  2. Nikon D5300 with 18-55mm kit lens (see on Amazon)
  3. Nikon D5600 with 18-55mm & 70-300mm kit lens (see on Amazon)

Reasons To Choose Canon

Here are my top 2 reasons you should consider Canon as your next, go-to camera for starting your photography journey:

Superior Lens Selection – While Nikon does have the advantage when it comes to more beginner oriented wide to zoom ratio lenses, there’s no doubt that overall Canon has a superior selection of lenses overall. From wide to mid, to zoom and superzoom, Canon can cover all your bases at any level of photography you reach. Having such a big lens selection will definitely benefit you in the long run. I just hope Nikon catches up and can soon offer the same availability as Canon!

Dominates Video – Canon was first to introduce video into their camera lineup, so it’s only expected that their video offerings are going to trump that of Nikon. While Nikon has caught up, I still can’t help but feel like Canon has the edge in this department and what they have to offer. Whether you do video or not will weigh in on whether this is a contributing factor in going with Canon over Nikon, but for those who are dedicated to video – Canon wins.

The Best Canon Cameras for New Photographers

Now that you’ve seen a couple of reasons to choose Canon, I’ll give you my short list of favorite cameras that Canon offers:

  1. Canon EOS Rebel T6 with 18-55mm kit lens (see on Amazon)
  2. Canon EOS  Rebel SL2 with 18-55mm kit lens (see on Amazon)
  3. Canon EOS T7i with 18-55mm kit lens (see on Amazon)

Your Next Step

Now that you have some benefits to go with both Canon and Nikon, as well as a good beginning list of cameras to take a look at, you need to move into the next stage of your decision process which will be the most important.

Here are 4 ways you can finally dial down and decide which brand camera is better for you: Nikon or Canon

#1. Touch and Feel Em’

You’d be surprised how many new photographers don’t consider how a camera feels in your hand before purchasing. Just like a shoe may fit two people’s feet differently, so can a brand of camera. If you’re new, you may have not even given this a thought, so finding something that fits snug in your hand AND feels comfortable is very important. I recommend heading on over to your local camera shop or any big retailer like Best Buy or Fry’s and touch, hold and play with any camera you’re considering and get familiar with the menus and where the settings in and around the camera. This is very subjective, but cameras like the Nikon D3400 and Canon T6 have both been very comfortable platforms when I’ve held them.

#2. Try Before You Buy

In case you weren’t already aware, there are many websites that will allow you to rent a camera. I’ve used the service Lens Rentals extensively over the past 5 years to rent different camera bodies and lenses and never have had any problems. Consider getting a list of your favorite Nikon cameras together and Canon cameras, and then renting one of each for a few days. Doing so will allow you to quickly see which camera you prefer from the feel, ease of use to how it shoots and works for what you need.

#3. Read Reviews

This is probably one of the most obvious ones, but there are so many new photographers who decide on a camera without reading any extensive reviews behind the camera they are about to buy. We all know DSLR’s aren’t cheap and you want to make sure you do your due diligence when investing a good chunk of money into one platform or the other. My biggest tips for you are below, but first get on Amazon and search for the best DSLRs

  • Find cameras within your budget
  • Look for cameras with 50+ reviews
  • Make sure the overall reviews are 4.5 stars or more
  • Read good and bad reviews until your eyes can’t take it anymore

#4. Watch YouTube Reviews

This is probably my favorite resource for finding anything I am considering buying. Why might you ask? It’s simple. Being able to see the product in somebody else’s hands and how they are using it takes it a step further and gives you a better sense of the cameras look, feel and capabilities. There’s a ton of in-depth video reviews for any type of camera you may be wanting to find out more information about – simply go look and get lost in the abundance of information!

Canon vs Nikon as a Beginner Photographer: What’s The Final Answer?

I’m sorry to disappoint you, but the truth is that there is no right or wrong answer. Both Nikon and Canon provide solid platforms from entry level, to intermediate and advanced photographers. Both have a wide range of different cameras from super high-end DSLR’s to basic point-and-shoots.

The truth is, if you’re looking to get into photography as a hobby then your friends and family will be in awe of the photos you capture with either brand of a camera… and if you are getting into photography to make it a side hustle or career, then your clients will never know the difference! It comes down to what feels right to you and the platform you jive with the best. As I said before, I’ve used both Canon and Nikon systems and both do exceptionally well, I’m just drawn towards one more than the other because that is what I’m familiar with and know best.

Leave a comment below and let me know if you decided to go with Nikon or Canon and why.