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Here Is Why I Will Always Use Canon as a Pro

Here Is Why I Will Always Use Canon as a Pro

The brand of your camera is perhaps more important than you initially think. Unless you are Jared Polin, you are unlikely to change whole camera systems because one brand does something better than the other. This is why there are camps associated with camera brands. In this article, I will discuss the simple reason I use Canon.

The Simple Answer

The reason I use Canon as a photographer is that it is the camera my dad happened to buy when I was a kid, and the camera I happened to pick up. I bought lenses for that film camera, and those lenses eventually migrated to digital Canons, and those digital Canons just ended up being better and better. This is the very simplified and true reason I use Canon as a professional photographer. I was simply born into this system and never experimented with alternatives.

The More Complicated Answer

However, if you are starting photography at an age where it doesn't matter which camera your dad had, allow me to make the case for Canon cameras, as I would still buy Canon if I had to pick a 35mm digital camera in 2023.

Color Science

Canon is the brand you think of when it comes to color science in digital cameras that are not medium-format. They are the kings of image quality, and the cameras are well-known for their color accuracy, dynamic range, and overall sharpness. I noticed this as soon as I tried my first-ever digital Canon camera: the Canon 1D Mark II. The original from the early 2000s stole my heart. It was a camera that, while only shooting 8-megapixel still images, could produce beautiful raw color, which was a pleasure to edit in post-production. Switching over to the Canon 5D Mark II, I was further pleasantly surprised by how well it could handle extreme shooting conditions. I have shot everything from fashion editorials to northern lights to drunk people at events with that beast. Talk about versatile. Moving on to the current king of Canon cameras that I have: the mighty 5Ds. There is nothing quite like it, really. It produces stunning images that leave me speechless.


There are a zillion EF lenses in the world. Even after decades of EF being the standard, it is super easy to find pretty much any FD glass, especially on eBay. You could travel to any corner of the world and be sure to find the EF lens you need. It is just so accessible and available. Furthermore, there are lenses for basically any need. Be it a technical tilt-shift lens or an all-around superzoom like the Canon EF 28-300, Canon has them all. Whatever the project, Canon has the photographer covered from various cost points. For example, if you want to shoot the infamous 85mm prime lens, you need not invest in the expensive f/1.2 version. The f/1.8 can do a similar job at a lower price point. Canon is a great brand that offers solutions at several price points, which makes it both pro and beginner-friendly. The quality of the lenses themselves need not be mentioned. If you've read my recent reviews, you will know that they are fantastic performers.

Ease of Use

I love learning new things, but I hate having to learn a camera system. All I need from that black box full of electronics is to take a picture. I don't need the fine adjustment of focusing modes and dual-pixel raw, which are more or less useless. Canon does an incredible job with ease of use. I could literally pick up the 1D Mark II and figure out how to use it. I never once had to open a Canon manual, and I think that is a sign of good gear. Perhaps I am spoiled, but whenever the manual comes out, something is too complicated for the average user. Another point about ease of use that I would like to make is dial placement. The dials are more or less in the same spots regardless of the camera. For example, take the 5D Classic and 5D Mark IV, and the basic functions will still be in the same spot.


I sincerely hope that my cameras will last me for years to come. I can count on my equipment to perform on shoots. Fortunately, I no longer even think of the equipment. I just pick up my camera from the tether trolley, and it works. Although the cosmetic wear on my camera has greatly reduced the more I shoot in the studio, it still ends up on the floor, it still takes the occasional tumble and roll. The only significant downside to all Canon cameras that I want to point out is the fact that if a port breaks, you are looking at a motherboard replacement. Instead of a board with all the ports, Canon decided to skimp for whatever reason and make photographers pay upwards of $500 for a new motherboard if a camera is unfortunate enough to fall on its tether port.

Repairs and Network

My studio is in Budapest, which isn't known for its photographers, at least not yet. Fortunately, even here, I can get hold of a replacement camera in a matter of an hour. It is as simple as calling the local service center, which is part of CPS (Canon Professional Services), and getting a unit. In large cities such as Paris or New York, they can even offer overnight replacements for some damage. I could get the shutter and mirror replaced in a couple of business days and be back on my feet in no time.

Closing Thoughts

So, while the real reason I use Canon is quite simple and childish, I am glad that my father made the right choice in the '90s and bought a Canon. It would be hard to imagine shooting with a different brand since the offerings and reliability scores are not as good as Canon.

