Nothing gets a photo discussion going faster than the question, “Which brand of camera do you prefer?” Every brand has its legions of adherents. Canon and Nikon are the front running favourites, but other brands, such as Sony, Fuji, and Pentax have their fans as well. So why choose one brand over another?
I was talking about this with a friend just a day ago – he admitted he chose Nikon mainly because that brand had a particular lens he coveted and Canon didn’t seem to have anything similar enough. I suppose some might choose based on what is available to them where they live. Although you can buy anything on the internet these days, some people still prefer to go to a photo shop where they can get personal service and advice. Or maybe the choice just comes down to personal feelings.
I’m an admitted Nikon user, although I do own a Canon point-and-shoot that takes excellent pictures. And I’ve used Mamiya and Pentax film SLRs – they were good cameras. But I chose Nikon for my DSLRs, just based on personal feelings.
My first SLR was a Yashica my father owned and lent to me when I was a teenager. When I showed an interest in SLR photography, my father bought me a Mamiya SLR as a present. I used that camera for ages – and when the body gave out and I couldn’t get it fixed where I lived, I was fortunate to find another Mamiya body just like it to replace it. Good thing – I had a lot of lenses for that Mamiya.
Mamiya stopped making SLRs at some point and they went back to just the medium format cameras they offer today. The Mamiya had been a totally manual camera. You did everything yourself – calculated exposure and set up ISO, shutter speed and f-stop with dials. By the 1990s, newer cameras were appearing that functioned on “Automatic”. You could still go manual if you wanted, but you also had the choice of Aperture Priority or even full Automatic. And, they would focus for you too – particularly appealing to me since my parents discovered I was just about blind in the 6th grade. I’ve always had to wear thick glasses and focussing can be a problem. What a blessing automatic focus is!
I tried out Pentax for a while, but found it was difficult to get Pentax equipment where I live in Winnipeg. The Pentax took good pictures, no hassles with that. But it was a problem to get much beyond the basics. Even then, you got a better selection of lenses and other equipment with Nikon and Canon.
When digital cameras first made their appearance – at least their commercially viable appearance – it was mostly point-and-shoots on offer. Yeah, you could get a professional DSLR from Nikon for about $36,000… WAY out of my price range! So if you wanted to try out digital, point-and-shoots were the way to try it.
Actually, my first actual digital camera was a clunky little thing from Kodak – they seemed to have something “workable” out before anyone else. It would only take 8 pictures, max, and they were so low res, you could barely make out the subject. But it was fun!
Then I tried a boxy little Panasonic, which was a big step up. Still pretty basic though. So I finally got a Canon Elph. That little Elph took really great pictures – sharp and it was really easy to use. I used that camera very happily for several years. In fact, I’ve still got it.
Finally, the manufacturers came out with some affordable DSLRs aimed at consumers and semi-pros. They didn’t have all the bells and whistles of the really expensive top-of-the-line cameras but they were financially viable to someone on a budget and did the job.
At this point, I wanted to upgrade to a DSLR. It seemed likely I might choose a Canon since I’d been so happy with the little Elph. But…
I guess the Devil whispered in my ear and reminded me I’d always, always, always wanted a Nikon…
I didn’t have one when I was a teenager – they were an expensive camera so not something I would have received as a gift. And once I had acquired all that Mamiya glass, well – you tend to remain with the camera that your lenses fit. I supposed I could have looked at Pentax.. but still, I’d always wanted a Nikon.
You see, back then, when you saw all those fabulous photos in National Geographic, or photojournalism shots in Life or where ever, they always seemed to point out that the photographer had used a Nikon. So when I was young, it seemed to me that when you’d “arrived”, you’d be using a Nikon.
Since it doesn’t really matter which brand you choose when you start off with a new system – 6 of one or half a dozen of the other – I figured, why not choose the Nikon? So I did.
Of course, once you make the choice, you are locked into buying the lenses that go with that body. So you are Nikon or Canon from then on. And that’s how I got to be using a Nikon. After all, one Nikon body, eventually leads to another when you upgrade… And you’ve already got all those lenses. But I’m completely happy with my choice.