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If you read the numerous forums existing around in the Web, you see that one of the most frequent reason of complain is focusing problems.
Quite often there are user errors or user not full knowledge of this not-easy topic, like requesting objects being outside the Depth of Field to be in focus.
Our first photography lesson (see here) was dedicated to focus principles.

Interestingly, if you wonder if one brand is more blamed than others, we can found some interesting results making some statistics on web forums.
For example, looking at DPreview forum (one of the most popular forum on the net with tens of millions of posts available), choosing the two biggest brand (Canon and Nikon) and looking for posts dealing with "focus error" the percentage are the following:

Consumer bodies:

  • Canon 1000D-300D: 0.36% (out of more than 1 million total posts)
  • Nikon D90-D40: 0.17% (out of more than 1 million total posts)

Prosumer/intermediate bodies:

  • Canon 50D-10D: 0.42% (out of more than 2 million total posts)
  • Nikon D300-D100: 0.17% (out of more half million total posts)

Professional bodies:

  • Canon 1D-5D: 0.22% (out of almost 1 million total posts)
  • Nikon D3-D1/D700: 0.15% (out of more than 1 million total posts)

(There is also a forum dedicated to Canon lens and one to Nikon lens but they are not associated to camera bodies so they haven't been considered).

A couple of comments:

  • Nikon users look much more happy than Canon users (about half complaints). This does not mathematically say that Canon focus system is half quality of Nikon's but surely worse.
  • Strangely, more complaints with Canon with intermediate bodies than consumer level... are Canon intermediate users pickier...?
  • Canon Pro bodies seem to offert better AF than lower level models (this should be expected but previous comment wasn't).
  • Nikon's complaints seem to be quite independent of camera body level.
  • Focus problems are of course much more, since "focus error" is not the only distinctive phrase that identifies a post dealing with focus (for example "focus problem" is another common one). The purpose of this statistic is not finding the percentage of focus problem in absolute values, but relatively compare Canon to Nikon.

What is your opinion? You can comment this article here below.

PS. I am currently a Canon shooter Smile

  • Referenced brands in this article: Nikon, Canon