TWiP 386 – What’s up with Nikon & Canon?

This week, Dave Dugdale & Valérie Jardin join Frederick to discuss whether professional photographers are really leaving Nikon & Canon en masse or if it's all just media hype. Plus Amazon Prime members now get unlimited photo storage and Lytro offers up access to it's light field technology for $20K.

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  1. Hey, quick question: I’m an amateur and currently looking to upgrade from a Canon 60D to… something else. I really need better low light capabilities but also a good AF (I shoot martial arts, and chamber music, harp and stuff, plus the usual kids running around). You didn’t talk that much about AF, and aside from the Sony A6000 is there a mirrorless camera that could do the job better than my 60D (I already have relatively fast glass, a 17-55 2.8 and a 70-200 2.8) ?

    1. Hi Yannick! Seems to me that you have invested quite a bit in glass and you may consider getting a gently used 5DII. The market is getting flooded with really good used equipment and it’s a good time to upgrade if you stay with a DSLR. I only used Fuji and the Sony A6000 (but never in fast action low light like shooting martial arts). The Sony has the most amazing frame rate (twice the rate of the 60D) and the focus tracking is outstanding. You would need to invest in really fast glass to go with it. Definitely worth renting one for a weekend and put it through its paces before you buy. Btw.
      Good luck!

    2. Thanks for your advice ! This whole mirrorless trend is really driving me nuts, so many outstanding cameras out there, and Canon keeps throwing overpriced cameras and lenses. A colleague of me has a XT-1, and it really looks very good, the feel, the dials, the image quality, all in such a small and light package, hard to resist. But as I said when it comes to action in poorly lit venues, my 60D still does a better job.

      A used 5DII looks like a very nice idea. You got my wheels spinning, I’ll have to think about it.Thanks a lot !

      Oh, by the way, I had a look on your work and what can I say… it’s really outstanding. That picture with the dog and its shadow, I just can’t process it, you really have 6th sense for what you do. Bravo !

    3. Thanks! Although that particular pic, if you saw it on the Street Focus show notes, maybe from one of my podcast guests. My website is

      Also, I sold my 5DII and L lenses earlier this year, mine was mint and in the box but there were quite a few on in similar condition on the market. Definitely a good time to buy one if you wish to stay with DSLR a little bit longer.

      Have a great weekend and tune in to Street Focus here on the TWiP network 🙂

    4. Thanks again 🙂

      I had looked for these used 5D II, and I’m a bit concerned about the AF. As I said just above, I will have some pictures later today, so you’ll see what I have to deal with. Regarding the budget, I think I could probably afford a new 7D II, so I have a bit more room, but a new 5D III is deinitely out of range.

    5. Yannick, have you thought about buying a used 7D? Now that the 7D Mk2 is out there should be a number of the older ones on the market. It has a better auto-focus system (19 vs. 9 points + grouping options), a faster frame rate (8 vs 4 fps) and you can keep using the 17-55 which doesn’t work on the 5D as it is an EF-S lens! The one department where the 5D will be better though, is low light capability (3200 vs 1600 ISO).

    6. Thanks for your suggestion 🙂
      My question was more about what could I use in the mirroless department instead of my heavy and expensive DSLR. Obviously, money is part of the equation, but If I have to stick with a DSLR I think I’ll go with the 7D II instead of a used 7D, especially because of the noise issue.

      I will post a link to some pictures I did yestderay with my setup, it was Aikido, you’ll get a better idea of what I do.

    7. Go with the Canon 7D Mark II. It has 65 all cross point autofocus points and 10 frames a second which will help a lot with martial arts.

  2. I have one foot in both camps, shooting with a Nikon D800 and a Lumix GH3. If you forced me to pick one it would be the Nikon without question. The main determinant is image quality. There is a presence and depth to the D800 images that the GH3 can’t touch. The GH3 images are good, don’t get me wrong, but where the GH3 captures a scene, the D800 captures a feeling. I can’t explain it any better than that.

