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Thread: Nikon D50 vs Canon 7D plus a few lens comparison

  1. #1
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    Default Nikon D50 vs Canon 7D plus a few lens comparison

    Hi folks,

    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:

    - 15mm
    - 16mm
    - 50mm
    - 85mm

    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.
    Last edited by MRSAMO; 23rd January 2011 at 12:03 PM.
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    Default Re: Nikon D50 vs Canon 7D plus a few lens comparison



    1. Trees (unedited, no filters)

    Basically for shooting landscape you don't care so much for bokeh in these types of shots, so I used F9 for all of these shots and the same shutter speed.

    The lowest ISO I could go on the D50 was 200, the 7D could do 100, yet the 7D came out slightly brighter. There's not really a lot in it with this setup especially when I was using a tripod for both cameras. The fact that I was using the same aperture, shutter and focal length setting for both cameras meant that the picture should be exactly the same, and they weren't.

    Generally I felt the Canon gave a cooler image whereas the Nikon was producing a warmer one. The Nikon also gave a slightly darker image despite using a higher ISO, this may be the shadows being represented better on the Nikon I'm not sure. To my eyes I really can't say which is better!

    The Tokina however is a far better lens for this type of landscape than the Canon because of its reach (11mm) and larger aperture (2.8). I could have shot these same pictures without a tripod simply because the Tokina let's in more light than the 15-85mm, I can also afford to use a quick shutter speed as well. If I shoot this again with the Tokina I would have used F/4, faster shutter speed and no tripod.

    But what if I'm actually looking for something moving in the trees? Here's where the 15-85mm has the advantage provided that there's still sufficient lighting to use a quicker shutter speed. You can also play around with the ISO setting but that increases noise, so what's the next best thing? Get a faster lenses with bigger apertures like 2.8, 1.8 etc.

    And if you ever see Bigfoot then you want zoom lenses like the 15-85mm set on auto, not the 11-16mm. The reach of the 15-85mm is extremely handy, compare the distance between 15mm and 85mm. Those are useful distances unlike the Tokina which is only from 11mm to 16mm.

    2. Mossy log (handheld, edited, no filters)

    In the first 2 shots, I compare the Nikkor 50mm with the Rokinon 85mm. The Rokinon is superior in terms of speed (1.4) and quality (bokeh) but the Nikkor isn't too bad either and in fact I like the warmer colours of the Nikon. The bokeh rings of the Nikkor is a bit distracting though (doesn't match with the rest of the image). Once you become more experienced and know what you're looking for in lenses then you will probably cycle through a number of lenses until you find the one you want. I won't throw away the 50mm as it works well with the D50 being such a light combination, but it's obvious that the 85mm is the better lens.

    The second row compares the Tokina 11-16mm at 16mm to the Canon 15-85mm at 85mm. It's interesting to see how an UWA lens like the 11-16mm can be used for a shot like this especially when you can see the bokeh, but like the Nikkor 50mm the bokeh at the back looks distracting while the 15-85's bokeh is smooth! I do like how the D50 produces warmer pictures compared to the Canon but that can be controlled in LR. If you compare the 15-85mm to the previous shot of the Rokinon 85mm there's not much difference except that the Rokinon produces better bokeh. I would have been happy with any of these lenses for this shot but I would use probably use the Rokinon and leave the Tokina for landscape purposes as it was designed for. The 15-85mm stays in the bag just in case the Rokinon isn't around.

    The third row compares the Nikkor 50mm and the Rokinon 85mm at roughly the same distance. The Rokinon was taken earlier during the day when the light was strong (hence the faster shutter speed). The Nikon was taken during the afternoon under less light. The Nikkor here looks great except for the bokeh, the Rokinon is just more focused on the scene with better bokeh and control of lighting.

    The last shot is the 11-16mm at 16mm and F/2.8 just to compare with the third row shots. It really is an interesting lens but I don't really use the Tokina for this.
    Last edited by MRSAMO; 23rd January 2011 at 03:31 PM.
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    Default Re: Nikon D50 vs Canon 7D plus a few lens comparison



    OK back again after spending about a hour tops taking these shots and putting them up on the net. Didn't see some of the opposing comments until now but hey we all have different opinions and no system is overwhelmingly better than the other. This comparison has been pretty educational for me as I'm able to appreciate both cameras more for what they are.

    I figured that the way I'm testing my cameras is a bit different, but I wanted to emphasis a "pick up these cameras and shoot as it is" kind of approach without doing any significant preparation or major editing. It could also explain why some people take photos using their brand new DSLRs and not get the results they were expecting.

    The following shots were taken with these thoughts in mind:

    - No tripod
    - I don't want to play around too much with ISO levels
    - No flash
    - Is there a big difference between prime/non IS lenses and IS lens? (older system vs newer system)
    - What would these pictures look like if I didn't have to play around with the settings too much, and what would I need to do to improve the shots if I did?

