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26 May 2017
by CARPology
Head-to-head photography: Nikon vs Canon
Here’s what, why and how angling photography royalty, James Armstrong and Oli Davies shoot

Nikon: James Armstrong

Canon invent, Nikon improve. Ouch!

Big statement that, but one I have taken on board ever since hearing it from my mate and highly respected photographer, Pat MacInnes all those years ago.

I am Nikon through and through and have been ever since my little D5100 back in my Korda days. I have upgraded since then to a Full Frame Nikon D750 and love it!

I would never say that Canon photographers don’t take wonderful pictures. But, they are often very dark, blue and lifeless, ha, ha… Just my opinion of course.

There is just something that appeals to me about a Nikon photo. It gives off a true warm feeling. A vibrancy that makes every shot glow with strong oranges, reds and greens. The sharp, striking look of the focused subject is just nothing that can be rivalled. I really treasure my photos and feel that my catch pics are hard to beat! This is in complete contrast to the dull greys, blues and underexposed shots typical of a Canon… although this is more to do with the user and seems to be a trend in angling these days.

To be honest, I think there seems to be a fashion in angling photography, particularly on Canons, to underexpose shots and make them grainy. Quite why,

I don’t know, but anglers seem to think it’s cool. Purchase a Canon 5D, 50mm lens and you’re in the cool gang… Many though couldn’t even explain what an aperture or shutter speed meant!

Sorry, I am going off the subject. All I am trying to say is that get a camera that suits you. Learn and understand why you like that camera in certain settings and lightings. Give the moody, dull grainy effect in some shots, but also give off the beautiful sunlight, vibrant clouds and blue skies when it’s light. I like Nikon because it’s produces beautifully warm colours all year round, yet can still give off the moody effect.

Friends of mine love the Canon’s colder effects while others love my warmer Nikon effects. One thing we have in common is that we know why we like them and what everything means. It’s all personal choice!

My five essentials
1. Polarising filter
2. Spare batteries
3. GoPro
4. Tripod
5. Air blower (for removing dust from the lens)

Canon: Oli Davies

So I’m a Canon user, or ‘Canonista’.

I currently use a 5D3 but over the years I’ve used many of their digital cameras including G6, 10D, 20D, 40D, 6D, 7D. So why do I love Canon? Well, usability is a big thing. All Canon cameras have excellent ergonomics, making them easy to use and one model is very similar to another. Handing over the camera to another person for those all important catch pics is normally a safe proposition as many anglers will own or at least have used a Canon themselves.

Battery life and weather sealing is excellent, making them a real tool even in harsh conditions. Best of all, however, is the glass, or lenses. Canon produce some of the finest lenses you can buy – something that is born out when you look at the prize winning entries in the wildlife photographer of the year award; Canon trumps Nikon 5 to 1! It’s very much the glass that keeps me firmly a Canon user.

There isn’t much to touch the look of the L primes and each one has it’s own strengths and character. My favourite is probably the 85L. It’s a lens capable of producing truly magical images. However, this look can be recreated on a budget. If I were to look for a cheap substitute I would seriously consider buying second-hand and look at the 5D2 or even the 5D. These can be had for peanuts these days and the image quality will far surpass some of the new all-singing all-dancing models because sensor is king, and if you really want the best quality image you need to go full frame. Couple that with Canon’s 85mm 1.8 and for around the same money as a new crop sensor model you can mix it with the pros!

A lot of people ask about settings, so as a rough guide for trophy shots, set the aperture at around f5. Many people shoot too shallow a DOF (depth of field) with prime lenses – the captor should not be too out of focus!
For scenics you want detail, so that means a high aperture. On a sunny day 1/250 shutter and f10 is a good starting point. Of course, you can drop the aperture and get ‘arty’. There is no right or wrong…

My five essentials
1. Canon 430EXii Flashgun
2. Hahnel Giga T Pro Wireless Remote
3. Manfrotto Tripod
4. Lowepro Vertex camera bag
5. B&W circular polarising filter

App attack

Your phone’s camera is good. But here’s how to make your pictures look incredible

Shoot

PROCAMERA
Stop fixing your photos in post. Use ProCamera’s huge set of manual controls – everything from exposure and focus to ISO and white balance – and get it right the first time. The app’s slow shutter settings make for great night shots. iOS/£2.99

VSCO CAM
The best start-to-finish photography app you’ll find anywhere. The simple interface has easy controls for adjusting focus and exposure. The set of built-in filters do far more than just add a retro haze. iOS, Android/FREE

Edit

DARKROOM
One word: curves. This feature lets you adjust RGB channels separately, just like in Photoshop. Also, every edit gets saved as you work, and you can undo as far back as you want. iOS/free; upgrade for curves, £1.99

SNAPSEED
It’s been around forever, but Google’s Snapseed remains one of the most powerful mobile photo tools. Get finicky with your edits, or just tap the Automatic button and let the algorithms work their magic. iOS/Android/FREE

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