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DSLR- the clash of super optics

Assalamualaikum and peace be upon U..

well, all praises to Allah, our Merciful God for giving me chance to write this article, my own research on Digital Single Lens Reflex Camera (DSLR)

in this post, I want to discuss about the advantage and the weakness about each brand (system) of DSLR..

I’m not going to write basic things about DSLR photography this time, but later insyaAllah I’ll make a new post regarding it..just for an introduction, I’ll brief a little..what does it means by DSLR?

DSLR is a kind camera, in simple description, a manual camera. It allows u to adjust everything inside the camera to match ur taste. Just like a racing car, would u go for a race by taking a manual or an automatic transmission car? of course u will drive the manual one, bcoz it is faster n more versatile than the auto. It’s same applied to camera, normal small chunky camera (auto) vs big heavy freaky black DSLR (manual), which one will satisfy u more? haha…

In a nutshell, DSLR allow u to:

The Big Players

There are numerous new brands that starts to enter the DSLR market, but now, I’m focus into the 3 big players in DSLR photography.

Canon: Canon is well known for their legacy in imaging. This giant was born in Japan, and already entered the optics and imaging market since world war 1.

Nikon: Talking about nikon, everybody will know that this is a glass/lens maker. Nikon is very keen in producing optical instruments since world war 1, and all it’s business only involve in glass /lens. Nikon do not produce electronics product like canon, bcoz Nikon is extremely specialised in optics.

Sony: Sony, a giant in electronic manufacturing. Recently entered the DSLR business in 2006. But don’t be fooled geezers, although Sony is not a lens maker, but they already acquired the optical technology from well established Konica Minolta (the legend in Japan lens manufacturing). Sony also hold a big stake / share in Tamron (most popular 3rd party lens maker in Japan) and also have a nice partnership with legendary German lens maker, Carl Zeiss. Sony also successfully stole some of Nikon’s sensor technology during their partnership before (bcoz Nikon doesn’t have such big facility to manufacture silicon chips, so they borrow a little space in Sony factory, unfortunately, Sony is not a fooled kid, come on, steal some tech to secure ur future, that’s Sony Style..haha)

Sport / Action Photography

Sport photography require u to capture  fast, unpredictable moment and also sometimes in a harsh condition. Normally this kind of job will be accompanied by the super long range (telephoto) lens, of course, bcoz u r not gonna enter the field to take picture of the football players face or action, u must compose ur picture from a distance.

Canon: Excellent performer, canon is damn fast camera, the AF (autofocus) works very fast, and also Canon have a broad range of their white lens (extreme durable telephoto lens). U’ll never miss a shot when u take this canny wt u to the the stadium or swimming pool..haha..

Nikon: Standard performer. Nikon’s AF is not lightning fast like canon, also nikon tend to express  dark tone, not really suitable for sports, except, when u shoot in dim light or night, when nikon will perform better than other brands.

Sony: Not really good. Sony’s AF is the slowest one and tend to suffer in dim light. Sony’s legacy lens right now doesn’t possess the ultrasonic motor, so, focusing speed is greatly sacrificed in this area.

Night Photography / Indoor

This job, in dim light, where most of camera suffer to get enough light into their sensor in normal condition/settings. To overcome this problem, either u use a flash gun (sony) or speedlight (nikon) or speedlite (canon), or the other option, fry up ur sensor by cooking the transistor with higher voltage, I mean, increase the ISO sensitivity. Remember, when u cook ur sensor, the noise will follow from the back, and destroy the quality of ur images.

Nikon: Excellent performer. Nikon’s holds the tradition of the most sensitive sensor for light. Nikon’s sensor can be fried up at crazy ISO value without prominent/visible noise. Futhermore, Nikon’s speedlight system is the best, their well known Creative Lighting System (CLS) really works.

