Opinion: Going Back to Canon and Nikon Feels Like a Toxic Relationship

Canon and Nikon are really trying to change things up in the photo world right now; but should we go back to them?

Canon and Nikon are absolutely doing what they can to win back customers after slowly losing ground to both Sony and Fujifilm over the years. While the latter two have been doing all that they can to gain market share and continue to push forward, we can say with absolute certainty that Canon and Nikon have done little to nothing to either give customers what they want or to adapt with the times. It’s taken too long. While I’m sure that Canon and Nikon are going to do what they can to try to get customers back, I genuinely wonder if we really should go back.

Why do I say this? What the heck could possibly motivate me to come up with such an idea? Well, I want to step back into my history of camera usage. After working with point and shoots in my initial years, I finally got a big boy camera: the Olympus E-510 DSLR back in 2008 or so. I chose Olympus because my Mom trusted the brand for years and had her own camera. When they stopped being able to deliver on what I wanted and needed, I went to Canon with the 5D Mk II. Then I got the 7D. But slowly, Canon started to crumble in my eyes. So I got an Olympus camera, and then a Nikon camera, then a Sony camera, then a Fujifilm camera, and today I own two Fujifilm mirrorless cameras and two Sony mirrorless cameras. I adapted to get what was best for me and what I needed when it came to feature sets. That’s understandable and just the name of the game.

But with Canon and Nikon, something about it feels like a really bad relationship. We’ve all had them–toxic relationships that we’ve been in and perhaps stayed in because we didn’t know any better about what was good for us at the time. At the end of it, it all just feels like wasted time. Even when I pick up a modern DSLR today, it feels like an antiquated device. In that case, I’d much rather reach for a medium format film SLR camera and get arguably better image quality. In some ways, this is what Canon and Nikon feel like.

I feel the need to elaborate on this point of near toxicity, but I’ll fully admit to the exaggeration. With that said, I’ll come out and say this plain and raw: Canon and Nikon listened to what you said and purposely chose not to do anything about it for many years. They chose to hinder their products and do nothing innovative to push photography ahead or make the camera keep up with mobile photography. Instead, they scoffed at the retro aesthetics (with the exception of the Nikon Df). They didn’t make a single move to push their mirrorless camera systems ahead and instead just found a way to cripple them. They chose full out to not give you what you wanted with their belief that they would just be able to coast on their names with sales.

And now, they want you back. At this point though, both Fujifilm and Sony have innovated quite a bit. The X Trans sensor is highly capable as are Fujifilm’s lenses. Sony has a mirrorless full frame camera — nuff said. In fact, they’ve had a number of them for years. Heck, they put a full frame sensor into a point and shoot! Canon never did that despite making their own full frame sensors. Nikon never did that either. But at this point, Sony and Fujifilm are both very ahead of Canon and Nikon when it comes to technology.

Going back to Canon and Nikon at this point would be like going back into a bad relationship only because you as a customer needed to force your hand in order for the change to happen. Hopefully this doesn’t happen with Sony and Fujifilm.

You may wonder why I’m not talking about Olympus or Panasonic here. Panasonic I arguably feel is the better of the two; not only adding very good cameras with class leading video capabilities, but also finding a way to stand out. Olympus has great hand holding capabilities and some gorgeous cameras, but they’re not a Fujifilm or a Leica at the end of the day. I state all this feeling the same way about Apple right now, but not finding a good enough alternative for me and what I need to do.

And with this, I wonder when Canon and Nikon will really get it. Finally, I’m convinced they would have never innovated if Sony and Fujifilm didn’t come around.