  3. When I saw the promo for this week’s episode, I got a bit of excited as I thought you were going to have a discussion about Canon and Nikon’s newest SLR’s, the 7D mk II and the D750. With all of the mirrorless talk of late, it seemed logical that you might discuss the merits as well as shortcomings available to DSLR users. Sadly, your discussion fell into the same old dialog… DSLR’s are dead and the users are dinosaurs while the “cool kids” are all shooting mirrorless. Despite my disappointment, I listened to the entire segment as I made my way to a wildlife shoot at 6:00 a.m. on a 7 degree morning in MN. I include this because I bumped into other photographers pursuing the same subjects as I. Out of the 7 photographers I saw, there was not a single mirrorless camera. Half of us were using Nikons with long lenses, half were using the equivalent Canon offerings and one was using a Sony with an old Minolta super-tele.

    The shooting conditions were tough, as it was very cold and windy. We were shooting in the snow and from icy/snowy surfaces and were forced to work at ISO 800 or greater. I share this, because there is a fairly large segment of the population who shoot nature, and until the smaller companies begin to introduce fixed aperture long tele’s mirrorless continues to be irrelevant.

    My 2c’s from an opposing POV

    1. Hi, Bruce. Over on our All About the Gear show we’ve recently posted the D810 review. Our review of the D750 will be published on 12/8/14 and the 7DmkII review is in the works now. (I’ll be shooting with it later today, in fact.)

    2. Hello Doug,

      Thanks for your reply. I look forward to watching your reviews. FYI, TWiP #386 became a bit of a brainworm, so I decided to post a bit of a rebuttal on my blog… Posted as: 5 Reasons to Shoot with a DSLR :

      Finally, I wish there was a way to download your “All About the Gear” as an audio-only file so that I can listen to it via iTunes w/ my video feed off. Any possibility that this will be possible in the future?

  4. The description for the dSLR vs Mirrorless story is deceptive. It should be Frederick and the group gang up and bash dSLRs (and people who use them) again. There wasn’t even one person on the panel that shoots regularly with a dSLR. It’s so predicable and boring to listen to. A panel show like TWIP doesn’t work if everyone is in lock step and agrees. I mean is it a shock that people that have switched think switching is a good idea.

  5. The description for the dSLR vs Mirrorless story is deceptive. It should be Frederick and the group gang up and bash dSLRs (and people who use them) again. There wasn’t even one person on the panel that shoots regularly with a dSLR. It’s so predicable and boring to listen to. A panel show like TWIP doesn’t work if everyone is in lock step and agrees. I mean is it a shock that people that have switched think switching is a good idea.

    1. Thank you for your feedback. The thing is, guests are lined up for the show before the stories make the news for the week. And there are just more and more people shooting mirrorless so the odds are pretty good that panels will have more mirrorless shooters. We are not ganging up on anyone. I promise! 😉

    2. Valerie is correct. The guests for our shows are selected and scheduled weeks in advance. And as you know, the news happens when ever it wants to. Though serendipity sometimes works in our favor, many times we have a somewhat unbalanced or sometimes even uninformed panel with regard to the stories at hand. And in my opinion, that makes the show even more valuable… because we come at things from an “general audience” perspective.

  6. Oh and if anyone has a question about a Canon camera in the USA you can call 1-800-OKCANON and they will help you out. The people there have physical access to every Canon Camera and can help you dive into the settings if that’s what you need.

  7. I just listened this morning and though I love the show, I really wish
    this was a balanced look at the two. It felt a bit like mirrorless
    propaganda (and it often does), and I don’t think the technology is to the point that it’s
    as black and white as you might think when listening. Other than that,
    thanks for the great podcast.

    1. Sorry this sounded like mirrorless propaganda Brandon… I think we’re just excited about our tools. And because this is a round-table format show it might come off as a bit propagandized. That’s not our intent though. But you’re correct, we should try and mix mirrorless hosts with DSLR shooters so that we have a more “fair and balanced” show, and contrasting opinions.

    2. Without trying to offend anyone, I’m going to jump in and defend Van Johnson here on this one. As much as it sounds like Mirroless propaganda, it isn’t and I’ll tell you why. Cameras are evolving, and these two manufacturers are not keeping up with the pace. They’re not even trying. Sure, maybe because of Valerie’s comment it seems like size is the issue, but we wouldn’t be discussing size as an issue if the big size was justified by its technology. Get my point? So it’s not about mirrorless vs dslr, it’s about advancing technology vs being complacent. And I just don’t see why I should carry a bigger camera when the smaller one can do an equal or better job. If they want me to use the bigger body, they need to compel me or justify the reasons why I should, otherwise I’ll say that efficiency of size, price, and form factor are an improvement. Why should I pay and carry more for less? This is backward thinking.

