The Story On My Switch to Nikon
I’ve been shooting Canon for 17 years (other than a brief six month affair with both Canon and Nikon when the DX2 came out.)
Before I shot Canon, I shot Minolta, Hasselblad and Nikon. So I have been there before.
I recently purchased the 1DS MK III being very interested in what a 21.1 megapixel camera could do.
I’ve made some amazing images with the MKIII and think it’s a great camera. But in my case, it’s not the right camera for me.
I shoot mostly wildlife and nature – with some studio stuff thrown in for good measure. The MKIII is a great studio camera. But these days, people don’t buy big prints. In fact, they don’t always buy prints at all. Most younger people are content with digital files or pictures online. So 21.1 megapixels don’t matter in those situations (for the most part.)
And as nice as the MKIII is, it isn’t fast enough for wildlife. The 1DMK II and MKII N which I used for years were tops in this category when they were released. But the new version of that camera, the 1D MKIII has been plagued with focusing problems. And I am not comfortable with it. I am also not at all comfortable with Canon’s lack of response and forthrightness to this issue.
Since the 1D MK III (not the S) is the camera that most closely fits my shooting style, I compared it with a D3. It’s no contest. The D3 wins hands down. Bigger sensor, faster FPS, full – frame, better LCD, HDMI out, better high ISO performance, etc.
I am particularly glad about simpler mirror lock up on the Nikon and Auto ISO. For years I have BEGGED Canon to put a good old fashioned mirror lockup switch on their cameras. They still require several button presses and menu choices to make this happen. And Auto ISO is brilliant. Using this feature I’ll never miss a shot again because I needed more ISO.
Comparing the D3 to the Canon 1DS MK III isn’t fair. They’re too different animals.
I am also really impressed with the D700. I have to wait to test it to make sure it lives up to its hype, but if it does, it signals a big shift in the market. It will make a great backup to the D3 and allow full-frame shooting without compromise or big bucks.
Now let’s look at lenses. When Nikon came out with the 200-400 F/4 VR lens I thought to myself, “Surely Canon will react.” They didn’t. For a sports or wildlife shooter, the 200-400 is a dream lens. Yes it’s spendy but it’s worth it. This lens combined with a D3 offers the pro sports/wildlife shooter the ultimate kit.
Canon used to have an advantage over Nikon lenses in that the Canon lenses focused faster and offered image stabilization. Older Nikon lenses, those without Silent Wave motors and IS couldn’t keep up. Now Nikon is incorporating SW and vibration reduction (VR) into most of its flagship lenses, so Canon lost the advantage there.
I had toyed with keeping both systems. But frankly, I have so much photo gear hanging around both my office and my condo that I trip over it. Adding to that pile didn’t make sense.
I also had a chance to really shoot with the D3 recently. My thoughts of owning both systems left me when I realized the D3 w/200-400 was the kit I had been waiting for.
To sum up. I think Canon makes an awesome system. I love “L” glass. I think Canon will be a dominant force in photography for a long time. They are a much larger company than Nikon and will no doubt issue new cameras and lenses to match the Nikon offerings. But I am tired of waiting.
In the end there are no wrong choices here. Each brand has its strength and weaknesses. The good news is that each makes fine gear and it really comes down to personal choice/preference when selecting which one to use.
Some have asked me if I will be sad when Canon comes out with an answer to all this new Nikon gear. The answer is no. I’ll be happy. Competition is good for everyone. And I can always switch back if the scales tilt Canon’s direction :)
PS: I know some people will attack me for this decision – feel free to do so in the comments section as long as you are civil – but you won’t sway me and I won’t be offended. Life goes on. It’s just a camera – not a religion!