Timothy Armes' blog

Life as I experience it…

 

A comparison of the Canon and Nikon lens line-ups

Updated 14/2/2011 – added new Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x

Prior to switching to Nikon from Canon I compared the lens line-ups of the two systems to make sure that I wasn’t shooting myself in the foot.

I couldn’t find a decent comparison, so I thought it might benefit some of you if I were to post one here. The comparison is based on the current lens line-ups of the two companies. In cases where both a new version of a lens and the old version are still listed I’ve only included the new version.

I’ve tried to match lenses in each system to their nearest equivalent. The prices are from B&H at the time of writing, and are really there as a point of comparison.

All add my personal observations on the line ups at the end.

Note that users of the RSS feed may find the table easier to look at directly on the site…

Lens Price USM/SW VR
Canon Nikon Canon Nikon Canon Nikon
Wide Angle – EF-S / DX format
- AF DX Fisheye-Nikkor 10.5mm
f/2.8G ED
- $680 - No - No
- AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm
f/1.8G
- $190 - Yes - No
EF-S 10-22mm
f/3.5-4.5 USM
AF-S DX NIKKOR 10-24mm
f/3.5-4.5G ED
$770 $800 Yes Yes No No
- AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 12-24mm
f/4G IF-ED
- $950 - Yes - No
Wide Angle – EF / FX format
- AF DX Fisheye-Nikkor 10.5mm
f/2.8G ED
- $630 - No - No
EF 14mm
f/2.8L II USM
AF Nikkor 14mm
f/2.8D ED
$2100 $1650 Yes - No No
EF 15mm
f/2.8 Fisheye
AF Fisheye-Nikkor 16mm
f/2.8D
$640 $800 No No No No
EF 20mm
f/2.8 USM
AF Nikkor 20mm
f/2.8D
$460 $565 No No No No
EF 24mm
f/1.4L II USM
AF-S NIKKOR 24mm
f/1.4G ED
$1580 $2200 Yes Yes No No
EF 24mm
f/2.8
AF Nikkor 24mm
f/2.8D
$320 $360 No No No No
EF 28mm
f/1.8 USM
- $460 - Yes - No -
EF 28mm
f/2.8
AF Nikkor 28mm
f/2.8D
$245 $350 No No No No
EF 35mm
f/1.4L USM
AF-S NIKKOR 35mm
f/1.4G
$1350 $1800 Yes Yes No No
EF 35mm
f/2
AF Nikkor 35mm
f/2D
$330 $360 No No No No
EF 8-15mm
f/4 fisheye USM
- ? - Yes - No -
- AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm
f/2.8G ED
- $1785 - Yes - No
EF 16-35mm
f/2.8L II USM
AF-S Zoom-Nikkor 17-35mm
f/2.8D IF-ED
$1520 $1765 Yes Yes No No
EF 17-40mm
f/4L USM
AF-S NIKKOR 16-35mm
f/4G ED VR
$720 $1100 Yes Yes No Yes
- AF Zoom-Nikkor 18-35mm
f/3.5-4.5D IF-ED
- $540 - No - No
Standard / Medium Telephoto – EF-S / DX format
EF-S 15-85mm
f/3.5-5.6 IS USM
AF-S DX NIKKOR 16-85mm
f/3.5-5.6G ED VR
$720 $620 Yes Yes Yes Yes
EF-S 17-55mm
f/2.8 IS USM
AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 17-55mm
f/2.8G IF-ED
$1060 $1360 Yes Yes Yes No
EF-S 17-85mm
f/4-5.6 IS USM
- $430 - Yes - Yes -
- AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 18-55mm
f/3.5-5.6G ED II
- $110 - Yes - No
EF-S 18-55mm
f/3.5-5.6 IS
AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-55mm
f/3.5-5.6G VR
$160 $180 Yes Yes Yes Yes
EF-S 18-135mm
f/3.5-5.6 IS
AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-105mm
f/3.5-5.6G ED VR
$430 $360 Yes Yes Yes Yes
EF-S 18-200mm
f/3.5-5.6 IS
AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-200mm
f/3.5-5.6G ED VR II
$595 $760 Yes Yes Yes Yes
- AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 55-200mm
f/4-5.6G ED
- $180 - Yes - No
- AF-S DX VR Zoom-Nikkor 55-200mm
f/4-5.6G IF-ED
- $220 - Yes - Yes
Standard / Medium Telephoto – EF / FX format
EF 50mm
f/1.2L USM
- $1450 - No - No -
EF 50mm
f/1.4 USM
AF-S NIKKOR 50mm
f/1.4G
$350 $435 Yes Yes No No
EF 50mm
f/1.8 II
AF Nikkor 50mm
f/1.8D
$100 $120 No No No No
