Feeding the Canon trolls

I hate how nearly every discussion that mentions Canon and Nikon in the same breath degenerates into a pissing contest. Yes, I’ve been guilty of this myself, but I like to think my rants are of a different quality than mindless cheering of “my team.”

Having said that, I wanted to piss on another troll here in my blog, because of something I read in this Flickr thread. It is typical of many things I’ve seen spouted.

The original poster writes:

Just an FYI… Nikon doesn’t make it’s sensor’s better… Nikon waits for Sony to ‘sell’ a better CCD sensor.

Since Nikon hasn’t done it’s own sensor development it’s at the mercy of the 3rd party component providers. In my opinion this is one of the reason Nikon continues to lag behind Canon.

Why I Choose Canon:

Nikon Thought Film Would be Around for a Long Time:
It’s my opinion that Nikon seriously misjudged the market, and how fast Canon (and other companies) would push Digital. I think Nikon thought it would take years for real photo professionals to go digital, and that for ‘serious’ folks digital was just a novelty. So Nikon didn’t jump in with both feet into the digital market at first.

Hard to Make Up for Lost Time:
The year or so that they initially dragged their feet has continued to haunt them, especially in such a new and quickly developing market segment. It’s hard to make up that much lost time when Canon and other companies are working very hard/fast on digital technology and Canon is making it’s own sensor’s.

I’m a Nikon Traitor:
I grew up thinking that Canon was a second rate photo citizen and that Nikon is who all the real guys used. I used to own a Nikon SLR, but it’s almost impossible to disagree that Nikon is not neck and neck with Canon, and in fact Canon is almost a full product release ahead of Nikon.

Nikon almost a Whole Product Release Behind:
For almost the last two years the Canon 20D is more or less the amateur enthusiast camera of choice (if a bag full of Nikon glass wasn’t clouding your judgment), just now Nikon has a real product to complete with the 20D the D200 (which is very nice). But Canon is slated to replace the 20D in less than a month and a half, then Nikon is back where they were before, riding in the back seat while Canon has the edge.

Why It All Matters:
I know this is kind of a long winded tangent diatribe, but since buying an SLR camera is really about buying an SLR system… The companies history in the digital marketplace, current product offerings and future direction should be taken into consideration.

Most People Who are Starting with a Clean Slate choose Canon:
It is the exception that I hear someone who bought a Nikon DSLR after doing their research of Canon vs. Nikon DLSR’s. Most of the friends I have who are currently shooting with a Nikon DLSR are doing so because they have a collection of Nikkor lenses that are hard to part with, and the fact they don’t want to have to learn a whole new system.

In Summary:
All said, if you don’t have any lenses already. I would go the Canon route, the Rebel XT is a great deal for the price and competes closer to the D70s than the D50.

What I thought

Let us pick this bastard apart, shall we?

“Nikon waits for Sony to “sell” a better CCD sensor. [Canon has it’s own imaging chip fabrication so it isn’t] at the mercy of a 3rd party component provider.”

I guess this couldn’t have happened to any of their consumer cameras then, because it was a Sony CCD that had the defect. And what is it I see in Canon’s top-of-the-line video camera, could that by a Sony 3-CCD imaging chip?

“Nikon hasn’t done it’s own sensor development”

I guess this means the Nikon D2H doesn’t exist, because last I checked it has a Nikon-designed JFET sensor.

Oh, and since we are talking about “SLR systems” then I guess Fuji isn’t using the Nikon F-mount in Fuji FinePix S Pro series, because that looks like the critically-acclaimed, Fuji-designed and fab’d Super CCD HDR sensor in them.

“Nikon seriously misjudged the market…So Nikon didn’t jump in with both feet into the digital market at first.”

Really, because from where I’m standing it looks like Canon is doing the misjudging. I’ll grant out that there was a period that Nikon was slow to revise their line, but if I were to take 2003-2004 as law, then explain last year: 5 Nikon dSLR product introductions in the last year (D2Hs, D2X, D70s, D50, D200) vs. Canon’s 3 (350D, 5D, 1Ds MkII N)? Sure, 2006 is another year and the pendulum may well swing back, but that is the danger in of mindlessly extrapolating from a small time sample.

BTW, I would call this jumping in with “both feet” because this makes Nikon officially down to two non-digital bodies (Canon still has five).

“The year or so that they initially dragged their feet has continued to haunt them”

That would be 1998 right? While the first digital camera was the Kodak DCS, based on a modified Nikon F3 body. Nikon’s first dSLR prototype was the D1, way back in 1999. So that means you are talking about the obscure X-Ray digital camera Canon had back then since their first digital SLR was the D30 in 2000.

2004 is probably the year that would haunt Canon. They could have delivered a killing blow with the 300D, but instead introduced a firmware-crippled, slow-startup excuse of a body that left the door wide open for the D70 to become the best-selling digital SLR camera that year and Popular Photography’s camera of the year.

