Why Was Her Canon Better Than My Nikon?

Why Was Her Canon Better Than My Nikon?

We had spent several hours hiking and arrived at the viewpoint. You know the score: unholster the camera and start shooting the bucket images. You've got to go through those inspiringly uninspiring captures to allow you to work the scene, gel with your mates, and see if some of the magic of the setting flows. I try to work towards something a little different; more dramatic, less dramatic, unveiling something new. We came back together as a group in order to compare how three very different photographers imagined the scene. Two of us were shooting Nikon, one Canon. And damn, those Canon images were just singing off the screen.

I looked up and thought, "What the heck?" Damn Canon, damn them. I've been a lifelong digital Nikon user because, well, they're better, aren't they (OK, personal opinion)? But the images on my Nikon looked dull and lifeless, while those Canon ones just breathed dynamism. The Nikon aficionados scratched their heads, then started stamping their feet.

I looked back down again and then realized there was no screen protector on the Canon, while my Nikon had the supplied plastic clip-on one. No wonder the Canon looked better. I took the protector of the back and, apart from the slightly less vivid picture profile, the images looked pretty good. I hated that screen protector. The thick plastic just absorbed the light emitted by the screen, robbing it of the richness the images really had.

That made me think, why are Nikon supplying a crappy clip-on bit of plastic to do what's arguably become the most important part of the photographic process: review and assess? It wasn't just my D700, but also a D810. Both came with the same little bit of plastic.

Surely someone must have noticed this. And yes, of course, there are a plethora of suppliers who provide high-quality plastic or glass stick-on screen protectors. My medicine of choice in this instance was the Brotect screen protector made of “AirGlass.” Supposedly extra-light (it is!) and extra-hard (haven't tried that bit yet). But what it definitely has, is glass-like clearness. The images looked impeccable through the protector.

That naturally led to the follow-on question of why on earth were Nikon still supplying such a poor accessory with their product? It beggars belief that you can have such a technological marvel where the most mundane aspects of the product are, well, rubbish. I mean, really, when was the last time someone at Nikon gave even a cursory thought to the screen protector? The D850 now eschews this approach due to the tilt screen.

That then made me think, are there any after-market accessories that are genuinely better? Well, I'd throw in a micro-USB charger for my Nikon (such as this one). Why can't I charge my battery in-camera (Sony has been doing it for years)? Why supply such an enormous charger and cable? Just give me a svelte micro-USB variety that I can just plug into the fast two amp charger I take everywhere?

Camera battery charger

Typical camera battery charger - svelte it isn't!

It really is in the details. I'd like to think that a product I am paying several thousand dollars for has been meticulously thought through. But this isn't always the case. Are there any other aftermarket wonders out there?

Images by Pexels and wmvw via Pixabay.

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Previous comments
David Heintz's picture


First of all, I don't know a serious photographer who looks critically at the images on the rear screen. They are jpegs, remember, and serious photographers (other than sports/news) shoot raw. Even more discerning pros eschew the histogram, referring only to a brief check of the "blinkies."

Second, Nikon has pretty much dispensed with the screen protectors on their high end cameras: D5 and D850 do not come with them.

Third, even the raw files straight from the camera to computer is not the way to judge. All raw images require a degree of correction.

Perhaps you were referring to phone cameras?

David Kick's picture

Regarding battery charging, I guess I would be OK with in camera charging via USB IF and only IF the battery remained easily user replaceable. I cannot imagine depleting the battery on my camera and having to wait for it to charge via USB. Something to be said for popping a new battery in in a few seconds and being able to continue shooting.

Kyriacos Sakkas's picture

RTFM maybe?
"A clear plastic cover is provided with the camera to keep the
monitor clean and protect it when the camera is not in use."

Michael Lunceford's picture

Congratulations on your developmental progress in critical evaluation. Screen protector aside, I have never cared for the color schemes of either Nikon or Canon. Nikon goes for a "natural" look that comes off as gray and drab as illustrated in your own portfolio, and Canon goes for warm and bright, which is immediately pleasing, but perhaps at the expense of dynamic range depth. Since there are only two cameras in the world (implied by your article), the photographer needs to develop their post processing skills to achieve the look they desire.

Bob Ogden's picture

Since I only use the LCD screen to rough-check exposure, this isn't important. What feature I can't in any way comprehend is the inability of Nikon to supply a power supply to charge in the car.
It must be they don't possess the technology, otherwise the ever super Nikon customer service and marketing teams would have been all over this generations ago.