The Earth-Moving Feeling You'll Get After Switching to Nikon: Meh

The Earth-Moving Feeling You'll Get After Switching to Nikon: Meh

It was the fall of 2014. I was happily wrapping up wedding season, shooting all week and every weekend with my arsenal of 5D Mark IIIs and L glass. All was right, until one event caused me to turn to the dark side.

I’m here to tell you that Nikon hasn’t really done anything for me. However, I have no intention of turning back!

You heard me right. After nearly all of my gear was stolen out of a church, I was in the position to reevaluate my standing as a Canon lifer. Like many wedding photographers at that time, I was seduced by the Nikon D750 and probably just bored enough with my kit to want a change for change’s sake. However, I’ve come to the conclusion that changing sides is probably a complete waste of time.

A year and a half after turning, I can’t imagine I’d have bothered with the hassle if I hadn’t been browsing Amazon with a huge insurance check in hand. Let me explain.

The Good

The D750 is a firecracker, considering the weight and cost. You’ve likely heard by now that the Sony sensor found inside is excellent, the autofocus is nimble, and the extras are all sure to tickle your geeky fancy. I’m talking good Wi-Fi, tiltable screen, slick video features, and all that jazz.

Coming from Canon land, one of the things that I really wanted was a smaller and lighter kit. The D750 is on the smaller and lighter end for a full frame DSLR. But it was the f/1.8 G lenses that really sold me.

I’m a two-body-shooting fool. I love having a 35mm prime on my left hip and an 85mm prime on my right. Switching to Nikon let me do this with two quality lenses that were way cheaper and loads lighter than the Canon L monsters I was carrying before.

Without turning this into a review, I’m of the opinion that Nikon’s 35mm f/1.8 G, 50mm f/1.8 G, and 85mm f/1.8 G is the best bang-for-the-buck prime lineup out there. From that standpoint, I’ve been super happy with my compact, fast primes, backed up by the normal assortment of bread and butter zooms.

With that admitted, I do feel like Canon lens build quality is a bit better, but I’ll hit on that in a minute.

The Bad

The switch is a hassle. It’s a huge pain in the ass, to put it poetically.

Learning new menus and dials is treacherous even if you give yourself a solid week without paid work to do so. It’s very hard to unlearn over a decade of shooting a different system. I wouldn’t label this a deal-breaker, but it does suck.

Perhaps the biggest issue is the cost. Buying all new stuff is like flushing the equity you have in well-maintained, proven lenses down the toilet. I made the switch with the necessity caused by having almost no gear in hand. I cannot imagine pulling it off by selling, trading, and buying my way across brand lines. It seems like you’d be eating a lot of cost.

The only other really big gripe that I have is quality control. This could be luck, or it could be me using the crap out of my stuff. Maybe. For now, let’s assume that I treat my Nikon stuff equally as well as my Canon stuff.

I have way too many things that look or operate “rough around the edges” already. None of these are showstoppers, but they are annoying. Nikon seems to have an issue with how rugged some components are compared to my former brand of choice.

The most obvious thing that Nikon can’t do properly is the rubber grip that graces the focusing and zoom rings of its lenses. Within six months, all of my Nikon lenses had rubber that looked like it had been taken out daily to photograph dust storms and then rode home uncased in the back of a pickup truck. Granted, these are just rubber grips, but dang if they all don’t look worse than even my oldest Canon lens by the time that stuff was stolen!

Furthering my quality control beef is the fact that both of my D750s can’t manage to hold onto an eyecup to save their lives. My 5D Mark IIIs did this too, but I held them for a long time with a little gaffer tape on the side. I'm not sure why, but I’ve lost no less than 10 eyecups in the past year, and I can’t even save them with copious amounts of tape.

This brings me to the control dials. The drive mode dial on both of my cameras is stuck; it stopped moving entirely. Neither has been dropped or exposed to water or other spills. Yet, these dials are frozen (luckily, in useful positions).

So, those are my complaints that don’t include any recall issues. I actually never noticed the whole lens flare shadow thing, so I never bothered to seek service on that issue.

