I think the title in this blog post says it all but I’ll say it again “Nikon, you suck!”. At the beginning of this year I made the switch from Canon to Nikon. I had been using Canon equipment ever since I got seriously interested in photography around ten years ago but earlier this year when I was debating whether to go for a Canon 1DX or to switch to Nikon I was offered a really exceptional price on a Nikon D4, had a play with it, loved it, and switched.

Why did I switch? My last professional camera body was a Canon 1d3. Technology wise when I bought it, it was one of the very best digital slr style cameras on the market. Picture quality was awesome, I didn’t have any of the autofocus issues other early adopters of the 1d3 had and it was great. Loved it! But 7 years after buying it the camera was getting a bit long in the tooth and only in the last year things had stopped working on it. For example, live view only half worked, the thumb joystick on the back had fallen off, some of the body padding/coating was peeling away, it was getting old.

Same thing goes for a lot of the lenses I had a time (the primes were fine but the zooms, especially the 70-200 I had which had been dropped a few times) were really knackered. So, cash in hand, I went to Calumet here in Edinburgh, had a play with a Nikon D4, took a load of shots, especially at high ISO, took the shots home, had a look on my monitor and went “f*ck me, look at those files, how clean are they (?!) at high ISO”. I was sold.

There was also the price thing. The 1DX at that time was retailing at around the £5000 mark whereas if I traded in my old 1d3, with Nikon’s £600 trade in offer, I could have a used D4 for £3100. When I say used, it was the store’s demo camera. So it had a couple thousands shots on the counter, maybe had been taken into the yard out front to take some shots, that’s about it. Boom! Changed camera system.

A note about that regret, the camera was traded in for £600 but Calumet only sold it on (that same weekend I got the D4) for £150. If I knew it would be sold for only £150 I would have bought it back and kept it for sentimental reasons.

 

Why does Nikon suck?

Well, 9 months after buying the camera, the cosmetics of the camera are looking almost as rough as my 7 year old 1d3. Secondly I was on a shoot, specifically photographing cars for Toyota, and I was looking through the viewfinder and suddenly it went black. I pressed the Live View button to see if I had pressed it by accident, nope, no good. I took the lens off, looked in the mirror box and the mirror was set in permanent lock up position. The mirror could be moved with an object (finger) but it wouldn’t reset itself to the normal mirror down position. As a note the camera could still be used in Live View mode so I completed the shoot in that mode rather than switch to my backup.

So after getting a quote from a local repair shop I thought I’d pop back to Calumet to get the camera checked over. Off the camera went back to Nikon, I was told it shouldn’t take too long to fix and 6 weeks later I’m still waiting. I spoke to Calumet a couple days ago and I was told Nikon are still waiting for the part for the camera (Nikon can’t get parts for their own (professional) cameras, WTF?!) and now the cost of repair has gone from about £250 to £450.

The price increase is annoying but most annoying is my professional D4 is still back at Nikon and no-one seems to give a shit about it. I also looked into the Nikon Professional Service (NPS) thing but apparently my D600 backup camera doesn’t meet their criteria despite me owning numerous lenses and flashes that qualify.

A note about the D600, it’s a really nice camera but compared to the D4, for the kind of work I do, it’s not brilliant. The files have strange colour casts compared to the D4, high ISO performance is poor in comparison to the D4 and it’s really really slow to use in comparison. The D4 is bang, done. The D600 is focus…. bang, done. Slow!!!

 

Possible lessons learnt.

1, Maybe I should have just plumped for a new camera but hey I’ve got bills, a family, a child, a car to pay for so if I see a bargain then I will grab it.

2, I’m a professional photographer. This means I make money from my photography and in my case I work as a full time photographer. Buying a second D4 was out of the equation as I had to buy numerous lenses and other bits and the D600 seemed like a great secondary camera (kind of camera where I might stick a 14-24 on all day and shoot just wide angle shots on it at weddings). How does an old camera like a D300 qualify for the NPS yet a D600 which is a better camera in every single way not qualify?

 

Conclusions

1, Nikon’s build quality is poor compared to Canon. I owned various Canon cameras over the years and never had any problems with the bodies at least (lenses are another matter).

2, Nikon are slow and don’t give a shit about their customers. It’s a D4, it’s a pro camera, let’s assume the user takes a fair few photos. 6 weeks waiting time is piss poor and unacceptable.

3, Nikon NPS scheme is a load of shit. Multiple lenses, a couple flashes, a pro body and a D600 (newer and technologically more advanced than other cameras on the list). Doesn’t quality. To quote a fine Scottish saying “get tae fuck!”.

4, Renting D4’s is getting expensive!

5, I’m honestly regretting switching to Nikon. At this point I really wish I was still using Canon cameras.