From Canon to Nikon: Conclusions

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(Part 1 of this article explains my rationale for answering the question “How hard is it for a Canon shooter to go Nikon?)

Conclusion

I set out to answer the question “can a Canon shooter go Nikon?” The best answer I have for this question is a personal one: in writing this article, I’ve been packing up the D300 to send back to Nikon, and I’m mentally tallying up my bank account to see if I can come up with the cash to buy one – and the 17-55 f/2.8, and an SB-800 -- for myself.

This is not to say that one can’t get good results out of a Canon. Rather, having decided to address the “what should I upgrade to?” question squarely, I can’t unring the bell. The D300, with the accompanying lens, is a combination that, out of the box, made composing and exposing compelling images practically effortless. When I last used a Nikon – a D70 – I felt like I was quite literally fighting the camera tooth and nail in order to get an image of acceptable quality, an image not overwhelmed by unpleasant ISO noise. Those days are gone.

Are there things I don’t like? Yes. The camera is a just a bit too large, and, with the 17-552.8, a bit too heavy. That’s the most serious complaint, since if you don’t carry the camera with you, you can’t make the shot. My other complaints are mostly errata. The focus mode switch on the body is in the worst possible place. I don’t like that the CF card slot door requires me to flip a fiddly little switch to open it, instead of just being a friction door. I don’t like that the icons on the camera body for exposure modes and focus modes are practically indistinguishable. And although I’m willing to learn to thread the camera lenses the other way, God and Rene Descartes intended minus to be on the left and plus to be on the right, which means the exposure compensation controls work opposite to the way they should.

But all of these are minor complaints, and instead of a thousand-word counterargument, I’ll just use a picture:

Cityscape

Acknowledgements

I’d like to thank Geoff and Matthew at Nikon for their help in setting up this test. I’d like to thank psu for providing a guide to the perplexed when I stubbornly refused to look at the manual, and Ian McCullough for loaning me his SB-800 and various lenses. I’d like to thank our models, Jill, Christina, Aimee, and Katie. I’d like to thank KatKat B. – who takes much better photos than I do – for helping manage the lighting on the riverwalk shoot. And I’d like to thank those of you who commented on drafts of this article, which was a great help.

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