Why I moved from Nikon to Canon

Written by: Glyn Dewis

Published: October 14, 2013

Category: General

Hey Everyone,

Hope you had a good weekend.

Ok so today I thought I’d kick the week off with an explanation…

Any of you who follow me on Social Media (Google+ , Facebook, Twitter) will likely be aware that there have been some changes going on around here lately with regards to equipment i.e. the move from Priolite to now using Elinchrom lighting and now most recent being the move from Nikon to Canon.

Now before I explain my reasons for moving I just need to make a few important things clear:

Firstly, I’ve not been sponsored by Canon nor indeed have I even spoken to Canon before or after this decision and I certainly don’t subscribe to the whole Nikon v Canon, Canon v Nikon mentality. In short my reasons for changing are purely down to what is now best for my business and my way of working / shooting.

I don’t think that one camera necessarily produces better images than the other and I have many Professional Photographer friends who shoot Nikon and will continue to do so. In fact no one is more surprised at the change to Canon than me because I’ve been with Nikon from Day 1 and the cameras I’ve owned have served me extremely well; I never thought I would need or want to change but then I guess as they…Never say Never!

We all hear the comment that it’s not the camera that makes the pictures it’s the Photographer and yeah I totally agree however the reasons I have changed to Canon IS a camera based decision but not masses of reasons; just a few that I’ve explained below…

99.9% of the time I shoot tethered to my MacBook PRO whether I be shooting for clients, personal shooting or teaching at a workshop but one thing that has always bugged me is that when shooting tethered with a Nikon, there doesn’t appear to be a way of seeing the images appear both on the computer AND the cameras LCD.

You might think “Why would you want to see the images on the camera when you’re tethered anyway?” and yeah I could understand you thinking that but for me I like to make a quick check on the back of the camera of the composition, that the lighting is still ok etc without stopping completely and going over to the computer. It’s also handy for me when shooting at a seminar or workshop when attendees can see the larger screen which is facing them that I can see the image on the camera rather than having to wander over to look at the ‘attendees’ screen too…does that make sense? In short it would give me a quick reference check and that for ME is important and how I shoot. with Canon I CAN see images on the back of the camera whilst tethering.

Also continuing on the subject of tethering, I’m paranoid about backing up, and shooting Nikon doesn’t do much to help with this. Maybe it is possible but I’ve never found a way when shooting tethered with a Nikon to have the image files write both to the camera AND the computer; all I can ever have, it seems, is the files being written to the computer.

When tethering I do also have an external drive plugged in to back up the files during the shoot as we go through it BUT there are times when shooting into Lightroom I have experienced issues with the files not coming through for some reason. I’ll be shooting away getting all excited, as I do, seeing files coming into the computer and then for some reason the tethering will hang and some of the shots I knew were spot on never appear. Having the files write to both Camera and Computer would and will prevent this happening from now on as Canon allows me to do exactly this.

File Size
Ok so this one is down to me and NOT Nikon’s fault / problem.

When I upgraded to the Nikon D800 I didn’t quite anticipate that it would mean upgrading each and every computer I use too because of the file size. Had I been the kind of person who only did a small amount of retouching on each image I’m sure this wouldn’t have been necessary however when some of my images can result in 60+ layers the files sizes do get a little large to say the least.

However the upgrading wasn’t such a bad thing; what was though was giving RAW files to workshop attendees to work on during a workshop. Not everyone has an all singing all dancing computer and D800 files when being worked on in Photoshop would very quickly cause them issues.

Quite simply I prefer the Canon range of lenses that are available; nothing more I can add to that. Oh and I’ll resist mentioning how fiddly I found screwing on a Nikon lens hood; not saying it is fiddly in general…I’m just saying the Canon ones I find very easy to click into place whereas the Nikon ones I found never quite went on straight away. Yeah…petty I know and hardly a reason to change but as we’re on the subject I though I’d mention it anyway 🙂

•    •    •

So there you have it…nothing earth shattering, not a stream of likes and dislikes and maybe nothing you’re surprised at now you’ve read it.

Certainly none of this “Canon are much better than Nikon” baloney but rather my explanation as to why I felt the need to change brands was best for my business and my way of working and what I do. Canon is just another essential creative tool BUT one that is more Fit for Purpose…and again, for me…not necessarily for you!

Let me finish by saying this…
I still have a soft spot for Nikon. My old D3 that I sold a while back was a total work horse…great piece of kit. My D800 also great although if I’m honest I never really needed to upgrade from my D3 because it was perfectly adequate. Nikon had been with me from the very first day I started shooting and my portfolio to this point has been made using only Nikon. I was never left stranded because of a camera breaking down on me or anything like that and if anyone ever asks me what camera brand I should buy I’ll never answer a straight Canon, Nikon or other brand but rather ask what they intend to do with it.

