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Why the Switch?

Discussion in 'Other Cool Gear, Camera Bags, Camera Straps' started by C2020, Aug 1, 2007.

  1. After perusing the 'for sale' section, I'm curious why some heavily-invested Nikon photographers are selling their kits and moving to Canon. What is Canon offering that Nikon isn't? I'm sure the same thing is happening on the Canon end but with all the high quality lenses and camera bodies available from both manufacturers I find myself wondering what I am missing.

    I know I prefer my D80 over the 20D and Rebel XTi because the ergonomics of the Nikon is more intuitive to me. Every time I use a friend's Canon I get lost in the menus and the Rebel itself is too small for my hands. The photos from all three cameras are excellent, more dependent on the photographer's skill than the camera manufacturer.

    I'm not a professional photographer, I don't make money with my photos so my viewpoint is admittedly narrow, I'm just wondering what drives one to change camps when so much is invested already in the other.
  2. SP77


    Jun 4, 2007
    Rockville, MD
    - superior high ISO noise performance and therefore speed (usable iso3200 and acceptable 6400 on the 1D MkIII)
    - faster frame rates for sports at much higher resolutions (10 fps and 10MP on the 1D MkIII vs 8 fps and 4MP on the D2Hs)
    - big daddy full frame 1.0x sensor cameras and 1.3x crop factor sensors for ultra-wide angles and/or ultra high resolution photos

    There's only so much performance you can squeeze out of 1.5x crop factor sensors that Nikon has all the way from the D40 to the D2Xs. The Canon pro level stuff blows Nikon out of the water. At the same time, Nikon's next-gen stuff no matter how good it is or will be is still vaporware at this point, and their track record for product availablility after announcements is miserable. So too little too late for a lot of the pro guys, unfortunately. Due to great resale values of Nikon gear, it'll cost them FAR less on a system switch over to Canon that it would in the money lost from not getting shots or jobs due to being held back by Nikon's way-behind pro level gear. Plus a lot of the Canon equipment and lenses are cheaper than Nikon's anyways. I'm not even looking at the full pro level stuff, but the difference in price between the glass I want would cost me $1500 more in the Nikon system vs switching to Canon. :frown:

    There's still a lot of reasons why I personally am still sticking with Nikon and bought into the system in the first place so I still have no regrets. But lets just say that if Nikon misses the target on their new glass offerings *and* Canon makes some nice improvements on the coming 40D that incorporates a lot of the Nikon features that I enjoy, then I may very well switch too. Even after taking a hit on selling used equipment off, I still might end up saving money because a lot of what I want in equipment wise is significantly cheaper or more precisely hits on what I want in the Canon system whereas I'd have to overbuy for my needs in the Nikon system.

    We'll see. I'd like to hear from some of the pro guys too. :frown:
  3. SMH77


    Feb 11, 2006
    A complete package! The mkIII is the best all around camera available, period! Some also want the FF option, Canon has it.

    That sums it up.

    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 1, 2007
  4. SP77


    Jun 4, 2007
    Rockville, MD
    One tidbit I heard from someone on dpreview is that the media companies and clients out there are asking for larger files than what the D2Hs can provide (4MP). Why settle for 4MP when Canon gives 10MP *and* much better high-ISO performance? The D2Xs gives 12MP but only at slow frame rates which isn't good enough for sports, and the high ISO performance of that camera isn't nearly as good as the Canons due largely to the smaller sensor designs and the physics and inherent limitations.

    It just looks really bad when your pro level equipment is already behind, and then your competitor Canon introduces their next-gen product before you've even got something out that matches their last-gen stuff. :frown:

    It's sorta like the Hyundai Sonata. Yeah it's a great competitor to the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry, only Toyota was in the middle of releasing their next-gen Camry right as that Sonata was coming out which then blew it away again, and Honda was right behind Toyota in their next-gen offerings. I see the Canon vs Nikon pro-level offerings sorta the same way, only think of it as Canon getting two generations ahead for a period of time. The guys that actually own this equipment can correct me if I'm wrong, but that's how I see it at least. If I was a pro and looking at the pro level offerings and starting a system today, I unfortunately wouldn't bother with Nikon. Nikon's prosumer and lower level stuff D200 and downward is still way better than what Canon offers IMHO, and that's what I was interested in, so that's what I bought.

