Firstly, I feel I should preface this post with the fact that I hate the Canon vs. Nikon conversation. It has the power to repel me from a room, much like playing the music of Westlife and Avenged Sevenfold (if you don't know them, don't Google them - life is too short). Even writing the title of this blog post made me get up and leave my desk. It's breakfast time and I need complex carbohydrates to get through this post.
Opinions on which is better are in huge supply, just Google 'Canon or Nikon' (OMG don't actually do it) and you're awash in a sea of opinions. I realise by writing this post I’m adding to the pile, but my opinions are important and correct so bear with me.
If you’re about to yell ‘But Leica!’, go and sit quietly in the corner. Don’t be that guy.
How to start a riot: walk into a group of photographers and ask them, ‘Which is better, Canon or Nikon?’ They will shout at you for asking the question, but don’t worry, as they will soon be screaming at each other about autofocus and chromatic aberration. Some people easily descend into brand tribalism.
And it is just. So. Boring.
Whenever I meet another photographer, two questions pop into my head. Firstly, do they use the same brand as I do? Secondly, if they don’t are they going to be weird about it? How a photographer ends up with the brand of camera they use varies from person to person. It could be down to price, compatible kit, function, opportunity, a gift or even just how it feels when they hold it. And they’re all perfectly legitimate reasons. But once they've made that decision, there’ll be some photographers demanding they justify their choice. And with companies like Sony with their mirrorless cameras joining the conversation, along with Olympus, Sigma, Fuji and Panasonic also having high level cameras on the market, it can get quite competitive. People can get preoccupied with the minutia of technical capabilities of different cameras, forgetting that all cameras on the market today are incredibly advanced and capable of most jobs. People can get caught up in minor technical specifics, when at the end of the day, if it works for you then that is all that matters.
But maybe Canon or Nikon are better in different photography areas? For instance, is one brand better than the other for sports photography. Some people will tell you Canon is superior (easy to change lenses, quick burst rate), and others will tell you Nikon is much better (sharper images, cheaper kit). There’s reasons to choose either brand, and you’ll find sports photographers happily using either brand.
Largely, the camera you use doesn’t really matter. Composition and lighting are key, and lens choice is also a factor. But whatever you shoot with doesn’t matter so long as it gets the job done. Yes, it’s great to have the latest tech, the quietest shutter, with wifi, 4K filming and the ability to make your tea in the morning (I’m emailing Canon about my ideas for a 5D Mark T). But you can still take a terrible picture with the best kit. The camera alone will not improve your photography. There’s rarely a situation where you’d have taken a better picture with the other brand. There are a few times when the camera body is important. For instance if you shoot weddings or sports photography, you’ll want a camera that can shoot and write files quickly. If you’re shooting a billboard ad for a client, you’ll want to use a camera with a high resolution like a high end DSLR or even a medium format camera. But both Canon and Nikon provide great cameras and kit for every area of photography. There are incredible wedding photographers who shoot with Nikon, and there are incredible wedding photographers who shoot with Canon. There are amazing photographers who shoot with their iPhone, and amazing photographers that rock the shiniest Hasselblad.
If you’ve found a brand that offers something your current camera can’t do, look into switching brands. Go ahead. Live your life. If you’re buying a DSLR camera for the first time, do some research into what you want to do, and which cameras offer what you need. Go to a camera shop (ideally local and independent) and talk to the customer assistants. Try out the cameras. Hold them. Caress them. Then leave the store because that’s not an appropriate thing to do with cameras. Just find something that works for you, and don’t let someone bully you into buying the brand that they use if it’s not right for you. There’s room in the market for both Canon and Nikon. They're both good companies with good products and good customer service.
At this point you may be wondering why I use a Canon. So why do I have a Canon? When I was doing an arts degree at university and wanted a decent camera, there was a cheap Canon DSLR on offer in Jessops. I liked using it so kept with the brand. That's it.
My point is, you should give a shit about your camera. But it is pointless in getting caught up in the argument of which brand is superior.
Because Canon is better.
Just kidding, please don’t send me angry emails.