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Insights & Thoughts

Why I Don’t Recommend Nikon for Video | Caleb Pike

By Hanssie on November 1st 2014

People are passionate beings. When we fall in love with a product or brand, we will fiercely defend it with our very being. Be it Apple, Canon, Nikon or a flavor of coffee (Starbucks PSL, anyone?), every brand has its fanboys and girls and if anything disparaging is said about their beloved chosen product or brand, you might as well draw a line in the sand and declare it World War III.

So, if you’re a Nikon fan, the following video may have you foaming at the mouth. Caleb Pike from DSLR Video Shooter just released a brief video with 4 reasons why he would not recommend Nikon cameras for video shooting. Before you skip the rest of this and start your angry tirade in the comment section, he prefaced in the video notes that he made the video because he is frequently asked why he chooses not to shoot with a Nikon, he has nothing against Nikon or its shooters and that this is just his subjective opinion.

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4 Reasons Why Caleb Pike Does Not Recommend Nikon Cameras for Video

He states that with all the options out there for video shooting, such as the Panasonic GH4, Sony FS, A7s and all of Canon’s offerings, Nikon’s video capabilities are just not up to par. These are the reasons why:

1. Lens Mount: Though he uses almost exclusively Nikon lenses on his GH4 for stills, the design of the lens mount disallows the use of third party lenses on Nikon cameras.

2. Camera Menu and System: He prefers using the system that Canon, Panasonic and to an extent, Sony, have because they have better organization.

3. Nikon’s History With Video: Canon and Panasonic have a long history of working with video whereas Nikon only began video capabilities with the D90.

4. Professional Filmmakers Use Canon or Sony, Not Nikon: His argument is that pros use what works well and only a handful choose Nikon.

He is quick to add that he loves the Nikon glass and has nothing against Nikon shooters, just that in his opinion, he would not use Nikon for video. Check out the 5 minute video below and tell us what you think. (I’ll bring the popcorn while you guys battle it out!)

[Via YouTube]

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Hanssie is a Southern California-based writer and sometimes portrait and wedding photographer. In her free time, she homeschools, works out, rescues dogs and works in marketing for SLR Lounge. She also blogs about her adventures and about fitness when she’s not sick of writing so much. Check out her work and her blog at Follow her on Instagram

Q&A Discussions

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  1. carl rug

    People get angry when somebody says something bad about nikon, the article is just some crisitism and people at this forum just get mad about this, nikon is not bad at video, they have wonderfull sony sensors, but canon and sony are better at video, if you dont like the article dont read it thats it……..

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  2. Aliaume Souchier

    1. Yep, Nikon F mount has a long flange distance, so it’s maybe not the most practical mount you can imagine for third party lenses. Using a Canon mount allow you to use Nikon lenses easily, so, I got his point.

    2. Why not. You have to use the gear which provides you a good user experience. If you dislike menus and / or buttons, it’s frustrating. Fighting again the gear is not the main goal of technology… But it’s totally subjective.

    3 and 4. Pure bullshit. Just the demonstration of the strength of inertia… “Because Nikon has no history in…” “Because pro uses…”. It has nothing to do with the main question : the ability or not to produce nice videos with Nikon DSLR and lenses in 2014.

    It’s weak…

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  3. Kayode Olorunfemi

    Caleb, you are a bolder man than I… On a serious note, am sure no serious video making is thinking of Nikon for video, probably only Nikon photographers thinking of moving into video would consider it.

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  4. Eric Sharpe

    I didn’t watch the video. I’m guessing here, but sounds like the guy doesn’t recommend Nikon cameras for video. :D I was just in Best Buy today, buying an iPad Mini 3 case, and I stopped to browse through the camera section while I was waiting for them to find one for me. Anyway, a Best Buy employee kinda popped up on me real fast, and startled me. He asked if I needed help with anything, and I said that I was just looking. In my head, I was not interested in getting into a debate with a Best Buy employee, on why he recommends Canon over Sony or Nikon. So, he asked me if I’d checked out the Canon T5i. I told him I hadn’t, but I’d like to look at the Sony Rx100 if he had one on the floor. He immediately told me he was strictly Canon. I found that odd to be a salesperson, and tell me he was strictly Canon. Later he told me he was sent there by Canon, to recommend Canon to customers. It was strange.

    That sales guy at Best Buy should make a video on why he recommends Canon.

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    • Kayode Olorunfemi

      @Eric – I could equally claim a Nikon biased sales person tried to push me towards buying a Nikon. An argument dealing with the points in this video would have been more valid.

      At the end of the day use what gear you are comfortable with and gets the job done, only pros care about what gear was used. Consumers could care less.

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    • Eric Sharpe

      I wasn’t making an argument, and I’m not seeking validation on the Internet.

      I shoot nikon for my own professional work, and canon when I’m contracted out to shoot video, and the company provides the cameras. I also shoot Sony video cameras. I use nikon for my own work, because that’s the system I personally bought into first, so yeah I use what I’m comfortable with.

      Had it been a rep from nikon installed in best buy to push cameras, I would’ve shared the story in the same way.

      At the end of the day, for me, I don’t put much stick into why people pick the things they like. I assume it’s because they like them. That’s good enough to me. I don’t feel the need to cosign their likings.

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  5. Michael Young

    I’m kind of disappointed in SLRLounge for posting this article/click bait. As a Nikon shooter (stills), I was hoping to find out why people love can more for video.

