November 23, 2012

my experience in using both the Canon and Nikon systems

It seems that whenever I post here about using either Canon or Nikon gear, or when I’m seen with either, that some people are surprised that I’m using the other brand.

Just to mess with everyone, here is a snap of me carrying a Nikon D4 and a Canon 1Dx, each with a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens. If I look a little gung-ho there, I most certainly do look happy with all those toys … appropriately enough, in front of Toys’R’Us in Times Square. The gleeful smile is mostly because I still have the same enthusiasm and love of the gear as when I first fell in love with a camera, way way back. I love the Art, but I also love the toys.

I know there’s a lot of curiosity about this topic – whether I shoot with Nikon or Canon. Or why I would have both systems. Most people who follow the Tangents blog, will know that I (predominantly) shoot with Nikon. There are specific reasons for that, and that’s the topic of this rambling blog post …

It’s a topic I have skirted around, and only answered in a few blog comments. I specifically tried to keep this topic a low-key one on this blog over the years:

  • The majority of the techniques discussed in the articles on the Tangents blog – specifically as far as lighting is concerned – is equipment agnostic. This is important. If you can use a speedlight to light your subject, then pretty much *any* speedlight of the same spec can do the job. Similarly, I’ll happily use either the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 IS II or the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VR II. (I own both.) So for the most part, the specific brand isn’t all that important.
  • Because of the nature of the Tangents blog, and because of the workshops on flash photography that I teach, I need to be familiar with both systems that dominate the photography field. Therefore I have cameras and lenses and flashguns in both the dominant systems.
  • In a way, I think that being au fait with more than just one brand, has made me a stronger photographer, because I can “uncouple” my thinking from the specific camera, and be able to rely on my understanding of photography technique and lighting.
  • If you can’t consistently create a certain look with a Nikon 85mm f/1.4 then a Canon 85mm f/1.2 II or a Sony 85mm f/1.4 won’t help you either. (The rendering of the background, and out of focus elements might differ between those lenses, but I will bet $$ that very very few photographers would be able to pick between images shot with those lenses.)
  • Another reason why I have remained brand-neutral on my website is that I don’t want to have fan-boyism detract from the value of the material, and detract from the photography itself. And I don’t want my website to be an avenue for flame wars. It’s funny how this Fan-boyism thing works. For example, my comment in a previous blog post that I didn’t like the one Panasonic P&S as much as the Fuji X10, spurred a few photographers to disparage me on a photography forum. Yup, preferring one point & shoot camera over another can be construed as an insult to some. No, I don’t get it either.

Back to the Canon and Nikon thing: Even though I very specifically did not say ‘vs’, there are reasons which make it very doubtful that I will ever shoot professionally with Canon again.

First a bit of history though:  My first experience with photography as a young kid was with my dad’s PraktikaMat, and my first camera was a Pentax ME Super.  This was followed by a Pentax Super-A.  I bought my first Nikon in 1996 – a Nikon F90x – when the Pentax 70-200mm f/2.8 would’ve been more expensive than the Nikon lens and a used camera body combined.  In 2002 I embraced digital photography completely. I bought two Nikon D100 cameras, and sold my film bodies immediately. (I still have a Pentax Super-A as a memento.)

A few years later (around 2004), Nikon’s best camera was a (noisy) 4-megapixel D2H. In comparison, Canon had 8 megapixel cameras that had relatively little noise, and a full-frame 11-megapixel camera. Though I loved my D2H bodies, it had become time to move onto a system that didn’t limit me. I bought two Canon 1D mark II bodies and a slew of lenses.

Then towards the end of 2008, a year after the Nikon D3 was released, I sold all three my Canon 1D mark III bodies, and moved over to Nikon as my primary system.

Here’s why:

The following is a reposting of a comment that I originally made in the article, the best camera in the world.

This photo explains some of the reason why I felt I had to go back to using Nikon. The photo was taken towards the end of 2008, and shows my repair slips for the nearly 4 yrs that I had been using Canon.

More tellingly:

– these do not include repairs to speedlights since I do hammer them hard, and it would be unfair to add them to the list. So that pile of papers isn’t padded by speedlight repairs.

– this pile of papers doesn’t include any duplicates.

