A Geek Moment


Allow me to be a geek for a moment!  Ok, this is pretty much going to be your classic Nikon vs Canon debate topic.  As kind of a gearhead, I follow the rumors swelling in the camera industry.  Mostly what Canon is doing, but I do like to keep my eye on what Nikon is doing, and to a lesser extent Sony, as what they do does matter to me.  I am a canon shooter.  Why, well, when I bought my first dslr, it was a canon.  I held a Sony and just didn’t like it.  I held the Nikon, liked it but it didn’t feel right.  Held the canon and my hands just melted with it – so that’s what I started with and now that I have invested more than I care to admit here in canon glass, leaving them just makes no sense for what I’d get in return. 

To sum up the camera world for those that aren’t in the know, your big 2 are familiar names – canon and Nikon.  Sony has some decent stuff but they have their hands in so many projects that it’s hard to take them too seriously.  Where Sony does excel though is in sensors.  And right now Sony is making the sensors for a few Nikon bodies – most notably their D800 (now the D810).

Bottom-line – both are great systems which have their strengths and weaknesses.  For quite some time canon had the mega-pixel edge where Nikon had better low light and AF (auto focus).  Then with the launch of the Canon 5d3/the 1DX, and the Nikon d800/D4, the tables turned.  Nikon now not only had MP’s (36MP’s on the d800 to Canon’s 22MP’s).  But, of greater concern to many is that they also capture a greater dynamic range than Canons in good light (or low ISO work).  

What does that mean, stated in the simplest of terms, that means the current Nikon sensors allow more freedom to push and pull shadows.  Said in a way that makes more sense – you are standing in a field.  You can see the grass, you can see your wife, you can see the blue sky, you can see the fluffy clouds.  You try to take a picture of it, more than likely the sky is a ball of white, or, your wife and the grass is lost in the shadow becoming a silhouette.   If you read my previous blog post titles new gear for a new year you’d notice that I am using off camera lighting to make the scene more balanced.  But in a pinch, no time to set up anything, you either expose for the shadows or for the highlights and right now Nikon does give you more freedom in that area.

From the sounds of it, you should just switch to Nikon?  Nope!  Canon still has quite a bit going for them.  Their AF is outstanding and their high ISO (low light) capabilities do outdo Nikons.  Using DR to solve all problems is not the solution.  Even with a Nikon, I would not have enough DR.  I’d still want more shadow, and more highlight.  I’d still be using off camera light which is what should be mastered!  And with in that regard, canon does a splendid job.  Skill and tech do go hand and hand after all. 

With that said, I may use canon but I am not sponsored by them.  I am not a fanbois.  Why won’t I add a Nikon?  Well, because of the $3000-10,000 cost!  A D800 alone would be close to $2800.  Then add lenses.  The total goes up real quick.  And I like too much of what canon has to offer in low light work, plus, I find canon lenses to be superior.  Not to mention, yikes, those that have worked with me have seen my big bag.  It is big and it is FULL.  Another full system with it’s own set of lenses, yikes!!!!  If I added a Nikon body, I would end up getting 1 prime lens and it would come out for brief moments throughout the course of the day.  I just don’t see there being enough return on investment to make that move.

So, maybe at some point down the line adding a system may be in the deck, but now, no!  One system is enough.  And, as things go, Canon will catch Nikon with their sensors, possibly in the next round of upgrades.

There seems to be a lot of hype forming around the expected replacement for the 7d.  Canon seems to be saying this will be a revolutionary upgrade.  One of its rumored features is a newly designed sensor, which may be the template for next round of Full Frame Body upgrades.  I probably won’t be buying a 7d2, it’s just not what I need in a camera.  I rarely shoot at the full speed the camera offers so 8-10 frames per second is just overkill.  And I don’t need the reach advantage a crop sensor camera provides.  Even if the new tech sensor is groundbreaking, I highly doubt it would surpass the ISO capabilities of the 5d3 or the 6d (if they can come close to matching it that would still be a huge advancement.). 

The 7d2 does interest me though because this new sensor may be the answer to Canon’s low ISO IQ and DR issues.  If it is, then not only will this tech will make its way into the next versions of Full Frame Camera’s, it means we may see a refresh to the 5 and 1 series bodies  sooner than expected (yes, I would leap at a 5d4 in a heartbeat!)  Yes, I would totally welcome more DR.  And who wouldn’t want better quality at base ISO’s?  Yes, Yes, YES – bring it on!!!

My concern though is that when that time comes they will try to leap frog Nikon with a 40 MP monster (which has been talked of in rumor for the past year).  And that one vexes me – more MP’s would be welcome, but that really taxes my storage capabilities.  2 TB drives would fill up real quick with 40 MP’s and I’d need to have more CF cards on hand.  Then there’s the post side of things – my computer is already hitting its limits with the combination of Lightroom, Photoshop and Indesign.  I am about to upgrade, going the build on my current bones method – first add more RAM, then graphics card, then solid state drive – but, if we step into 40MP per file territory,  it will lead to lots of staring at the screen waiting for the files to be ready to work on.  So I hope they don’t go too crazy with the 5d4 – keep it reasonable, 30 MP’s would be enough.  Or hell, improved low ISO and DR with a 26 MP sensor for the 5d4 would be pretty sweet, then they can go nutty and introduce a new series built towards that high MP count.  I’d be all over that route – with a 5 series for ceremony and reception. Then the big MP body comes out for the posed stuff with the bride and groom, and engagement shoots.  That would be absolutely fantastic! 

We can dream right?  Speculation aside, I foresee this as being in interesting year in terms of camera development.  Either way, Canon seems to be pretty good at keeping to a 3-4 year upgrade cycle for their pro bodies.  The 5d3 is going on its 3rd year.  Originally I figured it would the 5d4 would be announced late in 2015, released in 2016.  But ya never know, if the new sensor is that good it may come sooner than that.  I want one!

I think that’s where I can call this one a wrap.  Sorry about how tangential this post is.  Just having a geek moment!