Tyson V. Rininger's Blog

TVRPhotography – If it moves, Shoot It!

Making The Switch

Above my desk lies a shelf full of various camera bodies. These tools have been instrumental in sharing my experiences and memories over the years. My very first camera, a Kodak Instamatic 126 rests alongside my first SLR, a Pentax K1000 and my first medium format camera, my 501C/M Hasselblad. The first automated camera I owned was a Ricoh KR-10M and sits next to my first pro-camera body, a Canon EOS-1V/HS. Two digital cameras also reside with my antiquated collection, a Canon 10D and a 5D.

Nikon was kind enough to allow me use of their equipment at the Reno Air Races in 2010. Evan, over at http://www.evanflys.com, spotted me a few RV's away along the Valley of Speed using a Nikon D3s and a 600 f/4. (Image courtesy http://www.evanflys.com)

Some equipment I had once used is no longer with me such as my Pentax Super Program bodies, Pentax ME, my Nikonos V bodies, Canon EOS-1 and others. The point being, I’ve had the pleasure of utilizing the technology provided by many camera brands.

It was tough moving from Pentax to Canon in the late 1980’s, but Canon had some very impressive AF technology at the time. For the next 20 years, I had moved through the Canon professional line until digital became the norm. In the late ’90’s I owned an EOS-1 and an EOS-1N which performed incredibly…until they were stolen. They were then replaced with two EOS-1V High-Speed bodies which performed well until 2003 when digital could no longer be ignored.

The switch to digital would not be an easy one. At the time, each EOS-1V body cost about $2,200. A professional digital SLR couldn’t be touched for under $5,000…and actually closer to $8,000. A compromise had to be made.

I ditched the pro-level bodies and ventured back to the pro-sumer category. After all, digital technology was changing practically by the minute. A 6-megapixel Canon 10D was about $1,500 at the time and served me very well. In 2003, the camera was put to good use covering the 100th Anniversary of Powered Flight and images from that camera were first published in Air & Space Smithsonian’s issue covering the Dayton Air Show. It was clear digital was not going away. In 2007, the 10D was retired in favor of the $3,000 Canon 5D full-frame camera.

In late 2009, Canon introduced the EOS-1DmkIV with an unprecedented ISO range and a terrific frame rate all in a solid body. With resolution reaching a steady and versatile range, it was now time to think about reentering the pro-level of camera bodies. With my 5D showing age and my lenses all reaching their 10-year age, it wasn’t just the body that needed to be replaced, but my whole camera bag. Now would be the time for me to take a look at what the ‘other guys’ were up to.

From the backseat of a T-2 'Buckeye', I had to quickly teach myself the intricacies of the Nikon D3x and a 24-120mm to photograph these two SuperHornets in formation with a Hellcat being flown by Capt. "Mutha" Hubbard, Commodore for the Navy's Strike Fighter Wing Pacific. This would be my first Air-to-Air with the new equipment.

Canon is and has no doubt been an incredible company and their products have served me well. I had candid conversations with Nikon representatives, Bill Pekala and Bill Fortney along with other Nikon photographers. They, along with Canon, allowed me to make use of their products in order to come to a more educated decision.

Just like buying a home, one needs to consider where the community is headed and what level of resources are available. When comparing the variables, the product quality, long-term support, ease of transition and ease of communication, Nikon squeezed ahead of Canon.

It’s going to be a long journey for me to relearn the basic camera functions and differences between Nikon and Canon. From component compatibility and accessory part numbers to zooming, focusing and menu functions, the two companies couldn’t be more different. But, a camera is a tool and an investment and needs to best suit the photographer and their needs. For that, I feel Nikon has best filled the criteria and I look forward to what they have to offer in the future.

Many thanks to Nikon’s Bill Pekala, Bill Fortney, Jose Ramos, Deborah McQuade, Melissa DiBartolo and many others for assisting in the acquisition and future relationship. And of course a big thank you to Dave Carlson from Canon for his continued friendship.


8 responses to “Making The Switch

  1. Attila February 22, 2011 at 9:50 AM

    Hi there Tyson,

    Nice little note to wish you well with your new Nikon gear, and I hope that the new gear will be able to help you in capturing those fine moments we’ve all become accustomed to seeing from you through the years.

    Cheers, Attila

    • tvrphoto February 22, 2011 at 10:14 AM

      Thanks Attila! Sorry I couldn’t hook you up with the 400. It’ll be going into my personal ‘museum’ now. It earned the right to rest for a while. Keep sharing those pics from Canadia! I love seeing them!

      • Attila February 22, 2011 at 10:46 AM

        LOL – no worries on the 400 mate, I understand the attachment very well. I’m close to buying my first full frame in the 7D and can’t wait for the learning curve! I’m heading off to Maple Flag and Red Flag Alaska this year so I’ll be certain to get you some nice scenery shots along with Mirage’s and Rafale’s…:)

  2. Mike Jorgensen February 22, 2011 at 9:50 AM

    Tyson, wise words from you are always appreciated. Like a great aviator, or military officer, you have shown that flexibility is the key. Do what you gotta, to get the job done 😉

  3. Hugo Chikamori February 22, 2011 at 10:15 AM

    Welcome to the Dark Side. Tyson. Always loved your aviation photography. Hope you enjoy your new camera equipment. Looking forward to seeing your “Nikon” shots.

  4. Mike McKinney February 22, 2011 at 12:32 PM

    I’ve been using Nikon for over twenty years, my first being an F3HP, never looked back, even during the dark years. Awesome equipment, awesome NPS support, I’ll never switch.

  5. Jay Tolbert February 22, 2011 at 12:36 PM

    Thanks for giving some background in your decision to switch. The investment alone would be enough to give pause. Throw in the learning curve required to adapt to a new system and you know there had to be some serious thought given to this change. Any updates that compare/contrast features or how you may alter your approach to shooting, would be useful and appreciated by many of us.
    The Hellcat/Hornets shot is beautifully composed. Great angles.

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