– all of them were actual repairs, except one item I had sent in where the Canon Service Dept couldn’t replicate the problem I experienced. So these are genuine repairs, not just me sending stuff in randomly because I feel unhappy.

– this pile of papers doesn’t include my attempts to get a sharp 16-35mm (v2) lens. It took a 5th copy to get one that even started to match Canon’s hype about the new lens!  Honestly, the Nikon 14-24mm f2.8 absolutely wipes the floor with the Canon optic. The Nikon 14-24mm f2.8 is also a main reason I went back to Nikon. Canon simply has nothing that even matches this lens in optical quality.

– I also had to make two attempts at getting the 4th copy of the Canon 16-35mm f2.8 II calibrated to an acceptable level.

– This doesn’t include the initial Canon 24-105mm f/4 that was soft and I returned .. wait for it .. even before these lenses were recalled for the flare problem.

– What this list also doesn’t include are the two repairs slips for 2 of my 3 Canon 1Dmk3 camera bodies that had to have the submirror assembly fixed. (I bought the 3rd body after all the AF issues were apparently ironed out.)

– Neither do these repair lists include the one 1D mk3 that I sent in subsequently for poor AF and frequent error 99 lock-ups.

– And on top of it all, this list doesn’t even show the items I had sent in to Toshio for repair.

BTW, if anyone in the USA wants top-notch repairs and calibration of their Canon equipment, get in touch with Toshio.
Toshio TF Camera Repair // 732-238-8806
27 Brunswick Woods Drive East Brunswick, NJ 08816

So there you have it .. a long list of problems with Canon gear over the period of 4 years. I had had enough after a while.

It cost me a truckload of money and a lot of time and effort to keep my Canon gear up to spec. It just got to the point where I couldn’t stand it any more. I had sunk a lot of money into Canon and maintaining a top-notch selection of equipment, but their erratic performance was disappointing.

To distill this … in my experience, Canon has poor reliability, which I believe is due to Canon’s poor quality control. Which in turn I truly believe is a corporate decision made by the accountants to not have more stringent quality control. This way fewer items are returned since many people won’t even realize their equipment is faulty. (There’s another bit of psychology at work there as well where I think it is difficult at times for photographers to accept that the equipment they sunk a lot of money into, isn’t working properly.)

As mentioned earlier, I still maintain a small Canon system, specifically for the photography workshops and tutoring sessions .. but for professional work, I know I can rely on Nikon.

Sure, the Nikon gear that I have, do act up on occasion. For example, I’ve sent in my one Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 twice now for optical mis-alignment where the lens shows severe blur. Entropy will have its way. Also, there was the initial trouble with Nikon D4 bodies locking up intermittently, depending on certain custom settings. This problem was sorted out with a subsequent firm-ware update, but it must have been an embarrassing episode for Nikon to have their flagship camera show such a problem!

In my experience however, the Nikon system is one I don’t have to continually struggle with to get optimal performance and reliability. I’ve also never had a Nikon lens that needed calibration directly out of the box.

I’ve spoken to numerous photographers about this. Many have had similar experiences. Yet others have had exactly the opposite experience where they moved to Canon after their Nikon gear simply wouldn’t perform to spec. I have to repeat then that this is how I experienced it. Others have different experience of the specific systems. I just know that my decision didn’t come lightly, and that after several years now, I am more confident of my current system than I had been previously.

I decided to post this article because of the amount of emails I’ve received in the past few years on this topic. But there’s another reason … my review of the Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 II

Finally, I love comments and discussion on my website. This blog thrives on that. But this is one topic that I know has real risk of exploding very quickly. Though I rarely delete or edit comments, I will do so if I feel any comment is just to sneer or troll, or is out of line in any way.

Oh, the Canon 1Dx in that photo is a friend’s. We were out that evening playing with the cameras.

I was very impressed with it in the short while I got to play with it. Auto-focus is soooo smooth!

If I were still shooting Canon, I’d be all over this camera. It’s pretty phenomenal. Handling and controls are much better than that of the 1D mark3 (the last pro Canon I used).

But there’s nothing there that would make me be less in love with the D4, and I’d still have to struggle with certain zoom lenses like the Canon 16-35mm f/2.8 … and I don’t ever want to go there again.

Ultimately though, I don’t think there’s all that much to choose between the D4 or D1x. I think any photographer would get along with either of those cameras. Both are amazing cameras, and jaw-dropping examples of just how incredible technology in general is right now.