    Nikon needs their D3 stuff to really be jaw-dropping just to keep themselves in the game, but apparently it's too late for a lot of the pros out there to wait no matter how good it is.
  5. acena


    Mar 14, 2006
    New Jersey
    Nikon treats the pro shooter as a step child while Canon provides the pro shooter with TLC. Nikon wants to dominate the consumer market and Canon wants to dominate the pro market. Neither strategy is necessarily better than the other but you go with the manufacturer that delivers what you need.

    I shoot between 5 and 10 games a week on average. In the winter, I set aside an extra 1.5 hours per game to set up and take down my strobes for hockey, basketball and swimming. There are some venues where I would skip the strobes if I can get clean images at ISO 1600. Yes, I can clean it up myself but that adds to my workflow. It's not a problem for one or two images, but when you have to deal with hundreds of images, labor will kill what little profits you do make. Then there are those late afternoon games I skip because the D2Xs just can't handle them. I have several Canon shooters who work for me. Even before the Mark IIIN came out, I was already contemplating the move to the IIN

    Same goes for theatrical performances. I am afraid to shoot my D2Xs above 640 and will grudgingly go to 800. Anything above that is a waste of time. If I can always shoot in ideal conditions, then I would keep my Nikon gear. If I were just doing this as a hobby, I would stick to Nikon, but my needs are otherwise.
  6. Steve.......You've summed up the whole situation......

  7. SP77


    Jun 4, 2007
    Rockville, MD
    DAMN! :frown: :frown: :Wink:
  8. GBRandy


    Feb 28, 2006
    Green Bay, WI
    Steve and Alex hit it on the head.

    I sold a lot of stuff here back in February. Only because I got tired of the crummy high ISO on my D200. I am not a professional, but my daughter is in gymnastics...no flash allowed. IMHO, the 1DMKIIN was better for that situation than upgrading to a D2Xs or D2Hs for reasons Steve & Alex point out.

    I have one kid and waiting around for Nikon to show up with something that meets my needs while her childhood slips away is not a prudent move on my part. I may move back to Nikon after she has grown....but the more I get acclimated to the Canon system, I suspect the less likely I am to change unless I have a real strong reason to do so....to that end, Nikon lost me as a customer.
  9. SP77


    Jun 4, 2007
    Rockville, MD
    I'm posting this just so I can bookmark it and keep it straight myself, but also to illustrate the differences.

    Canon EOS 5D: 1.0x full frame sensor, 12.8 MP, wider and higher resolution than anything Nikon offers period. Only 3 fps so not suitable for sports, but great for people that need ultra wide or high resolutions in a compact package.

    Canon EOS-1D Mark II N: 1.3x crop factor sensor, 8.2 MP and 8.5 fps. Much higher resolution at a slightly faster speed than the 4MP/8fps Nikon D2Xs. Compared to the D200 I'm sure the iso1600 performance is a ton cleaner since it's a fewer number of pixels spread out over a significantly larger sensor area.

    Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II: 1.0x full frame sensor, 16.7 MP, 4fps. Nikon has nothing comes even remotely close to this. Ultra high resolution and ultra-wide. Perfect for shooting home interiors, and the best you can possibly get on digital for landscape photography short of going with film, either 35mm slide or larger formats.

    Canon EOS-1D Mark III (NEW): 1.3x crop factor sensor, 10.1 MP, 10 fps, and usable iso6400 with no apologies needed iso1600/3200 performance. For sports or any sort of action this camera is crazy and makes the D2Hs look stupid. The 1D-IIN already smoked the D2Hs, and now Canon already has the 1D-III out before Nikon has a D3.

