Sunday, April 8, 2007

Thoughts on Switching Back to Nikon

Since playing with the Sigma 50-150mm last month, I’ve thought about switching back to Nikon. The Sigma zooms the way Nikons’ zoom, i.e. you turn it clockwise to zoom in, and that just feels so much more natural to me. The more I played around with the D200s and D80s, the more I realized how much more natural they felt. Although I have been using Canon for the past two years, it hasn’t been enough time to unlearn the habits of my previous 20 years with Nikon. I guess as craftsmen, the tools we use become very much an extension of ourselves.

The body I really want is a D200 - fast, rugged and weatherproof. Unfortunately, it is just too big, too heavy and much too power hungry for me. The D40X is much smaller and lighter, but it lacks certain features I want. The D80 looks to be a good compromise. It is about 200 grams (almost a half pound) heavier with the Nikkor12-24mm DX lens compared to my XT 350D with Canon10-22mm lens. My next project could be a 300 km trail run in the Himalaya and the extra weight may not be a burden I want to put up with.

While I love my Canon 350D, I will probably also buy a Nikon D80. I’ll use both Canon and Nikon systems for a while and review the pros and cons of each camera before deciding which one to keep. I just wish I hadn’t sold off all my Nikon glass last year…

2 comments:

Seb Rogers said...

Hi Ken,

Your comment about the zooming direction is interesting, if only because the Sigma focusses the wrong way for a Nikon user (but the right way for a Canon user). I guess they're trying to have the best of both worlds!

The D40X is the camera that's currently attracting my interest, chiefly because it appears to sacrifice relatively little next to the D80 but is significantly smaller and lighter. When I was in Nepal recently the battery drain on my D200 was a real issue - I took 3 batteries with me on a 4 day trip in the mountains and got through all of them.

But there are a few things you can do to minimise drain. Some of them are obvious, like setting the monitor to switch off after a short period. Others aren't so obvious, like using compressed raw or jpeg instead of standard raw, which seems to eat power like nothing else (I still don't know why).

Good luck with whatever you choose, and keep us posted!

Kenneth Koh said...

Hi Seb,

Welcome back from Nepal!

I guess I could put the Sigma on my 350D, but that would ruin my excuse to buy myself a new toy! Seriously though, I'm really a Nikon user at heart. It took me a few weeks to learn how to put the lens on the Canon (duh), and even now, I still have a tendency to zoom the 'wrong way'. I put up with the shortcomings of the 350D (poor ergonomics, single control wheel) because it has one very powerful advantage: weight. The thought of having an extra 200g bouncing on my neck while running 300km at high altitude is making me think twice.

Your comments about the battery life on the D200 affirm my decision to go with the D80, which has reputedly better battery performance. It will probably serve me until Nikon release the D300. The D40X looks too similar to my Canon and doesn't interest me, although it looks like a good body to have with your D200 (one lightweight body and one serious body). Different batteries though!

In any case, I won't be selling my 350D just yet. I'll spend the next few months testing out both systems before deciding which one to take to Nepal in October.