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Tuesday, 27 November 2007


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"Am I switching from Canon to Nikon? No, absolutely not. But I feel that there is now going to be a huge resurgence in use of Nikon gear by pros and amateurs alike, and as a teacher and a writer it is appropriate for me to become much more familiar with what this platform now has to offer."

See the tricks the mind plays to rationalize the purchase of more toys. :) Like he doesn't know what the Nikon platform has to offer. Yeah, right.

"How I stopped worrying and loved the [insert appropriate brand here]": I guess MR is entitled to use whatever equipment he feels is going to help him take the photos he wants. He probably can afford to run two 35mm-based systems as well as MF and even a LF system so it's not as if it's a very big decision for him. In the end, it's not what you use, it's how you use it and what you end up achieving. The struggle for me at the moment is not the equipment, it's finding inspiration and courage to tackle interesting photographic projects, and the brand name on my camera won't change that (though I'm eyeing the A700 or the flagship due out next year:-).

Hey, Mike, this is not the "man bites dog" headline that you're grasping for! Who cares? Say ten times, "It's the photographer dammit, not the camera."


I'm fascinated by photographer's slavish devotion to or avoidance of various camera brands. What does any of it really matter? Isn't it the final result that counts?

Artists and sculptures aren't seen discussing and pitting one tool over another, are they? Brush, pigment, marbel, and chisel! A total shoot-out!! News at 11 and posted on a blog near you!!!

I suppose folks might not see the absurdity of the whole thing. Cameras are just tools. Right?

I attended a nature photography seminar featuring a husband/wife team (John & Barbara Gerlach) ... one shoots Nikon and one shoots Canon so they're familiar with the gear that 90%+ of their workshop attendees. Unlike MR, I suspect they rely a bit more heavily on their workshops for income and it's amazing how many photographers need help with their gear :) MR could be rationalizing - but who knows ? Nothing wrong with buying a camera you really like ! If he's right and these new releases do signal the start of a resurgence for Nikon, it's interesting industry news (the alleged resurgence, not necessarily MR's purchase :)

Regarding Christopher Perez' comments ... first off, I can't reply about artists, since I don't hang out on artists forums, but I've heard that some of that goes on. And I've been in art supply stores and looked through Cheap Joe's & Dick Blicks art supply catalogs enough to know there's a lot of "buy this, it's better" going on there.

But beyond that, what artists do & don't do is largely irrelevant to 99% of "people who buy cameras". Most camera buyers are not artists. Most aren't even photographers, but if you limit the discussion to DSLRs, then you have a bunch of amateurs, enthusiasts, working pros and every now & then, an artist. The artists, I would imagine, are particular about their gear, but to the extent it helps them realize their intent. The rest ... it varies. But I think of the majority of photographers as craftspeople. Craftsmen *are* particular about their tools; and do discuss them (maybe not in the same polarizing way ...). Woodworkers spend small fortunes on tools; spend tons of time on their shops; and when all is said & done, might do a fair job crafting a couple pieces from published plans that they could have bought for a small fraction of the cost of their shop ;) They read tool reviews online, in magazines, discuss them in forums, go to trade fairs, where they find out which saw blade, which kind of belt, which table top surface lubricant, which fence, which miter gauge or sled gives them the least measurable tearout, the glassiest finish, the most accurate angles ...

Whether MR's purchase of a D300 is significant or not, I don't know, but Nikon use to be "it" and Canon came along and clobbered them ... if Nikon is, now, never, someday, going to enjoy a resurgence, that's as newsworthy as anything else.

My sense is that Michael would be perfectly straightforward with us as to the reasons he's buying a Nikon. If he thought it was irrelevant but he just wanted a new toy, I suspect he'd just say so. I'd be inclined to take his comments about the D300 at face value.

Personally, I think we should be grateful MR has such a protean appetite for trying and testing new toys. Despite what you might think, it becomes work after a while. The last time I was thrilled to be loaned equipment for a review was in about 1991 (it was a Mamiya 6 and three lenses. I was astonished they'd just send it to me, and seriously thrilled to get to use it. It's been a while). I just wouldn't have the stomach to do all the product testing Michael does. Be glad--be very glad--that he does.

Mike J.

