Slightly finer grain on the "Ultimate Canon vs. Nikon Guide" post: What I was saying is that yes, it's good to have a nice camera, and everybody should. But it's really not a matter of urgency which brand you choose. Divide DSLRs into rough categories—entry-level, mid-level, and pro-level. Simply pick your level, and then pick one of the available options and get on with it.
This morning's announcement of the new Nikon had me thinking of headlines like, "Of All the DSLRs in the World, Here is Another." Of course, there's actually no reason at all to be snarky. It's a Nikon. I bet it's going to prove a perfectly wonderful product, chock full of goodness and high value—very sane, no doubt formidably competent and up-to-the-minute. And almost completely predictable. And not, in any way I can discern, terribly exciting. I could have predicted the feature set. Heck, I could have predicted the price point, rounded to the dollar (Nikon D3100 kit, $699. Nikon D7000 body, $1199. You figure it out: D5100 kit, $899. Duh.)
We all have good reasons for making our personal choices. I love my K-5's quiet shutter and the way the front and back control dials work in manual mode, and I'm rather pleased by its compact good looks, the way it form-fits to my hand. (That Pentax advertises on TOP doesn't hurt my fondness for the marque, either, although that was sort of a chicken-and-egg kind of thing.) And there are always differences between products that make this one a little more suited to one usage and that one a little less suited to another.
The anti-Trump: You're hired!
But here's a somewhat mean-spirited mental exercise. Imagine I were to land a big grant to do a documentary project (it's not that far-fetched). I get to hire half a dozen photographers for a year to do nothing but go out in the world and shoot—work hard on whatever projects grab their interest, wherever they want to go, with good pay and logistical support—company vehicle, an archivist/IT assistant back at headquarters, etc.
And you're one of the shooters.
There's only one catch. We have to use the cameras donated by various companies that are helping to support the project.
So you and the other five photographers arrive for initiation day and we have a bunch of brand new two-body, three-lens* kits waiting from various manufacturers. A D7000 kit, an E-5 kit, a K-5 kit, a 7D kit, and so on. (Since this is imaginary, we're even going to imagine there are two of whatever camera Sony will eventually replace the A700 with, too. Or is that just too outlandishly implausible to imagine? Snark, snark.) And to make matters fair and keep them simple, we draw names out of a hat as to who gets what.
Could you deal with that?
Of course you could. I mean of course you would. Any photographer would, and could. That's my guess, anyway. Each photographer would finish their year of shooting madly with two or three things about their camera they'd initially disliked but figured out how to work around and eventually got used to, three or four things they love about it, and maybe some stealth feature they didn't discover until two months into the project that they now feel they will no longer be able to live without.
And you know what else? No matter what camera you drew in the lottery, you'd love it at the end of the year. Know why? Because craftsmen learn to love the tools they use the most. It's working with a camera that makes you like it, not picking just the right one to begin with. Whichever camera you drew from the hat, you'd remember fondly all your life.
I'm just sayin'.
*ADDENDUM: The three lenses would all** be fast primes, of course, not "kit lenses." Remember whose daydream you're in!
**Addendum to the addendum: Okay, not Olympus.
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Original contents copyright 2011 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved.
Featured Comment by Kelvin: "Try talking to jazz saxophonists. They argue about mouthpieces all day long and think that only amateurs use reeds softer than size 4! The Selmer Mark VI is also their equivalent to a Leica M3—you're not hard core unless you play what Coltrane played!"