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

Previous comments
Ricky Perrone's picture

Yeah I was thinking this was a very stupid article, then I got to the part about the lens mount and I thought holy cow this guy is a clown. Lens mount...1.8G Not taking the time to understand the controls, is there any sort of vetting process for these articles?

First, you're whining about some of Nikons cheapest lenses. If you want pro lenses, buy them.
If you switch back to Canon you're going to have to turn the lens the other way. Get used to it.
If you're a pro, get the D4 or D5. It'll take the abuse. Ya, I know it's heavier. Sometimes life isn't fair.
Every camera manufacturer these days seems to have quality problems at one time or another. It wasn't many years ago that Canon buyers would send their new lenses back to the company for proper adjustment before they were even opened.
If you can't sleep at night, go back to Canon.

Equipment stolen during a shoot is a large problem and to my opinion ocures more ans more. To prefent this I found the solution in a so called Steelbag. It is a trolly or suitecase that can be secured to any object. See www.paroshasafetybag.nl

Anonymous's picture

D800/D810 -- not a problem -- eye cups do not come off. As a matter of fact, there's a lock on them to prevent just what you're talking about.

Rubber grips -- only ever had one lens with such a problem -- a pro-sumer 18-200 I used on an old crop body.

Dials and such? Thousands of photos in, all work just fine.

To be fair, I know of one photographer who switched from Nikon to Canon because he got a 400mm lens stuck on a body. Twice. Maybe I'm lucky, or something, because I've never had that issue.

I have had the plastic LCD cover pop off and get lost one of my old D2h bodies (lost one in a river once), but after I decided to forego that bit of kit, I found the LCD didn't need it.

Ben McLendon's picture

Great Info! I've been thinking about making the switch to Nikon... but no longer. Thanks!

John Sheehan's picture

I'm a Canon shooter, but I worked a season in a place that used Nikon. I wasn't as impressed with the Nikon camera they gave me to go shoot with, and it cemented that I picked the right brand for me when I went with Canon.

Like anything, it depends on the person. I love Canon. My friend loves Nikon. Neither of us would think about switching at this point in our careers.

Switching brands is never really worth it. When I was a kid I had a Minolta. I did not sell my Minolta but I went with Nikon also got a Bronica camera because I had to get a medium format because old wedding studios would not hire you if you did not have medium format. Even if you had the best of the best for 35mm they would not hire you.

I got out of photography and sold most of my gear but kept my Minolta because at the time it was not worth much.

When I wanted a camcorder I sold my Minolta for peanuts and got a Sanyo camcorder. Saw the Philip Bloom video Skywalker Ranch video he made and feel in love in cinematography and got a GH2 almost went with a Canon T2i or T3i.

Now that I had a good camera again the GH2 for stills I got back into photography. And I still was not a amazing photographer.

All the Micro 4.3 users said Olympus had the best jpeg engine. I wanted to try a Olympus so for my birthday my Dad ask me what I wanted I said a new camera the Olympus Pen E-PL1.

The Olympus Pen E-PL1 had no viewfinder it made me think different about framing images. All the other cameras with viewfinders I had to bend me knees for something. Plus I'm six feet taller then most people but I'm short when it comes to NBA players. I'm tall but not super tall. I'm taller then most people that I walk by.

When I would use the GH2 I would just close the LCD screen. But with the E-PL1 I started to see above my head and below and all around me different.

Even if you have a DSLR try live view it changed my composition for the better.

Also keep in mind I did photography as a hobby and really never got a good education until the internet came out.

I still use the viewfinder sometimes but its nice to use the LCD screen if I need to get the camera over my head or I want to bring the camera without bending down 1000 times in a day at a wedding.

Maybe I will get a Canon or Nikon down the road but I'm not selling my Micro 4.3 gear for two reasons one it cost to much money to sell your gear and take loss and buy again. Plus I use my Panasonic camera for filmmaking.

There are pluses to all brand and minus also. But I don't think any of them are real deal breakers to switch brands.

However I will say this live view from the LCD screen help me a ton when it came to composition. Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Sony, Micro 4.3. Everyone has live view give it a try.

Oh, and the Canon 135 f2 L series. If Nikon has anything that compares to it, please let me know. Of all the lenses I own, only 8 are L series, and none of them can touch my copy of the 135 for sharpness.

Justin Haugen's picture

I miss the 135 F2 greatly. That was probably the hardest lens to give up, it's the most underrated lens in the Canon lens up.

SIdenote: I found the 85 1.2 L mk2 to be considerably sharper wide open than the 135 F2 L, but it suffers mightily from bad CA.

DxO rates the 135 f2 L a 20 for sharpness on the 5D III. The Nikon 70-200 f4, a relatively inexpensive un-weather sealed zoom, rates a 28 or 29 on the D810. Both companies have some outstanding lenses - your 135 doesn't appear to be one of them.

So I should go by what a website says, and not my actual experience with a lens I own?

Sorry, I use my gear to take take photos, not the internet.

Michael Clark's picture

Oh, and by the way, the EF 135mm f/2 scores a 39 at DxO mounted on a 5Ds R. Where's the 39 score for any Nikon lens that can shoot at 135mm and f/2?

http://www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Canon/Canon-EF-135mm-F2L-USM-mounted-on-Ca...

Michael Clark's picture

Sorry, I was intending to reply to Bill and can't figure out how to delete this comment.