    3. Camera portraits (first 4 pictures, no editing, no filters)

    I wanted to imitate the 15-85mm IS's capabilities by shooting at around the same low shutter speed when I shot with the Nikon. It also mean that I will have to shoot at the same aperture as well.

    The Nikon was slightly brighter and the IQ at this resolution looks reasonable, after all most people seem to post at this size on the internet anyway. Scroll down and take a look at a closeup of all of these images, IS really does help with a lower shutter speed and room lighting (the Rokinon 85mm was thrown into the comparison just for fun and it was still slightly sharper than the Nikon). Perhaps if I try to stabilise my pose a bit more, use a wall or just bring out the tripod I would have gotten a similar if not a better level of success. For most people they may prefer the convenience of built-in stabilising lenses, for others they are used to taking the time to set up their shots. If you're not a tripod user then you will definitely need the help of image stabilisation.

    I certainly appreciate the benefits of IS, but in those shots they look mostly dark except for the Nikon at 1/13. I've always been nervous about playing with ISO settings because of the noise factor but that is one way of increasing the brightness with any lenses. The little Nikon starts at 200 and ends at 1600 while the Canon begins at 100 and stops at a theoretical 12800. I have seen the Nikon at 1600 and it is terrible but at 200 it is better than the Canon in my opinion. The built-in noise reduction feature might have more play in the Nikon than the Canon as both were set to their factory settings for the test.

    The benefit of the newer system looks like it will shine further here, but the battle is far from over. On the Nikon, I'm only using the 50mm at F/5. Here's a sample of the 50mm at F/1.8, ISO 200 and 1/80 second:



    Here's the 15-85mm at 50mm, ISO 400 and 1/13 second :


    I need to play around with the 15-85mm a bit more to get anywhere near the brightness of the 50mm. I don't normally shoot at 1/13 of a second but at least it's still sharp from using IS. This is not meant to be a comparison between a $100 50mm prime lens with a $900 15-85mm zoom lens, but to talk about the benefit of both. Looking at these pictures you can tell the 50mm is heavily compromised, but let it do its thing and it is a better solution for product shots like these. The 15-85mm holds it own and it even achieve some level of bokeh, I would be happy using either lens to do the same thing, except that I would always choose a prime lens for their better lighting and for creating better bokeh effects. The 85mm produces a slight better bokeh than the 50mm and is the reason why it's on my 7D instead of the D50.

    4. World's smallest pig or the world's fattest headphone

    In this test it's basically the same as before but with a different subject and at different apertures. Don't read too much into this one as I was playing around with different settings and seeing what could have been done better. Basically it was a good exercise on what experimental shots look like I find I make less errors on the Canon as I do on the Nikon, quite clearly I should have used a wider aperture (wider than 5.6 but not at 1.8) and lower shutter speed (slower than 1/320). In the 1.8 shot I can see some kind of ghost edges that most people have pointed out about using the widest aperture settings. The 15-85mm also seems to have CA (slightly too bright).

    Here's another problem, the Rokinon being a manual lens has no communicative feedback to the camera. This means that the aperture reading does not even appear in my image EXIFs and the focal length is always 50mm. The only way to fix this is to get a confirmation chip like this one and stick it on your manual lenses.

    5. Closeups part 1

    As mentioned previously, IS really does make a big difference in producing sharp images with lower shutter settings as we can see in these crops of the first 4 images. I also find the weight between the 2 systems a contributing factor. The D50 by itself is a compact and light camera whereas the 7D is quite heavy. Switching between the 2 might have had some bearing in why some shots might have been off, perhaps I was getting used to the stability and feel of the 7D, or maybe it just camps in my hands a little better. Either way if the little Nikon is going to be my walk around and UWA party shot camera I'll need to put more effort into stabilising my shots better, the 7D is simply too hefty to bring around to parties or functions unless I'm shooting videos.

    [b]6. Closeups part 2[b]

    The piggies and headphones. I decided to crop the further bottom right corner of these shots just to see how much detail I was able to see despite using spot focusing at the centre of these images. This is only useful for pixel peepers I guess (I am not) but they all "retain" the pig's texture mostly on the left side and losing it towards the nose. The Nikon probably did better here. One key thing that I've noticed is that the pictures I see on the LCD for preview may not look the same as they do on the computer. For the Nikon they appeared worst even though I thought they were good enough on camera. The Nikon's tiny 2" screen probably didn't help either.


    There's really nothing in it between the D50 and 7D for general photography in my opinion, the D50's images may only be 6.1 megapixels compared to the 7D's 18 megapixels, but that is irrelevant in this test. However a lot of thought is needed to use each lenses to the best of their abilities.

