I get this question every now and then when Iím teaching classes: ďHow did you decide between Nikon and Canon?Ē Well, the real answer is, I didnítÖmy dad did, so I would have to give him a call to see what the answer is.Now before I do, Iíll give you the cliff notes version on how I became aprofessional photographer. I have been into photography my whole life (as you can see from the photos), and Iíve used Nikon my whole life (as you can see from the photo of me in my dadís bathroom/darkroom doing some developing). but I went to American University and studied math and audio engineering and got away from photography for my teenage and college years.
Then, in 1998, I somehow talked my way into getting a job as a wedding photographer for a company in DC. Now, donít get me wrong, I still remembered how to do it, but it had been a while and all of my equipment was manual focus, which, even back in 1998, was outdated. There I am, faced with my first wedding and no real photo equipment, and who do I call? Well youíd probably call your mom first, but in this case she didnít have the photo equipment! So, I placed a call to dad and he mailed me everything I needed to shoot the wedding. I remember the camera was an N70 and the flash was an SB-16. I donít remember the lenses, but I know they were pretty good.
I shot the wedding, everything went great, and the rest, as they say, is history. I ended up averaging a couple weddings per weekend the next two summers and started my own business two years later. As I made money, I bought new equipment and sent dadís equipment back to him until I eventually had my own stuff. If dad had been a Canon shooter, this would be the same article with the names Nikon and Canon reversed.
So do you want to know why my dad chose Nikon? Iím actually curious to hear myself. (I literally have written everything up to here and Iím waiting to hear back from dad with the answerÖ)
I just hung up with dad and Iíll recount from my scribbled notes what he could remember about why he chose Nikon.
My Dad in 1975. When you hang with the artsy types you have cool photos like this. Photo by Abe ReznyIn the 60s, every company was chasing Leica, but one of my friends had purchased a Nikon Rangefinder SP camera, which, at the time was said to rival Leica cameras and I was really impressed. Back then, Canon was considered the innovator and Nikon was considered conservative, lagging behind Canonís technology by three or four years. Then Canon changed their lens mount and that really pissed off a lot of people. Nikon just seemed like the safer choice because they had better lenses, and thatís where you invested your money, so I bought two Nikons.
So thereís your answer. Iím finding out at the same time you are, since all that happened before I was even born and I had never asked him why. But, here we are some fifty years later and the decision my dad made still shapes the way I photograph things. Pretty cool. Thanks, Dad!