Many Photographers Are Switching Camera Brands. Should You Too?

Many Photographers Are Switching Camera Brands. Should You Too?

There are lots of stories here on Fstoppers about photographers, including fellow writers, who are giving up their current camera brand and changing it for a different one. If you feel you're late for the party, you're not alone.

Preliminary Conclusion

That's for the eager folks. Brand switching is a subjective decision. If you don't have a technically sound reason for that, you don't have to do the switch.

Am I Switching Anytime Soon?

No. I'm not late for the party at all, because I've never felt the need to attend it. The type of work I do goes well with the camera and lenses I currently have. In my photography, I'm working on commercial portraiture projects. For my style, it requires a camera in full manual mode that can capture a portrait of a person, most of the time using strobes for lighting. I can do that with pretty much any camera that's built for professional use (mainly from materials' perspective).

In my opinion, there are only two factors for changing the camera brand or the camera model.

Price

Whatever the reason for buying a new camera is, it may be cheaper to get one from a different brand. This can be dictated by the need for a second camera or your current one already falling apart. Before making that decision, you need to do the math and see if that will be good for your wallet relative to your current camera and lenses' investment.

Insufficiency for a Certain Type of Work

Some people switch to a different camera, because some of the characteristics of their current gear are not as good as other brand's ones. If you base your decision solely on that ground, you will end up spiraling down the rabbits hole. After next year's NAB event, you'll find cameras with yet better overall characteristics.

Why is blindly comparing camera features not the right approach? Because you may not need that feature. I started my business with a Canon 40D, which, back then, was already a discontinued model. It had bad noise above ISO 800 and was only 10 megapixels. Why did it work for me? The price was right, the build quality was right. Most of my work was lit with strobes, and I used the lowest native ISO. The file size was enough for my clients' needs: publishing on the web and 8 by 10 prints in magazines.

Let's have another example on the high price point end: medium format cameras. Most people are drooling over the quality of a Hasselblad or a Phase One. However, if you're a sports photographer and can afford such gear, that will be the worst choice of your career. ISO performance is not that great. The cameras are very slow, because of the large files they create. You won't be able to use them in burst mode. The bodies are heavy, and they usually don't shoot video. Can you say they're worse than a mirrorless or a Nikon D5? No. It's just not the type of camera for every job.

Conclusion

Next time you see someone switching camera brands, don't get anxious. They have their own style and their own needs. You walk your own path.

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47 Comments

Sean Sauer's picture

I love how just because you notice some posts about people who say they are switching brands turns into "Many photographers are switching camera brands". I'd bet real money that more people are brand loyal and the percentages of photographers that do switch is very small and probably hasn't changed that much over the years. The one thing that is proven is that sales in professional cameras have gone down overall so maybe the article should be about why "many photographers" are deciding not to be photographers anymore. Seems more relevant in today's world than people switching brands.

Tihomir Lazarov's picture

Fellow photographers around me (not writing for Fstoppers) are also of the many.

The article, however, is very general and can be an answer to the question: Do I need to change my camera if my neighbour changes theirs?

Sean Sauer's picture

Most photographers I know aren't switching... in fact not one of them. The only place I've seen people switching brands are on sites like these trying to sucker people into buying a whole new set of gear when they don't need to. lol!

Tihomir Lazarov's picture

Switching to another brand and showing it on the news sounds to many like half of the population is switching camera brands. This is why I decided to write this one.

Eric Salas's picture

He’s got 60 comments and no photos but claims to be a photographer with photographer friends...

Ain’t making any friends in here so bye Felicia !

Andre Goulet's picture

Eric, you should really get off this kick about ‘no photos’ on here: many of us don’t post our pics here for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that your opinion of our work doesn’t matter one whit to us. It’s even possible we are too busy making money at photography to bother posting to people who have no relationship to our target audience.

Unless your whole goal is just to have a reason to insult people? Maybe that makes you feel good... small minds focus on what other people are doing.

Or they tell you that they switched but really they still shoot with their old gear..the telling that they switched was just some sort of marketing or click bate. YouTube is full of this

Richard Bradbury's picture

I have never considered switching brands myself. Whilst I understand it's different for everyone I see it as nothing but a waste of time and money.

Nikon user 1979-1993 Canon 1993-2015 Sony/some Canon 2015- 2019.

I already did the brand switch, but for me, it was to achieve a return to the technology I started photography with. I just don't care for a camera that does the thinking for me.

After quite a few years from when I was active in film photography during high school, I returned to photography with @Sigma_Photo digital ( I have and still use my two #SD14's ) and later switched to @Sigma_Photo analog ( I have and still use my #SA9, which, with two kit lenses, cost me a whopping $35 ) to @leafimaging #Mamiya #RB67ProSD which didn't even come to $300 when purchased with a 150mm lens and 6x8 motorized film back.

As the successors to @Sigma_Photo's SD14 and competing brands all quickly climbed into the thousands, I could not justify the expense when 35mm and medium format film provided, for me, greater image quality at a fraction of the price.

The #RB is what I now use the most frequently and is my favorite, but the @Sigma_Photo cameras and lenses still have their place.

The only move I would contemplate at this stage would be to step up to a large format view or field camera, but even here I'd probably use medium format film shooting 6x12

ive never seen anyone use a sigma camera nor knew who that person was

all my life ive tried to track you down with no success.

the greatness of the legendary sigma camera user is amongst us!!

its not a myth. im jk.

what do you shoot?