EF 85mm
f/1.2L II USM
AF-S NIKKOR 85mm
f/1.4G
$1930 $1700 Yes Yes No No
EF 85mm
f/1.8 USM
AF Nikkor 85mm
f/1.8D
$380 $430 Yes No No No
EF 100mm
f/2 USM
AF DC-Nikkor 105mm
f/2D
$435 $780 Yes No No No
EF 24-70mm
f/2.8L USM
AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm
f/2.8G ED
$1350 $1720 Yes Yes No No
- AF Zoom-Nikkor 24-85mm
f/2.8-4D IF
- $690 - No - No
EF 24-105mm
f/4L IS USM
AF-S NIKKOR 24-120mm
f/4G ED VR
$1060 $1300 Yes Yes Yes Yes
EF 28-135mm
f/3.5-5.6 IS USM
- $410 - Yes - Yes -
EF 28-300mm
f/3.5-5.6 IS USM
AF-S NIKKOR 28-300mm
f/3.5-5.6G ED VR
$2480 $945 Yes Yes Yes Yes
Telephoto – EF-S / DX format
EF-S 55-250mm
f/4-5.6 IS
AF-S DX NIKKOR 55-300mm
f/4.5-5.6G ED VR
$230 - No Yes Yes Yes
Telephoto – EF / FX format
EF 135mm
f/2L USM
AF DC-Nikkor 135mm
f/2D
$1000 $1350 Yes No No No
EF 135mm
f/2.8 soft focus
- $490 - No - No -
- AF Nikkor 180mm
f/2.8D IF-ED
- $780 - No - No
EF 200mm
f/2L IS USM
AF-S NIKKOR 200mm
f/2G ED VR II
$5300 $4000 Yes Yes Yes Yes
EF 200mm
f/2.8L II USM
- $760 - Yes - No -
EF 300mm
f/2.8L IS II USM
AF-S NIKKOR 300mm
f/2.8G ED VR II
? $5845 Yes Yes Yes Yes
EF 300mm
f/4L IS USM
AF-S Nikkor 300mm
f/4D IF-ED
$1270 $1350 Yes Yes Yes No
EF 28-300mm
f/3.5-5.6L IS USM
- $2420 - Yes - Yes No
EF 70-200mm
f/2.8L IS II USM
AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm
f/2.8G ED VR II
$2300 $2170 Yes Yes Yes Yes
EF 70-200mm
f/2.8L USM
AF Zoom-Nikkor 80-200mm
f/2.8D ED
$1300 $1100 Yes No No No
EF 70-200mm
f/4L USM
- $650 - Yes - No -
EF 70-200mm
f/4L IS USM
- $1210 - Yes - Yes -
EF 70-300mm
f/4.5-5.6 DO IS USM
- $1250 - Yes - Yes -
EF 70-300 f/4-5.6 IS USM AF-S VR Zoom-Nikkor 70-300mm
f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED
$530 $590 Yes Yes Yes Yes
EF 70-300mm
f/4-5.6L IS USM
- ? - Yes - Yes -
EF 75-300mm
f/4-5.6 III USM
AF Zoom Nikkor 70-300mm
f/4-5.6G
$200 $155 Yes No No No
EF 100-300mm
F/4.5-5.6 USM
- - - Yes - No -
EF 100-400mm
f/4.5-5.6L IS USM
AF VR Zoom-Nikkor 80-400mm
f/4.5-5.6D ED
$1610 $1650 Yes No Yes Yes
EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM EXTENDER 1.4x AF-S NIKKOR 200-400mm
f/4G ED VR II
? $5670 Yes Yes Yes Yes
Super Telephoto – EF / FX format
EF 400mm
f/2.8L IS II USM
AF-S NIKKOR 400mm
f/2.8G ED VR
$7190 $8900 Yes Yes Yes Yes
EF 400mm
f/4 DO IS USM
- $5820 - Yes - Yes -
EF 400mm
f/5.6L USM
- $1230 - Yes - No -
EF 500mm
f/4L IS USM
AF-S NIKKOR 500mm
f/4G ED VR
$6140 $5800 Yes Yes Yes Yes
EF 600mm
f/4L IS USM
AF-S NIKKOR 600mm
f/4G ED VR
$8050 $10300 Yes Yes Yes Yes
EF 800mm
f/5.6L IS USM
- $10900 - Yes - Yes -
Extender EF 1.4x III AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E II $300 $370 N/A N/A N/A N/A
- AF-S Teleconverter TC-17E II - $425 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Extender 2x III AF-S Teleconverter TC-20E III $300 $500 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Macro – EF / FX format
EF 50mm
f/2.5 Compact Macro
AF-S Micro NIKKOR 60mm
f/2.8G ED
$260 $540 Yes Yes No No
MP-E 65mm
f/2.8 1-5x Macro
- $930 - N/A - No -
EF 100mm
f/2.8 Macro USM
- $520 - Yes - No -
EF 100mm
f/2.8L Macro IS USM
AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm
f/2.8G IF-ED
$950 - Yes Yes Yes Yes
EF 180mm
f/3.5M Macro USM
AF Micro-Nikkor 200mm
f/4D IF-ED
$1370 $1650 Yes Yes No No
Tilt/Shift – EF / FX format
TS-E 17mm
f/4L
- $2200 - N/A - No -
TS-E 24mm
f/3.5L II
PC-E NIKKOR 24mm
f/3.5D ED
$1970 $1990 N/A N/A No No
TS-E 45mm
f/2.8
PC-E Micro NIKKOR 45mm
f/2.8D ED
$1230 $1850 N/A N/A No No
TS-E 90mm
f/2.8
PC-E Micro NIKKOR 85mm
f/2.8D
$1210 $1790 N/A N/A No No

