Why I shoot Nikon?


I can’t believe how many times this question comes up. Usually it’s asked by new photographers or photographers that haven’t yet made a decision on which brand DSLR they’re going to go with. Last week I attended a photography meet-up at one of the local studios. Keep in mind that this was just a casual setting and I didn’t even bring my gear (in hindsight I wish I had as there were some shooting opportunities there with new models). Two of the photographers walked up to me and we started talking about photography and videography in general. One of them asked me “so do you shoot Nikon or Canon?” and I said Nikon, his partner high-fived me while he turned and walked away in disgust as if he had just lost another bet or something. It was all in fun of course, but I guess I find it odd that people are so passionate about what tools they work with that if you use a different tool it upsets them. Last night I got asked on my Instagram feed.

Screenshot 2015-06-29 22.06.52

This one was obviously more looking for a recommendation than anything else and I respect that. It prompted me to write this post so that I can answer the question and of course point people to it the next time I’m asked 🙂 So let me get to the answer(s):

Why did I pick Nikon?

Nikon D70

My first DSLR was actually an Olympus E20N. I started to take my hobby more and more serious and while I liked my Olympus camera, it had a fixed lens. It was finally time (2004) for me to upgrade to a DSLR with interchangeable lenses. Having watched the market I knew that I was going to go with either a Nikon or Canon camera. I want to make this part perfectly CLEAR! I had ZERO bias towards either brand (and still don’t to this day!) None of my close friends were photographers. I was making my own choice simply by my budget and the specs. I knew I wanted a camera with a fast start up time. Yes we take for granted now that we can just turn on our cameras and start shooting, but back then it “startup time” was a concern. My budget at the time was around $1,000. That put me in the price range of the 1st generation Canon Rebel. It looked good to me, but the only problem is that that model had been out already for almost a year and while I new a newer model was probably coming, it hadn’t come by the time I was ready to buy. On the other hand Nikon had just introduced the Nikon D70. It was new, and this 6.1MP beauty had all the specs I wanted and was in my price range. That was it. Plain and simple. I went with the newer camera by one of the two brands I was looking at.


Why did I continue with Nikon?


As almost any photographer will tell you, once you start buying lenses you’re not going to switch brands on a whim. There’s always a new Nikon and a new Canon camera coming out. So you’ll always be glancing at the other brand and latest new toys. However, there hasn’t been anything on the Canon side that made me say “I gotta sell everything and switch.” On the other hand for years Nikon has had a couple of features that lacked on the Canon side that made me happy with my choice. For one I was a heavy user of the Nikon Creative Lighting System (CLS) and the ability to fire and control Nikon speedlights from the built-in flash. This wireless control is beyond just a simple wireless trigger and allows you to control the power and groups of flashes. The other long time advantage that Nikon had was built-in GPS support right in the menu of the cameras for years. While you still need to buy an external GPS module (when will you guys build these in as a standard option or least put them in the battery grips?), the support for them is and had been built-in for a very long time. I love having the geotag info go right into the metadata as a I shoot. Now these features that I’m sure Canon probably offers by now, but for years they didn’t.



Did I ever consider switching?


Yes there was a time. Well I’ll say that I considered ADDING a Canon DSLR back in the days when Canon was ahead on low light/high ISO shooting. Yep, I was drooling big time. I almost pulled the trigger on buying a Canon DSLR a couple of times just to have this capability. However, I waited and the next Nikon to come out had great low light performance and that was the end of my envy. I stepped up to a D700 (from the D300 that had replaced my D80 which had replaced my D70) and used it happily for several years before going to the D4 (D600 backup body, which replaced the D7000 and D5000 backup bodies before it) and now a Nikon D810!


Do I think Nikon is better than Canon?

Model: Kandice Lynn, MUA: Houda Bazzi, Lighting by Westcott
Nikon D700, Model: Kandice Lynn, MUA: Houda Bazzi, Lighting by Westcott

I can see the eyebrows raising as I type this. Let me answer it this way. Both brands produce GREAT cameras and with any two things you’re going to have advantages in one area over the other. So yes, I think Nikon glass (lenses) are better. But keep in mind that’s just from my observations looking over the fence. I haven’t actually spent a lot of time shooting different Canon lenses. It’s just an observation and even something that I’ve had Canon shooters whisper to me on the side. I think Canon does and has done a much much better job with video than Nikon has. There’s no question about it. If you’re looking to do DSLR video then you should probably look at Canon first. Also Canon seems to have the sports shooting market all but locked up. You’ll see more Canon cameras on the sidelines than any other brand in professional sports. Since I never shoot sports this isn’t something that I consider. My Nikon D810 does a great job shooting video too. My primary use for my Nikon camera is shooting portrait work and for that I’ve been happy since day one. Never had a complaint about the quality and my work has been used in print. If you were hoping for a clear definitive one is better than the other. I can’t give you one. It’s because I think they are both great and both have advantages and disadvantages over the other. I never understand why some people feel that in order to be justified in their choice, the other one must suck/fail. It’s a lack of confidence thing I think.

Westcott liked the images from my Red Rock Canyon shoot so much that they wanted to use them for the Rapid Box packaging.


Which one should YOU buy?