 

 

 

help support this website

{ 33 comments. } Add a Comment

1 Trev November 23, 2012 at 7:50 pm

Yes, I too was a long time Canon user, 30+ years, and similar story, although not to the extent you had.

Converted to Nikon; although I still kept Canon for extra backups, and I do have different lenses and they do come in handy.

There are many features on both systems I love/d so it’s entirely up to one’s experiences with any system for that matter.

A friend has the new 5DMkIII and the 600RT flashes and they are really great as I tried them.

Reply

2 Libby November 23, 2012 at 9:58 pm

“The majority of the techniques discussed in the articles on the Tangents blog – specifically as far as lighting is concerned – is equipment agnostic…”

And yet, some still don’t get it. My comfort level, expertise, and lens arsenal is Nikon, I use Canon for some things. I just use the tool that works best.

Hope you had a good Thanksgiving -)

Reply

3 Alex Solla November 23, 2012 at 11:11 pm

Given that you’ve had to send back Nikon lenses for repair, where have you had the work done? How do you judge whether the repair is worth the cost? Have you ever had to send a lens back 2x because they didnt get it right the first time?

Loved reading today’s post. I assumed that something like this was at play.

Reply

4 Neil vN November 23, 2012 at 11:23 pm

Alex .. for the Nikon repairs, I use NPS.

Here’s the irony though .. NPS is slower than CPS. Weeks vs days. But I have had the need for NPS much less frequently than I’ve had to rely on CPS.

Canon’s Professional Services are incredible in their fast turn-around. I have to commend them on that. (And only once did I have to hand something back over the counter to them to fix properly.)

But in my experience, I have had to send Nikon stuff in to repair much less frequently than Canon gear.

There is one glaring blip on the radar here in terms of Nikon gear. I have had four or five Nikon SD-9 battery packs fail on me. To repair them would cost *more* than a new one. I can’t comprehend that idea. So now, when I have an SD-9 battery pack fail on me, I junk it. It’s the only notoriously poor Nikon gear that I have .. and continue to buy.

Back to your question … I’ve never had to send a repaired Nikon lens back immediately to be re-calibrated a second time.

Reply

5 Bob Rossi November 24, 2012 at 1:00 am

I am a dyed in the wool Nikon guy. I bought my first Nikon, a Nikkormat in the early 70’s. That being said, I don’t have a negative word to say about the Canon system. I still firmly believe that the weakest link in either system, is the person pushing the shutter release button. There was definitely a big disparity between Nikon and Canon until Nikon came out with the D3. Now it’s a pretty level playing field.

Reply

6 Neil vN November 24, 2012 at 2:19 am

I would agree on the Nikon D3. I’m of the opinion that the D3 saved Nikon from becoming merely an afficiando’s camera / brand, similar to Leica and Contax. I know that sounds dramatic, but I really think the D3 turned things around for Nikon in the professional market.

And the D3 was released at a time when there was so much discontent over Canon’s mis-step with the premature 1D mark III. That camera did a lot to undermine confidence in Canon. I know that I was hugely frustrated and disappointed and even angry at having spent so much money on three top cameras that turned out to be problematic.

For example, the last shoot I did with the Canon 1D mark III, was an engagement photo session. I’d say about 25% of the images from that photo session were out of focus and unusable soft. But because of the low resolution of the LCD preview of the Canon 1D mark III, it was impossible to see this at the time of shooting and figure out a plan. With my repeated problems with my Canon gear, and 25% of a straight-forward on-location portrait session being out of focus … it gets to a point where one realizes that, no, it’s not you … it *has* to be the equipment.

I’d say about 80% of my problems with gear went away when I changed to the Nkon D3.

And what really grinds my gears … I had sunk $15k into the three Canon 1D mark III bodies … a huge sum of money for anyone. And the cameras were unpredictable and unreliable in AF accuracy, even with the two recalls that Canon had for this camera model.

I loved my D3 bodies .. and I was really impressed with the D3s for the few months that I had it … and now the D4 bodies are just great. For me, the perfect camera. Well, nearly.

Reply

7 Maxam November 24, 2012 at 2:50 am

Hi Neil, just curious – were you sending your Canon gear in for repairs to the same service center each time?

