Another day at the races: Canon 50D vs. Nikon D90 [Updated]


Canon 50D

Canon 50D

Canon released their successor to the rather anticlimatic 40D, and DPReview got their hands on one. Actually, Canon claims that the 50D is more like a brother to the 40D rather than a successor, which I find to be a strange strategy, as the 50D has been introduced at the same 1300USD price that all the X0D cameras entered the market. So this probably means that the 40D will see a price reduction.

I can’t say I agree with this strategy, the marketplace is already pretty crowded with all kinds of entry level DSLRs, bridge cameras, semipro compacts and all that fuzz, and this will only make a new comer more confused. I would have guessed that having less clutter in the lineup makes for stronger products, Canon however seems to believe in the “more is more” thing. But fortunately this is not the only place where they seem to have shifted to the “more” mentality.

Which brings me to the fact that the 50D is a much more impressive update to the line than the 40D was to the 30D (maybe these two should have stayed “brothers”). Some of the important ones are the new 14MP sensor (promising even better low light performance than the previous 40D), Digic 4 image processor (which gives it the ability to deliver 14bit RAW files at a speed of 6.3fps) and last but not least environmental sealing (which brings it closer to the pro table, even if there’s that “not full frame” thing).

Being a current user of the Canon 30D, I must say that this is a very compelling upgrade, unlike the 40D, which basically left me yawning.

Nikon D90

Nikon D90

The race between Nikon and Canon is tighter than ever, now that Nikon announced the D90. Even though people pit the Canon 50D against the Nikon D90, I don’t really see them as such, the Canon having more resolution (OK, just marginally), faster frame rate, higher ISO settings, environmental sealing. The Nikon has that movie shooting thing though, which is quite nice, even though it uses the Live View sensor for it and not the photo sensor,* you can use some real nice lenses to shoot 720p video. And the Nikon is $300 less than the Canon.

*EDIT: Thanks to David Chin for pointing out in the comments a misleading fact (okay, error, whatever) in this post: the D90 hasn’t got a separate Live View sensor, and it’s using the main sensor for all three functions: photo, live view and video. (Nikon isn’t very specific about the way Live View is captured, but video certainly uses the full sensor). That being said, I will only add that the more I think about it, the more I find that this is a sweet feature. And I’m waiting for Canon to add something similar to their cameras. I know they will. Eventually. Hopefully sooner than later.

I’m glad to see that Nikon is pushing the envelope, and I think this is amazingly good for the supporters of both camps. One example of the fact that this race is being taken seriously by Canon is that even though Canon’s laterst flagship cameras, the 1D series, are still stuck in 230k pixel screen territory, they blessed their 50D with a 920k pixel screen, something Nikon had for a while now. And the way the new Nikons handle high ISOs and low light really gave Canon a run for their money.

All things considered, the new Canon is a worthy successor, erm… brother, to Canon’s double digit D series, and I can’t wait to pair my Canon 10-22 EFS lens (which already produces stunning results on my Canon 30D) with the new beast.

Now, on with the show! Can’t wait for the in depth review from DPReview.


5 responses to “Another day at the races: Canon 50D vs. Nikon D90 [Updated]

  1. The D90 captures photos and video using the same 12MP CMOS sensor – there is not a separate “Live View sensor” and “photo sensor”.

  2. Thanks for pointing this out, slap on the wrists and correction to the post follows. This is a nice example of what happens when people assume things.

    Usually cameras use a separate sensor for Live View because this kind of use wears a sensor down pretty quickly (they get hot, and heat is a big no no for sensors), it will be interesting to see how D90’s sensor fares when people will start using it heavily.

  3. Ah, I see another worshiper at the alter of dpreview!

  4. Hey, I’ll be happy to review the stuff myself, if only Canon or Nikon or whoever (Pentax, Sony, Panasonic, anyone really) would send me free gear!

  5. I have admired Canon for some time. A number of months ago I think that as a business it had suffered. For a while their eye for particularly camcorder quality wasn’t what it was and in my experience, the quality of Canon’s camcorder goods went south. HAVING SAID THAT, today I think they are tops although they aren’t the cheapest camcorders.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s