Home Forums Let’s Talk Photography Canon girl needs info on Nikon and Sony for a class!

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    I shoot Canon and that’s all I really know much about in regards to equipment. I’m teaching a couple of photography workshops for a 4-H event in two weeks. I’ve done a beginner photography session for several years (talking about basic composition, types of cameras, angles/lines, light, etc.) and this year I will be also doing an additional session called “Take your DSLR off Auto!” where I will go over basic definitions of aperture, shutter speed, ISO, white balance, exposure, etc. and how they all relate to making a photo. I told the participants to bring along their cameras.

    I just would like a basic rundown of the types of equipment Nikon and maybe Sony offers to be prepared to discuss them if the participants shoot something other than Canon.

    For instance:
    Canon bodies: Rebel T1i, T2i, T3i, T4i are entry-level DSLRs that are crop sensor, and don’t have great low-light performance. 30D, 40D, 50D, 60D, and 7D are higher-end DSLRs that are still crop sensor. 5D, 5DII, 5DIII are higher-end full-frame DSLRs. 1Dx and 1Ds are even higher-end full-frame bodies.

    Lenses: EF-S mount lenses only mount to crop-sensor bodies. EF mount lenses can mount to full-frame or crop bodies. “IS” is Canon’s image stabilization notation.

    I want to know what model numbers for Nikon and Sony are what. Which ones are crop sensor bodies, and which are newer vs. older models? Which are full-frame bodies and which are newer vs. older models? How is the lens mount denoted, and which lenses mount to which kind of body? I just want to be able to provide a list of the popular cameras and lenses for each brand and be able to tell people which is a crop sensor vs a full-frame, and approximate price ranges.


    Visit the Nikon and Sony web pages.

    While Canon EF-S lenses are made to not fit a full frame body, Nikon has embraced using DX lenses on full frame FX bodies and with most full frame bodies, the lens is sensed and an automatic crop occurs.  With the D4, it is reported there is a DX mode even when an FX lens is mounted, if you desire and you can see the full frame in the viewfinder with an indication of where the crop will occur!

    Like you, I shoot Canon, except for having a Nikon film camera.  Best wishes for your research.


    All Nikon bodies use the F-type mount.  It has been the same mounting since the 60’s, I believe…possibly even earlier.

    Camera bodies (Sorta kinda listed in order of quality…but that’s subjective based on opinion)

    Crop bodies (AKA “DX”):

    Discontinued bodies, but still used:
    “Consumer”:  D40, D40x D50, D60, D70, D70s, D3000
    Higher-end Consumer :  D5000, D80, D90
    “Prosumer” (High end crop bodies with pro options on the body as opposed navigating a menu): D100, D200, D300
    Pro (Top end):  D1, D1X, D2H, D2X, D2HS, D2XS

    Active…for the most part:
    Consumer :  D3100, D3200
    Higher-end Consumer: D5100, D5200, D7000
    Prosumer:  D300s


    Full Frame bodies (AKA “FX”)

    Discontinued, but still used:
    Prosumer:  D700
    Pro:   D3, D3X

    Prosumer:  D700, D600, D800, D800e
    Pro:   D3S, D4

    Lots of jargon with lenses…but here’s the breakdown:

    DX – for DX or crop bodies.  Can be used with an FX body, but will have heavy vignetting unless the FX body is set in DX mode.
    FX – for FX or full-frame bodies.  Can be used with DX body with no drawbacks, but not really worth purchasing if no intention to move to full frame body
    AF-S – Stands for “Autofocus- silent”.  Denotes that the lens has an internal autofocus motor.  **Special note:  Lower end consumer bodies will need lenses that have “AF-S” in order to autofocus because the camera body itself does not have an AF motor.**
    ED – Extra-low dispersion glass (reduces color fringers)
    IF – Internal focus (nothing moves outside the lens)
    VR:  Vibration Reduction (identical to “IS” for Canon)
    G:  Gelded (really only matters in terms of cost reduction, but also removes compatibility with older (non-digital) cameras)
    N:  Nano coating (only present on the high end “pro” lenses)



    Whoa, sounds complicated JLiu! But thank you, that is the perfect breakdown I needed. Nikon uses way more confusing numbers for their model numbers (in my opinion!) It is nice too that they use the same mounting system. I wish Canon did that.


    It’s not too bad once you get used to it…but I agree that the model numbers are awkward.

    Oh, another thing about the consumer bodies:  They only have a rear thumbwheel as opposed to having both a front (by the shutter button) and rear wheel for more control of aperture/shutter.  This makes things really interesting for Manual Mode…took me a minute to figure it out when I was trying to teach a friend how to use his D3100.

    Good luck teaching your class!


    Yeah, my aunt has an older Nikon and whenever I played around it I could not figure out at all how to change the aperture, made me so mad! haha. The entry-level Canons also have only one wheel but you hold down the Av button while turning the wheel to change the aperture. I certainly don’t have experience shooting with Nikons, but the limited exposure I’ve had with them I felt they were much less user-friendly than comparable Canons.


    The high end consumer models do have two wheels. I have one in the front by my shutter and one in the back ( the thumb one) and it’s the D7000. The low end is similar to the canon you’re talking about, where you hold the AV button to change the aperture ( such as the D3XXX although not positive on the 3200)

    As a nikon girl, I can’t take how canon feels and operates. and up here in Fairbanks canons outnumber Nikons 4 to 1 at least. I did a workshop with 10 people I had the only nikon, and one had an Olympus lol. I think it’s just when you aren’t used to them it all feels awkward and horrible haha


    Also while nikon has kept the same lens mount, not all the bodies have the screw pin thing ( seriously the name just flew outta my head) for older lens to be able to autofocus. They can still be used, just manually O.o hehe



    Remember that in Canon their modes are Tv and Av where as in the land of Nikon it’s S and A

    The photo class I took part in a term ago, people were all confused about helping each other because of different cameras models. Luckily I could help the Nikon and Canon users as I shoot with both.

    Also any Nikon lens without a ‘G’ means that it requires the camera body to do auto-focus. So if they don’t have a ‘G’ they can only be used to autofocus unless you have a higher end body. The nice thing about Canon is all of their lenses are EF which means Electronic-Focus so the lenses have the focus motor built into them.

    I’m new, long time lurker though, but I hope to reply more often!


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