Sony: Standard performer (for model a550 n later). The previous generation of Sony DSLR (a350 n below)  is sucks, noise is the biggest issue. Until then when the Nikon develop their masterpiece, D90 at Sony’s factory, Sony learns a little knowledge from Nikon how to suppress the noise. And after that, Sony develop the a900 which is the imitation of Nikon’s D3x, and also sony develop a550, an imitation of Nikon’s D300s, which perform at comparable ISO performance as Nikon (but still cannot exceed nikon, just bcoz nikon not so idiot to develop also their precious EXPEED CPU in Sony’s plants, otherwise, Nikon will be in the graveyard, haha..).. Sony flash gun also works very well bcoz all of Sony body’s can be the commander of their lighting system.

Canon: No comment, but from my point of view, I didn’t prefer canon for indoor / dim light situation.

Macro Photography/Nature

In this area, u need a camera that can render the most accurate colour, and also stabilised the sun light that may harm, destroy ur colourful dream.

Sony: Excellent performer. Sony incorporate the most powerful infrared filter (IR Filter) on their sensor. This filter will block the harmful IR beam from sunlight from entering the sensor n destroy the clarity of ur images. Sony sensor also very sensitive towards colour, which make ur dreamy colourland become so vivid. Sony advance lens, made by Carl Zeiss is extremely sharp. Combine with the sharpness of Carl Zeiss lens and the colour loving Sony’s EXMOR sensor, u’ll be amazed by the beauty of the images that this baby produce.

Canon: Standard performer. Canon sensor is very high definitive, suitable to capture the details in macro photography.

Nikon: Not really bad, although the nikon lenses are ultra sharp (thanks for their legacy in optics), but nikon’s sensor and it’s EXPEED CPU tends to turn everything into dull , dark colour tone, which is not good, for flower of course.

Potrait / Studio/ Wedding Photography

This job needs u to get a very nice skin colour tone. Sometimes u may need to work in dim light, especially indoor where CLS, lighting and frying up ur sensor is a must.

Nikon: The best, always the best. No wonder if u see and meet all the wedding, studio photographer, they will bear on their neck the annoying nikon’s neck strap. Nikon’s sensor tendency for dark and dull tone preserve most of human skin tone. and also there is an unknown mechanism, most of nikon’s lens to be a little bit soft on human face, and that’s perfect for potrait photography. Nikon’s CLS is the best, just like I mentioned before. So, for those who wants to set up a studio, and willing to to buy all the nikky’s CLS set, u r encourage. tafaddhal !

Sony: Standard performer. Sony’s loving colour attitude may make a nice shot for wedding settings and the bride/ bridegroom costumes.

Canon: Canon ultra sharp sensor attitude may annoy most of potrait photographer. Bcoz u can notice blemish, pimples n even an ultra small skin pore when shooting with canny cams. and Canon DIGIC 4 CPU tends to oversaturate skin tone, I’m sorry canny, u not gonna follow me to weddings ceremony.


Metering is very important for us to determine the intensity of light coming into our lens n projected at the surface of our sensor. Every DSLR today already incorporated inside them with light meter, n metering become extremely important when u r using semi auto mode, such as aperture priority and shutter speed priority (Nikon/Sony) or Tv-Av (Canon). All DSLR sometimes become so naughty, they will turn themselves crazy by giving false metering value, when this happen, u’ll feel like ur cam is just a piece of crap..haha..

Sony : when metering goes crazy, this sunny will give an extreme insane shutter speed or aperture value, really pissed off, and feels like want to drown this cam into the nile river, haha..

Nikon: when nikky’s meter goes crazy, all of ur images will become overexposed. u’ll lost a lot of detail.

Canon: it’s time for canny goes crazy also, all images usually become underexposed, i bet it is better bcoz u still can recover the detail in photoshop.


Stabilisation is very important, especially when u r shooting in dim light, or using the telephoto lens. Theoretically, to calculate the minimum shutter speed that u must obtain to prevent camera shake blurr, the focal lenght value is over by 1.. for example..shooting at 50mm, the minimum shutter speed is 1/50. if u go slower than this, camera shake blurr will occur. At this point u need image stabiliser, so that u can achieve more shutter stops without camera shake blurr. In this case, switching on the stabiliser will give u clear n sharp shots even at 1/13 exposure time (depends on lens and also body).

