Empathy for Canon Users


With the DxO Mark results out for the 5Ds camera and the many Internet posts that has triggered, one has to have a little empathy for the Canon DSLR users today. We Nikon users went through something similar when the D2h and D2x came out and just didn’t get standardized test scores as good as the Canon equivalents at the time. Indeed, the general sentiment is the same as it always is: if X doesn’t fix Y, I’ll have to consider switching. Today’s variation: “If Canon doesn’t improve the dynamic range of their sensors…”

Funny thing is, I looked at a lot of superb photographs in the past year. An amazing number of them weren’t even made with current cameras (e.g. older Nikon’s like the D700 or D3, and older Canon’s such as the 1Ds and older 5D variations). Oh, they’d score poorly on DxO Mark today, wouldn’t they? 

While I want “better” all the time, I don’t need it. Most of whether an image I make turns out to be excellent has to do with my photography skills, not the camera in my hand. A secondary aspect has to do with my post processing skills, and again not the camera that took the shot. 

I had to go back and look at when I first wrote the following: 2013. “If you can’t get an excellent image the maximum print size of any desktop inkjet [13x19” at the time], then it isn’t the camera that’s the problem.” I stood by that statement through Nikon’s most sensor-sad times, and I’ll stand by it today with the Canon sensors today, too, though I don’t consider them “sad.” 

About this time last year I was shooting 1Dx and pushing it to ISO 6400 and printing the results full size on the Canon Pixma Pro-100 printer (US$399) at 13x19”. The prints I made look just fine. Plenty of detail, excellent color, and no noticeable noise after some gentle post processing. 

We all get caught up in the latest and greatest craze. Sometimes we get a little too caught up in it. We have a huge choice of excellent camera products to choose from these days. Yes, some are better in some measurable way than others, but most of the time those differences are meaningless in terms of the actual photography. 

So don’t be afraid of the 5Ds you Canon shooters. It looks like a fine camera, and it does score better than the earlier 5D models in standardized tests. Sure, you don’t get bragging rights to the “absolute best scores” this time, but those things have a tendency to slowly swing from player to player. 

Meanwhile, you D810 shooters: don’t get so upset about not having 50mp. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with a D810. It’s a great camera, and my camera of choice when I need to shoot most of the time. 

So let’s have a little empathy with our brethren today. 

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