Your New Year's Resolution: Stop Switching

There never was much of a reason to change brands, but whatever reasons you might have conjured up in the past are pretty much now non-existent.

I've been dealing with "switchers" for over 16 years. 

Back when the D2h came out in 2003 (and D2x in 2004), there was a vocal component of the Nikon pro contingent that began to feel that Canon had stolen the game. After all, Canon had an 8mp 1D Mark II in 2004 and an 11mp full frame 1Ds as far back as 2002. I dealt with dozens of Nikon pros at the time who were calling me claiming that Nikon's 4mp/12mp DX twins just didn't hold up to what Canon was doing. 

On the one hand, they were right. Working pros at the time still had significant editorial and advertising sales, and 4mp doesn't hold up against 8mp for sports and PJ, and 12mp DX didn't seem to hold up against 17mp full frame (1Ds Mark II in 2004), either. You had to be extremely disciplined to get 4mp double-truck images into Sports Illustrated from a D2h (or D2hs), whereas many felt that the Canon 1D Mark II gave you some leeway. 

I was successful in talking about half those pros down from the "I must switch" tree. I was actually caught in a tough spot in late 2005 when I learned of the impending D3. I simply started saying "what makes you think Nikon won't respond?" Again. After all, Nikon and Canon had been playing some form of leap frog for decades, so it was inevitable that there would be a response.

Which brings us to a common claim that's been made a lot recently: "Nikon is dying, they'll be gone soon." Boy I wish I had a dollar for every time someone has used that line on me. My new 400mm f/2.8 S lens would already be paid for ;~). No, Nikon Imaging is not going to die. Moreover, as the recent Z9 and Z-mount lenses have showed, Nikon is hitting a lot of technology marks that constitute more leap-frogging. And the Imaging group has resized and is profitable again. Doing quite well, actually. So: not dying. 

The short term benefits of swapping out all your camera gear for another set of camera gear from another maker were always questionable, but I'm going to argue that there's now no clear benefit. All you're doing is showing your angst and wasting money. For what would be minimal actual benefit, if any. Oh, and you'll have to learn new acronyms and names, adapt to a new UX and menu system, and more.

The thing that's pushed me into this no-more-switching position is the recent advances with autofocus (mostly ML-type AI). Subject recognition that works changes the game for most, amateur and pro alike. Canon, Nikon, and Sony now all have excellent versions of subject recognition autofocus in their flagship models, and you'll see it work more and more down into the lower models over the course of the next couple of years. In many ways, it already has for much of the Sony Alpha full frame lineup (though those of you who thought the A7 Mark III was better than a Nikon Z6 II in this respect were way off, and mostly quoting clickbait influencers), and it's starting to work its way down the lineup for Canon and Nikon, as well. 

A little bit of patience is now going to pay off with a lot of benefit. What benefit is that? Not having to replace your lens set, basically. 

In 2021 I watched way too many folk dump their old lens set for a new one, mostly because they were making a DSLR to mirrorless switch, and often changing brands as they did. Yes, if you were a Nikon DX user and switched to Fujifilm XF, you probably did a full out switch. Likewise Canon Rebel/Kiss users switching to Sony E/FE.

Oh, you switchers all tried lens adapters, because that seemed to be a solution that kept you from buying new lenses, but I've been amused as person after person attempting that trick quickly tires of it and succumbs to new mount lens buying. Realistically, the only mount adapters that really work well are Canon's EF-to-RF, Nikon's F-to-Z, and Sony's A-to-E/FE. Even those solutions have exceptions, though.

Of course, the camera makers to some degree all encourage switching. Why? Because it increases overall market sales. If people were a little more patient, we wouldn't be seeing 6m cameras bought in a year, more like 4m or 5m. So the operative word at the camera makers is to encourage you to switch from another brand, but stay with your current brand if it's theirs ;~). That's disingenuous, at best.

That said, DSLR users are now in a quandary: (a) stay with what they have and use it until end of life; or (b) move to mirrorless and have iterative options in the future. That's not the kind of switching I'm referring to in this article. That's "moving with the company you support." 

So, my advice to you for 2022 and the foreseeable future:

  • Canon EF DSLR user: stay with what you have and just get better at using it, or figure out when you'll move to Canon RF.
  • Nikon F DSLR user: stay with what you have and just get better at using it, or figure out when you'll move to Nikon Z.
  • Pentax DSLR user: you've already stuck with them past the funeral, why are you contemplating changing now?
  • Canon M user: stay with what you have and just get better at using it, or figure out when you'll move to Canon RF.
  • Canon RF user: wait for the models and lenses you need.
  • Fujifilm XF user: wait for the models and lenses you need.
  • Nikon Z user: wait for the models and lenses you need.
  • m4/3 user: wait for the models and lenses you need.
  • Sony E user: consider moving to Sony FE, otherwise wait for the models and lenses you need.
  • Sony FE user: wait for the models and lenses you need.

In other words, stop switching.

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