However, I’m very excited to now be shooting Canon with the 5D Mark III being my camera of choice and the 24-105mm f4.0 and the 70-200mm f/2.8 MK II being my ‘Go To‘ lenses; rest assured I’ll keep you posted with how I get on.

So I hope you can see and understand my reasoning here in that this is 100% a business / work practice decision because when all is said and done the most important thing is that your kit allows you to do what you want / need to do and there’s no point sticking with a brand ‘just because’ …  well, that’s my opinion anyway 🙂

Catch you tomorrow,

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  1. Matt Campbell

    Well I am glad to hear it wasn’t anything from a image quality issue. I shoot Nikon and have from day 1 and often wonder Nikon or Canon when the question of upgrade comes up. But then I see the bulky white lenses and think no thanks. Again it’s just a petty thing. I look forward to hearing how it goes. I have heard the Canon and more internal menu driven vs Nikon having quick access to setting on the body. Let use know how it goes. PS Love my D3 and will shoot with them till they die.

    • Glyn

      Hey Matt..thanks for commenting.
      Yeah the D3 is a fantastic piece of kit; solid, reliable and great files…I even liked the sound of the shutter…geeky huh 🙂
      Will def’ keep you posted how the change goes.

      Regards, Glyn

  2. Brad

    Thanks for the details and the courage to write my own – plan to link to your article, but I had my own reserved choices before. Learned about tethering and didn’t know of the limitations; I do now!

  3. Dave Prill

    Great read, I feel fortunate that we are able to enjoy the level of quality now available among not only camera manufactures, but all the other “tool makers” we utilize in our craft. Workflows develop over time, they become as individual as a fingerprint and luckily we now have the ability to taylor our equipment to meet our needs rather than the other way around.

    • Glyn

      @Dave Prill … Well said that man! Thanks

  4. Samet

    Glad to know that you did not change because of the Nikon quality. I feel more reassured for buying a new nikon and upgrade my gears. Thank you for your clear explanations.
    Best regards

  5. John

    I think that the brand of camera’s is an personal thing. All brands make outstanding cameras.

  6. DaveT

    Totally makes sense. You have to go with what works best for how you shoot and work. If it’s going to make life simpler, give you more peace of mind, and help you in your business – then its the right decision for you.

    Although we might attach a lot of sentiment to our photographic gear (and I do with mine)- at the end of the day it’s a tool.

    Cheers Glyn

  7. Spy Black

    Glyn, I hope you find you new arrangement worthwhile, however, I should say that, after working in a studio for a couple of years shooting with a 24-105, you may want to consider another lens. That lens is quite miserable. Either spend some bucks and get the 24-70 Canon, or look elsewhere. FYI.

  8. Konstantin

    That’s the point, Glyn! Like your cold decision without any brand addiction (can I say so? 🙂 ), just based on what fits your needs!

  9. Gavin Hall

    Terrible article – far too reasonable. This is a Canon/Nikon post is it not? How are we meant to flame you after that. 😀

  10. Mark

    Hi Glyn glad you have come over to the dark side;) I have a canon 70-200mk2 superb lens for portrait work. What I would say my 100-400 lens hood is a so cheap feeling and its a pain to get on and off, hope they have resolved them with the latest 100-400. However its a superb lens for wild life.

    Anyway welcome aboard you wont be dissatisfied.


  11. kev

    Wishing you all the best with the switch Glyn. Loving your online stuff. I would however disagree with the comment about the 24-105 lens. Its not a bad lens at all. I’d even go as far to say its really versatile. And its good enough for Joel Grimes.

  12. Barry Paffey

    If you like shooting tethered do your self a big favour and get the Canon wireless adapter and a great plugin for Lightroom called ‘Folder Watch’ by Jeffrey Friedl; http://regex.info/blog/lightroom-goodies/folder-watch. I use it mainly for event work and the odd fashion shoot; it works faultlessly! It can be a bit tricky to set the Canon wireless system up, but if you need any help drop me a line. Hope you enjoy your new Canon, I have been with them for years and never experienced any problems.

  13. Johan Stoopendaal

    It’s not the equipment that makes the pictures, it’s the man (or woman) holding the equipment.

  14. John Webb


    Totally agree with regard to the file size of the D800 and having to upgrade computer. Hopefully awaiting the NAPP Apple discount to include the UK so I can by the fastest iMac available, currently at £3k, ouch, at a discounted price. Hope all goes well with your switch to Cannon.


  15. Harmeet Gabha

    Hi Glyn,
    I must admit that having seen your training classes on KelbyTraining.com I have to agree that its the right choice based on what you do and functionality needs. Although i didn’t know Nikon couldn’t do these things, which I took for granted. I am shooting with 7D and have several Canon L lens inc. 24-105mm. Look forward to more stories mate!!