Which camera brand do you use? Do these points apply to them as well? We would love to hear your opinion in the comments below!

Illya Ovchar's picture

Illya aims to tell stories with clothes and light. Illya's work can be seen in magazines such as Vogue, Marie Claire, and InStyle.
LIGHTING COURSE: https://illyaovchar.com/lighting-course-1

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Very similar to my path. My grandfather started using Canon. My father followed it and so did I. However I doubt I'd go Canon route if I wasn't born into it and was starting it today.

I received my first camera 30 years ago when my father gave me a Nikon FM for Christmas. I loved the Nikon system but transitioned to a Canon 1D and am happy with their RAW files and gear. I don't foresee any changes in the near future as I'm fully invested in Canon.

I too used an FM for about 30 years. Lovely camera!

I can't speak with any degree of expertise on the subject. I've always been under the impression that it isn't the canon has some sort of magically better color science rather that their profiles have just been designed to produce the most pleasing skin tones. From what I've read Sony tends to be the most realistic (aka they take the fewest creative liberties in their profile), Nikon handles vibrant colors better, and Fuji is the best at emulating film color grades but really, it is mostly an irrelevant metric as it is easy enough to customize profiles to your own taste, regardless of brand.

As for Image Quality, again, it is not super relevant at this point as every Camera produces amazing image quality these days. Though in my experience, generally, Nikon tends to consistently do the best at full frame image quality ever since the D800 first hit. They regularly have best-in-class IQ in tests that often compete and even beats the Medium Format players. Thats just lab tests though, in reality, all the big players are amazing and the differences are just splitting hairs.

Lenses, everyone just seems to constantly leapfrog each other. One gen Canon is best, next gen Nikon is ahead, then Sony, etc. Everyone is capable of creating amazing lens tech at this point. Lately, I'd say Canon has been doing really well. That 28-70 F2 really put them on top for this gen. It does depend on what genre you are shooting. From what I've read Nikon's latest set of super telephoto lenses are incredible and have wildlife shooters really being tempted to switch to the Nikon platform. Not my area though. ;)

Where I feel Canon truly excels, though, is the popularity of its platform. If you want to rent lenses, for example. Finding a rental house that has a decent selection of Nikon, Sony, or Fuji lenses is pretty rare outside major places like NYC or LA. Canon, however, is ubiquitous; virtually every rental house in the world has a full collection of Canon lenses. (Note this is changing, though; Canon RF isn't dominant the way Canon EF was. I expect the Sony platform will eventually have the ubiquity that EF has enjoyed until now. The only thing keeping EF dominant is that it is a mount used on a lot of film production cameras)

This popularity also means you are much more likely to be able to borrow, lend, share gear with other photographers. (This is why even though I don't shoot Canon, if a new photog asks me what brand I recommend, I always say Canon)

Canon has been with me for over 20 years. In the early 90s I was still using Nikon. When I was photographing wildlife in the Kalahari with a Canon photographer, he already had 20 pictures in the can when the Nikon AF was still adjusting.
Shortly afterwards I sold everything I had from Nikon and started again with Canon. Canon was really good until the EOS 5D MII. But after that, nothing really happened. The dynamic range of Canon's own sensor wasn't great. Not with the 5D MIII, and not with the 5D MIV either. The competition has been ahead of Canon for many years. With the 5D MII/MIII, Magic Lantern showed us what was possible ... When the 5D MIV came onto the market, it was, to put it nicely, in the upper price segment. The performance, to put it nicely, was average at most. Then, 18 months later, when Canon reduced the price of a brand new 5D MIV to under 50%, my love was over. Suddenly my Canon equipment was worth nothing. I tested the Canon R over the weekend. The results were the same as with my 5D MIV - which was logical.
Canon is now only an episode in my history. Of course, my Canon equipment was very reliable. But I can also take that for granted. In the meantime, I have invested in another system that delivers the image quality that I actually expected from Canon. Canon has permanently lost me as a customer. But I still have my 5D MII with an EF 1.8/50. And with Magic Lantern on board I get very good results.

I use canons and I have never understood this so called dynamic range issue. Granted, I shoot landscapes and on a tripod. I expose to the right and use my histogram. My images are great and noise free. I occasionally shoot wildlife at rather high ISOs with little problem.

The newer Canons have good DR, the 5D2 did not, shadows were crunchy with red and blue noise.

