I’ve always been quite the impulsive person. Example 1: my move to Australia from Seattle was decided in October 2005 and I was on a plane three months later saying goodbye to all my family to join the love of my life, for an unknown period of time. Example 2: after a Masters degree in International Relations, I began the long road to PhD Nerdiness when I decided I wanted to do photography full time. One week later, I let my supervisor and colleagues know and the academic chapter of my life was done. Example 3: having shot with Canon cameras for a few years, I played around with a good friend’s Nikon and instantly loved it. Three days later I put all my gear up for sale and spent a butt load of money getting all Nikon gear.
Lucky for me, most of my impulsive decisions have worked out for the best… But having said that, there have been a few mistakes. Like the time I impulsively went skiing at Whistler and thought I could follow the black diamond course after a few (read: three) ski lessons with a friend on bunny slopes. Or the time I thought I’d be “cultural” in Japan and amiably ate whatever was served to me, only to realise minutes later that I had eaten horse sashimi.
Switching from Canon to Nikon was a bit impulsive but grounded with what I thought were some compelling reasons: sharpness / colour / grip. Sure there are loads of other reasons why people make the big decision to move, but for me it was the simple reasons that were significant enough to make it happen. My Canon 5D Mark II paired with awesome L series lenses were amazing, but I was getting tired of all the out of focus shots from crucial moments. I calibrated my lenses, changed to back button focusing (which helped a bit), but I knew the potential for sharper images was within reach: at the local photo store where the Nikon D3s was waiting. :)
Then there was the colour issue. My images were always blue/magenta cast. I compensated for this by shooting under a custom white balance, but sometimes that white balance was a bit too yellow for my liking. Sure things could be fixed in post, but the neutral/warm tones produced by Nikon were really appealing and when it comes to workflow, if things could save me mere seconds per image in post-processing, I’m all for it. Finally was the grip. Perhaps this is the most important thing for me. Stretching my forearms and sore wrists and cramped hands after each shoot was beginning to be a bit too problematic for me to overlook. In fact, anyone who took a good look at my forearms could see that one was Popeye-big while the other was Olive-Oyl-small: not a good look. And not very comfortable. So when I first held the Nikon D3s, I knew my hands were in ergonomic heaven. It was as comfortable as my butt was when I found The Perfect Office Chair. It’s the little pleasures in life, isn’t it?
So there you have it. Why I changed from Canon to Nikon is not dramatic; nor is it as compelling as you might have hoped it would be. At the end of the day, it’s really what you’re comfortable with, and if you’re ready for a change for whatever reason. The two cameras are amazing. And I am not so egotistic to think that skill-wise, I have surpassed a certain “level” and needed to change my gear. In fact, I probably didn’t even use half of the 5D Mark II’s potential before making the switch, which may sound silly to you. But I’m impulsive and switched for these aforementioned reasons, and I haven’t looked back since. The last wedding I photographed on Sunday was photographed on the D3s–it was that intuitive and easy to change. It was as if I’d always been a Nikon shooter!
Hope that helps answer some of your questions. I know it was probably a big of a shock to you as it was to me when I plonked down tens of thousands of dollars for new gear, but honestly, it’s one of those impulsive decisions that I know I won’t regret. The camera has two card slots, for heaven’s sake! :) And it shoots fast! And images come out tack sharp! And the battery seems to last forever + a day (the entire wedding was shot with the single battery, and when I got home, it was still at 50% capacity). And I can control ISO, focus options, delete all in the touch of one button. I heart it and happily welcome myself to the Dark Side. :)