    Nikon's pro-level offerings as of Aug 2007 for comparison:

    Nikon D2Xs: 1.5x crop factor sensor, 12.4 MP, 5fps at full resolution, very noisy above iso800 due to so many pixels squeezed into a smaller sensor. OK for studio work or daylight action, but doesn't compare to Canon's offerings either for high resolution, high frame rate, or high speed (high iso).

    Nikon D2Hs: 1.5x crop factor sensor, 4.1 MP, 8 fps at full resolution, but full resolution is only 4.1 MP. Here you have a relatively small number of pixels on a 1.5x sensor so I'm sure iso1600 looks great, but the Canon IIn one-ups this and the III two-ups it!

    You would think that with how far ahead Canon's pro lineup is that it would be significantly more expensive than Nikon's pro lineup, but it really isn't.

    B&H prices as of Aug 1, 2007:

    Canon EOS-1D Mark III : $4500
    Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II : $7000
    Canon EOS-1D Mark IIN: $3300 (Adorama)
    Canon EOS-5D : $2569

    Nikon D2Xs: $4345
    Nikon D2Hs: $3000

    Yeah the Canon stuff is more, but considering what you get and the total investment into systems it's really chump change at this level. I don't know what the exact numbers are, but I bet there's far more pros out there shooting Canon than there are Nikon, which gives Canon an advantage in terms of economies of scale which allows them to keep their pricing competitive. That trickles down to glass too. Just using random numbers for examples, but if Canon has 5000 people that will buy a particular high-end lens and Nikon only has 2500 people to buy the same thing for their system, the Canon lens is gonna be cheaper simply due to economies of scale. NRE (non recoverable engineering) and tooling costs can be spread out over a much larger number of units which makes for a cheaper product. This is probably why I'm looking at a $1500 delta on the glass I want in the Nikon system vs canon, with the Canon glass being cheaper. :frown:
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 1, 2007
  10. GBRandy


    Feb 28, 2006
    Green Bay, WI
    $7000 for the MKII? Typo perhaps?
  11. Jeff Mims

    Jeff Mims

    May 25, 2005

    The EOS1 DS Mark II (16.7 mp) is $6999.95 at B&H, as of 08-01-07
  12. Agree +1, but my kids play hs basketball.

    No typo GBR. The 1Ds Mark II does for for $6999...gulp!
  13. Just for clarification, it should read:
    Canon EOS-1D Mark III : $4500
    Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II : $7000
    Canon EOS-1D Mark IIN: $3300 (Adorama)
    Canon EOS-5D : $2569
  14. GBRandy


    Feb 28, 2006
    Green Bay, WI
    Thanks Kevin....that's better.....
  15. SP77


    Jun 4, 2007
    Rockville, MD
    LOL, thanks guys. I had it right in one spot but wrong in the other and was getting dizzy. :biggrin: Fixed above now.
  16. yamo


    Jun 28, 2007
    Santa Cruz, CA

    Greetings. Just for completeness you could also note that the D2Xs has a high speed crop feature: 8 frames per second at 6.8 MP and for a more complete speed comparison one would really need to take in account buffer size and write speeds... Just as for full frame verses cropped one would need to begin to add lenses into the comparison equation.


  17. Commodorefirst

    Commodorefirst Admin/Moderator Administrator

    May 1, 2005
    I know I am still toying with the jump too, but I just can't seem to get past the ergonomics and feel of the instrument. When I am in the dark, I like being able to change things easily, wtihout looking

    so Randy, Alex, et al.... Describe the procedure to switch ISO, spot vs center vs matrix metering, Hspeed to single frame, etc.etc. or even from A mode to S mode.

    Or other things like quality I switch a lot from raw to JPG on the fly, and also how easy is it to switch WB too?

    Not trying to start a war, but want some actual feedback to this for me.

    I have only shot witha 20D and 30D and only then with things set as per the owner, and is that thumb wheel still pretty far over on the Mark III as it is on the Mark II?

