One of the most asked questions I get from photographers these days is, "Why did you switch from Canon to Nikon". The answer in a nutshell is: for how I shoot, Nikon is a better fit for my style. It really is that simple. The first camera I bought when I started in photography was a Canon Rebel. Then as I got a little better I moved to the 5D mark II and 1D Mark III. The last Canon body I had was the 5D mark III. I have been with Canon since day one and to be really honest, I thought I would be with them till the day I stopped shooting. But just like most things in life…nothing lasts forever.
How the switch happened was I got an opportunity to try out some Nikon gear to see what I thought of it. Up to that point I had avoided touching a Nikon product like it was poison ivy! I had stated on many and many occasions that I would not touch a Nikon product in fear, if it was better than my Canon gear, I would sell all my gear at a loss to get the Nikon gear; so I stayed far away. Then when the opportunity presented itself to me I thought, “What the hell! Go for it” So, I did.
When I got my hands on the gear the first thing that struck me was how well it fit my hands and felt like a real camera. What I mean by that is the only other system I have shot is the Fuji XT1, which I bought on a whim when I was at B&H in NYC. I bought it thinking I wanted a nice travel camera that was more compact from my big bodies. I really liked the images the Fuji produced I never EVER considered it as my workhorse. The Fuji just never felt right, but holding the D810 it had a great feel which was cool.
I unboxed it and the lenses and immediately tried to mount a lens and let me tell you what a shock I had when I realized it mounted the opposite of what I was accustomed to. The damn lenses mount by tuning the opposite way of the Canon. It’s such a small think but it really tripped me up at first.
Once I got some instruction on how to shoot I did my first test with the Nikon D810. If you don’t know about my shooting style I shoot VERY contrasty and about 95% of everything I shoot these days is with a single light. I’m a freak for metering, but a lot of the times my shadows get very dark in my raw files in the shadows. Then when I take the files into the post I have to try to pull info out of dark. Typically when I start to pull out the details in very dark parts of my images with the Canon files, they start to get muddy and breakup at a certain point. Which wasn’t a big deal because that was how I was used to dealing with my files. Then I shot the D810.
The best way to describe my reaction to the files the D810 produced vs my 5D III, in regards to the information I could pullout of the shadows would be like when the cavemen found fire. I literally could not believe what I was seeing. I shot the D810 the very same way as I shot my 5D III and took the images into the post the very same way and went through my workflow in the very same way, but when it came time to pull up the shadows it was a whole new ball game for me. I was able to see things and save things in the shadows I could never in the Canon files. It literally was a game changer for what I could do and where I could take my image. To make sure it was not a fluke I shoot ten more practice sessions in a week to gather info and prove to myself what I was about to do was the right thing for me.
So, that is it. I moved systems and I have never looked back and I have to say I’m 1000% pleased with my decision. I can’t speak to all styles, but I do know if you are a shooter who shoots super contrasty like me and you are not currently using the Nikon system that at bare minimum I would for sure explore what Nikon and their sensor can do for you and your style of work, because I know what it did for mine!