Today was a fine day to start making some serious comparison with my "no longer new" Canon 7D, the venerable Nikon D50, Nikon lenses (50mm, 11-16mm) and Canon lenses (85mm, 15-85mm).
10 years ago I never would have thought about DSLR cameras. Back then they were really expensive and the thought of buying several lenses costing hundreds of dollars didn't sit with just about anyone. PnS cameras were only starting out and promising since they had everything you needed to shoot a picture.
Well I thought they were great when I got the Sony DSC 75 (http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/sonydscs75/) which I used for a few years. It wasn't much later that I actually saw a sample of what a DSLR could do, how on earth did I make such a simple mistake of picking a PnS over a DSLR? Looking back at the pictures I took with the Sony they were mostly happy snaps, no night shots (that was worthy), no macro stuff and no bokeh stuff either. Then I pixel peeped some of the photos and realised how noisy they were.
When I moved to Japan I managed to do a bit of shopping and collected a few brochures of the Nikon D50 which I eventually bought:
(I'm actually a brochure collector BTW so I have a number of other DSLR brochures including the Canon EF Lens, EOS Kiss, istDs etc.)
The D50 is a fantastic camera for anyone starting out with photography as a hobby. In fact I think a lot of photographers by trade had a D50 handy for weddings anyway because they were light and just as good as the D70 and D100 at the time. The 18-55mm lens was pretty amazing in my opinion despite being a kit lens. In fact I have never removed the lens until I got myself the 50mm several years later and then the Tokina 11-16mm a couple of months after that. I think having slow reflexes when it comes to buying stuff helps save a lot of money.
Before I got the Tokina I took this little D50 everywhere. It was bulkier than the Sony and at times I even complained that the weight was getting a bit troublesome especially with the carry bag, but it took great pictures that surprises even people with more expensive cameras and lenses. The thing had only 6.1 megapixels! My mobile phone has more pixels, but is nowhere near as good a camera.
Anyway the Canon 7D became the latest acquisition and a totally different animal altogether. I got it for the video feature which the Nikon didn't have and wouldn't have it until almost 5 years later when the D90 came out (and even that didn't live up to expectations).
So the 7D is obviously a superior camera but in the real world how much of a difference will I be able to see? Very hard to compare without having similar lenses and well with what I had combine I could only compare these cameras at:
The following samples are a combination of photos taken straight out of the camera or LR edited. The point is to determine the differences between 2 systems taking unedited shots and shots edited to standards. Also it would be fun to compare the Nikon+lenses which cost me about $1800 (Nikon is $800) versus the Canon+lenses which cost me about $2900!
Notes: This is not a scientific test to debate which is a better system, it's just a real world comparison between a couple of cameras and lenses. Post processing can always correct whatever either lacks but there are also some features that some lenses just can't match against others (ie. focal length, bokeh etc). Furthermore, I didn't want to take a lot of time to correct shots, everything was shot straight out of the camera with no enhancement and mostly handheld, so basically it would be what anyone might have taken if they had just picked up these cameras. In a real world situation you have to account for camera shake, mood etc.
The Nikon images are on the left, the Canon images are on the right.