I shoot a range of subjects comprising Nature, Landscapes, Meteorological Astronomical, and Rural Texas scenes.

Please go through my 500px page and I identify what camera I used for each image.

https://500px.com/steaphany

My recent images tend to be more with my Mamiya RB67, so if you want to focus on my Sigma camera work, scroll down to the bottom, I just have 70 images there so it's not that long, and start there.

your view is unique and youre unique for using 2 systems which are rare

bravo well done Steaphany

Rob Davis's picture

There’s not a compelling reason to switch between the big manufacturers. Anything one has, the other will get within a year or two and your lens investment will be much more valuable than if you switch and replace glass. Switching between formats makes a little more sense (e.g. 4/3, 35mm or Medium Format), but only if it’s really going to open new doors for your photography. If you’re older, reducing weight to a minimum can be very valuable.

Take advantage of the trend followers dumping great gear for very little due to their FOMO. It’s crazy you can get the image quality of a Nikon D610 for around $600 used.

Tihomir Lazarov's picture

Yes, I strongly agree with your opinion.

Started in 2010 with photography. Started with a Olympus E-PL1 and now use an E-M5 Mark II. For me there is no reason to switch to another brand or system. Think the switching is more an thing when someone use an dSLR and want to go MILC.

JetCity Ninja's picture

"i walked my own path; you should walk my path, too," seems to be the gist of this post.

Timothy Gasper's picture

Привет Tihomir. Thank you for the article. I will stick with what I have, however, I use various brands anyway so.....I switch when I want or need to.

Andy McIntosh's picture

I'm in a spot where my 6D is showing its age both in video and stills. About a year ago I decided to hold out to see what would get released, and right now the A7iii looks mighty tempting. A casual Brand Switch might be popular among the wealthy, or the sponsored CeleBroTographers but for us mere mortals it's a very expensive proposition; we only get to do this once. Then it has to WORK for the next 3-5 years. So yes, I'm considering switching, but it's not casual, and it's because my 2012 camera body is starting to be deficient. And it's taken me a year of research to know where I'm going and why--why some features matter to me, and why some do not. Your advice here is good--and I think the cost of switching definitely makes it important to take seriously.

Daris Fox's picture

Call me a cynic, it's what camera manufacturers want you to do. To throw money at cameras instead of locking in people into their eco-system like the old days. There's no real money to be made on the hardware any more especially with cheap and cheerful kit coming into the market. They'll make more money selling all that new glass and as well as the bodies, plus the added bonus is that kills much of an extended second hand market that dSLRs enjoy.

Not saying changing eco-systems is a bad thing, but people swapping systems and then writing up about it is a blasé sales tactic and, much like selling actions, a crap way to make money instead of generating new and interesting content. There seems to be an article every other week about swapping eco-systems, which means they're likely not a successful as a sales tactic.

Laughing Cow's picture

More than 40 years of experience in the world of printed advertising (magazines, posters, billboards, etc.) have led me to the following conclusion: Canon, Nikon, Sony, Hasselblad, Sinar, Phase One, etc. once printed, in 95% of cases, you get the same s..t........
The brand you use doesn't change that in any way.
So why change it?

Daniel Sandvik's picture

Unlike a good amount of people who just want the best of the best and the newest, I'm perfectly happy with what I have and have no reason to switch to anything.

Jan Kruize's picture

I do not agree with the fact there are no differences between full-frame and medium format. It sure is, but i don't have the money to pay for a camera that costs me about 8 or 9000 dollar. And for me it's pure overkill. So.... at one day i decided to buy a canon eos 5dmkii, followed by a canon eos 5dmkIII and now i have a 5d mkIV. Pretty boring. But the stupid thing is better than me. So what all these influencers, fanboys on this website yell about their great mirrorless superduper camera's? It's pure nonsense.

Tihomir Lazarov's picture

I wonder who said there were no differences between full-frame and medium format?

People who switch systems sometimes have their subjective valid arguments. Let's say someone decides to shoot only PJ and has to travel a lot. An understandable decision would be to get two smaller cameras and sell their heavy DLSRs. Or someone's been using a mirrorless and wants to shoot sports. They would probably get something like a Canon 1D X or Nikon D5.

I’m a photographer and I switch brands. And yes, I’m happy to have that EyeAF from Sony, dynamic range and spot metering linked to the focus point from Nikon. Not as much as I need 1.2 lenses and Dual Pixel AF from Canon. But someone may need it as well.

I am not a pro but I go shooting with an amateur photo club from time to time. A couple of years ago, most people had a Canon or Nikon and I was the only one with a Sony. Most people even didn't know that Sony made cameras.

Then Fuji started to appear and this year about 7 out of 10 cameras were Sonys. A lot of a7 (most of them the first or second type).
Also in a very large chain of camera stores in the Netherlands, Sony used to be hardly visible. It was all Canon and Nikon.
Now Sony has the largest front and Canon and Nikon take up a much smaller space.
I think a lot of people are changing brands. Don't forget, the pros make up the smallest percentage of sales. Most of the sales are done to amateurs.
And if you don't have a large investment in glass and flashed it is of course far easier to switch.

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