Reply

8 Neil vN November 24, 2012 at 3:39 am

I used the Canon repair center in Jamesburg, NJ. It’s about an hour and 15 minutes from where I live, so I used to drive to and fro.

Later on, I used Toshio for non-warranty repairs.

Reply

9 Arthur November 24, 2012 at 6:39 am

Congratulations Neil on two points:
First: thank you for your comment in this post “Another reason why I have remained brand-neutral on my website is that I don’t want to have fan-boyism detract from the value of the material, and detract from the photography itself.”

Recently I have become completely disillusioned with some well known Photo bloggers who I have up till now enjoyed following who have unashamedly allied themselves to brands in a manner that they actually recommend you should go out and buy. Obvious commercialisation. You have remained true to your art – in a true photographic and pragmatic way.

Second: I am glued to your Brainteaser! Awesome teaching and great photographer’s entertainment.

Keep the Photo art faith as you have been doing and you remain the top Photo blogger on the Net! Thanks again.

Reply

10 Lanthus Clark November 24, 2012 at 8:04 am

I used Nikon film cameras for years and when switching to digital I went with Canon, but within a year I changed again, to Nikon digital. It wasn’t a quality issue but rather a handling issue. The Nikon digital cameras just worked so much more like I think a camera should and the Canon’s seem to be more… digital. Not sure if that makes sense or not. :-)

Have a great day Neil!

Lanthus

Reply

11 Eduardo B. November 24, 2012 at 2:52 pm

Is the Canon 1Dx any better than Nikon D4 in high iso?
thanks

Reply

12 Neil vN November 24, 2012 at 3:42 pm

Comparing the Canon 1Dx and Nikon D4 for ISO performance, I’d say it’s about even, and clearly superior to anything else available currently.

Reply

13 Charles November 24, 2012 at 8:01 pm

I love my Canon gear and never had any problems (though these days business is really sparse) except for it’s ETTLII flash. Seems like Canon’s flash is purposely underexposing 1 stop so I have to do a +1FEC to get a bright image.

Anyway, I would switch to Nikon any day IF I had the money. Always wanted Nikon but never had the money so I had to settle for Canon.

Reply

14 emopunk November 25, 2012 at 7:43 am

Neil,

it’s an interesting article. Atough I find it difficult to believe that Nikon has this great QC when I read stories about D600 and oil leak, or D800 and left AF issues.

What do you think about these two stories?

Regards!

Reply

15 Neil vN November 25, 2012 at 8:47 am

I know this is a conundrum … that some camera models (or lenses) can be problematic. And I am sure it starts at the design level. Somewhere, something was over-looked right at the start. And then there is poor QC to make things worse too.

I’ve heard of the oil spots problem with the D600, and I’ve heard of AF issues with the D800. With regards to the D800, some problems could possibly be explained by the extreme resolution of the D800 which shows up technique problems much easier … but the reports are pervasive enough that there has to be something there that’s off. I have no answers.

There’s a possible counter-point to this … and not just relating to Canon / Nikon. There’s often a kind of mass hysteria that develops on the photography forums around some equipment.

For example:
The “orb-problem” with the Fuji X10 when you point the camera into a hard pin-point light source. The images show a round blooming highlight around the light-source. It would appear that the very over-exposed pin-point bleeds into other areas. I’ve seen examples of it, and I am sure it exists … but I just don’t think it is a problem per se. Merely a quirk. This is after all, a point & shoot camera. A P&S that I actually liked more than a few others available at the time. I also don’t think that it is a problem which would affect many people.

Another example:
The light-leak of the Canon 5D mark III when you hold the camera up to a light-source in the dark … where some light leaks onto the sensor. Fair enough – this would affect photographers who shoot long-exposures at night and would set their cameras up by with a flashlight (USA) / torch (UK). So that problem does exist … I just don’t think it is this dramatic a melt-down as some portrayed it to be. If it was a camera that I used in those situations, I’d be disappointed, but I would work around it.

Another example:
Up until the Canon 600 EX-RT, my opinion was that the Nikon SB-900 was the best speedlight on the market. In some respects better than the SB-910. But the general consensus is that the speedlight over-heats. The reputation of the SB-900 took a severe beating because of this. Yet … ALL speedlights overheat (and could possibly melt), if they are fired at too fast a tempo. The SB-900 was merely the first speedlight to have a built-in safe-guard against that … and suddenly it was all “OMG! this speedlight overheats!”

