I am about to buy a new DSLR and shortlisted the two models, Nikon D5100 and Canon 550D. I ready to buy the Nikon model(more expensive) but learned that Nikon lenses are much more expensive than Canon lenses, is this true? I compared the cost of 50mm prime lens from Canon and Nikon and noticed that the Nikon prime lens with motor is almost twice as costly than the Canon lens. However there was a manual focus lens that was of similar cost as Canon. This was very disappointing to me.

Are Nikon and Canon equivalent lenses with built in autofocus motor priced differently? Lens costs are important for me so I wanted to confirm this.

I also have another question :From the Pics that I have seen on Flickr it seems that Nikon Pics have more saturated Color than Canon. Is it true? Will it be possible to take similar Pics from Canon 550D?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Your other question would be better served if it was put separately - it's generally a good idea, if questions are totally unrelated, to separate them. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 24, 2012 at 15:32
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    \$\begingroup\$ I cover this in part in my answer to How much do lens lineups vary across platforms? \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Commented Jan 24, 2012 at 16:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ It's worth considering a Nikon D90 (or D7000 if you can afford it) instead of the D5100 so that you have an in-body focus motor. You'll save money the first or maybe second time you buy an AF lens instead of the AF-S version. There's absolutely nothing wrong with the AF lenses. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 25, 2012 at 19:33

1 Answer 1


I suspect that much of the reason for the AF lens price difference boils down to this: Canon has always had autofocus motors in their EF-mount lenses, there never was an EF mount camera with a built-in focus motor. As such, they have a lot of really old AF lens models still in production, like the 50/1.8.

Nikon, on the other hand, has always had autofocus motors in their camera bodies. As such, their old lens designs, while as cheap as equivalent Canon ones, do not have built-in AF motors. (No need for one, they could just use the AF motor in the camera!) However, the consumer-level Nikon camera bodies made in recent years do not have built-in AF motors. And it was only when this happened that there was any reason for Nikon to start making lenses with AF motors (excepting some pro-level lenses that had built-in focus motors for added speed and low noise).

In other words, for a Nikon lens to have a built-in AF motor pretty much guarantees that the lens is a pretty recent one. A similar Canon lens can easily be a twenty year old design that is still in production. And new lenses are more expensive than old lenses, that is just how it is. If you compare the price on a recently designed Canon lens, like the 24/1.4L mk II, with the equivalent Nikon lens, the price is not all that different.

There is an upside to having a recently designed lens though: It is likely to behave somewhat better on a digital camera than an old one that was designed to be used with film. So you do get some benefits for the extra money.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Just a note...the EF mount is quite literally the E lectronic F ocus mount. \$\endgroup\$
    – jrista
    Commented Jan 24, 2012 at 17:53

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