Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Canon vs Nikon: The Price Wars, Part I

Welcome to our 2nd edition of Canon vs Nikon. This time we look at this rivarly from a dollars and sense perspective, more specifically, the current prices of their current DSLR kits.

For this exercise, we are using the current prices at the time of writing from the camera industry pricing bellwether, B&H Photo.

Canon vs Nikon: The $500 DSLR
The lowest priced Canon DSLR is the Digital Rebel XT, aka 350D, available either as body only or with the 18-55 EF-S lens, in either silver or black finish. The body only version is $430, in either silver or black. The kit version, with the 18-55 lens costs $510 in either silver or black.

On the other side of the aisle, the lowest priced Nikon DSLR is the Nikon D40, available as body only or with the 18-55 DX lens or in a two-lens kit featuring the 18-55 DX and 55-200 DX. The D40 body only is currently not listed at B&H photo, while the bundle with the 18-55 DX lens costs $480. The two lens kit costs $650.

As we can see by comparing the prices, Nikon "wins" this round by $30.

Canon vs Nikon: The 10 megapixels for the masses
Canon's 10mp camera is the Digital Rebel XTi, aka 400D. It is available in either body only or with the 18-55 EF-S kit. The body only version costs $570 in silver and $575 in black. The bundle with the kit lens costs $660, either silver or black.

Nikon's 10mp DSLR is the Nikon D40x, and it is available in body only, and with two different bundled lenses. The D40x body only costs $550, the kit with the 18-55 DX lens costs $620, and the kit with the 18-135 DX lens costs $820.

Nikon "wins" this round by $20 and $40 for the body only and one lens kit.

Canon vs Nikon: The sub-$2000 DSLRs
This is where the cameras don't necessarily match up one on one, so we will present them in price order. Remember, this is a comparison in terms of price, not a comparison of features and functionality!

Canon has a stack of three generations of the X0D series. The Canon 20D is no longer available. The Canon 30D costs $990 body only, and $1080 with the 18-55 EF-S lens. And for those looking for a more expensive lens, the 28-135 EF IS USM is bundled for $1275.

And last but not least for sure is the brand new Canon 40D which is available as body only for $1300, and with the EF 28-135mm IS USM lens for $1500.

Nikon has a trio of their own under $2000, starting with the Nikon D80 which is available as body only for $860, with the 18-55 DX lens for $980, and with the 18-135 DX lens for $1135.

Next up, the Nikon D200 which is available for $1500 body only, and $1830 with the 18-135 DX lens. Also available with the 18-200 DX VR lens for $2300.

And the newest member of the sub-$2000 family is the buzzworthy Nikon D300, available for $1800 body only and $2100 with the 18-135 DX lens, and $2540 with the 18-200 DX VR lens.

Because the cameras are not evenly matched, it is hard to really declare a price-winner in this segment. On a pure price level, the Nikon D80, Canon 30D and 40D lead the way as the lowest priced sub-$2000 DSLRs.

Canon vs Nikon: $2000 and more
The cameras are not evenly matched in this category either, so it's hard to declare price winners like we were able to do for the mass market DSLRs.

Canon's line-up here starts with the Canon 5D for $2196, getting even closer to the magical $2000 price level. The 5D is also available with the EF 24-105 IS USM lens for $3000.

Next up, on the 1D-tier, the speedy 1D Mark III goes for $4500, while the duo of big daddy 1Ds goes for $7000 for Mark II and $8000 for Mark III.

Nikon's DSLRs over $2000 feature the old and the new. The Nikon D2Hs certainly qualifies as the old, and it goes for $3000, and the Nikon D2Xs goes for $4300. Last, but certainly not least, the buzzworthiest camera of the year, the Nikon D3 is listed at $5000.

Again, the cameras are not evenly matched so it's really hard to declare a price-winner. And we will not.

Given that the DSLRs above $1000 are not evenly matched, our conclusions are not universal, but rather qualified. We can only do a comparison on the sub-$1000, more specifically the first two DSLR models mentioned in this post, the two Digital Rebels vs the two Nikon D40*. Even these cameras are not perfectly matched, but it's close enough for us to consider the comparison meaningful. In both categories, the Nikon D40 and D40x cost $20 to $40 less than their Canon equivalents.

Please keep in mind the subject of this comparison are prices, we are not attempting to compare the cameras on a feature by feature basis.

If this post is of interest to our readers, please let me know, so I can prepare more of these :-)

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