Michael Clark's picture

If one reads the testing methodology used by DxO this would be totally expected. The resolution of the D810 is roughly 50% greater than the resolution of the 5D3, so the same quality lens should score that much higher on the 36MP D810 than it would on a 22-24MP camera. It just shows that in both cases the lenses are sharper than the sensors. Look at how the same 70-200 f/4 scores on a D3s: http://www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Nikon/Nikon-AF-S-NIKKOR-70-200mm-F4G-ED-VR...

Either way, their tests have no bearing on my results.

Well that's true Michael. So the 5D S R would be expected to rate higher. I was trying to get close to comparing apples to apples. The original question asked if Nikon makes anything that compares quality wise. Yes they do.

Michael Clark's picture

Oh, and by the way Bill Heiting, the EF 135mm f/2 scores a 39 at DxO mounted on a 5Ds R. Where's the 39 score for any Nikon lens that can shoot at 135mm and f/2?

http://www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Canon/Canon-EF-135mm-F2L-USM-mounted-on-Ca...

Beyond the hardware and feature set, I'm more interested in the support speeds and prices when an issue arises. I've had nothing but sour experiences with using (consumer) Nikon Support or (pro) Nikon w/NPS or even (pro, after market) Precison Camera for resolving issues with repairs or cleanings of Nikon gear.

I don't want to switch, but if a massive heist or a fire gave me an opportunity with an insurance check, if consider it on that topic alone.

Anyone have experiences from both and can do a write up (or short review in a comment)?

I'm glad I read this. I've been considering switching to Nikon for quite some time and am in exactly the same situation as the author (minus having my gear stolen). Their sensor dynamic range and iso performance is just so much better than Canon and still no sign of the 5d4! Considering it's a lighter package (for d750), it's still in my mind, since part of my want is lighter gear as I get back pain after a day of shooting, but I'm invested in Canon and they always seem to have better economics for me (why I first went canon years ago).

Anonymous's picture

I always like these kind of canon vs nikon discussions.
We also got different opinios, and that is a good thing. In the end it all goes for personal preference, and that's what some might not found yet.
Perhaps it's my case... Yours...
I was a canon crop user for about 6 months ago. Made the change for kinon crop. And yes, the image quality between canon's crop and nikon's, are noticeble. Nikon is way ahead.
And in the first couple of months I was really enjoying my D7100, but...
I kind of don't feel the love anymore. That ISO dial really annoys me, and when I notice my whit balance ins't anymore where I had put it?! rrrrrr
The ISO dial on the right hand of canon is a must! But hate the apperture one... It's not ergonomic at all!
So... there's no perfect system. That's the true. Period!
We must go with what we feel good with. Because we can make good photos with each brand. Or is there some photographers who doesn't because uses theese or that brand??
We all end up exporting from a software, and not the hardware.
I see some many guys with thousand of euros in gear that make crapy photos!!!!! Hello?!?!?
Even those who make reviews and have thousands of views on youtube! Not true??? hhhmmm...

I want to go full frame and was thinking in a Nikon D750. But what really makes me not wanna go there anymore is the constant lack of reliability. Sensor flare??
WTF?!?!
First it was the oil on the D610 sensor. Now a sensor that's makes some kind of "flare"??
Guys...
Who buys a camera, knowing that it might have issues?
Nikon became to me a non trusty brand.
And apart from Canon not having the same capability sensor's right now, at least they don't get oiled or dusty sensors. Or flary...
And BTW. Don't forget those of bough the D600 and Nikon never got them back. Those guys will never have a decent camera.
Bad, bad, bad nikon... Really bad...

So my choice woul be between the Nikon D750 vs Canon 6D.
And I know the canon don't have the best auto focus. Don't have a 100% viewfinder coverage.
But it has a decent ISO result. The menus are so much, but so much greater! A decent image quality. It's reliable. Will take photos. And damn it's much prettier than Nikon.
That also counts. Everyting counts. because we don't married a woman who doens't got us stck with the eyes. If you did, you made it wrong! ahahahah :P It's not always about the interior. It's the all package!
That's the package that fullfill us that in the end,will give more pleasure to take photos.
And that's all that we need.
Pleasure on taking photos...

Seagram Pearce's picture

And not a single paragraph was given to the end product: the file quality. Coming from someone who was in the Canon stable for years before moving to Nikon, this article is really just click-bait. Why is F-Stoppers allowing so many crap articles like this? I miss the days of quality content.

Maybe because that matters so little these days? Images are so manipulated in post, it hardly matters what you start with. Ease of use becomes more of an issue.

Seagram Pearce's picture

I sat here, tried thinking of a retort to this comment. But all I was left with was a long sigh, a slump in my shoulders & a mutter of, "I have no words".

Not sure how to take that. You're not likely to be able to differentiate between images shot with a Nikon or Canon to be begin with. And I'm sure anyone willing to spend the time could make two images shot from each look identical.

Norbert Tukora's picture

I switched from Canon to Nikon a month ago, and the image quality difference is day and night!
Most people, who are not a pro user won't notice a thing.

I'm curious about what kind of work you do, due to your somewhat contradictory statement.

Norbert Tukora's picture

There's nothing contradictory there. :)

This reminds me of the payola journalism written to cut on Apple products. Usually the kickbacks are coming from Samsung. Adam, is Canon slipping checks under your door. Has Canon gotten this desperate?

Keith Bradshaw's picture

Good to know. I always felt that it would be a pain to sell my Canon gear and start over. I also shoot video with a C100 so it doesn't really make sense to collect 2 types of lenses. One recent change was that I started shooting in silent mode. I'm not sure if my 5d3 has a problem or if it's just luck but it seems that I get much better AF this way.

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