Meeting Other Photographers: The Kit Divide

Canon v Nikon

I donâ??t know about you, but whenever Iâ??m at a party or friendly gathering and meet a fellow photographer for the first time, almost without fail, the same thing happens. There are the normal how-do-you-do type pleasantries, then you realise you’re both photographers and there’s some small talk and then, before long, the kit question comes up.

Other Photographer: â??So, Canon or Nikon?â?
Me: â??Canon. You?â?

At this point something very interesting happens. Depending on the answer, youâ??ve either made a new chum or, for all intents and purposes, a die hard enemy. OK, that might be putting it a bit strongly, but if youâ??ve been in this situation youâ??ll know what I mean. Providing you both use the same make of camera you get to chatting, often obsessively, about photography and before you know it your other half is annoyed with you because you still havenâ??t gotten her the vodka and cranberry she asked for an hour ago. Should the makes differ however, something entirely different happens. You make polite small-talk for a few minutes then, as soon as thereâ??s a suitable gap in the conversation, one of you makes an excuse about having to speak to someone else or needing to make a phone call and thatâ??s the end of that.

I donâ??t think it’s anything to do with not liking the other person, or even a lack of respect for the way they go about their jobs. There isn’t time to really learn anything about each other in those few short minutes, yet for some reason the different kit creates an insurmountable gulf between photographers. Of course if youâ??re friends first this doesnâ??t happen, but there will always be the tongue-in-cheek, slanderous remarks exchanged whenever the topic comes up.

Iâ??ve spoken to some of my photography chums and theyâ??ve found that the same happens to them too. Interestingly Iâ??ve just thought about it and without exception we all use Canons. There isnâ??t a Nikon among us? How odd.

I find this baffling. I wonder how many collaborative opportunities have been missed because one photographer uses different kit to the other. Itâ??s so short-sighted yet the majority of us seem to do it. Why is there such segregation between Canon and Nikon camps? Is there a group of Nikon users, similar to me and mine, who are pondering the very same question? If so, weâ??d love to hear your take on the subject.

Oddly, I’ve not come across too many photographers that use other manufacturers, but I wonder if the same divide is there too.

Now, weâ??ve tried to stay away from the Canon vs. Nikon debate on TDM. Mostly because we feel a good photo is a good photo and why should it matter what was used to take it? However, that being said, itâ??s always interesting to know what kit people use. So, what do you use? Canon, Nikon or something else? Let us know in the comments and weâ??ll come back to this at a later date with the results.

5 Replies to “Meeting Other Photographers: The Kit Divide”

  1. To get the ball rolling, I use a Canon 350D, but I hope soon to upgrade. I’ll be sticking with Canon and it’ll either be the 40D or the 5D.

  2. The Canon/Nikon debate is an interesting one, especially as it never seems to drag in any other camera manufacturers. The same thing happens with Mac/PC in the studio. Having grown old and mature, I’m now able to say “whichever one does what you want, when you want it, is the best one for you”, although in my younger days I would have argued to the death!

    Back in the film days I desperately wanted to own a Nikon F4 and considered Canon to be the underdog. When I went digital I chose Canon, really just because it seemed like the right choice for me. I got my hands on a Nikon for the first time recently and really liked it. Couldn’t say which was better though.

    A friend of mine was at some music event the other day which was being recorded for showing on TV. He commented that, without exception, every pro photographer at the event was carrying Nikon – not a single Canon (or other make) to be seen.

    I would like to think we can all be grown-up about this, but it’s a very personal thing and I think we treat it as questioning our ability or judgement if someone does not choose the same kit.

    Mind you, I think we need the camera manufacturers to continue the squabble, because it is this that drives the technology forward and the prices down.

  3. I’m in a couple of online forums to improve my photography and this C vs N debate seems to rage everywhere when I do an online search.

    I am a Nikon user (D200 and D70s)…

    My choice was not based on any preconceived ideas or peer pressure. It was back in the “film days” and I was looking for my first SLR. I tried a few out in the shop and The Canon and Nikon units felt good , solid and seemed well supported fir accessories. In the end the Nikon won me over as it just felt more intuitive in my hands. I liked it’s weight, and the controls seemed to be where my fingers and thumbs instinctively went to. Also it was on offer!

    When i changed over to a DSLR, my accessory list (lenses etc…) made changing over impractical so I stayed with the Nikons… I’m still enjoying my photography immensely and I’m glad of the kit I use. That said I’m sure that had I started out on Canons I’d have been equally happy by now!

  4. Chris,

    I stopped visiting forums specifically because of the raging debates; Nikon vs Canon; PC vs Mac: film vs digital. I used to join in, but then I grew up!

    Now I love the kit I have (Canon), but I admire the competition equally. Like you, I made a choice based on how the cameras felt at the time – I could just as easily gone with Nikon (or one of the others) and been just as happy.

  5. I use Minolta for 35mm and Mamiya for medium. I love my Minolta and have several. I will miss their further development…have no intention of going to digital. So, have to keep this in shape and working. There are several things about the Minolta 9 that I like much better than the Minolta.

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