Mike, I had a chance to fondle the D3 at Photo Expo in NYC and was mightily impressed. The camera just feels right. I've been a EOS user since 1990, and as much as I've liked the cameras and lenses, they've never seemed to be more than just a tool. The D3 seems like it would inspire a bit more passion, like my old Nikon F's. The truly wonderful thing about the D3 is it will take the Zeiss ZF lens line if you happen to like fast sharp primes like I do.


Saw that this morning and had a pretty good chuckle.

I thought I was a master of rationalization when it came to buying toys, but MR is clearly a force to be reckoned with in that arena. Of course there's nothing wrong with a bit of pricey rationalization if one can afford it, but a better photographer one will not become.

Fortunately my Leica gear has pretty much drained any resources I had for making camera purchases, so rationalization is no longer an option. Sigh ... guess I'll just have to go out and take photographs.

The new Nikons do look nice though ...

If I had the money MR has, I'd have 10 different systems just for the fun of it! And then I'd go and troll about each brand on the other brands forums (insert evil grin here). BUAHAUHAUHAU!

Thank goodness they didn't go out of business before the finally figured out how to compete. RIP:Konica, Minolta, Pentax, Contax, Hasselblad, Damn near Leica and Olympus....

I think the review of the new Nikons is more about generating web traffic at LL than anything else. Personally, I have trouble with MR's reviews ever since the Leica M8 IR sensitivity brouhaha, where MR noticed color accuracy issues in his tesing on the M8, but deliberately withheld those comments at Leica's request. Many customers bought the M8 on his recommendation, only to find out that they had bought a very expensive digital camera with a significant design problem. I am sure those readers felt disenfranchised when MR said he had seen the problem, but did not report it in his original review, only to then cop to it later when customers starting complaining.

As far as how the new Nikons stack up, I'd rather trust the input and experiences of the working pros at SportsShooter any day of the week. Every day these guys go into combat with their gear, in some cases, quite literally.

While this may be a crack in Canon's armor, whether it is a "stress riser" is another matter.

But even if the Nikons are as good as the preview intelligence seems to indicate, that is still good news for Canon users as it means Canon will not able to be complacent with Nikon becoming ever more competitive.

Especially just coming off the 1D MkIII AI servo autofocus debacle.

I think Mike J is right -- this HAS to be purely for the job of testing... If you owned a Phase One MF digital back and all the other toys he had access to, would you spend any money on prosumer 135 format DSLRs? Not unless you really had to! :) Those Nikon reviews will generate TONS of traffic for him, and he'll probably sell an extra ticket or two for his photo expeditions... Very easily worth the price of the camera for him.

His final verdict? Here's $20 he says some form of "this camera is great, but, uh, I own $20k worth of EOS lenses. Let's see what Canon does next." :)

Nikon vs. Canon....Canon vs. Nikon

I became a Canon photographer over 30 years ago. As a starving architectural student I needed a 35mm camera; it was an essential tool for me. Nothing fancy. I did not have more than approximately $160 that I could spend when I walked into the campus town camera store. I wanted a Nikon. Who didn't want a Nikon in the 1970's? The camera store owner sniffed when he heard my budget. Well OF COURSE Nikon was far beyond my reach. But he could stoop to sell me a Canon TLb and a basic 50mm lens. I used that camera throughout, and beyond, my college days, even selling photographs at a local art gallery.

Today I really could not care less what Nikon does. I am sure they make wonderful cameras and lenses but I just don't need to care and never will. Nikon does not hold the key to improving my photographic skills, any more than Canon holds such a key for Nikonians. I am, however, grateful for their dogged persistence at staying close in Canon's rear-view mirror. Without Nikon Canon might be selling the 10D Mark VIII today.

Do the reviews of Internet "celebrities" like Michael Reichmann matter to me? Not really. I will generally read MR's reviews but take them as personal experiences and advice from someone who used the camera for a short time. I buy what I feel I need with an emphasis on performance, design and reliability. Canon's cameras have never disappointed me in those 30+ years. I never felt I bought a stinker and I was always confident in the reliability of the Canon in my hands at any moment. I'm sure that that will continue for many years to come, perhaps the rest of my photographic career.

In the end, though, photographic success is greatly reliant on being thoroughly knowledgeable, comfortable, and capable with whatever camera you're using. People who get their main thrills from buying and trying new photo gear will never achieve much in photography. They devote too much energy towards unproductive and uncreative activities, never mastering a camera.

