This is a nice post. The only reason I'm not switching is nikons primes lack any uniqueness in their rendering.
I've shot primes all my life, from many different manufacturers from MF hasselblads, contax/zeiss, yashica, Minolta and of course canon.
Nikons 24mm f1.4G took ages to be released and once it was. It was more expensive than canons offering.
Nikons 50mm's has horrendous bokeh and no f/1.2 offering.
Nikon doesn't make a modern 135mm f/2. It's DC version is horrible compared to the canon.
Otherwise, sure I'd be with Nikon, but there primes lack character.
Not sure where you're getting the info about Nikon primes. The newer G primes blow Canon's mid-price offerings out of the water. I'm not made of money so I can't comment on the lack of a 50/1.2, but my 50/1.4G is much better than my old Canon 50/1.4, both in build quality and sharpness/bokeh below f/2. The 85/1.8G is mindblowingly good for the price; supremely sharp in the center straight from wide open, sharp across the frame by f/2.8, with very smooth bokeh and very fast AF. Canon does not have a portrait lens even remotely close in the $500 ballpark.
The fact that Nikon is updating their consumer primes without inflating the price is great news for non-professionals like myself.
As for the "horrendous bokeh" of nikon's 50, I don't think these look to bad to me http://500px.com/photo/8157866, http://500px.com/photo/8157779
Ok, Lets begin...
Canon 24L II - 1629$
Nikon 24G 1.4 - 1899$
Canons 1.4 and Nikons 1.4 50MM's have almost identical performance. Feel free to check it here.
Here an example of the 50mm 1.2L stunning bokeh that looks awesome swirling around the subject. Nothing i've ever seen besides the leica 50mm's and MF 80mm's zeiss F/2.8
Canons 85mm 1.8 and canons 100mm F/2 both provide excellent performance wide open and have been around for ages with USM. All for Sub-500$
As for the Canon 135 F2L and the Nikkor 135mm f/2 DC, Feel free to see the stunning amount of CA's in the nikkor here and compare.
I Know my primes very well, and Like I said earlier, If the nikon primes were better, I'd be shooting Nikon.
The Canon 85/1.8 and 100/2 are outdated designs with flimsy build quality, straight aperture blades, "horrendous bokeh," and huge amounts of purple fringing. Likewise for the fragile, old 50/1.4. Nikon's 50/1.4G is built like a tank and handles considerably better than Canon's 1.4. I wouldn't shoot either of them at f/1.4, but my experience has been that the Nikon can be left at f/1.8 for center-focused shots, while the Canon should be stopped down further for acceptable contrast.
You've been comparing apples to oranges throughout this whole thread. I'm aware Nikon doesn't make a 50/1.2. I wouldn't buy one if they did; the bokeh in that picture looks terribly distracting and ruins the shot for me.
I'm not a professional photographer, but I do take pride in my hobby and I look for good value in my lenses. Canon does not offer anything worthwhile for me right now, as I am not in the market to spend $1500-2000 on each of my primes. The first two new sub-L primes in ages (24 and 28) are f/2.8 and extremely expensive for what they offer. For my money, I'd much rather buy Nikon's new primes, which are competitive on price with Canon's old midrange primes while featuring new designs and coatings.
I'm not looking to argue, just pointing out that we have different perspectives and that there is really something for everyone in each camp. If i could afford to get a set of 35/50/85/135L primes then I would be shooting Canon, but as it stands the Nikon G primes far exceed the performance of Canon's midrange lineup. I also noticed you pointed out that the Nikon 24G lens is priced higher than the Canon equivalent. You should consider that Canon is planning a $2300 24-70 and two $800 f/2.8 wide primes, along with a $3500 5D3. Nikon's 24-70 is $1800 and they just released a 28/1.8 for $700 to pair with a $3000 D800. I'm scared to think what will happen to prices when Canon decides to update the rest of their aging lineup.
I Loled when you mentioned canon using "Outdated Designs". Nikon still makes lenses that AF with a screw in the Body! How outdated are we again?
Don't forget that nikon barely made their 85 1.8G while us canon prime users have had the just as good 85mm 1.8 and the even better performing 100mm F/2 since the 80's WITH USM! Check the tests here for yourself and heres a photo of the 100mm's superb creamy bokeh. The Nikon has terrible CA.http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/ISO-12233-Sample-Crops.aspx?Lens=118&Sample=0&FLI=0&API=0&LensComp=791&CameraComp=614&SampleComp=0&FLIComp=0&APIComp=0
Back to 50mm's, Nikon and canon non-pro grade 1.4 lenses have the same build quality. Posh plastics with metal mounts but it took nikon ages to finally make a 50mm with Full time manual focus override. (AF-D series anyone?) While canon has had this for decades.
The 50L has the best bokeh available in an 35mm SLR system from that focal length, Period. It's a lens that has character in which i've never seen in any of nikons 50mm's, which is the whole point. CHARACTER.
Canon has had a 28mm 1.8 for ages again and nikon finally released one a decade later that has full-time manual override. Its 300$ more expensive! Does it perform better? Maybe, but its alittle too late.
The 24 & 28 2.8 IS primes cannot be compared to anything at the moment because frankly, There is nothing to compete against them from any manufacturer. First Wide-Angle IS primes ever.
The Canon 24-70II or Nikon version has no relevance to the subject of Primes. Bodies have no relevance either. I wrote my opinion on canon primes based on solid evidence, Fact's and first hand experience.
As for nikon blowing canons prime offerings out of the water, you are sadly mistaken.
D30 - 100mm F/2 @ F/2