Many Photographers Are Switching Camera Brands. Should You Too?

Many Photographers Are Switching Camera Brands. Should You Too?

There are lots of stories here on Fstoppers about photographers, including fellow writers, who are giving up their current camera brand and changing it for a different one. If you feel you're late for the party, you're not alone.

Preliminary Conclusion

That's for the eager folks. Brand switching is a subjective decision. If you don't have a technically sound reason for that, you don't have to do the switch.

Am I Switching Anytime Soon?

No. I'm not late for the party at all, because I've never felt the need to attend it. The type of work I do goes well with the camera and lenses I currently have. In my photography, I'm working on commercial portraiture projects. For my style, it requires a camera in full manual mode that can capture a portrait of a person, most of the time using strobes for lighting. I can do that with pretty much any camera that's built for professional use (mainly from materials' perspective).

In my opinion, there are only two factors for changing the camera brand or the camera model.

Price

Whatever the reason for buying a new camera is, it may be cheaper to get one from a different brand. This can be dictated by the need for a second camera or your current one already falling apart. Before making that decision, you need to do the math and see if that will be good for your wallet relative to your current camera and lenses' investment.

Insufficiency for a Certain Type of Work

Some people switch to a different camera, because some of the characteristics of their current gear are not as good as other brand's ones. If you base your decision solely on that ground, you will end up spiraling down the rabbits hole. After next year's NAB event, you'll find cameras with yet better overall characteristics.

Why is blindly comparing camera features not the right approach? Because you may not need that feature. I started my business with a Canon 40D, which, back then, was already a discontinued model. It had bad noise above ISO 800 and was only 10 megapixels. Why did it work for me? The price was right, the build quality was right. Most of my work was lit with strobes, and I used the lowest native ISO. The file size was enough for my clients' needs: publishing on the web and 8 by 10 prints in magazines.

Let's have another example on the high price point end: medium format cameras. Most people are drooling over the quality of a Hasselblad or a Phase One. However, if you're a sports photographer and can afford such gear, that will be the worst choice of your career. ISO performance is not that great. The cameras are very slow, because of the large files they create. You won't be able to use them in burst mode. The bodies are heavy, and they usually don't shoot video. Can you say they're worse than a mirrorless or a Nikon D5? No. It's just not the type of camera for every job.

Conclusion

Next time you see someone switching camera brands, don't get anxious. They have their own style and their own needs. You walk your own path.

Log in or register to post comments

47 Comments

Previous comments
Tihomir Lazarov's picture

That's a correct observation.

Let's be clear. The more you have invested in a system, the harder it will be to switch.
I have often noticed that the real pros don't often have the newest equipment but often use older cameras. For them, the camera is nothing but a tool, just like a hammer for a carpenter. Why switch if it still does the job?
So people least likely to switch are pros. Added to that the psychology of change. There are many people who hate any kind of change (look at the reactions to mirrorless).

Strangely enough the newest equipment is often used by rich amateur. And they are changing in droves.

Black Rock's picture

Very correct, professional photographers who have switched brands usually don't make big noise, they are too busy taking photos, finding clients & get paid. Also, the real pro-share makes about 4~5% overall camera market.

Rob Mitchell's picture

It's something that has gone on forever. Not a new thing at all. There are those that switch and witch again and there are those who just get on with it.

Blaming kit.
Peer pressure.
Wanting to be in the cool gang.

Bit bored of all the peer justification articles 'Why I switched'
A camera is a tool, if you don't like it, buy another, simple.

Keith Meinhold's picture

I drive a Volvo SUV but have been thinking of the new Kia SUV. Its like that, who gives me what I want for the best value. I switched from Canon to Sony - only because they offered a much smaller and lighter camera without sacrificing image quality. if anything I had a negative perception of the Sony brand, but only they had a product that fit my criteria at a competitive value.

