Way back in the past when I was more into computers than I am now, a debate raged – and I think raged is the right word – between those users who preferred Apple computers versus those who used MS-DOS and later Microsoft Windows based computers.
The vitriol was intense. Partisanship ruled and blinded each side to the merits and drawbacks of the two systems. As one who used both types of computers at work and at home and found the similarities to be far greater than any differences, I found such arguments perplexing.
I feel exactly the same way about camera manufacturers. A little while ago a not-very-good photography website called “The Ugly Hedgehog” saturated web pages with a cluster of ads revolving around the slogan – ‘Canon or Nikon, which is better?’. Obviously this drove traffic to the site or else the ad campaign would not have persisted as long as it did. I took a look. The question in the ad was unanswered; all that I found were a bunch of Nikon and Canon partisans hammering each other’s preference. Stupid and pointless.
These thoughts resurfaced over the past week thanks to an unexpected gift of a set of Nikon AI and AI-converted lenses from my friend and relation Barbara. They came with a Nikkormat EL that did not seem to be in optimum working condition so rather than get that camera repaired, I picked up – for probably less than the cost of a repair – a Nikon FE camera.
It’s a beautiful camera. Perfectly designed and ideal for film photography provided you are happy (as I am) with using manual focus. It was also my first Nikon camera after a decade or so of using Canon film and digital equipment. I wondered, just before the camera arrived from KEH, whether I would feel any sense of brand betrayal for foregoing Canon cameras. I’m not quite sure why I wondered this; maybe I felt it was expected of me precisely because of encountering those types of brand wars that occupy far too many photographers (in truth, just one photographer so obsessed is too many). But not a bit of it. I am very happy with the Nikon and I am very happy with my Canons. I should also add that I am very happy with my Contax and Rolleiflex too, but I left those out as they always do get left out in the Canon vs. Nikon wars.
The point is – and it’s one that should not need to be told, but I suppose it does – that it makes no difference what camera equipment you own and use. All that matters is that you use it to make photographs that please you.