    The first reason sounded a little iffy.
    The second reason was purely subjective.
    The third reason was half-assed. I thought I was going to learn the differences in codecs or video options, or something that was more valid than longevity.
    The fourth reason would have us still being bled by leeches every time we got sick. All the professionals used to shoot film instead of digital. That doesn’t explain WWHHHYYYY they do it.

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    • Stan Rogers

      Believe it or not, there is some inherent justification in the statement that “nobody uses it because nobody uses it”. (I should point out that I’m a Nikonian; this isn’t slagging off the brand.) A lot of that has to do with available rentals and accessories, workflow and software compatibility, as well as the ability to hire (or enlist) other people who are familiar with the system you’re using when you need to step outside your own resources. (It’s one of the reasons, for instance, that Profoto has a near-lock on studio flash in the mid-level segment. It’s not that their gear is inherently better than everyone else’s — it’s good, yes, but it’s not alone there — it’s that you can add to the system pretty much on demand, find it in almost any rental studio, and count on being able to find assistants who know the buttons and dials when you need them.) Using an “off” brand, even when it’s otherwise superior (and I’m not saying it *is* either) is taking a bit of a chance — there’s a much greater probability that you will need to own everything you want to use, and that it’ll be harder to find other people who are familiar with the system. So it’s definitely something to consider.

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    • Michael Young

      Stan, I know there is SOME inherent truth in “nobody/everybody uses,” but it’s a grade school argument, and one that can become outdated. It’s lazy, and still doesn’t help anyone understand WHY Canon is used by so many more pros. Canon has cine lenses, the C line of cameras, and had/has better controls compared to Nikon (longer video records, picture styles, audio control, etc), especially when you factor in the fact that Canon can use Magic Lantern. Do you see how little time it took me to justify why it’s more of an industry standard?

      Hell, even your reasoning took little time to read through.

      It was a lazy video.

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  6. John Havord

    Well that was a waste of a 5 minutes youtube video. Luckily, I watched at x2 speed, so only wasted 2.5 minutes getting one guy’s biased view.

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  7. Ian Moss

    So he doesn’t use Nikon because he doesn’t use Nikon. But, saying he doesn’t use Nikon and making a video about the fact that he doesn’t use Nikon is a great piece of self-publicity. Am I missing something fundamental here?

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  8. John Cavan

    Well, I suppose he is entitled to his reasons, but I find them pretty weak. Admittedly, I’m not into video and I couldn’t care less that camera has that as an option, but I’d have to ask why somebody really into video wouldn’t be using a dedicated camera for that purpose. In any event…

    1. So, he almost exclusively uses Nikon lenses because of the quality of them, but complains that Nikon cameras can’t use lenses aimed at other bodies? What? If all your glass is Nikon, who cares? However, there are plenty of 3rd party lens makers making lenses for the F mount as well. Extremely high quality lens availability is not an issue for a Nikon camera.

    2. Okay, that’s just opinion and what you’re used to. I’m not a fan of the Canon menu system either, but that’s because I don’t know it, or how to use it. I’m much more familiar with Nikon and Pentax. Nevertheless, I don’t think I’d use that as a “reason” to recommend people away from Canon. As an aside, I like my Lumix, but the menu is terrible, so I’m not sold on the wonderfulness of Panasonic’s menu system here.

    3. So? Current Nikon bodies use Sony sensors. Sony, as we all know, has a long history with video and make incredible sensors. Not following the reasoning this guy has here. Likes Nikon glass, Sony video capability… Okay.

    4. Yes, amongst a few others, but he hasn’t really given anything solid here that says Nikon can’t do just as good a job.

    All in all, that video is the weakest I may have ever seen when it comes to rationalization. That’s 5 minutes or so that could just be boiled down to “I’m not really familiar with Nikon bodies and setting them up, so I recommend ones that I am familiar with.” Okay, that’s a good reason, could have stopped at that.

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    • Alben Osaki

      I mostly kind of agree with you except for #3. You’re talking about the sensors but he never says anything about sensors. I think the bigger issue is in codecs (all-i vs IPB), frame rates, audio monitoring, bit rates, etc. Some cameras can just record with better codecs and higher bit rates than others, and generally speaking Nikons aren’t the greatest at video recording. I’m sure there are pro Nikon videographers (though personally I haven’t met any) and just like in photography, it’s not the camera but the videographer. But there’s a reason Nikon has a relatively small footprint at NAB every year. Generally speaking Sony, Canon, and Panasonic are the bigger fish in the video pond than they are. I don’t have anything against Nikon or any particular company (I own a Fuji X series that I love but has HORRIBLE video quality). It just is what it is.

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    • John Cavan

      @Alben – Except he didn’t make that argument, he focussed on history. I think he would have been much better to point out that Nikon doesn’t have a dedicated video line and doesn’t really appear interested in pursuing video in the same manner as Canon, Sony, et. al.

      Sadly, as a non-video Nikon shooter, I can actually make a better case for not recommending Nikon for this than he can. Meh.

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  9. Vladimir Byazrov

    Caleb Pike performs here like he’s on Corbin Fisher solo act video.

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  10. Brandon Perron

    There ARE all kimds of 3rd party lenses for Nikon. I’m not a gear guru or junkie…so maybe, I’m missing what he is talking about…but i can think of more than a half dozen 3rd party companies that make after market lenses.

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    • John Cavan

      His argument was that you couldn’t use lenses from another mount on the Nikon bodies. Which, given that he seems to like to using Nikon lenses, is a bit absurd.

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