Canon Vs. Nikon

Anyone who knows me, really knows me, knows I am super loyal. I stick to same routines, the same system, the same pattern. We’re talking Taco Bell and it’s two hard tacos, and bean burrito. Starbucks and it’s a half-caff hazelnut latte. Underwear…no brainer, that’s Victoria’s Secret. I’ve used the same make-up brand for years, eaten the same brand butter since I was a kid. You get the idea…

So when I finally had it with my Canon 5D Mark i yesterday I was feeling kind of naughty even catching myself checking out blogs that mention the word NIKON. But here I am 24 hours later and starting to reach an epiphany that I never saw coming. After hours upon hours of research I’m learning only now that tons of other professionals out there have experienced the same frustration I have for a long time…the 5D has focusing issues…bad.

Whether it’s the Mark i or it’s predecessor the long awaited Mark ii, professionals all over the world have the same issues I have been dealing with at an increasingly worse rate. I’m out in the field. I take a photo. I set my AF points somewhere around the under eye of my subject. After some test shots I zoom in on my preview screen as close as I can get and feel pretty satisfied as I can be that my photo is in focus. Then, BAM, I get home only to see in Bridge that my hundreds of photos from the shoot are all out of focus.

Now common sense tells me it must be something I did wrong. Did I shoot at the lowest ISO possible? Check. Did I use a high shutter speed? Check. Am I too wide open that I’m getting soft results? Not likely, I am after all using L-series lenses that are meant for this stuff. Hmmmm…will using  a tripod get me better results next time? Tried that. Not only does it suck to have to use a tripod in the type of shooting I do, it also didn’t help. To make matters even worse one of my backup bodies is a 20D. Guess what…it uses the same crappy focus mechanism that I always complained about ever since I got that one too. No wonder I figured it had to be me.

Alas after reading all the varied opinions and experiences of Canon users alike, I am sadly convinced that it’s time to face the facts and give in that maybe Nikon just did it better with their comparative bodies. So many professionals are all saying the same thing, but one stood out more than any other from Chenin Boutwell of Boutwell Studio. It said,

“Canon was good to me, especially back in the day when I rocked a cropped sensor and a 35mm lens for 90% of my shoots. It was simple, reliable and dependable.  Then I got a 5d.  The 5d offered great high ISO features, a full frame, a nice big LCD and the worst focusing system money could buy.
Let me preface this next part by saying that I am a hard-core stickler for sharp images; “A little soft,” or “a little back-focused” is not ok by me.  It’s tack sharp or it get’s the hose. So, as you can imagine, the 5d became quite a handicap for me.  But, nonetheless, I figured out that if I only shot on One Shot and kept my aperture up, I could make in-focus photos.
Despite my near-constant frustration with Canon, I held out for the mythical 5d Mark II – a camera that promised even better ISO, an even bigger sensor, an even fancier LCD and (you guessed it), the same crappy focusing system. At that point, Canon had me by the you-know-whats (I don’t actually have you-know-whats… it’s a euphemism, silly) – I had *thousands* invested in lenses (see below). So I shot my 5d Mark II for the entire 2009 wedding season…. on One-Shot…. using a high aperture… constantly cussing under my breath.
So, there you have it! Canon is a great system…. I will miss some of the lenses and the way the bodies feel in my hands (I still think Nikons are made for a man’s hands and mine don’t quite fit around the grip right).  But, at the end of the day, I am a stickler for focus and Canon just didn’t deliver.”

After the countless ideas of having my camera fixed, getting my expensive lenses calibrated, getting my own eyes checked, I finally have decided it is time to entertain switching to the dark side. Well, maybe it doesn’t need to be so dramatic but that is how is feels. How can I give up on my beloved Canon(s) who I have stood by for years? I can’t believe I am even talking about it. But, enough is enough. I need quality results and I am not willing to settle anymore for second best and hours of “trying” to get my photos the tack-sharp finale they deserve. And, if that means turning my back on my first camera love then damn it, I must do it. Darth Vader can be cool, no? I’m sorry Canon but I have to do what’s best for me now. It was you all along, not me. And, yes, there is someone else.

