How to Combat CBSS: Camera Brand Switch Syndrome

How to Combat CBSS: Camera Brand Switch Syndrome

This can be a particularly dangerous time of year for chronic camera gear switchers. For one, the new year causes most of us to self-evaluate everything from the prior year, and photography gear is certainly not exempt. Second, for some it is the off season which means a bit of down time, and any time you stop moving can be especially dangerous for your decision making and bank account. 

Regardless of the fresh year ahead, it’s honestly rare to peruse a photography-related forum or comment section any day of the year without witnessing the ever prevalent “I’m a user of X camera, should I make a change to the XYZ brand camera?” It makes one wonder if any industry out there has user bases so focused on switching brands as often as photographers do. As if the photo or video placed above the comment section could only be achieved with the super-secret ingredients of unicorn pixel milk and rainbow colored dynamic range dust that the engineers placed inside of that brand of camera alone. Are so many photographers' existing cameras really falling that short? Regardless of the big, bold brand name plastered around your neck, the fact remains if you have a beautiful portfolio, you probably worked your ass off for it, and your camera's existing features had little to do with that hustle. And if you have yet to put any real heart into your photography, well those fancy new camera features listed on the side of the retail box are not going to drastically change the volume or quality of your work. 

Really, we as consumers are all victims of vicious technology driven upgrade cycles and fiercely competitive companies looking to take market share from one another. Companies cunningly market their products to hit you where it counts. If you feel you are being pulled in this direction, always contemplating a brand switch to keep up with the latest in camera technology, then you are most likely not shooting enough with the equipment you already have, period. So that leads into how exactly do you combat the primal urge inside for something new? I have a few suggestions that may just get you through this year. 2019 is anyone's bet. 

This Is My Camera. There Are Many Like It, but This One Is Mine.

Spend some quality time with your camera. Stop sweating the name on it versus the others, and focus on making the best images you can with it as a tool in your capable hands. Ring every last drop of image quality out of it, the two of you creating one-of-a-kind images together just the way you had imagined it would be when you first laid eyes on it staring up at you from inside the box.

Introduce Yourself to the Manual

Yes, those are actually hundreds of pages of manual goodness buried at the bottom of your camera’s box in your closet, or on the shelf of your cold garage. All those well-executed pages are purposeful and filled with features, some of those you have yet to learn. Why dream of all the latest camera’s features you so desire when you can focus on all the untapped features you already have, begging you to explore.

Spend Some Quality Time in the Menu

Get comfortable working through the numerous settings and enjoy the process of testing out the results from your tweaks. Likely there is more you can coax out of the expert settings in your camera that have not yet been unlocked. In addition, those valuable custom modes and buttons on the camera are there to help make your life easier, so set them up and really see what the camera can do when fully optimized for your style of shooting.

Personalize the camera via custom controls.

At All Costs Avoid the Gear Reviews

Unless these are based on a product that will truly make a difference in your photography, then what is the point of salivating over things you do not truly need? A lot of these reviews and impressions are heavily biased and will only create conflict between you and your wallet. The grass is not always greener on the other side.

In Conclusion

Remember, the goal is to utilize the capable equipment you already have, not go broke seeking the one camera to rule them all. Cast that expensive brand switch idea into the fire. Destroy it.

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28 Comments

Bill Larkin's picture

haha too funny I've switched literally from Canon to Nikon, back to Canon, back to Nikon then to Phase One, then back to Nikon.... all looking for the magic answer and it ain't about the camera! LOL

But... but... Sony

Kenneth O. Soto's picture

I'm going to partially agree with you on this one, but I do not marry brands, so if at any given time I feel that "x camera" is not working for me, then I will move to "y camera", provided that it does what I need it to do.

That being said, one should be absolutely certain that "y camera" will indeed provide whatever requirements/updates you need/want, and that "x camera" is indeed unable to provide that to you.

Lastly, shoot whatever makes you happy. There's nothing worse than shooting with a camera/lens because "x photographer" uses it. You shoot for you, not to please other photographers.

Alex Cooke's picture

Reading this as I'm checking the shipment status on my a7R III... whoops.

Derrick Ruf's picture

Ha I think this article was partially written to keep myself away from that very camera! Enjoy!

Why do this to yourself, it's torture. Shoot Canon, Nikon and PhaseOne. Maybe Sony, but Broncolor and Profoto are not cheap... 😁

Derrick Ruf's picture

It really is torture to dredge back and forth between brands all the time.

Ariel Martini's picture

I got cured when i finally switched to Nikon. My doctor approves.

Sergio Tello's picture

I went from Nikon to Canon and that's that. Not reading gear reviews is a good tip. I personally feel most "reviewers" on Youtube are only spoke's people for their brand. I can't take them seriously.

Spy Black's picture

If ever I thought I would have an advantage shooting, say, a particular Canon product combo (body/lens) versus the Nikon system I'm in, I wouldn't dump the Nikon system for it. I would simply buy the Canon gear needed for the process. I don't understand this "dump one system for another" syndrome. I could only see that if the system in question is really bad for your particular needs, but other than that I wouldn't think twice about it. If I needed Canon and/or Sony cameras, I would add them in addition to my existing Nikon gear.

Brett Turnage's picture

could not agree more.

This is how I feel about beach and mountain houses.

