Are Nikon lenses double the cost of canon Camera? Point in case, below.

I am an amateur photographer and my usual requirements are:

  1. Portraits with nice Bokeh
  2. Macro (flowers, insects etc.)
  3. Day outing telephoto

I am now growing out of my Canon S3 IS and about to make my first DSLR purchase and am about to decide between Canon 600D or Nikon D5100.

Apart from the kit lens(18-55), I was looking for a telephoto lens such as the 70-300 from Sigma. Sigma is providing the same lens for both Canon and Nikon, but I have an important query here for the veterans. Below are both the lens I found, one for canon and one for Nikon, but am I correct in assuming that though both are at same price, the one for Nikon would not autofocus, but the similar priced one for Canon would autofocs? Or is there other lens in this price range for Nikon with Af-S which I can consider?

Nikon Lens

Sigma 70-300mm F/4-5.6 DG Macro (for Nikon Digital SLR) Lens (Macro Lens)

Canon Lens

Sigma 70-300mm F/4-5.6 DG Macro (for Canon AF Digital SLR) Lens (Macro Lens)

If so, this would be a deal breaker for me if I can get autofocus lenses for 600d at half the cost of Nikon lenses because 5100 does not have focus motor on board. Please advise.


3 Answers 3


No, Nikon lenses are not twice the cost of Canon lenses whether you are comparing euivalent products from Canon or Nikon or whether you are comparing the same product in different mounts from an independent lens maker.

See http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/search?Ntt=sigma+70-300&N=0&InitialSearch=yes&sts=ma

  • Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 APO DG Macro Autofocus Lens for Nikon AF-D $199
  • Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 APO-M DG Macro Lens For Canon EOS Cameras $199

Or roughly equivalent products from Nikon and Canon

All Nikon "AF" lenses are autofocus. All Nikon "AF-S" lenses have the focus motor built into the lens. The majority of Nikon lenses in current production are "AF-S". Nikon do still make a few manual focus lenses and a few AF-D lenses whose autofocus depends on the body having a focus motor. Canon also still make manual focus lenses (but I'd guess fewer).

  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ Just a note: The Canon manual-focus lenses are highly specialized ones: The four TS-E tilt-shift lenses and the MP-E 65 5:1 magnification ultra-macro lens. (AF frankly would not be useful at all on any of them.) \$\endgroup\$
    – Staale S
    Jul 8, 2012 at 20:38

The one reason I can think of for this phenomenon is that Nikon camera bodies have "always" had an autofocus motor built-in, while Canon camera bodies have not. This has meant that any lens for the Canon system has had to have its own built-in autofocus motor, while lenses for Nikon have usually used the camera body's motor instead. (Some older, upmarket pro-level Nikon-mount lenses had their own AF motor for performance reasons. But let us ignore them for now, they are a bit out of scope for this discussion.)

This has changed in recent years, as the latest couple of generations of Nikon entry-level bodies have dispensed with the in-body AF motor. For a lens to AF on these new Nikon bodies, it has to have its own built-in AF motor.

And there is the rub: Lenses for the Canon system (with built-in AF motors) can very well be five or ten or twenty year old designs, R&D and production line setup costs for them has been paid for a long time ago. Lenses with built-in AF motor for the Nikon system are, almost by definition, newer designs.

So, I suspect, the situation is the following: New lens designs tend to be more expensive than old lens designs. It has nothing to do with Nikon versus Canon, strictly speaking, but is quite visible when comparing an older Canon-mount design to a newer Nikon-mount equivalent.


Adding to Staale's answer, I would choose a newly-designed lens because their optic elements tend to be more optimized.

In order to have the 55-70 gap covered, you might consider this D5100 with 18-55 + 55-300: http://www.abesofmaine.com/item.do?item=NKD51002LK3

I don't need to go up to 300, but have purchased mine with the 18-55 and 55-200 lenses.


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