I'm grateful MR is doing all his product testing, but the man seems like a walking talking cliche to me: buy all the expensive equipment you can get your hands on, and then travel to the most exotic locations to take pictures. Get real! Madagascar, give me a break. There must be photographers in Madagascar.

forget about the camera reviews... scroll down a bit, and boy is that a fine beard. i tried find a utility vest but failed.

Yeah, Reichmann does seem to do too many articles on camera unobtanium, but it will be nice for him to give equal time to a manufacturer other than Canon. I know he's a resolution freak, but I never could get around the ergonomics of a Canon. When I bought a D200 everything was where I expected it to be and I never had to go into the menu system except to reformat the card. It also seemed to be more of a natural extension of going from film to digital. I also never shoot at an ISO higher than 800 so I had no need for all the Canon progress on that front. I've since moved on from the D200 (Leica finally came through with the M8) but if I had to have a DSLR it would be a Nikon so I'm pleased that all of the LL readers will have an opportunity to read in depth about more choices rather than have just one crammed down their throats.

I am always amazed at the volume of negative comments aimed at "MR". As soon as anyone mentions his name there's a bunch of smirking and eye-rolling. I just don't get it.

It seems to me he's pretty up front about his prejudices, likes and dislikes. As with all things you read (on the internet and elsewhere) you're free to take it or leave it.

Some of his pictures are pretty good, IMHO. I'd be happy to have taken them.

Interesting comments about Canon and MR, I gave up my Canon gear and moved to Olympus 2 years ago. I now have a full set of lenses and await my E3, I will have to learn that camera (not platform) and I expect it will take some time to get the the camera tuned to the way I like my photographs (not captures) to look, I do not use any other brands and know instinctively what my E 500 will do and perhaps even more important,not do.
Art directors are amazed at the quality I produce from this camera, they think I have a big Canon.
MR and his daily purchases of gear does not make him a better photographer, Exotic locations do not guarantee better shots, all this does is distance your eye from the main pleasure of our craft and to me that is the fleeting second of pleasure you get on pressing the shutter, any shutter and knowing you got a great shot.
My best time in photography was 30 years ago with a Nikon F2, a 35 mm lens, no meter and a pocket-full of TRI X. I don't remember the camera much but I do treasure the photographs.
I once asked Andre Kertez about camera choice and he told me to just get out every day and take "SNAPS" and I did.
Digital confused us for a while, let's get back to images.

"There must be photographers in Madagascar."

What does this even mean? People can't travel to locations that have other photographers? People shouldn't travel because other photographers will shoot images for them?

The best Nikon, Canon, etc are nothing more than point and shoot cameras until you shoot Raw and use photoshop CS3 and Lightroom, with the newest pro printer, printing on the best papers. The most important feature of the newer cameras is "Live View" and dust removal. Live View is an incredible feature. I just starting shooting with the new 40D Canon a real bargain at $1200 and you get at least $300 worth of software with it free and so far no dust.

Feature wise much better than my 1Ds Canon--Just waiting for an upgraded 5D Full Frame.

Most if not all Nikon lenses, with an adapter will fit on a Canon in a manual mode.

The camera is a recording device (some a little better then others ) but non of them will make great photographs. Only you, the photographer, can do that.

"There must be photographers in Madagascar."

>>What does this even mean? People can't travel to locations that have other photographers? People shouldn't travel because other photographers will shoot images for them?<<

I just resent the whole premise that implies that you have to travel far-and-wide for worthy images.

Nikon users have been wondering for some time if MR might give their brand a try. His trip report from the 2007 Antarctica visit noted numerous failures of Canon equipment but none for Nikon users.


He'll certainly be seeing more Nikon users on future trips, given the recent prominence of the D300 and D3, and it shouldn't be too surprising that he'd be curious after the Antarctic visit.

Player - Having read quite a lot of the LL stuff over the last couple of years, I don't think I would say that Michael Reichmann believes that "you have to travel far-and-wide for worthy images".

Thinking about what I would do if I were him (meaning had the resources) I'd do the same thing - hit every exotic and interesting location I can. That, to me, would be a benefit of the job.

Are good pictures only from distant locations? Of course not. Has MR only printed pictures from distant locations? Of course not. There are plenty from his neck of the woods in Canada. There is certainly a marketing aspect to having travelled to exotic locales - and there are pictures that can't be had anywhere else. That's exciting, and fun, and I hope he's thankful to get to do it.

But I don't see anything about his site that implies that you "have" to travel for any reason.

