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Nikon Vs Canon Vs Sony Vs The Rest | The Biggest Mistakes Of The Major Brands

By Kishore Sawh on August 3rd 2016

Objectivity within the realm of photography can be a prodigal son; one that comes round when it suits. There’s a sort of one-upmanship in camera brand-dom that would leave a car salesman breathless with envy, and it’s actually a bit of fun if you don’t take it too seriously because the attacks quickly degrade into the ad hominem variety, a bit akin to sandbox banter.

But if you were to take it seriously, rather than touting the highest achievements and the biggest accomplishments of whatever the respective brand is that you’re laboring for, it would seem sensible, prudent even, to look at their largest missteps and where each brand is arguably making the biggest mistakes. After all, just because you hit two homers in a game doesn’t mean much if you’re still batting .100.

This is precisely what Tony [Northrup] has done in one of his latest videos, where he goes rather nerdily indulgent and goes through the biggest mistakes camera manufacturers Canon, Nikon, Sony, Pentax, Panasonic & Olympus are making.

Sigma 20mm 14 Art Lens Review SLR Lounge-06

Tony has a history of taking the divisive and contentious out of the shadows they’ve been hidden in for politesse, and facing them head on, even for the flack he often gets for it. I think it’s great. And of course this isn’t just a bullet list, but it also gives some background thought into why these mistakes may be. Things like Canon’s odd decision to make their APS-C cameras about 8.6% smaller than those of the other brands, lending to less light-gathering capability and more noise; Or Nikon’s lack of investment into on-sensor phase-detection focusing and what that means not only for current video shooting and live view focus, but for the future.

It’s a great watch, and I highly recommend it as a video to consider viewing before you either buy a new system, or before you get into some kind of heated debate about them.

Perhaps most interestingly are his thoughts on electronic viewfinders and on the Sony Alpha series of SLT (single lens translucent) cameras. Professionals of all types have often spoken about how impressive these cameras are and were, and how much ahead of their time, and it’s interesting to hear Tony discuss them favorably, especially that a new one is set to finally come out.

Check out more from Tony & Chelsea here on their FB page and on his and Chelsea’s YouTube channel, and check out what I think is another one of his best at the link below, which we covered a while back.

Why You Should Multiply Aperture By Crop Factor When Comparing Lenses

And do you agree? What do you think are the biggest problems with major manufacturers today?

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A photographer and writer based in Miami, he can often be found at dog parks, and airports in London and Toronto. He is also a tremendous fan of flossing and the happiest guy around when the company’s good.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Ralph Hightower

    It was a good decision for Canon to switch lens mounts for their EOS cameras. I have a few Canon FD mount lenses for my A-1 and New F-1, so when I researched DSLR cameras and manufacturers, I could’ve switched to Nikon since I have to invest in a new lens mount. However, I stayed with Canon.
    While my focus is adding EF lenses, besides the 5D III kit lens of 2401-5 f4L lens, I will buy FD mount lenses for my film cameras. I convinced my wife that a rare Canon Macrophoto 20mm f3.5 lens was a steal (and it was) for use with my Canon Auto Bellows. Now, if I can find a 35mm f2.8 for a similar price …

    Northrup did mention about Nikon’s decision to keep their lens mount between their film legacy cameras and digital.

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  2. Austin Swenson

    Sony has made multiple public commitments to its A-mount line saying they won’t abandon it, yet hasn’t announced a serious pro-level model in quite a while. I hope in the next few months this will be fixed, it was about a 4 year cycle between their previous a900 and the a99, so if sony is going to really keep their word about the A-mount, this will be the year.

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  3. J Cortes

    Have to agree with Tony SLT statement . Aside from a few quirks I was very happy with the Sony a99 . It was the perfect size and its ergonomics were great . Hopefully Sony will introduce the next generation of SLT in the near future , but I’m not holding my breath .

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  4. Lauchlan Toal

    These were all missteps, but I have to say that none of the above are huge issues. Maybe it’s lost them a tiny bit of market share relative to competing DSLR companies, but it’s the loss of market to cell phones, and the inability to capitalize on mobile technology that’s really killing the camera world. I think Thom Hogan’s right in saying that companies like Canon and Nikon need to stop dancing around with inconsistent wifi options and semi-working apps, and really make strides in allowing cameras to be used within the larger mobile ecosystem. This doesn’t really matter for the pros and enthusiasts, but entry level bodies are the bread and butter of these companies, and in order to sway phone users they need to not just be better, but also be compatible with the lifestyle of people who don’t want to spend hours in post, and just want a good shot for Instagram.

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  5. Simon Johannssen

    I’m one of those Nikon guys. I started with Nikon and I love my camera, but since I used the 5D Mark III for a time, I have to agree to that Nikon Live View focussing point.
    But since I’m just shooting stills (no video) and use the viewfinder all the time, that’s not a problem for me.
    Interesting article!

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  6. Paul Wynn

    Interesting comments, I’ve always wondered why Canon APS had a different crop factor to the rest. It has always been my experience that the Canon models had more digital noise in their images than the comparible Nikon. And I totally agree with Nikon’s Live View, never liked it.

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