Sony: Sunny’s use in body stabilisation, the camera sensor shift technology. This means that the sensor will move to compensate the camera shake. Advantage, any lens u fix will be stabilised. Disadvantage, telephoto lens less benefit from this feature, bcoz image sensor shift cannot cope up perfectly with telephoto magnification power. But don’t worry, for telephoto version, they also throw in the lens shift stabiliser (3rd party only for this time). Sony stabilisation system is pronounced as: Super Steady Shot (SSS)

Canon/Nikon: Nikky and Canny love to get rid everything from their body, so..the stabiliser is put inside the lens, not in the body, this is called as lens shift technology. Lens shift works by moving a set of stabilising lens to re-focus the image on sensor, compensating the camera shake. Advantage: Tri-axial movement really benefit on telephoto lens. Disadvantage: to get image stabilisation, u must buy the stabilised lens, and normally wide angle lens are not stabilised, n also stabilised lens cost a LOT more than it’s non stabilised cousin, also, in common, non stabilised version lens is sharper than the stabilised one. Nikon stabilisation system: Vibration Reduction (VR). Canon stabilisation system: Image Stabilizer (IS).

My Verdict

I was a Nikon’s photographer before. Since my age was 15 until I’m 20, I’m very loyal to Nikon. When I entered my medical school, I make friends with the other photographer in my campus,  and I’ve got chance to use, to test the other system, Canon and Sony. And after holding the other camera for about 3 months, I’ve started to fall in love with Sony. My future plan to upgrade my photography gear, was confused by my dissappointment towards Nikon. It’s really hard for me to choose, either to stick with Nikon, or join the  popular Canon’s clan in my campus, or make a drastic move to Sony (bcoz sony is not very popular in my place, less than 10% people here are using sony). But thanks to one of my senior, Dr. Taqi for giving me the priceless advice in photography.. he just give me a simple words ” think about future, go for the system that can promise u the brighter hope, not a dull dream”..

and the bright future for me is Sony..why? bcoz.. 1st of all, sony already acquired Konica Minolta, and all the legacy, the prestige of Konica Minolta Optics are Sony’s right now. 2nd, sony already had a plan to buy nikon, when nikon facing the greatest problem in his life,and by that time, nikon and sony already had a cooperation to develop sensor for DSLR, and for sure nikon will not surrender themselves to Sony, it will be a great humiliation to Nikons, who’s already 100 years in manufacturing optical device. This turns up into the end of their partnership in sensor development, soon after that, Sony release models that acquire the sensor and electronic system similar to Nikon (of course, I’m very sure that Sony had the blueprints for nikon technology before)..Sony a900, similar to Nikon D3x but at a price of RM 14k cheaper !! Sony a550, similar to Nikon D300s but at the price of RM3k cheaper..so..what r u waiting for? r u gonna waste ur money for the things that identical to each other?? the 3rd one, sony has a good partnership with Carl Zeiss, everybody knows, that Carl Zeiss is the best lens maker from the west..so, u take sony, u got the best from both worlds..Konica Minolta from the east and Carl Zeiss from the west. 4th, I’m not having trouble to control Sony’s DSLR, bcoz all the system inside it are identical to Nikon, n as I’ve already stated before, I was a loyal Nikon’s user. 5th, this is the digital era, which means that u must combine the advance silicon chips with more complicated glass materials.. Sony’s already a giant in silicon chip manufacturing, and of course the engineer from Konica Minolta , Carl Zeiss and Tamron will help Sony at the optical side. That’s why sony have 3 family of lenses.. the G series stands the quality of Konica Minolta, the CZ series for Carl Zeiss and the normal one developed by Tamron. (no 1., the finest quality is CZ, no 2. is G series, the normal one is economical lens..haha)..

O.k guys, if u have any question or comments, u can ask from me..

Thanks to all my friends for supplying me all the stuff for my research, God Bless U all Nikonians, Canonians and Alpharians..