    Here's what I've learnt in this 2nd comparison:

    - I can't handhold at less than 1/15 reliably (I'm getting old), so IS is a definitely advantage to have
    - I experiment too much when using prime lenses, study each lenses carefully as not all are made the same!
    - I seem to shoot prime lenses better on the 7D than on the D50
    - For indoor product shots like these I will use the Nikon
    - For outdoor product shots I will probably use the Canon
    - Try not to use the slowest shutter speed with a handheld prime lens if I can avoid it!
    - I can't always rely on LCD preview, some images look great on camera but look soft on computer
    - Pick the lighter camera for street and casual use, the heavier one for everything else
    - Pick the more advanced camera for serious shooting and video
    - 50mm is perfect with the D50, I'm suiting it up as a street camera and for the little things that happens around me
    - 15-85mm is the perfect lens for the 7D, very surprising and it exceeds my expectations over the excellent 18-55mm that I've used on my D50
    Last edited by MRSAMO; 23rd January 2011 at 04:13 PM.
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    Default Re: Nikon D50 vs Canon 7D plus a few lens comparison

    Reserved 2!
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  5. #5

    Default Re: Nikon D50 vs Canon 7D plus a few lens comparison

    i think some one deleted my cm. huh, i just give my opinion
    ---
    Could u redo this test, base on:
    - The same focus (16mm, 20mm, 24mm...)
    - The same cropfactor or convert to be equal (1.5x and 1.6x)
    - The same Object/subject (make sure test on tripod, without removing object)

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    Default Re: Nikon D50 vs Canon 7D plus a few lens comparison

    I've already mentioned the focal length I could use in my first post!
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  7. #7

    Default Re: Nikon D50 vs Canon 7D plus a few lens comparison

    Quote Originally Posted by MRSAMO View Post
    Those are totally different, Speed, Aperture, and Focus length and object . >"< how can i compare?

  8. #8

    Default Re: Nikon D50 vs Canon 7D plus a few lens comparison

    I only like the green on the nikon..
    Dots........

  9. #9

    Default Re: Nikon D50 vs Canon 7D plus a few lens comparison

    Quote Originally Posted by Purance View Post
    I only like the green on the nikon..
    The Nikon lens he's using is known for not having good bokeh, while the Canon lens he's using is known for having decent bokeh. So it's not fair to compare bokeh on 2 such different lenses.
    Alpha

  10. #10
    Member banana0ne's Avatar
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    Default Re: Nikon D50 vs Canon 7D plus a few lens comparison

    I like the way nikon renders green color than Canon. canon got some yellowish/reddish cast all over. probably WB? anyway both good...
    I dunno!!!
    It's banana-zero-neh. :)

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    Default Re: Nikon D50 vs Canon 7D plus a few lens comparison

    guys, if u think the comparison is not even, just move along to other threads

    there is a report post function in the thread .... use it if facts and truths are distorted and/or flame wars happening
    shaddap and just shoot .... up close
    Walkeast

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    Default Re: Nikon D50 vs Canon 7D plus a few lens comparison

    Quote Originally Posted by ed9119 View Post
    guys, if u think the comparison is not even, just move along to other threads

    there is a report post function in the thread .... use it if facts and truths are distorted and/or flame wars happening
    Ed9119 I don't think I deserve that kind of comment especially when I take the time to write up these comparison.
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    Default Re: Nikon D50 vs Canon 7D plus a few lens comparison

    Quote Originally Posted by mmeeoo View Post
    Those are totally different, Speed, Aperture, and Focus length and object . >"< how can i compare?
    Sure some have different settings but remember not every camera functions the same or will produce the same results with the exact same settings. The tree shots were all mostly taken with the same settings except for the ISO level, if the Canon was at 200 then it would be even brighter and uneven. Just read into the pictures and comments that I've left and you'll probably see why I've had it that way.

    For the mossy shots, I've tried to take them at about the same distance even though some of the lenses had different focal length. Again ISO was different because the Canon would have been so much brighter. The objective of this comparison is to complement and see how one system might effectively be better in some area than the other. Of course the more expensive one can produce better pictures but the the older system isn't too bad either.
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    Moderator ed9119's Avatar
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    Default Re: Nikon D50 vs Canon 7D plus a few lens comparison

    Quote Originally Posted by MRSAMO View Post
    Ed9119 I don't think I deserve that kind of comment especially when I take the time to write up these comparison.
    i just PM'ed you... I think you misunderstood me
    shaddap and just shoot .... up close
    Walkeast

  15. #15

    Default Re: Nikon D50 vs Canon 7D plus a few lens comparison

    Thanks for the effort!

    At the web sizes you posted, they look more or less the same to me - except for the colour, which is a personal preference. This shows that most of the DSLRs nowadays have more or less the same IQ, and the difference can only be seen at the extreme ends of the performance envelope (i.e. large prints/high ISO).

    The camera's handling is still a major factor for me, I doubt that I will frequently use a camera that I didn't like to hold.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Nikon D50 vs Canon 7D plus a few lens comparison

    I am really amused by this review. Mr Samo is such a brave soul writing it. Thank you for taking the effort. The review methodology is really unorthodox. Keep up the great work!

  17. #17

    Default Re: Nikon D50 vs Canon 7D plus a few lens comparison

    i thought canon's colour are good. but guess nikon is better in getting the green colour.
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