Photo Geek - The Fight is On
Camera enthusiasts fall into one of two camps: they are either Nikon supporters or Canon loyalists. Both companies are solid and have rivaled against each other in the photo industry. This is good news for consumers, for it ensures ever improving products at competitive prices.
The skinny on the debate--They are both great camera that perform well. When it all boils down, the basic Pro's and Con's between each line are:
(+) More lens coatings = More contrast, more saturated colors (particularly deep reds and yellows)
(-) Internal Camera Technology: Less depth in digital images (flat, less of a 3-D effect)
(+) Good speed = Fast and Sharp. Technology is way ahead of other competitors. Nikon enthusiasts admit that Nikon will not catch up in the next two decades.
(-) Flatter color, images soft (not as sharp as Nikon)
The Canon line was founded on prioritizing speed which was a gamble back in the 1950s. No one else had done this, yet it's this philosophy that distinguished Canon from other pro competitors who had always privileged Apeture over Speed (Nikon, Pentax, Minolta). Canon felt that anyone can take a good photo, but what will make the biggest difference is camera shake (related to speed). So they focused on excelling in this. Nikon and others felt that the main purpose and pleasure of photography lay in the ability to compose well (hence their emphasis on apeture and coloring). Canon's speed has earned a reputation among sports photographers (around 90% use Canon) while visual artists tend to prefer Nikon.
So...it's your choice. Depending on your preferences, purposes, and aligned philosophy, you might come away being a Nikon or Canon enthusiast.
I personally, use Canon. Call it brand loyalty--my first camera was a Brownie and thereafter my parents bought me a canon camera (as a third or sixth grade Christmas gift...I forget). While I took my little Brownie to family camping trips across the country, it was the Canon that I took to my first trip to Europe when I was 15. Since then, I've loved Canons and probably will never think to switch otherwise.