  18. GBRandy


    Feb 28, 2006
    Green Bay, WI
    I equate it to learning a new instrument. It seems odd at first, but once you learn it things just flow....

    My MKIIn does required the three finger dance on some changes like ISO....but not too bad once you learn it. the MKIII is more like a Nikon than the Canon on setting changes. And things like image review, zoom and delete are quicker.....as are ISO changes and drive changes.

    In my humble opinion, the ergonomics issue is overblown...but that just me...and you guys know how whacked I am :) 

    BTW, I am left eye dominant and thought that thumb wheel would be a train wreck between it and my nose....the thumb wheel is a non-event...period.
  19. ckdamascus


    May 14, 2005
    New Jersey
    Regarding ergonomics, I learn verrry fast. I can probably pick up a Canon and be fine with it after a few days.

    That said, I am still pretty happy with my crummy gear. :) 

    As for why people switch? The lure of better high ISO and more megapixels. Plain and simple.
  20. Hi Wade,

    Without getting into a long discussion on how it works, I have to say the feel is really nice. I played with a Mark IIn, and it did not feel as nice. The ISO button has to be one of the smartest things they have done, as it's right next to the Aperture and shutter button. This enables you to ride the ISO up and down very easily. The EV button is the next over,however I am finding I don't need to ride that as much as I did with the D2X, in fact it's almost set it and forget it. The camera does the rest.

    The same goes for Whit Balance. You can adjust it on the bottom of the body similar to the D2X, however it took me a little investigating on how it works. Once I did that I was on my way. Like the EV button I am finding I do better just shooting in Auto.....WOW! I thought I'd never be able to say that!

    You can swatch from CR to JPEG, but that's hidden in the menu, unless I just didn't figure that out yet. You have to understand, I have been trying to mess up the AF, but to no avail. My keeper rate is slightly better than 95% even shooting action. One thing you can do is just use two cards. The main setting when two cards puts the CR files on the CF, and the JPEG on the SD. This way you can just run into Costco and make some real fast prints, and save the CR files for later.......If you even need the CR at all. Since getting this camera I shoot all newspaper in JPEG and I am done. Just ship them off to the FTP downsized in Photo Mechanic. I save the Raws if I shoot them, but gone is the post processing. The most I have ever had to do is dodge faces a little, as the contrast is a little high, but I like that.

    As far as shooting modes, the button for that is on the top left, and just adjust them with the wheel or dial. I find the back dial tons of fun when shooting sports. The AF button is when the stutter wheel was on the D2X, so now I just hit the button and can slide the AF point almost anywhere in their oval pattern. Shooting verticals is great. Just stick my thumb on the back wheel, where it can normally sit, ans slide the focus around the top of the oval based on where the player is moving.

    AF modes took a little getting used to, but I think I've got it now. There is one mode button on the top left which you set the overall mode before you begin, either One Shot or Ai Servo. Once you determine that mode there are two ways to run the AF. I now leave the shutter button running Ai-Focus so that the camera will only fire when it's locked in, even in high speed mode, and I use the AF-On button under my right thumb to turn on, what would be, AF-C on the Nikon. This I find totally ingenious. Both type of AF at the touch of a finger. Tosh has set his STAR button which is next over to AF-Lock so he can refocus. I have not for the life of me figured out that darn button, but it seems to act like the function button on the D2X. For now I am not touching it until I get a chance to read the manual carefully.

    As far as picture quality, it's takes a little getting used to the Bokeh, but I am starting to feel it really looks like a painting. I have been studying Vincent LaForet's images and that's really the only way to describe it. It's not a smooth as Nikon, but it gives the look of a classy oil painting. I am starting to just figure out how to use this to my advantage. It's very easy to make an image look like a historic classic, but at the same time, the contrast pops so much that the colors from sports uniforms just jump off the paper.