Canon have the most complete lens line-up, however in reality most photographer’s won’t notice this since both companies address the needs of most photographers. Here though are the most important advantages that I notice:

  • Canon’s range of primes is more up to date, with many more lenses using USM/SW motors than the Nikon equivalents.
  • Canon offer more options for the popular 70-200mm range, including all the permutations of f/2.8, f/4, stabilized or not. Nikon only offer a stabilized f/2.8 which may be too heavy for some uses.
  • Canon offer an f/4 version of their 400mm lens which is significantly cheaper than the f/2.8 version from either company.
  • If you’re a macro shooter, only Canon offer a true macro lens with the MP-E 65mm.
  • Canon now have a fisheye zoom.
  • Nikon are more expensive, and this is especially true for the super telephoto lenses.

Nikon does have a couple of tricks up its sleeve though:

  • The 14-24mm. Need I say more?
  • They have a better range of DX (EF-S) format lenses, no doubt as a result of the amount of time that they took to enter the full frame market.

24 Responses to “A comparison of the Canon and Nikon lens line-ups”

  1. royreddy says:

    I have little or no plans to switch but I sure do appreciate benefiting from your view of the C – N LensScape.
    I may even come here to shop for a lens sometime. R

  2. Mark Sirota says:

    Your price on the new Nikon 24-120/4 is way off. I suspect you’re listing the price of the older variable-aperture lens.

  3. I like this info. It’s good to have it all in one place. I’ve just purchased the Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 VRII and your comment about it being heavy is spot on! I’m going to have arms like Stallone in a couple more shoots! Amazing lens tho.

  4. With regards to your macro comment. Most macro photographers would say the 1:1 is macro, in which case most of the lenses in the macro range do that. The MP-E is quite specialist and does do 1:1 to 5:1. It is an amazing lens but not a go to one for everyday macro!

  5. Jeff Callen says:

    The Canon 50mm 2.5 macro is not USM, I have one, and I like it, it is very sharp, the AF is old-style, but fine for a macro lens….

  6. PECourtejoie says:

    Thanks for the research!
    Aren’t the lens hoods sometimes an extra item on the Canon side?

  7. HotDuckZ says:

    Where is very expensive 28-300L?

    If you do a lot of research a lot of of NIKKOR is better than L lens.

    • Hi,

      The 28-200 is on the list. I think that at this level both Nikon and Canon make superb lenses, if one were clearly better than the other then they wouldn’t have kept their market share.

      Tim

  8. Bryan says:

    great article i have canon and looks like im staying there

  9. Rory says:

    You appear to have mis-matched the nikkor 28-300, which you have matching the EF 28-135mm instead of the EF 28-300mm.

  10. [...] A comparison of the Canon and Nikon lens line-ups – Timothy Armes’ blog [...]

  11. Hi I’m using a D90 to take photo’s of our wedding invitations with a 18:125 lens, can you recommend as good lens for close up work.

    Amelia

  12. EOS 1100D says:

    1100D…

    A comparison of the Canon and Nikon lens line-ups | Timothy Armes’ Blog…

  13. great and complete comparison of Canon and Nikon lens.

  14. Ed says:

    The Canon lenses EF 20mm f/2.8 USM and the 50mm f/1.2 USM are not correctly checked in the table as having USM. Cool table Tim!

    I wish this table was someplace like Wikipedia so that we can all contribute as new lenses become available and have the end result of being more current.

  15. kevindar says:

    The biggest glaring shortcoming of Nikon for me, is a lens to compete with canon 100-400L. the Nikon 80-400 is old and bad. 3rd party options (sigma 120-400) are not optically as good as canon. the the 70-200 f4 is lens, is another popular, optically fantastic, light and inexpensive canon lens.
    Nikon has done a fair bit to fill some of the gaps, by introducing good prime lenses, as well as their 24mm tilt-shift.

  16. James says:

    Hi there,

    You should post this nikkor 50mm f/1.8g af-s instead of the AF Nikkor 50mm
    f/1.8D. Cost is about 216.

  17. Ash Patel says:

    Hi,

    This information is brilliant, just what I was looking for. However, I noticed this list was compiled in 2010.

    Are the price differences still along these lines? Are Nikon lenses generally more expensive than Canon?

    I’m looking at buying my first SLR. I like Nikon’s D3200 but I am seriously considering Canon’s 500D as it is cheaper and if the lenses are cheaper, it is a better investment for me.

    Any advice will be appreciated. Thanks.

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