In 2016, it seems as though we’re still locked in brand battles. The two big players recently have been Canon and Sony. Canon has always had its fans and long time supporters and so has Nikon, but in the past few years, it seems as though there are less Nikon diehards than there have been in the past.
This is unfortunate because the Nikon system provides its shooters numerous opportunities unavailable on other systems. So for me, it’s a breath of fresh air to read about someone really digging in on why they continue to choose Nikon.
Thom Hogan at Petapixel has written a piece detailing the 7 reasons why he’s still a Nikon shooter and even adds in the three reasons he could be convinced to move on to Mirrorless.
What’s so great about this is that it’s one of the first lists I’ve seen like this that really seem to take into account the real world shooting reasons why one would stick with a DSLR. Things like the viewfinder, battery life and ergonomics play a large role in a true professional’s choices. Oftentimes, these features are worth even more than resolution or color depth.
Also, this list is so absolutely detailed that it makes my heart skip a beat. Thank you Hogan for taking the time to really dig into your decisions and reasoning. I totally respect it. What I also respect is his choice to explain what might make him switch to Mirrorless.
Read through this awesome list and let me know if there’s anything left out!
7 Reasons Why I’m Still a Nikon DSLR User
In this article, I’ll discuss seven reasons why I’m still a Nikon DSLR user… plus three reasons why I could be convinced to move on.
People ask me all the time why I haven’t just moved to a mirrorless system. Sure, there’s some inertia in my choice to stick with Nikon DSLRs for most of my work given that I have a full F-mount lens set, but there are some genuine other reasons for my sticking to Nikon DSLRs, too. Let’s take a look at them:
Much of what I shoot is what I’d call “timely.” Sports, events, wildlife. Miss by even a millisecond and I don’t have the peak moment and the photo is less engaging than it could be. And no, frame rate doesn’t begin to make up for this if you’re at the level of shooting I am.
EVFs always have a lag. The very best lag I’ve seen in one is the one in the Samsung NX1, which runs at about 1/250 behind reality. Samsung did something that is mostly done in the video system: they “genlocked” the EVF to the image sensor. I won’t get into the technical details of what that means, but in essence the signal is about as direct as you can get from sensor to EVF.
The problem is that to make that 1/250 lag faster you need to run the sensor faster. Which means more technology in and around the sensor, and the sensor will probably run hotter, too. Samsung and a few others are running EVFs at about the max speed you can with current technologies. The good news is that will change with time as new abilities and technologies emerge. But it will change somewhat slowly, I think.
And that 1/250 lag is lag. That 1/250 visual lag sits on top of your recognition lag (response to the scene in front of you) which sits on top of the shutter lag. So you get lag+lag+lag = real lag. I don’t want lag. Indeed, I have to make sure that I’m on top of my game and my brain is processing fast when I’m shooting a number of subjects. I mostly choose cameras—such as the Nikon D5 or the D500—that have minimal shutter lags and no viewfinder lag.
But the initial EVF lag isn’t the only lag in the mirrorless systems. In DSLRs we talk about “viewfinder blackout,” which is the time that the viewfinder is dark while the mirror is flipped up. The D5 has an incredibly short viewfinder blackout, meaning that when I’m panning with action there is very little time I’m not looking at my subject in real time. The D500 is also quite good at this.
With mirrorless systems, some have this funny “slide show” kind of effect when you’re shooting continuously. The latest Fujifilm’s and Sony’s have minimized this, but they also need time to clear the sensor data before turning it back on. So there’s still a bit of disjointedness to what you’re watching. And again, if you keep running mirrorless systems continuously, you’re building heat at the sensor. I’d prefer to keep that to a minimum when I’m shooting in low light.
So, the DSLR’s complicated optical viewfinder just keeps me closer to what’s happening in front of me, both in timing and continuousness.
I already mentioned this one up front. Indeed, it’s the primary reason for most DSLR users to resist moving to mirrorless: they already have built a lens set, and the cost of doing that wasn’t minimal.
It used to be that Nikkors retained their value quite well. But the overabundance of lenses that occurred with time and the abandonment of the F-mount by some has severely reduced used prices for Nikkors, so that adds another inertia: if you spent US$4000 on lenses and can now only get US$2000 for them and now need to spend US$4000 on lenses on a new platform to match those… Right, that new platform better have US$2000 worth of advantage to it right out of the box.
But that’s considering that you can even match the lens set you used to have. With the F-mount there are only about six lenses I’d want that don’t exist in the current offerings (and three of those can be approximated by dipping into the used Nikkor market). Oh dear, you want to know which six. Well, quick and dirty:
- A really wide PC-E (e.g. 16-18mm)
- Wide DX primes (20mm and 24mm equivalent) (buzz, buzz)
- A longer Micro-Nikkor, preferably a zoom
- Compact telephotos with slower apertures (400mm and 500mm f/5.6 PF)
m4/3 probably has the broadest selection of lens choices, with Fujifilm X being reasonably broad in the wide-to-normal range and deficient in the telephoto range. Sony is mostly in the 24-200mm range still (just announced a third ~50mm as I write this), though the recent 70-300mm gave us a first peak outwards, and the third-party Loxia 21mm gets us further into the wide end with quality. Still, Not a single mirrorless platform matches Canon or Nikon full frame offerings in breadth and depth, and if Canikon weren’t brain dead, they’d make sure that was true for APS/DX, too (buzz, buzz).
I press lens choice pretty hard compared to most. I shoot landscapes (thus the need for very wide and PC-E). I shoot wildlife and sports (thus the need for telephoto). And yes, I shoot events and other things in between where the 24-200mm zoom/prime range most mounts can fill adequately lives.
Read full list at PetaPixel “7 Reasons Why I’m Still a Nikon DSLR User”
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(cover photo credit: snap from PetaPixel)