Thanks, I am actually fine with what I have…. By exposing to the right, it takes care of any issues…

What got me into Sony was their point-n-shoot, Cybershot DSC-W220 (I believe). I wasn't into photography then; just shooting random family/friends and trips. I've had it for about 5 years (2006-2011). When it broke, I replaced it with a Canon point-n-shoot, PowerShot ELPH, because of the favorable reviews. What a load of crock. It totally sucked compared to the Sony. It was always out of focus (or just soft) and lacked contrast.

A year later, decided to get into photography and Sony was in mind since I had a great experience with it. Went to Best Buy to check out different brands still. I discovered, I hate OVFs. Can't see shit out of them. I ended up with a Sony NEX-5N. Funny though. The sales employee on the floor tried to dissuade me from buying it saying it lacked lenses currently. I tells her, "There's the 18-55 and 55-200. That's all I need." She just smiled and rang me up.

Fast forward to today, I still hate OVFs. :D

Well bully for you! You obviously have no real understanding of what photography is if you imagine the brand of your device has any real creative bearing on the images produced.

How easily can you find and activate different features on the camera? How does it fit your hand? I also note several of the points Illya raises have nothing to do with creativity, but with usability and functionality. Maybe you need to slow down and understand that this is more complicated than the superficial "it's the artist not the equipment" trope. People interact with hardware in nuanced ways, and there's nothing wrong with saying it aloud.

This obsession people have with brand is totally ridiculous and meaningless.. It matters little what the hell you shoot with. I wish people would just get over it. The author of the above nonsense not once mentioned the art or creativity of photography that comes from within but chose to jabber like a fool about the lump of inert metal, plastic and glass he happened upon as though it matters. Canon Shmanon … get over it!

Good god, why is it that whenever someone wants to talk about gear, some high-minded troll insists that gear is meaningless and that it's all about artistic vision...

Photography is a craft where BOTH are relevant and critical parts of the equation. Why is it so offensive to you that gear matters? Why be rude about it?

Nice trolling. Lemme bite.

I've used Canon, Sony, Nikon, Panasonic. The all "feel" different in how they work. I can't stand how Nikon does things, takes me out of the zone. Moving from Canon dSLR to Panasonic mft gave me more freedom, but it didn't feel as organic. Moving to Sony merged the best of both worlds.

Feel is important. How the camera actually goes about doing things is important.

Obsessing over a brand is silly, but ignoring feel is also silly.

Since brand loyalty it the topic I am curious as to what camera you have and what type of photography you do?


I use Canon for the same reason so many people insure with State Farm. It's what my parents used, any shop will recognize it, and I don't know any different.

Yeah, you clearly didn't read it.

I shoot Sony but Nikon is getting attractive. Best skin colors and more affordable lenses.
Canon is expensive. It’s for the pros with money to spend.

Unlike Canon, the f/1.8S primes don't suck. The RF 50 1.8, 35/1.8, and 85/2 are really only OKAY. Canon basically forces you to go full exotic if you need weather sealing, too.

Speaking of exotics, when it comes to telephoto lenses, Nobody can touch the 400/4.5, 400/2.8TC, 600/4TC. If I was a sports/wildlife shooter, there's no way I'd be using Canon.


I use Canon, and the main reason is because it was the most commonly used camera brand when I decided what manufacturer to go with back in 2007.

Why do I want the most common manufacturer? Because I figure that parts, accessories, and service will be easier and less costly to source if something is in widespread use. That is the same reason I use Toyota Corollas for my cars. If I ever need anything, a gazillion 3rd party manufacturers make stuff for it.

But I am not stuck on Canon for life. I am contemplating a switch sometime within the next 4 to 7 years. This is because Canon does not generally allow 3rd party manufacturers to make autofocus lenses for their new mount. This means that when I switch to mirrorless, I will not be able to get the lenses I need in Canon's mount, and I do not want to forever be stuck using adaptors. So if Canon holds firm to their stance about 3rd party lenses, then I will switch, and probably switch to whatever manufacturer is the most prevalent in the market, besides Canon (which right now is Sony).


Nikon. Went in 2016 with Nikon and just as you, there's nothing better. Now using two Z9s and solely pro grade lenses... Wouldn't revert to another brand, but then again. Other brands are known for other things... It's just what you're got used to.

I like Canon cameras the same reason I like Dewalt tools. They have a huge product line and it is easier to get used/refurbished items. They have been around so long that their lens depth covers everything I would ever do. When you buy a camera you buy a system. Canon has a great system. I see no reason to change. Sony is still catching up. Nikon used to be equal, but they languished for a while.


There are a lot of lenses that some photographers really really need, that Canon does not make. So their system is incomplete. Hence we rely on 3rd party manufacturers to make the lenses we need. If they aren't allowed to make AF lenses in Canon's new mount, then we will need to abandon the system we have used for decades.

The Sony system has surpassed the Canon system because of the inclusion of all of the avant-garde lenses the 3rd parties make for the E mount that have no RF equivalents.

I've owned cameras from Canon, Sony, Nikon, Panasonic (and Black Magic) and made videos since 2011. My first "real" camera was a Canon 5DmkII.

after leading in 2010 and then falling behind Sony... Canon, with the R5 sensor, is winning again at image quality for video

on paper, right now, Sony cameras are winning with video + lens options
but Sony still doesn't do great skin tones! it's too much green and magenta for my taste.

however, Canon still have to solve the poor field of lens options. That 28-70 f/2 lens is $2400 and takes 95mm filters!! There is no appropriate lens for the crop-sensor RF cameras (Canon C70 and RED Komodo). We need an 18-55mm f/1.8 for the crop sensor RF cameras!! SIGMA would do this, if Canon wanted to collaborate with them.

Canon is trying to protect its profit margins, but WE NEED 3RD PARTY LENSES FOR THE RF MOUNT TO THRIVE. I cannot stress this enough.

There's also an issue with Canon's aging battery system for mirrorless. It's very simple, the LP-E6 battery design simply doesn't supply enough juice for the Cinema EOS software on the R5C. With the power demands of 8k video, the Canon battery design needs a re-think in the near future.

If I were strictly a stills photographer and not a video/film person, I'd seriously consider the Nikon Z9, also; but the video footage doesn't look "filmic" and the rolling shutter performance isn't good.

I love Panasonic for usability and overall value. Anybody selling a Panasonic S1R?

The 28-70 F2L is over $3K unless you get it refurbished or on sale. $2400 would be a screaming deal.

Daniel Lowe wrote:

"Canon is trying to protect its profit margins, but WE NEED 3RD PARTY LENSES FOR THE RF MOUNT TO THRIVE. I cannot stress this enough."

I completely agree with you.

I am a Canon guy now, but will be forced to switch to another manufacturer if I can't get the lenses I need in RF mount within the next 4 to 7 years.

I realize that Canon will not make a 60-600mm or a 15mm 2x macro or a 25mm Macro Probe or any tilt macro lenses, so I rely on 3rd party manufacturers for these needs to be met. But if I finally upgrade to mirrorless then I won't be able to use any of these lenses without clunky adaptors (I have used adaptors and I do not like them).

the 28-70 f2 is a lens that no other company has and it's an amazing lens that lets me use one lens when I'm away from my local environment. people go, "why not use the traditional 24-70 f2.8?" and I go that looks like a typical zoom lens with typical zoom characteristics. But the 28-70 is 1 full stop (or twice the light) of the 24-70. And it's tack sharp. I'm mainly a prime user but this lens is a very good substitute when I don't have the time to switch lenses or are on a trip where I have to pack light. Until someone else can offer an equivalent lens with same or better speed/aperture, those camera systems are nonstarters for me. So yes, the lenses you want are important in choosing a system and currently no other system matches the 28-70 f2.

I shot Canon for over two decades before their cripple hammer and class-trailing sensor tech caused me to give up in frustration and move to FUJIFILM. I came back to Canon for the R5. It's a great camera but I'd be lying if I said I didn't have a little Sony envy lately when it comes to lenses.

how can you have sony envy once you've tried the 85 mm 1.2 or the 50 1.2 or the 135 1.8 or the 28-70 f2? the 35 1.4 or 1.2 is almost here. the 100-300 2.8 looks sick.

Come back to me when Canon have a 200-600 :)
Point is different strokes for different folks. I'd never need any of the lenses you mentioned, though I wouldn't mind replacing my ancient 100mm f1.8 macro.

I'm a Canon guy, but I have absolutely zero interest in any of the lenses you mention. If somebody gave them to me for free, I wouldn't use them. None of them are useful for the way I shoot.

Then how do you shoot

I don't shoot indoors and I don't shoot humans.

I shoot mostly wildlife, often with very long focal lengths, sometimes with short focal lengths. I often use macro lenses for small critters like salamanders and toads.

I treasure a zoom with a lot of range because of the versatility - so my 60-600mm is my most used lens because it allows me to get a close-up frame filling portrait and then get a shot that shows the wide landscape around my subject.

Within the next year I plan to get true wide angle macro lenses that are capable of 2x magnification - a 15mm and a 25mm Macro Probe.

When shooting wide and normal focal lengths, I do not like to shoot at wide open apertures like f1.4 or f1.8 or f2 because I am usually trying to get more depth of field, not less. For instance, my 100mm macro lens has an f2.8 aperture, but I almost always shoot it at f8, f11, or f16.

fair enough. you do you.

I went Canon in the film days simply because that's what the salesperson used and was cheap. I wasn't into art or photography, just wanted to play around with the cheapest entry.

When Canon got serious about digital for the masses circa 2005 I moved to a 20D and kept upgrading like there was no tomorrow. New model you say? Count me in.

The problem was that Canon was incremental very quickly and there was no compelling reason to go beyond a 70D when the 80D came out.

By the time Canon released the 90D, I'd already changed to Panasonic (G85 + G9) and then on to Sony (2x A7R III).

I sometimes look at what Canon has to offer, but the weight and price are both rather substantial and they still don't have a 200-600, which is definitely my main lens.

I know that I could use a 200-500 and TC to get my reach, but I despise the idea of extending lenses and it's substantially more expensive than the Sony 200-600. I just came back from shooting in 99% humidity in Malaysia. No way would I feel happy with an extending lens.

When Sony gives me features I use at such a discount over Canon, it's bloody hard to look at Canon seriously. Still have the Canon cup, just not the Canon thirst anymore.

Hi Illya, I am new to this stuff but one day I want to be a pro just like you. Can you please explain in simple words, why you have sticky tape all over your gear? I am just curious, whether it makes difficult to take off the lens hood in a hurry?

But if we are talking about the latest mirrorless full frame cameras and lenses, then just blindly staying with Canon would be a very expensive decision. You can save thousands of pounds by looking at alternatives.

The Nikon f1.8 S primes are amazing quality, so much so that faster or higher grade lenses aren't needed for portraiture. The f1.8 primes for Canon don't look appealing at all, and the only next step up is f1.2 primes. Hard to justify that cost unless you are the kind of photographer who has a private jet and an entourage.


Alex Kerry wrote:

"The Nikon f1.8 S primes are amazing quality .....

..... the f1.8 primes for Canon don't look appealing at all ..... "


What specifically is it about the Nikon f1.8 lenses that make them so much better than the Canon f1.8 lenses, in your opinion?


Three years ago, my good friend and fellow photographer insisted that I get Sony. I'm not sure why he doesn't/didn't care for Canon and Nikon, though it probably had something to do with the video aspect.

Charles, if he is a good friend, I am surprised you haven't talked with him about why he doesn't like Canon or Nikon. All of my good photography friends talk a lot about whey they like and don't like all of the major manufacturers.

I did ask him a couple of years ago but he just discounted them in one nebulous sentence.

Sounds like a really bright, insightful guy.

Oooooo ... sarcasm. lol

It does not surprise me learn that someone "prefers" a particular camera, car or beer only because that was the first one they tried. Or because "that's what their father/uncle/neighbor/teacher used". Also consider that 99% of photographers don't care. The only ones who might read these forums.

The tribalism of cameras is usually rooted in self doubt. If you lack confidence in what you do and how well you do it, you are likely to be quite vocal about how 'right" you are in your methods and gear choices.

I've shot professionally and for personal pleasure for 40 years. I have used all manner and brands of cameras and lenses. A few were more enjoyable than others. None were particularly superior to any others in any technical sense. Some systems have advantages in specific areas like supertele lenses or TTL flashes. I am sure there are regional differences in support and availability that might make one brand preferable in a certain country.

The only thing I am 100% sure of is that I can get whatever shot I need with whatever camera I have with me, provided it meets some very basic minimum criteria.

I decided to use Nikon 35 years ago and right now I'm still using some Nikon lenses in my dslr Nikon. And I have a Nikon d200 with more than 380k shoots and work well. My main reason to keep Nikon is that I have to sepnd less money in lenses when I buy a new camera even z series.

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