In conclusion I would love to hear what my fellow photographers have to share. If you have had an experience like mine, or know anything about it please feel free to hit me up and fill me in. You can post on this handy dandy blog here or shoot me an email. Thanks for listening to my rant.

11 thoughts on “Canon Vs. Nikon

    • I think adding photos or illustrations always makes a site more appealing to attract your viewers. You can either find stock images or the internet (sometimes for a fee) or ask a photographer whose work you like if you can use their images. Just make sure to give credit when needed. What is the content of your blog?

  1. Wow, Ive been using the 5D and a 20d (backup) and have had the same exact problems with focus. Everything you discussed is exactly what I have experienced. As you, I have thought it was just me doing something wrong. Forums are no help either as some jack@$$ will chime in and tell me I just don’t know how to use the camera. I have fought it and fought it, using L lenses and being so careful to focus on the right spot. Sent it in to a camera repair and they tell me they find nothing wrong. Then, a friend shoots along side me with a Nikon and I switch off with her to test it out. Hers is getting more shots in focus than mine is. ARRGG!!!

    I’ve been considering stepping up to the Mark II but now I just might reconsider. I have really hated the thought of going to the dark side as well but I cant continue this way either.
    Thanks for posting your experience.

    • Hi Robert! Sorry it took me so long to reply. I was at the Photoshop convention in Vegas, where I actually touched on this subject with Scott Kelby. I will be posting a follow up to my experience with the issue soon so you will be able to see my findings. Would love to hear your feedback there.

      Isn’t it funny how you think you’re going nuts until someone comes along to reassure you that you’re not!! I’m still undecided on switching since I’ve learned the 5d mark iii is due out after x-mas. Not sure if the info is accurate but I did hear it straight from a Canon dealer.

      As far as Phoenix…I would only wish my worst enemies to reside in this #%$? desert. I have a great life generally, I’d just like to relocate it to a cooler and less scorpion infested place :o)

      • Photoshop World! FUN, wish I could go. I look forward to hearing all about what it was like. I can only imagine what Scott Kelby would have said to you since he is such a Nikonian.

        I didn’t know about the Mk III coming out that soon. Good to know. Hopefully they not only fixed the focusing issues but the rolling shutter phenomenon when panning video.

        Oh ya, the Scorpions! My Mom lives in Mesa and cant walk to the kitchen at night without a flashlight in fear of stepping on one. :P

  2. My first Canon was an A2 35mm, then on to a Rebel XT and now I use 40D. I have had focusing issues with both digital cameras. Same experience as you. It’s funny, I was just telling a friend today that I think I have serious camera shake issues because I can’t get my images tack sharp! But it happens even with my tripod. I also think its funny that you refer to Nikon as the dark side…I saw that and realized that is exactly how I feel whenever I hear about Nikon or see people using them. And I’m not even sure why! I never have used one, just have always loved Canons. Even with all my lenses and flash, I will consider Nikon when it’s time to upgrade. Not have sharp images is unacceptable in this day and age, and especially for how much these cameras cost! Thanks for the post, glad I stumbled on it!

  3. The grass is always greener on the other side! Two months ago my Nikon D300 failed with only 40k shutter actuations. It has been in an authorized Nikon repair shop for 7 weeks waiting on a DC/DC power board ($265 repair), and the Nikon parts department cannot give the repair shop an estimated delivery date. My PocketWizard Transmitter that was attached to the hotshoe of my D300 went bad when my D300 power failed, so I am looking at an additional $100-150 in repairs. Two weeks ago my D70 backup body with 30k shutter actuations failed ($235 repair). I have no bodies and have to rent, costing me even more money. I am now thoroughly disappointed in Nikon product reliability, technical support, and parts/repair support, and am looking at moving to Canon!

    • I guess you can’t win either way! After making a few adjustments I am definitely seeing a huge difference. The only thing is that I firmly believe if you’re going to drop a couple thousand bucks on a camera body it should work right out of the box with all these additional expenses. No matter what it all adds up in price so it’s such a bummer when it breaks. Best of luck of to you!

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