Carl, why do you love Live View? How do you use it? I am intrigued by it but have yet to make friends.


I too am curious about why "live view" is a big deal. Have we gotten so lazy with setting exposure that we can't even take a test shot and then look at the back of the camera?

Not to mention that the conventional reflex VF is also "live," and not obscured by pixels!

IMHO Mr. Reichman is a very good photographer who simply gets so overexcited with some new cameras (generally Canon, but eventually Leica) that he loses his senses: His Canon D40 impressions included "better image quality than the 5D", which obviously got many protests all over the net (including mine, here) and on the Enterprise, in the great sky above, from Scotty: "You can't beat the laws of physics!". Later, MR dismissed these comments as "villifying"... Well, the 40D has been evaluated by many serious testers now...And it's image quality is now confirmed as exactly the same as the 400D (higher contrast mode apart): Same sensor, same processor...It's obvious, couldn't be different...Ego-bruising, certainly...villifying, no.

With any pursuit, there are people who enjoy the tangential aspects of their pursuit. Some of these also enjoy discussing some of these aspects.

I am a photographer who also enjoys the actual equipment (design, ergonomics, 'feel' etc.). I still fawn over Canon T90s for their design and look. I miss the sound of my Minolta XE7 shutter. I appreciate MR for sharing his experience with equipment that interests me, but that I would not necessarily consider purchasing.

I fully agree with Kevin, and I also "don't get it." In fact MR and LL are the major reason I went digital, and the reason I upgraded to the 20D, and I have NO regrets. I did a lot of research, not just with LL, but his site was really the most significant for me, and I thank him for that. I upgraded to the 20D because it made sense for what I do and wanted to do, and it was an excellent decision. I have gotten better results, and more enjoyment from using it.

I have also learned a LOT about image editing (which has also helped me to be a better photographer) because of him and his site. There is a LOT to learn there. I'm saying this for anyone who wants to learn, not for MR.

And clearly he doesn't "have to travel far-and-wide for worthy images," he just seems to want to, and what is wrong with that? Really, what IS wrong with that. If you can provide me with good reasons not to travel (and "because I said so" will NOT count), and provide me with images of yours that are as good as his, then I will take you seriously.

If you look closely at his site, there ARE many (good)images that he has shot "close to home." I'm no apologist, and I'm not trying to justify him, but there is a lot that can be learned from him and his site, and that is what I am interested in.

If you don't realize that lots of different people have lots of different needs, then there is probably no helping you. If YOU don't need good quality ISO 1600, then apparently NOBODY should. YUP, that is some good thinking. If YOU can get great images close to home... etc., etc., etc...

No, it ISN'T JUST about the "end result," isn't that part of the point of art? It is also about the journey and what you use (and learn) on that journey, not because of peer pressure or what have you, but because it works well for you.

I'm very interested in the D300 even though it is unlikely that I will switch to Nikon, primarily because of money. And not because it is new and shiny, but because of what and how I shoot, and I want to know if it will be a better (and maybe more enjoyable) tool to use.

I have over 5,000 photos on my website of bands playing live at a local blues club. I could not have taken those photos and gotten such great results without the right equipment. For me that means IS and good ISO 1600 image quality, not to mention camera speed (my D30 couldn't even come close to keeping up) and resolution. I'm looking forward to upgrading to the 40D when I can afford it, not because it is the "newest and best," but because I think it will better serve my needs, and THAT will make me happy.

It seems like a lot of people here either have jealousy issues, or a very bizarre chip on their shoulder.

As for "live view" being "such a big deal?" Because it is a tool that SOME people will find useful (I probably won't). If you don't like it, don't use it (again, I probably won't). Would you prefer that there was a law against it because it is of no use to YOU? I sure wouldn't. Or maybe you could just petition the company to halt their R&D in this area.

I just don't get it, and it is starting to hurt my head.

I AM thankful for Kevin and some of the other people here who keep their minds open.

I agree with Keith Forbis. The LL is a great source for learning about photography (not only equipment) for free. You also have excellent products (video tutorials, etc.) for a very reasonable price.
Michael Reichmann is helping many photographers with that wonderful site. I am very grateful to him as a regular user/reader of LL.
He is right about Nikon. The new machines (D300, D3) seem to be great, and he knows new models for studio and landscape work are coming. Canon's monopoly has ended in several market segments.

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