So yes … I would say it is hugely disappointing when equipment doesn’t perform to the hype. But we also have to be realistic in our expectations. And when there are quirks, work around them. And when there are real issues … not hesitate in letting the manufacturer know they messed up. After all, *we* are spending our hard-earned money on relatively expensive gear.

Reply

16 Costas November 25, 2012 at 10:29 am

I think that it is not only a matter of brands but of specific models, as well.
For example: in my experience, the Canon EOS1D Mark2 is an absolutely dependable camera-very tough, AF works every time, very fast, I really love it. I never traded my Mark 2 for the newer Mark3 because I heard a lot of complaints from colleagues.
Another very experienced colleague swears by the D3s and he says it is a better camera than the D4, mainly because it is absolutely dependable (he showed me a D4 that was doing strange things when you tried to lock the shutter or the live view button).
I am not a “fanboy”, I have two favourite cameras of all times, one is a Nikon (the F3+MD4) and the other is a Canon (the 1DMk2), I try to have an open mind and I know that “lemons” do exist when you buy a car or a new camera.

Reply

17 Neil vN November 25, 2012 at 10:35 am

Costas, I would agree there. I had used the Canon 1D mark II, and wasn’t blown away by the camera. Nice files … but the camera itself didn’t appeal to me. But somehow, the follow-up, the 1D mark IIN was the first Canon camera that really appealed to me. Just a few tweaks in the buttons, and the larger LCD, and suddenly it was a camera that I really liked.

The one thing that the Canon 1Dx has over the mark III and mark IV, is ergonomics. Large buttons that are well-positioned! It really makes a difference in the handling.

Reply

18 Geoff November 25, 2012 at 6:12 pm

If anything, there is one unfortunate fact that Canon and Nikon have effectively become a duopoly in the DSLR market segment – there is no real credible alternative to those two. I believe we would all be better off if there were a third player in that market segment, as it would make the market all-round more competitive, and both Canon and Nikon would have to player an even better game. As it is, Canon only has to track what Nikon is doing, and vice versa.
We might not see more product innovation if there were a credible third player, but we probably would see a lot better quality control and service. – Alone in the lens segment, we are probably all better off for the fact that the likes of Sigma, Tokina, Tamron etc. make lenses for the Canon and Nikon systems. Hopefully they will keep improving their game to make competition more interesting for Canon and Nikon.

Just to clarify, when I refer to a “credible” alternative, I believe a credible player needs to have a selection of pro and non-pro bodies plus a full lens selection, covering from ultra-wide to super-telephoto and including specialist lenses like macro and tilt-shift lenses. The same applies to accessories like speedlights. In the DSLR segment, right now, only Canon and Nikon fit those criteria.

Reply

19 Trev November 25, 2012 at 7:15 pm

Very good point Geoff.

Nothing stifles competition like apathy if there is no one to challenge you in your area of marketing and as such, apart from a small boutique camera here and there and generally in the point and shoot range, they are the alpha dogs.

Other manufacturers in the medium format high-end specs by the likes of Phase One with their own camera and the range of Phase One backs for Hasselblads, Mamiya, Rolei etc. are an elitist so do not count.

Reply

20 Neil vN November 25, 2012 at 7:18 pm

If any company could do it, it would be Sony. Their recent releases are very interesting.

Sony RX1 – full-frame goodness in a compact camera with a fixed 35mm f/2 lens

Sony A99 – full-frame DSLR

even down to the Sony RX100 – arguably the best point&shoot on the market right now.

Reply

21 Trev November 25, 2012 at 8:44 pm

The sample images from the A99 look really good.

The specs on the A99 pretty impressive, gotta love the shooting styles they listed, though only useful if jpeg, presume the RAW data may have the option to convert to those modes if they have their own RAW converter?

Reply

22 Steve Vequist November 26, 2012 at 12:06 am

Helping my wife as a second shooter at a wedding in July, I replaced the Nikon 70 – 200 lens with the 24 – 70 lens during a “signing of the marriage licsence” shot. I placed the long lens on a counter top that was about four feet above the floor (dumb-ass move on my part) and yes, it was bumped by the groom with his elbow and it crashed to the tile floor and hit hard. Scared to see the outcome, I was amazed that no damage was done to the lens when I attached it to our D3s, it worked perfectly with no problems with the focus or any distortion! We were so impressed that this lens made it through this incident and has worked perfectly ever since! While the Canon equivalent may have survived the same, we have found Nikon equipment, with few exceptions, to be very well built, reliable and giving us the best quality images we could ever expect!