    Honestly I can say (mind you I have only had the camera about a week) that I have grown very comfortable with this camera in a short amount of time, and I thank god I got a good one. The way I bought it, I would have just died if it did not work out. I bought 3 lenses at the time of buying the camera, and then had to take pictures of my kids at skateboard camp a few days later. I slipped into the city to go to B&H and pick up the Canon Fish-eye, and before I knew it I had the 100 Macro and 85 1.2L on the table. I also got to try the 400 2.8 IS, but I really need to think out the long end. Once I saw I was getting the other three lenses, I really knew I was committed at that point. All I had to do is give it a work-out at the skateboard camp. It worked out great and I put up the rest of my Nikon kit on the For Sale Forum.

    I have to say I would have waited out for the new body, but Nikon Reps informed me they had no intentions at all on delivering a new AF-S 85. That is a lens that I need. Being able to have an high speed 85 is very important to me. Also a friend got the 16-35 2.8 L II, and I was blown away. I tried it out on his 30D and it was just astounding to me. Once I got it on the Mark III in the store it was over. Since then I have come to realize it simply blows away any 16/17-35/55 I have ever used. The lines are incredibly strait, and the sharpness is there. The Bokeh looks like a prime. I make my living mainly with the 16-35 and 85. All the other stuff is secondary. I shoot a lot of interiors and the low noise will save me from carrying tons of lighting gear. The 1.3 crop is like heaven to me, and knowing there is a 1Ds III on the way makes all the sense in the world to switch. I am completely annoyed I had to do this, but the secretive nature of Nikon just does not work for me. That whole noise thing with the D2H, and the Banding with the D200 and how they handled it is completely not friendly to a pro. They totally misguided the public, and then 6 months later agreed it had a problem. Canon now has a problem with the AF, but they are listening, and they are responding. You know they admit the problem, and they will fix it. Nikon on the other hand will not tell us their plans, and by the time they upgrade all their screw mount lenses, Canon will be miles ahead of them.

    You have to understand, I've got $30,000 wrapped up in Nikon, and now it's on the table. They have not provided for me. They have lost both the North Jersey Sales Rep, and their Tech Rep. I feel they simply do not care about the pros. I may just be venting anger, however I am totally annoyed I have to do this. I've got great looking glass, however it's lacking in function and a body to put it on. I need to spend hours on Post Work which I can't stand. I want to be in the field shooting and not behind a computer. I am a photographer, and not a graphic artist.

    Well I my have gotten off the path, but maybe someday down the road I may feel better about the whole thing, but I dought it. I feel like the Canon Shooters when Canon abandoned their original system for the EOS, however I now feel Canon saw the future and made a move that was beneficial to the working pro. I now feel like I turned in my Ford, and I am walking out with a Ferrari and the waiting is over.


    Canon EOS-1D Mark III ,Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L USM II
    1/80s f/4.0 at 25.0mm iso800
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    Canon EOS-1D Mark III ,Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS USM
    1/800s f/4.0 at 300.0mm iso200
    View attachment 109062

    Canon EOS-1D Mark III ,Canon EF 15mm f/2.8
    1/500s f/2.8 at 15.0mm iso2500
    View attachment 109063

    Canon EOS-1D Mark III ,Canon EF 85mm F1.2 L USM (II)
    1/1600s f/1.8 at 85.0mm iso2500
    View attachment 109064

    Canon EOS-1D Mark III ,Canon EF 85mm F1.2 L USM (II)
    1/250s f/1.4 at 85.0mm iso1600
    View attachment 109065

    Canon EOS-1D Mark III ,Canon EF 15mm f/2.8
    1/1600s f/8.0 at 15.0mm iso200
    View attachment 109066

    Canon EOS-1D Mark III ,Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L USM II
    1/50s f/8.0 at 18.0mm iso400
    View attachment 109067

    Canon EOS-1D Mark III ,Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM
    1/160s f/2.8 at 160.0mm iso2000
    View attachment 109068

    None of the above images have any post-processing other than resizing and slight sharpening for web with the exception of the first image, which was shot in CR and converted in Adobe CS3.
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