Have you ever been out taking pictures, whether for fun or on a paid gig, only to have someone strike up a conversation about your camera? Turns out, a lot of other people take pictures with professional gear as well! And they all have an opinion about which is best.
On a sunny weekend in July, Parker Anderson was dressed in his best button-up shirt and vest while capturing still images at a modest wedding just outside of St. Louis. Things were going well and Anderson was having a good shoot so far; the bridal party was relaxed and easy going while the light coming through the windows of the church was wonderfully warm and dramatic.
Anderson was his usual smiling self, and welcomed conversation as one of the guests approached him while people were taking their seats.
This guy started asking me about my camera, so I showed it to him. I said, ‘It’s a Canon 5D mark iii. Not the latest model, but it captures a quality image and is a great tool for the job.’
The guy smiles and laughs a little bit, then spends the next two minutes explaining to me how Nikon is superior in every way to Canon, and that his Uncle is a professional landscape photographer. ‘Yeah, my Uncle really knows his stuff, so uh, you should do yourself a favor and look into Nikon. For starters the lenses are way better, the bodies have more resale value, and the color reproduction is so much better since the sensors in them are completely different! I’m pretty sure most pros use Nikon. I mean, I’m sure that your Canon is OK, but I think serious shooters are all using Nikon. My uncle shot film for a long time so he knows what’s up.’
Anderson politely nodded and excused himself as the processional wasn’t too far away from starting. Once in place and with a moment to think, he couldn’t help but feel this tremendous sinking feeling setting in. All of the images he had shot over the last seven years of his career, and the images he was about to capture that very day were going to be garbage.
I lost all motivation at that point, but because I take my work seriously, I started listing my camera gear on craigslist during downtime at the reception that evening. I looked at a few opinion articles online after Google searching 'Nikon better than canon' and according to a bunch of people on the internet I've never met, my 5D was basically a paperweight and the lenses were all junk.
Over the next two weeks, Anderson sold all of his Canon gear for a fraction of what he had paid for it and purchased all new Nikon gear to replace it.
I'm positive that my work is going to be much more professional now that I own this particular brand of equipment. Or at least, people will think I am a professional because of it, without even seeing my work. Perfect!
After reviewing Anderson's latest portfolio images and not seeing anything that was obviously better than before, Anderson told me that, "if you zoom into 400%, you can totally tell the difference!"
Lead image by kaboompics.com, used under Creative Commons.