  16. Matt

    If the reasons are adequate for you, go for it. Although, I have a feeling once you get well acquainted with the Canon gear you’ll find shortcomings that Nikon or brand X would fill. That’s the way it works, no manufacturer is perfect, and they’re always changing.

  17. John Sammonds

    I am looking to move away from Nikon as I am having issues with there cameras, when working fast the dials buttons and things are to easy to move and mess exposures , there is an inability to lock the exposure and its very frustrating. But im not looking at Canon rather the Fuji Xpro 1. Most of my competition prints are from the X100 no less and for me it feels like a real camera, we pay our money and take what’s on offer I used to love Nikon but when issues in the way one works a camera soon makes you think about what else is out there and can I work better with that.

  18. Darren House

    Hi Glyn

    Great post. I was sat there nodding to your woes and agree they would bug me.

    I am sure this will be one of the most well read posts. Great to see that there wasn’t many differences as I am sure they are all very similar.


  19. Peter vR

    Good comments Glyn, pragmatic for sure. I too was incredibly frustrated by the D800 tethering support until I tried Nikon Camera Control Pro, which allows you to set storage to “PC + Card” and does exactly what you (and me!) want. I then setup Lightroom to auto import my folder where the tethered images go.
    When using CC Pro with ViewNX it’s actually surprisingly fast, even with a USB 2.0 connection (faster than Lightroom for sure), of course even better on my Retina laptop with USB 3.0.

    As for the large file sizes, if it’s that much of a problem for your students, you could shoot in 1.2 crop or even DX mode.

    Best of luck and keep up the great content!

  20. John

    I won’t join in he actual photography debate for I am not worthy but I am interested to know why you opted for the ‘why I am not using Nikon’ graphic rather than the more positive ‘why I am going to use Canon’ one. Good luck anyway. As someone who has experience of importing one of your D800 files, I can certainly empathise with that reason (more down to the limitations of my laptop, I fear).

  21. Piotr

    I am sure you will continue producing great images with Canon gear as well. Good luck!
    To Nikon: do something with this lens hood, will ya!!! 🙂

  22. Marc Greco

    That is interesting to know Glyn, I have never shot tethered before but all your points are valid and I can understand why you switched across now.
    Up until now I have favored Nikon and like you it has served me well, however should the way I shoot change and the other brand be more suitable I will not feel so bad changing across.

  23. Lee

    Wow, Glen I really surprised to see you make the switch and even more surprised at the reasons. You mentioned nothing about how the 14 stops of dynamic range of D800, or that the 36 megapixels give you more data to work with when retouching or cropping.

    I too tether a large percentage of the time. I believe this was mentioned above but the tethering issue is NOT a Nikon issue but how each company implements their software. For example Apple’s Aperture writes to the card and computer. I can’t remember but I think Capture One does the same. So the complaint should have been directed toward Adobe not Nikon.

    As a commercial photographer I want high quality images, that might mean shooting with a 60mp Medium format camera and last think I care about is the file size. The D800 is a medium format camera in a 35mm body and I don’t get the complaint about file size. Disk space is the cheapest thing we spend money on. 4tb drive is about $150 and coming down every day. Some photographers spend more on camera straps.

    When I started shooting with D800 I wanted to reshoot everything I ever shot because the files were that much better over the D3. To me these RAW files are my negatives and I want them shot in the highest quality. Most will never ever be able to be reshot.

    I am truly happy you have a camera you like and your work certainly doesn’t suffer. 🙂

  24. Lee

    I am shocked at how much MISINFORMATION is repeated by people who do not do their research.

    John Sammonds
    John, Every Nikon camera from the D7100 on up allows you to lock Aperture, Shutter Speed, and even the mode.

    Common guys you are suppose to be photographers not appliance operators.

  25. justscott

    This sounds a whole lot like my train of thought right now! What do you think about the change now in late 2016? Also 5d iii (possibly used) vs the mark iv? The price gap is astronomical but are the new features worth it? I don’t do a lot of video but the AF in video mode seems great, especially the dual pixel AF on the mark iv. HD is fine for me and I don’t care about 4K, but flicker detection on the mark iv might be nice too. Does that work when shooting stills as well??

    Anyway, love to hear your thoughts a few years after this article was posted. Thanks!

  26. Toronto Images

    I agree Nikon gear is good but their CS in Toronto, Canada must be among the worst among all Nikon offices. Their Google review is around 3. If you read the comments, you’ll be surprised . I didn’t believed it until it was my turn of living it on my own flesh…Considering other brands (Sony or Canon)



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