      So Yeah, really, what is up with Nikon and Canon? One aspect I feel is not being discussed is that ok fine, even if they’re not jumping on the mirrorless bandwagon yet, why are they not doing anything to add significant upgrades to their products for those who like the big DSLRs? Why is it that the advances on their current products is so gradual and sluggish by comparison to the rest of the TECH world? (touch screen for those who care, integrated NFC, integrated GPS, Camera Apps, or just even better form factor like Fuji. Yes anatomy and physiology are technology too — the Nikon Df *cough F-stoppers*). Why do I need to buy more adapters? why do I have to transform my DSLR into Optimus Prime just so it can do all that a little mirrorless can do when they could simply integrate it? I understand adapters for older models, but it’s excuseless for new and upcoming cameras.

      Nikon and Canon (Nikon especially) have flooded their DSLR line up with a variety of the same thing. Besides the race for Megapixels, High ISO, and Burst rates, nothing new has been added. Not that we don’t appreciate that, but the mirrorless market has added so much more without forgetting those other 3 elements.

      Mirrorless are trying to catch up and surpass dSLR quality while maintaining a form factor, but Nikon and Canon don’t seem to be aspiring to anything as if they’re the final evolution. Their cameras are great no doubt, but I see no compelling reason to upgrade from one dSLR to another. They all perform meh ok. To the point I think some are overpriced.

      Here’s my rant list of absurd suggestions to Nikon and Canon:

      – live histogram picture and picture through viewfinder or big screen
      – integrated GPS on all new models
      – integrated NFC/Wifi
      – integrated wireless tethering
      – integrated wireless microphone connectivity
      – touch screen (I’m not big on it because this brings its own issues with touch sensitivity)
      – in-camera apps (cellphone as remote, cellphone to control exposure triangle, user friendly Nikon CLS manipulation, time lapse photography, astrophotography app that causes exposure to follow the track of the stars throughout the exposure, ok maybe I’m being too lazy now but it would work nicely on a d810.)
      – Fully submergible DSLR and lens lineup. (sorry that puny Nikon 1 thing still not sticking)
      – Revamp the DSLR line up (3 amateur cameras and 3 pro cameras, select one firm price for each category and every new iteration drops the previous by a few dollars kind of like how Apple does with the iPhone. It’s a marketing strategy that works.)

      My point is there are so many ways in which DSLRs could completely outperform the mirrorless and they have the physical space to do it. No matter how long they’ve been in business, they will be Kodak’d (FVJ) if they don’t keep up with the other technology industries. They’d best fear companies like Sony and Apple involving themselves in the gear side of photography. Sony and Apple have outlined the future for cameras, so again the writing is on the wall. Not everything needs to be mirrorless, but there’s so much room for improvement if mirrors is their fetish.

      So it isn’t mirrorless progaganda. Maybe it could have been discussed better, but I think Pro DSLR users are contemplating smaller cameras that can fully match what they need. I mean, why not?

  8. Phil, I appreciate your comment and I am glad you like to shoot with the gear you have. there is nothing wrong with it. I just wanted to add that I’ve had a full career as a commercial photographer to know what I’m talking about. I even owned a portrait studio a long, long time ago. If I was still shooting for clients today, maybe the DSLR would still have a small part in my job, but that would be for architecture and interiors only, which I’ve shot for years. Other than that, I would shoot mirrorless all the way and no one would be able to tell the difference. Especially in story telling, such as weddings, I believe that ease and comfort can only help the artist make better images. At the end of the day they are tools that are 100 times better than anything available a few years ago and the quality of imagery is only dependent on the vision of the artist behind the lens. Thank you for listening to the show and for your feedback. Always much appreciated!

    1. Thanks for the reply Valerie, I’m not questioning your knowledge or ability. I recently switched from using full size pro bodies to smaller dslr’s due to what the new FF Nikon camera’s have to offer, but just because something is smaller doesn’t necessarily make it easier or more comfortable to use for everyone. While the weight of the smaller camera’s is obviously less, to me and many others they fit less comfortably in the hand which can be a problem when shooting for long periods. This isn’t aimed at you, but I’d be intrigued to know how many people would have still switched to Fuji if their camera’s didn’t look so damn cool. The Sony A7 range is probably a good example, I don’t know personally anyone who has one but the IQ seems to be way ahead of what Fuji offers.

