Yes, three years ago, I was a proud Canon shooter and had been for years. I loved my gear, and had traveled to six continents with it. I always figured a camera was a tool, and the brand didn’t make too much of a difference. I knew Canon well, and had a successful career with my Canon. So with the speaking for Nikon and now being a pure Nikon shooter… people seem to be curious… why the change? I first and foremost blame my friend and fellow DC shooter Mantas.
It was a warm Sunday, over 2 years ago, in which I was having brunch with two other local photographers in downtown DC. I was crazy tired from my long Saturday wedding, and sat outside in the sun, enjoying my favorite, an Eggs Benedict. My friend Elliot got a call from a frantic women, I could hear a stressed voice, and Elliot just laughed… “hang on” he told her. He turned to us “guys do you want to shoot a wedding”? She was a bridesmaid and their photographer didn’t show for a wedding that was supposed to start in an hour. Lucky for her, three photographers were having brunch, and just chilling in the city. Mantas and I replied “let’s do it”. We rushed to Maryland via Mantas place, the ceremony held off until we got there. There was absolutely no time for me to go and get my gear, so Mantas handed me a Nikon D4 and two lenses (no flash). I remember thinking… ok, I got this… a camera is a camera. I had never shot a Nikon before, I didn’t have any time to play, I was now going strait into a ceremony, with unfamiliar gear, that I hadn’t practiced on. It was pretty easy to pick up, the only problem I had was trying to twist the lens off the wrong way and I couldn’t find my histogram until I asked. I remember photographing the flower girl running into the sun, I clicked away and remember thinking… wow, this is focusing easily and fast…even directly into the sun. I also shot the reception, in a pretty dark room, without a flash at super high ISOs. Wow this camera can focus pretty well in the dark without a flash on….
The biggest difference was when I got home from the shoot. I started to go through the Saturday wedding that I had done with my own Canon gear (that I had been shooting with for years), then I went through the Sunday wedding with the Nikon gear. The Nikon files blew me away. On the Sunday when I was tired and using unfamiliar gear, I had a much higher percentage of sharp (really sharp) and perfectly exposed images (I do a lot of aperture priority shooting, so an auto exposure setting). I was hooked, and remember thinking… maybe the camera does make a difference.
I shot for the next 4 months or so with both, a Canon and a Nikon. My instincts started to show me what I needed to do, the bride is walking down the aisle with speckled sunlight… grab the Nikon… This happened over and over in my head. When I shot with the Canon I would always double click to make sure I had a sharp image, the Nikon… one click. I didn’t have spare batteries for the Nikon’s since I was just testing them, and I remember the day I decided to switch. I was too lazy to charge both the Canon and Nikon’s batteries for an after wedding shoot. I just took the Canon. I felt restricted, I kept thinking… If I only had the Nikon. That was the day I decided…the gear did make a difference and I wanted the best tools to be the best photographer I can be.
Now I know that the Nikon D4s is more like the Canon 1Dx. I have shot with the Canon 1Dx, but chose to have Canon 5D mark 3s for my company. Every camera is different and comparing two side by side will always have some ups and some downs. I have shot with the Canon 1Dx, all the 5D line, and now the Nikon D4, D4s, D810, and D750. The whole dark side reference is because Nikon has black lenses, while canon has whitish. Canon is an amazing system, that I was proud to shoot for years. But for sharpness, focus, consistency… I am so proud to have the best tools to be the best photographer I can be, which is why, I now shoot a Nikon.