Exactly what I’m doing with Fuji, though it’s hard to not want to sell off good bits of my canon equipment to get more Fuji faster

I stuck with canon for 21 great years but then they started phoning it in. Happy sony camper now. Switching it so expensive-- new everything. I guess you get to keep your filters and tripods :)

Daniel Rodriguez's picture

Made the jump form Canon to Fuji last year not bc I wanted to try something new but bc I have peripheral neuropathy and trying to lug around my 6D w/ Sigma glass was becoming problematic. I miss my Canon & shoot with it in my home studio but my hands and wrists thank me only having to carry my tiny X-T20 and xf lenses. It gets the job done and that's all that matters to me. :D

Michael Kuszla's picture

Well, I've sticked to Nikon until I'm on digital. I never changed of brand for DLSr. Because I know what happens on each button, on each function, and I can focus on story-telling and framing.

Other brand surelly adds cool funcions, or better specs... But do I need them?

Do I REALLY need them?

For exemple, I start with a cheap nikon D50 to grow to the D300s. When my poor D300s was broken in a sport photoreport - I start to search something similar in Nikon, but also Canon, Sony and Fuji... Before choosing I tried these brand and they are ALL good. Really. But I know so well Nikon that I didn't have to think about settings.
So I move to D610 and D750 to keep my habits. Two nice bodies. And really small As I need (Yes I need) small bodies.

As I wasn't convinced with ergonomy, I changed to the D500 to retrieve my ergomics — and more my feeling. I could go with a D810 or D850. But remember what I needed: the ergonomic AND the body size and weight. Maybe I'll follow the next Nikon mirrorless range to gain size and weight IF they kept their ergonomics.

To resume. All Brands make great gear. What's important to me, is the fact where you can focus on your scene without thinking about settings. Just the feeling of your photography. And yeah, even in your favorite brand there is a kind of CBSS syndrome — as you could have the sensation that better body is better.
But the best is the one you forgott in your hands.

Pieter Batenburg's picture

Well, I think it just depends on your needs. If you can do your job or in my case hobby with the tools you have, there is no need to switch. However, if your needs change and you can't reach the results you desire because of the limitations of the camera, there is a reason to look further. Also, if your camera gets broken or so obsolete it might be time to look around. Is there a better tool for your needs within the price range you are willing or can afford to pay.

There is always a tension (even for an amateur like me) between switching to another brand and having to sell your gear (in my case seven lenses and two flashes) and starting over again or staying with your own brand while you think that it isn't the best product for the money anymore.

Or you brand develops in a direction which doesn't suit your needs.

Reading manual won’t add eye AF to Nikon or dynamic range to Canon... :)

David Bolender's picture

I would just like to add my thanks to those photographers who do feel the need to switch brands to improve their photography or to satiate their GAS. Because of them, I have found many wonderful items in the used market! :]

michael buehrle's picture

me too.

Derrick Ruf's picture

Not true Alexander it's somewhere around page 80, just have to look a little harder, I know it's in there I'll find that dynamic range boost setting for my Canon one of these days!

Aaron Bratkovics's picture

Seriously Ive been shooting Canon for a decade. I'm....about to get a fuji with a 50. I want to sit in a park with the birds to die.

Im 29. LOL.

william mitchell's picture

Do we marry brands for the wrong reasons? Do we stay with brands just because of 1 lens? OK I am guilty of the 1 lens loyalty my Minolta 100mm f 2. I stayed with Sony to use this lens. But in the film era I used Nikon then Pentax then Minolta. When I went AF system Minolta had more primes then Canon. With Medium format I was using Pentax 6 x 7 then Bronica 645 never could afford Hassy. Does a photographer stay with full frame because of the optical finder ( Canon Nikon) or because you already have the lenses ? If a camera weighs more costs more it must be better? If a camera looks bigger the client will think "i" am more professional? A female photographer here on FS wrote that her FF camera was part of her "pro" image. Own what you like I think cameras with EVF's are very useful and most of those are mirrorless. Sensor size crop or FF or even MF it really depends on the work you are doing, and if the client will pay a higher creative fee or rental fee for MF. Right now I would like a Fuji XT-2 for the prime lenses and the 2 memory cards. Having 2 cards in camera makes teathering easier. By the time Canon/Nikon have pro level mirrorless will Sony and Fuji have advanced their cameras 1 or 2 more generations ?

You know why I had my first DSLR - Canon 350D? It had the same batteries as point and shoot Canon S70 :) It's far below lens loyalty :)

Richard Bradbury's picture

Have never thought about switching to another system. Just don't see the point.

Also are all these articles about I switched to a way of people justifying the money and time they have just spent?

I get that reason to switch can come around like poor customer service or client/work requirements but generally I would rather not spend the money and time switching.

Also, avoid the brand rumor sites; that caused me "analysis paralysis" when I was searching for a DSLR to buy. I could've switched to Nikon since my Canon FD mount lenses for their film SLR cameras are incompatible with Canon DSLRs. But I stuck with Canon for my DSLR.

I shoot with both Nikon and Fuji. The X100f is my carry around everywhere camera and my D500 is for my event and portraiture work. Both are extremely capable. I would be lying if I said I never thought about switching, but I agree with this article. It's tough to fight with the GAS!