The Great Gear Transition

Whenever a known photographer transitions from a brand of gear they are associated with to something new, there’s an audible gasp from the photo community.  Scott Kelby released a lengthy explanation of his jump from Nikon to Canon, just as I read some harumphing and murmurs regarding Sebastio Salgado’s transition to Canon digital cameras from his old view camera style.  I’m not a known photographer by any means, but I do blog about this stuff, and my personal change has been a positive kick in the pants.

I lived with Nikon gear for 14 years.  The first film SLR camera I bought was an N70, and I still have a M90 on a shelf with other useless antique cameras.  The first digital camera I got was a kind of Coolpix, and I bought one for my wife later on even as I graduated to the DSLRs in the form of a D200 and a D700.

I can think of two main reasons why people stick with a certain brand:

1. Brand Loyalty

2. “I already have a lot of this kind of stuff so it’d cost too much to start over”

Not much to say on #1, except companies are rarely as loyal to their consumer as consumers are to their companies, so it’s a goofy argument.  Service and new products aren’t any cheaper because you’ve been with the company for a decade or longer.

I stuck around for a long time because of #2, but a pair of products- the overpriced D800 and the problematic D600– shook me quite a bit.  Then I looked back at my list of cameras- each SLR, DSLR, etc.- and figured out I had to buy new gear with each new camera.  Nothing had a straight transition of lens systems, for example, my old film lenses weren’t good enough to take advantage of the D700’s capabilities and the D200 lenses were for a crop sensor.  Plus, some of my existing gear still had a good trade-in value at Amazon, offsetting the cost of switching over to something new- the Fuji X series of mirrorless cameras.

I held on to the Nikon stuff for approximately 3 weeks from buying the Fuji system before I realized “I’ll never use this again.”

So yes, it does sound like a bunch of tech talk, but it’s a larger issue of how some things stop working for us in our lives, and how it’s okay to change the way we make art, or live a particular lifestyle.


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I'm a multimedia artist in Phoenix, AZ. Main Site - Instagram @primordialcreative + twitter @dbmillerphoto

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