Reply

23 Charles November 26, 2012 at 2:01 pm

I turned off the “zoom” part of the flash head in my 580ex II so it would not get too hot.

Reply

24 emopunk November 27, 2012 at 5:32 pm

Neil,

thanks for your reply. I read your further comments and I am happy to know that you noticed the good work Sony is doing right now. I got my A99 just some days ago. I am in A-mount since Minolta days. I would love to open your blog one day, and read an article of you trying out A99 with the new flash HVL-F60M. Any chance of such a nice surprise for us Sony shooters who read your blog?

Kindest regards from Italy!

Reply

25 John Whitney November 30, 2012 at 12:31 am

Hi Neil – thanks for the good info as always! You mention many people won’t even realize their equipment is faulty. Do you have a method or product you recommend for testing cameras and lenses?

Reply

26 Neil vN November 30, 2012 at 3:19 am

John .. I do nothing more fancy than photograph symmetrical building facades with the camera on a tripod.

Unfortunately I don’t have access to anything more sophisticated than that.

Maybe someone else have better ideas here?

Reply

27 Gina November 30, 2012 at 10:23 pm

OMG!! can I tell you again how excited you make me! I’m taken by all of your words. You interpret precisely where my mind has been or may go!
Best Regards! Hope to run into you again in Vegas 2013!

Reply

28 Mark January 8, 2013 at 11:12 am

Great article and as a pro photographer I can concur with every aspect of your story, a former member of CPS I got absolutely sick of having to get my gear re calibrated time after time after time, my 1ds3 and 1d4 were completely different with every lens and you just couldn’t interchange lenses. My 24-70’s would have been re calibrated 10 times each and would only take a small knock to put them out. I have literally fallen over and smashed my Nikkor 24-70 on the concrete and it is still perfect. I now own 2 x D4’s and previously 2x D3s’s as well as a D800. I own 7 Nikkor ‘G’ lenses. Apart from Nikon replacing my d800 (left AF point issue) and they did that without hesitation, not one thing has ever gone wrong with any piece of my Nikon gear. And I recently sold my 2 x D3s’s with 300k actuation’s on each camera. As a pro you need reliability and Nikon delivers. And yes the 14-24 is the most amazing piece of glass. Great article.

Reply

29 William July 12, 2013 at 5:42 pm

Ni Neil

I read your post about these two with interest. I have shot both over the years too and I have been frustrated from time to time with Canon here in the UK. I have to tell you, though, that my recent experience with Nikon has been so bad that I’ve ditched them completely can gone fully with Canon. I don’t want to start a “my brand is better than yours” thing, but I thought people might be interested to know of my experience.

I was happy with Nikon up until last year and the D800 release. I ordered one and it had the well – documented left AF issue. I sent it back to the dealer and got a second one. It had the problem too. The dealer said to wait a bit and then re-order so that went back too. A few months later body number 3 exhibited the same issue. I am a member of NPS in the UK so I called them. They flatly denied ever hearing about the issue and said it was ” because of the resolution” but couldn’t explain why this only affected the AF points to the left hand side. When I mentioned to the chap that the internet was full of people complaining about this problem he simply responded by saying, “Wed don’t read the internet”. Too bad their customers do!

I have to tell you that this was not a subtle problem. The left side AF got progressively worse from the centre whereas the right side was fine. It was really really noticeable.

As another but related issue I found the AF on the D800 bodies I had to be a bit erratic and I really didn’t feel confident in it to deliver the goods when I needed it to. Maybe this is just me but the other issue certainly was not.

Anyway they told me they would certainly fix any problem I had. I believed them so in it went. Turnaround was good and I got it back in a couple of days. Checked the AF. This time the left Af banks were no longer back focusing but the rest were now all front focusing. There was no explanation of any work carried out. Phoned them up and explained. They were quite dismissive. No apology just another denial of there being any problem saying the camera would’ve only been sent back if it was “within spec”. Sent it back to them again. Quick turnaround once more but when it came back all the AF points were messed up beyond belief. Once more no explanation of what they’d done. I gave my wife ( also a photographer ) a try with it and she just laughed with astonishment.

