Why I chose Canon

Started Apr 21, 2012 | Discussions thread
Jan Madsen
Senior MemberPosts: 2,398
Re: Why I chose Canon
In reply to Guy Lerner, Apr 24, 2012

I also use Canon, mostly because of the lenses, and the fact that many other brands of lenses can be adapted, but find it a bit less perfect than you... It is a pity you haven't used cameras from before the plastic revolution (the Canon 50E isa rather new camera!), quality back then (1960'es, 70'es) was far better than today, Leica excluded. My first SLR camera was a Konica T3, it finally scrapped a few years ago, and it wasn't because it didn't work anymore.

Guy Lerner wrote:

Hi guys,

With all the negativity on this forum of late, particularly when it comes to discussing the relative merits of the latest-generation cameras, I started questioning the reasons why I chose Canon for my own photography rather than any of the other brands. Not that I doubted the decision - I've been using a Canon camera since I started out, first as a hobby with a Canon 50E in the film days, to the first of many Canon digital bodies since going pro. But the constant whining made me stop and take a retrospective look, and I'm so glad I did. This is my list, feel free to add your own.

1. Great ergonomics and design. I guess the Canon system just comes naturally to me since I've been using it for so long, but having tried other cameras through the years, I honestly think Canon does it best. Simple interface, beautiful aesthetic (especially the newer 5, 7 and 1-series), and uncluttered layout. Reminds me a bit of why I chose to switch from PC to Mac - a big part of enjoying technology is how it feels and how it makes you feel, and I think Canon understands that better than most.

My 1DsII has a basically good design, I'll give you that, but also some idiotic features, like mirror lock-up hidden well away in a sub-menu, and the ability to throw away images if the memory card door is opened too soon. And the finder image is decidely poorer than the old F1, or for that sake the very old Konica - they had brighter finder views, with better ground glasses.

2. Lenses. Most of my peers have this as number one. There's no question in my mind that Canon has the best professional lens system available. From the industry standard 70-200 to the pioneering 8-15 fisheye, and the butter smooth primes and wildlife lenses. Othes have a few good lenses, even some that better Canon's efforts, but the EOS and EF system is really why most pros end up with Canon in their bags.

Canon lenses are a mixed bag, just like any other manufacturer. The ones you mention are really good, as are a number of others, while some disappoint. I have both the old FD and new EOS versions of the 85mm f1.2, and have a sneaking suspision that the old one was better, but until the old one gets hacked into EOS mount I can't compare.

3. Digital know-how. Canon really broke the grip of film cameras on professional photographers - myself included - with classic cameras like the D30 (with all its shortcomings) and 10D, and are set to do it again with the 1DX. It's easy to forget, looking at the latest 5-series compared to some newer bodies from the competition, that it's an evolution of what came before, and has bettered all other Canon cameras that came before, bar the latest 1D. The way people talk you'd think Canon has regressed, where instead they've advanced. If points one and two mean anything to you, you'll know what I mean.

Canon was a pioneer, they saw the possibilities and persued them. Unfortunately they have rested on the laurels for too long now in the sensor department, and has been passed by Nikon/Sony recently, but I'm sure they will catch up again.

4. Price. You may think I'm mad but I still find Canon's lenses and cameras to be the best value available. I factor in all of the above to reach that conclusion. I put great value in good design (down to the icon styles and UI), and am willing to (and expect to) pay a premium for the best lenses made. As for the bodies, well, I still pinch myself that I'm shooting the equivalent of 6400 ISO film (was there even ever 6400 ISO film?) that looks as clean as 200 ISO film, at 6fps, without having to guess what the final exposure will look like (and still be able to push and pull it a couple of stops if I want to). Sometimes we lose sight of how amazing technology really is, and become complacent about it rather than maximizing its potential.

The best lenses made have "Leica" and "Hasselblad" on them, but unfortunately they are insanely pricely. Best value for money ratio when you have a Canon body? Sigma! Quality? Ahem, my Canon 200mm f1.8 needs tape for the hood to fit properly, on the 85mm f1.2 and 50mm f1 the hoods are rather loose, and the focusing rings have a lot of play (around 1mm on the 50mm). On my old F1 (FD system) the 20mm was decidedly loose to mount on the camera, the 85mm f1.2 had to be forced on, and its hood could only be mounted with brute force. Conclusion: Canon is manufactured with just enough quality to be accepted as a good system, nothing more. On the Konica system everything fitted precisely, with buttersmooth precision. Perhaps that is why they went out of the business...

ISO 6400: Yes, amazing, digital is far better than film. No 6400 film to my knowledge, but ISO 400 Tri-X was often pushed to ISO 800, 1600 and beyond. But lots of grain! And no color...

When photography is both a passion and a business you have to love what you do AND love what you use to do it with. For me that happens to be Canon cameras and lenses. Others might not care as long as it gets the job done. Would love to hear your stories, but please, if all you want to do is whinge that your camera can do X or costs a few bucks less, maybe find another thread?

I still wouldn't swap for another system, but Canon is no better than all the other manufacturers. They do it for one thing, and one thing only: Money, and as much as possible of it.


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