Sunday, October 19, 2014

Why I switched from Canon to Nikon.

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       Hey folks, I hope all is well with you... I'm doing great, thanks for asking! Since I have some time, I figured I'd sit down and write a blog. As you can probably imagine if you know anything about my schedule I've been basically slammed, and super busy throughout the last few weeks, and since I work in retail and we're approaching the holiday season, it's about to get even busier. I was going back and forth in my head for the last ten minutes, trying to think about what I should blog about today, and what kinda shooting I've done lately. Then it hit me like a brick... I'm shooting something so different, its like day and night... black and white... Canon and Nikon.
       If the title of this post hadn't given it away, I switched from a Canon 5D Mark III over to a brand new Nikon D810 this month. Fun stuff, and lots of reasons. Here's the story:

       Working at Best Buy creates a lot of challenges for somebody on a Best Buy hourly wage. I'm only half joking. You see, having thousands of dollars of expensive digital imaging toys at work to play with, test out, and compare, enables you to make informed decisions for customers about what they should buy and why they should buy it. The problem is, quite simply, that a good amount of the time, I AM a customer in my own store. I'm surely guilty of spending money on photography, no doubt about it.  When the Nikon D810 arrived in the store for the first time, it was just like any other Nikon camera arriving in the store. For me, as a Canon person, it didn't really create any excitement because it wasn't relevant (or so I thought). I don't say this often so cherish it... "I was wrong."
       The Nikon D810 was in our store for about a week (maybe two) before I even held it in my hand. We had put out a shelf-display so that other people could come in and try it out, but I didn't really care it was there. It wasn't until another camera arrived a few weeks later (the Nikon D750), that I picked up and tested out the D810 for real. I was genuinely excited for the Nikon D750 when it came in because the D750 was supposed to rival the Canon 5D Mark III that I owned already, but come in at a price tag that was just about $1000 less. I enjoyed playing with the D750 for most of that day, but after comparing it side by side with the D810, I just kept getting better results from the D810 than anything I'd ever used before. The files were sharp, detailed, and consistent with great color and dynamic range. All photos for the rest of this blog post will have been taken with the D810.

       Before anybody gets me wrong, I still love Canon cameras and they have a fantastic brand. At mostly any price point, I typically find that buying a Canon camera is the better choice for most people. With that said, at the $3000+ dollar price point (with the exception of the Canon 1Dx), Nikon has really taken the cake with the D810. Coming in at $3,299... it's actually cheaper than the 5D Mark III at its $3,399 price point. Cheaper is relative, because as far as anybody is concerned you're basically spending the same amount of money on either camera, plus an arm, or a leg.
       The D810 has a lot of key advantages over the 5D Mark III, and its strange to say but there really aren't any disadvantages. There's only one thing I miss and I'll talk about that later on. The High-ISO noise performance on the D810 was better than the 5D Mark III by about a whole stop. Which means that if I was comfortably shooting at ISO 1600 before, now I can shoot at ISO 3200 and feel pretty good about it. The most obvious comparison people make is in the megapixel counts. Yes, it's true that the D810 has 36.2 Megapixels, which is immense over the 5D Mark III's sensor which is only 22.3 Megapixels. Regardless, you have to buy expensive lenses if you want to squeeze the TRUE detail out of either one. The extra detail of the 36 megapixel sensor is definitely noticeable, but not entirely necessary for about 90% of things.

       To prove my point, please refer to this above picture of a bumble bee on a flower. This picture, I took the other day with the D810. But this photo doesn't use 36 Megapixels... no, in fact it only uses 1 Megapixel. One single megapixel for this photo, just to prove that it's so vastly unimportant how many megapixels your camera has unless you are printing REALLY large. It's helpful for cropping, but with the right lenses and framing, cropping isn't really necessary for professionals trying to get it right "in-camera." The file sizes on the D810 are immense thought, some as large as 80mb. Yikes!

       My lovely girlfriend Vikki will appreciate me posting her face up in this blog. She's very supportive of my photography and will model for me at any time. I don't think I thank her enough, but she enjoys having new profile pictures to choose from every fifteen seconds.
       One of the things I loved right away on the D810 was the ability to set custom white-balance in six pre-defined slots. That was never available to me on Canon, or if it was... it may have been so hard to find/access that I just never used it. I have white balance presets for the places that I go the most, such as Best Buy. The dynamic range of this camera is incredible as well. I can shoot a single image, and from that image pull back all the detail from the shadows, and the highlights to create an HDR photo from a single snapshot. The dynamic range is measured at 14.8ev... which is pretty impressive compared to the 5D Mark III's dynamic range at about 11.8ev. That means I can recover almost TWICE as much detail from both shadows and highlights of the same photo in Adobe Lightroom.

       One of my favorite things so far with the Nikon, is the ability to use exceptional third party lenses like the Sigma Art series lenses, and the Tamron SP series lenses. This isn't to say that they don't make these for Canon, but I had purchased them in the past, and had almost indefinite issues with them every time. The Sigma Art lenses wouldn't autofocus correctly, and the Tamron image stabilizer would have problems etc... None of that happens on the Nikon. This wasn't something I was really thinking about when I switched, it's just been a cool side effect.
       Most people don't care much for video, but I'll throw in a pitch for the D810 video performance. It out-performs the Canon by a good margin here. Shooting 60 frames per second in contrast to Canon's limit of 30 frames. The dynamic range helps to shoot video and the new "Flat" color profile makes editing a breeze in post-production work.

       Well, there you have it people. A laundry list of reasons why I gave up my Canon system and switched over to Nikon. In summary: Higher Megapixels, Low Noise at High ISO, Better Pro-Functionality Feature Set, Higher FPS on Video, Third Party Lens Selection and Compatibility. This seemed like a good time to make this move.

       I'll wrap up, I know this is a long one, just by the amount of time I've been typing. As always, if you've made it this far, thank you for reading. I hope if you're interested in photography that you got some information from this, and if you aren't interested in photography but you like the pretty pictures, I hope you enjoyed the pretty pictures. Have a wonderful day or night, depending on when you read.

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