That camera went back to the dealer too.

Around 10 months later I tried again. Same result. I sent it back and have now switched completely to Canon. All my Nikon gear is sold now and given my experience with then I’m not sorry.

I know now company is perfect and products will have issues but really I expect a major player like Nikon to stand behing their product. Given all the problems they had with this issue it would have behoved them well to admit it, apologise and make it right with customers who paid a lot of money for their equipment. If they had done that I’d have been happy but instead they were defensive to the point of hostility, intransigent, and tried to make me feel the problem was to do with me and not them. Their customer service is very poor – at least here in the UK though I’m getting the idea that it isn’t much better in the US at the moment.

Added to this are the recent QC issues with the D600 and who knows what will happen with the new releases to come, I felt I no longer could place confidence in this brand. I haven’t really experienced such a lack of interest from any major company before. If this is the way I get treated as an NPS member goodness knows what the average Nikon customer experience is like!

In the past I had a couple of lenses and one camera adjusted for focus issues by Canon Professional Services and they were fine. They listend to my problem, told me what they would do, and turned it around in good time, properly fixed.

Anyway, I am wondering if you have changed your opinion as to Nikon’s reliability due to recent events or not. I am genuinely interested and I hope you realise that I am not writing to troll or be provocative. I know Nikon has a proud history and made great products but they’re just not for me any more.

All the best with your site. I really enjoy reading your blog and have benefited greatly from your tutorials and the first two flash books. I haven’t bought the third yet but I’m sure I will.

Reply

30 Alan August 20, 2013 at 9:02 am

Here’s an interesting study based on 12,000 lenses:
http://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2013/08/lensrentals-repair-data-2012-2013
The one thing that puzzles me is the poor reliability of the Nikon 14-24 and 70-200 VR2, but the worse part of it is Nikon service being the most expensive of all brands and having close to the highest turnaround time (only Olympus got worse) Canon seems OK on this, but they also have some lenses with reliability problems…

Reply

31 Neil vN August 20, 2013 at 12:30 pm

Keep in mind the “weeks to failure rate” isn’t that hugely different for the bunch of lenses in the middle.

But I too expected the lenses to be more sturdy. Although, I imagine that that Nikon (and Canon) 70-200mm f/2.8 are very complex designs and very intricate. And hence more vulnerable to dings and bumps.

Reply

32 Patrick Ng October 25, 2013 at 11:33 am

There are times when I wish I had gone the Nikon way, but then when I think about the reasons why I chose Canon, I feel a bit better.

Warranty
Canon warranty is for both USA and Canada. This allows me to buy either from a Canadian or a USA store. I like buying from B&H.

Feel and Menu
I was torn between the Nikon D7000 and the Canon 60D. As much as I wanted to like the D7000, the 60D felt much better in my hands. I also like the Canon menu better.

I can only hope that I won’t regret it in the long run. After having bought three more lenses, and a flash, switching brand will be costly.

Reply

33 mister_p January 2, 2014 at 2:14 am

I currently own both Canon and Nikon gear. Initially, I was a Canon user but after buying a lemon 24-70 and having had to initiate proceedings at a claims court to get my money back after 4 attempts to recalibrate the lens failed, I totally lost faith in their service quality and policies. Canon is evidently all about generating revenue and not pleasing the photographer. Their company motto “Canon delighting you always” could not be further from the truth.

In disgust at Canon, I recently decided to sell off some of my Canon gear and decided to buy the Nikon D800 + holy trinity of lenses.

As an owner of both systems and having insight into whats good and what’s bad, picking the right system really is about knowing what flaws you are prepared to accept. Every lens and every camera body has an issue if you look for it. If every consumer learnt to test with an iso chart and tripod, I think both Nikon and Canon service centers would be inundated with service calls ( Canon more so ). Fortunately for Canon/Nikon, most consumers don’t look too close for issues and are quite satisfied.

As a new Nikon user, its too early for me to comment on their service quality and policies but I am sure it cannot be any worse than Canon HK

Reply

Leave a Comment

{ 1 trackback }

Previous post:

Next post: