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Why I Will Only Ever Buy a Canon

Why I Will Only Ever Buy a Canon

Canon is the only brand of camera I will ever buy.

My first digital camera I got as a birthday present in 2006 was a point-and-shoot Sony. Obviously, I wasn’t taking anything profound on this thing, even if I thought images of my friends at prom were great.

In 2010, I was gifted a Canon 60D as a Christmas present, and this was the camera that really broadened my understanding of photography. That camera lasted me until about 2019, almost a decade. When that camera died, I bought the 5D Mark IV and haven’t given it much thought since. I’ve always said a camera is just a tool. So, why then have I only ever shot on Canon?

The System

The first point is quite literally the system of a camera. I mean, I say camera, but it also means any sort of systems-based product. Anytime you buy an item that works as part of a whole, you are essentially buying into the whole. So, my Canon camera has Canon lenses. Once you add up the bodies and the lenses, the funds start to add up. I absolutely have no issues with my Elinchrom lights. But if I wanted to switch brands, I’d need to buy not just new lights, but also all the modifiers. Most of my editing hardware and software is Windows-based. If I want to switch to an Mac system, I’d need to buy the whole system.

Realistically, you never really buy just an item. You buy into all the things that go with that system. In this way, me being with Canon isn’t just about the camera, but rather all the other things that go with the camera. It’d take something mighty special for me to change systems, to sell what gear I could and recoup some of those funds to buy into a new system.

The Switch

Like most photographers, I pay my monthly Adobe fees. There really isn’t much of an alternative that would warrant me switching over. Or rather, what would I even switch to? I can’t really work without Photoshop. And I use enough InDesign to pay a little bit extra per month to be on a bigger plan.

But I dropped Lightroom recently. I still pay the fee (there’s no getting out of that). Instead, I use Capture One in my workflow. I bought it outright. It just offers me things that help me work more efficiently. In this case, it’s less about this system or that, but rather finding a solution where the initial outlay of funds can be recouped by working quicker.

However, I’d also argue that due to the way Capture One renders images, I’m not only working quicker, but better. That’s probably a discussion for a different article, though. The point stands that buying into a system is one thing, but if something is inarguably better, there is merit to making the switch.

The Value of Brand

In developmental psychology, there exists a distinction between sensation and perception. The sensation is the raw information of the physical world; for example, we can measure the wavelengths that reflect off an object or we can describe in decibels how loud a given sound is.

Our perception of these raw sensations is the learned knowledge we then ascribe to them: a square object with pigments of various organic and synthetic compounds may be perceived as a picture of flowers. It is not really flowers, but rather specific wavelengths of light sensed with our eyes and compared to a repository of lived experiences perceived in the brain.

In a similar manner, Yuval Harrari, in "The Legend of Peugeot," posits that there exists a collective social agreement for an imagined reality. That is to say, there is a reality that can be sensed, but also an imagined reality, which only exists as a collectively agreed-upon narrative of social customs and beliefs we perceive to be true.

This can be exemplified with economics: certain things have intrinsic value, but other things only have value because of this collective imagined reality. Food, shelter, clothing have intrinsic value: not how much it costs to purchase them, but rather the benefits they provide in way of nutrients, protection, and warmth. In this way, an apple is more nutrient-rich than celery. A cotton shirt provides protection from the sun but is breathable enough to allow temperature regulation, whereas a jacket might be too warm in summer but better protection from cold in the winter.

Money doesn’t have this intrinsic value. The value of money is based solely only on a collectively agreed imagined reality. A 10-dollar bill and a 20-dollar bill are printed on the same paper. In this example, the symbols nor the color on the bill are intrinsically worth more. It is what they are perceived to represent which differs.

What Does All This Have To Do With Photography?

Harrari also touched on this idea of group dynamics. You can reasonably work with a handful of people. You can probably know about 50-100 people by name, but not know them well enough to interact meaningfully with them. Anything beyond this is a bit too much.

To work with larger groups of people, you have to create an imagined reality. Not lies. Not falsehoods. But legends. Things that everyone can believe in and rally behind. Sports teams do this. As do nations. But also corporations and brands. Imagine what the typical Canon or Nikon camera is like. Or what values the typical Canon or Nikon shooter has. How is this different from a Sony/Sony shooter? Leica? Hasselblad?

For some folks, it isn’t just about having bought into a camera system. But also of having rallying behind their brand. There is the real-world tangible entrenchment in a system. You bought one part of a kit and all these other parts that go with it, but there is also an intangible ideology of brand: I use this brand, so this is how everyone else should do it too.

Ali Choudhry's picture

Ali Choudhry is a photographer in Australia. His photographic practice aims to explore the relationship with the self, between the other, and the world. Through use of minimalist compositions and selective use of color and form he aims to invoke what he calls the "breath". He is currently working towards a BA (Honours) in Photography.

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I dont see the point of flip flopping from brand to brand because i dont think you gain much and spend a shitload in the process. Lenses will last you years and year and easily out live bodies. But you may have to upgrade to a bigger format, can't do that with canon..

I agree with the first part. I don't understand needing to upgrade to bigger format though as each format would require it's own set of lenses so would sit within its own system?

"I got all these Canon/Nikon/Sony lenses so I can't switch because $$$." 1. Duh; 2. Tell me something I don't know.

Thank you for your insight.

The notion of shared beliefs has been brought home in very stark terms by the rise of social media and its ability to rapidly create energized groups of "friends" rallying around brands, celebrities, experiences and most dangerously, lies. What once took years now takes a day.

As for Canon, I bought Canon in 2002 because of the value proposition of their digital cameras. I had been a happy Nikon, Leica and Pentax user for years and never really liked Canon. I still am lukewarm on the brand but I have to say it has made me a good living.

I am glad it is working out for you.

Unless that Canon was out there hustling for work, any brand could make you a good living.

Strap in, boys. This thread is going to be lit.

I think you're one of the few people who actually understood my intention!

The question in writing for fstoppers should be: does it help the audience? Or is it enganing in destructive arguments for profiting? Is the intention correct and ethical?


That's honest, congrats :)

What is the added value of this article? Some will only buy Sony, or Nikon or Fuji.

yeah but those that buy other brands should fill the comment section and let google ads on the site go crazy

ROTFLMAO!!! If EVER there was an article written by a pure Canon fanboy extraordinaire, THIS IS IT!

But you haven't read the article?

Uh, yes I did, hence why I laughed my head off...

I'm pretty sure you didn't read it. Or if you did, didn't comprehend it. The author wasn't praising Canon or preaching the brand's virtues. The author was talking about how he was deep in the Canon "system" and how it would be cost prohibitive to switch. He also mentioned how some people become fanboys of a particular brand... Not once did he talk about the brand's superiority or touch on technical aspects. You call the author a fanboy but if anything, the author seemed upset and resigned to the fact that he couldn't switch if he wanted too. He's "stuck" with canon and he accepts that.

Chad, that's pretty much spot on. For clarification, I don't necessarily feel 'stuck' but the rest is completely correct.

I sold all my Canon APS because even the 24mp sensors were obviously inferior to Sony/Nikon. That funded some nice Nikon Z glass.

I hope Nikon is going better for you.

You have sure managed to peeve Edison Wrzosek. I've never seen so many "thumbs down" by one person.

Ha ha, Mr Wrzosek. Thanks for the "thumbs down". Why are you wasting your valuable and learned time reading these comments again? An obsession of yours?

I shot Canon Digital from 2002 to 2018. In 2018 Canon was woefully behind Sony. I switched to Sony in 2018 and just now 3 years later they have finally caught up. I needed silent shooting without banding or warping. So I got a Sony A9. If I would have stuck with Canon I would have missed literally 1000's of shots I nailed with the Sony Cameras over the past 3 years. I shoot a lot of indoor theater and dance performances. Sometimes it's worth it to switch. I find brand fanbois idiotic. All the major digital Cameras out today are more than sufficient for 95% of shooters out there. I have a Panasonic GX9 that I am sure no person could tell the difference in a poster sized landscape photo from my Sony A7R3. So shoot what you want, switch when you want.

This is very close to my opinion as well. Stick with a system for as long as it works for you; switch when it serves you to switch.

I have shot Canon for years and in the FF body market I am happy with the 5Dii and 5DsR bodies in the kit. Zero interest in other brands or mirror-less. Would be a waste of time and £ switching.

My next move will be to medium format but that is years away, until then I am good with what I have.

I am glad that your system is working for you. Out of curiosity, what would warrant a switch to medium format for you?

Hi Ali.

At the moment is more of a personal want than business need or justification.

I like the look, aspect ratio and overall aesthetic. Going to be renting a few systems in for testing once my broken hand has healed.

I have shot the PhaseOne DF+ and 100mp Tri back before and loved the files from it. Body was a pain in the ass though; so I am looking to try the XF body, 100mp Tri back next.

Must admit I am curious about the Fuji GFX line also but if I am to move up format wise might as well be a Phase body and back for the larger sensor. At least that is where my brain is at the moment.

That all said I have a good few years to go in business and my work before I make the jump to MF.

I made "want" jump recently as well to large format film. I figured if I was going to get another camera system, it would be something that I couldn't start monetizing from. It's very much a hobby right now and I'm loving it. So I completely can relate to what you're saying.

This post went sideways fast. I am not sure what the takeaway is supposed to be. I will never leave Canon because I am a fan boy? It is too expensive to switch systems? It is fun to combine economics, psychology and photography?


You're a clever devil for thinking up the title of this article, it should draw a lot of views and comments.

Are you saying for reals you will only shoot with Canon? I like to reinvent myself every morning when I wake up.

Seriously are you familiar with one of your fellow countryman's work his name is Peter Coulson he lives and works shooting portraits in your city. I really love his work and style which he attributes to using certain tools to achieve the work he produces. So far he has not been able to replicate it using C1. http://www.peter-coulson.com.au/

My question would you ever use another tool for one of your projects to see if you can improve your workflow or results.

PS I still use LR,C1,PS, Raw D, Photomatix, PTGui, and many others to my best ability to make my images outstanding.

Hi barry,

I do have other cameras which sit outside my canon system. But Canon is definitely my work horse, so to speak.

I am indeed familiar with Coulson's work.

I did mention that I have made switches from one brand to another in the article. It's in the section "The Switch." To summarize, any switch would need to bring value which would outweigh the monetary investment of making the switch.

I don't think I could list all the gear I have, to be honest. It's a lot.

I hope this answers your questions. :)

I registered just to tell you how stupid this post was. If you seriously have Canon EF lenses than you can basically use them will full AF on any mirrorless camera with an adapter. You can even make them better with speed booster on a m43rds system camera.
The flash pins are also similar to other cameras, like Panasonic. So even there your not limited.
Saying your stuck, trapped in Canon just tells us you don't read or follow recent advances.

Thank you for your input.

lol ... try "bless your heart" next time, a nice Southern putdown... mix it up... )

Thanks Dan! I think I actually will try that!

Go to his web page, mediocre at best.

If you're going to throw stones, at least put your own site up for the same critique...

What does my work have to do with it? Work is what it is.

My first DSLR was a Canon 20D in 2005 or thereabouts. That lasted me until about 2014 when I upgraded to a Canon 70D (I still had only EF-S (crop sensor lenses). In 2016 when I realized i was outgrowing my cropped sensor bodies/lenses and decided to go FF, I looked at what I shot, how I shot, and what I needed in a new camera system. My budget also played a big part in what i was going to get. Especially since I know that I'd have to get all new lenses; since Canon has a different mount for crop vs FF. You can use FF glass on crop bodies, but not the reverse.

