Why do I use Canon? Why not Nikon, Sony or Pentax?

This is a question I hear quite a lot asked by fellow photographers. After all Nikon, Sony and recently Pentax are known for better base ISO dynamic range which is crucial for landscape photographers. So why haven’t I switched yet?

The answer isn’t that simple but I will try to provide it in this post.

1. Dynamic range isn’t everything (but right now it’s pretty good on recent Canon cameras like 1DX II, 5D MK IV or 80D)

Dynamic range and sensor performance in general are only one aspect of a camera. Important but I would say not the most important (otherwise both Canon 1DX II and Nikon D5, two flagship DSLRs, wouldn’t be so popular among pros). There are many other things and features I love about Canon 5D MK IV – its auto focus, low light performance, excellent touch screen, responsiveness, optical view finder (I still prefer it to EVF), built-in GPS/WiFi, weather proof built, ergonomics, and so on. The ergonomics might seem like a completely unimportant stuff but I hate Sony’s menus for instance. Finding any option on my Sony camera (yes, I do own one… two in fact) is such a pain… while Canon menus have very nice and intuitive layout.

2. I have a lot of Canon lenses I really love

For some lenses I would have difficult times finding good replacement in other systems (it would be easiest in Nikon system probably). Although Sony and Pentax are great cameras I have a feeling they still do miss some amazing lenses. Things are improving but it will still take some time and I believe that lenses are in fact more important than a camera body itself.

One could argue that there are adapters which can be used to attach Canon lenses on Sony mirrorless but reality is that they don’t perform as well as on Canon camera (or Sony lenses on Sony camera).

3. Making a switch is costly

I invested quite a lot of money into my Canon gear (both bodies, lenses and some accessories). If I was to sold all this, I would definitely lose a lot of money. And, even if the money I earned was enough to buy new camera and lenses, losing money isn’t something I like – even for the sake of slightly better image quality.

4. In real-life scenarios differences aren’t that big

That’s true that Nikon is about 1 stop better than 5D MK IV (or 1DX II) and Sony is about half a stop better… but in real life situations such differences don’t matter – they are almost negligible. In fact even 15 stops of dynamic range is still not enough to capture most extreme dynamic range (some sunsets/sunrises, shooting indoors/churches with windows, etc.). So in such cases you will still need to bracket and use HDR or digital blending.

Another thing, which I find quite funny, is a test where one is pulling shadows by 5 or 6 stops. Ok, Sony and Nikon outperform Canon in such test… but the shadows in both Nikon and Sony are far from being clean after such pulling! So even on Sony/Nikon I would still choose to bracket and use HDR to make a photo with no noise in the darkest parts.

5. The reason I chose Canon in the past was… accident

Yes, that’s true. At the time I was buying my very first DSLR, which was Canon 400D, I seriously considered both Canon and Nikon (at that time Sony wasn’t serious player). Decision which system to pick was pretty random although what affected it to a small degree was the fact that my father already had Canon film camera with a few lenses that I could borrow from him if I needed them. So I chose Canon (and occasionally used my dad’s lenses). After some time I bought myself a few lenses, switched to Canon 50D, bought more lenses and then switched to full-frame Canon 5D MK II (and again bought some lenses). And with each month and dollar spent making a switch to another brand became more and more difficult. Now it’s nearly impossible.

6. Magic Lantern

Though, Magic Lantern is unofficial piece of software, it’s so powerful that no official camera firmware comes anywhere near it. With features like RAW video, focus assisting tools, virtually unlimited bracketing, complex intervalometer, automatic exposure to the right feature, and many more Magic Lantern is really impressive. I’m sure I would miss a lot of those features in any other camera system.

In fact I already do miss them because right now Canon 5D Mark IV isn’t supported (MK III is) but I have my hopes that it will eventually get support in the future. For now I have to use my 5D Mark III to use Magic Lantern.

Summary

So as you can see there are many reasons I’m not making a switch anytime soon. I’m pretty happy with my Canon cameras, they really suit my needs and I invested too much in this system. That is not to tell that it’s an ideal system. No, I’m well-aware of its weaknesses but for me it works very well.

Also most of the modern cameras are really great (honestly even good old 5D MK II is an excellent camera). And if one cannot take good photo with it, it means the problem probably isn’t in the gear 🙂

Funchal in Madeira at night