As soon as I start talking to someone about photography, I know that the Canon vs Nikon question is going to come up.It is as As inevitable as the Ford vs Holden question, or in mountain bike terms, the 26″ vs 29″ (we’re not even going to mention 27.5″). But it’s the wrong question. A pointless question. It really doesn’t matter, so long as you shoot Canon, ride 29″ wheels, and drive a Subaru, we can still be friends. Kidding. But not about it being a pointless question. It’s absolutely about what you do with it.
When I bought my first digital slr, it was my first introduction to the two major brands – Canon and Nikon. I’d previously been shooting on an Olympus OM-2n, mainly because that’s what Dad shot with, so before heading off on my “gap year”, I bought a secondhand one because that was what I was familiar with. Two years later, I found myself on a job in the camera department of a feature film, and the cinematographer was getting very excited about how far digital SLR cameras had come. He was shooting stills on set with a Canon 20d, and using them almost like an exposure metre – judging the overall balance of the shot through the preview on the back of the camera. His reasoning behind going with Canon was that their CMOS sensor handled images a lot more closely to the film that he was shooting motion picture with when compared to Nikon (which I think at the time were using a CCD sensor – fact check this***). Suffice to say, being the budding cinematographer that I was, I promptly went out and bought a Canon 20D for myself! It could just have easily been Nikon, and I really don’t think my path would have been any different. I’m sure that there was something that the Nikon bodies did better than Canon back then, but for my intended usage Canon was the way to go.
And of course I jumped on the Canon bandwagon – oh you shoot Nikon? I guess we don’t have anything to talk about. Of course we have things to talk about! We both take photos yes? We both rely on the interplay between light and shadow to create interesting images! We both use a box with some glass on the front and a hole up the back and some kind of light collecting medium at the end. What wheel size do you ride? I ride a bike.
The upside of course is choice. If you can look through all the marketing nonsense, we as the consumer now have so much choice, and can choose the right tool for what we intend to do with it. Be that a 29″ hardtail for marathon races, or a mid-travel all mountain 26″ for a smaller rider doing downhill enduro events, we now have a wide variety of options to draw on. In the camera world, those choices are becoming very interesting indeed, especially when you see long established professional putting down their large, heavy, solid Nikon and Canon cameras, and looking at the smaller mirrorless and micro 4/3 options coming out from Fujifilm, Olympus, Panasonic, and Sony.
My point is a camera is a camera is a camera. And to quote one of my inspirations, Chase Jarvis – “the best camera is the one that’s with you“. With so much choice, and the picture quality that is coming out of these cameras, even out of the smartphone in your pocket, there’s no time to be worrying about whether you’ve got a Nikon or a Canon. Just shut up and take some photos! Or go ride your bike!