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My Switch From Canon to Nikon :: Things Change, but How Much?

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The Nikon D750 with 35mm f/1.8 G attached, 85mm f/1.8 G (left), and 50mm f/1.8 G. Slung via R-Strap Shot.

 

“Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.” 

-Friedrich Nietzsche

I gazed just a little too long, and the dark side overwhelmed me. After over a decade of being a Canon shooter, I made the leap to Nikon. So what? Well, given the the weight that is often hauled when debating between Canon v. Nikon, Mac v. PC, Ford v. Chevy, and other such unjustifiable brand loyalties, I figured some insight could be interesting? Perhaps not? I will give it a shot in my own shallow way, regardless. Don’t expect a sales pitch or any 100% crops.

I’ve flirted withe idea of switching to Nikon a few times. I’d filled a handful of Amazon carts, but at the end of the day could find little tangible justification for the hassle and the expense of jumping the Canon ship. For the most part, I’m of the school of thought that photographers make great photos more so than does great gear. I’m a big fan of mirrorless cameras and have had a lot of fun/success using everything from Fuji X to Micro Four-Thirds systems both recreationally and professionally. These emerging formats are generally a little less powerful than the offerings of industry overlords Canon and Nikon, but they are 100% capable in the right hands. Cameras can inspire you to a certain degree, but they won’t do the work for you. My point is that even in the face of my big switch-a-roo, I find there to be entirely too much parody in the camera industry to justify swapping. A new brand will NOT grant any monumental advantage to a seasoned shooter. It might be fun. It might make you happy. It won’t make you better.

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Maybe not the fastest action, but Nikon 3D AF tracking is a big plus.

 

So why switch, if this is how I feel? Good question.

I got robbed. Straight up, ripped off. Some outstanding citizen walked out of a church with an almost fully-loaded Think Tank Airport Security bag of my precious Canon gear. I finished shooting the wedding I was at that day with the one body and lens that I was carrying at the time of the theft and some lenses I borrowed from my assistant and the video team. Whew! It was a nightmare, but at the end of it I was in a position to evaluate exactly what I wanted out my kit going forward.

What I ended up telling myself over and over was that I wanted to scale down a bit. Ideally, a much smaller kit to carry around. Despite how badly I desired a truly travel-friendly, mirrorless setup for my wedding workload, the technology just isn’t there yet. I’d love to see FujiFilm or Olympus or Sony give me all that I need wrapped up in a half-sized camera body with a killer EVF. Alas, the DSLR still wins out for durability, autofocus, and a few needed pro features. Dual card slots anyone?

Love the render on the 85G

Love the render on the 85G.

Enter the Nikon D750. A smaller camera body when compared to a Canon 5D MKIII or Nikon D810 with a tilt screen, amazing sensor and built-in wi-fi. I was intrigued. But, what really sold me — what turned me away from years and years of red-ringed “L” lenses — was Nikon’s new G series primes. Surprisingly, I’m talking the f/1.8 version here. Yup. That’s right, I have taken size and affordability over marginal character differences and that f/1.4 light gathering. Nikon’s offering with this range of lenses, is very cool for the photographer looking to keep their kits small. Canon hasn’t bothered to give a functional refresh of any of their fast primes that don’t carry the Luxury designation. Which is both disappointing, and … well, their lose. My D750s (I bought two of them), combined with the 35G, 50G and 85 are vastly more portable than my 5D MKIII and L lens lineup. To boot, the 750 has insane high ISO performance and dynamic range, making the my 1.8 lineup a breeze to shoot with at dark receptions and churches. At the end of the day, it’s these sharp, light-weight lenses that really made me jump ship. They aren’t the “best” Nikon has to offer, but I would offer to you that they are the smartest.

My new setup has two zooms added to the mix, as well as four flashes and the usually things that clip, and color and trigger and velcro. All of this fits into a much smaller Think Tank Roller Derby. Furthermore, I am currently free from the restraint of belt holsters, and double camera crissy-crossy straps that are a be-tangled (I’m pretty sure I just invented that word?), over-attached mess. I use two very simple R-strap Shots for a full 8 – 12 hour day, and feel freed of having my gear permanently affixed to me.

I'm still a dad-with-camera half the time.

I’m still a dad-with-camera half the time.

I do have a couple of gripes with Nikon after having been officially a Sith Lord for a few months. Above all other complaints: Left turn to lock the lens? Really? Attaching a lens by turning it left on the camera body is literally the most unnatural feeling thing ever. Add to that, the lens hoods locks righty-tighty, and you get a lot of lens hoods bouncing across the ground. I’ll never get that. Additionally, I find Nikon’s menu system to be a bit weird, I miss having an AF select button for times that I want to cruise across AF points faster than the thumb pad (joystick, if you shoot Canon) allows, and finally, I miss the silent shutter on my Canons. Nikon is not even close to as quiet. My complaints are minor, but there they are.

So … Do I recommend switching sides? Nope. I really don’t. I was in a crappy situation where replacing almost all of my gear was happening one way or another. Otherwise, I’m confident that Nikon gear would just be another amusing way for me to kill time making Amazon wish lists. Honest. Not to sound like a broken record, but there is entirely too much parody in cameras today, for the gear to make or break you entirely. Not if you’re  shooting professionally, or a very serious hobby shooter. Making photos is the best remedy for your short comings, in almost all cases. Practice = perfect and all of that jibber jabber. Right?

Now, Nikon, please please please please get me a version of my D750 that is 15% slimmer and has a killer EVF. 🙂

My general setup is here in Amazon a-store format: http://astore.amazon.com/wwwbreakfastw-20

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The D750 and 35 f/1.8 G are even right-sized for photographers of lesser stature!

 

 

Cheers!

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