Canon & Nikon, want my money? Listen to me

frost, hoar frost, snow, winter, Alberta, landscape,

Change is a constant in our lives. I’ll be turning 60 next year and in my life I remember two television channels, a milkman delivering to our house with a horse and carriage, rotary phones, flash bulbs for cameras, abacus, slide rulers, etc., etc.

In business and in life you adapt or you become irrelevant. Camera manufacturers like Canon and Nikon, two of the largest in the world are teetering on the brink. It was only ten or twelve years ago that everybody had a camera and or a video camera. Those were two items that almost every family had.

Camera manufacturers are where newspapers were thirteen years ago. The internet was still in it’s infancy. Classified ads were the bread and butter of the papers and they lost one of their largest revenue producers to something that didn’t exist twenty years ago. Websites like Kijiji here in Canada are where people go today to buy or sell items. Why place an expensive ad in a newspaper that almost nobody reads when you can go online for free? Over the last two years I have been selling off all my Canon gear. Not once did I think to put it in the newspaper.

Where does that leave companies like Canon and Nikon? Smartphones are doing to still and video cameras what the internet did to newspapers. In what seems to me to be the ultimate in either stupidity or not listening to their customers Canon for example seems more interested in producing high end video cameras. All of the major manufacturers are losing sight of what their customers want and are losing customers.

When I bought my latest camera body it came with all kinds of stuff that I will never in my lifetime use. That raised the price of the body significantly I would guess. I don’t want the ability to shoot video but I am forced to pay for that feature if I want the body and sensor that comes with it.

The first thing I did when unboxing my new camera body was to crack open the four hundred page manual to figure out how to use only the features that I wanted. All the others will go unused yet I paid for them.

That’s only camera bodies. Lenses are a whole other story.

Samyang is killing Nikon and Canon with their lenses. My $400 lens is better wide open than what Nikon and Canon offer for five times the cost. Sure the build quality is better but I haven’t had any problems with the two Samyangs that I have. They also don’t have auto focus and for me that isn’t a problem. Why don’t Canon or Nikon cater to the growing number of shooters who could care less about auto focus and want to shoot wide open. Zeiss recently released a $4000 lens that is supposedly the best lens of its kind but the difference between that and a lens for a quarter of the cost is not noticeable to most.

Camera manufacturers start listening to your customers. If you don’t you will go the way of newspapers and horse drawn carriages. I want a SIMPLE camera with a great image quality. I want a SIMPLE lens with great image quality. Did you notice what the constant was in those two sentences? Image quality. That’s what it’s all about.

Happy shooting,


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~ by Dan Jurak on November 22, 2013.

24 Responses to “Canon & Nikon, want my money? Listen to me”

  1. Boy Dan we must be twins, sure think a lot a like. Wanted to ask you what you think about Fine Art America since you have been on there for some time? Thanks, Bruce

  2. Bruce, we aren’t alone. In fact I think that we are typical customers. All I want is what would be a 35mm view camera. It’s the lens glass and sensor that counts. We’re paying for junk that we will never use.

    FAA works for me. I’m not into self promotion so my print sales could be better but prints do sell and you are free to choose how much of a profit per print that you want to make.

    In a perfect world FAA would allow integration of their sales tools on my website but that’s a minor complaint.


  3. Thanks Dan. I really miss my sinar view camera.

  4. Bruce, I forgot that I used to have a SinarF LOL. When I still had a Canon body I was using a Nikon wide lens with an adapter. Autofocus and aperture control through the body was lost. It added but a moment of time to take the picture but it was worth it because the lens was much better than what Canon had in a similar focal length. In a way it was like using a view camera.

  5. Dan you are absolutely right because my Rokinon 24mm F/1.4 is sharp as hell!

  6. Abe, I agree about the Rokinon. Why Nikon and Canon haven’t clued in and figured this out is beyond me. I have the Samyang/Rokinon/Bower (all made by the same company) 24 and 35 mm and could not be happier with their performance. Here’s to hoping that they one day come out with a camera body.

  7. Agree wholeheartedly Dan. I think that’s the one thing I miss about the film era. All cameras used the same “sensor” (in my case Kodachrome 64) and all I had to do was buy equipment that fit my needs. I certainly didn’t need all of the bells and whistles and AF of a Nikon F4s so I used a Nikon FM or FE2 with manual focus Nikkors. Same results.

    But, sadly, that’s not going to happen anymore. Products have to be in distinct levels. Manufacturers will not come out with any “lower tier” product that would sacrifice sales of it’s upper tier products. Even if it’s simplified and of any usable quality, it’s still going to be as expensive as the full featured product.

  8. Who can predict what is going to happen? Who would have guessed that little Rokinon would be slaying giants Nikon and Canon. If that could happen to lenses maybe one day that will happen with camera bodies.

  9. Good point. the same as with cell phones.Keep it simple and make it better, although I like the idea of healthy competition such as the other less-known products.

  10. Jane don’t you think that we’re being oversold with phones, cars, cameras, etc.? I believe that there is a market for high quality but basic equipment. Maybe someone out there will figure that out one day.

  11. Oversold? Absolutely.Also those editing programs with all the upgrades. Bloody ridiculous.

  12. You’re absolutely right and I had completely forgotten. PHOTOSHOP! I’ve been using it for over twenty years and only need maybe ten percent of the program. All of the video(again), web stuff, javascript stuff, I don’t need it yet I am forced to pay a bloated price if I want the simple editing features it has.

  13. I agree it would be nice to have a simple camera with an awesome sensor with only the features I would like, but peoples needs vary so much it would be impractical for the manufacturers…they would need a gazillion designs.

