Is Canon or Nikon Better for Beginners?

Canon and Nikon are both major brand names, but if you’re just getting into photography, which one is better? It’s a controversial debate, but for many, the price and ease of use make Nikon the top option.

I am a self-taught photographer who has used both Canon and Nikon cameras. With over four years of experience with a focus on sports, I’ve learned a lot about getting the tough shots – and how your camera model affects them.

Now I mostly use the Canon Rebel T7i for my own photography, so I’m pretty familiar with one of the big names in this conversation.

In this article, I’ll go over some things about both brands that you should consider before taking a major step and buying your first DSLR.

If that interests you, make sure to keep reading.

Why Beginners Like Nikon

Both Canon and Nike are very popular and have their supporters, but Nikon seems to have an edge when it comes to newer photographers. This isn’t an accident. 

While every camera brand has its own pros and cons, some of the advantages found in Nikon’s products are well-suited to beginners.

One of the main advantages is price. This is one that a lot of people care about, and it’s not hard to see why. If you’re new to photography, it can be intimidating to spend hundreds of dollars on a camera before knowing if you’ll want to continue with the hobby in a year or two. 

You may also be afraid of buying the wrong camera and unknowingly setting yourself back.

A good camera is rarely cheap, but Nikon is the cheaper out of the two major brands when it comes to their beginner models.

Compare, for example, the Nikon D3500 with the Canon EOS Rebel T7i. You can pick up the Nikon with an 18-55mm VR lens for $650, or you can choose to up the price to $750 and also get a 70-300mm zoom lens included in the bundle.

The Rebel T7i, on the other hand, will run you $750 for the camera body without an included lens. 

While the Rebel SL3 is a bit cheaper at $750 for a package including the body and an 18-55mm lens,  it still doesn’t beat Nikon’s offer if you’re looking to get the best value for the least amount of money.

In terms of performance, you’ll find that the options from both brands are capable. There isn’t much of a gap in quality between the beginner models from Canon and Nikon, even if Canon is the more popular brand for higher-end cameras. 

And as a beginner, you probably won’t pick up on the subtle differences between two similar models like the D3500 and Rebel T7i.

There is, however, one notable difference between these brands. The beginner Nikon models tend to have longer battery life than their counterparts from Canon.

If you’re planning on going a long time between charging or swapping batteries, you might consider that another advantage for Nikon.

Do Professional Photographers Use Canon or Nikon?

Though I’ve covered beginner cameras so far, you might be wondering what the professionals use. Maybe you have aspirations of becoming a pro photographer yourself, or maybe you’re just curious about what the industry standard is.

The fact of the matter is that this comes down to personal preference in most cases.

Just like neither Apple nor Samsung can fully dominate the market for smartphones, neither one of the two main camera companies has a strong lead over the other.

Both Canon and Nikon make cameras that get the job done, even at the professional level. For many professionals, the choice in which one to use comes down to preferring the way one company does things.

While they may handle the same task, Canon and Nikon cameras have their own quirks and differences in things like layout and menus. Thanks to these differences, it’s not hard to feel a sense of brand loyalty due to preferring one way over the other.

Other Questions You May Have

Here are a few commonly asked questions related to the topic, I’ll show you my answers below.

Is a DSLR camera good for beginners?

In short, yes. DSLRs currently make up the large majority of digital cameras used by professional and hobbyist photographers, and all of the options listed above fall under that category.

Is Canon sharper than Nikon?

Not really. While there are indeed some performance differences between different models, both brands have similar quality generally speaking.

Can you use Canon lenses with Nikon cameras or vice versa?

Not without some tinkering. Both Canon and Nikon design their lenses to only work with their own camera bodies. You can sometimes use an adapter to get around this, but this comes with its own complications.

Which Nikon DSLR is best for beginners?

When considering price and value, I think the Nikon D3500 is arguably the best DSLR for beginners right now.


Both Canon and Nikon make good options for beginners, but if you’re looking for the best value and a lower overall price, Nikon has the edge. 

Agree? Disagree? Do you have a different recommendation for a beginner photographer? Make sure to let us know in the comments.

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