The Ugly

There are two things that I still hate, but are sort of superficial: having to turn left to mount a lens, but still fitting a lens hood by turning to the right? This is total hogwash, and I’ll never be convinced otherwise. Second, the silent shutter mode isn’t so silent. Canon absolutely smokes Nikon in this regard.

So, yes, switching between the primary players is a fool’s game. Sure, there are things about my new Nikon-ian life that I enjoy, but are they enough to make me renounce Canon? Surely not. However, the pitfalls of the switch aren’t so deep that I’m clamoring to climb back towards the light. Switching systems is simply not worth it. The modern camera market is just flooded with viable options for everyone. None of them are a superior decision for the experienced shooter.

I believe Stephen Stills said it best: “If you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with.”

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93 Comments

Justin Myers's picture

First world problems.

Adam Sparkes's picture

Not gonna deny that, Justin!

Jasper Verolme's picture

I work with the same setup. Those Go3$%@1!m eyecups!!!!!!
Why it only happend with this camera I don't know, I used to have the same eyecups for my D90, never lost any.

I bought a box of 25 eyecups from china, I so far lost 10... I shit you not...
I tried it all, taping them down, I thought of glue them on my camera at some point.

Now I gave up. I just shoot without eyecups. my camera won. It don't want no eyecup.

Tor Ivan Boine's picture

haha yeah. I have lost 2-3 eye cups so far. But I realized that I didn't notice it was gone before I visually saw it was gone. So I haven't bothered replacing it.

I also have a D90. Never lost it in 5 years.

Grant Schwingle's picture

Glue that shit on. I never looked back.

Robert Colletta's picture

My 610 did this constantly. I put a dab of poster putty in the slots on the eyepiece. Haven't had one pop off since. (And is completely removable if need be)

Daniel Shortt's picture

Lost about 5 of them, drives me nuts!

What Zit Tooya's picture

Thanks!

Flint Stone's picture

And with Canon finally starting to show some improvement in sensor quality, even less reason.

Ariel Martini's picture

First, of course switching to nikon is harder if you don't have the old equipment to sell. Selling is not an easy task, but at least you won't spend all your money.

Second, this image

(Link for comparison: http://goo.gl/0QjA3b )

Anonymous's picture

Not sure I understand this. This seems to be a comparison of the increased EV values. is there a reason to boost the EV and not the ISO? Or is this just showing how much you can boost shadows in post? Asking honestly :)

Michael Steinbach's picture

It's called "ISO Invariance". Basically it reveals how deep you can dig an image out if underexposed before shadow noise rears up.

Anonymous's picture

Thanks!

Ariel Martini's picture

With Nikon you can intentionally underexpose to protect highlights, and sort that on post. On Canon the only resource for that is bracketing. Not an option on events, concerts or marriages.

Anonymous's picture

Thank you!

Graham Marley's picture

This is a fair point, but I think it's more academic than anything. I have a 645z, and the latitude on those files is absolutely bonkers, completely destroys my Canon files. But then I have to ask myself, how do I benefit in the working world from a catastrophically under-exposed file looking less crappy when pushed by SIX stops? I might be rescued once out of what... 50,000 frames? And if the shot was that crucial, how did I under-expose that far off the meter in the first place? Like, I'm not a super-hero with a camera or anything, but yikes.

Ariel Martini's picture

My first camera was a Pentax and that was great for dynamic range. That's how I learned to photograph: If the ISO is low, you don't have to worry. That changed after I switched to a 6D. It's not that I don't know how to expose, but when you're a concert and event photographer that makes a huge difference in the dynamic, how you chose the settings and what you can do with the photo on post. I see myself producing much better images with the D750 on about 1/5 of the photos (and not 1/50000).

Gil Gamesh's picture

.

Chris Cheek's picture

Clearly Nikons sensors are cleaner..Alway's have been. More dynamic range is always welcomed.

Gil Gamesh's picture

You mean, "Sony sensors, rebranded as Nikon sensors"?

