Thursday, January 10, 2008

Brand Wars

So I get a lot of people asking me what brand I shoot with and why. When you decide to buy a DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) camera, you have a few different choices on the market today. Let me start by saying that all brands create great products and any amateur photog would be satisfied with the quality that they put out. That being said, once you go pro there are really only two choices, Canon and Nikon. Choose carefully, because once you choose it is likely you won’t ever switch due to the difficulty of learning a new system, buying new lenses, etc. Remember that both are multi-billion dollar quality manufacturers that have been making amazing optics for consumer, industrial, and government applications for decades.

I shoot Canon. I don’t use aftermarket lenses or products (flashes, battery packs, etc.), only genuine Canon. I did a lot of research about cameras and chose Canon for many reasons. First of all, they use a CMOS image sensor, and they manufacture it themselves. Nikon doesn’t even make their own image sensor, Sony makes it for them. Think about it this way, would you want to buy a car from a company that doesn’t make their own engines? Me either. Also, Nikon uses a CCD sensor, which transfers digital information differently (and in my opinion, less efficiently) than do Canon’s CMOS. Also, Canon now offers a DIGIC III processor, arguably the greatest image processor ever. You can find this processor in cameras starting as low as $699 (the Canon G7). Next, Canon was the first to come out with a full-frame DSLR (in the 5D). Nikon just came out with one in 2007, Canon’s came out three years ago. They are constantly ahead of the game and all the competition. Also, I prefer Canon lenses. The L series lenses have two aspherical elements and supreme optical quality unmatched on the market today. There was a comparison (on http://www.pbase.com/thadoehein/400d_vs_d200&page=all) which compared the Canon 400D (around $700) with Nikon’s D200 (around $1600). They took one photo of the exact same thing in the exact same lighting from the exact same place and compared them side by side. Canon’s camera which was less than half the price of Nikon’s D200 showed less noise and better image quality. I also enjoy Canon’s durability. I have a photog buddy who dropped his Nikon D300 from a barstool and it hit the ground and shattered like glass. I’ve dropped my camera off of a bridge into a stream many feet below, hitting rocks and landing in the water, and it still works amazingly. They have unsurpassed durability.

When it comes to point-and-shoot cameras, however, it really comes down to a matter of opinion. All of the image sensors are quite a bit smaller than the APS class sensors in today’s DSLRs, so all of them will have more noise when compared respectively. They all pack quite a punch though, and I carry around a little Canon point-and-shoot. I don’t have a Canon complex, I just like the way the menu works on Canon’s point and shoots. Sony makes excellent point and shoot cameras, and so does Panasonic. For the average consumer, it’s all about what they’re use to using, and if they aren’t use to anything then I say go for, of course, Canon.