Serving for the upcoming caliphate

Azizi Al Fahri, School of Medicine, Mansoura University, Egypt.

further reading:

Zainal Abd Halim (my sifu, mahaguru photography)

Basic Digital SLR Guide (recommended for beginner)

DP review (for DSLR body review, always bias tu Nikky & Canny, not recommended if u r not nikky’s or canny’s)

SLR Gear ( best lens review)

DxO Mark (best sensor based computerised review, not bias for sure !)

AlphaMountWorld (if DP bias tu Nikky n Canny, this site is a little bit pro to Sony & KonicaMinolta)

Motley Pixel (DSLR Lens based photo gallery)

Yamiya (the cheapest shop for malaysia market)

ShaShinKi (expensive shop, but everything is available here, macam2 ada..huhu)



1. Latest post in this week ! « ~permata gemerlapan~ - 8 August 2010

[…] 1……DSLR- the clash of super optics […]

2. Makcu_Ina - 8 August 2010

proud of u..!

Azizi Al Fahri - 8 August 2010

thanks makcu Ina, I’m really sorry for betraying Nikon and join the pirates, sony of course..haha..nnti balik msia kita buat photoshoot sekali, mesti gempak D5000 makcu Ina tu..huhu

3. ismail atan - 9 August 2010

quite an article..so what profession are you in? medical or photography?..or can i safely doctorate in photography..haha..salam ramadhan al mubarak…semuga kita diberi hidayah untuk dapat melaksanakan ibadah ini dengan keberkatan….wasalam

Azizi Al Fahri - 11 August 2010

insyaAllah..thanks uncle.. humm..haha..versatile.. an army medical officer, a photographer, an also a scholar, insyaAllah..

versatility is a plus value, isn’t it? (^_^)

u too..happy ramadhan..may His Divine Providences be wt u always..amen~

4. wanita mustanir - 10 August 2010


u really expert on that field.. hehehe..

so, if i want to buy a DSLR, which brand should i choose? I love Nikon.. Since, Sony promise us the brighter hope, why must Sony??

Azizi Al Fahri - 11 August 2010

depends on u..
for me, what ever system u r bonded to.. it must have pro n cons..
u must adapt urself to compensate the weakness of ur cams..
including ur skills, knowledge, tricks n so on..
there’s no perfect ideal cam in this world..

if u still insist for Nikon, congrats !
for me, Nikon, Canon and Sony (Konica Minolta) are the best !
only in certain condition, one of it performs either better or worse..

I’m kind of rebellious, and I like something like stealing others technology..so, Sony already imitate Nikon’s most technology, and improvise it, for me, it is a better future..
one of my friends, an extreme loyal Nikonians, admit that Sony is successful in imitating Nikon’s tech, but he said..
“be Nikon, u’ll proud of the original, like no pirates”

but on the other side..Sony says “make.believe”..
what a joke !

5. John Wilkins - 11 August 2010

i agree, carl zeiss may be one of the best lens manufacturer in the world. In fact in my opinion carl zeiss IS the best. But i may not see Sony’s collaboration with Carl Zeiss very intriguing. This is because Carl Zeiss’s lens are extremely expensive. I know they are of high quality, but come on, lens costing 700 to 1800 USD is too much, for an entusiast, but of course for professionals, that cost seems preety low.

Azizi Al Fahri - 11 August 2010

yup.. I agree with you Wilkins..
my teacher also said like that, Carl Zeiss is the best lens maker..
if u wanna go for Sony, make sure u have Carl Zeiss lenses also, otherwise, come back to Nikon, or switch to Canon..haha..

the price of CZ lens quite expensive..n if u use sony with G series (konica minolta’s tech) lens or normal Sony (Tamron developed) lens, these lenses still cannot surpass the quality of Nikon’s & Canon’s..that’s y my teacher give me a suggestion like that.. (he’s a former Nikonians, now Canonians)..

by the way, Sony’s EXMOR sensor colour loving attitude attracts me the most..

Nikon got a little problem right now with their Quality Control since they having secondary plants in Indonesia and Thailand..

Canon still rocks !

6. zul bobby - 15 August 2010

thanks for the tips yeo.

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