Spy Black's picture

Actually, it's the combination, in any case, of the sensor and processor duo. This combination is what really gives the carema it's image quality. Both of these are Canon's weakest points to date. But Canons otherwise have robust bodies, with good AF and other positive traits. But when it comes to the sensor/processor duo, both Nikon and Pentax have yet to be beat in their respective sensor size and resolution. Even Sony isn't as good, with their own sensors.

Ricky Perrone's picture

Yeah but you know....the lens mount turns the opposite direction....

Sean Molin's picture

The D750 isn't quite a fair comparison to the 5DmkIII in build quality because they are in different categories. The D810 is built better and is in the same class as the 5D. A lot of these points would be made by switching from any brand to any brand, as well.

The D810 also has a genuinely quiet shutter. Quieter in normal mode than most cameras are in quiet mode. The D750 is loud.

Landon Wise's picture

I'm not sure you have heard the silent shutter on Canon if you think the D810 is 'quiet'

ocube O's picture

Used both, can't use the D810 during the joining of a wedding service. The Mk3 is really quiet.

Studio 403's picture

I have a Nikon D610....and want to add the D750.....Being a jealous type, ugg I want one....I really like my Nikon and gear....Being a hobby enthusiast....I sure like quality. Nice post

Chris Cheek's picture

You will love the D750 and the D610 won't get much love :) Go for it..

Tomash Masojc's picture

I checked your portfolio. no outdoor shots or something, you don't need d750 :) or you won't feel any diference, just focusing points will be more spreaded.

Spy Black's picture

Correct. I have a D600, and other than addressing the shutter issue, is an excellent studio camera. In controlled lighting situations, both in a studio or on location, the only real advantage a D750 has as far as I'm concerned is it's articulating screen.

Landon Wise's picture

I couldn't agree more with this article. I made the switch after drooling over the D750's sensor capabilities and kind of regretting it. Granted I still have my Canon gear, so I'm currently shooting both systems, but I'll probably get rid of my Nikon gear before the Canon. Yes, Canon's dynamic range is absolute garbage compared to Nikon but everything else is basically a toss up and not really worth the change.

Christopher Eaton's picture

So, you're saying that outside of the superior Nikon dynamic range everything else is the essentially same for Nikon and Canon gear? Yet, you are saying that you would prefer the system with the "absolute garbage" dynamic range? Interesting.

Tony Northrup's picture

This is my experience, too... it's like switching from a Toyota to a Honda. They're both good. They both get you there. If you're really nit-picky, you can find some little difference that's important to you, but both camera manufacturers quickly catch up with the other anytime one makes a significant improvement... so, meh.

If you want to actually feel something, switch to a Sony a7R II. You'll alternate between "WOW!" and "WTF!" but never "meh."

Chris Cheek's picture

Cmon now..to be fair you raved over the D810 once you got your hands on it..:) Sony is Meh...

Tony Northrup's picture

Yeah, it was a big step up from the 5D Mk III at the time, but now that the 5DS-R is out... meh. We pick up whichever is closer, unless we need a specific lens.

Joe Hoddinott's picture

WOW, look at all those pixels!
WTF happened to my battery!?
;)

Jonathan Lobb's picture

I know for a professional it doesn't make much of a difference, but if somebody were coming to me today asking about which system to buy into, assuming they weren't already open to spending FX sensor money, I would tell them Nikon in a heartbeat for one reason alone; the 35mm f/1.8. Canon doesn't even have anything close for the price and quality, and it's hands down the best lens a new shooter can own.

Able Lawrence's picture

Wouldn't that depend on the usage scenario. So much lens options for Canon on the longer end.

Keith Bradshaw's picture

I feel the same way about the Canon 24mm 1.4. It just always looks beautiful.

Mark Davidson's picture

I think the point about the costs of switching is most important.

Selling gear is super tedious and soul-draining. Dealing with scams and trolls who want to pay nothing yet want like new condition with original boxing and warranty cards etc quickly gets enraging.

For all those people who think it is easy and that their gear has fantastic value, they have NEVR tried to sell their gear.
Nikon and Canon both make excellent cameras. This is a business decision. Unless there are compelling reasons to do so the fantasy of new gear quickly turns into a sick nightmare.

