Sunday, January 22, 2012

canon 1d x or nikon d4

I'm as useless as tits on a bull when it comes to home renovations. I've been a renter in Rittenhouse Square, Philly, for some years. It is hard to get myself motivated to make improvements when I don't actually own the property. I do, though, fix things that need fixing.

I'd say I'm an ideal tenant. The landlord-renter relationship that I have is pretty solid. I never bother him with problems that I can solve on my own. In exchange, he doesn't break 'em for me with other issues.

With my limited handyman experience, I've sometimes had to do fairly big projects in my digs. Today was one of those horrific days. Just before writing this, I replaced a bathroom pedestal sink.

My wife, suspiciously, smashed the porcelain with a dropped bottle of moisturizer. I'm not quite sure how a plastic bottle could break the bowl but that is neither here nor there.

Proudly, I replaced the sink with a brand new one without knowing the first thing about doing so. I didn't even open the instruction book. I guess I'm just giving myself a public pat on the back.

As I typically spew out some useless information for your entertainment, I'm writing today to share something that I'm not sure how it will pan out. Before doing so, let me give you the facts.

More after the jump.

About Five Years Prior

It had to be five years, maybe less, I don't recall actually, that I purchased my newest of DSLRs. I will call it the Canon Dinosaur (don't want to hurt anyone's feelings). It served me well for some time. Its capabilities were pretty decent. It wasn't a flagship of cameras but it definitely got (and gets) the job done.

As years passed and my skills improved, I've felt limited by what the camera could do. It didn't shoot video but that was the least of my problems. You've read it here over and over again, my big gripe, with my current body. The ISO capabilities are far from par. For personal use it gets the job done, well, adequately. For paying clients, I have to be very careful how, when and where I shoot. The camera's ISO range is from 100 to 1600, just like old school cameras. The kicker is that shooting above anything but ISO 100 starts to show significant amounts of unacceptable noise. I always made it a point to keep that ISO as low as possible, shooting in light conditions that I knew I could control at that level. This has become quite cumbersome to my creative goals.

Sensor size is another limitation to what I can produce. I've been a long time fan of the newer full frame sensors. The larger sensors are geared towards the studio shooter such as myself. Some of the cropped sensor cameras are made for speed, a style of shooting that I don't participate in much. I've never had to shoot a stock car driving over 200 miles per hour. Nor have I been on the sidelines of a major sporting event, trying to fire off insane frame rates to catch the perfect shot. No, my friends, I tend to take my time. Studio style work requires a thought process a bit different than a sports shooter. The technicals remain constant but the creative process is quite different. I yearned for the full frame sensor.

The point is that what I've been using could be fine for many but not for the work I've been trying to accomplish for clients. I could go on and on about what bugs me about my current DSLR bodies but I don't want to sound like Clint Eastwood in Gran Torino. I'm not trying to knock Canon either. Hell, I'm a huge fan of their products. I've never had any real problems with any of my gear except for the stubborn EF 50mm f/1.4 USM. Since our falling out, the 50 1.4 and I have made amends.

One Year Prior

It was about this time when I decided I had grown out of my current DSLR. I was in the market for a new one. I just new I had to start saving my pennies. The wife allowed me to have a savings specifically for my new baby. A good portion of shoot money would be put aside for my new gear.

The only problem I was having was deciding on what body I would purchase. I can be a bit OCD so decisions like that can really twist me up. I knew the 5d mark ii as if I had owned one for some time. I've read every spec on that body since the press release a few years back. I knew 5d ii down to how much it weighed, with and without the strap (yep, OCD). There was one issue. The 5d mark ii had already aged a bit. My focus was on searching for the release of the long overdue mark iii. I read every single rumor page on a multi-daily basis. The clues were there but as rumor pages go, they are nothing more than speculation with a hint of truth. I kept at it though, the time was right. The mark iii had to be announced soon. The Canon DSLR timeline dictated that it would be inevitable for the 5d mark iii to be announced summer of 2011. I decided to be patient and wait for the big day.

Late Summer and Fall of 2011

The summer came and went. Disappointingly no 5d iii was coming to the table. Not yet anyway. I would still be patient. Then, before I knew it, there was lots of internet talk about a huge Canon press release to happen. I made sure I was in front of my computer that night to watch what would be the greatest announcement I could dream of. The new professional C300 HD cine camera was announced to compete against the RED Scarlet. The show was about an hour in. I thought they would save the best for last. Sadly, I went to bed that night wondering if the 5d iii would ever be a reality.