I’m not smart enough to switch brands. I don’t even want to upgrade my body unless there is a very good reason for doing so. Of course I look at Willie Nelson’s guitar and think maybe you can take not changing equipment too far. That’s why I no longer exclusively shoot a Spotmatic with a nifty 50.

Julian Ray's picture

Many people are jumping off a bridge. Should you too?

Julien Jarry's picture

Different tools for different jobs of course. I’ll quickly share my recent gear moves. In order to backup my FS7 and run multicam stuff I had three A7sii’s. I decided one of them would be good enough for what I do photographically and it was. Move over to another type of work I do with a Red Epic and Canon lenses I wanted a Canon body to come with me to utilize the glass. I got a 5d mark iv cheap. Simply put, for the work I do I’m never going to get Sony E mount AF lenses and that’s where my a lot of my gear choices are motivated.

James McBride's picture

What's the point of this article? It makes no relevant points, doesn't back up the statement in the headline, doesn't make a single argument for switching and doesn't bring anything to the table?

Maybe I'm being harsh, just seems like it was written for its own sake and my already thin-patience is being tested with these constant "Should you switch brand / DSLR to Mirrorless" articles all reaching the same conclusion: Depends.

Can we have some fresh content please and discussion/discourse on the actual tech, techniques or craft behind what we're all doing here, rather than an endless supply of random folk wading in to subjective discussions simply finding new ways of saying "it's subjective".

I'm bored.

Tihomir Lazarov's picture

As someone commented above, it's mostly the non-professionals that are more frequently switching systems. Professionals switch systems, based on very well-thought decisions. This article is for all those who don't know if they may have missed something along the way that may make them look like fools if they don't make the switch.

There are lots of studies, based on that psychology that deals with something that has been done by many people or said/written on the news (which sounds like "many people" as well).

I know people who tell you that it doesn't depend if you should buy a mirrorless. You ought to. There are some of that breed on the internet as well.

You know the answer? That's good. Thanks for reading the article anyway. You didn't learn anything new from it. I hope others do.

James McBride's picture

I get it, but I don't see how even an amateur photographer can take anything tangible from this article and form a coherent decision based upon it. The decision is so nuanced. It's easy say base your decision on price and what you need... And then say "If you can afford it and you need it" then it's for you, but there's a whole gamut of grey you haven't even discussed.

I feel like you want to write an article, so then write an article. Get into the weeds of it. Really work out what "Price" means. Really work out what "Utility" means and then rip those areas to bits and get into them.

This article is nothing more than a "I intend to write an article"... Without actually being an article.

Tihomir Lazarov's picture

The article gives enough clues so that a non-professional photographer can comprehend and analyze what direction they should follow. The article is not a tutorial on how cameras work. We've got plenty of tutorials here, both free and paid. Knowing how a camera work in full manual mode (also explicitly mentioned in the article) should easily slash 90% of the hesitation to switch to a new camera. If one doesn't know what manual mode is all about, here's the place to start and ask questions, search for information, or buy a tutorial like the Fstoppers Photography 101.

If someone doesn't like to learn how cameras work they won't learn. If they have the money to spend on another camera, that will make manufacturers happy. That will make the camera owner happy as well (at least for a week).

And by the way, the article's got quite a lot of attention so far. This means there are plenty of people who found it helpful. Of course, there are people who don't find it helpful like you and this is not an accusation. I find lots of articles not helpful to me, but they resonate well with others. Those kinds of articles are always subjective both from writers' and readers' perspectives. I find that normal.

Michael Dougherty's picture

Several years after Nikon introduced the D300 and then failed to follow up with a D400, I added a couple Sony A77IIs and Sony 70-40 (for college football). While I now have a D500, the A77IIs were no slouches at 24MP and 12 FPS.

John Pettigrew's picture

Been shooting Nikon for 40 years and just changed to Fujifilm.

Tihomir Lazarov's picture

That's quite a turn.

John Tyson's picture

I sold all my digital gear and went to film. Still shoot Nikon though...