George Pahountis's picture

great post, I envy the sensors, the cameras are great too but I do not think it is worth the investment to switch between those two brands in *most* cases.

Justin Haugen's picture

I made the switch in November. Sold off two 5dmk3's, an 85 1.2, 24 1.4, and 135 f2, and go 2 D750's, an 85 1.4G, sigma 24 1.4, and 70-200 vr 2.8.

I did it at no extra cost to myself. I'd do it again in a heartbeat. Aside from some markedly NOT PRO nuances about the D750, the switch has given me some new style and direction that I was starting to tap into with my Canon setup. I hate to credit gear with an improvement in my work, but it was the fuse to my dynamite.

After 11 years of shooting Canon, I welcomed the shake up to my creative process and I'll give it a little more than a "meh". But I can see it from your point of view in why it does not mean that much to others like it did for me.

Scott Free's picture

I switched to nikon by selling gear at the very start of 2014. Sold off a 5d mark 2 to get a d800. The increased resolution was relevant to the production of large scale art prints I was looking to go for artistically at the time, also the 5d2 couldn't autofocus in slightly dim light to save its life. The nikon is amazing at this. I think it was easier for me, cos if memory serves there was no 5d mark 3 at the time. I think apart from that little period where the d800 smoked the 5d2 significantly, that changing between canon and nikon has never really been worth it

Fritz Asuro's picture

The 5dM3 was out in the market before the D800 came in...

Scott Free's picture

Ok my bad, but i can see how the big difference in focusing ability could have justified a switch to nikon for the d700 prior or The other way for 20+MP

Fritz Asuro's picture

I was just straightening the facts. Fear not, I use both systems. Though I love my Nikon.

Ralph Hightower's picture

I love the lyric from the CS&N song "Love the One You're With". I could've switched to Nikon when I bought a DSLR since my Canon FD lenses couldn't be used on Canon's current cameras. But I felt like I was a Canon person since my first camera was the A-1 that I bought new in 1980 and still use today. The brand loyalty can be compared to automobiles; although most of my cars have been Chevys, I've owned two Fords, both Mustangs: a 66 and a 74.
I own three Canon cameras: A-1, F-1N, and 5D III. Now, I need to buy EF lenses for my 5D to expand my range past 24-105. I did buy a rare Canon Macrophoto lens that is used on bellows.
Going digital has been a "culture shock"; my 5D has more controls than my A-1 and F-1N combined. But I do love the autofocus and the ability to change ISO without changing film.

Peter Timmer's picture

I began shooting with canon, a 60d..
And when i wanted to upgrade to full frame i had the choice of buying a 5d mark iii or d810.

I chose the d810 because of the amazing image quality.. When i switched over to Nikon i really had to get used to the difference in menu and where all the buttons are.. I still think canon's build quality, the menu and the button placement is better (this is probably just a personal preferment)...

But in the end it's about the image quality for me.. Therefore i'm still very happy with my choice, but than again i think if i'd have chosen canon i would say the same..

When people who don't know much about photography ask me why i chose Nikon and not Canon i always tell them both systems are great! It's a personal preference, like buying a guitar, a Fender has a different sound than a Gibson.. But both guitars are great..

I think that's exactly what you've experienced here, you had a Gibson and switched to a Fender.. It's just different, it handles different, has a different feel and different sound but it's not better or worse..

Marios Forsos's picture

OMG, another Canon vs Nikon article? Really?

Fritz Asuro's picture

In short... "I love Canon, I hate Nikon".

I use both systems (Canon for my work in our publication and Nikon as my personal camera) and all I can say is I still prefer Nikon. Your complaints are somehow "silly". Canon isn't heaven at all. I guess you just got comfortable with your previous brand of choice that it became your bar for standards.
(And the 1.8G's are cheap lenses, so don't expect a robust constrcution from it)

michael andrew's picture

I hate that I can't do all my photography in the computer --- said a bunch of people on the Internet, non stop forever.

They are the exact same system. A box that takes pictures.

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