Which camera brand?
Lately, I attended a portrait photography seminar. When it all started, the teacher asked the group to divide itself in two : those with Canon cameras on the left side and those with Nikon on the right side. The people with other camera brands had to go with the group that had less people, in our case the Nikon group. That little episode reminded me of how I struggled when came the time to buy my camera. Which camera brand to go for?
After reading A LOT of stuff on the internet and in magazines (did I say A LOT?), I decided to go with a camera that could produce the best image quality possible, which seemed to be a camera with a full frame sensor. About 2 years ago, my choices for affordable full frame bodies were the Canon 5D Mark II, the Nikon D700 and the Sony Alpha 900. After doing some research, I found that the Alpha 900 did not have a good image quality in low-light situations compared to its competitors. Also, where I live, I was told by camera dealers that Sony did not give good client service. So I eliminated the Alpha 900 from my choices.
Additional readings, comparisons and thinking about my real needs made me lean towards the Nikon D700. Everywhere people talked about this camera. The low-light image quality, the speed, the tough construction, the looks… I was caught in the storm. I then went to a photography trade show where I wanted to go and have a final look at that ``Beast``. I was ready to invest a few thousand bucks on equipment that I knew would last a long time and that could respond to any situation.
At the Nikon booth, I ask a representative if I can take a look at the camera. I touch it. I feel it. I love it! Then I tell myself : the D700 has been out for a few years now and many rumours say that the D800 will be out soon. Maybe I should spend my money on the new technologies, especially if it’s about to come out. `` That is when I ask the representative if he knows when the D800 will come out. He then responds with a nice smile : ``yes, it’s been announced this morning! `` I smile. I’m so happy! I ask him what date it will be for sale. He then stops smiling and responds in a rude and annoyed way:`` No. I don’t know when it will come out. But who cares? There will always be new stuff to come out. `` Damn, I did not expect that response. That Nikon representative just made me feel stupid. Not a good way to sell products…
I then go to the Canon booth. A girl shows me the 5D Mark II. She tells me about the excellent image quality, she shows me the dials (which the Nikon guy did not do), she shows me big images made with that camera. I then ask her about the 5D Mark III, just in case it’s about to come out. She nicely responds that she doesn’t know and then she tells me about that big sale on the Mark II. 2000 bucks! She tells me that she can’t believe about how low the price is for a camera that good. I start to love it…
I then ask about the camera’s supposedly slow speed. She honestly says that her 7D is much faster, but whenever speed is not needed, she goes back to her ``Good old Mark II``. 2000$ for a full frame professional camera. You can’t go wrong with a deal like that she says. I grab the camera again. I speak with my friend that also reads a lot about cameras. I think about the D700… which reminds me of that unpleasant representative. Done! I fall for the 5D Mark II!
Today, after almost 2 years of shooting, I am so glad I bought that Canon product. The camera is perfect and the price was just too good to let it go. Price vs value can’t be better!
So this little story is just to say that most of the time, the brand someone will choose will be affected by professional tests and reviews (internet, magazines), by camera dealers, by friends, by touching and trying, etc.… But I never thought it could be so much affected by a photoshow representative. Nikon, I know you have good products, but one of you guys did not act professionally and made you lose many thousand dollars. Sorry! Now I guess I’ll go join my group… on the left side!
Photo credits: Piero Cruciatti.