Not much time after the C300 announcement, came another whopper from Canon. The new, groundbreaking, flagship of the Canon DSLRs was unveiled. The Canon 1d X This beast of a camera made my mouth water. ISOs ranging from 50 to a stupid high 204,800! It would boast shutter speeds up to and exceeding 12 fps. A whole new sensor was part of what would make this camera a huge success in the professional photography arena.

I couldn't wait any longer, I needed something and needed something fast. The 1d X is to hit stores in March of 2012. I lusted for that camera. My wife kindly agreed to allow me to invest slightly more than I would have had a 5d iii been released. Now that's a good woman. I basically begged on my knees to get permission to order the new Canon flagship.

A Couple Weeks Ago

I still hadn't ordered the new Canon. There was no rush, the beast wouldn't hit the U.S.A. until March anyway. I was waiting for a free weekend to get over to Calumet to place the order. I wanted to do in person so that I would be able to haggle a bit. No haggling capabilities when ordering a high ticket item like that over the web.

As expected and without fail, Nikon made their big announcement. Nikon's newest flagship was revealed, the D4. The specs given rivaled that of the Canon. Each had their own strengths and weaknesses. Where one outdoes the other, the other outdoes with something else. Basically, at the finish line, the race to be king is pretty close. It all would come down to with what you shoot, Canon or Nikon.

I've always had an affinity for Nikon. I'm not quite sure why. At first, I thought it was a grass is greener sort of ideology. With some further soul searching, I discovered the real truth. I think I became an Apple computer user years ago knowing they were a kick ass underdog compared to Microsoft. I feel like Nikon is that cool underdog sort of company. I always admired and respected the underdog. If I were a gambling man, I'd bet the long shot, every time. What's my point?

About A Day Ago

It was early Saturday. I spent most of the week watching comparison videos of the two new flagship DSLRs via the internet and YouTube on the ever so wonderful Apple TV. My wife was engrossed by reruns of Mad Men, a favorite of ours. I knew she'd be occupied for hours. I told her I was on my way to Calumet.

My heart was pounding. I didn't know what it was I was doing. I knew I wasn't going to leave there without knowing what would lie ahead with the future of my camera arsenal. I drove in silence, no music, nothing. The hum of the heater and my thoughts. I recalled how I became a Canon shooter. I added up different financial scenarios with what would happen had I jumped ship and joined the Nikon team. The roads now seemed short and the drive to the pro shop was nearing. A few extra turns wouldn't hurt as I would be able to think some more. I was about to make an investment, one way or another, and I wanted to make the right one for the one and only, me.

Before I knew it, I was headed towards the entrance. My now sweaty hands grabbed the handle as I pulled the heavy glass door to open. On to the elevator to the second floor I went, the only access to the store. I hesitantly entered and walked towards the counter. I said hello to a couple familiar faces as I often buy equipment at this Calumet location. A gentleman asked if he could help me with anything. I affirmed his question and began with my own. He and a superior had taken me out of the hearing range of others. I began to explain why I was there and what it was that I wanted. At this point any doubts in my mind had disappeared. I knew from that moment where my loyalty would lie. I wasn't going to let a sales rep sway me either way. My decision was finalized.

Two hours of negotiations and I was signing the papers.

So, without further ado, my newest lineup for the new year (when it is finally delivered anyway).

Nikon D4 

Nikon AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8 G ED N

Nikon AF-S 85mm f/1.8 G

Nikon AF-S 50mm f/1.4 G

Yes, folks, I jumped ship. Again, nothing against Canon. Canon has been nothing but awesome to me. I just have always had this man crush with Nikon. If there was time to make the change, this was it. I was going to order one flagship or another and I decided to go with my (big) gut. You'll notice that I had to grab a few lenses as well. I went with what I know to kick butt. The 85 was announced as new addition the same day the D4 was announced. The 24-70 is just know to be super duper awesome, especially with the nano coating. The 50, well, the Canon 50 and I go back a long way so I  decided that it was a must have with my new system.

Luckily, all of my strobes and such are compatible with both Canon and Nikon, so no loss there. Actually, most of what I've invested in over the past couple years has been lighting equipment. I will have some Canon gear such as lenses and bodies that I will probably keep as backups. You never know.

All should be shipped in about a month, hopefully. I can't wait. Nervous and excited at the same time. I've grown to work the Canon system instinctually. Going to take some time to familiarize myself with Nikon's functions.

Until next time (as I count the days until the unknown delivery date)...