    2. Hi Phil, thanks for taking the time to listen to the show, and respond here.

      I’m still scratching my head to understand why you think Valerie’s comment about wedding shooters using two DSLRs simultaneously – and the associated weight. Having toted three DLSR bodies around while in the military, I can attest to the fact that after a full day of work, there was a very real fatigue in my shoulders and back. Regardless, she stated her opinion… why come here and call it “rediculous”? Secondly, you make some really broad statements with regard to a) why phones are getting bigger, and b) you claim “there are plenty of people selling mirrorless and going back to DSLRs”. These are some pretty heavy statements. First off, where’s your data regarding the “reason” Apple, Samsung, Sony, etc are producing larger phones? Is there a report somewhere that says they all unanimously agreed that smaller phones are no longer en vogue? Secondly, I’d love to see your data, or even a data source, around the mass rejection of mirrorless cameras, and the demographics of those “plenty of people” selling their mirrorless cameras and going back to DSLRs. Or is that just another unsubstantiated claim? Assuming you’re not just trolling, maybe provide some back up to what you say, and refrain from crapping on the opinions of others? I don’t recall Valerie ever proclaiming “the majority of wedding photographers hate carrying two DSLRs!” – she simply stated her opinion.

      Also, no one said ANYTHING about IQ (Image Quality in this context). Of COURSE Sony’s full-frame sensor and the amazing low-light performance on the A7s trounces most other cameras… it’s plain physics – but again, no one claimed the IQ on Fuji cameras was better. I believe Valerie’s context was that Fuji’s quality was more than good enough for her needs. And for those that need the A7r/s, it’s absolutely there for them. But why get into a “Sony is better than Fuji” debate?

      The bottom line is these are all tools, the gist of this episode was not to say that mirrorless is better than DSLR cameras, or to disrespect those that choose to shoot DSLRs. It was to call out the apparently lack of innovation from Canon and Nikon – when the “smaller” mirrorless companies seem to be doubling down.

      Again, thanks for taking the time to have this dialog here… when kept respectful, I think the entire TWiP Army benefits from varying points of view.

    3. That is a pretty harsh response Frederick, I’m not a troll and had no intention of being disrespectful to Valerie, I apologise if it came across like that. I’ve been listening to your show(s) for years and this is the first time I’ve ever felt the need to comment on what are normally balanced shows.

      Of course I don’t have any hard data to back up my opinion regarding people trying mirrorless and then going back to DSLR’s (or phone sizes). What I’ve said are my own observations from various online communities, chat amongst colleagues and friends.

      I’d love to hear from a pro sports, wedding or wildlife photographer that’s shooting just mirrorless on your show – it’s not that I’m against the format, I”m just waiting for it to fit my needs better than my current line up of DSLR’s do. I love the idea of lightweight cameras (and lenses), but it has to be progress in all areas to make me switch.

      Anyway having just read through your reply again, you’ve definitely ripped me a new one, some of it I deserved, some I’m not so sure about, either way I’m off to lick my wounds and will refrain from future posts, I’ve never been accused of trolling before!

      P.S. – I didn’t say Valerie’s opinion was ridiculous, just the comment about wanting to cry because a wedding tog was using two dslr’s.

    4. Hey Phil, my response wasn’t intended to be harsh. But you did use the word “ridiculous”, and presented several opinions as fact. e.g. “The reason….” and “Plenty of people…”. I honestly wasn’t trying to be mean, apologies if it came off as “ripping you a new one”. But if you make unsubstantiated claims like that, you should be prepared to back them up with at least a bit of data. Else, “I think… ” and “Many people I know…” would have been better ways to phrase your thoughts.

      Also, it wasn’t my intent to insult you with the “troll” remark, but that’s what trolls do… they make unfounded and often emotional claims, and then wait for the ensuing contradictory responses.

      I see that you’re not a troll, and I do hope you reconsider your decision to refrainin from posting. We like as many opinions as possible on TWiP.

  9. I’m one of the (few?) people that have tried mirrorless and ended up selling it and going back to my DSLR. Although the lower weight of mirrorless cameras and lenses is tempting on long hikes there are two main reasons why I haven’t given up on my DLSR:
    1. I much prefer looking through an optical viewfinder rather than a small tv screen be it EFV or the back lcd.
    2. A DSLR feels better in my hands. Now I don’t have large hands, but the buttons on mirrorless cameras are so small and cramed together.
    Now, everytime I’m temped by the lower weight and size of mirrorless, I remind myself that it would be better (and healthier) to loose 1 or 2 of the extra kilograms I carry around with me as fat instead.

