2. Lenses are better
Ouch, i know this one will make a few people jump out of their seats. But yes, for me and the type of shoot i do, Nikon lenses are better.
I like to be close to action so i shoot a lot with a wide angle lens (which i also use all the time for interior work). And there’s no debate that the incredible 16-35 VR and 14-24 Nikkor are miles ahead of the crappy Canon 16-35L and 17-40L .
On the prime side, the Canon lenses i used needed to be closed down to max out sharpness, they are soft wide open (especially the 24mm). Nothing like this with the Nikon equivalents, sharpness is excellent wide open – i shoot more and more with primes, 24mm 1.4, 50mm 1.4, and the excellent 85 1.8.
And the absolute banger is the incredible stabilized 28-300. there is a canon equivalent, a L lens, very chunky and heavy, and with a less than average quality at all focals. Plus its outrageously expensive. So i didnt even looked at it when i purchased my new nikon lenses. I was using a lot the Canon 24-105, and was very attracted by the sharper Nikkor 24-120 with its extra zoom. But the 28-300 is a 24-120 killer because its sharp at every focals, light, small, solid and cost almost nothing. Its the perfect all around lens and i find myself using it so much that my excellent Nikkor 70-200 is now collecting dust on my shelf (i might even sell it).
3. Autofocus is simpler to use
Auto-focus has been better on Nikon bodies for years – even entry level Nikon bodies got better auto-focus than all Canon models prior to the 5D Mark III and 1DX. Canon filled the gap with those last 2 models but i find them too complex to my taste. There are several Auto-focus modes combined with several auto-focus scenarios each with loads of customization options. When i was using the 5D mark III i was always wondering if i picked the right focus scenario. With Nikon bodies it’s simpler, it works very well and they got this 3D focus mode using Contrast and colors focus that i use all the time.
I dont really use it myself yet because of old habits i guess, but there’s even a very good focus auto mode (its the camera that decide for you the focus point), making it the simplest DSLR to use for a non professional / non used to shooter. for someone who just want to use the camera like a point and shoot, its dead easy, as long as you’re shooting raw you can pretty much get away with everything. If the photos are very over or under exposed, it can be fixed easily at development due to the fantastic sensor – making it very satisfactory for new comers or very casual users to produce instantly good photos.
4. Ergonomics are the same
Well not quiet, but i find both excellent. I needed only half a day to get used of Nikon ergonomics. I still prefer Canon menu and miss the back spinning wheel, but nothing serious. With Canon bodies everything is done by pushing only one button, whereas with Nikon you often need to press 2 buttons at the same time, but its well thought and allows you to change pretty much everything once used to it without stopping looking through the viewfinder.
5. Flashes works better
I use only my flashes in manual so i wont go in details about the Nikon CLS system being superior to its Canon TTL equivalent.
Nikon cobra flashes are superior to Canon flashes, i was struggling a lot with my 580EX II and Pockets Wizards until i read that the 580 EXII emits strong unwanted radio noise that dramatically reduces Pocket Wizards reliability. No such problems with Nikon flashes (i got 8 Nikon SB80 that i bought second hand, they are terrific manual flashes, i was using them heavily with my Canon gear)
Another very good plus are the hypersyncing possibilities with Nikon DSLR and Pocket Wizards TT5. With my previous 5D i could barely max out my hypersync to 1/500, with little banding lines on top and bottom of the frame. With the 7D i could achieve a clean 1/4000, but whether using it with the 7D or the 5D it was all love and hate, suddenly stopping working in the middle of the shoots. It still was giving me the possibility to get incredible results when it was working, but the number of times i was so frustrated when suddenly it stopped working with everyone (models, clients, etc…) waiting for me to sort things out (resetting and unplugging everything was usually the best answer, but not always working).
With the D4 i got a clean 1/8000 straight out the box, and with a little play with the settings a clean 1/4000 with the D800E – it wins hands down compared to the 5D. And more important than everything its much more reliable, so far no sudden stop or erratic behavior. It makes things so much easier.
So im super happy with my decision to change, the D800E and D4 are perfect companions and very complementary for my use.
Not everything is perfect though, here are a few things that i miss:
- Nikon liveview is crap compared to Canon one. Its a really handy feature liveview so i hope it will be fixed on future models – i use the current ones nonetheless
- Nikon quiet mode is definitely not quiet. the 5D mark III quiet mode in comparison is very quiet
- flesh tones are undoubtly better with Canon. Canon pictures got a tendancy to be reddish, which works well for flesh tones, Nikon pictures are greenish.
- The colors of The D800 / D800E screen is horrible, very green. It doesnt affect the real images, just how they appear on the backscreen LCD. It doesnt bother me personnally.
- the D800E struggles way more than the D4 to focus in low light. Still better than what i had before though…
- Too bad its only 4 frames per second on the D800E, 5 Fps is the minimum to shoot proper action and to do sequences.
The recent Canon 6D and Nikon 600D confirms my feeling about Canon not caring about their customers, the 6D is a beefed 5D mark II with a absolutely shameful autofocus, whereas the Nikon 600D is almost a D800 with another incredible sensor. All in for Nikon vs misleading marketing for Canon.
Well all this long talk to conclude with the fact that gear is important but not the most important. Its the way you’re using it, with your brain, intelligence, using past experiences, knowledge and your sensitivity that create the pictures.
It doesnt matter for my clients if i shoot Canon or Nikon…
And what works for me might not for you, we’re all different and shoot / produce our images differently.
Well enough technical talk, lets get back at shooting photos and be enthusiastic at images (whatever camera was used to make them)..
many thanks for reading...