Canon/Sony was out of the picture almost immediately due to cost of switching over both body and lenses, I was leaning towards Nikon as they had a larger stable of lenses I could get on the used market stretching back to the earliest days of the F mount.

Then I heard about the Pentax K-1. Same awesome sensor as the D810, great selection of lenses on the used market dating back over 50 years. Weather proofing, Movable rear LCD (a must for me) Pixel Shift, Astrotracer, the list went on.

All of this at a price half that of the Nikon body, and I was able to get a 28-105 lens with it.I was sold. Pentax K-1 for me. This is a decision I've not regretted for a single day. Bottom Line, I think this article is so much click bait.

I'm glad you have found something that works for you. I agree with everything you have said. :)

Click bait and nothing more I shot canon for 6 ish years (several other brands before then) owned 5 bodies and 13 L lenses they sold for a minuscule loss and they are about to plummet in value as they’re gradually superseded by RF equivalent lenses. I’ve switched to Fuji GFX completely and for my work, (advertising, fashion & commercial) I wouldn’t go back. Canons lacklustre feature sets, old, soft edged lens designs and lacking innovation compared to the competition drove me away. I now get; sharp lenses corner to corner, greater colour accuracy, wider dynamic range, a tilting screen and viewfinder, huge feature set updates with firmware revisions, when using autofocus lenses with the GFX they don’t ever back focus and don’t ever require calibration with every camera body they’re attached to. Lenses come calibrated out of the box with data parsed straight into capture one automatically correcting any distortions (not that there is anywhere near the requirement as their was in the case of canon glass) all of this without any manual management from the user or updates from capture one. This was a nightmare with canon glass, years down the line they still haven’t released a profile for the 70-200 F2.8L IS III and so lens profiles have to be applied and adjusted for every shot at every focal length. I ended up using an old ISII to save the headaches on location. God forbid you have capture one set to copy from last as the manual profile adjustment then counts as a manual change and applies to every file from that point on until you remember to go back and change other lens profiles back to default 🤦🏻‍♂️. I’ve done side by side comparisons of canon primes vs gf zooms on a 5Ds vs a gfx 50s and the results were staggering a shelving unit full of props and the odd bank note/ piece of text had nowhere near the distortion and was sharp corner to corner. With colours that looked far closer to reality and that alone when needing colour accurate fabric references is a life changer for my retouchers. The canon has colour fringing on hard edges and colour noise at higher ISO’s (fuji files have what appears at first glance to be film like grain with no colour noise and minimal loss of saturation). It’s superior in every possible way. If I were in a field of photography that needed faster AF I might be using a Sony instead but for studio and location work the GFX is a perfect tool. And that’s what annoys me the most about article like this if you asked a carpenter why he uses a certain tool (unless he’s a Festool snob carrying set builder with a Leica laser level) he’ll tell you it’s the best tool for the job - not that he’s passionate about the brand or that’s it’s just what he always used, all this article does is serve as an example of someone being a fanboy above all else not a professional relying on equipment day in day out.

Hilarious, anything constructive to add?

Paragraphs and punctuation are your friend, Rhys. They are calling out to you and want your attention.

My Canon camera works perfectly. It’s a full frame mirror less full spectrum 7s with the 50mm f/0.95 lens. It’s now more than 30 years since I bought it second hand.

It’s a 24 x 36mm (full frame) camera It is “mirror-less” because it’s a rangefinder like the Leica M3, and “full spectrum” because there is no internally fixed UV and IR filter in front of… the film… The Canon 7s body with the 50mm f/0.95 lens it is a well known set called “the Canon dream”.

Yep. I have a potful of Canon film slrs that I bought just for the lenses. Wish I could send them back in time.

Good. I still have my Sinar 4”x5” but haven’t used it for a long time. I still have expired Kodak infrared sheet film in the freezer.

That camera is so old manufactures have produced modern digital versions marketed as innovative.

That camera is so old an adapter ring requires another adapter ring to use new lenses.

That camera is so old it overlays the 70s onto whatever you're shooting.

I love it already.

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