  10. LOL! What are you talking about canon santa?
    Olympus OM-D E-M5 shutter lag is the same or less than your 5D mk3. (0.120 average depends on focus mode). It shoots 2 times faster in burst mode. Olympus OM-D E-M5 also beats mk3 on dynamic range by 0.6 stops 12.3 EV vs 11.7 EV
    Get your stats right before posting such nonsense !

  11. I wouldn’t say that Nikon isn’t coming out with innovative new products in the mirrorless space. The AW1 is the world’s first and only interchangeable lens camera that you can take completely under water without a housing. That’s pretty
    incredible when you think about it. Say what you will about the adequate but not great sensor of the 1 series, the thing goes under water (and has extremely quick focus as well). It’s a great addition to the camera bag of a wildlife shooter like myself, or any type of photographer who might be going on a trip that includes some underwater action but not enough to warrant bringing a big housing. For everything else I happily carry my D800 and D810. I know it has been mentioned already about wildlife, but I’ll repeat given the spirited discussion on this subject –there is currently no mirrorless option to even compare to my dSLR’s for the kind of shooting that I do. Street shooting etc, of course, is a whole other situation.

  12. An initial reaction is never the best, so I let it simmer for a while.
    Of course it is fine to mock Canon and Nikon for their lack of innovation. Both are big corporates who should be in the forefront of innovation and not (especially Canon) do incremental changes only for 4 years already.

    When I look at image quality (I own a 5DIII and an EX2), in normal handheld day to day use, the 5D outperforms the EX2 easily. So for me there is a choice, either go for highest IQ available to me or go for the more lightweight solution.

    What bothered me in the conversation though was the photographers were being scorned for carrying around DSLRs. As a photo enthusiast, I spend a lot of cash on my glass and the associated camera body. Replacing this for something else is not trivial.

    I suppose the discussion on DSLR vs ML is not over. Next time please make fun of not innovative companies and not of their customers who tried to make the best possible decision when they were investing.

    My take on the discussion: the magic word of the TWIP podcast “it depends …..”.

  13. I’ve never listened to this podcast before, but I’d thought I would give it a shot – the episode title seemed interesting, and perhaps there would be an honest discussion about DSLR/mirrorless pros/cons and what Canikon are up to next in the inevitable trend to mirrorless. This was clearly a mistake on my part, and I won’t be coming back. A more one-sided and mocking ‘discussion’ would be difficult to find.

  14. I have no argument with the point of view that Canon and Nikon are mired in a very conservative business model that prevents either from innovating. the fact that the new Nikon 810 doesn’t have built-in wifi and geo-tagging is a disgrace (and I’m a Nikon shooter for 30 years). If they continue down the same path, they WILL become the Kodaks of the near future. That said, the statement that photographers are leaving “en masse” for mirrorless just isn’t borne out by the sales statistics. Mirrorless sales have been flat for the third year in a row. While there are some nice mirrorless cameras out there, they aren’t lighting up the sales numbers. Yes, for sure, DSLR sales have gone down. But it’s far from clear that people who aren’t buying new DSLRs are running out and buying mirrorless. It appears more likely that the market has sufficiently matured that many DSLR photographers are simply happy with what they have for a much longer period of time. The difference between the Nikon D2X and D3 was huge. The difference between the D800 and D810 is minor. Personally, for me, with my big hands I find mirrorless too tiny and toylike to be comfortable. And the endless blather about how DSLRs are soooooo heavy makes me laugh. For decades photographers have been carrying DSLRs and all the accoutrements and they were never “too heavy.” In fact, compared to medium and large format they were the nimble cameras. Suddenly it’s claimed that’s its such a relief to have a tiny light camera. OK, maybe for some. I can see street photographers, in particular, wanting the low profile, low noise, low visibility mirrorless cameras. It works for that purpose. For the rest, meh, no big deal. For the best image IQ the best DSLRs are clearly superior to the best mirrorless. If all you do is publish for viewing on a screen, the IQ difference may not be noticeable. If you print, and particularly if you print large, the mirrorless don’t, IMHO, match up. Are they “good enough”? Yes, if that’s what you are satisfied with, they are. But if your goal is the best you can produce, they aren’t there yet.

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