Why I Moved to Nikon

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I get asked quite a bit about what equipment I use, so many of you will know that I have been a Canon user forever. What you don’t know is that a couple of months ago I moved over to using Nikon camera equipment, so I thought I would update you all on why I made the move, what kit I am now using, and what it will mean for our clients.
Our boy Bollo with inset of his eye at 100%
At Zoo Studio, the quality of the printed photos that adorn our clients’ walls is our number one priority, and I had been looking at changing camera systems for a while. I was looking at moving to Medium Format Digital, the sort of camera the top Fashion and Commercial photographers use, costing tens of thousands of dollars but producing bigger and better quality photos. What stopped me was not just the cost, but also the heavy weight of the cameras, almost impossible to use when playing with an energetic puppy!

Then Nikon announced the D800 and I just had to try it. It has 36 Megapixels, by far the most of any DSLR and perfect perfect for not only producing large wall displays for our clients but also for reproducing fur in all its glory. It also has a rather fetching red stripe (like all Nikons) just by the shutter. Love!


It has the ability to capture the widest range of tones of any camera, its ability to record detail in white fur and black fur in the same photo (its Dynamic Range) is better than ANY other camera on the market, including Medium Format Digital. Perfect for Border Collies and lots of other animals! Also the way the camera enables me to control dark shadow tones, very important when photographing black dogs on a black background, beats anything any other camera manufacturer is producing.

I also found other benefits. I have been hearing forever that the Nikon auto-focus system is the best on the market, and they are right. My old camera had very poor auto-focus, meaning that I had to manually focus many of my photos – that takes time in the studio, and is a bit hit and miss on a fast moving animal. Now my D800 auto-focuses all my photos, even a fast moving pup running straight at the camera, so I throw away less photos for focus issues and the end results are better.

And maybe most importantly of all, their camera system actually feels designed for photographers by photographers, with no putting in of silly functions that look good in marketing but offer no benefit to anyone else (just who uses a Direct Print button on a DSLR anyway?).

We won lots of awards and two major international photography competitions with images from the Canon so it’s not like there was anything wrong with it, but every time I hear Johnny, our graphic artist, say “wow, these images from the Nikon are just looking awesome” (which happens pretty much every day) I know we made the right move. Our photos have never looked better. And that red stripe…


My Nikon equipment list;
Nikon D800

24-70G f2.8 Lens – my main lens, I use this for 95% of my photos during a normal clients session. Its as sharp as a prime lens, very unusual in a zoom lens, has virtually no flare problems, way less Chromatic Aberration than my Canon equivalent, and it is nicely balanced on the D800 so feels comfy in the hand for all day shooting. Perfect.

16-35G f4 Lens – I use this for action photos of larger dogs, so I can squeeze them in the frame. Its also really sharp.

105mm f2.8 Micro Lens – Great for smaller animals, and getting face detail photos. Unlike the Canon equivalent, the auto-focus is really quick which is essential for capturing close up detail on a dog that won’t sit still!

60mm f2.8 Micro Lens – for face details on larger dogs, and when I want detail shots but with bigger depth of field. Also a great standard portrait lens. Once again there is excellent auto-focus so its perfect for pups.

35mm f1.4 Lens – 35mm is my favourite focal length, wide angle so you can get in close to your subject and feel like you are there, but not so wide that you get crazy distortion. I LOVE this lens for environment portraits, and its also my standard day trip walkabout lens. Its crazy sharp and has no chromatic aberration.

SB-910 Flash – The Nikon flash system is just better than Canon for the way the camera can communicate with the flash. I never go out without at least 1 flash, this is always in the camera bag.

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