Believe it or not I really don’t care. Last time I checked neither Nikon nor Canon has paid a single one of my bills. So I don’t gain anything if you buy Nikon or if you buy Canon. The best advice I can give you is to buy the one that does what you need it to do. The one that’s in your price range and it probably wouldn’t hurt to buy the brand that your friends use. Huh? What do my friends have to do with it? Think about it this way. If you’re always shooting solo then no, it doesn’t matter which brand you choose. However, if you’re shooting with your buddies on a regular basis then having the same brand means that you guys can swap lenses, batteries and other accessories while you’re shooting. You’ll have a lot more fun and be able to focus on your photography rather than constantly glaring at the fact that he/she’s using something DIFFERENT. Both brands will allow you to capture amazing images, if YOU are up to it.


The Bottom Line


I’m not really into  the whole Canon vs. Nikon war that so many of you fight (if you want to have a health RAW vs JPEG debate then I’m all for it – kidding…). I explained my choice above and most importantly I get the results I want from the investment that I made in my tools. I have friends that shoot Nikon. I have friends that shoot Canon. It’s all good (unless of course you shoot Sony! We just can’t have that at all! OMG YOU SUCK! —— Just kidding. LOL my buddy Frank Doorhof shoots Sony. It’s ok. No, really it is.)

Now you know Why I shoot Nikon.

Going to Photoshop World 2015?

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6 Replies to “Why I shoot Nikon?”

  1. Nice, Terry.

    I actually switched from Canon to Nikon a few years back. A few of my motivations for making the switch:

    … I’m not at all interested in video, and saw Canon’s increasing focus on video coming at a cost to still capture.

    … I’ve always preferred Nikon’s speedlight system, and hated Canon’s TTL.

    … I like some of the creative features built into Nikon DSLRs, such as multiple exposure, that Canon didn’t offer.

    … I think Nikon handles color better, reds in particular. Canon craps on red.

    … The D4 had just come out and seemed like a much meatier upgrade from my 5D Mk. II than going to Canon’s 1D or 1Ds line.

    All of that said, none of it would have pushed me over the fence if not for other circumstances.

    I had a lot of Canon glass, but Canon was then releasing newer versions of lenses I already had, with better optics, sharpness, stabilization, etc. I already had (and largely disliked) the 24-70mm L, but the newer version was supposed to be stellar. Same story for a few of their other lenses, so and I was already heading toward having to replace my arsenal with newer gear …

    And I was planning long term international travel (this was years ago; I’m still abroad), and wasn’t keen to take all that I had along for the ride. Rather than having my lenses depreciating in storage while new versions supplanted them, increasing the rate of depreciation … I opted to sell the lot of it, then to reinvest in a set of gear for travel.

    It was the perfect storm for switching to Nikon. That said, Canon was and remains a great system. I have no regrets about switching, and no intention of ever switching back, but I could just have easily reinvested in newer Canon stuff and have been nearly as happy. Like you, I am not at all interested in the Canon vs. Nikon argument; I simply evaluated my situation, interests and needs, decided that the amount of gear I owned was not in line with any of it, and pared down significantly; going to Nikon gave me a nice clean slate.

    All of that said, I really love the Fuji X-series cameras these days. My Nikon collects a lot of dust, as I usually like to take out my X100s. The next money I spend on camera gear will almost assuredly be for Fuji’s X-T1, or whatever succeeds it.

    1. Nice to know, that someone actually stays with Nikon 🙂 Seen too many switching from Nikon to Canon lately …

  2. This is a very good piece you wrote. One is better in this the other in that. but overall the are equal. I use also a Nikon D810 and I think it’s the best camera at the moment. But Canon will come with a better one soon. And then Nikon will come with a better one. It’s just a feeling with which brand you will take your pictures.

  3. Terry, Thank you! A great friend of mine who got me into video swears by canon and he’s made some beautiful cinema wedding video’s over the years of his freelance career. I, my self come from a broadcast studio environment shooting video… I use ENG cameras such as (Sony ex3 xdcam. Panasonic HMC40, HMC90, HMC130 & HMC160.) The HMC160 and the Sony ex3 are my primary video cameras depending what job I’m at when shooting is required…

    I always wanted to take photo’s though. I went to my first and only adobe event in NYC and I was definitely amazed by how adobe does things for the creative world… I really made up my mind and decided that I wanted to take pictures when I saw all the cool features I never knew about in photoshop and lightroom, I was at awe… But how am I going to edit photo’s with out actually being able to take them?

    I have no reason to be in the Canon vs Nikon war because I haven’t owned either… I’m sure they both shoot amazing video if the conditions and settings are set right… I have some time before I’m actually going to make the camera purchase with a few lenses. I just don’t want to be in a situation where I spend $6,000 on gear and I’m disappointed because I could of had this vs that…

    In a week or so after the holiday, I’m going to take a ride up to B&H in the city and try some things out and see how they work. I want to have the both of best worlds when it comes to owning a DSLR. Owning a canon or a nikon, I just cant make up my mine.. What does help is watching you shoot hot models with hot cars like a boss though with a nikon, lol!

  4. Great post. In this blog, you addressed so many of my concerns. Thank you very much.

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