    Like you Dan, personally for most shots I like a simple setup where I have complete control, as opposed to my camera or lens being simply guided by me, but that set up is not going to work for a bird photographer where to catch a bird in flight, one would need a body that has lightning like follow focus and a lens capable of keeping up with what signal the camera is sending it, all at as many fps as possible.

    I do believe that canon and nikon overcharge for their lenses, we do pay something for their name, but with that comes compatibility and decent resale value if you decide to sell it. For that reason alone, when looking for a particular focal length lens, I like to look for third party manufacturers or older manual focus lenses, which can in some cases be far superior for far less money. Not too long ago I bought an old zuiko 24mm manual focus lens to use on an old canon 5D…it is tiny, very light and extremely sharp throughout most of the range with excellent contrast and colour rendition. I think I paid under $200 for it. I love the lens and it suits me better than anything canon makes presently, but if I wanted to shoot birds, I would love to have the new canon 500mm f4 IS…only problem is it’s price it right around the $10K mark…like I said…overpriced.

    great post though Dan…I will be turning 58 on monday, so most of what you said hits home to a tee…channel 3 and channel 5 along with glass milk bottles, that only needed to be cleaned rather than recycled ; it was all we needed in those days…nice and simple.

  14. Channels 3 and 5 and Saturday mornings watching Cannonball on the black and white tv in the rumpus room. There’s a word you don’t hear very often.

    I believe that half of what is on modern cameras could be removed and nobody would care. What is particularly annoying is how Canon seems to be more interested in the high end video market than still photographers. I’m neither a Canon nor Nikon fanboy but Canon has lost considerable ground when it comes to bodies and lenses for still photographers over the past few years. I know of photo staffs that used to be almost exclusively Canon a few years ago and now Nikon is clearly the majority. That has as much to do with Canon Canada’s gawd awful pro service as much as their lenses and bodies not being as good as Nikons.

    The days of expecting the sharpest and best lenses to be made by camera manufacturers are behind us. Your Zuiko is a fine example of that.


  15. I recently went to a camera store and talked with the person who worked there. He showed me some cameras that were much cheaper than a Cannon or Nikon and still a good camera. Thanks for the info.

  16. Yes, a simple digital camera is in my desires (dreams?) as well. Aperture, shutter speed, iso, white balance. Manual focus or 1 point AF. Nothing more.

  17. Robert, I think that we are being oversold features that most of us will never use or want. How much extra do those features add to the cost? A simple digital camera would be a most excellent seller.

  18. You see the new Nikon Df? Simpler, yes. Expensive, you bet! Just curious about your thoughts if you’ve seen it or used it. Maybe a step in the right direction though!

  19. @ Eric, I read about the new Nikon. My understanding is that it is retro styled. Emphasis on the word “styled”. I’m not sure if it’s a simpler camera or only simpler looking.

    If Bower/Rokinon can make lenses that are four times LESS expensive than Canon or Nikon and with better quality to boot maybe a generic camera body is in the works?


  20. Hi Dan,
    Hope all is well with you. Have been missing your posts and your beautiful images.

  21. Hi Jules,
    Everything is great. Thank you for asking.

    I’ve taken a break from photography for a few months. It’s a healthy thing to do. It’s one of the benefits of NOT being a professional photographer anymore.

    I’ll be back in a short while with lots of new photos and stories.

    Take care,

  22. Hey, cousin – as always, in awe of your photography and insights into the artistry behind it…a question for you – I have been a dabbler for quite a number of years (all for my own enjoyment) and have been shooting with a Pentax (and some associated lenses) for all that time (I started with an a film-based Fujica before switching to a film-based Pentax, and finally a digital Pentax – mostly due to my lense inventory). I am finally thinking of upgrading – what would you recommend for an amateur in my posiion? – stick with the latest Pentax for better or worse, or switch to perhaps Nikon?

    Trust all is well with you and the family – Gary

  23. Hi Gary,

    What a nice surprise!

    If your current lenses will work with Pentax digital bodies there isn’t much reason to switch.

    Nikon and Canon both have a better selection of gear. If you’re not needing very much in the way of specialty lenses it’s not worth the extra cost.

    If you want a better sensor/body than Pentax provides, then I suggest you get a Nikon or Canon and NOT buy their lenses which are proving to be of equal or lesser quality than new versions made by Sigma, etc.

    If you’re thinking of switching bodies and need new lenses check out the DXO marks website, there you will find very objective measurements of lenses and bodies.


  24. Dan – thanks for the advice – so I took the plunge and am heading back into photography after a few years off. I decided to go with the (relatively) new Pentax K-3, started to be initially swayed after reading lots of positive reviews and shooter experiences – what sealed the deal was holding the camera in my hand (just felt right) and then seeing the limited “retro” silver edition body. I was reeled in like a nice brook trout at that point. I also decided to try concentrating on shooting with a small number of lenses, all by Pentax, a 15mm, the 31mm and 43mm FA Limited, and a 100mm macro.

    The FA Limited lenses are really nice old school silver metal lenses which are very fast (f1.8 and f1.9) so I am starting to experiment with shooting wide open more often (currently getting the focus right is killing me). I also upgraded my tripods – two Manfrottos, cute travel size and bigger, heavier “how will I lug this around” size – as I kind of know I need to take a lot of my shots with a tripod, something I often resisted in the past. Serendipitously, we also needed a new home computer at the same time, so got our first iMac and am starting to learn Lightroom.

    What I am missing at this point, with still working full time, is the energy to chase the super early or late shots – even though I know this is where the pixie dust is. So this is where I look to your blog for inspiration – aside from us being related, you are easily one of the best photo bloggers I have come across, bar none – no agendas, no product sales, no fragile inflated ego – I am hoping you return to blogging soon, we miss your posts.


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