This topic came up on Twitter today and I thought it might be worthy of a post. Lots of people ask me (and other photographers) what camera should they buy, and quite often: which is better: Canon or Nikon?
I’m personally a Nikon guy for a simple reason: when I decided to get a DSLR, a number of close friends had Nikon cameras. This meant that I immediately had access to more gear than I could possibly afford, and friendly folks that could help explain how it works and ideally, would trust me enough to lend it to me for the weekend to play with.
A similar situation happens all the time with computers: people often purchase the same or similar computers that their friends have because of the built in support they can get from people they know and trust.
I personally think that many of the digital camera brands out there are fantastic…they all can take great photos. Canon and Nikon seem to have bubbled to the top but Pentax, Panasonic, Olympus, Kodak, etc all make great cameras in all different price ranges. I just happen to have spent enough on my Nikon gear to make me stick with them and many friends have done the same. Even my point and shoot camera is a Nikon since it can work with some of my DSLR gear should I want a little more out of it and leave the DSLR at home.
Sometimes though, depending on your needs or maybe a cool new feature, you may want to stray from the pack and get something that nobody (you know) has. This can be exciting and fun while at the same time a little scary since you’re on your own.
I remember when I bought my first Apple laptop (a white iBook – one of the first models) – all of my friends had PCs and they all wondered how I’d manage without certain PC software that wasn’t available on the Mac. Well, it didn’t take long before almost all of them switched after seeing my experience with it (software was a non-issue).
So if you’re prepared to blaze some new trails and be adventurous, try something different. If you’re just starting out with your first DSLR for example, you may want to stick close to your friends that can lend you gear and assistance when you need it.
Bonus tip: if you’re getting a DSLR, don’t skimp on the lens(es). If you stick with it, you’ll end up replacing the camera body long before the lens will stop being useful. Do your research, talk to friends with lots of gear (borrow what you want to buy before you buy it) and make an educated purchase….or at least buy it from a place with a good return policy in case you realize it’s not your thing.
See also my post with some tips about where you should buy your camera from.