“I grew up thinking that Canon was a second rate photo citizen and that Nikon is who all the real guys used.”

Ever notice how the biggest Windows zealots were former Mac zealots? Ever notice how the biggest Mac zealots were former Windows zealots?

“For almost the last two years the Canon 20D is more or less the amateur enthusiast camera of choice.”

That’s funny because the Canon EOS 20D is only just over a year old (introduced August 2004 and not really available until November of that year). I guess you’re the only one in the world to get this to work.

(I remember this well because I almost waited for the 20D before purchasing my D70.)

“Canon is slated to replace the 20D in less than a month and a half”

It is possible that PMA will see a 20D replacement, but the D200 is available now and beats the 20D straight down the spec sheet. The amazing thing is how highly unusual this is for Nikon—spec sheets are a Canon thing, Nikon focuses more on camera balance and behavior, exposure systems, and other things that don’t fit on those things.

I’ve gone against accepted wisdom for the last year stating that I think Canon shot their wad with the 5D. If you look at the rumor mill before its introduction, the 5D replaced the 20D. Canon felt that APS-C was dead to serious enthusiasts and pros and waited for the sales of the 5D that never materialized. Canon missed the sweet spot by a mile which is why things like this became commonplace.

Perhaps you mean this one?

…buying an SLR camera is really about buying an SLR system…The companies history in the digital marketplace, current product offerings and future direction should be taken into consideration.

Sure, but how far? The nice thing about cameras is that they aren’t computers, there is no network effect, just an energy barrier to switch which consists of only a body and the lens system.

As long as you feel that your company will be around and will be committed to their lens system, you can be feel safe. Right now, I feel that way about Nikon and DX lenses—they have record profits and all their digital bodies accept those lenses.

Canon, as the #1 digital camera vendor, certainly has the benefit of being a safe bet, but given how they have split their line, can you say the same for EF-S lenses? Bob Atkins (above) and many other Canon photographers say no. In any case, you are defending the Digital Rebel and the 20D which means the EF-S lens system. Remember it was you who said, “buying an SLR camera is really about buying an SLR system.”

The simple fact remains, Canon has not shown commitment to APS-C lenses to sway any serious Canon photographers, Nikon has.

“Most People Who are Starting with a Clean Slate choose Canon: It is the exception that I hear someone who bought a Nikon DSLR after doing their research of Canon vs. Nikon DLSR’s.”

I’m the exception I guess since I used Canon film SLRs exclusively (they were what I could borrow) before buying a Nikon dSLR (I had no investment in glass).

When I go hiking I see far more Nikon dSLRs than Canons (excluding myself, of course). The same is true among non-pros when I go to a wedding. (Pro wedding photographers I see seem to be mostly Canon shooters, though the best ones prefer Nikon) At work, the split is almost 50-50 Nikon/Canon. The same is true among my friends at Yahoo!

I guess all of them must be former Nikon photographers. I guess all those people who turned the D70 into the #1 selling camera (as mentioned above) were former Nikon photographers too. I guess Nikon’s record profits come from just former Nikon users also?

What I really said

I won’t point out the errors in the above post here in this forum, except to say that they are legion.

I can’t believe we’re tolerating this sort of religious zeal on either side. Canon makes an excellent camera body and has a complete lens line and so does Nikon. Both are among the only companies to be profitable in the digital camera space last year.

For me, personally, I like the way Nikons are set up, but I won’t begrudge someone buying a Canon.

The nice thing about cameras is that they aren’t computers. Just because you chose Canon, it doesn’t hurt me when I choose Nikon or someone else when choosing Minolta, Pentax, or Olympus.

To the original poster: don’t believe the bullshit about how the 350D should be compared to the D70s and not the D50. In some ways, the D50 is a better camera than the D70s. I think if you go to the store and try them out, one of these cameras would definitely speak to you more.

Maybe you like Canon’s two extra megapixels and two horizontally-oriented autofocus points, maybe you like the Nikon’s color matrix metering and iTTL flash system. (Or maybe it’s the bigger viewfinder in the Pentax *st, or the anti-shake in the Minolta Dynax, or the digital-specific compactness of Olympus’s system.)

As for the two megapixels, this is an 15% increase in realized image resolution. To give you an idea, at 300dpi, a 6 megapixel Nikon shot can make a 10″ print while a Canon retains that same resolution to be blown up to an 11.5″ print. Most hyperfocal distance tables are set to 300dpi, so if you want a greater resolution in a 10″ print, remember to recompute those before heading out. (I don’t know if this resolution is a deal-killer—as a physicist, it wasn’t for me—but there are those who say it is. If it makes them a happier photographer, who am I to denigrate?)

But don’t buy the hype. None of these cameras are going to prevent you from taking a good photograph. And no single brand will automatically make you a better photographer either.

5 thoughts on “Feeding the Canon trolls

  1. Yeah, the first part of my post was a rant. The second part is what I actually said. I prefer the latter, but I can’t help thinking the former. 🙂

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